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S.A.L.T. - Sunday

Rav David Silverberg


            We read in Parashat Pinchas of God’s command to Moshe to prepare for his imminent passing by ascending a mountain on the east bank of the Jordan River and view the Land of Israel, which Benei Yisrael would inhabit.  Ba’al Ha-turim observes that in the instruction, “ve-ra’ita oto” (“you shall look at it” – 27:13), the word “­­ve-ra’ita” is spelled unusually, with the letter hei added at the end.  This letter, Ba’al Ha-turim explains, adds emphasis, indicating that God told Moshe to take a close, detailed look at the land.  He was to try to see not just the land in general, but also all its particulars, including the caves, cisterns and hidden treasures.  God wanted Moshe to appreciate all the blessings that Benei Yisrael would receive in the land, and so He commanded him to look carefully at even those aspects of the land that are not readily visible.


            Rav Yaakov Tzvi Mecklenberg, in Ha-ketav Ve-ha-kabbala, offers a different explanation, suggesting that the additional letter hei at the end of a verb points to the performance of the action happily and wholeheartedly.  This experience was, of course, a painful one for Moshe, who aspired to see the completion of his mission, leading Benei Yisrael into the special land promised to their patriarchs.  God therefore emphasized, “ve-ra’ita” – that Moshe should try, as difficult as it was, to rejoice over the blessed land that God was giving to his beloved nation whom he devotedly led for forty years.  Alongside his grief over his imminent passing and failure to bring his life’s mission to completion, he was to feel grateful for the special land that awaited Benei Yisrael across the Jordan River.


            Taken together, these two insights into the word “ve-ra’ita” perhaps show how even in trying times, when we face challenging and painful circumstances, we can and should endeavor to look carefully and find the blessings to appreciate and feel grateful for.  When we experience – as Moshe did – feelings of disappointment, regret and anguish, we should heed God’s command of “ve-ra’ita” – to look thoroughly at all accepts of the situation and identify reasons to rejoice.  Just as Moshe was instructed to evoke feelings of joy alongside his anguish, we, too, are enjoined to find reasons for gratitude even in otherwise painful circumstances, by finding the many hidden blessings that lie beneath the surface. 



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