Re'eh: Time to Recharge
By Rabbi Yonah Burr
עשר תעשר את כל תבואת זרעך היצא השדה שנה שנה: ואכלת לפני ד' אלקיך במקום אשר יבחר לשכן שמו שם מעשר דגנך תירשך ויצהרך ובכרת בקרך וצאנך למען תלמד ליראה את ד' אלקיך כל הימים:
You shall surely tithe all the produce of your field from year to year; and you shall eat it before Hashem your G-d in the place that He will choose for His name to dwell there-the tithe of your grain, wine, oil, first born cattle and flock, in order that you shall learn to fear Hashem your G-d all of the days
The Torah gives us certain mitzvos that require us to visit Yerushalayim throughout the year; we are required to eat certain produce in Yerushalayim, first born sheep and cattle must be offered and ate by kohanim in Yerushalayim, and of course the three Regalim require us to make the trip to spend Yom Tov in Yerushalayim.
The Sefer HaChinuch offers a reason for these mitzvos: “Hashem chose us as His nation, and through His Righteousness wants that we should all learn His Torah and know His Name. Now, Hashem in His infinite wisdom realizes that most of us will inevitably spend most of our time busy with mundane pursuits, being that we are only human, and will not apply ourselves to toil and engage in continuous Torah study. Therefore, Hashem orchestrated matters that everyone should be exposed to the wisdom of our sages, and true Torah study, by seeing the Sanhedrin and experiencing Yerushalayim. Everyone will either have occasion to go themselves, or send a family member as a representative, to perform these mitvos there, and be nourished with this fruit”.
This is what the Torah itself means when it says: “in order that you shall learn to fear Hashem all of the days”. As Tosfos in Bava Basra 21a says, “great is the mitzva of Ma’aser Sheni, that it brings one to Torah; for when one would stand in Yerushalayim until he would finish eating his Ma’aser, and he would see everyone engaged in the work of heaven and service, he too, would focus and come to fear heaven and engage in Torah”.
We see from this the importance of making Torah study, and Torah experiences, part of our routine; although most of our time is often spent making a living, and engaging in the physical world, if we set up specific times to learn, and are careful to incorporate it into our lives, we too, will learn to fear Hashem and serve Him all the days!
Have a wonderful Shabbos