Sunday, September 18, 2011

Parshas Kisavo: The merit of future mitzvos


At the beginning of the tochacha, the passuk says that the reason for the tochacha is non-observance of all of the mitzvos.

וְהָיָה אִם לֹא תִשְׁמַע בְּקוֹל ה' אֱלֹקֶיךָ לִשְׁמֹר לַעֲשׂוֹת אֶת כָּל מִצְו‍ֹתָיו וְחֻקֹּתָיו אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ הַיּוֹם

“And it will be if you do not listen to the voice of Hashem your G-d to do all His mitzvos and his statutes which I command you today.”

However, at the end of the tochacha the passuk says that the benei yisrael will be sent into galus;

תַּחַת אֲשֶׁר לֹא עָבַדְתָּ אֶת ה' אֱלֹקֶיךָ בְּשִׂמְחָה וּבְטוּב לֵבָב מֵרֹב כֹּל

“…because you did not serve Hashem your G-d with rejoicing and with a good heart from an abundance of everything.”

  • Why do the punishments of the tochachah come if we did not serve Hashem be’simchah?

The Yerushlami says in Peah (1:1);

מחשבה טובה המקום מצרפה למעשה, מחשבה רעה אין המקום מצרפה למעשה... הדא דתימא בישראל, אבל בגוים חילופין: מחשבה טובה אין הקב"ה מצרפה, מחשבה רעה הקב"ה מצרפה

“Hashem considers a good thought as if the person had performed the mitzvah, Hashem does not consider a bad thought as if the person had done the aveirah. This is in relation to a Yisrael, but with other nations it is the reverse, Hashem does not complete a good intention to be considered as an act but He does complete a bad intention to be considered an act.”

  • Why is there a difference between the way that Hashem rewards the benei yisrael and the way Hashem rewards the other nations? Surely we knowein Hakodosh Baruch Hu mekapeach schar kol beriyah?

The Meshech Chochmah explains as follows;

The halachah is that a get is only valid if it is given willingly by the husband. In a case where beis din has to force a man to divorce his wife, they give him malkos until he says that he wants to make a get.

  • If the husband does not really want to divorce his wife and only tells beis din that he does because they are giving him malkos, how can this be considered to be a get that is given willingly?

The Rambam in Hilchos Gerushin (2:20) says that the get is valid because;

שאין אומרין אנוס אלא למי שנלחץ ונדחק לעשות דבר שאינו מחוייב בו מן התורה לעשותו, כגון מי שהוכה עד שמכר או נתן. אבל מי שתקפו יצרו הרע לבטל מצוה או לעשות עבירה, והוכה עד שעשה דבר שחייב לעשותו, או עד שנתרחק מדבר שאסור לעשותו, אין זה אנוס ממנו, אלא הוא אנס עצמו בדעתו הרעה. לפיכך זה שאינו רוצה לגרש, מאחר שהוא רוצה להיות מישראל, רוצה הוא לעשות כל המצות ולהתרחק מן העבירות, ויצרו הוא שתקפו. וכיון שהוכה עד שתשש יצרו, ואמר רוצה אני, כבר גרש לרצונו

“We only say that the person was forced [and therefore the transaction is invalid] if he was forced to do something which he was not obligated to do by the Torah, such as if someone who was hit until he agreed to sell something or he agreed to give something away.

But if someone’s yetzer hara overpowered him and caused him not to do a mitzvah or to do an aveira and then he is hit until he performed his obligation or refrained from the thing that he was not meant to do, the aveirah was not forcibly removed from him, but rather he forced himself originally [to do the wrong thing] with his bad intention.

If a person does not want to give a get, seeing as he wants to be part of klal yisrael [we know that] he wants to do all the mitzvos and keep away from the aveiros; only that his yetzer hara forced him [not to abide by the ruling of the beis din]. Once he is hit until his yetzer hara is weakened and then he says he wants to give the get, he has divorced by his own will.”

Based on the Rambam, the Meshech Chochmah explains that Hashem favours a yisrael who wanted to do a mitzvah and ended up being unable to do it is because the yisrael really wanted to do the mitzvah. If he was unable to do the mitzvah this was only because they did not have the opportunity to do so, therefore is still rewarded for the mitzvah. On the other hand in the case of other nations who do not have the inner desire to do mitzvos, even if they wanted to do a mitzvah, there is no proof if they did not do it in the end that their will to do it was so strong that only an ones would have prevented them from doing the mitzvah so they are not rewarded.

We find that this applies at a national as well as at an individual level. The passuk says in Shemos (3:12);

וַיֹּאמֶר כִּי אֶהְיֶה עִמָּךְ וְזֶה לְּךָ הָאוֹת כִּי אָנֹכִי שְׁלַחְתִּיךָ בְּהוֹצִיאֲךָ אֶת הָעָם מִמִּצְרַיִם תַּעַבְדוּן אֶת הָאֱלֹקים עַל הָהָר הַזֶּה.

“And He said, ‘Because I will be with you and this will the sign for you that I have sent you; When you bring the people out of Mitzraim you will serve Hashem on this mountain.”

Rashi explains;

 וששאלת מה זכות יש לישראל שיצאו ממצרים דבר גדול יש לי על הוצאה זו שהרי עתידים לקבל התורה על ההר הזה לסוף ג' חדשים שיצאו ממצרים

“And concerning that which you asked, ‘What merit do the benei yisrael have that they should go out of Mitzraim?’ I have an important matter that will come from this redemption because they will in the future accept the Torah on this mountain at the end of 3 months after they come out of Mitzraim…”

Hashem rewarded the benei yisrael for something they had not yet done because

the inner will of the benei yisrael is to do the mitzvos. The reason that they were able to receive schar for the Torah that they would accept is because they would certainly do so were they to be given the opportunity by being redeemed from Mitzraim.

However, we only receive the reward for future mitzvos if we do mitzvos be’simchah. This is because the simchah that we have when we do mitzvos shows that our inner will is to do mitzvos. Subsequently when we are able to do mitzvos we are be’simchah because we have managed to do what we wanted to do. However if thebenei yisrael do not serve Hashem be’simchah, this shows that they do not have an inner will to do mitzvos, in which case they do not receive the reward for mitzvos that they are going to do in the future.

With this we can explain why the passuk initially says that the benei yisrael will go into galus for not keeping all the mitzvos, and then the passuk says they will go into galus for not serving Hashem be’simchah.

Even if they did not keep all the mitzvos, they could still have the merit of future mitzvos that they would do, which would prevent them from going into galus. However, if the benei yisrael do not serve Hashem be’simchah then they loose this future merit, and if they are not currently keeping the Torah then they are left with no zechuyosat all.

This is why the tochacha ends;

וֶהֱשִׁיבְךָ ה מִצְרַיִם

“Hashem will return you to Mitzraim…”

If the benei yisrael do not serve Hashem be’simchah, then they no longer have future zechuyos as they had in Mitzraim which were the zechus for them to be redeemed in the first place.

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