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Naso: Blessing and Protection

יברכך ד' וישמרך.

“May Hashem bless you and keep you.” (Bamidbar 6:24)

Rashi comments: “Bless you – so that your possessions should be blessed, and keep you – so that you shall not be assaulted by thieves who loot your money.”

Sometimes a person is blessed with wealth, but this places him in danger. After all, thieves usually target wealthy individuals. A poor person generally has no fear of being robbed. Rashi tells us that when someone gives his servant a lavish gift, he usually offers no further protection for that gift. After giving the item, the servant is on his own and must safeguard the precious gift himself. If he shall be attacked by robbers, G-d forbid, and the gift would be stolen, what further gain would he have from his master’s gift? However, when Hashem grants someone a gift, then not only does the person benefit from His kindness at the time he receives it, but Hashem also protects the gift. The Sifri elaborates on this subject extensively.

In this verse, Hashem assures us of His protection. If so, why do we need to place mezuzahs on our doorposts? As we know, the mezuzah is a protection for our homes. The Divine Name which is inscribed outside of the mezuzah stands for “The Guardian of the Doors of Israel.” There is a story about Rebbe Yehuda Hanasi, who received a very precious gemstone as a gift from the Roman Emperor. Rebbe Yehuda in turn sent a mezuzah as a gift to the Emperor. The Emperor asked him why he found it fitting to send him a simple piece of parchment in exchange for a most exquisite and expensive gemstone. Rebbe Yehuda explained: “I sent you something of far greater value than the gemstone, because since the day I received your gift I live in fear of thieves. If they were to find out of this precious item in my possession, they would make every effort to break into my home and steal it from me, and if I would stand up to them I may even end up paying with my life. But the item that I sent you – not only won’t you have to protect it, but it will protect your wealth and your life.”

So if we are under Hashem’s protection anyway, why do we need to place the mezuzahs on our doors?

The mezuzahs are placed as a symbol and reminder that Hashem is, in fact, the One Who protects us. “And you shall inscribe it on the threshold of your homes and gates.” This helps us remember every time we walk through the door that a person cannot protect himself; he must rely on Hashem’s protection in all circumstances.

We merited completing the construction of our Bais Midrash. May Hashem indeed complete the construction, not just in a physical sense but also by answering the prayers of those who daven in this holy place. May everyone who prays here be helped with whatever he needs in every way. The letters of the word מזוזות (mezuzos) can be rearranged to spell the words זז מות – move away death. The mezuzah has the power to protect us from the Angel of Death. May all who pass the mezuzah on this threshold be protected from all troubles and hardship.

The tzaddik Rebbe Eisik of Zidichov spoke during the engagement celebration of his grandchild and shared meaningful insights into the words of the engagement contract (tenaim). Among others, he read the words in the contract: “And they will not run away or disappear – lo ze m’zu vlo zu m’ze – not she from him or he from her…” These words have the word “mezuzah” in them, the tzaddikexplained. The mezuzah is a symbol of our betrothal to Hashem, so to speak, and a guarantee that He will not hide from us, nor will we hide from Him.

Sometimes, a person may foolishly think that he can earn his fortune with his own cunningness, and protect himself by the power of his own hand. In truth, all blessings are from Hashem, and only His protection keeps us and our possessions safe. If we will not hide from Hashem, then He will not hide His protection from us. May the mezuzahs on our doors remind us that we should rely only on Hashem for protection, and by doing so we will earn His blessing as well as the merit to be safeguarded from all evil.

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