Parshas Ki Savo
Good, and Nothing but Good
"And all the blessings will come upon you, and overtake you..." [28:2]
The way the verse reads, you would think that the blessings would be
chasing us, and we would be running away. Who runs away from blessings? We
all want happy and healthy families, comfortable homes... and probably
wouldn't turn down the winning lottery ticket, either. So why does the
Torah talk about blessings which "come upon us" -- as if we weren't
for them, and "overtaking us" as if we were even running away?
The Sha'ar Bas Rabim answers: many times, people do run away -- from
something that is actually good for them, but that they do not recognize
a blessing. Since they do not see the good which will come from it, they
think it is bad and attempt to escape it. Thus the Torah tells us that G-d
will be so anxious to bless us, that the blessings will pursue us
and "overtake" us, even if we try to run away.
That which appears to be a blessing may be a curse, while, at the same
time, that which appears to be a curse may be a blessing.
The Sha'ar Bas Rabim explains that this was King David's prayer in the
Psalm [23:6], "May only good and kindness pursue me all the days of my
life." His prayer was: may good and kindness pursue me, even when I do not
realize what they are, and run away. (And, of course, may they be the only
things to pursue me.)
When I was thinking about this, my wife showed me a book -- "The Other
of the Story," by Rebbetzin Yehudis Samet. It is filled with true stories
and lessons concerning the Mitzvah to judge others favorably (Dan L'Kaf
Z'chus), and more than one of these will strike "close to home" for most
any reader. ( http://artscroll.com/linker/torahorg/link/Books/othh.html )
Reading the book, it occurred to me that there is a connection between the
lesson of the Sha'ar Bas Rabim, and judging favorably -- because our
tendency to judge others unfavorably does not apply only to other human
beings. We think we know so well what is "good" for us, that we complain
G-d! Why didn't I win the raffle? Why didn't this happen to me? Why did
that happen to me?
[Of course, when we see this in other people, we may leap to judge them
unfavorably. There are those who lived through and experienced things
we did not experience. This is, at least in good part, because G-d knows
could not handle them. So we have no right to judge others in this area.]
When we find this tendency in ourselves, we must turn to the lesson the
Torah is teaching us: G-d so wants to bless us, that He will send his
blessings out to overtake us. That which we pray for, which we think will
be so wonderful, might be a curse if it arrives when we are not equipped
handle it -- but, on the other hand, might be a tremendous blessing only a
year later. Thus let us learn to be patient, to pray for our needs, and to
remember -- that G-d knows what is good for us far more than we, and is
anxious to send it our way.
Rabbi Yaakov Menken
Text Copyright © 2004 by Torah.org.
The author is the Director of Project Genesis - Torah.org.