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Parashas Ki Seitze
Parashas Ki Seitze
One morning, as Mr. Chaschon is walking from his home to the Beis HaMedrash, a poor man approaches him.
"Tsedaka, tsedaka, I am collecting tsedaka. Can you please give me tsedaka, sir?"
"I'm sorry; I can't help you right now."
"Thank you anyway, sir. Have a nice day."
"Thank you for the blessing."
Mr. Chaschon continues on his way. He gets to the Beis HaMedrash, finds his seat, and opens up his Chumash. He begins reading the parashas ha'shavuah.
'When you harvest your vineyard, you shall not glean behind you; it shall be for the convert, for the orphan, and for the widow' (Devarim 24:21). "This is very interesting," Mr. Chaschon thinks. "I wonder what the meforshim say about these verses."
He finds the commentary of the Keli Yakar.
'You shall not glean behind you.' This verse is referring to the grape harvest. The grapes that a person forgets to collect are called shichicha. They are left behind for the poor people to take. This is one of the forms of tsedaka that the Torah obligates a person to give from his possessions to those who need it. The word 'after' in the verse hints to another concept. A person leaves this world at the end of his 120 years. He leaves 'after' him relatives who will inherit his possessions. He should not think that he needs to amass a fortune of money for these inheritors at the expense of giving the oniim (poor people) their gifts. Do not deny the needy their due portion because you want to amass a fortune for the future!
Mr. Chaschon is troubled by this drasha. He thinks to himself, "I don't give all of the charity that I am supposed to. I am concerned about my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. What will be with them?" He reads on in the Keli Yakar, and finds that he addresses this very issue. 'Do not let the following thought trouble you! "If I do not leave enough for my offspring, who will provide for them?" Remember that you were a slave in Mitzrayim. You had nothing! Look at you now; you have fields and vineyards that Hashem has blessed you with. His angels provide you with everything that you need. Therefore, do not worry about the future of your children. Think about your own future! What will be with you after 120 years? The only fortune that you will have is the gifts that you gave to those less fortunate than you. That is your true savings.'
Mr. Chaschon contemplates these words. "I keep turning away from oniim. I feel justified because I am gathering a fortune for my children. By what about myself and my own personal fortune? What about my everlasting fortune? What will I have after 120 years? I must change my ways. I must amass a fortune for myself. I have a long journey ahead of me. I need provisions that will hold me forever and ever."
Kinderlach . . .
When was the last time that you went on a long trip? You prepared a lot of food and clothing to take with you. It had to last for a long time. We are all preparing right now. After 120 years, we will be going on a very long trip. It will last forever. Such a long journey takes a lot of preparation. Therefore, we should start saving up right now. Begin by putting some money into the tsedaka pushka every day. That is a deposit in your eternal savings account. Slowly, slowly, you will amass a great fortune. Save for the future, kinderlach. You will reap the benefits forever.
"Young men, stop right there. Let's have a look at your ID cards."
The two young men are startled. They know the national situation is tense, and security is tight. However, they have never been stopped like this before. Each one pulls out his ID card and shows it to the officer. He scrutinizes every detail very carefully, finishes, and hands back the cards.
"You may pass."
"That was scary, Dovid."
"I didn't realize that we look like suspicious characters, Yossie."
"I guess they are checking everyone, these days; even us. A serious troublemaker, however, can pass the checkpoint with a forged ID card."
"That's true. You can forge an identity card, but you can't forge an identity."
"That's a cryptic statement."
"I'll explain what I mean. We learn in this week's parasha that converts from the nations of Ammon and Moav are not allowed to marry Jewish women."
"The verse states, 'Because they did not greet you with bread and water on the road ... and because they hired Bilaam ... to curse you' (Devarim 23:4,5). The Gemora (Yevamos 79a) enumerates three qualities that are inherent to the Jewish people. We are rachmanim (merciful), bayshonim (humbly dignified), and gomlei chasodim (we perform acts of loving-kindness). Rav Yonason Eibushitz explains that the nations of Ammon and Moav refused to perform acts of chessed for the Jewish people. Not only that, they hired Bilaam to curse us. They do not possess the trait of gomlei chasodim. Therefore, they cannot be a part of Klal Yisrael."
"Mercy, dignity, and kindness are our identity. The come from our heart and soul. They cannot be forged."
"It is against the law in this country to walk around without an ID card. If we have to preserve our identity card, how much more so do we have to preserve our identity."
Kinderlach . . .
Have rachmonus (mercy) on those less fortunate than you. Do chessed (kindness) for them and for all Jews. Dress, walk, talk, and act with a quiet, dignified humility. Be proud of your identity. You are a member of Klal Yisrael. Hashem's nation.
Kinder Torah Copyright 2015 All rights reserved to the author Simcha Groffman
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