A guest post by Rabbi Aaron Fink (my father), Dean of Ateres Bais Yaakov on Monsey NY. Part of a weekly Dvar Torah (Torah “Thought”) series.
As Moshe Rabbeinu continues his admonition of Klal Yisrael we are reminded once again of the powerful legacy and commitments of our people. Indeed our connection to the past is the guarantee for our future. And so Moshe Rabbeinu invokes the call put forth to Avraham Avinu who was told by the Ribbono Shel Olam his’haleich lifanai v’heyei tamim – walk with Hashem and be pure of faith. As Moshe Rabbeinu continues his epitaph he challenges us to ascend that same mountain of emunah like our patriarch by declaring tamim tehiyeh im Hashem Elokecha – be pure in your faith of Hashem. As we know, Avraham Avinu heeded that call and so can we. In fact, as we will soon see, our relationship with Hashem Yisborach and all of His blessing depends on it.
Almost all the mifarshei hamikrah lend their hand at helping us derive a sense of clarity to this command which the Ramban clearly elucidate as a mitzvas asei. Rashi points out simply that we are to walk with Hashem b’temminus. Our relationship with Hakadosh Baruch Hu should be unassuming – after all, He knows best. Moreover says Rashi we should be mitzapeh lo – we should be seeking Him (and not others) for guidance, hope and salvation. And finally Rashi explains Moshe Rabbeinu’s challenge to mean, kol mahsheyavo alecha kabel b’temmimums – that we must accept Hashem Yisborach as the ultimate master of our destiny. As such, whatever befalls us we should accept with a pure heart. Only then will we be amo his people and chelko His portion. According to Rashi our national destiny, living as His people, is linked to the fulfillment of this mitzvah. We are expected to place our full faith and trust in Him.
Recently, Klal Yisrael has experienced numerous tragedies, dangers, as well as, a conglomerate of “natural disasters” ranging from earthquakes to hurricanes. These traumas have shaken us to our very core. Some have attempted to justify or determine a quid pro quo for the cause of these events by asserting opinions as to why Hashem Yisbarach has done what he did (as if mortal man could know). This is a dangerous practice and one which is completely contrary to the admonition of Moshe Rabainu, tammim tehiyeh im Hashem Elokecha, as explained by Rashi above. Instead of trying to guess what and why Hashem Yisborach is doing, we should just place our trust in Him and be confident that He knows best.
Moreover, the Ramban adds another nuance to our understanding of this critical mitzvas asei. He explains that we must acknowledge and accept that EVERYTHING, all the patterns of nature and the power of our own creativity, indeed the entire world and our future destiny is in His hands. Ki hu Elokai haElokim elyon al hakol. But there is a caveat. While it is true that hakol biydei Shamayim, nevertheless, kol haba’os tehiyenah kifi hiskareiv Eilav! All that will transpire is a direct reflection of the closeness of our relationship with Him, the Ribbono Shel Olam. Yes, all is the Yad Hashem – but what that Yad delivers, is up to us. The only quid pro quo regarding Hashem Yisborach’s hashgacha and what happens in the world around us is related to our personal connection with Kaviyachol the Ribbono Shel Olam. U’lifichach achar ha’azharos ha’eilu amer sheyehe tamim im Hashem! Indeed, the more deeply and purely (like a seh tamim) that we connect and relate to Him, give ourselves up to Him, make his mitzvos more real, His Torah more vivid and His relationship with us more personal, the more we can count on feeling more of His closeness to us.
Hishaleich lifanei v’hetei Tamim, the past is behind us and our future is ahead, but the present is now!
Tamim tehiyeh im Hashem Elokecha. This mitzvah always accompanies the beginning of chodesh Elul, the month of ani lidodi vdodi li. They go hand in hand. We know that if we turn our hearts to Kaviyachol He will turn His heart to us. Chazal remind us, dirshu Hashem bihamatzo. The yemei ratzon have arrived. As we hearken to the shofar and prepare ourselves for the Yemei Hadin let us remember that so much of what will be is up to us as individuals and as a klal. Let us resolve to maximize the potential of this Mitzvah and strive to walk with Hashem Yisborach b’temimus as Avraham Avinu did. We question not the past and we dare not predict the future. Rather,we steadfastly commit ourselves to serve Him with our entire being right here, right now.
Indeed, if we serve Hakadosh Baruch Hu, b’temimus, in the present for an entire Elul, Iy”H we will merit as a result a year filled with bracha and hatzlacha sheyimaleh kol mishakos libeinu litova.