We would like to thank all of our friends and supporters who gave and participated in our recent fundraising campaign. Oro Shel Adam is extra appreciative of the over 30 “Mezuzah donors” who gave $360 or more. In total, we had over 120 donors and raised over $50,000 for our project for Olim and Lone IDF soldiers! We would not be able to continue our important out reach work if was not for the kindness and support of so many dear people to us. Thank you to all of our loyal partners!
Dvar Torah on Mezuzah
As we know, in last week’s parsha, Vetchanan, we find the Shema/V’ahavta.
One of the special aspects of writing Mezuzot, is being able to contemplate and meditate about words which we say numerous times each day. Perhaps by the fact that we say them so frequently we don’t take the time to stop to think about them.
A few thoughts.
The name of God is mentioned 5 times. All five times are within the first two lines. In the initial statement of our declaring the oneness of God, we speak in the plural אלוקינו. When we talk about loving God with all of our heart/soul, body and money, the Torah uses the singular אלוקיך your God.
The flow of the paragraph:
1. Intellectual declaration
2. Emotional commitment
3. Teaching and speaking words of Torah in all walks of life
4. Practical doing – Tfillin and Mezuzah
The Shema takes us through the 3 realms of existence: thought, speech and deed.
Last week was Tu B’av, a day which marks the love between God and the Jewish People and the love between husband and wife.
Just like the fire in a relationship is kept strong by writing letters of love and affection 1, 5, 10, 50 years after marriage, so too our love for God remains at optimal levels by passionately saying (or writing!) these cherished words once in the morning and once at night.
We now focus on the 2nd paragraph of Shema and a Mezuzah – והיה אם שמע, found in this week’s parsha – Eikev.
Both paragraph’s of “Shema” and “V’hayah Im Shemoa” are part of Moshe Rabbenu’s 2nd speech in Sefer Devarim. Even though the two sections are separated by 114 verses, one sees clearly how they can be conceptually grouped together. Shema, part I is about listening to the Oneness of God. “Vehayah”, part II, opens by saying “If you listen to the commandments, love God then…
Twice in this short paragraph we see a “reward” like blessing as result of keeping the Mitzvot. It follows that we see a “punishment like” curse, I.e. lack of material blessing and exile, when our hearts seek foreign forms of worship – עבודה זרה. In short והיה follows Shema with a focus on reward and punishment (Even though we know that true reward and punishment only exists in the Next World).
Toward the end of the section, we return to Tfillin and Mezuzah as appears in Shema.
Here the Torah elaborates a bit. “And you shall place these words on your heart and your soul.” And then the Torah tells us how to do that practically – “by tying the Tfillin to your arm and between your eyes.” In a very powerful but simple way the Torah first tells us the deeper spiritual essence of the Mitzvah and only then guides us to the practical performance. This spiritual/practical duality applies to Tfillin and to every Mitzvah as well.
The paragraph ends with a blessing as it had started. Keeping Gods commandments leads “to having length of days for Parents and children on ‘the Land’ that God promised our Forefathers to give them like the days of Heaven over earth.” !כן יהי רצון אמן