Vertlach: Parshas Ki Seitzei

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Theדבר תורה  is לזכות רפואה שלימה ל-אברהם בייניש בן גאלדה שפרינצה.
ולאה בת חנה
And לזכר נשמת ר’ אברהם בן שמחה זצ”ל
ר’ חיים בן ר’ צבי ארי-ה זצ”ל
ר’ יחיאל יהודה בן ר’ אברהם מרדכי הכהן זצ”לור’ אליהו מרדכי זצ”ל בן ר’ אברהם יעקב נ”י
 
This weeks email is sponsored by: Mr. & Mrs. Beinish Mandel in honor of the arrival of Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel, Shlit”a to the U.S.A.

One of the many do’s and don’ts that are discussed in this weeks parsha is the issur of allowing an Amonite and Moabite to join our holy nation. The pasuk says ‘lo yavo Amoni u’Moavi b’khal Hashem…’ even after ten generations. The question is why not? Continues the pasuk that they didn’t extend their hands and welcome us into their land when we were leaving Egypt and secondly, the fact that they hired Bilam, the rasha, to curse us.

The Ramban seems to note that the Torah’s perspective of hakaras hatov is so great that if a nation lacks the understanding to be maker tov and not reciprocate the kindness that they received, years earlier from their forefather Lot, the Torah does not allow them to ever join up with klal Yisroel. Why not? Because hakaras hatov is one of the traits of a person who is a shomer Torah and mitzvos and someone who recognizes the constant kindness they receive.

There’s a story brought down about Rav Shach Zt”l. When Rav Shach was in his mid 90’s he was very weak. He was so weak that he even cancelled an important chinuch atzmei meeting and didn’t attend it. He asked the members of his house not to let anyone in so he could rest a little in order to allow him to regain some of his strength. As soon as he lay down he was notified that Rav Simcha Kook’s mother was niftar and the family was sitting shiva. He immediately decided right then and there that he needs to go and be menachem avel the family. He was asked why he was troubling himself at such a weak stage in his life. He answered that when he was a bachur in yeshiva there was a person who was a bit disturbed and he would hang out all day at the home of the Brisker Rav. The Brisker Rav tended to his needs and took care of him. One day, Rebbetzin Kook came over to the Rav and said ‘let me take care of him for a while’, seeing it was occupying the Rav’s time to which the Rav acquiesced. Rav Shach ended off that being that she took this ‘burden’ off the Rav’s plate, it freed up the precious time of the Rav Thru this, Rav Shach was able to enjoy time with and benefit tremendously from the Rav. Rav Shach felt that due to the hakaras hatov that he owed her he had to go immediately to be menachem avel her family.

We see from this story a tremendous lesson. Hakaras hatov is not a chiyuv; but the Torah expects a person to have hakaras hatov when we benefit from something or someone else. The Torah goes so far as to say that someone who isn’t maker tov and ignores their past encounters with chessed not only can’t they ever become part of an illustrious nation but they also don’t belong here either. Bein adam l’chaveiro is one of the hardest things to perfect. Now that Elul is upon us, we can all at least try to start by recognizing the goodness in our everyday activities and hopefully that will lead us to recognize the ultimate chessed and kindness Hashem will show us when he returns us to Yerushalaim bimheira v’yameinu Amen.

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