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Dreaming About Mitzvos
The Sefer Chareidim says that one of the 17 parts of a mitzva that you must do in order to fulfill a mitzva completely is to yearn to do the mitzva even if you cannot do at this moment. For example we should long for the Bais HaMikdash in order to be able to bring korbanos. We should want to live in Eretz Yisroel to be Mikayem mitzvos that are only relevant when planting in Eretz Yisroel.
Rav Levi Yitzchok MiBerditchev in the Kedushas Levi says that is pshat in the pasuk (8:1) "Kol HaMitzva Asher Anochi Mitzavecha Hayom Tishmirun La'asos" all the mitzvos that I command, you should watch to fulfill. Sometimes the word "shamar"; watch, means wait in anticipation like when Yaakov "watched" to see what would happen with Yosef's dreams. Similarly here the pasuk says every mitzva that I command, you should yearn to keep even if you are in Chutz La'Aretz and cannot do it. Then in that merit, continues the pasuk, you will be zocheh to "V'yirashtem Es HA'Aretz"; Hashem will eventually bring you to Eretz Yisroel t realize your aspirations.
Is Bread Really Satisfying?
"Ki Lo Al HaLechem Livado Yichyeh HaAdam, Ki Al Kol Motzai Pi Hashem Yichyeh HaAdam." "That not by bread alone does man live, rather by everything that emanates from Hashem's mouth, does man live." (8:3) The simple meaning in the Pasuk is that Hashem gave you the Man in the Midbar to show you that Hashem does not need bread to sustain you; he can even sustain you with the miracle food called the Man.
The Meforshim offer another interpretation. The Gemorah in Taanis relates a story with the daughter of Rabbi Chanina Ben Doisa. One (Friday) evening during twilight, Rabbi Chanina ben Dosa saw that his daughter was sad. He asked her, "Why are you sad?" She told him that a container of vinegar was accidentally switched with a container of oil, and she had lit the Shabbos lamp using it (the vinegar). Rabbi Chanina ben Dosa said to her, "My daughter, why do you care (why does that bother you)? The One who said to the oil it should light, he will say to the vinegar, and it will light." A Tanna taught: It stayed lit continuously all day (Shabbos), even until they used it to light the Havdalah (candle). We see from this Gemorah that even the fact that oil burns is a Nes from Hashem. Without the commandment from Hashem for the oil to burn, it would not.
Here too the pasuk is telling us that without the Bracha of Hashem that bread should satisfy us, a person would eat and not be satiated. This is what the pasuk means: "Ki Lo Al HaLechem Livado Yichyeh HaAdam" - a person would not be able to live on bread - it would not satiate. "Ki Al Kol Motzai Pi Hashem Yichyeh HaAdam" - it is only because of the word of Hashem, who commanded the bread to satisfy one's hunger, that a person can eat bread and live.
Got Money? You Are Fabulous!
ViKesef ViZahav Yirbeh Lach Vichol Asher Licho Yirbeh";"And your gold and silver will increase and everything you have will increase". The Shelah says, it is very common for people to flatter and butter up the wealthy, by glorifying them and saying, "you are so smart, you are so good looking, and your Middos are not to be matched." In order to find favor in their eyes, people praise them with positive attributes, which they do not possess. The Shelah says, this is what the pasuk means, "ViKesef ViZahav Yirbeh Lach" - one who has a lot of money, suddenly, "Vichol Asher Licho Yirbeh" - people attribute to you all the "maylos" - suddenly you are not only wealthy, but also a great guy and a genious!
Yalkut Gershuni takes this a step further. The Mishna says in Avos - "Ezehu Ashir? HaSamayach BiChelko" - "Who is wealthy? One who is happy with his lot". Yalkut Gershuni asks, why can't the Mishna say, one who is wealthy is one who has lots of money? He answers, because one who has money is looked upon by people as one who is smart, fine, handsome AND wealthy. The Mishna wants to know " Who is JUST wealthy" To that the answer is - one who is happy with his lot.
Ksav Sofer - Being A Nice Guy Is Great... But Not Enough
"HaKail HaGodal ViHanorah Asher lo Yisa Fanim ViLo Yikach Shochad. Oiseh Mishpat Yosoim ViAlmanah ViOhaiv Ger Losais Lohem Lechem ViSimlah." "Hashem who does not show favor and does not take bribes. Who carries out judgment to orphans and widows and loves the convert to give him bread and garments." (10:17)
The Ksav Sofer says that this pasuk is a warning to people who think that just because they are fine people "Bain Adam LaChavero" - they treat others very well, this is sufficient. They don't need to be a good Jew "Bain Adam LaMokom" - their good deeds to their brethren will wipe away their sins to Hashem. The pasuk therefore says, "Asher lo Yisa Fanim ViLo Yikach Shochad" - Hashem will not take as a bribe the fact that you are, "Oiseh Mishpat Yosoim ViAlmanah ViOhaiv Ger Losais Lohem Lechem ViSimlah" - you take care of the orphans, widows and converts. Just because you are a good Jew to others, does not relinquish you of the obligation to be a good Jew to the Ribono Shel Olam too!
Wait Till Next Year!
"Einei Hashem Elokecho Bah MeiReishis Hashana Ad Acharis Shanah" "The eyes of Hashem are always upon it, from the beginning of the year until year's end" (11:12) The Satmar Rebbi Zt"l asks, why does the pasuk say by Raishis - "Hashana", but by "Acharis" it only says, "Shanah"?
He answers, that the nature of people is that in the beginning of a new year, when people are in the Tshuva mode, they say, "this year I will be better. This year I will give more Tzidakah, I will watch my anger, and learn more Torah. This will be THE year!" But when the year passes and he didn't fulfill any of his "New Year Resolutions", he sees that the year, which he thought would be THE year, turned out to be "just another year". The pasuk says, by "Raishis Hashana" - in the beginning he thinks this year will be Hashana - the year, but at the end of the year it's only "Acharis Shanah" - just another year.
We say in the Kedusha of Mussaf, "Hain Goaltie Eschem Acharis KiRaishis" - "When will I redeem you, says Hashem, when "Acharis KiRaishis" - the end of the year will be like the beginning. When all the promises and resolutions that one makes before Rosh Hashana, will still be in place at the end of the year. That is when the Geula will come!
No Time To Learn?
"LiDaber Bam BiShivticha BiVaysacha UvLechticha VaDerech..."
"You must learn Torah at all times - when you are sitting in your home or traveling on the road etc.
"A person once came to Rabbi Yisroel Salanter and asked him, "Rebbi, I only have 5 minutes a day to study Torah, what topic should I study during that time?" R' Yisroel answered, "Study Mussar during those 5 minutes, you will then see that you really have a lot more time than 5 minutes a day to learn Torah.
Eretz Yisroel – The Jewish Homeland
"For the land that you are going to possess is not like the land of Mitrayim from where you came from". Eretz Yisroel is a land that has been claimed and coveted by many nations and religions. It is the focal point of world history. Why has Hashem granted this holy land to the Jews and placed other nations elsewhere?
We can understand this with a Mashal. There once lived a man who was blessed with a son of fine character. The young man married, and in time, he too became a father. As he was preparing for his new son's Bris Milah Party, he came to his father for advice. "How should I seat the guests?" he asked. "If I am forced to seat the rich guests in places of honor and leave the poor in positions at the end of the table, I will feel upset because I don't want to embarrass the poor. Wouldn't it be better if I placed the poor up front and place the rich at the far end of the table?" "Your intentions are most noble, my son", replied the father. "However, if you carry out your plan, none of your guests will be very happy. You see, the custom of placing the rich at the head and the poor at the end of the table is based on common sense. After all, the poor are hungry, and they care more for the food at the end of the table than the honor at the head. The rich, on the other hand, have their own delicious meal at home. When they come to a banquet, they are not seeking nourishment, but honor. This is why it is best to seat them at the head of the table, where they can receive the recognition they crave. So, my son, let the poor sit at the foot of the table, where they can eat undisturbed and out of the limelight. Let the rich sit at the head of the table, where they can receive honor.
The same differentiation can be made between Klal Yisroel and other nations. The Goyim, like the poor at the banquet, seek only to satisfy their bodily needs. They could accomplish this in any part of the world, not only in the holy land of Eretz Yisroel. Klal Yisroel does not place its emphasis on materialistic satisfaction. Klal Yisroel has always sought the higher spiritual aspects of life. They are to be honored by the other nations of the world. Therefore they have been placed in Eretz Yisroel where the eyes of the world are fixed upon them. In this way their good deeds can be observed by all!
Haftorah Eikev: Some Things Are More Memorable Than Others
In this week's Haftorah, Bnei Yisroel voices concern that Hashem has abandoned them. Hashem assures us that despite our many aveiros he has not forsaken us and never will and ultimately will redeem us from this long and bitter galus. The gemara in Brachos says that Hashem promises that he will employ selective memory remembering Matan Torah but at the same time conveniently forgetting Chet HaEgel. What is the connection between these two events that Klal asks about them in tandem?
The Likutei Basar Likutei bring down that these two are inextricably linked together. The Mishna says in Avos that Yisroel is beloved by Hashem and therefore were given the Torah. But didn't Hashem first ask all the other nations? We were actually last to be offered! The answer is that while all the other nations inquired about its laws Bnei Yisroel accepted right away without asking because Hashem imbued in them a special love for Torah that he did not grant any other nation. This is the gift that Hashem gave that makes us beloved.
Although it was not to our credit that we accepted the Torah since it was natural for us nevertheless Hashem ignores that little detail and favors us for accepting the Torah. Because of this Bnei Yisroel worries about Chet HaEgel. Moshe davened to Hashem to forgive us because it was the abundant gold and silver that Hashem gave us that caused us to sin so Moshe laid the blame squarely on Hashem' shoulders.
Therefore says Klal Yisroel if you will consider the fact that you Hashem caused us to sin you may also consider the fact that you caused us to accept the Torah. To this Hashem says, one I will remember and one I will forget.
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