Dvar Torah VaEtchanan 5766
We are commanded in the Torah this week to keep the Mitzvot and LO TOSIFU…VELO TIGRE’U MIMENU, “You shall not add … nor shall you subtract from it …” (Deut. 4,2) The Dubner Magid, who was a great preacher and always used a parable to demonstrate the meaning of a Pasuk, has a very interesting way of expounding this passage. He tells that a man once went to his neighbor and asked to borrow a spoon. The neighbor gladly lent it to him. The next day the man returned two spoons. When his neighbor protested that he had only lent him one spoon, the man replied, “The spoon gave birth to another”. Then one day he came and borrowed his neighbor’s expensive silver candelabra. The neighbor gladly gave it to him anticipating getting two back in return. A few days went by and the man never returned the candelabra. Finally his neighbor came to inquire about it. The man told him the candelabra died. In his excitement the neighbor started shouting and protesting how can candelabra die. The man very calmly explained, “When I told you the spoon gave birth to another one, and the same with the other objects, you believed me. If they can give birth they can also die”.This, said the Dubner Magid, is why the Torah says we should not add to the Mitzvot. For if we can add then we can also subtract. Judaism has a set number of Mitzvot and practices. It is not necessary to look for additional difficulties to cast in our way and make adherence to the Torah more difficult.