Pearls of Rashi – Teitzei

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This week’s Torah portion, Teitzei, tells us[1] “You shall not withhold the wages of a poor or destitute hired worker … you shall pay him his wage on his day (the day that he works) and not let the sun set over it …” In other words, we may not withhold the wages of a hired worker, rather we must pay him the same day.

Earlier in the Torah, we find that Hashem promised us that[2] “I will turn towards you …” Rashi explains this as follows. “I will turn away from all My affairs in order to pay your reward.” To what may this be compared? To a king who hired some workers …” From this, it is clear that our service of Hashem in Torah and Mitzvos is comparable to that of a hired worker for his employer.

We find in a number of places that the Sages say that Hashem fulfills that which He tells the Jews to fulfill. Based on this we need to understand how it is that G-d delays our payment. The Sages teach us that[3] “today we must fulfill the Mitzvos, and tomorrow, meaning in the World to Come, we will receive our payment.” How is it possible that Hashem “transgresses” His own commandments? It would seem that He should pay – reward us upon the completion of each Mitzvah. Why is it that He withholds our wages, and does not pay us on the same day?

This can be explained in the following manner. The Alter Rebbe cites[4] the teaching of the Sages[5], that “the purpose of creation is that Hashem desired a dwelling place down below.” The words “down below” refer to this low, physical world of ours. There is none lower than this world in terms of the concealment of    G-dly light. It is here specifically that Hashem desired to dwell, meaning that His presence is to be revealed here without any concealment whatsoever[6]. How is it possible to accomplish such a feat? This is done through[7] “our actions and Divine service throughout the duration of our exile.” Every act of serving Hashem performed by each and every Jew refines his body and his portion in this world. It is through the efforts of the entire Jewish nation, throughout all generations that we are able to “construct” this dwelling place for Hashem.

What this means to say is that our job is not complete until we reach the time of the total perfection of this world, which will take place in the World to Come. Therefore, Hashem is not delaying our payment, rather He is paying us at the conclusion of our task.

May each of us work with alacrity to complete our job, thereby fulfilling Hashem’s desire. In this merit, may we all have a good, sweet year. Wishing one and all a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 29, Page 138-144

Mr. Sholom Moshe Hacohen
ben Reb Shlomo Meir Hacohen ע”ה Cohen
Passed away Shabbos Parshas Beshalach, 13 Shevat, 5779
May His Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
* * *
לעילוי נשמת
ר’ שלום משה הכהן בן ר’ שלמה מאיר הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטר ש”ק פ’ בשלח, י”ג שבט, ה’תשע”ט
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
יו”ל ע”י בתו וחתנו שיחיו
הרה”ת ר’ שמואל ורבקה שי’ מענדלסאהן

[1]. Our Parshah, Devorim 24:14-15.

[2]. Parshas Bechukosai, Vayikra 26:9.

[3]. See Talmud Eiruvin 22, a, Avodah Zarah 3, a.

[4]. See Tanya at the beginning of Chapter 36.

[5]. See the Midrash Tanchumah to Parshas Naso, Section 16.

[6]. See Tanya ibid.

[7]. Tanya Chapter 37.

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