by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS EIKEV 5767 BS"D
Ch. 7, v. 12: "V'hoyoh eikev tish'm'un …… vaasi'sem osom" - And it will be as a result of your hearing …… and you will do them - The gemara Kidushin 40b says that the study of Torah is great, as is demonstrated by its bringing one to action, i.e. fulfillment of the mitzvos. This is the intention of these words of our verse. It will be the result, the reward, of your hearkening to the mitzvos, that you will fulfill them. (Rabbi Chaim Vi'tal in Eitz Hadaas Tov)
Ch. 7, v. 13: "Uveirach pri bit'n'cho" - And He will bless the produce of your womb - Although having many children is a blessing, if one unfortunately has nothing with which to sustain them and they are literally starving, he would be happier if he had less children. Therefore Hashem offers a blessing of sustenance in tandem with an abundance of children. We have the word "uveirach" here and as well in the verse "uveirach es lach'm'cho" (Shmos 23:25). Similarly, we find in T'hilim 107:41, "Va'y'sa'geiv evyone mei'oni," and only then, "va'yo'sem katzone mishpochos." (Ohr Pnei Moshe of Pshavorsk)
Ch. 8, v. 1: "Kol hamitzvoh asher onochi m'tzavcho …… l'maan tichyun" - Every mitzvoh that I command you …… so that you may live - The verse begins in the single form "m'tzavchO" and ends in the plural, "tichyUN." The gemara Kidushin 39b says that a person who keeps even one mitzvoh, can with this act bring his merits into a majority, and similarly, the world's merits into a majority. Look at a single mitzvoh that I command you as an opportunity for the whole world to continue existing. (Kli Yokor)
Ch. 8, v. 10: "Uveirachto" - And you shall bless - This is the common translation of this word. However, the Rashb"o in his commentary on the gemara Brochos says that "brochoh" means increase. His comment is made on the statement that Hashem asked Rabbi Yishmo'eil, "Borcheini." Hashem is lacking nothing. The intention therefore is that He asked Rabbi Yishmo'eil to state that he hoped for an increase in Heavenly influence to be poured upon us. The Chinuch on this mitzvoh, Sefer Ho'ikrim 42:26, and the Ibn Ezra on Shmos 18:10 say the same thing.
The good that flows from properly reciting grace after meals is so great that the Rabbis who instituted its text made sure to leave out any word that has a final Fei in it, as the powers of destruction ShetzeF, KetzeF, AF, ZaaF, NegeF, AnaF, and ResheF, have this letter at their end. (Sefer Chasidim)
The Chinuch mitzvoh #430 writes that he was taught by his great teachers that he who recites grace after meals with proper concentration is promised sufficient sustenance throughout his life. (This is simple logic. If one thanks his boss in a truly heartfelt manner for his sustenance, the boss will eagerly give it to him in abundance.)
Sefer Chasidim #46 relates that a person died at a young age and appeared in a dream to his relative well after twelve months since his demise. The living relative asked him how he is treated in the "true world." He responded that he is continually being punished for not having recited the blessings for food and their after-blessings with proper devotion. The living relative asked why he was being punished even after twelve months, since even wicked people are only punished for twelve months. He responded that after twelve months the punishment eased somewhat.
Rabbi Chaim Vi'tal writes in Shaar Ruach Haodesh in the name of his great techer the Holy Ari z"l that a person's ability to reach into the higher spiritual spheres depends greatly on his intention when reciting blessings before and after consuming food. This is because the food is very physical and when it becomes part and parcel of the person it likewise drags him down spiritually. It is only when he recites the "brochos" properly that the negative aspect of the food departs and allows the person to soar upwards.
A woman appeared in front of the Mahari"l Diskin and cried out her plight. Each and every one of her very young children had died. The Mahari"l Diskin told her to make sure that she always says "birkas hamozon" from a text. (see Mishnoh Bruroh 185:1)
Ch. 9, v. 14: "V'emcheh es shmom mitachas hashomayim v'e'e'seh os'cho l'goy otzum vorov mi'menu" - And I will erase their name from below the heavens and I will make you a mightier and larger nation than they - Moshe had no interest in starting to build a new nation. Hashem told him that He would only erase their name from BELOW the heavens, meaning that their spiritual source would remain above, and from this root-source He would build a new nation through Moshe. Read "l'goy otzum vorov mi'menu" as "for a mighty and large nation FROM them." Nevertheless Moshe declined. (Nachal K'dumim in the name of the Ari z"l)
Ch. 9, v. 17: "Vo'ashabreim l'eineichem" - And I smattered them in front of your eyes - The gemara P'sochim 87b says that this means that the Tablets were broken and the letters that were upon them were flying in the air. Rashi comments that the words of our verse indicate that something happened that caught their visual attention, namely the floating letters. This is derived from the choice of "l'eineichem" and not "lifneichem."
Alternatively, the Maharsh"o explains that since the verse says that it took place in front of all of them, and it is impossible that all should see the breaking of the Tablets, as the bnei Yisroel were spread out over an area that was three "parsoh" square, we must say that the letters flew into the air, and at that height they were visible to all.
The Maharsh"o goes on to say that the gemara A.Z. 17a relates a similar occurrence. Rabbi Chaninoh ben Tradyon was murdered with a Sefer Torah wrapped around him. Although the parchment burned, the letters flew into the air. This miracle is understandable, as the letters were ink that was earlier on the parchment, but how could people see the letters of the Tablets floating in the air? The letters of the Tablets were never anything physical, but rather, they were etched into the stone. He says that this was indeed a miracle within a miracle, one that the letters floated, and secondly, that their physical nothingness was visible.
Ch. 10, v. 21: "Asher ro'u ei'necho" - Which your eyes have seen - The main point is that Hashem has done great wonders. What is added with saying that you witnessed this with your eyes? The Ozhrover Rebbe in B'eir Moshe explains that Rashi on the words of Breishis 19:17, "Al tabit acha'recho" comments that Lote behaved improperly along with the inhabitants of S'dom, and as such should not witness S'dom's destruction. Our verse is telling us that the great wonders Hashem wrought on the Egyptians were seen with our eyes, thus telling us that we were not ensnared in their evil ways, as chaza"l relate, that the bnei Yisroel were circumspect in regard to immoral behaviour.
Ch. 11, v. 17: "V'otzar es hashomayim v'lo yi'h'yeh mottor" - And He will restrain the heavens and there will be no rain - The story is told of a time when no rain was forthcoming and there was great fear of famine. The communities responded with tearful prayers for rain, and yet, no rain. The Holy Baal Shem Tov noticed that an unlearned person, when reciting "krias shma," put much emotion into these words of our verse. He was puzzled and asked the person what he had in mind when he said these words. They were the opposite of what everyone wanted. He answered that he had the simple meaning of these words in mind. "V'otzar" was understood as "and He will press out" (see Targum Onkelos on Breishis 40:11, "vo'es'chote" is translated as "v'atzris"), "V'lo yi'h'yeh mottor," as "and there will be no rain left in the heavens." The Baal Shem Tov said that since these words were said with a true conviction and belief that Hashem would send rain, he was sure that in the merit of this man's prayers there would be rain in the near future, as indeed happened. (Baal Shem Tov Al haTorah)
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