Rabbi Yonah Burr
Bechukosai: World Peace
ואכלתם לחמכם לשבע…ונתתי שלום בארץ
And you will eat your bread and be sated, and I will grant peace in the land
Rashi explains that even after Hashem promised us food, plenty, and satiation, we were still concerned that perhaps we would not merit to have peace; to which Hashem responds, “I will grant peace in the land”.
Why would we think that after all Hashem promised us, we would still be lacking peace?
Rabbi Yonasan Eibshutz z”l asks an even more intriguing question.
In Parshas Nitzavim, after Hashem lists the various curses and calamities that can befall those who forsake the Torah, the Torah states:
והיה בשמעו את דברי האלה הזאת והתברך בלבבו לאמר שלום יהיה לי
Perhaps when you hear these words of curses you will still comfort your heart and say, there will be peace.
How is it possible that after hearing all the admonitions and curses, we would comfort ourselves that there will be peace?
Why would we think there would be peace when things are bad, and no peace when things are going well?
Rabbi Eibshutz z”l explains this with a gemara. The Malachim asked Hashem, "You decreed in your Torah, אשר לא ישא פנים, that You don't play favorites. How can you violate that and favor the Jewish People?"
Hashem responded, how can I not favor them when I decreed only to bentch after being sated, and the Jews took it upon themselves to bless Me even after having eaten a mere morsel the size of an olive.
We see, Rabbi Yonason explains, that when we serve Hashem despite hardship and not being sated, it triggers a tremendous surge of mercy from above. By contrast, when we are totally satisfied, even if we serve Hashem, we lack this element of commitment and this special zechus.
When things are going well, and we are thanking and serving Hashem from a source of plenty, that’s when we need to be concerned that we do not yet have the merit to deserve true peace. If, however, we are serving Hashem when things are difficult, this is what triggers an extra amount of favor in the eyes of Hashem.
This has been a difficult year for the world in general, and the Jewish People in particular. We should always remember that our enduring commitment to Hashem’s Torah and Mitzvos have a special quality and arouse special mercy especially when things aren’t easy. May we merit the redemption, together with all the blessings, along with the promise of peace, speedily in our days! Have a wonderful Shabbos!