Haftaras Shabbos HaGadol

On Shabbos HaGadol, we read a special haftarah from Sefer Malachi. In this haftarah, we find Hashem telling us (Malachi 3:10):
Bring all the tithes into the storage-house, and let it be for sustenance in My House. Test Me through this, if you please, … and see if I will not open up for you the heavenly portals, and pour down upon you blessing without measure.
The Maggid asks: Why did Hashem choose specifically the mitzvah of tithing, as opposed to some other mitzvah, as the means through which we can “test” Him? The Maggid answers via an analogy. Imagine a cloth merchant coming to town with a wagon full of cut cloth. The buyers ask him how long the cuttings are, and he answers that all of them are 10 meters long. Suppose a buyer does not believe the seller, and wishes to verify his statement. He is not going to measure every single cutting in the wagon, for it would take a great deal of time to do so, and this is not the way people do business. Rather, he will sample one cutting from the stock and measure it, and thereby draw a conclusion about the entire stock. Which cutting will the buyer choose to measure? Obviously he will pick the cutting that looks to him to be the shortest, so that verifying its length will lead to a firm conclusion about the rest.
Similarly, Hashem approached us with a large stock of “merchandise” – 613 mitzvos. He told us that these mitzvos have special power to bring us success and blessing. But He recognized that we, as mortals of limited understanding, would not accept the “deal” wholeheartedly without testing the mitzvos and verifying their power. And He realized that it would not be practicable for us to check all 613 mitzvos; instead, we would seek to check one mitzvah and extrapolate from it to all the other mitzvos. Which mitzvah would be the right one for us to choose? Hashem graciously extended us good advice about this issue: He told us to verify His “claim” via the mitzvah of tithing, for it appears on the surface that this mitzvah leads to a loss. After we see that the mitzvah of tithing in fact brings us blessing, we can confidently conclude that the same is true of all the rest of the mitzvos.
David Zucker, Site Administrator

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