Recently in Va'ethchanan Category

h |B

Ha Torah, What's In It For Me?

By Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

Parshat Devarim Vah Eht Chah Nawn

Devarim 3.23 - 7.11

Our Devri Torah is in the Loving Memory of the Horvat Mishpachah who died in the Holocaust.  May they rest in peace!

We live in an age where people evaluate situations.  When Ha Torah was Given to B'nei Yisroel on Har Sinai the other nations of the world when asked by our Creator if they would accept Ha Torah evaluated.  They wanted to know what's in it for me.

Every Shavuos, it was the practice of the saintly Chofetz Chaim zt"l to gather his students and describe in great detail the Revelation on Har Sinai. He would tell how the Almighty presented the Torah to the nations of the world, who rejected it out of hand, leaving only the Jewish People receptive to His offer....

It was on Yom Sheini Chodesh Sh'ishi that Kol Yisroel said 'Kol Asher Debar Hashem Nasah' Everything Hashem Says we will do. Yet before B'nei Yisroel was offered Ha Torah Hashem Went to all the nations of the world and asked if they would like to receive Ha Torah. In Midrash in Parshat V'zot Habrachah we that Hashem went to B'nai Esav and offered Ha Torah to them.  Why?  '...Edom and [Yishmael], had the opportunity to learn [Ha] Torah in their father's homes: [Yishmael] could have learned [Ha Torah] from Abraham, and [Esav] from [Yitzchok]. (For this reason [G-d] first [Approached]  [Esav], even though [Yishmael came first chronologically.  Whereas [Yishmael spent only a short time in, [Avraham], his father's home before being expelled, [Esav] spent many years in [Yitzchok's] home.  What is more, he should also have learned from his grandfather [Avraham]... 

Rabbi Zalman Sorotzkin, Insights In The Torah - Devarim (Brooklyn, NY: Mesorah Publications, Ltd. First Edition, 1991), p 389  

Note other references regarding the 70 {seventy} nations that rejected Ha Torah:

Avodah Zarah 2b - 39

Yalkut Shimoni

Rabbi Moshe Weissman, The Midrash Says The Book of Sh'mos (Brooklyn, New York:  Benei Yakov Publications 1980), p. 230; Rabbi Moshe Weissman

The Midrash Says The Book of Devarim (Brooklyn, New York:  Benei Yakov Publications 1980), p. 384.

Rabbi Dr. Charles B. Chavel Ramban {Nachmanides} Commentary On The Torah Deuteronomy (Shilo Publishing House, Inc. New York, N.Y. 1990) pp 373,374

When Hashem Offered Ha Torah to Esav's descendants they questioned, What's in it?

Hashem Responded, Do not murder!

They responded, Our father Esav built his reputation on murder. How could we leave his ways? As a result of not wanting to change Esav's descendants refused Ha Torah.

Next Hashem went to the descendants of Yishmael. Hashem Offered Ha Torah to Yishmael's descendants.  They wanted to know what's in it? Hashem Responded, Do not steal!   As a result of not wanting to change Yishmael's descendants rejected Ha Torah.  They did not want to abandon the ways of their ancestor, stealing.

Hashem Offered Ha Torah to the descendants of Lot, Amon and Moav.  They wanted to know, What's in it?  Hashem Said, Do not commit adultery!  They also rejected Ha Torah.   Why? Their births resulted from incestuousness immorality.

Each nation was presented with a Command from Ha Torah representing their greatest challenge. Each group wanted to know, what's in it. Each group focused on the mitzvah they struggled with instead of the other 612 mitzvot. The most difficult test came first.  It is often that way today.  It is the challenge to change.

Finally, Hashem approaches Bnei Yisrael to offer Ha Torah. The Midrash tells us that Kol Yisroel i.e those born B'nei Yisroel and those who converted to Judaism,  immediate response  'Naaseh V'nishma' - We will do and we will listen. We the smallest of nations did not ask what's in it.  We trusted Hashem. As a result Ha Torah became our legacy eternally!  This was our greatest moment.  We reached the level of the Malachim {Angels}.  We trusted our Creator implicitly!!

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch states, [Ha Torah in G-d's universe is] the power which gives movement, alteration and life to all physical beings...[The] G-d Given Laws of nature work in all His creations.  These Laws work unconsciously in everything Created. We must inquire how?  We must wonder how do I flow with the Laws G-d Has Established?  How does one reduce the friction caused by going against what G-d Established?  What prevents us from receiving the best of the best?

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, The Pentateuch Translation And Commentary (London England, Judaica Press, LTD 2nd Edition 1989) p664


Well, we are thousands of years from the Giving and receiving of Ha Torah.  Today we are living in 5768 F.C.  Much has changed.  Yet the Laws of G-d Remain the same as when we received Ha Torah in 2448 F.C.   It is us, B'nei Yisroel who are facing so many challenges.  Why?  WE HAVE CNANGED! G-d Help Us Please!  Some of us seem to be looking back and questioning, what's in it for me.   G-d Forbid!  We reject Ha Torah!  We doubt Ha Torah!  We are mixed among the religions of the world.  We are the fallen!  We are the agnostics, the atheists and the humanists.  We are the one who have rejected G-d and turned away... G-d Please Help Us!  

It is in this weeks Parshat, Devarim Vah Eht Chah Nawn that Hashem Warned B'nei Yisroel.  Hashem Said that we would sin, that we would grow corrupt, that we would perish from our land and that we would be scattered among all the nations.  THIS HAS HAPPENED!    Now the question is how do we reverse this?  How do we change our situation?

From this place [of degradation] you will seek Hashem your G-d and find [Him only] when you seek with your entire emotion and with all of you breath.  When you are in distress and these things happen to you in the end of days you will return to Hashem your G-d and hear His Voice.  For the Alm-ghty is Merciful, Hashem Your G-d.  He Will Not forsake nor destroy you nor will He forget the Covenant of your fathers that He swore to them.  Devarim 4.29-31

Dear ones here are the steps we need to take:

1. Seek Hashem from our place...

2. Seek Hashem with our entire emotion...

3. Seek Hashem with all our soul / breath...

4. Return / Repent - i.e acknowledge your sin, turn from your sin toward Ha Torah, make a plan not to sin, pay restitution.

5. You will listen to His Voice i.e what He Has Spoken to Moshe - You will listen to the Words of Ha Torah

What are the results?  This is what's in it for me...

1. Only the Torah of Hashem Can Restore your soul Tehillim 19.8

2. The reward of Keeping Ha Torah is that it will be good for you... Devarim 4.39

3. The reward of Keeping Ha Torah is that it will be good for your children... Devarim 4.39; 5.26

4. The reward of Keeping Ha Torah will prolong your life... Devarim 4.39; 5.30; 6.2

5. The reward of Keeping Ha Torah is that you will live... Devarim 4.1,4; 5.30

6. The reward of Keeping Ha Torah is evidence of your wisdom... Devarim 4.6

7. The reward of Keeping Ha Torah is evidence of your understanding Devarim 4.6

The nations will see us as 'a wise and understanding people' 

So when we flow in agreement with Ha Torah we will enjoy the above results.  Thank G-d!  Lets do it!!

Blessings and peace,

Dr. Akiva Gamliel

About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries in the Va'ethchanan category.

Va'eira is the previous category.

Vatigash is the next category.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.