Parashas Ki Savo, Part 2

This week’s parashah presents the declaration that a person is supposed to make to testify that he has properly separated and distributed his tithes. The declaration includes the following statement (Devarim 26:14): “I have hearkened unto the voice of Hashem, my God; I have carried through according to all You have commanded me (k’chol asher tzivisani).” The Maggid notes the prefix kaf on the word k’chol. Without the kaf, the statement would read: “I have carried through all You commanded me.” The kaf has the effect of adding the phase “according to.” What is the import of this phrase?
The Maggid explains as follows. The statement “I have carried through all You commanded me” implies that the speaker has done as he has solely because he was compelled by Hashem’s command. It is like a soldier involuntarily following the orders of his commander, and then reporting that the orders have been carried out. The statement “I have carried through according to all You commanded me,” however, has a different meaning. This statement implies that the speaker understands that Hashem has given him good counsel, and he has willingly acted according to Hashem’s directions. He realizes that Hashem has told him to do certain things because they are necessary for the well-being of his soul.
It is in this vein, the Maggid says, that the Sifrei comments that the verse carries an implicit message: “I have rejoiced and caused others to rejoice on account of this.” A person who does something out of compulsion does not rejoice in doing it. But a person who does something because a wise and caring counselor has told him to do so rejoices fervently.
We can interpret in the same way the following verse (Tehillim 119:9): “How can a youth purify his path? By observing according to Your word.” If one enthusiastically acts according to Hashem’s directives out of knowledge that they are designed for his benefit, he will purify his path.
David Zucker, Site Administrator

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