Friday, September 3, 2010

Parshas Netzavim–Vayeilech

Something to say

Gather together the people – the men, the women, and the small children (31:12).

In this parshah we learn about the commandment of Hak’hel, for which the entire Jewish nation was required to assemble in the Beis Hamikdash to hear parts of Deuteronomy read by the king.

Rashi cites the Sages’ comment that the men came to study, the women to listen, and the children were there so that those who brought them would be rewarded. At first, this seems difficult to understand. Young children can be noisy and disruptive, and they would probably prevent their parents from being able to listen closely and concentrate. Along these lines Rabbi Nosson Adler asks why the parents had to go through the trouble of bring their little ones to Jerusalem. Would it have been better to leave them at home so that the parents could fulfill the mitzvah undisturbed? He answers that the reward for bringing the children to Hak’hel was greater than any loss or difficulty it entailed. When a child is placed in an atmosphere of holiness, it creates an everlasting impression in his young heart and brings him closer to God. The value of such an experience is incalculable.