Doing the Will of G-d
הרב מרדכי גרינברג
"You shall count for yourselves – from the morrow of the rest day ... seven weeks, they shall be complete." (Vayikra 23:15) Chazal comment, "When are they complete? When Israel does the will of G-d." What does it mean, to "do the will of G-d," and what is its connection to Sefirat Ha'omer?
It says in Masechet Brachot (35b):
"This Book of the Torah shall not depart from your mouth." Could it be that this is meant literally? Thus, it says, "gather in your grain" – act in a normal manner. [These are] the words of R. Yishmael.R. Shimon b. Yochai says: Is it possible that a person plow at the time of plowing, plant at the time of planting, etc. – Torah, what will be of it? Rather, when Israel does the will of G-d their work is done by others [i.e., non-Jews] ... and when they do not do the will of G-d their work is done by themselves, as it says, "gather in your grain."
Tosfot asks, how is it possible that this parsha of "Vehaya im shamoa" is when they do not do the will of G-d? After all, the parsha begins, "It will be that if you hearken to My commandments!"
The answer is that "doing G-d's will" and "not doing G-d's will" does not mean observing the Torah and violating the Torah. The Ramban writes in Parshat Kedoshim that a person can observe the entire Torah, and still be a "naval b'reshut haTorah" (immoral within the framework of the Torah). A person can be immersed in the lust of his own wife, be a glutton and drunkard with kosher food and wine, and speak foul language, since this prohibition is not mentioned in the Torah. Thus, he will be immoral – without violating the Torah!
It is possible nowadays, for example, to prepare a timer before Shabbat, and to benefit from many electrical appliances without transgressing. Even so, this is not "doing the will of G-d." Although he doesn't sin, he is not acheiving the desire of G-d, the Divine intention.
R. Shimon b. Yochai's statement that one who is involved with his sustenance is "not doing the will of G-d" does not mean that he is sinning, but that he is not fulfilling G-d's desire. Therefore, although it says in the second chapter of Shema, "It will be if you hearken to My commandments" – this alone is not G-d's desire.
The Gerer Rebbe, the author of the "Imrei Emet," explains this idea more deeply. The Ran writes that when G-d said to Moshe, "When you take the people out of Egypt, you will serve G-d on this mountain," Israel asked, "When?" Moshe said to them, "In another fifty days." Israel began counting the days, so G-d established this count as a mitzvah.
This mitzvah grew out of Israel's love and desire to serve G-d, which impacted G-d's will, so that he made it a mitzvah. Thus, Israel "made" the will of G-d; they formed it.
This is the difference between the two chapters of Shema. In the first one it says, "You shall love Hashem, your G-d, with all your heart" – with your two inclinations, and afterwards, "These matters that I command you today shall be upon your heart." First love, and then G-d's command. In this way, Israel are the ones who "make" the will of G-d; they cause His will to be revealed.
In the second chapter, the order is reversed: "It will be that if you hearken to My commandments ... to love Hashem, your G-d" – first the command and then the love. This is "not doing the will of G-d," since they do not make His will, but rather His will is revealed prior to their love.
These two explanations are one idea. When Israel achieve the Divine intention, then G-d reveals His will.
The time of Sefira is a time of character self-improvement, which is divided into forty-nine traits. "Derech eretz" precedes Torah. Therefore, "Seven weeks, they shall be complete" – when all of the traits are rectified, and the person makes himself conform to the will of the Creator – then His will is revealed through Matan Torah.
"They shall be complete" – when they do the will of G-d, and then, "The Torah of Hashem is complete." (Tehillim 19:8)
קוד השיעור: 3752
(Translated by Rav Meir Orlian)