Back to This Week's Parsha| Previous Issues

Weekly Chizuk

Parshas Behar

All You Have to Do Is Trust

And the Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying, Speak to the children of Israel and you shall say to them: When you come to the land that I am giving you, the land shall rest a Sabbath to the Lord. Vayikra 25:1-2)

The Kli Yakar explains that the mitzvah of keeping the Shmitta year was to internalize the middah of emuna and bitachon in Hashem in the hearts of Klal Yisroel. Hakadosh Baruch Hu was concerned that when they finally entered the land they would get involved in developing the land. As they become more engrossed in farming and their efforts bear success, they would come to forget Hashem and eventually lose their bitachon. They would think that their expertise (the Yiddishe Kup) was the source of their accomplishment and that everything is governed by the laws of nature. The land is theirs and they own it. Therefore Hashem totally removed them from the natural course of action. Normally a farmer plants for 2 years and leaves the land fallow one year in order to not exhaust its fertility. Hakadosh Baruch Hu told them to plant for 6 straight years and promised that it won't lose its productiveness. Secondly He promised a miracle within a miracle: after 6 straight years of planting not only would the land not deteriorate, but in the sixth year it would become so fertile it would give forth a crop that would last for 3 years. Additionally, in spite of the fact that the crop would be the same amount as a normal crop, however, it would be of such a high quality it would be sufficient to last 3 years.

This is hinted at in the possuk: You may sow your field for six years, and for six years you may prune your vineyard, and gather in its produce, (ibid. 3)

. You will notice that the word "its produce" - - has a dot in the "heh" inferring to read the word: "its specific produce." This is hinting that "its normal produce" will be eaten for 3 years! The effect of all these miracles will be that Klal Yisroel will know that I am the real owner of the land and this will bring them to lift their eyes on high to trust in Hashem. This was the reason why the mann descended everyday with only one day's portion. In this way they continuously looked to Hashem to provide their daily sustenance and constantly trust in Him.

* * *

The great Chassidic Rebbe Elimelech in his sefer "Noam Elimelech" (parshas Behar) cites a commentary from his older brother Rebbe Zusha: In parshas Behar the Torah describes the mitzvah of Shmitta. It says, "And if you shall say, what shall we eat in the seventh year? Behold, we shall not sow, nor gather in our produce. Then I will command My blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit for three years" (Vayikra 25:20-21). This is a very strange statement. Why did Hashem have to wait for Klal Yisroel to ask, "What are we going to eat?" before giving them the bracha? In other places in the Torah He gives the bracha without being asked.

The answer is that when the Ribono Shel Olam created the world, He created the channels to rain down upon the individual a constant bounty of sustenance. As long as Klal Yisroel do not ask the question "What shall we eat?" they are guaranteed the heavenly blessings in limitless bounty merely from the power of their bitachon. They will be able to eat just a little. The food will be so blessed within them that that little bit will satisfy them and they won't need to bother themselves with cutting the crop and harvesting, etc. (See the commentary of the Siforno). However, if they fall in their emuna and become worried and ask, "What are we going to eat?" they have just locked the windows of Heaven and spoiled the storehouses of bounty. HaKadosh Baruch Hu now has to give them a special bracha, "Then I will command My blessing upon you" HaKadosh Baruch Hu in His great mercy and loving-kindness will shower down a new bracha. But they have bothered the Ribono Shel Olam to create new blessings. They will have to pay the price with hard work in order to get it.

The author of the Toldos Yaakov Yoseph in his sefer Kesones Pasim (parshas Shemini) quotes the Rambam that if we would have perfect bitachon in HaKadosh Baruch Hu we would merit heavenly mann even today! In parshas Mikeitz he cites the Ba'al Shem Tov who comments on the possuk "One who trusts in Hashem is surrounded by chesed" (Tehillim 32:10). If a person has perfect bitachon in Hashem, then angels come to guard him each step of the way. All the evil forces of the world cannot harm him. The sefer Keser Shem Tov by the Ba'al Shem Tov further states that if one really has bitachon in Hashem, then even if he has been condemned to terrible decrees, they have no influence over him. As it states (Tehillim 125:1) "Those who trust in the Lord shall be like Mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but exists for ever."

* * *

The great tzaddik Rebbe Zusha from Anipoli was distinguished for his absolute bitachon. The Chassidim tell the following story about Rebbe Zusha. He and his talmidim of the chevraya kaddisha (members of his Beis Midrash were called the Holy Fellowship) used to sit and devote themselves to learning Torah with total dedication. It once occurred that they had been sitting in the Beis Midrash for several days, learning and davening, but they had no food and were famished. The talmidim pressed the rebbe to go to a certain Oshir (wealthy individual) in town and beg him to have pity on the poor starving talmidim and give them some food. The tzaddik Rebbe Zusha agreed and went to the Oshir's house. He approached the door and put his hand on the handle. Then he went back to the Beis Midrash. The talmidim were shocked to hear his reasoning that by touching the door handle he had fulfilled his obligation of hishtadlus. He had not even knocked on the door and the Oshir had no inkling at all that the tzaddik Rebbe Zusha was standing there in front of his house. To their further shock, a few moments later the Oshir came running into the Beis Midrash carrying baskets of food for the talmidim. The Chassidim saw clearly that because of the tzaddik's great and lofty bitachon, the little bit of hishtadlus of just touching the door handle was sufficient.

Wishing Everyone A Gut Shabbos!

Rabbi Eliezer Parkoff
4 Panim Meirot, Jerusalem 94423 Israel
Tel: 732-858-1257
Rabbi Parkoff is author of "Chizuk!" and "Trust Me!" (Feldheim Publishers), and "Mission Possible!" (Israel Book Shop Lakewood).
If you would like to correspond with Rabbi Parkoff, or change your subscription, please contact:

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Jerusalem, Israel