Tuesday, October 18, 2011

the bracha of Moshe Rabeinu

Before Zos HaBracha gets into the meat and potatoes of Moshe Rabeinu's bracha to the shevatim, it opens with praise of Hashem (Rashi 33:2) -- "Hashem m'Sinai ba... Mimino aish das lamo..." etc. as lawgiver and as having a special bond with Bnei Yisrael. As much as this introduction is about Hashem, it is also about us. Commenting on the pasuk, "Torah tzivah lanu Moshe...," Ramban explains that it is the acceptance of the Torah on our part which makes us worthy of receiving a bracha. In other words, you can't just walk up even to a Moshe Rabeinu with no desire to change, to grow, to come closer to Hashem, no commitment, and expect him to drop a bracha in your lap and give you whatever your heart desires. A bracha has to be earned. A bracha requires a kabbalas haTorah as a pre-requisite.

The parsha presents the brachos of Moshe one by one to each sheivet -- "Yechi Reuvain...," "V'Zos l'Yehudah...," etc. Yet when it comes to sheivet Yisachar, rather than start a new pasuk with his bracha, instead the Torah tacks it on to the bracha of Zevulun, almost as an afterthought: "Smach Zevulun b'tzesecha v'Yisacha b'ohalaecha." The parsha then goes right back to Zevulun, "Amim har yikra'u..." Why doesn't Yisachar get his own spot in the sun, his own individual moment of attention? Furthermore, Chazal tell us that Zevulun and Yisachar made a partnership: Zevulun was a merchant who used his wealth to help support Yisachar, who dedicated himself to talmud Torah; together they shared the reward of talmud Torah. Shouldn't the focus be on Yisachar, who was doing the actual learning, and not on Zevulun, who just enabled Yisachar's talmud Torah? Why is the bracha directed at Zevulun as the primary recipient with Yisachar tacked on secondarily?

R' Chaim Kanievski in his Ta'ama d'Kra writes that the reason Zevulun is the focus of attention for this bracha and Yisachar is tacked on secondarily is precisely because Yisachar was the one who was totally immersed in talmud Torah. When one's life is Torah, one doesn't need an added bracha -- Torah itself is the biggest source of bracha a person can have.

Maybe that's what we are supposed to get out of Simchas Torah. The lulav is put away, we don't have to eat in the sukkah anymore, there is no particular mitzvas ha'yom -- so why do we have a Yom Tov? Perhaps the idea is that those items are just props, accoutrements, albeit very important and meaningful ones, but if one has Torah, then one can have simcha and bracha even if one has nothing else at all.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:59 AM

    >>> tacked on secondarily

    just as the Label "Simchas Torah (2)" was just tacked on-- this blog too is "immersed in talmud Torah", so why discuss 'simcha'?