Ki Tavo - Mitzvah Brings On More Mitzvot

The Parshah ends with a profound conclusion and promise.
If you observe the words of this covenant and keep them,  you will be successful in all that you do.
Dvarim 29:8
There is a seeming repetition in this wording. Why does the verse need to state "observe" and "keep" the covenant?

Isn't observing the covenant actually keeping the covenant? When one is observing mitzvot, he is doing them, isn't he?

The Kli Yakar addresses this question with a novel approach.

A Mitzvah Causes A Mitzvah
The Kli Yakar brings the famous Mishnah in Pirkeh Avot.

Ben Azzai said: Be eager to fulfill the smallest duty and flee from transgression; for one mitzvah induces another and one transgression induces another transgression. The reward of a mitzvah is a mitzvah, the reward of one transgression is another transgression.
Avot 4:2
How does this Mishnah clarify the verse?

The Kli Yakar applies the teaching of this Mishnah directly to the words of the verse, saying "One mitzvah causes that 'you will be successful in all that you do.'"

This line of thought comes out of the Mishnah itself, "for one mitzvah induces another" - where each mitzvah brings on the possibility to do another mitzvah in turn. 

How does the Mishnah Reveal Success?
The verse in Dvarim promises that keeping mitzvot will ensure success in life. The Mishnah in Pirkei Avot offers that "the reward of a mitzvah is a mitzvah". How does this provide success? Isn't success a new home? a promotion at work? a new car?

These are the elements, are measures, that we take to rate worldly success, or in other words 'this-worldly' success. But the mitzvot are the unique spiritual opportunities in our lives for binding and enhancing our relationship Hashem, making another mitzvah a true reward and paving the way for our spiritual success.

Repetitive Wording?
What about the seeming repetitive wording? The phrase "If you observe the words of this covenant and keep them" serves to mirror the wording of the Mishnah. The Kli Yakar explains that "observing will bring you to keeping [mitzvot], and the reward is keeping [mitzvot]. "   

The Kli Yakar concludes his explanation by elucidating the final words of the verse, by saying: "you will be successful (to bring more) in all that you do." Where your doing the mitzvot creates a seemingly perpetual success, producing more mitzvot - and therefore more success.

No comments:

Post a Comment