This D’var Torah should be a Zechus L’Ilui Nishmas my sister, Kayla Rus Bas Bunim Tuvia A”H, my maternal grandfather Dovid Tzvi Ben Yosef Yochanan A”H, my maternal grandfather Dovid Tzvi Ben Yosef Yochanan A”H, my paternal grandfather Moshe Ben Yosef A”H, my paternal grandmother Channah Freidel Bas Avraham A”H, my uncle Reuven Nachum Ben Moshe & my great aunt Rivkah Sorah Bas Zev Yehuda HaKohein,
It should also be in Zechus L’Refuah Shileimah for:
-My father Bunim Tuvia Ben Channa Freidel
-My grandmother Shulamis Bas Etta
-MY BROTHER: MENACHEM MENDEL SHLOMO BEN CHAYA ROCHEL
-HaRav Shlomo Ben Shayna Zelda
-Mordechai Shlomo Ben Sarah Tili
-Noam Shmuel Ben Simcha
_R’ Simcha Yitzchak Ben Mirela Liyatka
-Chaya Rochel Ettel Bas Shulamis
-And all of the Cholei Yisrael, especially those suffering from COVID-19 and the Meiron tragedy.
-It should also be a Z’chus for an Aliyah of the holy Neshamos of HaRav HaGa’on V’Sar HaTorah Shmaryahu Yosef Chaim Ben HaRav Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky A”H, Dovid Avraham Ben Chiya Kehas—R’ Dovid Winiarz ZT”L, Miriam Liba Bas Aharon—Rebbetzin Weiss A”H, as well as the Neshamos of those whose lives were taken by terrorists (Hashem Yikom Damam), COVID-19, and the Meiron tragedy.
-It should also be a Z’chus for success for Tzaha”l as well as the rest of Am Yisrael, in Eretz Yisrael and in the Galus.
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Parsha Paradise/פרשה פרדס – Eikev: What Does Hashem Ask of You? And is it a Small Matter? 🤏🏻
After reviewing the history of the B’nei Yisrael, Moshe Rabbeinu “gets to his point” and discusses what exactly it is that Hashem wants from the B’nei Yisrael; “And now, Yisrael what does Hashem your G-d ask of you?…” [Devarim 10:12].
Regardless of what follows this rhetorical question, we should have our own question. Whatever Moshe says next, is it true that that one thing is the ONLY thing Hashem requires or askd of us? He wants us to keep the whole Torah, 613 Mitzvos with countless components to them. What does Moshe mean when he appeals to the B’nei Yisrael, “what does Hashem ask of you?” What in fact is he referring to? He says it like it’s something extremely reasonable and attainable. What could it be? What does Hashem “ask” of us?
When we move over to Drash, we will learn the famous teaching which Rashi cites that “HaKol B’Yidei Shamayim Chutz MiYiras Shamayim”-” All is in the hands of heaven except for the fear of heaven” [Brachos 33B]. The Gemara derives that from Moshe’s very next words, “Ki Im L’Yirah”-“just that you fear…”
What’s strange is that Moshe appears to add a whole laundry list of items in the next two verses. He mentions not just fear of G-d, but love of G-d, worship of G-d, safeguarding of His Mitzvos, walking in His ways, etc. So, this statement of Chazal must be qualified. Is it fear of G-d, awe or reverence, of Hashem that He “asks” of us, or is it much more? And if it is, is it so “little” to ask? And suppose that it really is just “awe of G-d” that He asks? Is that so little to ask for? That is another question of the Gemara addresses to which we must return.
Ramban explains that Hashem does ask a lot of us, but the emphasis is on the end where Moshe mentions the purpose, “L’Tov Lach,” that it is “for your good.” Whatever Hashem asks, how much or how little, is in our best interests. All Hashem asks is that we do ourselves a favor! Help yourself.
Bechor Shor first focuses on the first item, fear of G-d, and explains (seemingly against the simple read of the Gemara) that this one item is “easy enough” for someone who has a basic understanding that G-d Almighty runs the world and holds the power of reward and punishment, life and death, in His hands. But, what about the rest of the 613+ requirements? Bechor Shor elaborates that besides for love and fear, every other Mitzvah is more or less circumstantial and depends on Hashem giving us the wherewithal to perform and fulfill it. It requires our love and fear which come from us. These are what G-d asks exclusively of us.
Ba’al HaTurim and Da’as Zikeinim cite the Drashah of Chazal [Menachos 43B] that re-reads Moshe’s question as a statement, not “מה ה’ אלקיך מה ה’ שואל מעמך”-“What does Hashem ask of you,” but “מאה ה’ אלקיך מה ה’ שואל מעמך”
“100 Hashem asks of you.” This alludes to the enactment of Dovid HaMelech, in midst of a plague against B’nei Yisrael, to recite 100 Brachos a day. What does these 100 Brachos have to do with what Hashem asks of us? We’ll see soon.
But, to bolster the Remez with additional Remazim, Ba’al HaTurim adds that not only are “Mah” (“what”) and “Mei’ah” (100) off by one in Gematria, but in ATBA”Sh (אתב״ש, each letter equals it’s opposite) comes out to “Yud-Tzadi” which equals 100. Moreover, Ba’al HaTurim counts 100 words in Moshe’s appeal.
Returning to Chazal’s emphasis on fear and awe of Hashem, Kli Yakar addresses the question we raised earlier, the question of the Gemara as to whether “awe of G-d” is really just one itty-bitty thing to ask for.
The Gemara argues that for most people, it’s not a “small matter,” but for Moshe Rabbeinu, it was. The question is why Moshe would present the argument this way to his audience for whom awe of G-d was no small matter. Was he, Chas VaShalom, unaware of his audience?
Kli Yakar argues that for those in that generation who were directly educated by and lived among Moshe Rabbeinu, Yirah was a “small matter,” not just a most basic expectation, but something “easy” which should not have been a problem for them.
The implications of our Katnus HaDoros (degradation of generations) on the one hand and of the effect of the Rebbi-Talmid relationship on the other both cannot be underestimated.
Before we get to Sod, let’s review some of the other questions we asked earlier:
Why does the Gemara emphasize Yirah, awe of Hashem, the first item over all the items on Moshe’s list? What do 100 Brachos have to do with what Hashem apparently asks of us?
Megaleh Amukos [173:1] explains that the “100” or “Mei’ah” (מאה) Brachos we mentioned earlier alludes to three generations, as the word מאה also serves as an abbreviation of “מבול “אנוש “הפלגה, the respective generations of the Mabul (Flood), Enosh (in whose time, Avodah Zarah spread), and HaPalagah (alt., HaFlagah, Dispersion). He explains that the reason Yisrael had to descend to Mitzrayim was to rectify the sins of these generations. The question is what 100 Brachos has to do with the aforementioned “appeal” of Moshe, and what they have to do with these three generations. In short, the answer is Yiras Shamayim. These three generations lack Yiras Shamayim. One hundred Brachos recited daily with intention and understanding promotes Yiras Shamayim. Why do Chazal harp on this item number one of Yiras Shamayim, beyond the rest of the list? Similarly to what we cited earlier from the Bechor Shor, Yiras Shamayim is the key to unlock and access everything else, the other items on the list and the rest of Hashem’s Mitzvos. If we just seize this key, the Torah world is our oyster. With Yiras Shamayim, our every action will be governed by Ratzon Hashem. Is that so much to ask? It might be, but it is within reach and the pay off will be incredible.
We should all be Zocheh to acquire healthy Yiras Shamayim and unlock the rest of Ratzon Hashem, fulfill it, which will be to our benefit, and Hashem should grant us the desires of our hearts as well as and along with the Geulah in the times of Moshiach, Bimheirah Biyomeinu! Have a wonderful Shabbos & Chodesh Elul!
-Yehoshua Shmuel Eisenberg