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Parshat Eikev (5762)

This week's section contains the commandment to bless G-d after eating bread:

"And you shall eat, and you shall be satisfied and you shall bless G-d etc." (Num. 8:10)

At first glance this is not understood.

How can we "BLESS" G-d?!

If someone is lacking something, a blessing helps him. Like when Isaac blessed Jacob.

But G-d lacks nothing. (In fact He creates everything so there IS nothing except for G-d) So how can WE bless G-d?

To understand this, here is a story.

There was once a Chassid of the Rebbe Maharas'h (Rebbe Shmuel) of Chabad (1834 – 1882) who had no children.

In those days the Jews suffered many hardships; hunger, poverty, anti-Semitism and more, but not having children was unbearable.

Being Chassidim, he and his wife went to the Rebbe to ask for his blessing but the Rebbe seemed to ignore their request.

They took it as a sign that they weren't doing enough. They began to give more charity, devote more time to helping others, pray with more sincerity but nothing changed; no children and try as they could, no response from the Rebbe.

One of the most important "innovations" of Chassidim is to get together and say 'LeChiam' (over Vodka or something similar) in order to take Judaism out of the books and put it into real life.

This is especially true of Chabad Chassidim (especially when in Russia). They call it a "Farbrengen" (get-together) and usually much vodka is consumed amidst song, deep words of Torah, Chassidic stories and even dancing.

One night such a Farbrengen was held at our Chassid's home. About twenty of his friends sat together and as the night progressed both the seriousness and the joy became more intense.

Then, suddenly everything seemed to die down. His wife peeked in from the kitchen to see what was wrong and when she couldn't figure it out she called to her husband and asked him what happened.

It seems there was no more vodka and no hope of replenishing the supply. Things were becoming more and more academic and the Farbrengen was dying..

She boldly walked into the room where they all were sitting and announced; "If you will promise me that I will have a child, I can get you vodka; as much as you want. But you have to promise!"

Now, usually Chassidim would never agree to such a thing, but this time, because of the unusual circumstances, they all began joyously blessing and promising with all their hearts and at the tops of their lungs.

She put on her coat, slipped out the door into the cold Russian night and miraculously returned minutes later with several full bottles (till this day no one knows from where). The farbrengen continued till the morning.

Several months later she proudly announced to her husband that she was pregnant! Their joy was boundless but they decided that there must be something very mysterious going on here and they had to see the Rebbe.

It took a while but they finally got an audience, entered, told the Rebbe the good news and asked their question:

Why was it that the Rebbe could not bless them, while the Chassidim not only blessed but their blessings were fulfilled?!

The Rebbe first congratulated them and then replied:

"In general a person's physical needs can be divided into three categories: family, health and income. Some people have the fortune to be blessed with all three and some, G-d forbid, lack all of them.

"I saw in the spiritual worlds that you could only have two. And it was in such a way that if your wife became pregnant then you and she would die shortly after the child's birth. That is why I avoided your requests and pleas for children.

"But the Chassidim are something else." The Rebbe continued. "They have good hearts which gives validity to their blessings but they have no idea of these spiritual complications and "G-d protects the simple" (Psalms 116:6).

Therefore not only will their blessings be fulfilled, but you both will have long lives, and be blessed with many G-d fearing children and children's children.

This answers our question.

The Ramba'm (Maimonides) writes that the main job of Moshiach is to bring about the revelation of G-d in the entire world.

And when G-d is revealed there will be no hunger, sickness or lacking of any type. In fact eventually there will be no death!! And even the dead will rise!!!

In other words; the reason that the world is so confused and full of pain today is because G-d is concealed.

And that is what it means to BLESS G-d; namely to bring His revelation into the world.

That is how the Rebbe and the Chassidim in our story had the power to bless.

Because they were Jews, and the Jewish people were "chosen" to cause this revelation; it's their "job" to perfect the world by revealing (blessing) the Creator (as G-d said to Abraham "and you will be a blessing" (Gen. 12:2)).

And that is why we bless after eating bread.

Because bread is the product of many "natural" processes and eating bread leads to feeling "natural" and egotistic; G-d wants to be "BLESSED" into even these most natural things.

That is the importance of Moshiach and why he is the goal of Judaism:

Only he will unify and reveal the result of the blessings of our and all the previous generations and make this world into a truly blessed place.

It all depends on us to do as many good deeds and make as many blessings as possible in order to bring...

Moshiach NOW!!

Copyright © 1999-2017 Rabbi Tuvia Bolton. All rights reserved. No unauthorized reproduction or copying of this material shall occur without prior permission.

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