Back to This Week's Parsha| Previous Issues

This Torah Attitude is dedicated in loving memory of Aryeh Aaron Wise z"l on the occasion of his first yohrzeit.

Torah Attitude: Parashas Ki Seitzei: Getting closer to G'd

Summary

It sounds like the Torah takes it for granted that G'd will deliver our enemies into our hands. King David exhibits an extreme confidence that borders almost on arrogance. He knew that his success in warfare was not dependant on the strength of his army but dwelling in the House of G'd to pray and study Torah. He expressed that if G'd will grant him the ability to spend the major part of his time in study and prayer, then he feels totally confident that he does not need to fear his enemies or any other evildoers. If our secular brothers and sisters understood how the Torah scholars and students bring Divine protection to everyone, they would support the Yeshivot and Kolelim and encourage their study. The Torah is confident and takes it for granted that G'd will deliver our enemies into our hands. Closeness to G'd was the "one thing" that King David asked for and this was all he wanted. From Rosh Chodesh Elul till after Succos is a time when we have the opportunity to get closer to G'd.

Deliver enemies into your hand

In the opening verse of this week's parasha it says (Devarim 21:10): "When you go out to war against your enemy, and HASHEM your G'd delivers him into your hand " It sounds like the Torah takes it for granted that G'd will deliver our enemies into our hands. How can we ensure that this will happen beyond any doubt?

Extreme confidence

We find a similar sense of security in the added chapter of Tehillim (27) that we say twice a day from Rosh Chodesh Elul till after Succos. King David says: "G'd is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear When evildoers come close to me they will stumble and fall. If an army camp will lay siege against me, my heart will not fear; if they rise against me in war, I trust in this." King David here exhibits an extreme confidence that borders almost on arrogance. This seems to be totally out of character for this modest and humble monarch who in a few chapters earlier describes himself (22:7): "And I am a worm and not a man, ridiculed by people and put to shame by nations." The commentaries explain that King David felt secure, as he said himself in the beginning of the chapter, "for G'd is my light," that guides me in every situation, "and my salvation" from any peril.

Dwelling in the House of G'd

However, we still have to clarify how King David could feel so certain that G'd would guard him and save him from his enemies. Says the Eben Ezra: the answer can be found in the next verse. There King David says: "One thing I asked of G'd, and that is what I seek, that I shall dwell in the House of G'd, all the days of my life, to see the pleasantness of G'd and visit [to study] in His halls." King David understood that his only chance against his many enemies was G'd's light and salvation. He therefore knew that his success in warfare was not dependant on the strength of his army but dwelling in the House of G'd to pray and study Torah.

The only thing important

The Malbim explains that King David did not ask to dwell in the study halls in order to achieve G'd's protection. He clearly said that he only asked G'd for one thing, and that was all he wanted. That was the only thing that was important to him. However, he expressed that if G'd would grant him the ability to spend the major part of his time in study and prayer, then he would feel totally confident that he did not need to fear his enemies or any other evildoers.

Divine assistance

King David expressed this both as the leader of the Jewish people and on an individual level. He knew that only with Divine assistance had they originally conquered the Land of Israel, as stated in Tehillim (44:2-7): "Our fathers told us the work that You did in their days with Your hand You drove out nations for not by their sword did they inherit the land but with Your right hand, and Your arm and the light of Your countenance, for You favoured them." The Targum explains that this favour came about through their Torah study. Based on the knowledge of how the earlier generations had succeeded, King David continued, "For I do not trust in my bow, and my sword will not save me. For you have saved us from our oppressors, and you have put the ones who hate us to shame."

Much benefit

The Midrash Rabbah (Bamidbar 1:3) states that if the nations of the world had known how much benefit they gained from the service in the Temple, they would have surrounded it with fortifications to protect it. In the same way today, if our secular brothers and sisters understood how the Torah scholars and students bring Divine protection to everyone, they would support the Yeshivot and Kolelim and encourage their study.

Torah confident

We can now understand the opening verse of this week's parasha. The Torah is referring to when the Jewish people live as an observant community that enjoys the protection caused by those who occupy the houses of prayer and the halls of Torah study. In such a scenario, the Torah is confident and takes it for granted that G'd will deliver our enemies into our hands.

Closeness to G'd

On an individual level, King David had only one interest in life, as he says (Tehillim 73:28): "And for me, closeness to G'd is my good." This was his ambition as a young shepherd living in obscurity, and this stayed with him when he rose to fame and was appointed to rule the Jewish people. Even when he had to socialize with other monarchs, he stayed focused. As he says (Tehillim 119:46): "I will talk about your testimonies in front of kings and I will not be ashamed." This was the "one thing" that he asked for and this was all he wanted.

Tehillim 27

This may be the reason why we add this chapter of Tehillim (27) from Rosh Chodesh Elul till after Succos. For, as we mentioned last week, this is a time when we have the opportunity to get closer to G'd. It does not mean that we have to cease our business activities or quit our jobs for 40 days. King David looked after his charges in the field when he was a shepherd, and he took care of his many duties when he became king. However, his focus was to get close to G'd through Torah study and prayer. And this affected everything else that he was occupied with.

May we rise to the opportunity of these important days and get closer to G'd and His Torah. And in this merit, may we together with the entire Jewish people be inscribed for a year in which we will continue to grow and prosper in every aspect of our lives.

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