DIRECTIVE OR CHOICE?
February 9, 2018
כ“ד שבט תשע“ח
· February 15– 21– mid-winter
break.– no school
· February 22—regular classes
· March 4 –Torah Academy 36th
· Thank you to all the parents who attended parent teacher conferences
this past week. Your presence shows your commitment to your
· 7th and 8th grade boys had the זכות , privilege, of listening to Rabbi
Simcha Horowitz, a Rosh Yeshiva, in New York. He talked about
fences that the חכמים make promote greater עבודת ה‘ .
· 1B celebrated completing the first perek of Sefer Bereishis with a
· מזל טוב to 4B on Maseches Rosh Hashonah. They celebrated this
accomplishment with a trip to Altitude Trampoline Park.
· מזל טוב to 7G on completing Parshas Chukas. They celebrated with a
waffles and ice cream siyum.
· 4G celebrated their siyum of Parshas Vayechi with a special Bircas
Yaakov project and pizza party. Thank you Mrs. Rosengard for
picking up the pizza.
· 5G, when learning a new רש״י , put a chocolate chip in a jar. מזל טוב to
them on filling the jar. They melted the chips in a chocolate fountain
and enjoyed dipping pretzels, cookies and marshmallows.
· מזל טוב to 8G on completing Parshas Matos and their unit on the בית
המקדש . They celebrated with a siyum that included delicious potato
kugel prepared by Mrs. Rochel Leah Rodkin and her able assistant,
The possuk in this week’s parsha reads: אם כסף תלוה את עמי את העני עמך . Literally translated, the possuk
is explained as follows: When one lends money to a poor individual, he should not forcefully demand
repayment. Rather, if he knows that the borrower cannot repay, he should refrain from embarrassing
him, and ask for the money with empathy.
In this scenario, the word אם is not translated as its
more familiar term ‘if’, but as Rashi notes,
referencing other instances, it is translated as כאשר ,
Based on the possuk of העבט תעביטנו , the גמרא
cautions that lending money to someone in need is
not merely an optional activity, but is an
obligation. If a person has the wherewithal to lend
money to an individual requiring assistance, and he
is assured that he will eventually be repaid, the
Torah directs him that he must help the needy
The מהר״ל questions why, if the Torah obligates the
loan, the Torah uses the ambiguous language of
אם .אם can be easily interpreted as ‘if’ – implying
that the person chooses to lend the money.
Translating אם as ‘when’ is not the typical usage of
The מהר״ל answers by explaining that the Torah
desires to impart a powerful lesson. There are
different levels possible when performing the
mitzvah of lending money. The Torah is not just
interested in the actual dollars and cents of the
loan, but in the performance of the
A mitzvah can only be considered a מצוה מן המובחר
when completed with the appropriate attitude. Are
you lending the money because it’s your Torah
obligation to do so, אם , translate as ‘when’? Or are
you lending the money because you truly desire to
help another Yid , אם , translated as ‘if’? If your אם
is ‘if’, indicating choice, then you have reached the
level where the Torah’s demands are your own
We often wonder how to gauge our fulfillment of a
מצוה , and what benchmark to use to evaluate our
performance. The לימוד of the מהר״ל provides this
understanding. Have you arrived at the point where
your choices align with the Torah’s directives? Or
are you performing the mitzvos because that is
what you are obligated to do? This concept extends
to our job in Chinuch as well. It is not enough to be
mechanech our children to perform mitzvos out of
obligation. We need to instill in them a love and
joy in Torah and mitzvos so that they perform the
mitzvos by choice.