Delray Orthodox Synagogue
DELRAY ORTHODOX SYNAGOGUE
"A Jewel of a Shul"
7319 W. ATLANTIC AVENUE
DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA 33446
RABBI MENACHEM JAROSLAWICZ
BERNARD LEIBMAN, PRESIDENT
ROCHELLE RUSH, SISTERHOOD PRESIDENT
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New Torah Dedication
Click on the following link to view the article
on the dedication of our new Torah by Joe
and Judy Kaufer:
In the beginning of this week’s Parsha, the Torah outlines the laws of Shmitah, the obligation of letting the land in Israel lie fallow every seventh year.
However, there is a blatant distinction in the wording most commonly used in the Torah when Hashem enlists Moshe to instruct the Bnei Yisroel to perform a certain task, and the terminology used here.
Usually, the Torah uses the following phraseology:“Vayedaber Hashem el Moshe laimore [And Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying].”
In our Parsha, there are two additional words found to this frequently-used directive. Here it says:
“Vayedaber Hashem el Moshe ‘Behar Seenai’ laimore [And Hashem spoke to Moshe at ‘Mt. Sinai’ saying].”
This prompts many of the commentaries to ask the famous question, “Mah inyan shmitah etzel har seenai? [What is the purpose of the juxtaposition of the laws of Shmitah alongside the mention of Mt. Sinai?]”
All of the Jewish laws were given at Sinai! Why single out Shmitah more so than any other mitzvah?
Rashi addresses this question by suggesting:
Just as all of the nuances and fine details that pertain to this specific Shmitah law were given at Sinai, so it is true of ALL of the commandments. Each of their nuances and details were ALSO given at Sinai.
Rashi’s answer only explains why it is necessary to single out any ONE law apart from the others, to teach us this lesson. However, seemingly, Rashi does nothing to clarify why, specifically, the laws of Shmitah were chosen to` teach this most crucial lesson pertaining all of the other Mitzvos!
The Chasam Sofer offers a very insightful suggestion to resolve this query.
The chapter of Shmitah, more so than any other Mitzvah, indicates a proof that the Torah was given by Hashem and not written by man.
In the Parsha of Shmitah, Hashem makes us a promise that no human being could possibly guarantee. If a person abides by the Shmitah laws, the Torah states:
“I will ordain My blessing for you in the sixth year and it (the field) will yield a crop sufficient for the three years.” (Vayikra 25:21)
Obviously, a human being could not possibly make such an assurance. How could any human possibly know what the land will or will not produce in the future?
It is for this reason that the Mitzvah of Shmitah was singled out from amongst the others. The laws of Shmitah are a testimonial.
Just like Shmitah, obviously conveyed to us by G-d himself, was given with all of its minute details at Mt. Sinai, so, too -- big or small -- every Mitzvah and ALL of its accompanying instructions was given to us at Sinai, by G-d as well.
Sometimes we have a very hard time with this concept. We tend to think that there are Mitzvos...and there are MITZVOS. As if to say that we can put more credence into some of the commandments than into others. Some seem so much more important to us then their counterparts.
Chazal tell us, “Ain atem yodim matan secharam shel Mitzvos.” We do not know the rewards (or value) of one Mitzvah over another.
Nobody can possibly do ALL of the 613 Mitzvos. There are some commandments that some of us find harder to observe than others. We are, after all, only human.
What we can never allow ourselves to do is mock individuals who choose to be either stricter, or more lenient, than we chose to be, or to mock those who apply their efforts to observe different Mitzvos than we would have selected.
A very common and nasty habit is to make fun of someone else’s commitment in order to play down the fact that we, ourselves, are not doing that same thing. Making fun of a Halacha because it is out of the realm of our observance is in-and-of itself a lot worse than not observing the particular Halacha in the first place.
We are not super-humans! We all have areas where we can improve our devotion to G-d. Sometimes a little guilt at being a bit lax is a good thing. It forges our character and makes us better.
Shmitah teaches us that ALL of the Mitzvos and ALL of their subdivisions came directly from Hashem.
Mt. Sinai, the smallest and most humble of all of the neighboring mountains, teaches us the humility that we must employ when implementing this concept. Incorporating humility into our lives teaches us how to better serve G-d and how to not judge our fellow man. This will bring us closer to G-d, closer to each other, and help to bring closer the arrival of the ultimate redemption as well.
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