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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Parshas Eikev begins with the following Passuk: “And it will be because of your listening to these ordinances [V’hayah, eikev tishma’un], and observing and performing them; then Hashem, your G-d, will safeguard for you the covenant and the kindness that He swore to your forefathers.”
Sifsai Chachamim notes that the word “Eikev” means “because” as translated above, and not “if,” as Unkelos and others translate it. It is a given that a person will “surely” listen to the Mitzvos! Why wouldn’t he? It is for that very purpose that we were created!
And, this is why Rashi comments that the Torah uses the word “Eikev.” Hashem, your G-d, will safeguard for you the covenant and the kindness that He swore to your forefathers “when” we listen to the “Mitzvos hakalos sheh’adam dosh b’eikvav,” the relatively “light” commandments that a person tramples with his heels, his “Eikev” (the commandments that he does not take seriously enough).
Harav Moshe Feinstein ZT"L wonders, to which Mitzvos can Rashi be referring when he says, “the relatively “light” commandments”? We know that all Mitzvos are “equal,” be they simple or complicated. We have a rule that, since we do not know the reward and/or punishment for any one particular Mitzvah over another, we treat them all equally.
He therefore explains Rashi to mean that a person “tramples” over certain Mitzvos simply out of ignorance. He does not know that even this is not permitted. Such an individual can place incorrect emphasis and importance on menial tasks and activities, and is oblivious to the observance of tasks that are truly Halachically required.
His lack of “knowledge” will lead him to confuse permissible and non-permissible acts.
It is for this reason that the Torah says, “eikev tishma’un,” [because of your listening]. In order to receive the safeguard of the covenant of your forefathers you must be willing to LISTEN.
It is only by learning and asking questions of our rabbis -- and bettering ourselves to know more and more -- that we earn the right to share in the covenant. If we do not know the Halacha, we must get accustomed to asking our rabbis if a particular action is permitted or not. Self-imposed, incorrect restrictions can be just as harmful as inappropriate leniencies. The act of listening is what Hashem calculates in order to give us great rewards.
Nobody knows everything, and only our egos prevent us from asking.
A rabbi once met a Jew who lived on the outskirts of town, with no Jewish community around.
“Whom do you ask if you have a Halachic question?” asked the rabbi.
“I do not ask anyone,” responded the Jew. “If I have a difficult question, I just resolve it by being strict.”
“Can you give me an example of such a question that you have resolved on your own?” asked the rabbi.
“Sure,” responded our 'on-the-outskirts-of -town'er.
“Everyone knows that, during the nine days preceding Tishah B’Av, meat is not permitted. As I was walking home from work, I split my pants. However, we are very poor and the only thread that we had available at home was the thread used to tie the Kishka together for our Shabbos Chulent. Since that thread came in contact with the meat, I was strict on myself to not use it, and I just walked around with torn pants until after the Nine Days were over.”
I’ll say it again. Self-imposed, incorrect restrictions can be just as harmful as inappropriate leniencies.
The Baal Ha’Turim notes that, when the letters of the word “Eikev” are rearranged, they can make up the word, “Kevah.”
The 15th Mishna in the first chapter in Avos says; “Assay Torascha Kevah,” make your learning a “constant.”
It is this constant, “Kevah,” that allows us to educate ourselves and creates the “Eikev,” the “because of” your listening, not the “if you” will listen. This willingness to learn and openness to listen will allow us to speedily bring the ultimate redemption when we will greet Moshiach, soon and in our day.
Have a great Shabbos. It’s good to be back.
Rabbi Menachem Jaroslawicz
Tribute Dinner 2016