Parshas Eikev starts off by stating, that if we heed to the mitzvos of Hashem then we will be watched over and showed kindness by Him (7; 12). Rashi notes that this pasuk is referring to the smaller yet simple mitzvos that we do ordinarily-frequented by our daily routines; that which may not seem so important to us.
Most often, people will make sure never to miss the ‘big mitzvos’ such as shofar, succah or matza. Yet, some of us may become a bit too familiar with the everyday mitzvos and perhaps that can lead to ‘boredom’. Says the Torah, if you will pay attention and observe the small and common ones carefully, know that these are the mitzvos that you will be rewarded exceedingly for.
The Da’as Z’keinim offers a mashal to explain this concept. There was once a king who wished to plant a forest. The king needed all different types of trees and told all that were hired that for each tree planted he would award a sum of money to that person. He was careful not to reveal what the sum was for any specific type of tree. He did this for he feared that if he would have let them know the price up front, his forest would lack variety as each person would struggle to plant the tree that they were being paid the most for. In order to avoid that, the king kept the exact price of each tree a secret until the forest was complete.
Here too, the Ribono Shel Olam needs all six hundred and thirteen mitzvos performed. If He would reveal the reward of each mitzvah to us, we would only do the bigger ones accumulating the higher ‘point’ mitzvos. There are certain mitzvos that people tend to take lightly but for all we know these are the ones that will save us in the next world.
One early morning, Reb Zundel Kroizer, Shlit”a, while en route to daven vasikin-as he has done daily for the last 75 years-fell down and bruised himself. His grandson who was with him picked him up and brought him back home, allowing him to catch his breath and drink some water. He said to him ‘zeidy, if we hurry up we may be able to still chap vasikin.’ Rav Zundel responded ‘I never chapped a minyan in my life!’ Although it was something he was well too accustomed to doing, nevertheless he performed this mitzvah with the utmost of adherence-day in day out.
The Chofetz Chaim presents a powerful mashal which really drives the point home.
There was an individual who had no money at all. One day, he suggested to his wife that perhaps if he were to change locations his mazel (luck) would change too. He was thinking to possibly travel a bit and try to make some desperately needed parnassah. His wife agreed and gave him five years away, noting that by the time he returns his eldest daughter would be of marriageable age, and hopefully he would have enough money by then to support them. He sails out to another country and sets himself up by opening a meat and fish store. Low and behold he finds himself to be extremely successful and he is making a lot of money.
Five years passes by rather quickly and soon enough he finds himself preparing to return home. He thinks for a while and concludes that he was most successful with fish and meat and being that the currency was different back home-and of much less value-he opted to return home with fish and meat; he assumed he would be just as successful.
By the time he reached the shore a few weeks later, the fish and meat had both spoiled and he found himself back home in the same manner as he left; penniless. Embarrassed and overwhelmed, he literally collapsed into a deep sleep.
Hours later he awakens to bright lights, joy in the air and a table set full of food. Confused, he asked what it was all about. His children began to tell him that when he fell asleep he was fully clothed, including wearing his shoes. As they went to take them off him they noticed the bottom was full of sand that he must have stepped in. Upon further examination they realized that this ‘sand’ had a shine to it. They immediately took the shoes off to discover that the ‘sand’ was actually diamond chips! Where he had settled for the last five years was full of little particles of diamonds all over the street. They quickly ran to the jeweler and sold them to him and came home with plenty of money to live off.
Says the Chofetz Chaim, what he thought was making him money was in fact not. In reality, it was the sand that he stepped on that made him very wealthy, enough to support his family. Pshat is that we don’t know what exactly will sustain us. The meat/fish or the ‘sand’? The bigger mitzvos or the mundane ones? What we think is zero and meaningless, can be our savior. This is the yesod of this weeks parsha. People have to understand that there are many things we do that are extremely valuable, but just because they’re so common to us doesn’t mean they’re not worth as much. We cannot allow them to become stale; every single one of them has a tremendous value. The daily things we do are very capable and have the potential of elevating and bringing us up from mundane, to life saving.
When Hashem revealed Himself to Moshe for the first time, in the midbar of Midyan, He tells him to take off his shoes. The reason being that the land he was standing on was admas kodesh. Moshe thought he would have to go to eretz Yisroel to have the zechus of Hashem revealing Himself to him. Similar to the masses that run to Meron and Uman. But Hashem told Moshe that the very ground that you are standing on is a ground that is holy! Don’t think you have to run anywhere to get holiness and spirituality. You can take what you have existing in your home and transform them and elevate them tremendously.
With this in mind may we be able to see the potential and holiness that lies directly in front of us and may we all have the sensitivity in adhering to the simple mitzvos that may elevate us to higher levels in Gan Eden, after 120 years.