18 Elul – 4 September 2023
“…and you will be only on top and you will not on the bottom when you obey the commandments of Hashem your G-d” .
It’s clearly impossible to be on the top and bottom at the same time, so why does the Torah have to tell both that we’ll be on top but not on the bottom?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand cites the commentary of Rav Tzadok HaKohen of Lublin to a famous verse in I Chronicles 4:10 where Jabez prayed to Hashem, “If you will bless me and expand my borders…” The question here is why he has to ask for both a blessing and an extension? Rav Tzadok explains that someone may receive tremendous blessings, but if they’re not able to handle it (like many people who win the lottery) it can become a disaster. Therefore, Yabez asked not only for blessing, but that Hashem give him the wisdom and appropriate vessels to be able to receive the blessings.
Rabbi Frand suggests that this might be the meaning of “you will be on the top and not on the bottom”. Hashem will bless us and we will rise to the top. And He will make sure that we will be the kind of people who will be able to handle the blessings without sinking to the bottom.
By Rabbi Michael Skobac
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