Back to This Week's Parsha| Previous Issues

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 Ki Teitzei: Making G'd beloved in the eyes of those around us

Summary

G'd makes Himself easier accessible during Elul. "And you Israel descendants of Abraham, My beloved." "Just as a father will chastise his son, HASHEM your G'd chastises you." At the revelation at Mount Sinai, G'd revealed Himself to the Jewish people as an elderly, compassionate Father. Studying Torah is the first step G'd wants us to take to show our love for Him. When we study Torah, we will actually develop a feeling of love for G'd. Every Jew goes around with a tag that says "I represent G'd's chosen people." Praiseworthy are the parents who educated with Torah values. When we make the right choices, we sanctify G'd's name and make Him beloved in the eyes of those around us. As we approach the Days of Judgment, such conduct will no doubt be a great merit that will help us to be inscribed for a good and healthy year.

Elul easier accessible

Last week we discussed the special nature of the month of Elul, when every Jew has the opportunity to develop a relationship of love with G'd. Obviously, this is possible all year round, but G'd, so to say, makes Himself easier accessible during this month. The obvious question is, how do we go about it? The first step is to realize how much G'd loves us.

G'd's beloved Abraham

In this week's parasha, Moses mentions how G'd reversed Bilam's curses and transformed them into blessings. Moses concludes (Devarim 23:6): "For HASHEM your G'd loved you." This love was not limited to that generation. It started with our Patriarch Abraham, as it says (Bereishis 18:17-19): "And G'd said, 'Do I conceal from Abraham what I do For I have loved him, because he instructs his children and his household after him that they keep the way of G'd to do charity and justice." This is the basis for our special relationship with G'd. As the Prophet Isaiah says (41:8): "And you Israel descendants of Abraham, My beloved." And this love will never cease. As the Prophet Jeremiah says in the name of G'd (31:2): "And an eternal love I have loved you."

Father chastises son

When we have hardships and go through difficult times we must always keep in mind that it is not a contradiction to this love. On the contrary, this is an outcome of the close and special relationship we have with G'd. As it says (Devarim 8:5): "And you shall know in your heart that just as a father will chastise his son, HASHEM your G'd chastises you." The son often does not understand the father's conduct. He does not understand how his father, in his great love and concern for his son, will deprive him of what he wants, and punish him if he did something wrong. In the same way, we often do not understand G'd's conduct with us.

Elderly, compassionate Father

Let us take the comparison to parents and children one step further. Nothing expresses the parents' love and care more than when they guide their children and instruct them how to get along and conduct themselves in life. This also applies in our relationship with G'd. The greatest manifestation of G'd's love for His beloved children, the Jewish people, was when He gave us the Torah and commanded us through every step in life. Every evening we refer to this in the blessing prior to Shema, as we say: "An eternal love You have loved the House of Israel. Torah, commandments, statutes and ordinances You have taught us." At the revelation at Mount Sinai, G'd revealed Himself to the Jewish people as an elderly, compassionate Father, teaching us how to succeed in life by following His commandments (see Rashi Shemos 20:2).

Studying Torah

Last week we pointed out that G'd expects us to take the first step, and only then will He reciprocate. This is correct as far as every individual Jew is concerned. But as a nation, G'd took the first step when He gave us the Torah. So as individuals, what is the first step G'd expects of us? In the continuation of the above mentioned blessing, we respond to G'd's love and say: "Therefore when we lie down and we arise, we will discuss Your statutes and we will rejoice with the words of Your Torah, and with Your commandments forever. For they are our life and we will think about them day and night." This is the step G'd wants us to take to show our love for Him. There is nothing more pleasing to G'd, so to speak, than when we study the Torah and fulfill the commandments. G'd does not want us to do this for His sake, but only so that He can reward us for doing so.

Develop love for G'd

This is actually hinted at in the first paragraph of Shema. It says (Devarim 6:5): "And you shall Love HASHEM your G'd." Asks Rashi, in the name of Sifri (33), how do we express our love for G'd? Rashi answers that this is alluded to in the next verse where it says: "And these things that I command you today shall be upon your heart." Rashi continues to explain that when we study Torah, we will actually develop a feeling of love for G'd. For the more we study, the better we understand G'd's conduct and ways and get close to Him.

Represent G'd's chosen people

The Talmud (Yuma 86a) elaborates upon an additional opportunity we have to express our love for G'd. Every Jew goes around with a tag that says "I represent G'd's chosen people." As such, every choice we make, and every act we perform, does not only reflect back on us as individuals but as a member of G'd's people. The more learned and observant the person is, the greater the responsibility. Says the Talmud, when a scholar is honest in his dealings with others, and communicates with them in a pleasant way, people will notice and say "look how pleasant his ways are, and how correct he conducts himself. How praiseworthy is the one who studies Torah, and how different is he from those who do not study Torah." In this way, says the Talmud, we make G'd and His Torah beloved in the eyes of other people and sanctify G'd's name.

Making G'd proud

I recently heard about a young lady whose modest attire clearly showed that she was an observant Jew. As she backed out of a parking lot, she accidently bumped into another car. She immediately stopped her car and waited around, hoping to meet the owner of the car she had slightly damaged. When the owner did not show up, she wrote a note of apology with her name and phone number, so that she could be contacted and pay the damage. An elderly gentleman had noticed the episode, and went up to her and said, "Only someone like you would do this." About such people, concludes the Talmud, people say "praiseworthy are the parents who educated her with Torah values, and praiseworthy is the school that taught her how to conduct herself according to the Torah." And G'd Himself says, "You made Me proud."

Making G'd beloved

Every day we have many opportunities to make choices. When we make the right choice, we sanctify G'd's name and make Him beloved in the eyes of those around us. This, says the Talmud, is a most beautiful way that we can express our love for G'd.

Great merit

As we approach the Days of Judgment, such conduct will no doubt be a great merit that will help us to be inscribed for a good and healthy year, with all that we need made available to us. Amen

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

P.S. If you have any questions or enjoyed reading this e-mail, we would appreciate hearing from you. If you know of others who may be interested in receiving e-mails similar to this please let us know at michael@deverettlaw.com .


Shema Yisrael Torah Network
info@shemayisrael.co.il
http://www.shemayisrael.co.il
Jerusalem, Israel
732-370-3344