Vaethanan - Making It Stick

The Kli Yakar provides some fascinating insights into a verse in this parshah.

But beware and watch yourself very well, lest you forget the things that your eyes saw, and lest these things depart from your heart, all the days of your life, and you shall make them known to your children and to your children's children.
Devarim 4:9

The Kli Yakar first notes that this verse serves as the basis for a mishnah in Pirkei Avot.
Rabbi Dostai ben Yannai said in the name of Rabbi Meir: He who forgets one word of his study, Scripture regards him as though he was liable for his life; for it is written (Deuteronomy 4:9) "But beware and watch yourself very well, lest you forget the things that your eyes saw." Could this apply even if a man's study was too hard for him? Scripture says (ibid.): "lest these things depart from your heart, all the days of your life" Thus a person is not guilty unless he deliberately puts those lessons away from his heart.
Pirkei Avot 3:10
The Power of Forgetting
What is inherent in this verse that makes it serve as such a powerful warning for forgetting what we have learned?

The Kli Yakar explains that the mishnah in Pirkei Avot brings a harsh warning for when we forget our learning, so G-d will forget us. As it says in the verse:
My people were silenced for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you from being a priest to me; seeing that you have forgotten the Torah of your God, I, too, will forget your children.
Hosea 4:6
Just One Makes All the DifferenceFurther support in this direction comes from the statements of our sages. The Kli Yakar brings a gemarah describing the discussion between Hillel and Bar He He.

Bar He-He said to Hillel: "And you shall return and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him who serves God and him who has not served Him." (Malachi 3:18)
‘the righteous’ is the same as ‘he that serves God’,
‘the wicked’ is the same as ‘him who has not served Him.’!
He [Hillel] answered him: ‘he that serves God’ and ‘him who has not served Him’ both refer to the perfectly righteous;
But he that repeated his learning a hundred times is not to be compared with him who repeated it a hundred and one times.
Said [Bar He-He] to him: And because of [just] one he is called ‘him who has not served Him’?
Hagiga 9b (Soncino Translation)
Bar He-He asks a good question to Hillel. How does one (1) make the difference for who is more righteous and serves G-d better?

Gematria Reveals
Literally the gematria (the numerical value) of the words show the difference.
 וְשַׁבְתֶּם, וּרְאִיתֶם, בֵּין צַדִּיק, לְרָשָׁע--בֵּין עֹבֵד אֱלֹקים, לַאֲשֶׁר לֹא עֲבָדוֹ
The first letters of the words עֹבֵד אֱלֹקים לאֲשֶׁר
‘he that serves God’
These letters amount to 101

The first letters of the words    לֹא עֲבָדוֹ
‘him who has not served Him’
These amount to 100

The verse intrinsically conveys the power of the extra one, that one who repeats his learning 101 times, that is truly called serving G-d.

The Presence of 101
The Kli Yakar offers additional references to 101 in other places. He compares the Hebrew words for 'forget' and 'remember'

Forget is made up of the gematria
Shin: 300
Kaf: 20
Chet: 8

Remember is made up of the gematria
Zayin: 7
Kaf: 20
Reish: 200

The difference between these two words is: 101

The Kli Yakar brings the essential message from this outcome as, if you want to nullify the power of forgetting then you have to go back and repeat what you have learned 101 times.

The Angels
The Kli Yakar adds that the angel designated for memory has powers amounting to 227.
While the angel designated for forgetting has powers amounting to 328. Since the angel of forgetting is 101 units more powerful than the angel of remembering, it is up to man to be diligent and repeat his learning 101 times to strengthen his memory. Thereby for each repetition he reduces the power of the angel of forgetting, till by 101 times, he has brought himself to be under the dominion of the angel of remembering so that he will no longer forget what he has learned.

Intrinsically Hidden
Our verse from our parshah also intrinsically has this message as well.
 רַק הִשָּׁמֶר לְךָ וּשְׁמֹר נַפְשְׁךָ מְאֹד פֶּן תִּשְׁכַּח אֶת הַדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר רָאוּ עֵינֶיךָ וּפֶן יָסוּרוּ מִלְּבָבְךָ כֹּל יְמֵי חַיֶּיךָ וְהוֹדַעְתָּם לְבָנֶיךָ וְלִבְנֵי בָנֶיךָ
The following letters in these words are key: הִשָּׁמֶר לְךָ וּשְׁמֹר נַפְשְׁךָ מְאֹד
Hey: 5
Vav: 6
Nun: 50
Mem: 40
This amounts to 101

This means "But beware and watch (yourself) very well"

The first letter of the remaining word from this statement: לְךָ

Lamed can allude to the concept of Limud, which is learning.

So the intrinsic message of our verse is Beware and watch yourself (your learning) very well (by repeating it 101 times).

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