Thursday, September 6, 2012

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Ki Savo

The following is a brief summary of a thought said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce this vort to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

In Devarim 28:1-14, Moshe tells the Jews about all the blessings which will come to them if they follow Hashem's commandments. In so doing, Moshe tells the Jews that the brachos will come upon you "vehisigucha" which is translated by Art Scroll as "overtake you." R' Frand asked - what is the purpose of the word "vehisigucha"? Isn't it enough to say that the brachos will come upon you?

R' Frand offered three explanations of the extra word. He first quoted the Sforno who writes cryptically that the berachos will come upon you, in spite of the fact that you don't try to acquire them (using the verb l'hasig). The Imrei Baruch offers an explanation of the Sforno by quoting Rabbeinu Bechaya who learns a pasuk in Mishlei which states "the horse is ready for the day of war and for Hashem the Tishua." This teaches that if someone is going to war they need to prepare and not just say Hashem will do it. However, once the preparations are done, the person must know that the salvation will come from Hashem --meaning that Hashem will do his miracle to assist you, but it will appear in a natural way. Similarly, if a person is ill, you must prepare the medicine for him. But after you have done all the natural assistance, Hashem will do His task because ultimately it comes from Him. Hashem does not perform open miracles and requires that a person act first, but recognize that the positive end result is from Him. This is a possible meaning of the Sforno - you must do your tasks and then Hashem will give you the berachos, not directly because of your acts, but because that is the way Hashem requires you to work before He gets involved.

The second explanation quoted by R' Frand was from the Sefer Degel Machane Ephraim which was written by a grandson of the Ba'al Shem Tov. The sefer quotes a pasuk from Tehillim 23 which states that Tov and Chesed will chase after me. Why does someone run away from Tov and Chesed? The Sefer Degel Machane Ephraim explains that sometimes a person pursues a possible angle, but the correct answer is another way. Dovid Hamelech is saying in this mizmor that if I am not smart enough to run after the right course and I am running away from what is good for me, let it run after me and overtake me because I don't understand that this is Tov and Chesed.

R' Frand quoted a story about R' Levi Yitzchak M'berditschev who saw someone running and asked - why are you running. He was answered - because I have a great business opportunity there. R' Levi Yitzchak said - but maybe you will have a better business opportunity here? This is the meaning of the bracha of being overtaken by the good.

The third explanation offered by R' Frand in the name of R' Bunim M'Parshizcha (sp?)was that the bracha will come to you where you are and they will not change you as a result of the berachos you receive. Often we see that a person may have good fortune and it changes them. So the beracha is that the good things will come on you and you will not become jaded.

R' Frand remarked that he liked this vort because the curses in the parsha also use the language of being overtaken. A person can be changed by misfortune and trouble. Thus the beracha to the person is that when good things happen, you should not be changed by them as well.

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