The Navi says concerning Yetzias Mitzrayim זכרתי לך חסד נעוריך לכתך אחרי במדבר בארץ לא זרועה I remember the chesed of your youth that you followed me into the desert where there was no means of sustenance. Rav Yosef Salant ztl explains this to mean that Hashem is not merely crediting them with merit because they had emunah to do what they did. Rather their act of chesedgoing into the desert was unparalleled in that even though there was no preplanning from their side of how they were to survive in the desert without food and water, each family nevertheless took responsibility for all of the orphans that remained alone after their parents died in the plague of Darkness. Four fifths of Am Yisrael perished and they left the staggering number of millions of orphans who were parentless when the geulah came. Each one’s own family consisted of at least thirty children since they gave birth six at a time. Imagine the responsibility in the undertaking of all these yesomim and yesomos under your wing which would instantly enlarge their families to an insane number of family members. Suddenly, every surviving father and mother became a Parent Body of an entire school of hundreds.

We know what it means just to buy snacks for our own kids and how fussy they can get in their choices. Imagine how overwhelming the Instant New Family must have gotten for one when there were no snacks available never mind food. Yet the display of off the chart chesed was demonstrated by a nation which that very same day they got released from 210 years of bondage, they were being chased out by their oppressors, there was no preparation of food to nurture them for the journey, with a sudden instant extended family whose names you will never remember, on a journey without any itinerary. The only thing you do know is that as you leave Mitzrayim you are entering the hot boiling sun and your new family will become cranky and big time incessant complainers and you must keep track of all them so they don’t stray away from the family and get lost. Yet, with all these incredible minuses on their side, AmYisrael committed to do it anyway and took upon themselves full responsibility for this humungous irrational chesed for these unfortunate and needy neshamos. Hashem, in reference to this says that this giving and sacrifice I will remember forever and it will serve as a continuous merit towards your behalf.

Love and marriage have been distorted and commercialized over the years especially by the perverted media. The Torah relates that Yitzchak brought Rivka into his mother’s tent and he loved her. Rabbi Hirsch comments love for one’s spouse only starts after marriage not before. This concept is based on Rav Dessler’s observation that אהבה has the root word of הב which means to give. The formula therefore is that the more you give and sacrifice to someone else the more bond and love you have for that person. As the gematriah of the word אהבה  suggests, אחד to become one with the receiver of your chessed.

There are really only two major categories of people in the world, GIVERS and TAKERS נותן ומקבל . Chazal tell us that one of the inborn middos of Am Yisraelis chesed the characteristic of a נותן. Instinctively we possess the will and desire to give. We have many mitzvos in the Torah that promote this act constantly such as tezdakah tithes etc. However I feel that the separation between the GIVERS and TAKERS is also a matter of proper perspective in your relationship with Hashem. When one desires to describe his possessions one begins by saying “I have or I own”  the “I” serves as the subject pronoun in the sentence. This is in contrast to the Lashon Hakodesh where the same message is conveyed with the words ofיש לי  which translates as ‘to me there is; the “to me” in the beginning of the sentence serves as an object pronoun. The difference between the two is that the “I” that precedes the “have” conveys that “I” am the center focus of my possessions, it defines who I am and I feel entitlement to possess them which then makes it harder for me to be charitable and chessedik to others. In contrast “there is to me” declares I really don’t own it but rather it was deposited and entrusted to me by Hashem in His kindness, for the purpose to be available in order to further His cause and pass along the kindness to others. This perception makes it easier for me to let go of it since it doesn’t really it doesn’t belong to me as an entitlement and earthly possessions do not define who I am anyway.

The way that one structures his sentences concerning his possessions either with “I have” or “there is to me” is a barometer of his relationship with Hashem and other Yidden. On the national perspective our name ישראל  defines us as “To me there is” type of Yid. In the letters ישראל   there are three words יש לי אשר  to me there is happiness and well being. The act of giving is an act of love. יש לי  individuals are GIVERS who always feel G-dly and fulfilled when they encounter an opportunity of transcending one’s earthliness. When we love others and sacrifice for them, Hashem mirrors our deeds and He demonstrates to us His love, and desires to fulfill our needs and lacking. An allusion to this concept is found in the gematriah of אהבה. If one spells this word with its inner letters only לפ,א,ית,ה  the gematriah is תפילה  (including the word). The inner letters also form the word תפילה א  the letter aleph referring to Hashem. When we love our fellow Yid deeply enough that it reaches even the inner letters of אהבה, and we benefit him from our possessions, Hashem will respond in the same fashion. When we daven before Him, He will fulfill our needs and requests. The Hebrew equivalent of give is  גיב which is gematriah יה the first two letters of Hashem’s name. When you emulate Hashem and thereby connect to Him, you have everything and  lack nothing כי אין מחסור ליראיו .

We will end with a story that sums up our maamar. There were two older men who were friends from youth who one day went on a fishing trip in a canoe. Suddenly for no reason Harry stood up in the boat with his fishing rod still in the water. Bob called out “Harry, sit down immediately it’s too dangerous to stand up”. Harry did not listen. Bob again called out “You are going to lose your balance and you will fall into the lake by standing up. Still Harry ignored Bob’s warnings. Suddenly there was a big splash and Harry went overboard. He was only about two feet from the canoe. Bob stretched out his hand and called ‘Give me your hand”. Harry who could not swim just looked blankly at Bob without a response. Bob called again “Harry give me your hand I will pull you out”. Once again there was no response. Again Bob called Harry please give me your hand I can save you. But Harry still had that confused stare on his face as if he didn’t understand what Bob was saying. He was about to go under when Bob attempted with another heartfelt plea begging  Harry give me your hand or you will drown. Harry was still motionlessly staring at his lifetime friend as he slipped under the surface of the lake and drowned.

Bob called the police and they lifted his lifeless body from the water. Bob was at the morgue when Harry’s wife came there. She came to Bob and asked what happened?” Didn’t you try to save him?” Bob choked up, replied I did everything I could possibly do. I stretched out my hand three times calling to Harry to give me his hand and he just had this confused look on his face as if he did not know what I was asking from him and then he drowned. Harry’s wife looked down in a silent sadness of grief for a minute or two and then she raised her head and looked directly into Bob’s eyes. It is such a tragedy. I have been telling Harry since we got married that he must work on being less selfish and more giving. He had a big problem with this his entire life. He only knew how to take but not to give. Had you called to him Take My hand he would be alive today. He was so confused when you said Give me your hand that he didn’t understand what you wanted from him. That was his biggest tragedy. Even when he had life he did not know how to really live.

Rav Brazil