Thursday, August 28, 2014

the king's sefer torah

According to the Targum Yonasan, the sefer torah of the melech was given to him by the zekeinim – it was not written by the king himself.  The simply pshat in the pesukim is not like that, as the Rambam writes in Hil Melachim (ch 3):

 בעת שישב המלך על כסא מלכותו. כותב לו ספר תורה לעצמו יתר על הספר שהניחו לו אבותיו. ומגיהו מספר העזרה על פי בית דין של שבעים ואחד. אם לא הניחו לו אבותיו או שנאבד כותב שני ספרי תורה. אחד מניחו בבית גנזיו שהוא מצווה בו ככל אחד מישראל. והשני לא יזוז מלפניו. אלא בעת שיכנס לבית הכסא. או לבית המרחץ. או למקום שאין ראוי לקריאה. יוצא למלחמה והוא עמו. נכנס והוא עמו. יושב בדין והוא עמו. מיסב והוא כנגדו שנאמר והיתה עמו וקרא בו כל ימי חייו:

And in Hil Sefer Torah (ch 7) he writes as well: 

 והמלך מצוה עליו לכתוב ספר תורה אחד לעצמו לשם המלך יתר על ספר שיהיה לו כשהוא הדיוט שנאמר והיה כשבתו על כסא ממלכתו וכתב לו וגו'. ומגיהין אותו מספר העזרה ע"פ בית דין הגדול. זה שהיה לו כשהוא הדיוט מניחו בבית גנזיו. וזה שכתב או שנכתב לו אחר שמלך יהיה עמו תמיד. ואם יצא למלחמה ספר תורה עמו. נכנס והוא עמו. יושב בדין והוא עמו. מיסב והוא כנגדו שנאמר והיתה עמו וקרא בו כל ימי חייו: 
There are minute differences between the Rambam's words (why he repeats the halacha in two places is itself worth asking) but I don't know if there is any substantive change.  What bothers me is this din that the sefer torah of the melech has to be checked against the sefer in the azarah by B”D of 71.  The Ralbag explains pshat in the pasuk “v’kasav lo… al pi hakohanim ha’levi’im” as referring to this copying of the azarah text, which was considered the most exact, the “master copy” against which all other texts were judged.   But if it’s just a matter of ensuring the accuracy of the text, why is this halacha limited to a melech – shouldn’t every individual strive to copy the most accurate text possible, as efshar l’vareir?  And why does this process of proofing the text require a B”D of 71?  I haven’t looked into any meforshim yet, just scratching my head and wondering. 

Another difference between the extra Torah of the king and that of the individual: while an individual has to ideally write his own sefer from scratch and cannot inherit or buy one, the same rules don’t apply to the king’s sefer (see KS”M to Melachim 3:1 who learns that it’s the first sefer that the king is allowed to inherit, against the pashtus of the gemara.)  R’ Reuvain Katz suggests derech derush that the idea here is that simply imitating the past, inheriting a sefer Torah from one’s parents, will not solve the problems or satisfy the needs of the present and future.  Nor can an individual buy a sefer Torah, adopting or acquiring his hashkafos and derecho from the outside.  Each individual must forge his/her own unique path.  Not so the king.  The second sefer of the king represents the national trust of Klal Yisrael.  Rulers come and go, but the core mission of Am Yisrael represented by that sefer remains constant and unchanged.  That sefer can be passed on from father to son, from one generation to the next.  The Targum Yonasan’s idea of this sefer being given to the king by the zekeinim and the Rambam’s halacha that the B”D of 71 is involved in the process fits beautifully with this concept. 

I was wondering what type of lishma is needed for the king's sefer.  The Meiri already indicates that the king doesn’t have to do the writing himself.  Whether you need a formal shlichus, or maybe it suffices to have just a tzivuy to write like the din of “kasav lah” by get, or maybe even that is not required, is debatable.  What if the sofer writes a sefer for whoever’s in charge – is that enough, or does he have to have in mind the particular individual, e.g. “Shlomo ben David haMelech?”  Does “lishma” mean that the sefer has to be written for the office of the king, or does it mean it has to be written for the sake of the individual who occupies that office?  Based on R’ Reuvain’s Katz’s derush, I’m inclined to say that the lishma here is for the office, not the individual, but I’m just speculating.

Based on a Shem m'Shmuel maybe there is yet another dimension to the writing of this second sefer “lifnei hakohanim ha’levi’im” and using specifically the text from the azarah.  The Shem m’Shmuel contrasts the king with the shofeit: the latter just as well as the former could administer justice and lead the nation into battle.  What was the difference between them?  In a nutshell, the shofeit was limited to setting domestic policy.  Even when waging war, the shofeit’s role was limited to protecting against attack by hostile enemies. In contrast, the king and only the king had a foreign policy.  The king could project the power and authority of Am Yisrael outward and proactively expand the borders of Eretz Yisrael.  Parshas Re’eh ends with the mitzvah of aliya la’regel, coming to the azarah, drawing Klal Yisrael inward and rebuilding internal unity.  The parsha of the melech (see Ba’al haTurim who connects the earlier parsha of the shofeit with the regalim) is the flipside: it projects the azarah outward.  Instead of drawing the Jewish people to Yerushalayim, to the Mikdash, for inspiration, the king could bring the same Torah that inspired the kohanim and levi’im in the azarah out to the world, to the people.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

v'asisa ha'yashar v'hatov vs. ta'aseh ha'tov v'hayashar

At the end of chapter 2 of Orot Teshuvah Rav Kook writes that the “tov v’yashar” of G-d which permeates the universe acts as a magnet that causes the “yasahr v’tov” within the individual to resonate in concert, causing the individual to want to remove the barriers of sin that separate and isolate.  In R’ Ya’akov Filber’s notes (sorry, I don’t know of an online version to link to) he points out the subtle inversion of one phrase: in speaking about G-d, Rav Kook says “tov v’yashar;” in speaking about man, he says “yashar v’tov.”  It’s not by accident.  We find the switch in Tanach, as with respect to G-d the pasuk says, “Tov v’yashar Hashem…,” but with respect to man, “Elokin asah es ha’adam yashar…” and “v’asisa ha’yashar v’hatov.”  I don’t fully understand R’ Filber’s explanation, but as best as I can muster what he suggests is that G-d is inherently good; ethics and justice are results of that goodness -- yashar follows from tov.  However, the same cannot be said of mankind.  If we behave justly and ethically, it establishes us as tov -- tov follows from yashar, but not the other way around, as we are not inherently a source of goodness.

The monkey wrench in all this is the pasuk in last week’s parsha, “…ki ta’aseh hatov v’hayashar b’eini Hashem Elokecha.” (12:28)  Why here does the Torah put tov before yashar?  Rav Filber notes this problem in parenthesis and just says “yesh l’chaleik” but offers no hint as to what he had in mind.

I found the Ksav Sofer asks this question.  The pasuk in Va’Eschanan, “v’asisa hayashar v’hatov,” tells us the ideal of not only doing right, “yashar,” but going “lifnim m’shuras hadin,” doing “tov.”  One might be tempted to simply aim to do right – there is no requirement, after all, to go above and beyond the letter of the law.  Yet, the Torah knows human psychology and recognizes that this approach is doomed to failure.  As I tell my children all the time, if you aim to give 100%, you probably will end up with something like 75%.  It’s giving 125% that will give you 100%.  We all fall short of what we aim for – that’s life.  The pasuk in Re’eh tells us “ki ta’aseh ha’tov,” if you aim to go above and beyond the letter of the law and strive for tov, “v'hayashar b’eini Hashem Elokecha,” then you will at least end up fulfilling the letter of the law in G-d’s eyes.

My wife suggested another answer on Shabbos that I really like and that is perfect for inyana d’yoma.  The pasuk in Va’Eschanan that speaks of “yashar v’tov” is addressing the individual.  On a personal level, one is obligated to give first priority to acting ethically toward others, even if that doesn’t make things “tov” or easy for oneself.  The pasuk in Parshas Re’eh is speaking to the nation, and in particular note the pesukim that follow speak of the conquest of Eretz Yisrael.  In that context we are obligated to first do that which is “tov,” that which is good for our needs as a people.  What is yashar in the eyes of the world is a secondary concern, as the Jew-haters out there will never be satisfied, no matter how careful and ethical our behavior is.

Friday, August 22, 2014

the test of the navi sheker

1. Our parsha warns (13:1-6) not to pay heed to the false prophet even if he presents signs and miracles because G-d is testing to see if you love him or not.  The Shem m’Shmuel wonders what kind of test this is.  How does listening to a false prophet prove that you don’t love G-d?  To the contrary, the reason a person might be swayed to listen to the false prophet is because he really believes the prophet is speaking in the name of G-d! 

The Maharil Diskin in his commentary to the parsha raises a similar question.  The Rishonim tell us that there is an issur of bal tosif in creating a new mitzvah and adding it to the Torah.  What if the Sanhedrin really thinks that there is such a mitzvah – are they inadvertently violating bal tosif if they think they are obeying the Torah, not changing it? 

The Shem m’Shmuel answers that true, ex post facto you can justify following the false prophet by claiming you believe he was speaking in G-d’s name.  But how did you ever arrive at that belief to begin with?  Someone who truly loves G-d will never become so twisted in his thinking as to not only do wrong, but think that he is obeying G-d’s prophecy in doing so.

Sadly we see many people who think they are listening to G-d by following this -ism or that -ism and their many false prophets.
2. Why in the middle of this parsha of the navi sheker does the Torah stick in a reminder that “acharei Hashem Elokeichen teilechu v’oso tira’u…” etc.   Doesn’t all that go without saying? 

The person who falls prey to the navi sheker is someone looking for spirituality, someone filled with idealism who wants to hear the voice of G-d.  The answer to the lure of the navi sheker is not shutting down that craving for idealism and/or spirituality – the answer is redirecting it in a positive way.  Whatever you seek from the navi sheker can already be found in Torah (see Seforno).

I was thinking that perhaps the key words in that pasuk are “bo tidbakun,” from which Chazal learn the principle that one imitate G-d and do chessed, visit the sick, bury the dead.  The false prophet tells a person that worship consists of all kinds of ritualistic rites and ceremonies .  The Torah, by contrast, emphasizes that true religion emphasizes interpersonal relationships and helping one’s fellow man.  The prophet who talks only about sacrificing to some idol is clearly on the wrong track.

3. The Torah writes that eating ma’aser sheni in Yerushalayim brings a person to yiras shamayim.  Tos (Baba Basra 21) explains that when a person sees the kohanim engaged in avodas Hashem he is inspired in his learning and avodah.  R’ Shteinman in his Ayeles haShachar asks why this point is emphasized particularly in connection with ma’aser sheni – the Torah does not say the same thing about the mitzvah of aliya laregel that brings a person to Yerushalayim 3x a year. 

I think the answer is that when you make aliya la’regel, everyone is doing it.  It becomes an event.  It’s true that a person would see miracles and the wonder of avodah in the mikdash during those times, but it would be in the context of the crowd and the masses all doing and seeing the same thing.  When a person brought ma’aser sheni, it was a personal journey.  It therefore afforded more of an opportunity for introspection, more or an opportunity to ask, “Why am I doing this and what does it mean for me?” 

4. Just to leave off with something about Eretz Yisrael: the Torah writes (12:28) “shmor v’shamata es kol hadevarim ha’eileh…” commading us to keep ALL the Torah and mitzvos.  The very next pasuk continues, “ki yachris Hashem Elokecha es hagoyim… v’yarashta osam v’yashavta b’artzam,” commanding us to conquer and settle Eretz Yisrael.  The GR”A in Aderes Eliyahu explains the juxtoposition, the smichus haparshiyos: Eretz Yisrael is equal to all the other mitzvos combined. 
Keep up the tefilos for its safety.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

the issur of lo tochal kol to'evah -- shabbos vs. basar b'chalav

Rashi writes that the issur of “lo tochal kol to’evah” (14:3) prohibits eating foods that have an issur attahced to them, e.g. basar b’chalav.  Tosfos (Chulin 115a d”h hachoreh) explains that food cooked on Shabbos is not assur as a to’evah.  The difference between Shabbos and basar b'chalav is that when you see a cheeseburger (for example), you recognize that there is something obviously wrong; however, there is nothing discernably different about food cooked on Shabbos.

The Maharal answers Tos' question with a lomdus that R’ Yosef Engel also discusses at greater length in his Esvan d’Oraysa.   When it comes to basar b’chalav, the cheftza of the food is inherently tainted; basar b’chalav is like food that contains halachic poison.  The food therefore is prohibited forever.  When it comes to cooking on Shabbos, however, it’s only the context of time in which the cooking takes place that is the issue.  There is nothing inherently wrong with the food.  The best proof that this is true is that the food is allowed to be eaten once Shabbos is over.

R’ Noson Gestetner suggests yet another answer.  When it comes to the issur of basar b’chalav, the Torah is concerned about the outcome, the result.  Not so when it comes to melacha on Shabbos.  A number of the classical Achronim (Beis Meir, Chasam Sofer, I believe the Pnei Yehoshua says this as well) prove this from the din of shlichus.  In other areas of halacha, we pasken l’chumra that something done by a shliach who is an aku”m counts as my deed.  Not so in hilchos Shabbos – m’doraysa, amira l’aku”m is permitted.  Shlichus causes the end result produced to be attributed back to the mishaleyach, but the reality is that it's the shliach, not the meshalayach, that puts in the sweat and work.  The focus of Shabbos is avoiding the sweat and work -- creating a day of menucha.  When it comes to basar b’chalav, the outcome, which is the focus of the issur, is called a to’evah.  When it comes to hil Shabbos, the issur is the action of violating Shabbos, not the food product itself, and therefore it is not called a to’evah.

My son once told me a great question that his rebbe asked on this approach.  If a sick person needs one piece of meat on Shabbos, but instead of cooking one piece I cook two pieces, I have violated Shabbos -- there is an issur of ribuy shiurim.  If the issur melacha is dependent on the outcome produced, then obviously there is a big difference between cooking one piece or cooking two pieces of meat.  But if the issur melacha is measured by the action involved, not the outcome, then what difference does it make how many pieces of meat are in the pot?  It’s the same act of cooking either way!   

We also once discussed a question of the Nimukei Yosef that is relevant to this issue.  R’ Yochanan (Bava Kamma 22) holds that the act of arson is like shooting an arrow at someone else’s property.  Nimukei Yosef in his hava amina understands this to mean that I become a mazik when the arrow strikes its target or the fire causes its damage.  If so, asks the Nimukei Yosef, how can we light Shabbos candles – it should be like we are burning things on Shabbos as the fire consumes its fuel?  If the Nimukei Yosef held that Shabbos was different than other areas of halacha because the chiyuv stems from the action rather than on the result, this question would not get off the ground.  There is no comparison between mazik, where one is chayav for the result when the damage occurs, and Shabbos, where one is chayav for initiating the action, which occurs before Shabbos and not on Shabbos itself.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

rav kook on what a machlokes in hil brachos teaches us about zionism

1. The Torah in last week’s parsha tells us that unlike in Mitzrayim where every farmer could dig his own irrigation ditch and water his own field, in Eretz Yisrael the crops are completely dependent upon rainfall (11:10-11).

Rav Kook explains that in Mitzrayim one could live a life apart from the community.  Each individual could dig his own irrigation ditch, find his own parnasa, live for himself and ignore his neighbor.   In Eretz Yisrael, however, the individual is always connected to the larger community.  The rain falls for everyone or it falls for no one. 

2. The gemara (Brachos 41) relates that Rav Chisda and Rav Hamnuna sat down to a meal together where they were brought a plate of dates and pomegranates to eat.  Rav Hamnuna said a bracha on the dates and ate them first.  Rav Chisda asked: the rule of thumb is that given two foods of the 7 minim, the one that comes first in the pasuk of “eretz chitah u’se’ora…” should have the bracha recited over it first.  Since dates are the last item mentioned in the pasuk, why say the bracha over them first?  Rav Hamnuna answered that the rule is actually whatever is closest to the word “ha’aretz in the pasuk comes first.  Although dates are last on the list of 7 minin, since the pasuk repeats the word “aretz:

 אֶרֶץ חִטָּה וּשְׂעֹרָה וְגֶפֶן וּתְאֵנָה וְרִמּוֹן אֶרֶץ זֵית שֶׁמֶן וּדְבָשׁ

It comes out that dates are the second min after the second “eretz” while rimonim are the fifth from the first.  Second in order beats fifth.  Wow!  Rav Chisda was so impressed by this vort that he said he wished he had legs of iron so he could always follow Rav Hamnuna and serve him.

I don’t know about you, but give me a yesod of R’ Chaim, give me an answer to a R’ Akiva Eiger, then I’ll give you a “Wow!” Rav Hamnuna’s din at first glance doesn’t do it.  So what are we missing?

Rav Kook explains that hilchos brachos are supposed to inculcate certain values within us.  The idea of giving precedence to that which comes closer to the word “aretz” in the pasuk reinforces the idea that shleimus and bracha come from a love of Eretz Yisrael.  The closer you are to Eretz Yisrael, the more you love Eretz Yisrael, the closer you are to bracha.

There are many reasons why a person may love Eretz Yisrael.  To some, Eretz Yisrael is a place to do more mitzvos, a place where spiritual growth that is possible nowhere else can take place.  To others, Eretz Yisrael is special because it is the only place that a free Jewish homeland exists.  It’s the political, social, and economic reality of the state more than its spiritual essence that these folks connect to.   The 5 minim mentioned in the pasuk after the first “aretz” correspond to the 5 chumshei Torah – these represent the spiritual desire for Eretz Yisrael.  The 2 minim mentioned last, separated from those 5 by another “aretz,” represent those for whom the land represents political, economic, social opportunity, distinct from its religious flavor. 

What Rav Hamnuna taught Rav Chisda is that while it’s true that the last of these minim represent those who lack in spiritual desire, they are “sheni la’aretz,” mentioned secondarily, and therefore you would have thought that any of the other minim take precedence in bracha, that’s not the case.  Someone on the lowest rungs of spirituality who yearns and loves Eretz Yisrael is actually closer to sheleimus and bracha than someone who may seem to be very pious but who is distant and further removed from love of Eretz Yisrael and not working to rebuild Eretz Yisrael.

Why is that true?  Because whatever the motivation, strengthening Eretz Yisrael will ultimately will lead to a strengthening of the spirit of Am Yisrael and the ruchniyus of Am Yisrael. 

(See Pninei HaRAY”aH from R’ Moshe Tzuriel).

Monday, August 18, 2014

sounding our voices

Need some more encouragement to make your voice heard?  Matthew Foldi, writing in the Jerusalem Post, hits the nail on the head in describing the objective of pro-Hamas demonstrators:
They weren’t there to debate or defend their ideas.

They were there to end debate and discussion through intimidation. It is not knowledge they wished to share, but ignorance.

Matthew and a few other concerned people took a stand and staged a counter-rally at the cost of being harassed and abused both physically and verbally.  At the end of the day on his way home, regular folks who he met were supportive, sympathetic, and thankful.  It’s these average-Joes, not the screaming protestors who are featured on the news, who represent the true views of the American public.  The lesson Matthew learned:

My experience that day made me realize the power we all have, the things that we can accomplish simply by sounding our voices. The protesters wanted to silence and pretend away reality. But because of Manny [a Marine guard], and the Israeli tourists, and yes, even me, they failed.

After seeing my post of the protest on my Facebook page, that night friends I hadn’t spoken with in years, and even total strangers shared my post and thanked me for standing up for Israel. Simply by sounding my voice, I empowered them. Now, they said, they too will sound their own voices.

Friday, August 15, 2014

sefas emes on eretz yisrael

If you've been reading this blog the past few weeks you can probably guess that I'm going to focus not only on the parsha, but on Eretz Yisrael.  If you are going to look at a Sefas Emes this week, let me recommend this piece from 1888.  Our parsha sings the praises of Eretz Yisrael and the Sefas Emes makes the lesson even richer and deeper. 

We are promised in the parsha we recite twice daily, “v’haya im shamo’a,” that if we do mitzvos Hashem will bless the land with rain and crops and we will eat and be satisfied and satiated.  But (see Rambam Hil Teshuvah ch 9) don’t we have a principle of “schar mitzvah b’hai alma leika,” that G-d does not give reward for mitzvos in this world?  The Sefas Emes quotes the Midrash at the beginning of our parsha that there is an exception to the rule when it comes to the reward for shabbos, as shabbos is a taste of olam ha’ba.  Similarly, Eretz Yisrael is a taste of olam ha’ba as well. 

The meforshim (see Rashi, GR”A,) interpret the pasuk in Mishlei (5:15), “shtei mayim m’borcha v’nozlim m’toch b’ercha,” using the symbolism of water = Torah.  Learning Torah is like drawing water from a well – it’s hard work that involves great effort (see GR”A).  Our parsha describes Eretz Yisrael as a land of “nachalei mayim,” where rivers flow in the valleys and the mountains.  Torah is everywhere in Eretz Yisrael.  It’s called an “eretz tovah” because, says the Sefas Emes, “ain tov elah Torah,” Torah is found in every nook and cranny.  We have alresdy been zochek to see the flourishing of Torah in Eretz Yisrael beyond whatever could be achieved in chutz la’aretz.

We say in pesukei d’zimra, “v’charos imo habris lases es eretz hakena’ani… lases l’zaro.”  Why do we repeat the “lases” twice?  The Sefas Emes explain that the second “lases” is not talking about the land, but rather it’s talking about the bris itself.  We are given Eretz Yisrael (the first “lases” in the pasuk) because Eretz Yisrael is the place and the means by which Hashem canmake manifest (the second “lases”) his covenant with us. 

The mitzvah of birchas hamazon after eating that appears in our parsha is a command, yet the Torah doesn’t phrase it as such.  V’achalta v’savat u’beirachta” is a description, not an order.  The gemara (Brachos 35) suggests that the requirement to say a bracha is a sevara; it’s something logical and natural.  Maybe the Torah here is alluding to that point -- a command is not needed, as a person is naturally inclined to thank G-d after eating.  The Sefas Emes goes a step further and suggests that the Torah is telling us that the bounty of Eretz Yisrael, “v’achalta v’savata,” inspires a person to bless G-d.  An amazing chiddush: a physical act can produce a spiritually uplifting outcome.  And the Sefas Emes goes yet another step further: the achila itself of the fruits of Eretz Yisrael is an act of praise to G-d.  Celebrating the land is not a means, but is the very essence of what celebrating Hashem is all about.

Chazal tell us that the bracha of “hazan” in bentching was composed by Moshe while the bracha of “al ha’aretz” was composed by Yehoshua.  It sounds like these brachos refer to two different phenomena – just like you say ‘ha’eitz” on an apple and “mezonos” on a piece of cake and never the twain shall meet, so too, Moshe composed a bracha on the mon and Yehoshua composed a bracha on the produce of Eretz Yisrael and never the twain shall meet.  So why do we say both together?

It must be that these two brachos are really thanks for the same thing.  Whether Hashem’s bracha to us is packaged as mon that falls from the sky or is packaged as figs and dates that grow on trees in Eretz Yisrael, it’s the same underlying shefa.  We just perceive it differently and receive it differently.  You want to know what it was like to eat the mon?  Eat peiros of Eretz Yisrael with the right kavanah and you will find out.

We end off the Torah portion of bentching with the bracha of “u’bnei Yerushalayim.”  What does rebuilding Yerushalayim have to do with the food on my plate?  Based on the previous point of the Sefas Emes the answer is obvious.  The food of Eretz Yisrael provided not just material and physical sustenance, but it provided spiritual sustenance as well.  Eating in Eretz Yisrael is an act of avodah.  When I look at the food on my plate in chutz la’aretz and it’s just that – food on a plate and nothing more – it should arouse a longing for what was, for a rebuilt Eretz Yisrael with a Yerushalayim that houses a Beis haMikdash, for a world where “v’achalta v’savata” was itself an act of “ubeirachta.”  The point is not just to give a little sigh and remember what was.  The point is that that yearning for what was transports us to the Yerushalayim that should be – even if we can’t physically be there, we can be there in mind and spirit, and in that way have a taste (excuse the pun) of the ideal.

What I wrote barely scratches the surface of this one piece and what I wrote doesn't do justice to it. 

One final point: After promising that Eretz Yisrael will be land of bountiful harvests, the Torah tells us (8:9) “lo techsar kol bah,” that nothing will be lacking there.  Why give us the whole goody list of the shivas haminim and the promise that there will be no shortage of bread or water, asks the Maor v’Shemesh, if at the end of the day the Torah promises that nothing will be lacking?  If nothing is lacking, then by definition anything we can think of is included and goes without saying!?

He doesn’t quote the Ramban in Braishis 24:1 but I think his answer follows the same line of thought. Commenting on the pasuk, “V’Hashem beirach es Avraham ba’kol,” Ramban explains that “kol” doesn’t mean “everything in a general sense, but refers to a specific spiritual quality:   

אבל אחרים חדשו בפירוש הכתוב הזה ענין עמוק מאד ודרשו בזה סוד מסודות התורה, ואמרו כי "בכל" תרמוז על ענין גדול, והוא שיש להקב"ה מדה תקרא "כל", מפני שהיא יסוד הכל, ובה נאמר (ישעיה מד כד): אנכי ה' עושה כל, והוא שנאמר (קהלת ה ח): ויתרון ארץ בכל הוא, יאמר כי יתרון הארץ וטובה הגדולה השופע על כל באי עולם בעבור כי בכל היא, והיא המדה השמינית מי"ג מדות
After listing all the material blessings that will come to us in the Land, the Torah tells us that material comfort will not come at the expense of moral growth – the land will not lack that quality of “kol,” of spiritual presence and direction.

I would add that the “bah” in the pasuk “lo techsar kol bah” is perhaps referring to the very same fruits and bread that the previous pesukim promise.  The spiritual promise of Eretz Yisrael is not a gift in addition to the material blessings of the Land, but is a quality inherent in those very same gifts, if they are seen and used in the right way.

it's time to act!

Dr. Joseph Frager writes (link) regarding the reaction of American Jews to the treatment of Israel by Obama and the media:
There should have been outrage. Instead there was silence. Going forward, Israel needs to hear from American Jewry more than ever. It is not enough to sit back and say Israel can handle it. Too many lives are at stake. We have the luxury of influencing policy from afar. Midterm elections are coming. Jews can show the President their dismay at the voting booth. The Media can be held with its feet to the fire too.

American Jewry has a responsibility to make sure the Media is fair and unbiased. Blogs, Letters to the Editor, Emails to Media Outlets and Publishers,and overall outrage at the distortion, lies, and irresponsibility all helps. Wake up Jews of America, it is time to act.
I’ve written pretty much the same thing here last week and the week before and the message can’t be repeated enough.  Is anyone out there listening?