Thoughts from Kollel KLAL


The passuk states in the brachos: ופניתי אליכם והפריתי אתכם and I will turn to you and make you fruitful. Rashi explains this with a mashal from the Toras Kohanim: a king hired many workers who did mediocre work, and there was one worker who worked for a long time with steadfast dedication. All the workers entered to receive their reward. The king said to the dedicated worker, “first I will give the other workers a bit of reward, and then I will turn to you with attention to reward you with a big portion.” So too is it with Yisrael in this world. Both Yisrael and the nations request reward from Hashem. Hashem says to Yisrael, “I will first give the nations a bit of reward and then I will turn with attention to reward you with a big portion.” The Maharal explains that the nations are rewarded with their bit of work in Olam Hazeh, which is a short world, whereas Yisrael are rewarded for their exceptional dedication and service to Hashem in Olam Haba, which is an everlasting world. Any reward in this world is small, relative to the endless reward in Olam Haba.

The passuk states by the klalos ונתתי פני בכם. Rashi explains this as well with a mashal from the Toras Kohanim. A king had many servants who did not do their jobs; one worker was worse than the others. The king says, “I will first punish most of the workers a bit, and them I will turn to you intently to punish you a lot.”

The Malbim adds that when the passuk reflects good it states אליכם to you, whereas when reflecting bad it states בכם, with a ב’, in you. This is because Hashem always wants to send a shefa of good, therefore by good it states “to you,” as coming from Hashem to the recipient. Whereas by bad, is states בכם “in you,” since it is only referring to the recipient who brings the bad upon himself, by causing Hashem to stop sending His flow of good.

Onkelos translates the words ופניתי אליכם as “and I will turn with My Saying to do good to you.” The Nefesh HaGer explains that Onkelos does not translate literally, and I will turn to you, since Hashem has no physicality and therefore it is improper to translate that Hashem turns. Also, Hashem fills the entire world and He sees everyone and every place all the time. The Mi’at Tzuri explains that Onkelos adds “to do good” because ופניתי אליכם is its own separate bracha.

By the klalos it states ונתתי פני בכם which Onkelos translates as “and I will give My anger.” The Maharal explains that the lashon of פנים in reference to Hashem is used for good and also used for bad as Chazal say “until פנים of wrath passes.” The Radak explains that the lashon פני/פנים is used in reference to anger because anger is expressed on one’s face. Rashi explains פני to turn away with concentration and intent. The Maharal explains Rashi that this infers that the word פנים is specifically used in reference for good, not bad. When פני is stated for bad, Hashem turns away His face from constantly doing good, to pay attention and do differently to this person by not continuing His constant flow of good. We see from here that Hashem’s main interest is to send good and benefit Yisrael.

May Hashem turn His face to us with favor, and always send good shefah!

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