Vertluch: Parshas Beshalach

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The Gemara in Sota (13) states: ’come and look at how special mitzvos were to Moshe rabbeinu. All of klal Yisroel was busy collecting booty and Moshe was busy with the bones of Yosef hatzadik. As Shlomo Hamelech says in Mishlai – chacham lev yikach mitzvohs-a wise person grabs mitzvos and Moshe was referred to as a ‘chahcham lev’.
 
On the surface it seems that the bnei Yisroel were in the wrong, but why? They were fulfilling a promise of Hashem made their forefathers that their children will leave Mitzrayim a wealthy nation. Why then is Moshe referred to as a ‘chacham lev’, which seems to be of a loftier character trait for doing the will of Hashem? The entire Jewish nation was also fulfilling the will of Hashem by collecting spoils from the Egyptians?
 
The Alter from Novardok offers a beautiful explanation.
 
The gemarah in bava metziah (32b) states that if one sees a donkey of his friend with a huge burden on its back, he is obligated to help unload the burden and then reload it at a later time. If the same scenario would happen with the donkey of your enemy-or a person who you don’t like- the same halacha would apply. The gemarah then asks what would happen if he would encounter his friends burdened donkey on one side of the street and his enemy’s burdened donkey on the other side of the street. Whose should he help unload first? The gemarah answers that he should help that of the person he doesn’t like. The reason is, that he is breaking his yetzer hara and thus strengthening his character due to the fact he is helping someone that he doesn’t like.
 
Says the Alter, it was much easier for everyone to collect the gold and silver from the Egyptians than to get the bones of Yosef. Moshe understood that a mitzvah done with difficulty comes with a greater reward; it is so much dearer to the Ribono Shel Olam when it is difficult to perform. That’s why Moshe rabbeinu was ‘labeled’ a chacham lev and the rest of bnei Yisroel wasn’t.
 
There was a ten year old boy, from the tri state area, that when he heard there would be a second snow storm he had already assumed that he would have no school the next day. It was with that mindset, that he went to bed. Upon waking up he quickly learned that he did indeed have school. Needless to say this young lad was extremely unhappy, especially after hearing his sisters did not have school that day. He was so upset that he did not have off, that he started pondering out loud as to why girls have school at all? As he reluctantly went in the car to be driven by his father to yeshiva, his father looked at him and said, ‘I want to tell you something. The reason why frum people exist today is because our grandparents learned Torah and did mitzvos when it was difficult for them to do so. You should know that you’re going to yeshiva today even though you are not interested, and it is quite difficult. My dear son this is what yiddishkeit is all about, this is what separates us from all the other nations.’
 
The gemarah in chagiga asks why the bnei Yisroel were chosen to be given the Torah. The Maharitz Chiyus says that it was because Hashem knew that the only nation in the world that could withstand all the suffering-persecutions, pogroms, anti-Semitism, the holocaust-and yet still stay loyal and faithful to the Torah, would be Klal Yisroel. They can bend us, but they can’t break us.
 
With the bitter forecast these days, no one can predict the weather we can expect tomorrow. When we see that the ground is covered in snow and the temperature is below freezing, one should keep in mind that yes-it is hard to go out late at night for maariv. But our grandparents did this day in and day out in Russia and Poland, decades before cars were invented. To walk to maariv in the cold is not geshmak at all. But one should keep in mind that when doing so the Ribono Shel Olam is looking down and smiling and saying ‘chavivim Yisroel she’nik-riu banim lamakom’.
 
May we all be zoche to identify the harder mitzvos that come our way and to remember never to pass them up for the easier ones-as the more difficult it seems, the dearer it is to Hashem (not to mention its reward).
 
                                        HAVE A GREAT SHABBOS.
 
 
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