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Parshas B'Shalach - Stuff is Not His Who Has It, but His Who Enjoys It       12 Shvat 5780

02/07/2020 08:46:00 AM


Over time, nostalgia has taken on greater significance for me. . There are many Knick knacks from my childhood and from my children’s childhoods that I have saved, causing one of the few areas of contention between my wife and me. She wants to get rid of all the keepsakes; I see them as treasures. Please understand. I’m not a typical hoarder, because I don’t meet the five levels of hoarding. The National Study Group on Compulsive Disorganization created a clutter hoarding scale consisting of five levels of hoarding. I will not even share levels three to five because those levels clearly describe a disorder that does not, Baruch Hashem, apply to me. Even levels one and two are different than my kind of saving. Statistically, a Level 1 hoarder is defined as someone whose clutter fills the bathrooms and kitchen. A Level 2 hoarder has at least four pets, too many per local regulations. People with hoarding disorders often save random items and store them haphazardly. Some kind of hoarding disorder occurs in an estimated 2 to 6 percent of the population and often leads to substantial distress, leading to problems functioning. Some research shows hoarding disorders are more common in males than females. Hoarding also has a genetic component, but researchers suspect that what's inherited is not a compulsion to keep stuff, per se, but rather a crippling indecisiveness, according to David Tolin, Ph.D., director of the Anxiety Disorders Center in Hartford, Connecticut.

  1. issue isn’t really hoarding old used items, rather I tend to buy new things and put them away and not use them for a while. I have a stockpile of new socks, shirts, a suit or two and even a few pair of brand-new shoes never yet worn. I can only explain this phenom in either one of two ways. The first, as a genetic condition I inherited from my parents. In the basement of our house, we stored cans of food, boxes of cereal, tissues and toilet paper in quantities to last a lifetime. My parents did not live through the depression, but they were the children of immigrants who definitely were driven to save a penny or two. The second possibility is that I am preparing for an apocalypse when the malls will be shut down, Amazon will not longer sell everything I could possibly buy in a mall, and at last my stash of attire will save the day. I will be prepared with new clothing! The downside of putting things away is that by the time I’m ready to use this array of clothing they’ll be out of style and will probably no longer fit. However, on second thought, by the time I lose weight, the clothing will be back in style! While this line of reasoning is not unique, the line of thinking seems justifiable to me!

In this week’s Sedra the Torah states in Shmos 16:19,20: ויאמר משה אלהם איש אל יותר ממנו עד בקר “Moshe announced to them, “Let no man leave over any until morning”. ולא שמעו אל משה ויותירו אנשים ממנו עד בקר וירם תולעים ויבאש ויקצוף עלהם משה “Some men did not listen to Moshe and left a portion over for the morning. It became putrid, filled with maggots and worms. Moshe was angry with these people”. Why did Moshe get angry at the people for leaving over some food, attempting to save it for the morning? The answer lies in the preceding verses, leading up to the time they left over the food. In verse 16”18 the Torah stated that when the Jews went out to pick up the manna, some gathered more and some less. But when they measured it with an omer, those who had taken more did not have any extra, and those who had taken less did not have too little. They had gathered exactly enough for each one to eat”. Reb Shlomo Lunchitz in his commentary Kli Yakar explains that the story of the manna is a display of the known wonder that the sustenance and salary of a person is set for him from the beginning of his life to the end. An individual who tries to gather more than he needs in his lifetime leaves this world with nothing extra, because a person at the time of death cannot take it with him. So too, someone who only gathered a minimum in this world didn’t lack because Hashem gives to every living creature what he needs for survival. For this reason, a miracle took place: the measure of the manna was equal to all and the “extra” a person tried to garner was wormy the very next morning. This teaches us that whatever a person stores up to save for the morrow will go bad. In the end it will be wormy and full of maggots.

The Mechilta teaches us that the Torah was only given to the consumers of the manna. The way an individual seizes the Torah and delves into it is by toiling in Torah without the extras of life. The Torah scholar knows that all the extras are for naught and eventually get eaten up by others. The exception of picking up only manna for one day was Friday when the command was to take a double portion, one extra for Shabbos. That extra portion set aside for Shabbos did not go bad; it remained fresh even the next day. The manna was spiritual food , teaching us the lesson of taking an extra portion for Shabbos in the physical sense and relating to the extra Torah learned for the Shabbos day in the next world where every day is a complete day of Shabbos. The spiritual sustenance never goes bad; it lasts for eternity. This point of spirituality lasting forever is seen by the commandment Hashem gave to save and place a jar of manna in front of the Ark of Testimony in the place of the Luchos of the Torah. This was to show that the Torah was only given to those who merited eating the manna.

  1. is no question a person should use and enjoy things in the present while at times saving something for the future. How do we decide what to use and what to put away? Perishables should be used immediately while non-perishable items could be stored for a later time. Sometimes that works and other times it does not, as in my case where the items we store away may never be used. On the spiritual side, when learning Torah and performing Mitzvos, it’s a different story. The Gemara Shabbos 127a states: These are the precepts whose fruits a person enjoys in this world but whose principal remains intact for him in the World to Come. The physical foods of today should be treated as the spiritual manna of the past. We eat to physically live in this world but our principal – the spiritual sustenance lives on in the next.


Ah Gut Shabbos

Rabbi Avraham Bogopulsky

Sun, June 20 2021 10 Tammuz 5781