Re’eh 5769 – Recognizing your portion

“And when you cross the Jordan River and settle in the Land that G-d is giving to you…” (Devarim 12:10)
“When you split up the land and each person recognizes his portion and his tribe.” -Rashi

This verse appears in a section discussing when the Jews will settle in Eretz Yisrael after the passing of Moshe. When the Jews arrived in Eretz Yisrael under the leadership of Yehoshua, for the first seven years, the Jews fought the nations currently living in the Land. For the next seven years, the tribes were given their borders and each family moved into the area designated for their tribe. This comment by Rashi is stating that Moshe is giving a blessing to the Jewish nation that when they split up by tribes, each person should recognize his portion.

There is another way to understand this comment by Rashi. Rashi is telling us why these people deserved to enter Eretz Yisrael: because each person recognized where he belonged. So many times people look at what other people have and wonder “why does he get that and I don’t?” Young children often argue “he got a bigger piece of cake than me.” Unfortunately, when they grow-up, they continue to look at what other people have and complain, not over cake, but over cars, houses, box seat tickets, electronic gadgets, and the list goes on and on and on. One of the blessings recited by Bilaam was “Mah Tovu O’halecha Yaakov”, which means “How beautiful are you tents, Jewish people.” Bilaam said this because he saw the Jews’ tents in the desert did not have their entrances facing towards each other so people could not look inside the house of their fellow Jew. During that time period, people did not look to see what each other had, but recognized their own portion. Today, many people look ‘inside their neighbor’s yard’ and instantly become very jealous when they see something the other person has that they are lacking. This creates hatred and is one of the reasons why this current exile has not ended yet.

Since it is baseball season, let’s use a baseball team to further explain this point. Each player on a baseball team has a specific position they play. The coach watches the player closely and decides which position this player would be most beneficial playing. Imagine, though, if the 1st baseman decided to play center field, the center fielder decided to play short stop, the short stop decided to play pitcher, and the picture decided to play 1st base. This team would definitely lose many games. This is true even if the player thinks he is better playing a different position, because the coach, through his great knowledge of the game and experience, knows best where each player should play.

G-d is the Coach of this world. He knows more about each and every one of us than we even know ourselves. Therefore, even if we think the best position for us is having what our neighbor has, G-d knows this is not really true. He knows the best situations we are to be put through.

People need to stop looking at what their neighbors have and recognize their own portion they have been given. This is what the generation in the desert realized and they merited to enter the Holy Land. May we merit to recognize our own portion also and merit to return to the Holy Land in peace.

Good Shabbos!
-yes
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