פ’ ראה תשע”ח
Volume 25, Issue 4
INSIGHTS from the SEDRA
Insights from the Sedra is a project of the Scholars’ Kollel of Great Neck. It aims to provide several questions and answers about the Sedra, culled from various commentaries, including the following: Baal Haturim, Darash Moshe, Vedebarta Bam by Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky, Torah Treasures by Dov Furer, Wellsprings of Torah by Alexander Friedman, and Kol Dodi by Rabbi Dovid Feinstein, Great Torah Lights by Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Goodman, Something To Say by Dov Wasserman, The Vilna Gaon, and Growth Through Torah by Zelig Pliskin.
ראה אנכי נתן לפניכם
“See, I present before you…” (11:26)
To clearly understand the problem of free will, one must be able to see into his own conscious. And so the Torah begins its considerations regarding this problem with the verb see, which goes much deeper than the verb hear. Whereas hear implies an impression of external factors affecting one’s life, see suggests an internal perception, penetrating deep into one’s soul.
Here the Torah expresses its basic principle of free will. The blessing that results from good deeds is completely in man’s hands, as is the curse that results from evil deeds. The Midrash Tanchuma states that prior to the giving of the Torah to Israel, individuals were subject to the fate of the community. If the community as a whole was worthy, even its wicked members were spared; however, if the community as a whole was wicked even its worthy members suffered. However, now each individual is treated on his own merits, and receives a blessing if he obeys and a curse if he does not obey. (Kol HaTorah)
את הברכה אשר תשמעו אל מצות ה’ אלקיכם
“The blessing if you listen to the commandments of your G-d.” (11:27)
The Ohr HaChaim writes: Besides any other blessing, just listening to Hashem’s Torah is an amazing pleasure and gives one the energy of life. When someone actually experiences the wonderful taste of Torah, he will feel that he has a debt of gratitude to the Giver of such a wonderful present. Rather than demanding a reward for what he does, he will realize that it is he who owes the Almighty.
Fortunate is the person who reaches the level expressed by the Ohr HaChaim. The life of such a person is one of joy and ecstasy. Even if someone is not totally on this level, just contemplating it is very beneficial. (Growth Through Torah)
והיה המקום אשר יבחר ה’ אלקיכם ב
“It shall be that the place where Hashem, your G-d, will choose…” (12:11)
How can we know which place Hashem will choose? An earlier verse gives the answer: You shall seek out His Presence and come there (12:5). The site of the Biet HaMikdash will be characterized by the revelation of the Divine Presence. Similarly, the Talmud teaches that the name of Yerushalayim in the days to come will be Hashem (Bava Basra 75b). Since its primary feature is its role as the host of the Divine Presence, it follows that the city should be named after Hashem. Perhaps this is why our verse, speaking of Yerushalayim, begins with the word והיה, it shall be. For the letters of the word are the same letters that make up Hashem’s name. (Torah Gems)
עשר תעשר את כל תבואת זרעך היצא השדה שנה שנה
“You must tithe all the produce of the seed that the field yields year by year.” (14:22)
This verse includes the instruction to donate a portion of our income to charity. The Talmudic Sages pointed out the similarity of the Hebrew words for “tithe” (ta’aseir) and “become rich) (titasheir) alludes to the fact that G-d rewards those who give charity with abundant wealth. Furthermore, when we resolve to give charity beyond our means, G-d grants us the wealth that is required in order for us to give the charity we have resolved to donate. (Likutei Sichot)
וברכך ה’ אלקיך בכל אשר תעשה
“G-d will bless you in all that you do.” (15:18)
Although G-d determines how well we succeed in our efforts to earn a livelihood, we must not rely solely on His providence, but must put forth reasonable efforts to earn our living. By the same token, however, we must keep in mind that our efforts are not the direct cause of our material success; they are only a receptacle to contain G-d’s blessings. In this context, our main concern should be with making ourselves worthy of receiving G-d’s blessings. (Likutei Sichot)
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