Parashas Reeh 5779 The path to success

The Parasha starts by saying: “See, today I set before you the blessing and the curse”. “The blessing, if you obey the commandments of Hashem your God that I enjoin upon you today”. “And the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of Hashem your God but turn away from the path that I enjoin upon you today”.
We know it’s “our holy shepherd” Moshe’s last day of life and if it was his intention to stress that point again, it was enough to say “today” once. Though, he repeated it 3 times and consecutively. He obviously intends to make a different point. But which one?
The only item that was given to us on a daily base was the Manna, and it would rot if left overnight. Why did Hashem have to “trouble Himself” with that daily task? He could’ve easily given us weekly or monthly portions. Even for the people it would have been easier to know they have food for the days ahead. But no, Hashem decided it would be best to send only daily portions. It was probably a challenging feeling for parents that had to feed their children. Already being in the desert for so long where nothing grows is challenging, but not being stocked up with food seems overboard.
King David provides the answer in Tehilim [37, 34]: “Young lions do lack and suffer hunger, but those that seek Hashem shall not lack any good”. Rav Avraham [Maimonides’s son] explains that the meaning is: Anyone that feels strong and thinks he can do it on his own, “he will lack the good and suffer hunger”. However, the one that rely upon Hashem will surely inherit all the blessings and be very successful.
The Zohar teaches us that there are 2 trees responsible for “feeding” our world: “the Tree of Life” and God forbids “the tree of death”. Each one feeds the people affixed to it. The way a person connects itself is through its actions, its behavior and demeanor. The person connected to the Tree of Life will have success and blessings in all his endeavors, while the one connected to the other tree will know only stress and misery. These trees are the “Blessing and the curse” Moshe mentioned in the verse above. As it’s commonly and rightfully said “a person makes his own bed!”.
When a person thinks he can do it and rely upon his abilities and his intelligence, he resembles those young lions full of strength, which despite their might and cunning have amongst the lower percentage of successful hunting, and therefore remain days without eating. It’s important to review what Chazal say in the “Gates of trust”: “If a person places his trust in his wisdom and tactics, physical strength and industriousness – he will toil for nothing, his strength will weaken, and his tactics will fall short of accomplishing his desire, as written “He traps the wise with their own cunning” (Iyov 5:13), and “I returned and saw under the sun, that the race does not belong to the swift, nor the battle to the mighty; neither do the wise have bread [meaning, is successful in business]. (Koheles 9:11)”. “If a person relies on his wealth, it will be removed from him and left to someone else, as written: “He lies down rich, but there shall be nothing to gather; he opens his eyes, and his wealth is not” (Iyov 27:19), “Do not weary yourself to grow rich; cease from your own understanding.” (Mishlei 23:4), “Should you blink your eyes at it, it is not here; for it will make wings for itself, like the eagle, and it will fly toward the heavens.” (Mishlei 23:5), “so it is he who gathers riches but not by right; he shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end he stands dishonored” (Yirmiya 17:11) On the other hand, the person putting his trust in Hashem, is attached to the tree of Life. The same way an apple tree grows only apples, the tree of life grows only life, the real one. So the blessings will shower that person with a life of calm and serenity, a life with health and happiness, a life of inner fulfilment and with the desire to grow even closer to Hashem. Though, Hashem might test the person’s trust by feeding him only daily portions, just as he did to our forefathers in the desert. If the person overcomes that test, undoubtedly, he will get even more blessings, the ones coming from the Gan Eden. Chazal say about that person: “One who trusts in Hashem, has strong peace of mind that Hashem will provide for him at any time He wishes and in any place, just like He sustains the fetus in its mother’s womb or the chick inside an egg, which has no opening to enter anything from the outside, and birds in the air, or fish in the sea, and the tiny ant despite its weakness, while the mighty lion some days cannot obtain food, as written “Young lions suffer want and are hungry, but those who seek the Hashem lack no good” (Tehilim 34:11), and “Hashem will not starve the soul of the righteous” (Mishlei 10:3), and “I have been young, and now am old;
yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread” (Tehilim 37:25). Now we can understand why Moshe mentioned the word “Today” 3 times in a row while talking about the blessing. Because the blessing will not come upon the one that plans for tomorrow. Our realm is today, we can only act in the present. Hashem however will act to prepare us a good future. So, anyone that wants to be blessed should leave the future in the hands of Hashem. What would be your reaction if a rich person came to you to let you know that he purchased the latest Ferrari model. Though since it uses lots of gas, he seeks to outsmart the manufacturer and only use water instead. You wouldn’t believe your ears and think how such a stupid person ever became rich. The One that created everything in our universe as well as many other universes. The One that created every life and provides to each one at the right time. The One that has been providing for centuries to our forefathers and saved us from so many dangers and missteps. The One that provided the very life we cherish so much. Yes, the very “Manufacturer” of everything in our world. He said your worries don’t help you, they actually have the opposite effect, as they are a mark of mistrust. If you’re happy and trust in Me, I promise I will provide for you everything you need and protect you.” This is not a promise from a person but a promise from Hashem Himself, the creator of all beings. Which person will you be? The one putting gas in your car or the one putting water?

Rabbi Fridmann

By Rabbi Fridmann * [email protected] * 305.985.3461

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