Friday, July 17, 2015

Matos 5631 Second Ma'amar

וּמִקְנֶה רַב הָיָה לִבְנֵי רְאוּבֵן וְלִבְנֵי-גָד .../The children of Reuven and the children of Gad had much livestock …” (Bamidbar 32:1)  The Midrash[1] on this pasuk says that when a person receives a gift such as wisdom, power or wealth, on the merit of his Torah, it will last.  It came from God.  However, if a person grabs wisdom, power or wealth, it will not last.  It did not come from God.  Because of their love for their wealth, the tribes of Reuven and Gad refused to enter the land of Israel.  Significantly, they were the first of the tribes to be exiled.

The Midrash thus differentiates between a gift that comes from God and a gift that one grabs for himself – a gift that does not come from God.  Does not everything come from God, though?  Is it possible to grab a gift that God does not what me to have?  What does the Midrash mean when it refers to a gift that does not come from God?

Of course everything comes from God.  However, God’s power is sometimes revealed and sometimes hidden.  Whether it is revealed or hidden depends upon a person’s thoughts.  The one who realizes that everything he owns comes from God, will experience the Godly power inherent in everything he owns.  He will not lose his possessions.  The one who thinks that God has little to do with what he owns, rather he believes that they are his due to his own strength or wisdom will not experience the Godly power inherent in them.  Left to the vagaries of chance, so to speak, he may very well lose everything.

[1]Bamidbar R. 22:7

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