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This Torah Attitude is dedicated with much love to Howard Deverett by the Deverett family on the occasion of his 80th birthday. May he be blessed with a long, healthy, happy, prosperous life. Mazel tov!

Torah Attitude: Parashas Devarim: Trust people and weep; trust G'd and enjoy

Summary

The one who does not trust in G'd trusts either in his own ability or in the power or influence of other individuals. If we forget about G'd and put our trust elsewhere, then we are missing the point and we will have to learn the truth the hard way. "And you shall remember HASHEM your G'd, for it is He Who gives you strength to amass assets." The night that the spies came back from their mission, and brought the whole nation to raise their voice and weep, was the night of Tisha B'Av. All this started when the Jewish people decided to take things into their own hands, rather than putting their trust in G'd. "Trust in G'd And you can rely upon G'd for your enjoyment, and He will give you the request of your heart."

Jewish people became fat

In last week's Torah Attitude we quoted from Rabbeinu Bechayei in The Duties of the Heart that a person depends on the one he trusts. He explains that everyone trusts someone. The one who does not trust in G'd trusts either in his own ability or in the power or influence of other individuals. In such a case, says Rabbeinu Bechayei, G'd will stop watching over this person and let him be dependent on whomever he trusts. We find this concept in Parashas Haazinu, where Moses warns the Jewish people what will happen if we forget about G'd and put our trust elsewhere. Moses says (Devarim 32:15-20): "And Jeshurun [the Jewish people] became fat and deserted G'd its Maker they made Him angry with strangers idols that they did not know And G'd saw And He said, 'I will hide My face from them and I shall see what will be their end.'" A little later it says (ibid 37-39): "And He will say, 'Where is their idol, the rock they relied upon Let them stand up and help you. Let them be a shelter for you. Now you will see that it is I, I am the One and there is no god with Me and there is no rescuer from My hand.'"

Missing the point

G'd created this world for our benefit. He wants to establish a relationship with us and bestow His goodness upon us. But in order for this to happen we must remember that He is the ultimate source of all the goodness. If we forget about G'd and put our trust elsewhere, then we are missing the point, and we will have to learn the truth the hard way.

Strength to amass assets

When we put our trust in people, G'd will show us how powerless they are, and that they cannot be relied upon. As King David says in Tehillim (146:3-5): "Do not put your trust in philanthropists, in a human being, for he has no salvation Praiseworthy is the one that G'd of Jacob helps him, for he put his hope in HASHEM his G'd." Obviously, we are expected to make an effort to provide for ourselves and our families. But we must always keep in mind that we can neither rely on our own achievements, nor on other people's assistance and influence. At the same time that we make our own efforts, we must rely upon G'd and put our trust in Him. As it says (Devarim 8:18): "And you shall remember HASHEM your G'd, for it is He Who gives you strength to amass assets." This does not only apply to our sustenance but to any of our needs.

Night of weeping

In this week's parasha, Moses chastises the Jewish people for their various shortcomings throughout their sojourn in the wilderness. In his speech, Moses describes in great detail what happened when they sent the spies, and the great tragedy that took place, when the spies came back with their evil report about the Land of Israel. G'd punished the Jewish people measure for measure. Since they did not appreciate the Promised Land, that generation did not merit inheriting it. As it says (Devarim 1:35): "Not one man of these men from this evil generation shall see the good land that I swore to give to your forefathers." This calamity did not just affect the generation in the wilderness, but it had ramifications for many future generations. As it says in Tehillim (106:24-27): "And they [the Jewish people] despised the desirable land. They did not trust His [G'd's] word. And they complained And He raised His hand [in an oath] against them, to throw them down in the wilderness. And to throw their descendants down among the nations, and to disperse them in the countries." The Talmud (Taanis 29a) teaches that the night that the spies came back from their mission, and brought the whole nation to raise their voice and weep, was the night of Tisha B'Av. That night, says the Talmud, G'd said: "You are weeping for no reason, but I will establish this night as a night of weeping for generations." Obviously, G'd is not saying this to take revenge on his beloved nation. The deeper meaning of G'd's words is that the lack of appreciation that became apparent at the evil report of the spies, and the subsequent weeping of the whole nation, would have a ripple effect on future generations, and the Jewish people would not last in the Holy Land. Moses' warning to the Jewish people, that we mentioned above, was not just a warning, but a prophecy what would happen generations later, and ultimately cause the destruction of the Temples and the exile of the Jewish people (see Ohr HaChaim Devarim 1:37).

Not inherit land of milk and honey

All this started when the Jewish people decided to take things into their own hands, rather than putting their trust in G'd. In the beginning of Parashas Shelach Lecha (Bamidbar 13:2), Rashi quotes from our sages that when the Jewish people came to Moses to request to send spies (see Devarim 1:22) Moses passed the request on to G'd. G'd answered that He had already told them that the land was good. As it says (Shemos 3:17): "I shall bring you up from the oppression of Egypt to a land that flows with milk and honey." Since they relied upon the spies more than G'd, G'd said, "I promise that I will give them an opportunity to err, and at the end they will not inherit the land themselves."

Rely upon G'd for your enjoyment

This is a classic example of the words of the Duties of the Heart. As long as we rely upon and trust G'd, He will guide us and provide us with His special protection. But once we decide to take things into our own hands, and feel that we have to take charge ourselves, then we lose that special relationship. As King David says in Tehillim (37:3-4): "Trust in G'd And you can rely upon G'd for your enjoyment, and He will give you the request of your heart."

These words were based on a talk given by Rabbi Avraham Kahn, the Rosh Yeshiva and Founder of Yeshivas Keser Torah in Toronto.

These words were based on a talk given by Rabbi Avraham Kahn, the Rosh Yeshiva and Founder of Yeshivas Keser Torah in Toronto.

Shalom. Michael Deverett

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