In Parshas Vaeschanan the Posuk says:

עֲבַדְתֶּם שָׁם אֱ־לֹהִים מַעֲשֵׂה יְדֵי אָדָם עֵץ וָאֶבֶן אֲשֶׁר לֹא יִרְאוּן וְלֹא יִשְׁמְעוּן וְלֹא יֹאכְלוּן וְלֹא יְרִיחֻן

Translated as:

And there you will worship gods, man's handiwork, wood and stone, which neither see, hear, eat, nor smell

The question that comes to mind is as follows we are plainly mentioning the five senses first of all what happened to the sense of touch, and more importantly what happened to SPEAKING it is that which would seem of utmost importance yet it is completely ignored?

  • What is the source for assuming that there are exactly 5 senses? Thanks for bringing it up. This is something I have wondered for a long time.
    – WAF
    Jul 18, 2010 at 3:15
  • Source I do not have but is it not self evident sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch, Even though I am sure The Maharal talks about it. Jul 18, 2010 at 3:43
  • 2
    Acctualy Here are some places it is mentioned: Emunot Ve-De'ot,Chovos Ha-Levavos, For more in deph devlopment of sences see this article: jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=479&letter=S Jul 18, 2010 at 3:47
  • Wow,thanks WAF for making me find that article I loved it the Ramah says there are five gates to the Mikdash which represents the five senses great stuff all from something I thought to be self evident are you a philosophy major? Jul 18, 2010 at 4:04
  • Thanks for the link. I am not sure it is self-evident. That it only became universally accepted (at least in the literature) in the Middle Ages I think is testament to the fact that it is not. Why, for example, differentiate taste from smell? And why not include things like balance and fear?
    – WAF
    Jul 18, 2010 at 15:46

1 Answer 1


The reason the sense of touching is not said is answered by the Rabenu Bachyeh. He says that there is no need to mention more than one of the two senses that serve as tools of perception by the body.As according to the system of the Kuzari these two are the lesser senses as they require direct contact not like the others which can perceive from afar.

The reason speaking is not addressed in our Posuk is answered by the GRA. He answers based on a Medrash Rabbah that says that Nebuchadnezzar took the Tztiz- the head-plate of the Kohen Gadol which had the name of Hashem inscribed upon it and placed it in the statue that he made of himself and thereby it started SPEAKING. What did Daniel do he asked Nebuchadnezzar for permission to kiss the statue on the mouth and permission was granted and while kissing it he removed the inscription of the Name of Hashem and it stopped speaking. This way he was able to prove there was nothing more to this statue than all the others. The Gra explains this Posuk is foretelling that time and advising Daniel in What to do. There will come a time in Golus that there will be a statue that will not see, hear, eat, nor smell but the Posuk does not say will not speak as it will!? and therefore the Torah continues in the next Posuk and tells Daniel what to do.

וּבִקַּשְׁתֶּם מִשָּׁם אֶת יְ־הֹוָ־ה אֱלֹהֶיךָ וּמָצָאתָ

That is Daniel look for Hashems name in his mouth and you will see he has stolen from Hashem Because you Daniel the navi of Hashem did as the posuk ends off כִּי תִדְרְשֶׁנּוּ בְּכָל לְבָבְךָ וּבְכָל נַפְשֶׁךָ:You seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.

  • Sources [15 char]?
    – mevaqesh
    May 22, 2017 at 2:41

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