This page presents insights by Rabbi Tuvia Bolton on the weekly Torah portion.
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Parshat Ki Teitzei (5767)
This week's section contains 73 of G-d's 613 commandments to the Jews; more than any other weekly portion in the Torah.
The commandments here range from the intricate laws of divorce and of Yibum to which entire tractates of the Talmud are devoted to one the simplest; paying your hired workers on time. (24:15)
But this simple commandment seemingly poses a major spiritual problem.
The Torah informs us that G-d has a 'personality'. He possesses wisdom, Understanding, Kindness, Severity etc. and even an 'image' from which man is created (Gen.1:27 & 9:6).
And the teachings of the Medrash, Kaballa and Chassidut go even further to explain that G-d does all the commandments. As we say in the blessing: "……Who sanctified us with HIS commandments etc." Namely that G-d has the same commandments that we do and is even, so to speak, 'obligated' to do them.
But this commandment of paying on time seems to be a big exception.
Generations after generations of Jews for thousands of years have been serving G-d since He gave us His Torah but He never seems to pay on time. He constantly delays our wages!!!
True, there is the reward of a more meaningful, and even joyous life … but the REAL payoff comes only in the hereafter; in heaven or afterwards in the days of Moshiach.
Why don't we get it all now? Isn't G-d supposed to pay on time too?
Also we are now in the month of Ellul approaching the awesome holiday of Rosh HaShanna. What is the connection here?
To understand all this here is a story. (Cfar Chabad Magazine issue #1,243)
Rabbi Alter Fishel Buket was in the Synagogue near the Rebbe's 'Ohel' in Montefiore cemetery trying to concentrating on one of the Rebbe's intricate discourses. Although it was after midnight and the place was almost empty he was having trouble. Another Jew, a Chassidic looking fellow was there with his two young boys that were running around and making quite a disturbance.
Rabbi Buket just deepened his concentration and was just beginning to forget everything around him when the Chassidic fellow began staring at him, stood, approached him and asked if it was possible that he was the one that held the Lubavitcher Rebbe's car door open twelve years earlier.
Rabbi Buket thought for a moment and shook his head yes.
Indeed twelve years earlier when he was an unmarried young man learning in Yeshiva he had volunteered to keep order on Lag B'Omer; a holiday that falls 33 days after Passover.
When this holiday falls on Sunday (and the children are out of school in the U.S.A.) Chabad makes a massive four hour long parade in the streets of Brooklyn that passes in front of the Rebbe's headquarters and a lot of manpower is needed to make sure it goes smoothly.
But it is also a day that the Chabad Rebbes notoriously give blessings to unfruitful parents for children and a lot of people need such blessings.
This fellow related that he had been one of them. He was a Belzer Chassid that lived nearby and had been married for over ten years but hadn't been blessed with children.
He and his wife tried everything; doctors, specialists, professors, alternative medicines, herbal and other treatments with no results. They increased in Torah learning and good deeds. They gave more charity, prayed with more fervor, visited the graves of Tzadikim and almost all the living Tzadikim they could. But no children.
Then one of his friends told him to go to Crown Heights on Lag B'omer where the Rebbe of Lubavitch is. That is the day that the Chabad Rebbes did miracles regarding children So he went.
When he got there the crowd was immense. Thousands of people were waiting outside the Synagogue door for the Rebbe to exit, some for a blessing, some for advice and some just to look but it was really crowded.
But our Chassid knew how to push and his desperation made him push even harder until… suddenly he was almost face to face with the Rebbe. He crained his neck to get a look and yelled out over the noise of the crowd
"Rebbe, a blessing for children!"
But it was impossible to hear anything. The Rebbe didn't respond. And he was pushed to the outside.
But he didn't give up. Again he pushed in to the front and when he thought he was close enough again yelled out at the top his lungs "Rebbe, a blessing for children." But again the Rebbe didn't hear.
"So I made my mind up not to give up" The Chassid continued to Rav Buket, "The Rebbe had already entered the car that was waiting to take him somewhere and when I got close enough closed the door. My only chance was the window; the Rebbe's window was open.
"But you were standing there making sure that there was order and I figured you'd never let me get away with it. But I gave it a try anyway… I really needed that blessing.
"I stuck my head through the open window and you grabbed me. But you let me talk. You could have pulled me away but you didn't.
"I asked again' 'Rebbe, a blessing for children' and this time he answered clearly
"Awmain! Kifliem l'Toshiah!" (Amen! A Double salvation)!
"So I just wanted to thank you! Isn't it a coincidence that we met here!"
"So" Rabbi Buket couldn't help asking "What happened? What happened with the Rebbe's blessing?"
"What do you mean what happened?" the Chassid replied "Here they are!" he said pointing to the two children running around. Ten months later my wife had twins and here they are. These are the double salvations"
This explains our question.
The prohibition of delaying payment is only for workers hired and paid by the day or week but not for piece workers.
The Jews are piece workers that are paid only when the JOB is FINISHED.
And the job we are 'hired' to do is to fix the world and ourselves to be ready for Moshiach.
Moshiach will be a great leader that knows and teaches all aspects of the Torah to EVERY Jew and the 7 Noahide Commandments to all the gentiles but the world has to be ready for him: to desire and expect him (which is the purpose of the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov called Chassidut: to bring Moshiach).
But until that happens; until the world is corrected and ready for Moshiach, G-d doesn't really 'owe' us anything for our work.
So that is why people like the Chassid in the story despite all his efforts working day and night in holy things didn't get 'paid' immediately with the children he so desired.
But, on the other hand in every generation there are great Tzadikim (Holy Jews) that have the power to help people and remove their difficulties so they can serve G-d better Just as Moses led the Jews from Egypt and supplied their needs in the desert and the Rebbe helped the Chassid in our story. (see Rambam, Yesodi HaTorah 8:1)
This is what the month of Ellul and the holiday of Rosh HaShanna are really about: that we ask HaShem to remove all barriers and obstacles to accepting Him as our king and reveal his Kingship with....
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