Parshat Shemot In Memory of Shimshon Ben Shalom
וַיֹּ֖אמֶר אַל־תִּקְרַ֣ב הֲלֹ֑ם שַׁל־נְעָלֶ֙יךָ֙ מֵעַ֣ל רַגְלֶ֔יךָ כִּ֣י הַמָּק֗וֹם אֲשֶׁ֤ר אַתָּה֙ עוֹמֵ֣ד עָלָ֔יו אַדְמַת־קֹ֖דֶשׁ הֽוּא׃

And He said, “Do not come closer. Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you stand is holy ground.

It would seem to us that this verse contradicts itself from its opening and its ending, because if HaShem is telling Moses to not come any further, it would imply that where he is currently is not holy, and then if he goes any further he will then be on holy ground. If thats the case, the verse should have continued to then say 'because the land which you want to stand on is Holy' and not 'for the place on which you stand is holy ground', implying that he is already standing on Holy land. And now, if the land that Moses is currently standing on is indeed Holy, then why does Hashem say "do not come any further"? Rather it should have said that "You, Moses, should immediately remove the shoes from your feet, because you are currently standing on Holy ground!"

We will attempt to explain this with kindness from above by starting with the Holy Book Ahavat Shalom on the below verse -

וּמִקְנֶ֣ה ׀ רַ֗ב הָיָ֞ה לִבְנֵ֧י רְאוּבֵ֛ן וְלִבְנֵי־גָ֖ד עָצ֣וּם מְאֹ֑ד וַיִּרְא֞וּ אֶת־אֶ֤רֶץ יַעְזֵר֙ וְאֶת־אֶ֣רֶץ גִּלְעָ֔ד וְהִנֵּ֥ה הַמָּק֖וֹם מְק֥וֹם מִקְנֶֽה׃

And many cattle was there to the children of Reuvain and to the children of Gad in great amounts. Noting that the lands of Jazer and Gilead were a region suitable for cattle,

On this he writes - this verse should have said 'To the children of Reuvain and to the children of Gad there was many cattle in great amounts, instead of the backwards way of how it is said above.

To understand this we will quickly reference from the below verse -

קַח־נָ֤א אֶת־בִּרְכָתִי֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר הֻבָ֣את לָ֔ךְ כִּֽי־חַנַּ֥נִי אֱלֹהִ֖ים וְכִ֣י יֶשׁ־לִי־כֹ֑ל וַיִּפְצַר־בּ֖וֹ וַיִּקָּֽח׃

Please accept my present which has been brought to you, for God has favored me and I have all.” And when he urged him, he accepted.

Based on this verse - Rashi says the following -

יש לי כל. כָּל סִפּוּקִי; וְעֵשָׂו דִּבֵּר בִּלְשׁוֹן גַּאֲוָה יֶשׁ לִי רָב, יוֹתֵר וְיוֹתֵר מִכְּדֵי צָרְכִּי:

יש לי כל I HAVE EVERYTHING — all that will supply my needs. But Esau spoke proudly (v. 8): I have (רב) abundance — far more than my needs.

What is happening here is teaching us that the way of the righteous that are holding on a level of complete contentment, are happy with their portion, and contemt with very little, as it says in the writings of the sages -

אֵיזֶהוּ עָשִׁיר, הַשָּׂמֵחַ בְּחֶלְקוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהלים קכח) יְגִיעַ כַּפֶּיךָ כִּי תֹאכֵל אַשְׁרֶיךָ וְטוֹב לָךְ. אַשְׁרֶיךָ, בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה. וְטוֹב לָךְ, לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא.

Who is rich? He who rejoices in his lot, as it is said: “You shall enjoy the fruit of your labors, you shall be happy and you shall prosper” (Psalms 128:2) “You shall be happy” in this world, “and you shall prosper” in the world to come.

Therefor Jacob says "יֶשׁ־לִי־כֹ֑ל", "I have everything" - which means that he was totally contemt with what he had. However, regarding the wicked of the Earth, they are always eager to increase their possessions, and are constantly preoccupied with this effort, night and day with out pause. Therefor Esav uses the language "יֶשׁ לִי רָב,", "I have much".

This explains our initial question of why the verse says "וּמִקְנֶ֣ה ׀ רַ֗ב הָיָ֞ה לִבְנֵ֧י רְאוּבֵ֛ן וְלִבְנֵי־גָ֖ד" "And there was much cattle to the children of Reuvain and Gad" - The explanation here is that these tribes were holding on the level of 'Much', which is the mindset of the wicked.. Furthermore then the verse mentions a second evil by using the words "עָצ֣וּם מְאֹ֑ד", "In great amounts" (When referring to the cattle), which means that they kept increasing and intensifying, and they had no interest in giving of themselves and to consecrate their wealth in order to provide a pleasantness of spirit to Our Creator may His Name be Blessed.

They however later on said the following verse that enlisted themselves to self sacrifice for the greater good, and rectified what was previously distorted in their ways.

(יז) וַאֲנַ֜חְנוּ נֵחָלֵ֣ץ חֻשִׁ֗ים לִפְנֵי֙ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל עַ֛ד אֲשֶׁ֥ר אִם־הֲבִֽיאֹנֻ֖ם אֶל־מְקוֹמָ֑ם וְיָשַׁ֤ב טַפֵּ֙נוּ֙ בְּעָרֵ֣י הַמִּבְצָ֔ר מִפְּנֵ֖י יֹשְׁבֵ֥י הָאָֽרֶץ׃
(17) And we will hasten as shock-troops in the van of the Israelites until we have established them in their home, while our children stay in the fortified towns because of the inhabitants of the land.

Therefor we should know, a human should be holding in a reality of being content, and say to himself, that he has all, and a byproduct of this mindset will be that he will be happy with his portion in this world and seek nothing more than what he was given. Through this process you are saved from depression and a bitter spirit.

And as is known, the following words of the Holy Rabbi in his writings, Maor V'Shemesh, May He Be Remembered for Eternal Life. He says on the following verse -

וַיְהִ֤י הָעָם֙ כְּמִתְאֹ֣נְנִ֔ים רַ֖ע בְּאׇזְנֵ֣י יְהֹוָ֑ה וַיִּשְׁמַ֤ע יְהֹוָה֙ וַיִּ֣חַר אַפּ֔וֹ וַתִּבְעַר־בָּם֙ אֵ֣שׁ יְהֹוָ֔ה וַתֹּ֖אכַל בִּקְצֵ֥ה הַֽמַּחֲנֶֽה׃
The people took to complaining bitterly before the LORD. The LORD heard and was incensed: a fire of the LORD broke out against them, ravaging the outskirts of the camp.

There is a great warning and danger here in this verse regarding depression, and these are his words - "A great principle in serving HaShem is to distance yourself from sadness and a bitter spirit (G-D forbid), with all your possible efforts. As we can see in the Holy Zohar that sadness is an aspect of Idol Worship"

And behold, the attribute of being content is not only in regards to matters of physical possessions and wealth, rather it is applied to spiritual mattes as well! As its stated by the elder Holy Rabbi, Rebbe Meir of Pramishlan, May He Be Remembered for Eternal Life, on the below verse -

לֹ֥א תַחְמֹ֖ד בֵּ֣ית רֵעֶ֑ךָ {ס} לֹֽא־תַחְמֹ֞ד אֵ֣שֶׁת רֵעֶ֗ךָ וְעַבְדּ֤וֹ וַאֲמָתוֹ֙ וְשׁוֹר֣וֹ וַחֲמֹר֔וֹ וְכֹ֖ל אֲשֶׁ֥ר לְרֵעֶֽךָ׃ {פ} shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female slave..

Slave here, וְעַבְדּ֤ו, can also mean in Hebrew, Avoda, service or work, and its a hint not to be jealous of your friends spiritual worship!

As well, we can see in the holy writings of the G-Dly man, the Holy Rabbi, Rebbe Avraham of Kaliska, May He Be Remembered for Eternal Life. And these are his words -

Repentance includes within itself matters of Torah study and the service of the spiritual. Behold, a fundamental principle of the Torah is to be happy with your portion, including your portion of Torah study and spiritual reality! Whether that study and spiritual service is a little or a lot, and in this you will rejoice. However, this is not the case if you are not content and happy, meanwhile your soul will be seeking and quenching for happiness, and will seek pleasures and desires, may there be mercy on us.

And since you won't be happy with your spiritual efforts, and you still seek to feel great and wonderful, you will end up in a state of internal pressure.

Yet we see from the below -

לפיכך הייתי אומר שכל אחד ואחד מישראל חייב לומר מתי יגיעו מעשי למעשה אבותי אברהם יצחק ויעקב

..Therefor I say that each and every person of Israel should always say to himself the following - "When will my actions surmount to the actions of my forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob"

Even though we have this concept of wanting to grow and strive, we still must be extremely happy with our current state of spiritual standing, and through the joy you have in the simple commandments (Mitzvot) you are already involved in, you will only then see growth. If however you say that you have nothing and your spiritual level is very low, behold it says in the Talmud -

״כְּפֶלַח הָרִמּוֹן רַקָּתֵךְ״, וְאָמַר רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן לָקִישׁ: אַל תִּיקְרֵי ״רַקָּתֵךְ״ אֶלָּא ״רֵיקָתֵיךְ״, שֶׁאֲפִילּוּ רֵיקָנִין שֶׁבָּךְ מְלֵיאִין מִצְוֹת כְּרִמּוֹן — עַל אַחַת כַּמָּה וְכַמָּה.

..even the sinners among you are full of mitzvot like a pomegranate..

And this can be compared to a candle whose flame burns upwards, like all things that seek to return to their source, and even though this candle is seeking to go upwards, its base is still lit and aflame. Similarly someone who strives for spirituality from the strength of his soul, which the soul is literally a piece from the Lord who dwells above, and even still your base down here should be lit, just like the candle. Therefor, a person must be content with his portion, wether in spiritual matters or physical matters. And even though humanity is commanded to yearn and desire to keep going up and up to constantly higher levels, as we said before regarding a person asking when will his actions be like the actions of his ancestors Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, even still the concept should be upon him of 'כֹ֑ל - all' (as we saw above), which is the attribute of being content in life, and to rejoice in the commandments and good deeds that you are currently involved in, and to be grateful and declare "Blessed is our G-D that created us for his honor'

And with this we can explain what The Holy One Blessed be He said to Moses - "Do not come any closer", to teach the children of Israel that its not fitting for a human to request to go up in levels more than needed to a level thats not fitting for him. And even though a person needs to continuously keep on going up in levels of Torah and the service of HaShem, however, if there is the possibility to suspect that through this climbing your heart will become saddened, then certainly do not be involved in the pursuit for these higher levels of greatness and wonders. For "The place on which you stand is holy ground." You should strengthen yourself by knowing that where you currently are at the moment is itself a Holy level, and you should rejoice in your portion in Torah and service of HaShem, and through you just simply being happy with where you are, you will then go up and up and up in levels of Holiness.