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TorahAnytimes Newsletter Ekev

Parshat Ekev

Compiled and Edited by Elan Perchik


"The TorahAnyTimes" Newsletter

Parashat Ekev                                                                          Print Version
18th of Av, 5780 | August 8, 2020

Compiled and Edited by Elan Perchik

Rabbi Gedalya Glatt
Sparkling Smiles


The sunray pierced through the windowsill, its crescent glisten angling itself off the wall and across the carpet. It was the conception of a charming day, with the indoor whirring sounds of excitement only matching and mirroring such descriptive beauty outside.

Such sparkling awe would be sure to continue into the morning.

Young Leibel’s steps clamored the house, his burst of dynamic energy bouncing off the walls and attributing a livening uproar to them that made the appended artwork pale in comparison. But vibrant they were until an abrupt halt cowered their voice.
Leibel’s shriek cut through the moment.

Falling to his knee, he reached for his forehead, his hand soaking up the blood that now crowded his brow.


Weeks later, Rachel revisited the doctor with Leibel and Rivkah, it being time for the three stiches to be removed. “Well, Leibel,” chimed Dr. Kobel, “looks like you healed pretty well. That’ll be all for today; keep safe my little friend.”

Leibel hopped along, his mother and ten-year-old sister Rivkah trailing behind, monitoring Leibel who seemed to be back to his chipper self.

“Honey,” whispered Rachel to Rivkah, “wait right here with Leibel. I’m going to pull the car up right at the curb and you can both jump on in.” Rivkah nodded, a reassuring look glazing her eyes and signaling to Rachel that she had her younger brother safely under control. “Thanks sweetie.”


Rivkah’s eyes darted to and fro, taking in the many sights and colors that framed the hospital’s archways and architecture. Faces also stood out to her; some cheerful, others crestfallen. But all understandable.

Now at the curb, a Toyota Camry rang abound. Familiarity met Rivkah’s eyes, as a young girl popped out from the backseat. Squinting with a hung head, Rivkah’s forehead furrowed, an artful attempt to make out the face of the girl.

Miriam. Of course.

Her arm was positioned oddly so, however, as if being nursed and encaged from movement. Tears circled beneath her eyes, damply caressing her cheeks with an anxious swirl of uncertainty.

A honk broke Rivkah’s trance, yet only momentarily, as her glance remained glued to her friend whose feet ushered her through the emergency entrance, flanked by a woman who was known to be her mother.

Rivkah led Leibel to the car and watched as he situated himself, buying Rachel a brief respite wherein she permitted herself a deep breath from what was an eventful morning.

Rachel looked behind her shoulder, shifted the car into gear, and fled the car forward, a restful break in her lips forming what was the start of a grin. Leibel had made it through all right.


“Mom?” piped Rivkah, a curious tone caressing her voice. “Yes honey? What is it?” “Right before you pulled up, I think I saw Miriam get out of the car near the curb. She was holding her arm up like it was hurt badly, and I noticed that she went into the emergency room. I’m not sure exactly what happened though.” “You know it was Miriam?” “About that I’m certain.”

Without hesitating more than a blinking moment, Rachel changed lanes, poising herself to arch into a U-turn. “What’s going on, Mom?” Leibel too stirred questionably. “We’re heading back to the hospital to go check on Miriam.” “What do you mean? Why?” Rivkah had never intended for that to be the result of her comment. “We can’t do anything for her. The doctors will have to examine her.” “That’s exactly right, sweetie. The doctors will help her physically, but we can help her emotionally.” Rivkah thought she understood, a starched look overcasting her bewildered stare into the distance.


As Rivkah and Miriam’s eyes met, their transfixed gazes laced with surprise and jubilation, the space hallowing between them feeling warmer for just a moment. Miriam was the first to break into an irresistible smile, markedly couching her pain with the felt embrace of a friend. “I-I’m not sure yet what it is,” muffled Miriam, silencing their faces with a hush of seriousness. “It might be broken.”

Rivkah did nothing more than gracefully seat herself aside Miriam, her gentle presence bespeaking mountains of cuddling comfort and care. It was all Rivkah could provide. At least for the moment. But it was a sharp moment that sliced through all the pointed pain and lent itself an air of serenity.


Sunday strove around, the passing days having unfolded unto each other and carrying a somber yet solace undertone as Rivkah mused over Miriam’s injury and recovery.

Rivkah’s plan to visit the library along with her father, Nachum, was just getting underway, when the look on Sam Goldberg, the neighbor just houses down, caught their attention. There he stood, his face buried underneath the car’s hood and gripped with a mask of consternation.

Nachum corralled Rivkah along, approaching Sam whose face shown with a blackish hue that speckled his face with artistic pattern. His attempts to locate the car’s issue left him beset with the car’s colorful disdain of dirt and grease, as if rebuffing any effort suggestive of its need for repair.

“Sam?” Nachum’s words hung, suspended in midair, until Sam caught himself a moment’s pause. “Yeah, hiya there Nachum.” “Sam, just checking to make sure you’re alright.” “Oh, thanks for coming along. I’ll be just fine. Couple of tweaks here and there, and I should be able to find the problem and be on my way.” Nachum let out a slow grin. “Good to hear. Hope it all works out. Take care now.”


As summer broke through the crispness of spring and leveled a refreshing hint of fun, a trip to the legendary amusement park was in order for Rivkah and her friends. Laughter huddled the crowd of friendship that bonded all ten of the girls, as did the bounce in each of their steps on this long-anticipated day.

Their joy galloped forward into the amusement that glistened throughout the park, until… a trip, cry, and fall broke the ecstasy. Leah was down, grasping and clasping her foot, a shock of pain coursing through her body. The rebound was fairly quick, however, with Leah gathering herself and reckoning that it was no more than a badly twisted ankle. But enough to set her out for the day, she knew.

Rivkah stared forward, her mind racing with cascading images of her mother and father, turning around to see Miriam at the hospital and lending a few words to Sam. Rivkah motioned her friends to gather round, a critical expression catching her request. They remained inconspicuously off to the side, huddled around, their mouthing words holding Leah’s momentary glimpse.

Minutes later, the girls unclasped their embrace and footed forward towards Leah, Rivkah emerging from their midst.

“Leah,” gracefully soothed Rivkah, a gentleness stroking her intonation. “We’ve decided to, one by one, each take a turn sitting out a ride and joining you here on the bench.” Leah’s face enveloped with a sparkling smile, her eyes brimming with the formation of tears, as she looked on at her friends’ faces and feeling in their hearts. “Thank you,” she whispered, a saturated depth to her words reaching the girls. “Thank you.”

Rivkah smiled in return, looking deeply into Leah’s eyes, but more accurately into the eyes of her mother and father, who softly yet strongly had displayed the stirring impact that kindness leaves upon the world. Rivkah knew it. She felt it. First with her mother and Miriam and then with her father and Sam.

If there was ever a moment when the vicarious osmosis of impressionable parenting coupled with a timeless lesson for life, this was it. Rivkah now looked up to the sky, the twinkle in her eye meeting the glistening sunlight that anchored off into a distance, fading with a softening shimmer that warmly fondled her cheeks.

Rabbi YY Jacobson
Much Forgiveness, Much Fear

One of the most oft-recited chapters in Tehillim is that of “Shir Ha’Maalos Mi’mamakim – A song of ascents. From the depths have I called you…” (130:1). While this chapter of Tehillim has found a special place amidst the prayers of those beseeching for an individual to be healed from their sickness or alike, one specific verse therein peculiarity stands out. “For with You is forgiveness, that You may be feared” (130:4). How does this make sense? Generally, when you forgive someone, it increases their love for you, not fear of you. The teacher who is easygoing and quick to forget and forgive typically evokes love from the students, whereas the strict, militant disciplinarian engenders fear. Why then does the Pasuk here state that Hashem’s forgiveness is done so that we fear him?

The Baal HaTanya offers an especially enlightening explanation, which can be understood with the following example.

It is 2006 and the real estate market is doing quite well. Deciding it is time to make a big splash financially, you take out a loan for $50 million and begin building condominiums in Manhattan, expecting to make around $70 million in return in a couple years’ time.

But then 2008 arrives and the market devastatingly crashes. No one is interested in buying such largely expensive property, and you are left with tons of apartment complexes under your name and an outrageous loan needing to be repaid next month. The catastrophe can get no worse than it already is. The manager of the bank schedules an appointment with you for next Wednesday and all you can do is shiver with fear. When you finally walk in, he says, “It doesn’t make a difference what happened; we must be repaid every cent with interest. Your first payment is due next Tuesday when we will be expecting $5.4 million. The same will be true for every single upcoming month.”

You look at the bank manager and do nothing more than laugh. Turning aside, you call your wife and say, “This manager is off his rocker. Don’t even begin to worry because there is nothing we can do.” The next few days go by and you still don’t begin worrying. The expectations to repay such large amounts are literally impossible and so beyond any semblance of reality. You know that even if they summon you to court, you will fight to push it off for twenty years, and by then, the bank or bank manager will be long gone.

But what happens if you walk into the bank and the bank manager looks at you and says, “I am so sorry; we all have to bite the bullet. I know you were wiped out, and so were we. Let’s make this work. Firstly, I will release you of the interest you owe. Secondly, I will cut you 30% of the entire loan. Now tell me what you can do. Let’s work together.”

If this is how the bank manager approaches you, then you need to start worrying. You call your wife and say, “I have to pay back the loan. The manager is a fine fellow and he wants to work with me. I can’t just run away.”

This is the meaning of the above Pasuk, explains the Baal HaTanya. “For with You is forgiveness…” Hashem knows that we are human and have our share of failures and foibles. He knows very well that we are going to make bad deals and decisions. But He wants us to amend and correct those errors. He therefore comes to us and says, “I love you and cherish you, and just want you to be successful and happy. Let’s make this work. I forgive you, and know you can do better.”

When this is how Hashem approaches us, then we have much to fear, as the verse concludes. We cannot escape, but must take stock of our lives and engage in serious self-introspection and thought. Hashem empowers us with accountability and we then feel responsibility. There is forgiveness, but with it comes fear. And that is because we know that change and improvement is not impossible. G-d wants us to return and helps us to do so. And when the door is wide open, we would only be wise to enter.

A Short Message From
Rabbi Paysach Krohn

What in fact is the etymology of the word “shidduch”? The Ran in his commentary to Meseches Shabbos (5b in dapei HaRif), cites the verse in Shoftim (3:11), “ותשקט הארץ ארבעים שנה” – “And the land was quiet for forty years.” Targum Yonasan ben Uziel renders the word ותשקט as “ושדוכת,” a word similar to שידוכים (shidduchim). The Ran explains that the word shidduchim relates to the word ותשקט, peace and tranquility, for that is what a woman finds after she gets married. She experiences serenity and contentment with her husband and enjoys a blissful marriage.

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