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Friday, August 3

The Weekly Shtikle - Eikev

A Weekly Shtikle mazal tov to my niece and nephew, Ruti (née Levy) and Yoni Epstein of Lakewood on the birth of their daughter, Tzirel Nechama, earlier this week. Mazal Tov to the extended Bulka, Levy and Epstein mishpachos and to the great great grandmother, Oma Jakobovits.


While last week's parsha contained the first paragraph of keriyas shema, in this week's parsha we find the second. Both begin with the subject of our obligation to love HaShem. Although the two seem quite similar, there is one obvious difference. The first parsha demands of one to love HaShem bechol levavecha, with all your heart, uvchol nafshecha, with all your soul, uvchol meodecha, which Rashi explains to mean with all of your money. The second parsha mentions bechol levavchem uvchol nafshechem but there is no mention of bechol meodechem.


Meharsh"a (Berachos 35b) offers an explanation for this omission. In the gemara it is explained, according to one opinion, that the scenario of the second parsha of Shema is that of ainam osim retzono shel Makom, those who do not fulfill the will of HaShem. Meharsh"a points out that it is clear from the very beginning of the parsha that we are talking about people who perform the mitzvos and demonstrate a love of HaShem. Rather, he concludes in accordance with Tosafos that this parsha is surely referring to people who do fulfill HaShem's will, only not on the same level of complete tzadikim who can rely on their work being done by others and need not worry about plowing their fields. He uses this to explain the discrepancy between the two parshios. The first parsha, outlining the ideal service of HaShem, includes even the devotion of one's property and assets. The reward for that level of service is, as the gemara explains, that your work will be performed by others. The second parsha speaks to those on a slightly lower level for whom that degree of dedication is too difficult. Consequently, they will have to do their work themselves.


R' Moshe Shternbuch, in Ta'am Vada'as offers an alternate explanation. The two parshios speak of different forms of love. He understands the first parsha to be speaking of true devotion to HaShem and not to serve other gods for which we are indeed commanded to give up our lives. For this aspect of our service of HaShem we are certainly expected to part with our monetary possessions as well. However, the second parsha refers specifically to the service of HaShem through the performance of mitzvos. We are required to devote all of our heart and soul toward this cause. However, we are not expected to dispose of all our assets for this purpose. After all, we may give no more than a fifth to tzedakah (Kesubos 50a) and spend no more than a third on the fulfilling of a mitzvah (Bava Kamma 9a). Therefore, uvchol meodechem is left out of the second parsha.

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

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