27 Jul EIKEV
In this week’s parashah it states “Hashem will remove from you all illnesses and all diseases of Mitzrayim…” (7:15). Notice that the passuk discusses two types of sicknesses: “all illnesses and all diseases of Mitzrayim…” The Yerushalmi (Shabbos 14:3) teaches “kol cholei teh harayon”, that when the Torah says that Hashem will remove all illnesses, this means that Hashem will remove all fears and worries from us.” What, illness is worries? We can explain this in two ways: One is that there are people, who are totally well, but they suffer from hypochondria, and they think they’re sick. This fear and worry is an illness in itself, and the Torah promises that if we keep the Torah, Hashem will heal us from it. A second form of worry is about the future. A very popular example of this is worrying about finances. Hashem promises that if we will go in the ways of the Torah, Hashem will remove these worries and ‘illnesses’ from us. Remembering that everything we have, and everything that occurs, is from Hashem, will also free us from worry. When one truly believes that Hashem has helped him in the past, he will not be worried about the future. But if he thinks that it was by the power of his hand, or good luck which brought him success, then he might be afraid that this time he won’t be so lucky. A chassid told the Tzemech Tzedek that his eighth’s child’s chasunah is approaching, and he’s worried about it, because he doesn’t have money… The Tzemech Tzedek asked him, “How did you manage to marry off the first seven children?” “I’ll tell you the truth,” the chassid replied, “I really don’t know.” The Tzemech Tzedek told him, “Just as Hashem helped you with those weddings, he will help you with this wedding.” Take a survey among hundreds of poor people who have made chasunos, and ask them how they managed, and many of them will tell you sincerely that it was miraculous. There are always logical explanations, but even after stating them, it remains unclear how they managed. The answer is, Hashem helped them. And it isn’t only about weddings. Many people can testify that they didn’t know how they would manage to cover all the bills, but they do, time and again. The only logical explanation is that Hashem was with them. This realization should give them hope for the future. The Gemara (Moed Kotton 18) states, “Forty days before a child is formed, a bas kol announces “Bas ploni l’ploni, sadeh ploni l’ploni”. The bas kol announces who the child will marry, and which plot of land he will get. Why is the second announcement, regarding the field, necessary? The Ra”n (quoted in Eitz Yosef on Ein Yaakov) explains that there was once a custom that the parents of the kallah would give a field, as a gift, to the new couple. This was a source of worry for many parents. How would they afford it? The Gemara reveals to us that everything has been pre-arranged and planned forty days before the child’s formation. The field that the couple will get has already been announced, and therefore it will certainly come to be. Parents don’t need to worry, because the bas kol’s decree will surely come to be. Reb Yehudah Rabinovitz zt’l (a student of the Tchebiner Rav zt’l) told the following mashal: When a person looks at the horizon, it seems to him that that’s where heaven and earth meet, and the world doesn’t continue after that. But when he gets there, he sees that it’s not the end of the world. The sky is high above his head, and there are many roads ahead of him. Similarly, a person with many children to marry off often thinks “I can manage to marry off one more child, but how will I manage to marry off all the others?” But after he passes the first hurdle, he sees hope to marry off a second child. But he is still worried, “What will be with the children after that?” He is most likely to discover, when he gets there, that he hasn’t reached the end of the road. Hashem has more kindness to give him. Reb Yehudah Rabinovitz zt’l said that this is alluded to in the passuk “as the heaven is high above the earth, so is Hashem’s kindness boundless on those who fear Him” (Tehillim 103:11). Why is Hashem’s kindness compared to the height of the heaven above earth? It is because when one looks far ahead at the horizon, he thinks that he sees the place where heaven and earth meet, and that there’s nothing beyond that point. But when he gets there, he sees that the heaven is very high above his head and the road continues on. That’s how Hashem’s chessed is. When we think we’ve reached the end, there is much more kindness ahead of us. A bachur once said to his mashgiach, Reb Elyah Lopian zt’l that he wants to leave the yeshiva to begin earning a living. Reb Elya Lopian asked him, “Why do you want to begin working so soon?” He replied, “I am about to start shidduchim soon, and it won’t be long before I will be married with a family, and I have to support them.” “How do you know that you will get married?” The bachur, startled by this question, answered, “I am certain that Hashem will help me find my bashert.” “And how do you know that you’ll have children?” The bachur, surprised once again, replied, “Hashem will help. Please don’t curse me. I will have children. I’m certain.” Reb Elya Lopian told him, “So you believe that Hashem will give you a spouse and children. So why don’t you believe that Hashem will give you parnassah too?” Yet, people are worried. And even after witnessing miracle after miracle, they are afraid that perhaps this time they will be stuck. Why are they so concerned? Haven’t they seen the pattern, that Hashem is supporting them, helping them each step of the way? The explanation is that they don’t know clearly that everything comes from Hashem. They think that success is their own, and therefore they are afraid that perhaps this time they may fail. If they would clearly know that the salvations of the past came from Hashem, they wouldn’t worry about the present either. Furthermore, for many people, their expenses are greater than their income, yet, they manage somehow. A paycheck comes in, the bills, the grocery, and other expenses are paid, and everything seems to be running smoothly, but it doesn’t add up mathematically, and it doesn’t make sense how the money stretched so far. This miracle happens to many people, regularly each month. The Kotzker zt’l discusses this phenomenon, and asks: Why doesn’t Hashem make it different? Why doesn’t Hashem initially give people enough money to cover all their expenses? Why is it necessary to give them too little money, and then miraculously, let this amount of money support them? The Kotzker answers that this miraculous situation helps people recognize that their true source of parnassah comes from Hashem. If people would earn enough money, they would fool themselves into thinking that they are supporting themselves. But since their income isn’t sufficient, and yet they are managing, they know that Hashem alone is supporting them. The Torah says shma yisroel, “Listen Yisrael…” (9:1) you are about to enter the land of Canaan. A land with gigantic and powerful people living in cities fortified up to the heaven. The Torah tells us that we don’t need to worry, “Hashem will destroy them, Hashem will humble them…” Because when one believes in Hashem, there is never reason to worry.