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Shabbat Parashat Ki Tavo 5779

Parashat Hashavua: Even the Wicked are Important

Harav Yosef Carmel

We have discussed in the past the connection between the end of Parashat Ki Teitzei, which deals with the struggle against Amalek, and the beginning of Parashat Ki Tavo, which deals with the mitzva of bikurim. Both sections (Devarim 25:18-19; 26:1) include a reference to coming to “the Land that Hashem your Lord has given you as an inheritance.”

One can ask: how was Amalek able to effectively attack Bnei Yisrael as they left Egypt, considering that they were protected by the miraculous clouds that previously shielded them from the Egyptians (see Mechilta D’Rabbi Yishmael, Beshalach 4)? The Midrash, followed by Rashi, explains on the word “vayezanev” that the Amalekites inflicted wounds at the area of the tail, specifically, that they cut off foreskins and threw them up in the air. On the words “hanecheshalim acharecha,” it explains that these people were “those lacking in strength due to their sins, who were expelled by the cloud.” In other words, Amalek was able to harm only those who did not agree to perform a brit mila, which is a marking of oneself or of his child as a servant of Hashem. Another midrash, cited by the Bechor Shor, learns from the proximity of p’sukim in Ki Teitzei that the vulnerable people were those who violated the laws of honest weights. In other words, the unprotected were sinners in the realm of monetary honesty.

Rav Kook (Orot Hatechiya 20) has a very novel, related idea. He posits that evil people actually support the righteousness of the righteous. As long as they remain connected to the nation in general, one can apply to them the pasuk, “Your nation are all righteous people” (Yeshayahu 60:21), which is from this week’s haftara. The external, evil behavior actually helps the righteous, like the yeast at the bottom of a wine barrel, which protects the wine from spoilage. It is like the idea that the incense in the Temple service has to contain chelbena, even though, individually, it has a very offensive odor.

Our conclusions from this matter are thus as follows. On the one hand, the cloud did not protect the type of sinners that we discussed. On the other hands, the Land was promised to the whole nation, including such people, lacking in morality. On the way to the Land, it is not possible to give up on any Jew, even if he was expelled by the cloud. If Amalek takes advantage of their weakness and attacks them, we will remember this treachery and not forget or forgive.

Let us pray that we all be on the level of, “Your nation are all righteous people.”   

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Dedication

We daven for a complete and speedy refuah for:

 

Nir Rephael ben Rachel Bracha
Refael Yitchak ben Chana

Netanel Ilan ben Sheina Tzipora

Netanel ben Sarah Zehava

Yehuda ben Chaya Esther

Meira bat Esther

Yair Menachem ben Yehudit Chana

Rivka Reena bat Gruna Natna

David Chaim ben Rassa

Lillian bat Fortune

Yafa bat Rachel Yente

Eliezer Yosef ben Chana Liba

Ro'i Moshe Elchanan ben Gina Devra

 

Together with all cholei Yisrael

 

Hemdat Yamim is dedicated

to the memory of:

those who fell in wars

for our homeland

Eretz Hemdah's beloved friends

and Members of

Eretz Hemdah's Amutah

Rav Shlomo Merzel z”l
Iyar   10

Rav Reuven Aberman z"l

Tishrei 9 5776


Mr. Shmuel Shemesh  z"l
Sivan 17 5774

R' Eliyahu Carmel z"l

Rav Carmel's father

Iyar 8 5776


Mrs. Sara Wengrowsky

bat R’ Moshe Zev a”h.

Tamuz 10   5774


Rav Asher Wasserteil z"l

Kislev 9 5769

R'  Meir ben

Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld z"l


R'  Yaakov ben Abraham & Aisha

and

Chana bat Yaish & Simcha

Sebbag, z"l


Rav Yisrael Rozen z"l
Cheshvan 13, 5778


Rav Benzion Grossman z"l
Tamuz 23 5777

 

Rav Moshe Zvi (Milton)

Polin z"l

Tammuz 19, 5778

 

R' Abraham Klein z"l

Iyar 18 5779

 

Mr. Isaac Moinester z"l

Elul 5

 

Mrs. Doris Moinester a"h,

 Elul 23

 

Hemdat Yamim
is endowed by Les & Ethel Sutker
of Chicago, Illinois
in loving memory of
Max and Mary Sutker
and
Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l

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