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  • Writer's pictureRabbi Yonah Burr

Shelach: I Am Hashem

אני ד' אלקיכם אשר הוצאתי אתכם מארץ מצרים להיות לכם לאלקים אני ד' אלקיכם
I am Hashem your G-d Who took you out of the land of Egypt to be your G-d, I am Hashem your G-d.


Why does the pasuk repeat the refrain ‘I am Hashem your G-d’?


Rashi tells us, that the possuk is actually telling us two different messages; one, I am Hashem who took you out of Egypt. I performed all the wonderful miracles for you, and gave you the Torah. But then, I repeats ‘I am Hashem’ – don’t think the Torah is optional, in order to receive reward, but if you prefer, you need not keep the commandments. No, rather, I am Hashem, you must keep the Torah and you are not free to exempt yourselves from it.


Rav Schwab zt”l, explains the possuk a bit differently.


Sometimes, we clearly see the Hand of Hashem in our lives; things are going well, everything is working out, and overall life seems to be going in the right direction. However, sometimes the Hashgacha of Hashem, and Hashem’s presence is not so apparent. We sometimes feel in the dark, alone, and confused. These two different feelings is something we all experience at different times.


The Torah is telling us that we are obligated to serve and trust in Hashem both times; I am Hashem who took you out of Mitzrayim, openly, with love, but I am also Hashem when things are not as clear.


We say in the davening, אמת ויציב, ונכון וקיים, וישר ונאמן . Rav Schwab explains that these seemingly synonymous words are expressing these two scenarios; אמת is when the truth is apparent and clear. ויציב which is an Aramaic word, reflects the time of galus, when things are not so clear. Again, נכון is when things are established and firm, while וקיים is when things don’t look as good. ישר is when things are going straight and good, while ונאמן is when we need to draw on our reserves of Emunah.


We will always experience both realities, but we are given the tools to serve Hashem either way.


The great mussar masters tell us that the time to make ‘emunah deposits’ to our spiritual bank accounts is when things are clear and going well, and the time to lean and draw upon these reservoirs is when things are less clear. "אני ד' אלקיכם, אני ד' אלקיכם" - may we merit to fully serve Hashem both times!


Have a wonderful Shabbos


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