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Jewish Heritage
Rabbi Dovid Saks
(Torah Portion Aikev) Surprised Wealth!

King Solomon writes in the book of Koheles, “Everything has its season, and there is a time for everything under the Heaven.” He then lists that there are 28 times of significant life events. One of them is, “There is a time to scatter stones; and there is a time to gather stones.”

The Medrash explains this to mean that, Solomon, who built the first Temple in Jerusalem prophesized that the stones of the Temple would eventually be scattered through its destruction, and he also prophesized that the stones would be gathered with the rebuilding of the Temple.

Another Medrash says that the scattering of stones refers to when our leader Moshe saw some of the Jews worshipping the golden calf he smashed the sapphire tablets containing the first set of Ten Commandments; and the gathering of the stones hints to the stones that Moshe gathered to produce the second set of the Ten Commandments.

The first and second tablets were different. The first was produced entirely in Heaven, whereas the sapphire material of the second stones was taken from the earth. Moshe brought them up to Heaven where G-d engraved the words.

The question is where did Moshe find such huge chunks of sapphire in the desert? In fact, Moshe asked the same question of G-d. G-d told Moshe not to worry. Moshe dug under his tent and found a massive amount of sapphire stone.

G-d instructed Moshe to chisel the stone to its proper size, and then told him that he could keep all the remnants of stones that were shaved off in the process. Our Sages tell us that Moshe became very wealthy as a result of the production of the Ten Commandments.

You are probably wondering, what was the purpose of Moshe’s wealth?

Firstly, the Mishnah tells us that G-d appoints spiritual leaders who are wise, strong and wealthy. The reason he must be wealthy is because no one with personal wealth can be suspected that he is in it for the money.

There is a Medrash that conveys a very important lesson as to how Moshe acquired his wealth. Immediately before the Jews left Egypt, G-d commanded Moshe to instruct the Jews to borrow riches from the Egyptians. Thus every Jew became very wealthy.

However during this crucial time Moshe was involved with another Mitzvah. He was searching for the remains of Yosef who before his death stipulated with his brothers through a binding oath that when the Jews leave Egypt his remains would be brought with them for re-interment in Israel. The Egyptians had hidden Yosef, and while the Jews were collecting the valuables, Moshe was busy with the Mitzvah of finding Yosef’s remains. Moshe eventually found Yosef’s coffin and it was taken with the Jews through their journey to Israel. Thus Moshe was the only one who did not come out of Egypt with any of the Egyptian’s wealth.

The Medrash tells us that G-d proclaimed, “Moshe is entitled to the wealth of the shavings, pieces and residue of the sapphire of the Tablets, because while the Jews were busy collecting the wealth of the Egyptian, Moshe was involved with the Mitzvah of finding Yosef. Should Moshe remain poor? Now is the time to compensate Moshe appropriately and accordingly.”

Moshe never thought or even imagined that he would receive wealth like everyone else. He was the consummate person who was happy with his lot. G-d gave it to him in a way that no one would ever have imagined.

The second portion of the Shema declaration which we recite daily is in this week’s portion. In this portion of Shema, G-d promises us that if we are loyal to His commands, He will take care of all our material needs.

This means that when we lead our lives like Moshe, with humility, devotion to the commands, and with a firm belief that everything comes from G-d’s benevolence, without feeling entitled, G-d will respond in ways that will amaze us!

While on the subject of King Solomon’s 28 significant life events; one of them is there is a time for birth.

We are so grateful to share with you the news of the recent birth of our granddaughter, Shoshana Raizel, born to Shua and Estee Saks!
Wishing you a restful, peaceful and inspirational Shabbos!
Rabbi Dovid Saks