Standing Tall | A Guest Post

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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.

Parshas Behar – Bechukosai
Standing Tall

Parshas Bechukosai commences with the hope and promise of the abundant Birchos Shamayim. All that is expected of us is bichukosai teilechushthiyu ameilim baTorah, that we should toil in Torah and in turn receive Hashem’s bountiful blessings. A progressive, ever increasing measure of bracha is presented to us. These brochos, however, are immediately followed by the Tochacha. Sadly, Klal Yisrael knows the trauma and tragedy of this Parsha all too well. Our history is painted with suffering throughout the ages.

With so much bracha to be had, we must explore, where and why does tragedy begin and how b’ezras Hashem it can be prevented. Perhaps the smichus haparshiyos gives us clue.

The opening brachos of the Parsha conclude with the words v’oleich eschem kommimiyus. Rashi explains: I will accompany you b’komah zkufah with an upright posture, a proud and regal bearing. Indeed, when all is well with Klal Yisrael, this is the epitome of birchos Shamayim, the ultimate gift – to be able to walk proudly, side by side with the Ribbono Shel Olam as His oveid. Nothing could be greater or more noble. However, this posuk is surprisingly followed by the disastrous statement of the very next verse, v’im lo sishmu li – if you will not listen to Me. Suddenly, tragedy begins. Why? How could there have been such a swift transition from bracha to klalla? How did we go from bichukosei teleichu, walking with Hashem Yisborach b’koma zkufa to r”l, lo sishmu, to not listening?

Perhaps the smichas hapsukim is telling us that the barometer of our devotion to ratzon Hashem or chas v’shalom our demise lies in the sense of kommiyus – the koma zkufa, the noble pride we have in our mitzvah observance. When we stand proud of our yiddishkeit and derive dignity and delight in doing His will, we stand tall. All of His brachos are ours! It is only when there is a break-down, however small it begins, in our sense of the nobility of being His Am Segula that the – possibility of lo sishmu can exist. It is the proud Jew who listens to the Ribbono Shel Olam and kivayachol partners with Him in being an ohr La’amim. It is a role to savor. Only the Jew who, r”l, lacks pride, begins to distance himself from the warm embrace of Hashem Yisborach, His Torah and His mitzvos. Without pride, our motivation to do His will is muted. We turn astray and the Yetzer Harah begins to dominate us until v’lo sishmu becomes the norm.

As we prepare for Shavuos and Kabbolas Hatorah we must remember ashrienu mah tov chelkeinu, we are indeed fortunate to be part of the Am Hanivchar; we are banim laHashem. We must stand proud. As Dovid Hamelech exclaims, Hashem Melech Geus Laveish…Hashem Yisborach is cloaked in pride, so can we. In so doing, we can merit a life of bracha filled with nachas from our children who will follow our model and grow to be proud, happy and noble partners with Hakadosh Baruch Hu with a gishmak in avodas Hashem which will continue to inspire future generations. Our limud haTorah and our kiyum hamitzvos – indeed, our very future depend upon it.