Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Emor

Mitzvah Vigilante

The Torah tells us in this week's parsha, "u'shmartem es mitzvosai, v'aseesem osum -- watch the mitzvos and do them" (Vayikra 22:31). What does watch mitzvos mean. If one does a mitzvah he is surely doing more than watching them. Watching mitzvos seems quite passive. Observant Jew is a term used for those who actually perfom the and adhere to the laws, and the curious word observant, perhaps, indeed comes from the Hebrew word u'shmartem. But doesn't Hashem want us to be more than just watchers. If He tells us to do mitzvos, then surely we watch them! Why the double, if not redundant, expression? This past Thursday evening I went to be Menachem Avel (in the vernacular ¯ pay a shiva call) a friend, Rabbi Zissel Zelman, who was sitting shiva for his father. He is a Chicago native whose father, Rabbi Zelman, grew up in Chicago way before Torah Judaism had flourished there. Reb Zissel related that as a young man, his father would pass the newsstand every Saturday night after shul to pick up a paper. As he did not carry money with him, he had made an arrangement with the vendors to return on Sunday morning to pay the vendor.

Rabbi Zelman was not interested in the sports pages nor was he interested in the headlines. In fact he was not interested in the paper altogether. Rabbi Zelman bought the paper for his mother. She also was not interested in the sports or the news. She was interested in the dead. Every Saturday night she would comb th paper looking for announcements of tombstone unveilings that were to take place on Sunday at the Jewish Cemeteries. An unveiling is a time when people are charitable, and the elderly Mrs. Zelman would go to the cemeteries and raise funds from the gathered for Yeshivos in Europe in Israel. She would eventually turn the coins into bills and send the money overseas. A plaque hangs today in the Slobodka Yeshiva in Israel commemorating her efforts.

Perhaps the Torah is telling us more than just doing mittzvos. It is telling us to watch for mitzvos. Be on guard. There are hundeds of opportunities to find mitzvos and to do them. But we must be observant and vigilant. There are hundreds of mitzvos that pass by our very eyes. Scores of Good Mornings.

Hudreds of packages we can help lift, as well as spirits. There are hundreds of hearts we can help heal as well as small acts of charity we can fulfill. Perhaps the Torah is telling us more than watch the mitzvos that come our way. Perhaps it may be telling us to be on the lookout for those that are out there waiting for us to observe them!

Sponsored L'Refuah Shlaimah of Yehuda ben Miriam Liba


Text Copyright © 2005 by Rabbi M. Kamenetzky and Torah.org.

If you enjoy the weekly Drasha, now you can receive the best of Drasha in book form! Purchase Parsha Parables at a very special price!

The author is the Associate Dean of the Yeshiva of South Shore.

Drasha is the e-mail edition of FaxHomily, a weekly torah facsimile on the weekly portion which is sponsored by The Henry and Myrtle Hirsch Foundation


 

ARTICLES ON KI SISA AND PURIM:

View Complete List

The Oil Of Anointing Was Meant To 'Light The Fire' of the Kohanim
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5765

Freedom
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5762

“Purim & Pisces: Not your Average Fish Story” (Insights for the holiday of Purim)
Jon Erlbaum - 5770

> Flaming Desire
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5768

Shabbat Precedes the Building of the Mishkan
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5771

Remember What?
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5764

ArtScroll

Guidance Needed
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5764

A Stiff Necked-Nation
Rabbi Label Lam - 5768

Knowing Why and When To Say When
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5759

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Eat, Drink and Be Merry: A Spiritual Celebration
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

Bucking the Trend
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5762

When Dignity Really Counts
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5758

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Let Them Eat Cake
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5759

Two Types of Shabbat
Shlomo Katz - 5763

Joy That Lasts
Shlomo Katz - 5768

The Power of Unity
Rabbi Yosef Kalatsky - 5763



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information