This e-mail is dedicated to the 14 Jews who lost their lives Wednesday in two separate terrorist attacks in Israel. Please add the following names of wounded to your prayers: Shimrit Bat Shoshana, (17 1/2 yrs. Old, in ICU); Neta Bat Batsheva, (17 1/2 yrs old, in ICU); Katy Bat Rosie, (38 yrs old, ICU); Adiel Ben Henya, (19 yrs old), Arik Ben Sara, (35 yrs old, ICU).
Last week’s question was regarding the “Ben Sorer Umoreh–rebellious son” who is considered to be such a menace to society, that he is killed. We noted that there are some very specific criteria that must fulfilled in order for a child to be a Ben Sorer Umoreh. The boy must be between 13 and 13 and 3 months, old. If he is a day younger than 13 or older than 13 and three months he cannot be considered a Ben Sorer Umoreh even if he does all the other things that a Ben Sorer Umoreh does. Some of those “Other things” include stealing money to buy a specific amount of meat and Italian wine (French wine does not count), eating it in a specific kind of surrounding, etc. In addition, when the Torah tells us (21:18) “And he does not listen to the voice of his father and the voice of his mother”, the Gemarra (Sanhedrin) says that this hints to another criteria, namely that “the mother and father’s voices must be the same”. We asked–Why would the voices of the mother and father sounding the same, be one of the criteria for a child to be a Ben Sorer Umoreh?
An answer provided by Orli Katz (who quotes R. Zweig of Miami and to whom an apology is owed because a previous answer that she provided to another question was not received in time to be included in that e-mail) was right on the mark when she said “the answer may be that the parents’ collective “voice” in child-rearing must be the same–i.e. it cannot be that the father sets a good Chinuch (education) example and the mother a bad or vice versa. Otherwise, this mitigates on the child’s behalf as to why he rebelled. On the other hand, if the parents provide a united and moral front, then he has no excuse for his actions and must be punished to the full extent of the law.” Thus, the Gemarra is actually providing a reason for why a child would become a Ben Sorer Umoreh. When parents pull a child to different sides, the chances are that the child will become a Ben Sorer Umoreh. According to the Maggid Yerachim, this is especially true with regard to religion. When one parent enforces religion in the home while the other does not, this mixed message will result in a Ben Sorer Umoreh. Thus the responsibility of a Ben Sorer Umoreh is essentially on the parents and they must make sure their voices are equal–i.e. they should not give mixed messages to their children which will drive them to be “rebellious” children.
Parshat Ki Tavoh contains a listing of all the blessings and curses that will come upon the Jewish people based on whether or not they keep the Torah. At one point Moshe says (28:8-12) “Hashem will give you blessing in your storehouses and in all that your hand does. And Hashem will establish you as a holy nation because you will keep His Mitzvot. And Hashem will increase the fruit of your womb on the Land. And Hashem will open His treasury of good to let the rain fall”. On the surface, the last part of that blessing seems somewhat anti-climatic. Is rain the best thing in Hashem’s “treasury of good”? While rain is very important, it seems that Hashem’s “treasury of good” could come up with something more impressive–like World-peace, an end to sickness, etc. Why is rain the best that Hashem has to offer?
According to Kli Yakar, there is something much deeper being alluded to here. Kli Yakar says that the “blessing in your storehouses” refers to the reward in Olam HaBah (World-to-Come). The Rabbis say that the ultimate blessing is not found in anything which can be counted or measured, since that would imply that it is limited. The ultimate blessing is unlimited. The Hebrew word “Asam–storehouse” comes from the word “Samui–blind or hidden”. Thus the Torah is really saying that the “ultimate” blessing that Hashem will give you is the one which is hidden–i.e. in Olam HaBah.
As far as how we will get that blessing, according to Kli Yakar the next verse “I will establish you as a holy nation” is actually referring to “T’chiyat HaMaytim–Resurrection of the dead”. T’chiyat HaMaytim is the process by which we get into Olam HaBah where we can receive the ultimate, unlimited blessing. As to where T’chiyat HaMaytim is being hinted to, Kli Yakar says that rain is an analogy to T’chiyat HaMaytim. R. Kahana (Shlita) once noted how rain is similar to the process of Techiyat HaMaytim. Rain falls from Heaven onto the Earth and is then evaporated by the sun so that it goes back up to Heaven where it becomes part of a cloud. When the cloud becomes too heavy it bursts, sending the rain back down to Earth again. Similarly, the soul of a person comes down from Heaven onto the Earth and after spending some “time in the sun”, it “evaporates” back up to Heaven. There it becomes part of the World of Souls until the time that Hashem determines that it will come back down to Earth, via Techiyat HaMaytim. (This can explain why the Rabbis say “There are three keys, or functions, that Hashem performs Himself and does not give over to any messenger. The three keys are 1) birth 2) rain and 3) Techiyat HaMaytim. Since birth, rain and Techiyat HaMaytim are similar processes it makes sense that all three are in Hashem’s domain.) Thus, the promise of rain in this week’s parsha is actually quite significant because it really hints to the opportunity to receive the ultimate blessing, via Techiyat HaMaytim.
Last night, the wedding of 23-year-old Naavah Applebaum was supposed to take place, had she and her father, Dr. David Applebaum, not been killed in last night’s suicide-bomber attack in Jerusalem. What should have been a day of great blessing was turned into a day of great sorrow, as instead of escorting her to her Chuppah, Naavah’s father escorted her to the World of Souls. There, they both await T’chiyat HaMaytim. Until then, may they (and all those who were killed) already begin receiving the ultimate, unlimited blessing.
In the beginning of Parshat Ki Tavoh, Moshe instructs the Jews that when they bring the Beekurim (first fruits offering) to the Kohain, they must (26:3) “Tell Hashem your G-d today ‘I came to the Land that Hashem promised our forefathers.”. It is a bit unusual that Moshe says “Tell your G-d” instead of saying “Tell our G-d”. Why does Moshe say it like that?
What do you think?