- The importance of love and gratitude
- How to remember your learning, using angels and gematria
- What to do when the need for instant gratification disturbs your spiritual progress
- Serving Hashem out of love vs. out of fear
- A beautiful insight into the Shema
- Hashem loves YOU, but not necessarily what you're doing
“I entreated Hashem...My Lord, Hashem, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your strong hand....” (3:23-24)
Rashi interprets etchanan (entreated) as pleading for a free gift (matanat chinam).
Regarding “...You have begun to show....” Rashi defines this as: “An opening for standing and offering prayer even though the decree has been fixed.”
The Kli Yakar concurs with both, then quotes the Gemara: “A man should always offer praise to God before he prays.”
Expounding on that idea, he states that every tzaddik should request a free gift and consider himself as one for whom everything Hashem does as Divine Kindness all day long, explaining that Hashem is the initiator of good in the relationship between a person and Hashem, with the emphasis that Hashem has no obligation to grant people goodness and kindness, but He does so anyway out of “His Great Goodness.”
Due to a Lack of Instant Gratification, People Need to Coaxed into Spirituality
“Please let me cross over and see the good Land....” (3:25)
Here, the Kli Yakar notes a fundamental truth about all-too-human nature:
A person needs coaxing upon receiving anything spiritual because spiritual gratification is not experienced immediately.
Hashem presents some form of beautiful spirituality to people, and then He needs to coax them to accept it.
The Kli Yakar explains how Hashem initially even needed to coax Adam Harishon to enter Gan Eden! (“Now Hashem took the man, and He placed him in Gan Eden....” Beresheit 2:15) And he states that Avraham Avinu needed to be coaxed, too.
(Of course, these were very great men and the execution is very different for them than it is for us. In other words, each according to his or her own level.)
Because a man according to his nature doesn’t ask for this [spirituality/ruchniut] so much. Therefore, Hashem needs to ask it of him. And although by perfected people like Moshe and Avraham, it’s not necessary to speak [coaxingly], nonetheless, He spoke as if relating to a regular person.
How to Remember What You Learned
“But watch yourself and guard your soul, lest you forget the things that your eyes saw....” (4:9)
The Kli Yakar speaks of the existence of an angel in charge of remembering and an angel in charge of forgetting.
But first he points out some important gematria:
shachach (forgot) = 328
zachar (remembered) = 227
The difference between them is 101.
And he who wants to abolish forgetfulness from himself should review his learning 101 times...and he won’t forget anymore.
The angel in charge of memory is named “Zachar” and he possesses 227 (written as רכז, which also means “concentration” or “focus”) powers (kochot) and the angel in charge of forgetfulness is called “Shachach” (שכח)and he possesses 328 powers. Notice that he possesses 101 powers more than the angel of memory and that’s why forgetfulness overcomes a person. And therefore, one needs to review his learning 101 times because each time he reviews, he reduces and weakens the powers [of the angel of forgetfulness].
Be Like the Sun
“But the Lord took you and brought you out of the iron crucible, out of Egypt, to be a people of His possession, as of this day.” (4:20)
Why is day mentioned?
The sun doesn’t serve to receive a prize. And it seems to me that regarding this, it is said, “And the ones who love Him are like the rising sun” – they serve out of love.
Double Transgression vs Double Consolation
“...that perish you shall perish quickly from upon the Land...” (4:26)
The word “perish” is doubled – meaning that it’s mentioned twice in the same phrase. Why?
The Jews sinned doubly within in one act: They worshiped idols and abandoned Hashem. So Hashem abandoned the Jews and filled the non-Jewish cities.
And the consolation will be double: the abandonment of the non-Jewish nations and the success of the Jewish nation.
The Difference Between Serving Hashem Out of Fear & Serving Him Out of Love
“You approach....” (5:24)
The Kli Yakar explains the great difference between one who serves Hashem out of love and one who serves Hashem out of fear:
Every person who loves cleaves to his beloved and one who fears distances himself from his beloved.
Although serving Hashem out of fear is still a high level of avodah, it is impossible to achieve true closeness with Hashem until you start serving Hashem out of love.
A Beautiful Insight into the Shema
“Hear O Yisrael, Hashem Elokeinu, Hashem is One.” (5:4)
As we know, different names of Hashem express different qualities of Hashem. The four-letter name used at the end of the Shema expresses the qualities of mercy and compassion.
In the future, the name Hashem will be One because no other Name will be used except the Name of Compassion.
Hashem Loves YOU, But Not Your Klippah
“Not because you are of greater number than all the other nations did Hashem desire you and choose you, for you are the least of all the nations. But out of Hashem’s Love for you....” (7:7-8)
The Kli Yakar states:
Out of Hashem’s great Love for you, you yourselves are desirable from the point of your origin and His keeping His Oath in that the merit of the Avot is still in effect. And this is implied in the word etchem – “you,” meaning that you alone are wanted, but your deeds are not wanted.
This is my translation and any errors are also mine.