Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Forgotten Mitzvot - 1992 Rabbi Binyamin Kahane

Kahane on the Parsha
Rabbi Binyamin Kahane- Parshat Eikev
The Forgotten Mitzvot

Our parsha begins with Moses declaring: "Then it shall come about, if you listen to these judgments and keep and do them, that the L-rd, your G-d, will keep His covenant and loving-kindness with you which He swore to your forefathers" (Deuteronomy 7:12)
Why did Moses need to make this declaration? After everything the Jewish people went through the past 40 years, was there any doubt that they would listen to G-d's judgments? After the Golden Calf, after the sin of the spies, after the rebellion of Korach- did the Jews NOT LEARN THEIR LESSON?!?!
Of course they did. But Moses, who had 40 years' experience leading G-d's people, knew that there are two kinds of mitzvot- ordinary mitzvot and those that require SPECIAL FAITH. Yes, the Jews had seen G-d's hand in splitting the sea, defeating Amalek, and destroying the kingdoms of Sichon and Og- but Moses knew that a person can see all this and still not fully believe.
And that's why he says to them, "If you should say in your heart, 'These nations are greater than I, how can I drive them out?'" (Deuteronomy 7:17). For this reason, he adjures them, "Don't fear [the nations]. Remember well what the L-rd, your G-d, did to Pharaoh and all of Egypt" (ibid. 7:18).
In our times, many of us fulfill mitzvot. We keep Shabbos, we study Torah, etc. But is that ENOUGH??? What about the "forgotten" mitzvot? What about building the Temple? What about settling the land? What about bequeathing the land to our children- which entails destroying the non-Jewish populations trying to annihilate us?
We cannot fulfill part of the Torah and be satisfied. As the Ohr HaChaim writes, "To despise 'small' mitzvot' is a great sin. This is especially true of those who walk in the path of G-d's Torah who might think to themselves, "Well, I study Torah and fulfill most of the mitzvot...'" (commentary to Deuteronomy 8:1).
We are currently approaching the beginning of Elul- a special month for teshuva (repentance). It's time we put an end to the matter once and for all. The Temple is not built, the non-Jewish populations among us have not been expelled, and the land is NOT adequately settled- not in the Galilee and not in Jerusalem. Let us not stumble by saying, "How can we drive them out?" We must sincerely believe that it is "G-d who expels these nations" (Deuteronomy 9:5) and therefore "nobody will be able to stand before [us]" (Deuteronomy 11:25).
Darka Shel Torah, 1992
Shabbat Shalom!
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