by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS EIKEV 5772 BS"D
Ch. 8, v. 1: "Kol hamitzvoh asher onochi m'tzavcho ha'yom tish'm'run laasose l'maan tichyun" - All the mitzvoh that I command you today shall you safeguard to do so that you may live - This verse begins in the singular and changes to the plural. This is because when even one person who is commanded does a mitzvoh it brings safety and life to the masses, since his mitzvoh can bring himself and the whole world to the position of having a majority of merits. (Kli Yokor)
Ch. 8, v. 1: "Kol hamitzvoh asher onochi m'tzavcho ha'yom tish'm'run laasose l'maan tichyun" - All the mitzvoh that I command you today shall you safeguard to do so that you may live - What is added by the word "kol?" As mentioned in the Rambam in "shmonoh prokim" and others, there are mitzvos that require our hearing them before we do them, as otherwise we could never dream up to do them. These are called "mitzvos shamios," that we must first hear them, such as shaatnez. There are other mitzvos that we would figure out on our own to do them, called "mitzvos sichlios," such as honouring one's parents, not to say an untruth, etc. Our verse tells us that EVERY mitzvoh should be done because "asher onochi m'tzavcho," only because Hashem has commanded us to do so. Torah is above our wisdom. (Bnei Yisoschor)
Ch. 8, v. 3: "Ki lo al ha'lechem l'vado yichyeh ho'odom ki al kol motzo fi Hashem yichyeh ho'odom" - Because not on bread alone does a person live but rather on all that issues forth from Hashem's mouth does a person live - Torah is equated to bread, "L'chu lachamu v'lachmi" (Mishlei 9:5). A person might then think that if he studies Torah only mentally he would merit to a long life. However, the gemara Eiruvin 54a cites the verse, "Ki chaim heim l'motzo'eihem," that the Torah is life to those who verbalize it." Through the "motzo fi Hashem yichyeh ho'odom." (Y'dei Moshe citing his father)
Ch. 8, v. 10: "V'ochalto" - And you will eat - Rabbi Chaim Vital in shaar ruach hakodesh page 9 writes that his holy teacher, the Ari z"l told him that the ability to attain ruach hakodesh is very strongly tied in with being conscientious when reciting blessings before eating and drinking, "birkas ha'nehenin." The power of a blessing recited with great concentration is that it removes the physicality, "klipos," that are connected to food and drink, as they are very physical items. When consuming the food and drink the "klipos" transfer to the person, as they give him energy, etc. it is only through the intensity with which the blessings are recited that the food and drink become purified and the one who then eats can be a vessel for "ruach hakodesh." He adds that the Ari z"l warned him very strongly about this matter. He likewise mentions this concept in shaar hamitzvos on our parsha. (cited in Kaf Hachaim Sh.O. O.Ch. 202:1)
Ch. 8, v. 10: "Uveirachto" - And you shall recite grace after the meal - I received a tradition from my teachers that he who is punctilious with reciting grace after meals will receive his sustenance in an honourable manner all his life. (Sefer Hachinuch #430)
He who is careful with fulfilling mitzvos should recite grace after meals from a text and not by heart. (Mishnoh Bruroh 185:1)
Sefer Chasidim #46 writes that well after a year since the passing of a certain person he appeared in a vision to his relative. The relative asked him what his situation was. He responded that he was still receiving punishment. When asked why this was so given that it was well past elevel/twelve months since his death he answered that after the first year the punishment eased up but still continued and this was because during his lifetime he recited brochos on food, before and after, without real concentration. He added that he was told time and again that he only had his own pleasure in mind when eating and drinking.
Ch. 11, v. 11: "Limtar hashomayim tishteh oretz" - To the rain of the heavens the earth will drink - Why is the earth's receiving rain expressed in the future. A description of the land is that it DRINKS from the rains of the heaven (in contradistinction to Egypt, where the water is sourced from the Nile and there is a paucity of rain). The gemara Taanis 20 relates that Nakdimon ben Gurion supplied those who made the thrice annual pilgrimage to Yerusholayim with drinking water. Before one Yom Tov there was a shortage of water and this caused him much anguish. He "borrowed" a large amount of water from someone with the stipulation that if he doesn't return the same volume of water by a certain time he would have to pay him an exorbitant sum of money. The deadline near the end of the final day approached and still no rainfall. A miracle happened and water came down in buckets and filled all the cisterns and he was able to pay it back.
This is the intention of the future tense in our verse. Feel confident in borrowing water and you WILL DRINK it now at the time of need because of relying on "m'tar hashomayim." (Chid"o in Pnei Dovid citing Rabbi Shlomo Abdolah)
Ch. 11, v. 13: "B'chol l'vavchem uvchol naf'sh'chem" - With all your heart and with all your soul - Here we do not have "Uvchol m'odechem" corresponding to "Uvchol m'o'decho" in parshas "shma." This is because there is a responsibility for the individual to serve Hashem even at the cost/loss of his finances. If he becomes destitute he can receive alms and sustenance from others. However, the loss of finances of the masses is akin to "sakonas n'foshos," endangering the lives of the whole populace. Hashem does not demand this of us. (Ohel Torah)
Ch. 11, v. 15,16: "V'ochalto v'sovoto, Hishomru lochem pen yifteh l'vavchem" - And you will eat and you will be satiated, Take heed lest your heart will seduce you - Rashi comments that this is an additional blessing, that there will be a blessing of satiation of bread when it is in the intestines. This means that even when a person eats a small volume of bread, he will nevertheless be satiated, "Ocheil kima umisbo'reich b'mei'ov." Rashi then goes on to connect these last words of our verse with the beginning of the next verse, saying that when one is satiated he has to be on guard to not rebel against Hashem, something that is more likely when one's physical needs are met.
A most amazing thought arises from this. Not only when one has his physical needs met on a down-to-earth manner, but even when his satiation comes as a result of a heavenly blessing, "Ocheil kima umisbo'reich b'mei'ov," is he at greater risk of rebelling against Hashem, the One who has bestowed this blessing upon him. (Zeir Zohov)
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 - There was a great drought in the days of the Holy Besh"t and a fast was declared. Many, many prayers were recited, and yet, no rain. One day the Holy Besh't noticed that a simple man said these words of our verse with extreme devotion. He was puzzled, as these words are the opposite of what was sorely needed. Upon asking him why he said these words with great fervour, the man answered that since there was a severe drought he had in mind that the heavens be squeezed out (see Breishis 40:11, where Targum Onkelos says on "vo'es'chot - vo'atzaris) and no rain should be left there.
That day rain finally came and the Holy Besh"t said that it was in the merit of the sincerity of this simple man. "Rachamana liba bo'i" (gemara Sanhedrin 106b). (Besh"t al haTorah)
Ch. 11, v. 17: "V'ho'adomoh lo sitein es y'vuloh" - And the ground will not give its yield - Since the verse just said, "V'otzar es hashomayim," that the rains of the sky will be restrained, isn't it obvious that there will be no yield? Even if water is brought to the fields there will be no growth. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)
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