Tzav: Recognizing Suffering

What is true love?  Many philosophers have pondered this question since the beginning of time.

A few months ago, everybody had a day off, for some reason or another … so I took the oldest five to Tzfas for the day.  Unfortunately, because of the war, it was a ghost town, but nonetheless, it was a beautiful day and we got to walk around the old city …  by ourselves.

I took them for lunch at a falafel place, where we were served super-stuffed falafel with the best hot-pepper salad I had.  I spoke with the owner on how to make it, and it's become a regular at the Shabbos table.

Yesterday, my oldest daughter had a meeting in that same area, and when she came home at lunch time, she held out a greasy bag, with a big smile on her face, and said, "I bought you a gift!"  When I asked her how much this cost me (since she has a credit card linked to my account), she responded proudly, "Nothing! I paid for this one."

THIS is true love.

"One who offers it for thanksgiving shall offer…" (Vayikra 7:12).

Throughout this large section of the Torah, we delve into the various offerings that were brought in the Mishkan/Beis HaMikdash.  One of them, probably one of the more relatable offerings, was that of the "Thanksgiving Offering," which Rashi describes as, "It's about giving thanks for a miracle that happened to him, such as those who cross the sea, travelers in the wilderness, prisoners released from captivity, or a sick person who recovered - they need to give thanks."

This seems quite logical.  A person who was rescued from a difficult or dangerous situation should bring an offering to Hashem, not only to thank Him, but to publicize his recovery/rescue.  In fact, even today, when a person was in such a situation, he publicly makes a bracha of thanksgiving when the Torah is read.

However, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach asks an interesting question on this.

We know that many tribulations (not to be confused with trials), are brought on as a result of one's sins.  They could be to push a person to repent or to give a person their punishment in this world, so they do not receive it in the next.  Logic clearly dictates that if a person becomes sick, instead of going to a doctor or taking medicine, he should let the sickness run its course and accept everything that happens for his good!  If he gets cured and starts feeling better, is he not "bypassing" Hashem's will, leaving himself open only to receive more hardship in some other area of life?

He answers that when a person, in his pain, recognizes that this is not some natural occurrence, even though it may seem so, and it's really from Hashem Himself, then that recognition will guard him from future pain.  Since the original pain served its purpose, no more needs to be sent "as a reminder."

When we acknowledge that suffering is from Above, and we act with that knowledge (with teshuvah, for example), we are able to save ourselves a lot more pain in the future.

With that, I wish you all a quiet and enjoyable Shabbos.