Vertluch: Parshas Lech lecha

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The end of this week’s parsha discusses that Hashem gave us the commandment of bris milah and how Avraham and Yishmael were both circumcised.

Dovid HaMelech writes (Tehillim 119) ‘sus anochi al imrasecha k’motzei shalal rav’. We can loosely translate it to mean: ‘I rejoice over your words like someone who finds an abundance of spoils.’

Gemara in Shabbos (130) explains that the aforementioned pasuk refers to the mitzvah of milah, that it is done b’simcha.

Why are we so happy that we refer to it as ‘shalal’; as war spoils? Why do we not compare our excitement to that of finding an expensive object or the like? Why specifically shalal?

Meshech Chochma offers a beautiful idea.

Gemara in Sota (21a) says that when someone performs a mitzvah they are protected from harm but only while they are drawn into it. Once they have finished and are no longer involved, it no longer protects. However, Torah on the other hand works differently. All the while someone is involved and living a life and learning of Torah, they are protected. Although you may not be learning this exact moment they are still being guarded by Torah. The Torah was created as a tavlin to the yetzer hara; it is the medicine that diminishes his power that permits us to sin. When a person walks down the street and finds an object of value, they are no doubt excited because it’s something new for them. But imagine walking down the street and finding your enemies weapon lying there. There will undoubtfully be an added element of excitement! Why? Because your taking away your enemy’s lifeline.

Says R’ Meir Simcha, this is what Dovid HaMelech meant when he said ‘sus anochi al imrasecha k’motzei shalal rav’. Now we understand why we refer to it as a shalal because through our Torah we are stripping the enemy of his weapon.
The same is true by milah. Why do we refer to it as a shalal?

The Rambam in Moreh Nevuchim says that the reason for milah is to minimize mans desires. By cutting away some urlah we are taking away from mans desires and therefore we refer to milah as a shalal because there’s a different element of simcha there too when you cut away some urlah.

Life is full of trials and tribulations and of the many of them are physical and earthly desires. But the Ribono Shel Olam through His immeasurable kindness already paved a way for us to allow us to overcome it; He began the process. By strengthening our limud haTorah-and showing Him we appreciate all He has done for us-we will be protected from harms ways and strive to greatness so that we can merit of the coming of Moshiach speedily in our days.

HAVE A GREAT SHABBOS