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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This week’s Parsha, Va’Eschanan, begins with the following statement by Moshe Rabbeinu to the B’nei Yisroel, regarding his request from Hashem to go into Eretz Yisroel.
“I implored (Va’Eschanan) Hashem at that time, saying.”
Rashi explains that whenever the word “implored” is used in the Torah, it always concerns a request for “a gift for free.” Rashi continues: “Although the righteous could make their requests dependent on their good deeds, (i.e., although they would be justified to request things as a reward they deserve), they seek from the Omnipresent nothing but a gift without payment.”
In his sefer Darash Moshe, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein zt”l asks the following question.
Let’s take an average righteous individual, not a Moshe Rabbeinu. Let’s assume that there is something that he would like to have, but it has not been granted to him by G-d. Rashi seems to be implying that he could request that item from Hashem by offering to cash in some earned reward points in exchange for the desired item.
How can you say that? How can you imply, even for a second, that Hashem, when implementing His attribute of judgment, did not take into account every good and bad deed that the person did, before determining that he should or should not have this particular request?
Obviously, if Hashem chose NOT to give it to him, the individual’s “good deeds” were already calculated into the equation. So how can you say that the righteous could make their requests based on their good deeds? Those deeds have already been taken into consideration!
We have no choice but to say that a person can make requests asking Hashem to grant him a “Chesed,” a gift from G-d, that is not dependent on the individual’s actions.
However, even in the realm of Chesed and gifts, there are two types that need to be considered.
The first is a gift that one gives to a friend, someone that you care about, an individual to whom you want to do a favor.
The second is a gift that you give freely, for no reason whatsoever other than that you want to give a gift. You do not need to care for, or even know, the recipient.
Regarding Moshe Rabbeinu’s “good deeds,” although he knew that they were already taken into account when it was decided to forbid him to enter Eretz Yisroel, those good deeds served a second purpose as well. Moshe’s “good deeds” defined his closeness to Hashem, allowing for Hashem to provide him with a Chesed as one would to a good friend. And, yet, Moshe did not “play that card.” He requested that Hashem grant him a gift as a pure “Chesed,” as would be done for any stranger.
That’s what Rashi meant by saying that the righteous could hinge their requests on their “ma’asim tovim,” their good deeds, but they don’t.
The Bais Hamikdash was taken from us because of Sinas Chinum, unwarranted hatred of our fellow Jews. That damage can only be “undone” when we display unwarranted LOVE (“Ahavas Chinum”) for our fellow Jew.
Inviting friends to a Shabbos meal is a beautiful thing to do. But inviting a person who is NOT a friend to your Shabbos table is what will bring back the Bais Hamikdash.
We also should focus on that our “good deeds” go beyond the range of just our good friends and acquaintances. Our love and hospitality must be available to all our Jewish brothers and sisters. To even those not in our immediate circles, to even those who are different from us.
Have a great Shabbos! Rebbitzin Rifka and I will, be”H, see you next week!
Rabbi Menachem Jaroslawicz
Tribute Dinner 2016