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Rabbi Berzanky - Parshas Ki Seitzei

A House, a Vineyard, and an Ox


ּ כִי יִּקָרֵא קַן צִפֹור... ּכִי תִבְנֶה ּבַיִת חָדָש(כב, ו–יד)

If a bird’s nest happens before you…If you build a new house…


Chazal teach us that the performance of one mitzvah, even a

minor one, creates a spiritual chain reaction that opens up

opportunities for other mitzvos to follow, no matter what

the cost. Chazal call this natural phenomenon “mitzvah goreres mitzvah”

— that one mitzvah brings another mitzvah. With this concept, Rashi

explains how seven seemingly unrelated pesukim are, in truth, related.

The first two of the seven pesukim discuss the mitzvah of shiluach

hakein — sending away the mother bird from her nest. Rashi ex-

plains that one who performs this mitzvah will merit another mitz-

vah: the mitzvah of ma’akah — putting a fence around one’s roof.

Since it is impossible to perform the mitzvah of ma’akah without

a home, Hashem will grant him a home to facilitate it. Hence, the

mitzvah of shiluach ha-kein brought about the mitzvah of ma’akah,

which actually caused him to have a home.

After he fences his roof, Hashem will give him the opportunity to

fulfill the mitzvah of kilayim, which is the fourth pasuk in our list

of seven.Since one cannot fulfill this mitzvah without a vineyard,

Hashem will grant him a vineyard. Then, Hashem will grant him a

field, oxen, and donkeys in order to fulfill the negative mitzvah of

not plowing with a donkey and ox simultaneously, and so on and

so forth.

This spiritual chain reaction is so significant that Hashem will

provide him with whatever he needs in order to facilitate the next

mitzvah — be it a house, vineyard, field, or donkeys and oxen for

that matter.

The Be’er Yosef understands that if a person who executed the

mitzvah of shiluach ha-kein would not put a fence on the roof of

his home, he would be causing himself to lose his home! He did not

receive his home as a reward for performing the preceding mitzvah;

it was given to him in order to fulfill the next mitzvah of ma’akah.

Therefore, if he does not place a fence on it, he would be forgoing his

rights to the home.

Rashi brings Targum Onkelos that translates the word ma’akah

(fence) in the pasuk as takia, which means “a bag.” Rashi explains

that the fence around the rooftop protects the people that are inside

of it from falling, just as a bag protects what is inside of it.

However, the Be’er Yosef explains that the fence protects the house

itself for its owners. It enables them to hold onto it. Since the whole

reason why he merited this house was in order to fulfill the mitzvah

associated with it, when he fulfills that mitzvah, he is in truth insur-

ing the security of his home, just as a bag insures the security of its

contents.

Within this Rashi lies an eye-opening insight into all of our

acquisitions. We should not amass acquisitions for the sake of

owning them. Rather, we should view our acquisitions in light of the mitzvahs that we can do with them. It could be that the sole reason why somebody has a specific possession is in order to do a certain mitzvah with it. It follows from this that life is about amassing mitzvahs, not acquisitions; the acquisitions are secondary

to the mitzvah. They are there to help us in our performance of the

mitzvah.

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