by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS EIKEV 5771 BS"D
Ch. 8, v. 4: "Simlos'cho lo volsoh mei'o'lecho zeh arbo'im shonoh" - Your clothing has not deteriorated from upon you these forty years - The bnei Yisroel complained about the lack of water and the incident of "mei m'rivoh" took place, and as a result the bnei Yisroel lost Moshe as their leader at the end of the forty years of wandering in the desert. They asked for food and received the manna, but it involved making lengthy trips to collect it and there was the effort involved in preparing it, grinding, cooking, etc. How about their clothing? They never complained about their lack of new clothing and wonder of wonders, it grew as they grew, it was cleaned and pressed regularly. We see from this that one who relies on Hashem and does not complain about lack of this or that receives it with a minimum of effort and aggravation. (Rabbi Moshe Feinstein)
Ch. 8, v. 10: "V'ochalto v'sovoto u'veirachto" - And you will eat and become satiated and you shall bless - The gemara Brochos suggests that a blessing before eating is surely required given that we must recite a blessing after we are satiated, then all the more so when we are hungry. Indeed, the Pnei Yehoshua accepts this as the halacha and says that the blessing on food before it is eaten is a Torah level requirement.
The story is told of Rabbi Velvel Brisker zt"l who was in Switzerland as the guest of Rabbi Rosengarten. He asked that Rabbi Rosengarten prepare for him both a banana and an apple for the third Shabbos meal. He did this and to his surprise, when they had the third meal Rabbi Velvel did not even eat the banana nor the apple. He asked him why he asked him to bring a banana and an apple if he was not planning to eat them. The Brisker Rov answered that originally he did plan to eat them, thus allowing him to make 100 brochos that day. However, by minchoh he was given the aliyoh of Levi , and he made two blessings over the Torah. This is surely a case of not "having" to make a brochoh so that one can eat, but rather, wanting to recite a brochoh, which would require that one eat. (heard from Rabbi Rosengarten's son)
Another story: A chosid of Rabbi Aharon Hagodol of Karlin came in to him Motzo'ei Shabbos. He saw the gabai enter and place an apple in front of the Rebbe. The Rebbe proceeded to make a blessing and them eat the apple. The chosid thought to himself that surely the Rebbe is greater and holier than he was, but when it came to something physical there was no difference as both he and the Rebbe would recite a blessing and then eat an apple.
The Rebbe was aware of what went through the chosid's mind and reproached him, saying, "Do you think that I eat an apple just as you do? I look out the window and see a tree laden with apples and become so appreciative of the greatness of Hashem, that He even creates trees that produce luscious fruit that sustains mankind. My heart is bursting to express "Boruch atoh …… bo'rei pri ho'eitz." However, I am not allowed to do so as according to some opinions this is a brochoh for naught. I therefore tell my gabai to bring me an apple so that I can express the built up feelings in my heart by reciting this brochoh. Your approach is that you want to eat an apple and it is required to make a blessing before eating it, quite a different matter." (Shal Ovicho V'ya'geidcho)
Ch. 8, v. 10: "V'ochalto v'sovoto u'veirachto" - And you will eat and become satiated and you shall bless - The gemara Brochos 20 says that he who has his wife or son recite the grace after meals to be "motzi" him has fulfilled the mitzvoh, but a curse of hunger will come upon him. Why is this so? A son who is a minor and a woman according to some opinions only have a Rabbinic level of reciting grace after meals. They can therefore be "motzi" an adult male with "birkas hamozon" for a meal where he has not satiated himself. If, however he has satiated himself, he is required on the Torah level to recite grace after meals. A woman or child cannot be "motzi" him. Since this adult male is using a Rabbinic level recitation of grace after meals, he in turn will receive a curse that he will not be satiated, and thus he too will not be required to recite grace aftermeals on the Torah level, but rather, only on a Rabbical level. (Ponim Yofos)
Ch. 9, v. 15: "Vo'ei'fen vo'eireid min hohor" - And I turned and I descended from the mountain - "Vo'ei'fen," and I made a FACE (ponim) for myself. After the horrendous sin of the golden calf Moshe could have easily fallen into deep despair. Instead, he put on a resolute face and proceeded. (Rebbe Reb Simchoh Bunim of Parshizcha)
The Imrei Emes adds that we find "vo'ei'fen" later by the second set of Tablets, where it says, "Vo'ei'fen Vo'eireid min hohor vo'osim es haluchos bo'orone." How can we apply the same concept there? He answers that Moshe felt the extreme difference between the first Tablets, the creation of Hashem, compared with the second set of Tablets. Here again he had to put on a resolute face and place them into the "orone."
Ch. 9, v. 17: "Vaashbreim l'ei'neichem" - And I shattered them in front of your eyes - It was only to your physical eyes that it seemed that I shattered them, but in truth the essence of the Tablets and their letters remained intact. This is akin to what Rashi says on, "Va'Yehoshua'esor oso l'ei'neihem" (Breishis 44:24), where it seemed that Shimon was being incarcerated, while in truth as soon as they left, Yoseif released him and fed and dined him. (The Holy Admor of Ruzhin)
Ch. 10, v. 1: "Psol l'cho shnei luchos avonim" - Hew for yourself two tablets of stone - In a utopian situation a person would serve Hashem with total devotion and absolutely no self-interests. However, there are exceedingly few people who can reach this level. Being realistic, for most people there should at least be an endeavour to place service of Hashem ahead of one's own interest. By the creation of these Tablets our verse says, "psol l'cho," first "psol" and then "l'cho." By the prohibition against creating an idol the verse says "Lo saa'seh l'cho fesel," where the "l'cho" is ahead of the word spelled Pei-Samech-Lamed. When one's own interests come ahead of his spiritual pursuits it is akin to idol worship. (Sfas Emes)
Ch. 10, v. 16: "Umaltem es orlas l'vavchem v'or'p'chem lo sakshu ode" - And you shall circumcise the blockage of your heart and your neck and you will not be stubborn further - We can translate these words with the comma after "or'p'chem," as follows: And you shall circumcise the blockage of your heart and your nape, and then you will no longer have questions and difficulties with Hashem's behaviour. (Degel Macha'neh Efraim)
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