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Dear Mogen David Family,

In Parashat V'etchanan we read the second recording of the Asseret Hadibrot, the Ten Commandments. The Torah's version in our Parasha is almost exactly the same as that recorded in Parashat Yitro, with some slight, but very significant, differences. The most famous distinction between the two refers to the fourth commandment, highlighted by the word change from "Zachor" [et yom HaShabbat...] to "Shamor." I would like to focus on another deviation from the last of the Dibrot.

In Parashat V'etchanan's presentation of the 10th Commandments, namely, not to covet the possessions of another--their wife, house, property, etc..-- the Torah adds another dimension which is counted as an entirely separate Mitzvah. The pasuk says: "V'lo Tachmod Eshet Re'echa, V'lo Tita'aveh Beit Re'echa..." And you shall not covet your fellow's wife, and you shall not desire your fellow's house... (5:18). At first glance, it seems strange that this pasuk would obligate us in two separate Mitzvot. To 'covet' and to 'desire' are, seemingly, synonymous.

The Mefarshim explain, and this is recorded in the Rambam and the Shulchan Aruch, that one violates Lo Tachmod by pressing and pressuring someone to sell or give up an object they posses (and don't want to relinquish, even at a fair cost). Even more severe, one violates Lo Tita'aveh by planning in one's mind how to obtain the object! Ki Ein Ta'avah Elah B'lev Bilvad! It is true that one can violate A without B, and B without A. But the Torah teaches us a jarring and powerful lesson: our actions respond to what we place in our hearts and minds.

If the mind fills up with jealousy and desire, the body will follow suit. By assuming possession of an object which is not rightfully ours we are, in essence, denying Hashem's provenance over the world. We are challenging G-d as the Prime-Mover of the order and events in life. We must fill our Neshama with Torah and Kedusha, and our Guf will follow with the fulfillment of Mitzvot and not, Chas V'Chalila, the other way around. We are now off the heals of the mourning period for the Bet HaMikdash. Let us rise to the occasion and flood the Sha'arei Shamayim with Tefilot and Mitzvot!

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Yehuda Moses Rav HaKehillah/Senior Rabbi




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