The intention to do a mitzvah*
'If you will follow in my decrees, and you will keep my mitzvos and
do them. ' (V'yikra* 26.3)
The verse here seems to
have some extra words. It could have just said, 'If you will keep my
mitzvos I will give the rain in it's time.' We can explain it the
The Talmud* says, 'A good thought HaShem* brings together with an
action.' This means that when one takes upon himself in his thoughts to
do a mitzvah, [and he has not been able to do the action] HaShem brings
it together with an action. HaShem considers it as if the person had
immediately completed the action.
It is even more the case [that he will be rewarded] if he actually does
the action without any other thought then to fulfil HaShem's will. Then
he will merit to attain a higher level of service [to HaShem] and will
be able to do another mitzvah. Then if he does that mitzvah, he will go
higher and higher. For this reason the Tzaddik is referred to as being
on the level of 'going.' He is going from one level to another level
[higher then the first.] This is the meaning of what it says in Pirkei
Avos* 'one mitzvah brings another mitzvah.'
With this idea we can understand what Chazal* teach in the Midrash*
Tanna d'bei Eliyahu*, 'Everyone who learns halacha everyday is
assured of a place in the world to come.' This refers to the Tzaddik*.
He 'learns [Heb. shoneh] halacha' means that he changes [Heb.
yishneh] his goings [Heb. helichos] from day to day from one level to
another. For that reason he is assured of a place in the world to
This is the meaning of the verse, 'If you will follow [Heb. telechi] in
my decrees.' If you will connect yourself to my decrees, then you will
be on the level of 'going'. Then 'and you will keep my mitzvos.' [The
word keep [Heb. tishmoru] is similar to what [another verse] says, 'And
his father] kept [in mind Heb. shomer] what happened'. [The meaning of
that verse is that he was waiting to see that the event occurred.]
HaShem says that if you will keep His mitzvos, i.e. that you will keep
in mind to do his mitzvos, even those that you have yet to do, then you
will [be able to] do them. i.e. HaShem will
consider it as if you had already done them. Because of your good
thought to do the mitzvah HaShem will consider it as if you had already
done them. (p. 70 sefer Kedushas Levi teachings of Rebbe* Levi Yitzchok
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'If you will follow in my decrees, and you will keep my mitzvos
and do them. ' (V'yikra 26.3)
Chazal explain that the
words 'to follow' mean that you should be occupied in the learning of
the Torah. In this verse we see all three levels [with which one can
serve HaShem,] speech, thought and action. ['To follow' means learning
Torah which is the level of speech.] 'My mitzvos you shall keep' refers
to one's will to do them, as Rashi*
says, 'on the condition that you will do them [later. This is then the
level of thought.] Through one's speech and thought [in doing the
mitzvos] one will merit to actually do the action of the mitzvos. Doing
the action of the mitzvah is the hardest thing of all.
The main purpose of 'in order to do them' is to correct yourself. This
follows from what Chazal say that 'and to do them' means that 'you do to
yourself' [i.e. that your actions effect yourself.] The reason is that
the 613 mitzvos correspond to the limbs and sinews of the persons body.
Through the performance of the mitzvos [and the purification that comes
to the person through them] he will merit to receive a neshama* that is
called a 'new creation.' [This means that he will receive a greater
spiritual strength above what he had before.] All of this comes to the
person through his exertions in learning of Torah as we have learned in
the Zohar*. (p. 209 sefer Sefas Emes teachings of Rebbe Yehuda Aryeh
Leib of Gur)
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Sacrificing for HaShem
'I will make desolate your sanctuaries and I will not smell your
pleasant aromas [from your sacrifices]' (V'yikra 26.31)
The holy Maggid* of
Koznitz said, 'If only I could merit to see fulfilled the verse "I will
make desolate your sanctuaries..." in my time.' [It is very hard to
understand his meaning in this. These are words of a curse, and he
wanted to see them fulfilled?]
We have been taught that all of curses in this portion of chastisements
are really blessings, but that they are said in a hidden manner, and are
not revealed openly to those who read it. [We know that nothing bad that
comes from HaShem, as it says,] 'From Him does not proceed any evil
things.' However to our physical eyes it appears to be curses.
[To explain this statement of the Maggid] we have to understand that all
of the 10 martyrs [who were killed by the Romans as is related in Chazal]
and all the others like them who were killed and slaughtered because of
His Holy Name's sake, their death brought great joy to HaShem. It is not
possible to measure the amount of joy they brought to Him.
However we pray to HaShem that we should not be brought into these
trials. That there should not be this type of joy Above with our
physical deaths. It should be sufficient to Him that we are willing to
give over our souls to him for His Name's sake when we recite the
Shema*, and when we pray with all our strength.
This idea is learnt from a teaching on the verse, 'They shall pelt them
with stones, their blood is upon them.' The meaning is that a person is
required to imagine that he is undergoing each of the four different
types of death penalties that the courts would give, when he is saying
the Shema (and at similar times during his prayers.)
This is the meaning of the verse, 'you shall pelt him with stones' i.e.
this refers to the punishment of 'stoning.' 'Their blood [Heb domihem]
is on them.' This means that this occurs through their imagination [Heb
midomei] alone, with a complete heart [and not
physically. When they have this in mind it] is considered as if they had
been physically killed for His sake.
This is the meaning of this verse. HaShem is telling us that He will not
have joy from the Holy Ones who are being physically killed, but He will
have joy in us, who give over our souls to Him when we recite the Shema
and pray with all our strength. And from this sincere acceptance with
our thoughts [of the four types of death penalties] he will consider it
as if we had actually been killed.
This is what our verse says: 'I will make desolate your sanctuaries'
[Heb. mekdushim] I will nullify the slaughter of the Holy ones [Heb
kedoshim] and make that a desolation [i.e. something that will no longer
'And I will not smell your pleasant aromas [from your sacrifices]' He
will not longer have any desire to accept this sacrifice of those who
are physically killed for His Name's sake.
This is the meaning of what the Maggid said, 'If only I could merit to
see fulfilled the verse "I will make desolate your sanctuaries..." in my
time.' If only we could merit that HaShem would no longer desire the
physical sacrifices, but he would find joy in those who sacrifice
themselves through learning Torah, prayer, and good deeds with their
full soul. (p. 26b sefer Ateres Yeshuah teachings of Rebbe Yehoshua of
Copyright (c) 1999 by Moshe Shulman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
All rights reserved.
Issur Hasugas Givil
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