Parashas Vizos Habracha
"Abba, may I have your advice?"
"My pleasure, Avi. I am at your service."
"I have a problem with my friend, Boruch. We are good friends and we get along well. I asked him to study with me for the Chumash test. I set aside three hours, which is plenty of time to review all of the material. He came to the house and began schmoozing about different subjects. I told him that we needed to study, but he insisted on schmoozing. Then he told jokes. We ate lunch, and before we knew it, the three hours was gone. We learned for no more than half an hour. I told him that I was upset with him. I got a low grade on the test and it is all his fault. I don't like him any more and never want to speak to him again."
"Hmmm. I understand Avi. That is a very natural reaction. He hurt you and you have bad feelings toward him. Therefore, you just want to avoid him. You won't bother him and he won't bother you. That is better than continuing to hurt each other. You can do that, however, there is a better way to handle this situation."
"That is the advice that I need."
"You can remove the resentment from your heart. It is true that he caused you a loss, but that does not give you permission to dislike him. Our Torah warns us not to hate our fellow Jew (Vayikra 19:17.) Therefore, you fulfill an extremely important mitzvah when you eradicate the resentment."
"I see, Abba. I have to work on that."
"There is an even higher madrayga (spiritual level) to strive for, Avi. The Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh speaks about it in the very beginning of this week's parasha."
"I want to reach the highest madrayga, Abba."
"B'ezras Hashem, Avi. The first two words of the parasha are, 'vizos habracha,' 'and this is the bracha.' The Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh asks a deceptively simple question. The word 'and' connects two subjects. This parasha is the beginning of the blessings that Moshe Rabbeinu gave Klal Yisrael on the last day of his life. It is the beginning of a subject; therefore there is no apparent connection to the event that preceded it."
"What was that event, Abba?"
"In the end of parashas Haazinu, Hashem instructed Moshe Rabbeinu to go to the top of Har Nevo and look out over the Land of Israel. He would not be allowed to enter because he sinned at May Meriva, by hitting the rock, instead of speaking to it. This failure to Mekadesh Hashem (sanctify the Holy Name) prevented him from fulfilling his greatest desire, to enter the Holy Land."
"Indeed, Avi. Who caused Moshe to undergo this nisayon (test) which he ultimately failed?"
"The Bnei Yisrael."
"Exactly, Avi. He sacrificed his entire life for them. The Ohr HaChaim says that he tirelessly ran after them (to do all sorts of good things for them.) They responded by putting him in a position to lose Eretz Yisrael. Did he have a reason to resent them?"
"I would think so."
"I agree. However, Moshe Rabbeinu was 'Ish Elokim' - 'The Man of G-d.' His deeds were very great indeed. A normal person would resent those people who caused him a loss. It is considered quite a mitzvah to remove the bad feeling from one's heart. Such a person is considered a savlan (patient person). Moshe Rabbeinu went far beyond that. He loved them with all of his heart. The Torah bears witness to the great deed of this tsaddik. He did not hate them. He did not distance them from his heart. Rather, he blessed them with words that were recorded for eternity. 'Vizos habracha,' AND this is the bracha. The bracha is connected to Hashem's decision to deny him entrance to Eretz Yisrael. Notwithstanding this tremendous disappointment, he still blessed them with all of his heart. That was the greatness of Moshe Rabbeinu - Ish Elokim."
Kinderlach . . .
People can cause us discomfort, pain, or loss. Is that a reason to resent them? Definitely not. The Torah warns us not to hate them. With a bit of work, we can overcome our negative feelings. However, is there anything wrong with avoiding them and remaining cold to them? Yes. The Torah commands us to love them (Vayikra 19:18). Moshe Rabbeinu set the standard for all time in this mitzvah. He loved Klal Yisrael so much that he blessed them! Twenty-eight verses in the Torah are dedicated to this wonderful blessing! That bears testimony to the greatness that a man can reach. That is an example for all time. Moshe Rabbeinu - Ish Elokim.
"Deliver us, for Your sake, our G-d, deliver us." We recite these words as we begin our hakafah (circuit) around the bimah (table for the Sefer Torah) on Sukkos. With lulav in hand, we circle the bimah once each day and seven times on Hoshana Rabba, the last day of Sukkos.
The Maharsha explains that these hakafos are a remembrance of the conquest of Yericho (Jericho). Our ancestors made one circuit each day and seven on the final day until the wall of the city fell. So too, our enemies shall fall. There is another reason for the circuit - to symbolize that our enemies circle around us, as the verse states, "The wicked walk on every side." (Tehillim 12:9). On Hoshana Rabba, we take the aravah (willow branch) in our hand and beat it on the ground, thereby destroying it. So too our enemies shall be destroyed.
"I and He (please) deliver us" (from the prayers of the day). The Tiferes Yisrael relates that "I and He" are Hashem and the Jewish People who will work together. How? When we do His will here in this world, He strengthens us from above.
Kinderlach . . .
We see another expression of Hashem's protection... the hakafos. Our enemies will fall, just as the walls of Yericho fell. Our enemies will be destroyed, just as the aravah is destroyed. There is a condition. We must fulfill His will. One example is to behave patiently, with derech eretz during the hakafos. There is no reason to push or jump in front of people. Everyone will make the circle. Take your time and enjoy the tefillos (prayers). Hashem is smiling down on you.
When is Hashem Melech on Klal Yisrael? (Rashi 33:5)
What was the praise given to Shevet Levi regarding the chet ha'egel? (Rashi 33:9)
Why were the blessings of Levi, Binyomin, and Yosef one after the other? (Rashi 33:12)
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