|Ohr Temimim-Va-etchanan-Only God|
|נכתב ע"י Rabbi Tuvia Bolton|
In this week's section, Moshe Rabbeinu (a.k.a. Moses) continues his talk to the Jewish Nation before they enter the Holy Land without him. But he seems to be repetitive.
First he says: "You have been shown to know that Hashem is G-D THERE IS NOTHING BESIDE HIM". (4:35)
Then, four sentences later he says almost the SAME thing: "Know today and take it to heart that Hashem Is G-d in the Heavens above and the earth below THERE IS NOTHING BESIDE HIM." (4:39)
Then, a paragraph or so later he again repeats the SAME idea: "Listen Israel, Hashem is our G-d, Hashem is ONE!" (6:4)About 300 years ago, the chief Rabbi of Prague was the great Rabbi Yehonaton Eibeshetz. The legend has it that when he was just three years old and living with his family in Poland, he was already so famous for his precociousness that the King of Poland heard about him and, being a bit bored and even more inquisitive, decided to invent a Royal test to see if the rumors were true.
His Majesty sent a message to little Yehonaton's father saying that he'd heard about the lad, and was interested to see if he was smart enough to find his way, unassisted, from their home, several miles away, through the confusing streets of the city, to the Royal Palace.
Of course his father had little choice but to comply. The next day he dressed the boy in his best Shabbat clothes, blessed him, and sent him off, hoping for the best.
It was a unique sight to see such a small child dressed nobly, striding with certain steps through the city streets, as though he had done it a hundred times before. But what was even more unique was that after several hours of walking he actually arrived at the palace!
The guards couldn't believe their eyes and ears when the tot presented himself proudly before them, and announced in a high-pitched voice that he had come to see the king.
Minutes later the entire king's court was marveling at the lad. The king called for silence, motioned the child to approach and asked, "Tell me my boy, how did you find your way to the palace so quickly, didn't you ever take a wrong turn or at least have any doubts which way to walk?"
"Well, your majesty," he answered bowing deeply before the king, “There were several times that I wasn’t sure what to do so whenever I had a doubt I just asked anyone that happened to be nearby, and it seems that G-d helped."
Everyone chuckled. The King raised his hand very slightly for silence and continued, "But, tell me, didn't it ever occur to you that maybe that person was wrong, didn’t you ever ask two people?” The king looked at the crowd, who were smiling and shaking their heads yes to one another. Then, when he was certain that they appreciated his question he continued. “And what if two people said opposite things; what would you have done if one said go to the right and the other to the left? What would you do then?"
The boy paused, thought for a moment and answered, "Your Majesty, if that ever happened, in the Torah it says to follow the majority, so I would just ask a third person and follow the majority opinion."
The King smiled and the room became filled with chattering laughter. Suddenly the King’s face became serious, the room fell silent, he moved forward in his throne, gazed piercingly at the boy and said, "Young man, you should listen to what you yourself just said! If in your Bible it says you must follow the majority, then certainly you should leave Judaism and believe as we do! You see that the Jews are vastly outnumbered!!"
The audience smiled, laughed, even clapped their hands, at the royal wisdom. But when the noise died down, little Yehonaton waited for complete silence, cleared his throat and spoke.
"Pardon me, your Royal Highness, I request your Majesty's forgiveness for being so unclear. When I said that I would listen to the majority, I meant when I was far from the castle and uncertain of the location. But now that I'm IN the castle and I see the King seated before me, even if ALL the king's ministers tell me I'm wrong, I will certainly not listen to them.
Similarly Judaism; the G-D of Israel is everywhere, and no place is empty of Him. It is like being in the Palace with the King; why, even if the entire world disagrees with me I certainly have no obligation to listen to them!"