MidrESHET Hayil

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Parashat Ki Tavo


Parashat Ki Tavo

Please learn, make berakhot, and do missvot for the Refua Shelema of Rivka bat Sarah Raizel

Parashat Ki Tavo relays to us the conditions by which HaKadosh Barukh Hu bestows upon s an abundance of blessings and those by which has veShalom one can be deserving of curses. Considering this is my brother’s Bar Missva Parasha, I thought I was familiar enough with the text until I reached the end of the Parasha, where I encountered a pasuk that set me somewhat aback. As we know, Sefer Devarim is a culmination of the forty years in the desert and Moshe offers Benei Yisrael hizuk and warning in preparation for entering Eres Yisrael, which when thought of deeply, is not such an easy transition.

In perek 29, the pasuk states, in pasuk gimmel (3):
וְלֹא נָתַן יְ־הֹוָ־ה לָכֶם לֵב לָדַעַת וְעֵינַיִם לִרְאוֹת וְאָזְנַיִם לִשְׁמֹעַ עַד הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה

‘Yet until this day, the Lord has not given you a heart to know, eyes to see and ears to hear’

What does this even mean? Why would HaKadosh Barukh Hu withhold the senses most imperative to Benei Yisrael while they lived in a desert and choose to return it to them only after the forty year ordeal?!

I continued to delve into the perek. Two pesukim later I read:

לֶחֶם לֹא אֲכַלְתֶּם וְיַיִן וְשֵׁכָר לֹא שְׁתִיתֶם לְמַעַן תֵּדְעוּ כִּי אֲנִי יְ־הֹוָ־ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם

You neither ate bread, nor drank new wine or old wine, in order that you would know that I am the Lord, your GD’.

This is the answer.

The nature of producing bread and wine will explain to us why it is that HaShem Yitbarakh feels the need to wait until Benei Yisrael enter Eres Yisrael in order to ‘flip back’ these senses within them. Why is this so significant? In order to make bread, it is a rather arduous task. The seeds must be planted and we must wait at least a year for the wheat to grow; the land must be maintained meanwhile. Once the wheat grows BeHasdei HaShem (through HaShem’s Kind acts), it must be harvested and then undergoes several processes until it is finally milled. Once it is milled into flour it must be made into dough and again, we must wait for it to rise and only then is it ready to be baked. Likewise, producing one’s own wine necessitates much human effort. Seeds must be planted, land maintained, and only after four years can we begin to use its fruit. After these four years of waiting, grapes must be picked and crushed until we derive a liquid from these grapes, but even then, we are still not done! We must wait for the wine to age.
These are both processes we do by the work of our own hands. These are means by which we must support our own selves. Or we can just have the mahn.

When Benei Yisrael were in the desert, they did not once have to worry about producing their own food (which evidently took long periods of time to accomplish) or exerting their own effort to sustain themselves; the mahn was instantly delivered to their tent every morning. Everything was provided to them, and they were strongly dependent on HaKadosh Barukh Hu to deliver their sustenance. The next pasuk states ‘I led you through the desert for forty years [during which time] your garments did not wear out from upon you, nor did your shoes wear out from upon your feet.’  The Torah HaKedosha tells us that HaShem purposely did not give bread and wine to Benei Yisrael in order so that they would know exactly where life comes from and who their GD is. We msyt realize, IT IS FROM HASHEM YITBARAKH THAT ALL LIFE AND SUSTENANCE COMES FORTH, NOT BY THE WORK OF OUR HANDS. It is the mahn from HaShem that gave us life in the desert, not the bread that we made by and for ourselves. After a forty year training period, Benei Yisrael is ready to enter Eres Yisrael, which was no longer a vacuum, but a ‘melting pot’ of seven other nations. Benei Yisrael would have to continue to maintain their belief and dependence on HaShem despite their new surroundings.

We must ask ourselves, do we believe that our lives are a direct product of our own efforts or do we understand Who truly runs the world? Who REALLY sustains us? The dough I make or the mahn from Shamayim? Am I wealthy because I am the CEO of a company after all those late nights, years of work and scheming, or am I CEO solely because HaKadosh Barukh Hu sees it is beneficial for me to be so? Be’ezrat HaShem Yitbarakh, may we always have the open eyes, ears, and hearts to understand that it is only by the Grace of HaKadosh Barukh Hu that we continue to survive. He maintains and sustains us with no condition, and we must always be grateful for that!

I hope my Devar Torah didn’t discourage you from making hallah this week ;) Wishing you a Beautiful Shabbat Shalom uMevorakh!

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