Friday, May 31, 2019

Yeish sachar l'peulaseich

Next week we will IY"H read Boaz's blessing to Rus that in response to her having come out to the field to meet him "yishalem Hashem paaleich u'tehi maskurteiach shleima..." (2:12).

The GR"A explains that there is a difference between being paid for "paaleich" and getting paid schar, "maskurteiach." A worker gets paid by the day or by the piece - that's "paaleich" pay. At the end of the year the worker gets a bonus.  The bonus is not for any particular day of work or any particular project -- it's for the overall assessment of the gavra as a loyal and dedicated employee.  That's "maskurteiach," schar.

The Malbim says something similar.  Your dry cleaner is a poel.  He gets paid for doing the job of cleaning your clothes.  If your suit is still dirty when you pick it up, don't pay the cleaner.  Jabob De Gram is a sachir and gets paid schar.  Whether he wins another Cy Young award or whether the Mets have to send him down to the minors, his contract guarantees him the same pay.  Schar is not for the individual act, the individual game or pitch.  It's for being a member of the team.

What Boaz was telling Rus is that Hashem will pay her like a poel for each mitzvah that she does, but by joining the Jewish people, she will get much more than that - Hashem will give her schar as well.  We get paid simply because we are members of the team, we get paid a bonus just for being employees, irrespective of and above and beyond what we earn for each individual act that we do.

Our parsha promises all kinds of great rewards for "im bechukosai teileichu..." Everyone asks: schar mitzvah b'hai alma leika?  Reward is received only in olam ha'ba?

Based on the GR"A and Malbim we can answer that true, schar = the bonus pay, what you get just for being a member of the team, is reserved for olam ha'ba.  However, you still can still earn pay for being a poel in olam hazeh based on what work you complete successfuly.

"Anu ameilim umekablim schar..." we say at a siyum.  "Im bechukosai teileichu" - Rashi explains that the pasuk is referring to ameilus in Torah.  Schar is for your efforts, not for the results, the peulah.  Even if you don't complete the job, you get points just for being a good employees and working at it.

Now that we learned this GR"A and Malbim, I think we can appreciate a pasuk we all know in a deeper way.  Yirmiyahu (ch 31) describes our mother Rachel Imeinu crying for us as we were led into galus.  Hashem turns to Rachel and tells her not to worry.  "Yesh **sachar** l'peulaseich v'shavu meiEretz oyeiv." Hashem is telling Rachel that she and Klal Yisrael don't just receive payment based on whether we succeed in doing mitzvos or whether we manage to accomplish what we are meant to.  What we also get is "sachar." Even if we have to be sent to the minors for a tune up, the contract is still in place, we are still valued employees of the firm.

This is Yom Yerushalayim -- yesh sachar l'peulaseich v'shavu meiEretz oyeiv.  We've been in the minors a lot of years.  We did not earn much as poelim because the cleaner doesn't get paid for dirty clothes.  But we are still on the team and ultimately, the reward of schar, the reward for hanging in there for 2000 years of ameilus, gets paid.


  1. 'any generation in which the Temple is not built-- it has been destroyed in that time'

    but ha'kotel ha'ma'aravi has stood through all the doros, without onesh [thus to serve in 5727/1967* as "schar"]

    *in 5708/1948, while east Jerusalem promised west Jerusalem, ameich ami (Ruth 1:16), west promised east, vei'lo'ki'ich eloki...

  2. "Hashem is telling Rachel that...the contract is still in place"

    why do we need to know that there was a kivrat-ha'aretz, a stretch of land, yet to go to Ephrath, at Bereishis 35:16? if we take Binyamin to mean 'son of my right hand', then let Ben-Oni mean 'son of my left' [hand]; though his emergence* killed his mother, Ben-Oni's portion of eretz Yisrael would eventually ground the Temple. And just as one can carry the limbs [holeches evarim] from a shechted animal a distance/kivrat to the mizbei'ach with the left-hand and they still count (Tamid 31b), so in [left-handed, deadly] galus, efforts at carrying the pieces at our disposal still count...

    *in-between formal stations, in a sort of galus, a left-handed state of din

  3. I really liked this vort. I think another proof for the Malbim's chiluk between schar/peulah can be found in the final mishna in the 2nd perek of Avos: וְנֶאֱמָן הוּא בַעַל מְלַאכְתְּךָ שֶׁיְּשַׁלֵּם לְךָ שְׂכַר פְּעֻלָּתֶךָ. וְדַע מַתַּן שְׂכָרָן שֶׁל צַדִּיקִים לֶעָתִיד לָבֹא