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Torah Attitude: Parashas Vayikra: G'd gives us everything and makes it easy to serve Him

Summary

G'd constantly gives us the materials and tools that we need in order to observe the mitzvot. Every morning when we rise we thank G'd for restoring our soul into our body. In the morning blessings, each person expresses a personal appreciation that G'd has provided "me with all my needs." We accept that as long as G'd does not provide us with our requests, there must be a reason, and therefore they are for the moment not part of what we really need. If we would circumcise our son because G'd blessed us with this child, then we would feel obligated to follow G'd's commandments with every aspect of the child's education and upbringing. If we would affix the mezuzah because we realize that we can only afford to buy a house or pay our rent, because G'd helped us to make money, we would make sure to have a mezuzah on every door in our house, and make our home a place where we live according to G'd's instructions. When we keep in mind that the money we make is only by the grace of G'd, it is much easier to spend some of it to fulfill the mitzvot and to give generously to the poor and needy. G'd gives us opportunities to serve Him, but never does He expect us to do things that are difficult or strenuous. Pesach is an opportunity to serve G'd, and is meant to be enjoyed by every member of the family.

G'd gives us materials and tools

Last week we spoke about how we are all musicians in G'd's orchestra. However, unlike most orchestras, where the musicians have to provide their own instruments, G'd supplies us with all our needs and does not expect us to do anything on our own. As it says in Job (41:3): "Who came before Me, and I [G'd] shall pay him." The Yalkut Shimoni explains that this verse refers to the day when G'd's Holy Spirit will call out: "Who praised Me before I gave him a soul? Who circumcised his son, before I gave him one? Who made tzitzis before I provided him with a garment? Who made a fence before I supplied him with a roof? [see Devarim 22:8] Who built a succah before I gave him a place? Who left the corner of his harvest before I provided him with a field? [see Vayikra 19:9] Who separated Terumah and tithe before I supplied him with a threshing floor? And Who separated the first born animal and other offerings before I gave him a flock?" The list could go on, but the message is clear. G'd has given us a Torah full of commandments of mitzvot, that we are expected to fulfill. And He constantly gives us the materials and tools that we need in order to observe the mitzvot.

Morning thanks and praise

The Chofetz Chaim (Mishneh Berurah 1:8) quotes from Seder Hayom that every morning when we rise we shall say a small prayer of thanksgiving, where we thank G'd for restoring our soul into our body. Rabbi Chaim Vital (Gates of Holiness 1:6) explains that every night the neshamah part of our soul is audited for the actions of the previous day. More often than not, we do not deserve to have our neshamah returned to us. However, G'd, in His great mercy, allows the neshamah to come back, and, as the Yalkut says, otherwise we would not be able to thank and praise G'd.

All my needs

Later during the morning blessings, we say "Blessed are You HASHEM Who has provided me with all my needs." When I studied at the Gateshead Yeshiva, the mashgiach, Rabbi Moshe Schwab, once pointed out the uniqueness of this blessing. In all the other blessings we thank G'd in general for giving sight, for clothing, etc. But in this blessing each person expresses a personal appreciation that G'd has provided "me with all my needs." On the one hand, we acknowledge that whatever we have was provided to us by G'd. On the other hand, we accept that whatever we have is exactly what we need, and we do not need anything beyond that. If we internalize what we say, we would feel happy and accomplished for we have whatever we need and lack nothing.

Must be a reason

This does not mean that we may not ask and pray for things we would like to have or for situations to change. It means that we accept that as long as G'd does not provide us with our requests, there must be a reason, and therefore they are for the moment not part of what we really need.

Circumcision

When a couple is blessed with a son, most Jewish parents want to circumcise him. It is not necessarily because they feel that this is a gift from G'd, so it is only right that we follow G'd's commandment and circumcise him. Rather, many of us do it because it is the Jewish thing to do. If we would do it because we understand that G'd blessed us with this child, then we would feel obligated to follow G'd's commandments with every aspect of the child's education and upbringing.

Mezuzah

In the same way, most Jewish houses have a mezuzah on the front door. We ought to affix the mezuzah, realizing that we can only buy a house or pay our rent because G'd helps us to make money. Therefore, it is only right to follow His commandment. If we keep this in mind, we will make sure to have a mezuzah on every door in our house, and make our home a place where we live according to G'd's instructions. But again, many people only put up a mezuzah because that is what Jews do.

Strength to make wealth

The Torah says (Devarim 8:19): "And you shall remember HASHEM your G'd, for it is He Who gives you strength to make wealth." When we remember that the money we make is only by the grace of G'd, it is much easier for us to spend some of it to fulfill the mitzvot and to give generously to the poor and needy.

Easy offerings

In the beginning of this week's parasha, the Torah instructs us about the various offerings brought in the Temple. There are ten kosher animals, as it says (Devarim 14:4-5): "These are the animals that you may eat, the ox, sheep and goat. The hart, deer " The Chofetz Chaim quotes from our sages who point out that the first three animals are domestic, whereas the rest live in the wild. The offerings in the Temple were all domestic, as the Prophet Micha says in the name of G'd (6:3): "My nation what have I done to you, and what difficulties have I made you?" The Pesikta explains that G'd says to us: "Of all the kosher animals, did I ever demand of you to climb the mountains to catch and bring something that you do not possess?" In the time of the Temple, G'd gave us the opportunity to serve Him with offerings, but only those that were easy for us to bring. Says the Chofetz Chaim, that is how it is with all our obligations. G'd gives us opportunities to serve Him, but never does He expect us to do things that are difficult or strenuous.

Celebrate Pesach

This week was Rosh Chodesh Nissan. The housewives are busy to get the house ready for Pesach, and many are already filling the freezers with delicious dishes for the holiday. We must understand that Pesach is an opportunity to serve G'd, and is meant to be enjoyed by every member of the family. It is not meant to be a burden that people find hard to manage. Our rabbis are trained to advise and guide us how to prepare and celebrate this beautiful holiday in a proper manner. It is up to us to ensure that both old and young will enjoy and grow from this celebration. In this way, we can appreciate that G'd redeemed us from Egypt and made us His chosen nation for all generations.

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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