A Selfless Leader
[Editor’s note: As a memory of my beloved brother Shaya, I would like to continue sending out his pearls of wisdom that he has shared with all of you in the past. For some of you this may ring a bell and for others it may appear to be totally new. May the learning of Shaya’s Divrei Torah inspire us to change our ways and thereby give an Aliya to the neshama of our dear beloved Shaya whom we miss so much.]
In this week’s Parsha, Moshe blesses the Jewish People that they will increase a thousand fold.
The Sifri, quoted by Rashi, brings the following dialogue between Moshe and Klal Yisroel:
Klal Yisroel ask Moshe, “Why are you limiting the number of our offspring? Hashem gave us a bracha that we will be as numerous as the dust of the earth!” Moshe responds, “this [bracha] is from me, and Hashem will bless you like He already promised.” (To understand why Moshe gave them a seemingly pointless bracha, as Hashem had already blessed them that they would be innumerable, take a look in Rabbi Frand’s first sefer on Chumash for a beautiful answer from the Chasam Sofer.)
Why did Moshe bless them to increase specifically a THOUSAND fold? The Hafla provides us with a clever calculation to answer this question. There were two times in the Midbar when Hashem became ‘frustrated’ with Klal Yisroel to such an extent that He told Moshe that He will destroy Klal Yisroel and remake a great nation from just him (Moshe). Hashem didn’t tell Moshe how great He would make him.
Chazal tell us that the good Hashem does for us is always 500 times greater than Hashem’s punishment. Hence, each time Hashem told Moshe, ‘I will make from you a great nation,’ it was to be at least 500 times as numerous as Klal Yisroel. Twice 500 times is a thousand. Even though Hashem didn’t carry out his plan of destroying Klal Yisroel, we have a rule that anything Hashem says for the good, even with a condition that is not fulfilled, He never retracts.
So Moshe had a bracha ‘in the bank’ that his descendants would be multiplied a thousand times as much as Klal Yisroel. This Bracha he now [in our Parsha] gave to Klal Yisroel that THEY should multiply a thousand fold! With this we can fully appreciate the words Moshe said, ‘This is from me.’ Not just that Moshe was giving them a personal Bracha. Moshe was telling them ‘this was my very own Bracha that I got from Hashem and now I am giving it to you Klal Yisroel!”
How fortunate were we to have such a selfless leader!