Parashas Ki Savo
It’s Great to be Grateful
“Shalom Rabbi Katz, this is Aryeh Levy calling.”
“Shalom, Aryeh! How are you?”
“Baruch Hashem, Rabbi just fine.”
“What’s doing, Aryeh?”
“Last week I asked the Rabbi for his advice on how to handle a sticky situation with a neighbor.”
“Yes, I remember that.”
“I just wanted to thank the Rabbi. His advice was excellent, and the problem is now 100% solved.”
“Wonderful! Thank you so much for telling me that Aryeh. What else is doing?”
“Nothing, Rabbi Katz. I just wanted to express my appreciation.”
Rabbi Katz was pleasantly surprised.
“That is fantastic, Aryeh. I am the one who owes you a thank you.”
“You’re welcome Rabbi Katz; but what did I do?”
“You expressed your hacoras ha’tov (gratitude), Aryeh. Do you know how many people call me every day and all night, asking shaylas (questions concerning Torah laws) and advice?”
“I can just imagine, Rabbi.”
“Very often I spend many hours speaking with the person or researching his shayla. After I give the answer, I usually do not hear anything. This time it is different. It is so gratifying to hear from you that the problem was solved. It is even more heartwarming that you made a special phone call just to thank me.”
“It is the least that I can do, Rabbi Katz, after all the help that you have given to me.”
The parasha begins with the declaration made when bringing the bikurim (first fruits). “And you will approach the Kohen...and you shall say to him...” Devarim (26:3)]. The person proceeds to make a lengthy statement, expressing his gratitude for the good that Hashem has done for the Jewish people since the days of Yaakov Avinu, down to the present bringing of these first fruits. Isn’t it enough to bring the fruits? Why do we also have to make a long speech? The Sefer HaChinuch explains that expressing hacoras ha’tov arouses true feelings of appreciation in one’s heart. Hashem wants us to truly appreciate the good, and not just go through the motions of bringing the bikurim. Rashi adds, in the name of the Sifrei, that the declaration shows that you are not unaware of the good. The Ikar Sifsei Chachomim expands on this point. If a person does not recall the Source of the good, by making this declaration, he will push it out of his mind. He will come to ignore the good. This is a terrible fault. Seichel (common sense) alone tells us that being ungrateful is a lowly trait. Therefore, the Torah comes to implant gratitude into our hearts. Hacoras ha’tov is a trait that needs constant chizuk (strengthening).
The Chovos HaLevavos goes even further. Hacoras ha’tov (literally recognizing the good) is the foundation of Avodas Hashem. The more a person feels indebted to Hashem, the more sincere will be his service to the Holy One.
Kinderlach . . .
Here is your chance to write Kinder Torah. Make a list of what and to whom you are grateful. Mail the list to “Kinder Torah”, POB 5338, Jerusalem, 91052, Israel. The top answers (along with the names of the writers) will be printed in upcoming issues of “Kinder Torah”.
“May I help you gentlemen?”
“Yes, we have an appointment with Mr. Asher at 10:00.”
“Yes, he is expecting you. You may go in.”
Mr. Asher stood up as the Rabbis entered the room.
“Yes, my dear friends please come in. It is always a pleasure to see you.”
“The pleasure is mutual, Mr. Asher. How have you been?”
“Fine, thank you. To what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?”
“Mr. Asher, we have a tremendous mitzvah for you. We have formed a tsedaka organization that provides food and basic needs to hundreds of destitute families, among them widows, orphans, and homeless people. We have pooled our energies into one central organization to work more efficiently.”
“Excellent idea. Efficiency is important.”
“Of course the sums of money that are required are very large, because we are caring for thousands of people. We are doing our best with a concerted, extensive fund raising campaign. We have been collecting for several months now. However, we are still far short of our goal. This is where you come into the picture. We have a proposition for you.”
“We will make an all-out effort for the next month. We ask you, Mr. Asher, for a commitment for matching funds. We would like to approach contributors and tell them that each dollar that they give will be matched with another dollar, and the poor person will receive two dollars. Mr. Asher, if you agree to this plan, you are following the ways of Hashem Himself.”
“How is that?”
“The mitzvah of viduy masseros (giving an accounting of the fulfillment of ones maaser obligations) is found in the weekly parasha (Devarim 26:12-14). After the person gives the accounting, he then offers up a prayer to Hashem. “Gaze down from Your holy abode, from the heavens, and bless Your people Israel…” (Devarim 26:15). The Alshich explains the prayer as follows. After the person has fulfilled his own obligation, making himself and other less fortunate Jews happy by sharing his wealth with them, he may then ask Hashem to do His part and provide for these people directly. May they receive their sustenance directly from the Almighty, and not from the hands of others. The same may be said about our project, Mr. Asher. We will do our part, and then you can emulate Hashem and do your part.”
“Rabbis, this is a very attractive proposition. I will accept it on one condition. The accounting that the person had to give on his maaseros was very detailed and extensive. Everything had to be given to the right people, in the proper time and amounts. It was not easy work. Therefore, if you want me to keep my part of this agreement, you must give me a comprehensive report of your efforts over the next month. Leave no stone unturned. Put your maximum effort into raising as much money as you can. Then I will reward you with matching funds.”
“Thank you very much Mr. Asher. May Hashem bless you.”
Kinderlach . . .
There are many collections for many tsedakas. Sometimes the amounts needed seem astronomical. How can your small donation make a difference? You may think, “Perhaps I should not give at all? This family needs thousands of dollars. I cannot help them.” You must only do your part, kinderlach. The Alshich tells us that Hashem has his part. Your contribution makes a difference. In the zechus of your chessed, may Hashem do chessed and provide parnassa (livelihood) for all Klal Yisrael.
What did Moshe command them to do with stones when they crossed the Yarden? (27:1-8)
They had to write the Torah in ____ languages? (Rashi 27:8)
What is the curse of hitting your friend secretly? ARTSCROLL (Rashi 27:24)
Which years do we give maaser rishon? (Rashi 26:12)
What do we give in the third and sixth year, and to whom do we give it? (Rashi 26:12)
Kinder Torah Copyright 2004 All rights reserved to the author Simcha Groffman
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