Thoughts from Kollel KLAL


The Ramban explains that from the creation and on, Hashem will not give a bracha to create something from nothing. Rabeinu Bachya adds, nor will Hashem give the power to be able to create something from nothing to any person. Rather, Hashem will only increase from that which already exists, and add to it. It is like a root that exists, from which it flourishes, and brings forth fruit. So, too, when there is something that exists where bracha could take effect, Hashem will cause that to increase. We find this with Elisha and the woman from Shunaim. He said to her, “Tell me what you have in your house.” She responded, “Only a small flask of oil.” He told her to collect many vessels and he blessed her that there should be plenty of oil. She started to pour out oil, and continued to do so, until there were no more vessels left to be filled. Since there was a bit of oil that already existed, Hashem’s bracha could take effect and increase. So, too, by Eliyahu, with the pitcher of flour and a flask of oil.

This concept is found by the Shulchan with the Lechem HaPanim’s loaves of bread. Hashem will send bracha to extend from it to others. Rabeinu Bachya explains that many Kohanim would receive a little bit of the bread, even as small as a bean-size, and yet, Raboseinu say, miraculously, “Any Kohen who received a bean-size, would eat and become satiated.” Since there was something already existing for bracha to take effect on, Hashem sent additional shefa from it to satiate the entire Klal Yisrael. Rabeinu Bachya says that Shulchan is from the lashon שולח, send. Hashem sends His bracha into the bread, and from the bread, He sends His bracha out to provide sustenance for the entire world.

Rabeinu Bachya brings b’shem the Midrash that the Shulchan is like a Mizbeiyach which brings atonement for a person. The bread on the table is considered like a korban on the Mizbeiyach when a person with a good eye gives food to the poor and assists people. The passuk states, “והמזבח עץ שלש אמות וגו’ וידבר אלי זה השלחן אשר לפני ה’, and the wooden Mizbeiyach was three amos… and he spoke to me, ‘this is the Shulchan that is before Hashem.’” Raboseinu inferred that the passuk starts with a ‘Mizbeiyach’ and ends with a ‘Shulchan.’ This comes to teach that when the Bais HaMikdash existed, a person was atoned for by offering korbanos on the Mizbeiyach. Now that the Bais HaMikdash does not exist, a person is atoned for by way of his table. Also, it was the custom of the pious in France that they would make a coffin from the wood of their table. This showed that after a person dies, he won’t carry with him anything at all. He won’t bring any fruits of his hard labor with him, other than the tzedakah and good deeds that he performed on his table during his lifetime. So too, Chazal say that if a person lengthens his time by the table, he will lengthen his years, because he enables himself to do more acts of kindness by sustaining others.

May Hashem send bracha on what we have, and let us perform acts of kindness to merit atonement.

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