cantorwolberg at cox.net
Tue May 15 12:39:06 PDT 2018
THEY DID; SO DID THEY DO
According to the Sages, not a single letter is superfluous in the Torah. Anything repeated is repeated for a definite reason and with additional meaning.
We may not always comprehend the reason or meaning but that doesn't detract from its significance. Also, there may be various interpretations and reasons
given by commentators but that is what makes the Torah so profound. This Shabbos we begin the fourth Book of the Torah, Bamidbar.
This portion is read the Shabbat before Shavuot, with rare exception. This year it is read immediately before Shavuot.
The reason it usually is read the Shabbat prior to Shavuot is because there is a connection between the subject matter of this portion and the theme of Shavuot.
There is a verse in Bamidbar in which appears a seeming redundancy. I grappled with it for a while and came up with an interesting chiddush.
The verse states (1:54) "The Children of Israel did everything that God commanded Moses, so did they do." The first part of the verse already says "they did everything," etc.
Then at the end it again says: "so did they do." Why is it repeated?
First, the Children of Israel did "everything that God commanded Moses" because that was what God commanded and they did it as it was a mitzvah. But then, when it states
at the end of the pasuk "so did they do," it already had become part of them. In other words, the initial motivation for performing a mitzvah is because God has commanded it,
but then after doing it, one does it automatically and out of love and joy (as opposed to being mandatory). It becomes part of the person -- ("so did they do)."
Similarly, when the Jewish people accepted the Torah they said "Naaseh v'nishma" (Exodus 24:7) which means "We will DO and (then) we will understand." In other words,
we first will do out of duty and obligation since we are accepting the commandments of the Almighty, and afterwards, we will be doing (observing the mitzvot) out of love and joy.
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