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Secret Accomplishments (Tzav)

To keep your secret is wisdom; but to expect others to keep it is folly.
-Samuel Johnson

Rashi, the great Rabbinic commentator, states on the first verse of this week’s Torah reading that the word Tzav “Command” teaches us that God needs to give us additional urging on for us to fulfill the commands when there’s some monetary loss involved. The context in our verse is the command to bring a burnt offering (the Olah) which was completely consumed on the altar without providing a direct material benefit to anyone (as opposed to a number of other sacrifices, where the bringer or the Kohens partake of the meat). Hence, according to Rashi, the need for an extra divine push to use money.

The Chidushei HaRim on Leviticus 6:2 based on Rashi’s comments, explores the insights the Hebrew language provides when it comes to the nomenclature of wealth and possessions.

One of the words in Hebrew for possessions is “Nechasim,” the root of which means “hidden.” This seems counterintuitive, for typically one’s possessions are things that can be seen, perceived and counted. However, upon further thought, one will realize that a prudent wealthy person will indeed keep most of their wealth and possessions hidden and out of sight. In fact, the tendency to hide one’s wealth may identify the rich much more than the poor. Therefore, the word “Nechasim” possessions may indeed describe a deeper reality of things that are often hidden.

The Chidushei HaRim learns from the hiddenness of our possessions a similar importance to the hiddenness of our divine service. Our service of God, our Torah efforts should likewise be discreet and hidden. We should be cautious in publicizing what we’re doing in the religious realm. We should be so circumspect in our labors and in internalizing divine matters, that at some level, we ourselves shouldn’t realize what we have, and it should be hidden even from our own consciousness.

The Chidushei HaRim explains that such a person, a person who has a hidden spirituality can be considered wealthy. He has “Nechasim,” hidden possessions.

May we realize that it’s often the quiet, discreet people who are hidden treasures of depth, service and Torah.

Purim Sameach and Shabbat Shalom,

Ben-Tzion

Dedication

To asteroid 2022 EB5 which unexpectedly hit our planet but burnt up harmlessly in the atmosphere.

About the Author
Ben-Tzion Spitz is the former Chief Rabbi of Uruguay and a candidate for the Knesset for the Zehut party. He is the author of three books of Biblical Fiction and hundreds of articles and stories dealing with biblical themes. Ben-Tzion is a graduate of Yeshiva University and received his Master’s in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University.
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