Friday, July 7, 2017

A Message for Life from Parshas Balak

One of the first things we say in our morning prayers is ‘מה טּבוּ אהליך יעקב משׁכּנתיך ישׂראל-- 'How goodly are your tents O' Yaakov!  Your dwelling places O' Yisroel!'.

 The name Yisroel, we are taught, can refer to B'nei Torah and Gedolim, and the name Yaakov can refer to “regular” Jews.   

Also, it is of note that a tent is more of a temporary place, while a dwelling place connotes a more permanent place.  However, they both imply a place of Torah study, just one more temporary and one more permanent.  Now let us put this all together:

 How goodly are your Tents O' Yaakov!':  One might, Chas V’Shalom and Rachmana Litzlan think that if they are “just a regular Jew”, and they go to learn Torah only sometimes, the Beis Midrash (or any place they learn) being only a temporary dwelling place for them, it is not that good or important.   

But the above verse teaches us otherwise:  Every single good thing which we do is precious to Hashem; He does not overlook anything.  Thus, even if you have to be working most of the day, and then you come home pretty late, and go learn even a little; that is extremely precious to Hashem!  Don't get discouraged and think that your Torah is not important; it is very important!

 And the proof for this:  If you take the Gematria (numerical value) of the words ‘מה טּבוּ אהליך יעקב’ it equals 310.  What does that correspond to?  The word ‘ישׁ’ (which means literally ‘there is’ or ‘there are’).  ישׁ’ is the opposite of ‘אין’ (nothingness).  Meaning that whatever Torah you are able to learn -- it is not nothingness, Chas V’Shalom.  It is the very opposite. ‘There is’ much, much importance to it.

 And on the other hand, the verse says ‘Your Dwelling Places, O’ Yisroel!’:  To all people who can and are involved in Torah study etc. most of the day, realize just how important it is to Hashem.

 But there is something else we can see from the above verse:  A person is not stuck in one place; you can be in the first category which we discussed, and, with hard work and the Help of Hashem, enter into the second category.

 Perhaps these are some of the very reasons why מה טּבוּ is one of the first things we say in our daily Davening (prayers), as their importance is vital to realize early each day. (From the Introduction to Rays of Light: Adar).

A Gut Shabbos to all!

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