"You shall surely maaser (give a tenth to the Leviim) all of your crop . . . so that you will learn to fear Hashem your G-d all the days" (Devarim 14:22-23). This verse brings us practical advice on learning how to fear Hashem. Yiras (fear of) Hashem is one of the six constant mitzvos mentioned in the Biyur Halacha (1:1).
The source of Yiras Hashem is actually a verse in Parashas Eikev. "You shall observe the commandments of Hashem, your G-d, to go in His ways and fear Him" (Devarim 8:6). Yirah is a powerful tool for Avodas (Service to) Hashem. The Mesillas Yesharim devotes two chapters to it. Yirah strongly motivates a person to stay away from aveyros (sins). How? Each sin carries with it consequences. Just thinking about Hashem's punishment is enough to make one shudder. The punishment in the next world is even more terrifying. Pain and suffering is a strong motivation to do the right thing.
However, there is a higher level of Yiras Hashem: Yiras HaRommemus (fear of His Awesomeness). Hashem is the Almighty, the All Powerful One, Who created the universe, and sustains it. Everything is under His control, from the gigantic galaxies, to the tiniest sub-atomic particles. How does this generate fear? Just imagine for a moment, that you had an appointment to see the ruler of a great and powerful country. You were told that he was a kind person, and would be happy to see you. Still, you would be nervous when you entered the room and stood in the presence of this great man. How much more so should we feel fear and apprehension in the presence of The Creator.
Why is this a constant mitzvah? Because His Presence fills the world. He is everywhere at all times. Therefore, we are always in His company. Acknowledging this reality, and thinking about it in terms of yirah is a mitzvah that can be performed at any time. It requires only thought. There is no limit to the reward for fulfilling these constant mitzvos.
The Pele Yoatz writes that good things accompany Yiras Hashem. One who masters this mitzvah is guarded from every evil thing. He will only want to give nachas ruach (spiritual pleasure) to his Creator.
Kinderlach . . .
Fear sounds like a bad thing. It can be bad or good. It is bad to fear silly things, or people who cannot really harm you. It is bad to let fear overwhelm you to the point that you cannot function. However, it is good to fear Hashem. Let fear of His consequences stop you from committing aveyros. Let fear of His Awesome Greatness motivate you to do His Will. How do we acquire Yiras Hashem, Kinderlach? By thinking about Hashem, His Greatness, and His Power. We all have times when our mind is free and tends to wander. Use those times productively to think about Yiras Hashem. The Pele Yoatz relates that a person can never say, "I want to do a mitzvah now, but I do not have one available." A person has a constant mitzvah of Yiras Hashem always at hand. Additionally, there is no limit to the reward for fulfilling these constant mitzvos. "I have set Hashem before me always" (Tehillim 16:8). Fantastic.
The taxi driver saw the man's outstretched hand. He quickly pulled the cab over to the curb.
"Yes sir! May I help you?"
"I hope so. I would like to go home."
"Where do you live?"
"That is quite a ride. We are here in Eilat, and you want a taxi to Kiryat Shemona? We have to cross the entire length of the country."
"I realize that. Don't worry. I will pay you well. I have the money at my home; therefore I will pay you at the end of the journey."
The driver looked a bit skeptical.
"My name is Ne'eman."
The cab driver's eyes opened wide.
"Are you Mr. Ne'eman, the famous businessman with a world-wide reputation for honesty?"
"That is me."
"Please sit down in the cab. Let us begin our journey. I just have to inform you of one thing. This is such a long trip that we will have to stop for gas and tolls along the way."
"No problem. I will pay whatever expenses you have during the journey. I will give you whatever you need to fulfill my directive to bring me home."
"Yes sir, Mr. Ne'eman."
This is a parable from the Dubner Maggid. The verse states, "See, I place before you today blessing and curse. The blessing: that you will listen to the mitzvos of Hashem..." (Devarim 11:26-27). Why do we receive blessings in this world for listening to Hashem's mitzvos? The true reward for mitzvos is the schar in Olam Habbo (The Next World), not in this world. The answer is that Hashem gave us Torah of 613 mitzvos to keep. He does not demand the impossible. Therefore, He must give us the means to fulfill those mitzvos. The commandments have "expenses". They take time, energy, thought, and money. He wants us to fulfill the mitzvos; therefore, He must pay our "expenses". When we perform a mitzvah, Hashem says (so to speak), "I see my little Yiddel is doing what I want. He is keeping My mitzvos. I want him to continue to keep My mitzvos. Therefore, I will ‘pay his expenses', and give him the blessings that he needs to keep going."
Kinderlach . . .
We learn two important lessons from the Dubner Maggid. Firstly, one of the reasons that a person is blessed with success in this world is because he fulfills Hashem's mitzvos. Hashem sees that person as a "good investment", and gives him the means to continue fulfilling mitzvos. Secondly, if you want to increase your material blessings, try increasing your mitzvos. Increase your "investment value". Make yourself irresistible. How can Hashem not shower blessings on His little "Mitzvah Man"?
Why will Klal Yisrael receive bracha? (11:27 and Rashi)
What should one do if he has no maaser rishon for the Levi? No maaser oni? (Rashi 12:18)
What happens to loans at the end of the Shmitta year? (15:2)
What is forbidden and permitted to do with a bechor behayma? (15:19,20)
What does matza remind us of? (16:3)
Kinder Torah Copyright 2004 All rights reserved to the author Simcha Groffman
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