Thursday, May 6, 2010

224 - Behar/Bechukosai

Parshas Bechukosai discusses the brachos that are enjoyed by those who heed the Torah's commandments and the tochacha that will (G-d forbid) befall those who do not follow the Torah's guidelines. Rav Wolbe (Shiurei Chumash) notes that Chazal tell us that there is no reward for mitzvos in this world. If so, he asks, why is the Torah promising blessings and bounty - in this world - for those who keep its precepts?

Rav Wolbe quotes the Ba'alei Mussar who explain by way of analogy. One who drives strictly on paved highways, will come across rest stops on the way where he can find food and other amenities that will provide for all his needs as he travels. However, should he stray from the beaten path and try to carve a route for himself, not only will he not find a place to eat and sleep, he will have difficulty in the very travels themselves. As he cuts through the forest, he will encounter thorns, thickets and numerous obstructions along the way. Moreover, as he struggles to free himself from these obstacles, he will find himself treading deeper and deeper into the forest.

In a similar vein, he who follows the path of the Torah and its commandments will encounter a multitude of blessings; not because he is being rewarded for his actions, rather, because he is traveling the correct road of life. The storehouses of plenty are there for the travelers. However, he who tries charting his own course, will not only lack food and water, he will be pursued by wild animals deeper and deeper into the jungle that such wanderers encounter.

The Rambam writes that the prophets and wise men yearned for Moshiach so that they would be freed entirely from impediments in their avodas Hashem. This is our ultimate objective, and we must strive to create such conditions wherever possible even before Moshiach comes. Every step we take down the road of the Torah will, be'ezras Hashem, stave off obstacles in our avodah and ensure that we encounter the blessings that the Torah enumerates in this week's parsha.

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