Thursday, August 14, 2014

Dvar Torah for Parshas Eikev

       This week starts the fifth year of AIMeM. I would like to thank all those who have supported the blog over the past year and look forward to sharing many more divrei torah in the future!

       In Parshas Eikev, Moshe continues to impart his wisdom on Bnei Yisrael before he dies. In this week’s parshah, he stresses the importance of every single mitzvah, even the small, insignificant ones. By keeping even those small mitzvos, you have a guarantee that Hashem will watch over you.
       One example of this idea is found in Perek 8 Pasuk 1, “כָּל הַמִּצְוָה אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ הַיּוֹם תִּשְׁמְרוּן לַעֲשׂוֹת לְמַעַן תִּחְיוּן…” “The commandment that I command you this day you shall keep to do, that you may live…” (Devarim 8:1). The different commentaries approach this pasuk differently, however, they all have a similar focus in that the word “commandment” in the pasuk is written in the singular tense.
       Rashi asks why the pasuk says “כָּל הַמִּצְוָה”, literally translated as “the entire commandment”. He explains that the pasuk is teaching you to finish any mitzvah that you begin because it is not considered that you fulfilled the commandment until the entire task is complete. This is an amazing idea to think about as this means that I can undertake a huge project, and complete 99% of it, but if there are some small details that I brush aside, than I have not truly fulfilled the commandment.
       The Kli Yakar asks why the pasuk begins by commanding an individual, “מְצַוְּךָ”, and then continues that fulfilling the mitzvah will be good for the community, “לְמַעַן תִּחְיוּן”? He explains that a person must look at the world as if there are an equal number of aveiros and mitzvos being done at any specific time. Therefore, your next deed, be it a mitzvah or an aveirah, can tip the scales of the entire world towards good or evil! Therefore, the pasuk charges the individual with doing the mitzvah in order that the entire world should survive. Even if we tried, we probably would not be able to make every mitzvah we do one of (according to our calculations)      extreme significance; most of the time, the mitzvos we do are simple ones that only affect ourselves and maybe a few others. This idea that each mitzvah can tip the world to good shows that even the smallest mitzvah can have earth-shattering consequences (literally)!
       The Ohr HaChaim takes a different direction than the previous two commentaries. He asks why the pasuk needs to mention this idea of the importance of small mitzvos when the first words in the parshah express this idea as well! (See Rashi to 7:12.) Furthermore, what exactly is this mitzvah that the Torah writes about that I need to fulfill the whole thing? He explains that when it comes to mitzvos, most people take upon themselves several of them to do very well and take very seriously, and pretty much ignore the rest. Which mitzvos are the ones usually forgotten about? The ones that appear to us as insignificant. Moshe is telling us that this attitude of ignoring mitzvos, even “small” ones, is what causes people to suffer indignities. Therefore, he warns us to keep “כָּל הַמִּצְוָה”, every mitzvah, referring to every mitzvah in the entire Torah.
       The message from this parshah is clear. There are many chances for us to do mitzvos. Sometimes the mitzvah comes with fame and glory, those are the ones that everyone wants to do. But what about the ones that lack the spotlight, what about the ones that don’t come with the accolades and fanfare, who will do those mitzvos? Moshe is teaching us an important lesson, just because we don’t think those mitzvos are significant, that makes no difference. To Hashem, fulfilling His word and doing a mitzvah, is the most important thing in the world, regardless of what special earthly privileges come with it.       

Shabbat Shalom!

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