The Jewish Eye
The Parsha states, "Im Bechukoisai Taylaychu" - Hashem tells us: "If you will walk in my ordinances and observe my commandments and perform them. Then I will provide your rains in their time, and the land will give its produce and the tree of the field will give its fruit" (Leviticus 26:3-4). Rashi explains "Walking in Hashem's ways", as toiling in Torah study. The question arises, why is "Toiling in Torah study" referred to as a "Chok"? Chukim are Mitzvos which one can not comprehend. Why is Amaylus BaTorah referred to as "Bechukoisai Taylaychu"?
We find concerning secular subjects, if one puts in tremendous effort in getting good grades, but falls short, he will not receive any compensation for his efforts. One will not graduate from Law School based on his efforts. If one makes the grade, then he will graduate, if he doesn't, then he will fail. This is not so concerning Torah. Hashem does not look at what a person knows, rather he looks at how much effort and Amaylus he puts in. Since this is something so uncommon in the outside world, we can consider it a "Chok" which is not comprehendible.
When we make a siyum, part of the text reads: Anu Amaylim Ve'haim Amaylim. Anu Amaylim Umekablim Sachar Ve'haim Amaylim Ve'aynom Mekablim Sachar. What is meaning of this phrase ? The Meforshim say a similar insight with the following parable:
A person goes to a tailor to order a suit. The tailor measures him, and the customer decides on a blue suit in a particular style. Two weeks later the tailor calls to say that the suit is ready. The style is perfect and the fit too, though the tailor mistakenly made a gray suit. Even though he was 'AMAYL', the tailor does not get his Sachar. With learning torah, it is not this way: When one toils at Torah, one gets sachar for every minute, even if one doesn't understand his learning completely. That is the meaning of Anu Amaylim Umekablim Sachar. We toil and receive reward for the toil itself, even if we fall short in our results.
How Cranky Is a Cranky Old Man?
The value for a man above the age of 60 decreases by over 33% from 50 Shekalim to 15 Shekalim. While the value of a woman in the same age bracket decrease only 33%. The Gemara in Eiruchim (19a) says this follows the saying that "An old man in the house is an obstacle while an old lady is a Siman Tov" since she is still very helpful.
It is interesting to note that with all due respect to the saying the Halacha remains that an old man is still valued 50% higher than an old lady. Keep that in mind when your "obstacle" comes over for a Shabbos or an extended visit. Apparently there is still much to benefit from him!
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