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Wednesday, October 15

The Weekly Shtikle - Bereishis

    A number of times throughout the gemara and in later seforim as well, with regards to a chumrah, we find the term tavo alav berachah, a blessing shall be bestowed on him. The gemara will often say that a certain action is not necessary but if one takes on a special stringency and does it anyway, he should be blessed.
    My father suggests an interesting source and explanation for this particular wording. After all, we do sometimes see other terms used such as harei zeh meshubach, this is praiseworthy, with regards to other noble deeds. Why is the adoption of a chumrah given this specific blessing? Very early on in history, in this week's parsha, we are exposed to the first ever chumrah. Chavah, in her discussion with the snake, mentions that they were forbidden to eat from or touch the Eitz HaDa'as. Of course, they were only commanded not to eat from it and nothing was said about touching it. This error in judgement is used by the gemara as a source for the gravity of the prohibition of bal tosif, not adding to the mitzvos. Indeed, this chumrah led to a serious series of curses on all of humanity - certainly not a great start.
    Chavah's assertion lacked the proper context. She did not tell the snake, "You know HaShem told us not to eat from this tree but we are trying to be extra careful and we are not even touching the tree." Rather, she quite falsely declared that HaShem had commanded them not to touch the tree. When someone is aware of the true halachah and aware that certain things might be permissible but nevertheless takes it upon himself to be extra careful, to be more stringent, they are correcting the error made by Chavah. For this reason, we declare that in contrast to the curse that was bestowed upon Chavah, one who takes upon himself an altruistic chumrah should be bestowed a great blessing.

Have a Chag Samei'ach and good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:
Dikdukian: And the Days Was
AstroTorah: The Two Luminaries

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