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Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Heaven rewards immeasure for measure

Daf Yomi Sotah 9

“I can’t carry the people alone anymore,” Moshe complains to G-d.
“Fine,” replies Hashem, “gather seventy wise men and I will place the Divine spirit upon them.”  Moshe does as he is commanded and, all of a sudden, prophecy abounds.  Eldad and Meidad do not cease prophesying.   Moshe’s right hand man, Yehoshua, runs over to him and tells him what has transpired.  Overhearing the conversation, Moshe’s wife, Tzipora laments, “Woe to their wives for now they are men of G-d!” 

Moshe’s sister, Miriam, hears Tzipora’s comment and realizes that Moshe has not been with his wife since he encountered G-d on Mt. Sinai.  Disturbed by the state of their marriage, she consults with her other brother, Aharon.  But as a result of her lashon hara (gossip), she is stricken with tzaraas (leprosy), and must leave the camp for seven days of purification.

The same way a person measures, so is he measured. 

Miriam waited a short while for Moshe (as he drifted down the Nile in a basket), as it is said, “And his sister stood from afar.” Therefore the Israelites were delayed for seven days in the Wilderness, as it is said, “And the people did not journey until Miriam was brought in again.” 

Yosef earned merit by burying His father and there was none among his brothers greater than he; as it is said, “And Yosef went up to bury his father, and with him went up both chariots and horsemen.”  Whom have we greater than Yosef since none other than Moshe occupied himself with his burial?

Moshe earned merit through the bones of Yosef and there was none in Israel greater than he, as it is said, “And Moshe took the bones of Yosef with him.”  Whom have we greater than Moshe since none other than the Omnipresent occupied himself [with his burial], as it is said, “And he buried him in the valley.”  Not only concerning Moshe did they say this, but concerning all the righteous, as it is said, “And your righteousness shall go before you, the glory of Hashem shall gather you in.”

The Talmud begins by teaching that Heaven rewards our deeds measure for measure.  But listen to the descriptions offered.  Miriam waits for a mere hour for an innocent little baby.  In return, three million Israelites wait for her for seven days while she was being detained for her transgression! 

Likewise, Yosef, the viceroy of Egypt, would have been happy to find any excuse to leave Egypt and travel back home.  And yet the Talmud makes a big deal of the funeral he arranged for his father.  So much so, that he merited having Moshe, our greatest leader and prophet of all time, see to his exhumation!

Moshe Rabbeinu took care of some old bones to satisfy a promise made to his great-great-uncle a couple of centuries earlier.  Big deal.  But in return for his efforts, G-d Himself sees to his funeral!  What’s more, in his merit, G-d attends the funeral of every righteous individual!

You see, measure for measure reward is a total understatement.  When G-d rewards you for your actions, He might do so in like manner, but the reward relative to your actions is a thousandfold!  You might think it’s no big deal, but the Almighty will grant you reward way beyond your wildest dreams for that little nothing act.

And of course, all of the examples of reward offered by the Talmud were bestowed in this world.  Can you imagine the reward in store for you in the World to Come for every mitzvah you perform on Earth?  Pirkei Avot teaches, “One moment of bliss in the World to Come is more beautiful than all of life in this world.”  That means that if you were to take all the pleasures of this world – absolutely anything imaginable – and wrap it all up; it would not compare to a moment’s pleasure in the Next World!

Every good deed you perform you are rewarded measure for measure.  But the measure only relates to the kind of reward you receive.  The amount of reward compared to the deed is immeasurable.  May you merit performing many, many mitzvos and be unable to measure the Heavenly shower that shall rain down upon you in this world and the next!  

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