Parshas Devarim

Who is Our Not-So Secret Admirer?


“…We went through the entire great and awesome Wilderness…” (Devarim 1:19)

Imagine that you have a secret admirer who loves you so much. He will secretly do anything for you. In fact, he has already done many things for you without your knowledge. He has even saved your life a few times, unbeknownst to you. How can you feel anything towards him if you don’t even know that he takes care of you and loves you?

In this week’s parsha, Moshe discusses the past events that occurred to the Jewish People. After they left Har Sinai, Hashem led the Jews through “the great and awesome Wilderness”. Rashi and others explain that the wilderness is described as great and awesome because of the enormous and terrifying snakes and scorpions that they saw in this wilderness. The Mizrachi asks, “How could the Jews have feared these animals if they didn’t see them – Didn’t the Heavenly cloud that protected and preceded them kill all the snakes and scorpions?” The Sifri answers, that they saw the rotting and terrifying bodies of the dead snakes and scorpions, as they passed them along the way. Just the sight of those terrifying creatures gave the Jews goosebumps.

Why did Hashem leave the carcasses of these terrifying creatures for the Jews to see? Perhaps it was to clearly show, unlike the secret admirer above, how much Hashem truly loves us. Hashem takes care of us constantly and protects us regularly. The Kli Chemda (Rabbi Shmuel Laniado, student of Rav Yosef Caro) explains that Hashem purposely sent the Jews along this dangerous route so that we would recognize Hashem’s kindness & the miracles that He does for us. This would also give the Jews the added courage when they would have to fight against the mighty kings of Canaan, as they entered the Land of Israel.

In Parshas Chukas, the Amorites were planning on ambushing the Jews as we came through a valley, on the way to the Land of Israel. Hashem miraculously saved us. Hashem said, “Who is going to tell My children about these miracles (of how I saved them)?” Hashem caused the well of Miriam to flow near the Jews, carrying the blood and bodies of their enemy. Then they realized that Hashem had performed miracles for them.

Hashem loves us more than we can imagine. He only wants what is truly good for us (even though, at times, it might not be evident to us). Hashem has performed miracles for us (as a people and as individuals) to show His love for us and His desire to take care of us. We should always feel His love.

Similarly, when we do a favor for people or for their children we should let them know about it! When they see how much we love them or their children, they will feel loved and cherished by us. They will then reciprocate our love.

All this love, of one Jew for another, will help bring Moshiach speedily.