July 19, 2024
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לאהבה את ה’ אלוקיך לשמוע בקולו ולדבקה בו כי הוא חייך ואורך ימיך לשבת על האדמה אשר נשבע ה’ לאבתיך לאברהם ליצחק וליעקב לתת להם: (דברים ל:כ)

“To love Hashem, your God, to listen to His voice and to cling to Him. For this is your life and the length of your days upon the soil that Hashem swore to your ancestors, Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov, to give to them,” (Devarim 30:20).

We learn from this pasuk that the reward for observing the mitzvos is long life.

Zera Shimshon asks: There seems to be a pasuk in Mishlei that contradicts this. In Mishlei (3:16), it is written, “Orech yamim beyamina, besmolah osher vekovod—Length of days are in her (the Torah) right hand, and in her left hand, there is wealth and honor.” From this pasuk, we see that the reward for keeping the Torah is not only long life, but also wealth and honor. Why does the pasuk in this week’s parsha only mention long life, and not wealth and honor?

Zera Shimshon gives an answer based on two Gemaros: The first Gemara is in Shabbos (63a) that explains the meaning of beyamina—in her right hand and besemola—in her left hand is not that there is long life in the right hand of the Torah and wealth and honor in the Torah’s left hand. Rather “beyamina” is referring to one who learns Torah lishma—for the sake of the Torah itself, with no ulterior motives and with full concentration and “besmolah” is referring to a person who learns Torah with ulterior motives, such as having a good name or to be rewarded or he learns Torah lazily. A person that learns Torah with no ulterior motives is rewarded with long life and a person that learns Torah with ulterior motives is rewarded with wealth and honor.

The second Gemara is in Pesachim (68b) and says that “no one—even people as great as the Amora Rav Shaishess starts off serving Hashem lishma—for the sake of Hashem, with no ulterior motives.” Everyone begins to serve Hashem for his own benefit, and when he continues to work on himself he is then able to reach the level of serving Hashem lishma. However, no one can begin his service to Hashem without thinking about himself.

According to this—explains Zera Shimshon—the pasuk in Mishlei, “Orech yamim beyamina, besmolah osher vekovod—Length of days are in her (the Torah’s) right hand, and in her left hand there is wealth and honor,” is speaking, like it is explained in the Mesechtas Shabbos about two different types of people; the first half of the pasuk is speaking of someone who serves Hashem lishma, in which case he is rewarded with long life. The second half of the pasuk is speaking of someone who serves Hashem lo lishma; and he is rewarded with osher and kovod—wealth and honor.

On the other hand, the pasuk in our parsha, “Ki hu chayecha veorech yamecha—For this is your life and the length of your days,” is speaking of someone who serves Hashem lishma and the reward that he receives for serving Hashem in such a virtuous way, is long life. It is true that this person also merits “wealth and honor” but this is not the consequence of his “lishma” service, rather it is because in the beginning, he served Hashem “lo lishma.” Obviously, he doesn’t lose the “wealth and honor—osher vekovod,” that he already earned when he served Hashem lo lishma!

Zera Shimshon gives another slightly different explanation that also answers another question: What is the meaning of the phrase, “Ki hu chayecha veorech yamecha—For this is your life and the length of your days?” It would seem that your life and the length of your days are the exact same thing, so why does the Torah repeat itself?

Zera Shimshon answers that there are two parts to this phrase: The first part is, “Ki hu chayecha—For this is your life,” is referring to someone who serves Hashem lo lishma. The second part, veorech yamecha—and the length of your days,” is referring to one who serves Hashem lishma, whose sechar (reward) is—like we learned in the Gemara Shabbos—long life. How do we see this?

The Gemara in Taanis says that when Hashem blesses someone with abundance, this person also receives life because it’s not possible to give plenty to someone who is dead. In other words, life is an integral part of plenty. So too, it is with the promise that Hashem makes to one who serves Hashem lo lishma, an integral part of this promise is life, since—without it—there is no wealth and honor.

According to this, wealth and honor are included in phrase “hu chayecha” because the chaim (life) that this pasuk is referring to isn’t life in a vacuum, but is the life that holds the “osher vekavod—wealth and honor” that is granted to a person who serves Hashem lo lishma.

In short, there is nothing to worry about. When you will reach the level of learning Torah and doing mitzvos lishma, Hashem will not only give you a long life but Hashem will also give you wealth and honor. Even though in our parsha it is only written, “Ki hu chayecha veorech yamecha—For this is your life and the length of your days,” it doesn’t mean that he won’t get wealth and honor. He will enjoy wealth and honor. It is not mentioned in our pasuk, only because the pasuk is speaking about the sechar of serving Hashem lishma and he receives wealth and honor for his original service to Hashem that was lo lishma.

Another explanation is that even though “osher vekavod” is not openly written, the words, “ki hu chayecha” are also alluding to “wealth and honor.”

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