by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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IN HONOUR OF THE MARRIAGE OF OUR NIECE CHANA FLEISHER TO MEIR ZIMMERMAN
SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS EIKEV 5775 BS"D
Ch. 7, v. 15: "V'heisir Hashem mimcho kol choli v'chol madvei Mitzrayim horo'im asher yodato lo y'simom boch" - And Hashem will remove from you all sickness and all bad afflictions of Egypt which you have known He will not place in you - If you will not have these sicknesses what need is there to remove them? Our sages say that when the final redemption will come Hashem will again bring the ten plagues He sent on Egypt upon the world. He will also add some more plagues. They add that when Hashem visited the ten plagues upon the Egyptians they also came upon the bnei Yisroel, but for a fleeting moment only. The new type of plagues that Hashem will bring upon the world will come upon the bnei Yisroel, again for only a moment, and the plagues that are repetitive of what was sent upon Egypt will not be sent upon the bnei Yisroel at all. This is the meaning of "v'heisir." Hashem will place new plagues upon you, but only for a moment, and then remove them. The plagues of Egypt, "lo y'simom boch" at all. Based on this, the Shaa'rei Aharon explains that the term "simoh" rather than "n'sinoh," is very well understood. The gemara M'nochos 59b says that "simoh" means placing even a very small measure. Hashem will not place upon us even in the smallest measure the plagues He once sent upon Egypt. (Chid"o in Nachal K'dumim)
Ch. 7, v. 15: "Kol choli v'chol madvei" - All sickness and all afflictions - What is the difference between these two words?
1) "Choli" is sickness that comes from the outside, such as extreme cold, pollution, etc., and "madvei" is a sickness that comes from one's inners. (Rabbeinu Bachyei)
2) "Choli" is a common sickness, while "madvei" is an unusual sickness. (Ibn Ezra)
3) "Choli" is used when referring to most illnesses, while "madvei" is used when referring to a sickness that affects the heart. (Rabbeinu Myuchos)
4) "Choli" means a general sickness that is not felt in any specific organ, while "madvei" means a sickness that is felt in a specific organ or organs. (GR"A)
5) "Choli" means a sickness that comes upon a person because of his negligence, while "madvei" means a sickness that in spite of one's being careful, is sent upon a person. (N'tzi"v)
Ch. 8, v. 10: "Uveirachto" - And you shall bless - This is the common translation of this word. However, the Rashb"o in his commentary on the gemara Brochos says that "brochoh" means increase. His comment is made on the statement that Hashem asked Rabbi Yishmo'eil, "Borcheini." Hashem lacks nothing. The intention therefore is that He asked Rabbi Yishmo'eil to state that he hoped for an increase in Heavenly influence to be poured upon us. The Chinuch on this mitzvoh, Sefer Ho'ikrim 42:26, and the Ibn Ezra on Shmos 18:10 say the same thing.
The good that flows from properly reciting grace after meals is so great that the Rabbis who instituted its text made sure to leave out any word that has a final Fei in it, as the powers of destruction ShetzeF, KetzeF, AF, ZaaF, NegeF, AnaF, and ResheF, have this letter at their end. (Sefer Chasidim) The Chinuch mitzvoh #430 writes that he was taught by his great teachers that he who recites grace after meals with proper concentration is promised sufficient sustenance throughout his life. (This is simple logic. If one thanks his boss in a truly heartfelt manner for his sustenance, the boss will eagerly give it to him in abundance.)
Sefer Chasidim #46 relates that a person died at a young age and appeared in a dream to his relative well after twelve months since his demise. The living relative asked him how he is treated in the "true world." He responded that he is continually being punished for not having recited the blessings for food and their after-blessings with proper devotion. The living relative asked why he was being punished even after twelve months, since even wicked people are only punished for twelve months. He responded that after twelve months the punishment eased somewhat.
Rabbi Chaim Vi'tal writes in Shaar Ruach Hakodesh in the name of his great teacher the Holy Ari z"l that a person's ability to reach into the higher spiritual spheres depends greatly on his intention when reciting blessings before and after consuming food. This is because the food is very physical and when it becomes part and parcel of the person it likewise drags him down spiritually. It is only when he recites the "brochos" properly that the negative aspect of the food departs and allows the person to soar upwards.
A woman appeared in front of the Mahari"l Diskin and cried out her plight. Each and every one of her very young children had died. The Mahari"l Diskin told her to make sure that she always says "birkas hamozon" from a text. (see Mishnoh Bruroh 185:1)
Ch. 9, v. 14: "V'emcheh es shmom mitachas hashomayim v'e'e'seh os'cho l'goy otzum vorov mi'menu" - And I will erase their name from below the heavens and I will make you a mightier and larger nation than they - Moshe had no interest in starting to build a new nation. Hashem told him that He would only erase their name from BELOW the heavens, meaning that their spiritual source would remain above, and from this root-source He would build a new nation through Moshe. Read "l'goy otzum vorov mi'menu" as "for a mighty and large nation FROM them." Nevertheless Moshe declined. (Nachal K'dumim in the name of the Ari z"l, yahrtzeit 4 Menachem Ov)
Ch. 10, v. 21: "Asher ro'u ei'necho" - Which your eyes have seen - The main point is that Hashem has done great wonders. What is added with saying that you witnessed this with your eyes? The Ozhrover Rebbe in B'eir Moshe explains that Rashi on the words of Breishis 19:17, "Al tabit acha'recho" comments that Lote behaved improperly along with the inhabitants of S'dom, and as such should not witness S'dom's destruction. Our verse is telling us that the great wonders Hashem wrought on the Egyptians were seen with our eyes, thus telling us that we were not ensnared in their evil ways, as chaza"l relate, that the bnei Yisroel were circumspect in regard to immoral behaviour.
Ch. 11, v. 17: "V'otzar es hashomayim v'lo yi'h'yeh mottor" - And He will restrain the heavens and there will be no rain - The story is told of a time when no rain was forthcoming and there was great fear of famine. The communities responded with tearful prayers for rain, and yet, no rain. The Holy Baal Shem Tov noticed that an unlearned person, when reciting "krias shma," put much emotion into these words of our verse. He was puzzled and asked the person what he had in mind when he said these words. They were the opposite of what everyone wanted. He answered that he had the simple meaning of these words in mind. "V'otzar" was understood as "and He will press out" (see Targum Onkelos on Breishis 40:11, "vo'es'chote" is translated as "v'atzris"), "V'lo yi'h'yeh mottor," as "and there will be no rain left in the heavens." The Baal Shem Tov said that since these words were said with a true conviction and belief that Hashem would send rain, he was sure that in the merit of this man's prayers there would be rain in the near future, as indeed happened. (Baal Shem Tov Al haTorah)
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