Parshas Ki Savo
Deuteronomy 26:1 - 29:8

Prolonged Existence ©

By Dr. Akiva G. Belk

This study of the weekly parsha is dedicated in the loving memory of Mr. Paul Sakash, may he rest in peace.

"I have led you forty years in the wilderness, your garments have not worn out on you and your shoes have not worn out on your feet. Bread have you not eaten, neither flesh {have you eaten} nor aged wine have you drunk, in order that you know that I, Hashem, am your G-d." Deuteronomy 29:4,5}

Holy reader, our subject is prolonging existence. Here we see that the garments and shoes of B'nei Yisroel lasted for 40 years. This is quite remarkable since in our present world clothes and shoes do not to have a similar wear pattern. In fact when purchasing new clothing I can only expect a short... a very short existence!

Just yesterday my wife and I returned a pair of boots that were purchased in February of this year. The eyelet on the right boot was broken off. The seams on the left boot were split on both sides. The shoestrings of each boot were coming apart. Now, I did not expect or request the store to refund or replace these boots. HOWEVER, THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT THEY DID..may Hashem bless them!

In May of this year I purchased several work shirts. After a short time the snap on one shirt broke and the elbow on another shirt ripped. Pants that I purchased earlier this year have already begun to fray. So what is it with products today? Why don't products last like they should? Our technology is greater than any time in our existence. We should be able to manufacture clothes that are durable, yet we fall quite short of this. Why??

My grandfather was a shoemaker, a quality Shoemaker! His products were durable and lasted for a long time. My wife's grandfather was a hat manufacturer. His hats were very durable, lasting a very long time. However the quality of clothing thousands of years from Har Sinai is considerably less. Why?

When the Torah says, " {Y}our garments have not worn out on you and your shoes have not worn out on your feet" it is making quite a statement for the 21st century!! The Torah is referring to prolonged existence. That is when a person or an object lives beyond their expected life span. For example any person who lives beyond 70 years has entered a period of prolonged existence.

When we consider prolonged existence from the Torah view in today's world it is quite phenomenal. Yet that is exactly why each year we return to this parsha, to remember Hashem's blessing of prolonged existence during our tenure in the BaMidbar. We are to remember the great miracles that Hashem performed for us. Why is this important? Why do we need to remember? Why do we need to review the miracles of prolonged existence each year? The Torah answers, " In order that you know that I, Hashem, am your G-d. "

Holy reader, this is to remind us that Hashem not only can prolong the existence of material things but of spiritual things also. The very action of our returning to this parsha to study connects us to the spiritual significance of this fact. When we study prolonged existence we are engaging in the spirituality of this text. So the intention here is for us to understand that while the prolonged existence of clothing is important, it is not as important as prolonged spirituality! If we are drawn to the phenomenon of this miracle, if we are engaged spiritually by the phenomenon of this miracle and if we are mentally challenged then this miracle of thousands of years ago has succeeded! We are learning that Hashem is G-d! The Torah has connected with us.

Our parsha states, " Bread have you not eaten... " Dear reader, holy reader when the Torah reminds us that we did not eat bread it is in fact reminding us that we survived the BaMidbar entirely on the Word of Hashem. It was by His command that manna was provided. This is why the Torah says, "man cannot live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of Hashem does man live " {Deuteronomy 8: 3 }.

Our Parsha states , neither flesh {have you eaten}.. " So we note another interesting issue, that being that the Torah's view on what flesh is and is not. The Torah states that Kal Yisroel did not eat flesh. In other words Kal Yisroel did not eat their livestock in the BaMidbar. In addition the quail that Kal Yisroel did eat according to the Torah were not considered meat. The quail were parve. They were not meat. They are not flesh. They are foul! Birds are parve!

It is long past the time to recognize that birds are not meat, they are parve! This is what Torah teaches. I cannot buy the argument that someone might by chance mistake foul for meat! Now I understand this is a rabbinical command, observing that foul is meat. The issue here is that it is time for us to return to the teaching of the Torah! This week's parsha is a reminder to each of us that G-d does not intend for any Jew to misunderstand what is meat and what is not meat!! Therefore we must understand it is time to return, it is time it to do shuvah and it is time to acknowledge that foul is not meat. This also is shuvah!!

What does this have to do with prolonged existence? The Torah is an ancient book. Its teachings are old and very well established! When rabbinical changes are made to the Torah it must be noted. When it is noted it must be agreed! When it is not agreed the rabbinical changes have no effect. So we return to the point of fact that foul is parve. Prolonged existence is based upon the fact that Kal Yisroel did not eat flesh in the BaMidbar even though they ate foul. It is a serious error on behalf of Kal Yisroel to alter, change or suggest that we should oppose the very foundation of prolonged existence by proclaiming foul as meat. FOUL IS NOT MEAT! To suggest this disagrees with the Torah premise that Kal Yisroel did not eat flesh in the BaMidbar! Our prolonged existence as a Jewish nation is based upon this fact! Any attempt to change this is a mistake!!

With one hand we lower our standards and with the other hand we build fences. This makes no sense. The Torah is the Torah!

In addition to this our parsha states, "nor aged wine have you drunk.." In other words, our existence in the BaMidbar was based upon purity. Stimulants, intoxicants and other such mind altering influences were not used in the BaMidbar. The point is these types of influences were not used then. There was no need to use these influences then. Hashem was our influence!! Prolonged existence is based upon Hashem being our influence!! Rabbium are NOT our influence. Hashem is our influence!!

Holy reader, we can see the benefits of prolonged existence. If we want to enjoy this beautiful, extremely beautiful and most wonderful benefit from Hashem we must return to the foundation that originally provided for prolonged existence. Simply put this means renewal of Torah basics that are not corrupted by improper influences. This statement is based upon the fact that shuvah, that return is not only a return to present day Judaism but a clear and distinct return to Torah values of thousands and thousands of years ago. What I am saying is this: "Return To Established, Tried and Proven Torah Values NOT WATERED DOWN by present day ideas.

Our present day thinking places prolonged existence on CHANGE... on STYLE... on TREND... instead of durable Torah values of thousands of years ago! This has led to many mistakes. Instead of drawing Jews to Torah values it has driven them away! This is the time of RETURN! Begin by observing the mitzvahs that you can! Our prolonged existence depends upon it!!

Wishing you the best,

Dr. Akiva G. Belk

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