SALT - Motzaei Shabbat, May 5, 2018

  • Rav David Silverberg
            Parashat Bechukotai begins with a description of the material blessings God promises to bestow upon Benei Yisrael in reward for their faithful observance of His laws.  The first promise is “ve-natati gishmeikhem be-itam” – His providing adequate rainfall (26:4), which will result in agricultural bounty, as the Torah proceeds to describe.
            A Chassidic reading of this verse is suggested by Rav Avraham Dov of Ovruch, in his Bat Ayin, taking note of the fact that God here promises to provide not just “rain,” but “gishmeikhem” – “your rain.”  Rav Avraham Dov finds in this term an allusion to the “rain” which each of us is to provide, the contributions we should be striving to make.  Just as the Almighty sends rain from the heavens to produce food for us here on earth, so are we expected to give of ourselves to the people around us, showering them with blessings.  One of the greatest rewards we could ever receive for our devotion to God, Rav Avraham Dov teaches, is the ability to give, to assist, to impact, to contribute, to help improve the world.  And thus the Torah promises that if we devotedly observe the mitzvot, God will provide us with “gishmeikhem” – the means, the ability and the opportunities to shower the world with our own blessings, to partner with Him in the process of sustaining and helping mankind.
            Rav Avraham Dov of Ovruch’s reading of the word “gishmeikhem” reminds us that the blessings we receive are not only for us to enjoy, but also for us to use to help improve the world.  We are all showered with many blessings, and we are expected to transfer these blessings onto other people.  Everyone has his or her unique type of “rain” that could be showered down upon others – different resources, talents, skills, capabilities, experience and circumstances that allow for many different ways of making an impact.  God gives us all “gishmeikhem,” filling each person’s “reservoir” with a unique collection of opportunities to contribute.  We must commit ourselves to use all we are given for meaningful and important purposes, recognizing that our “rain” has fallen not only for our personal benefit, but for the benefit of the world at large.