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Browse Torah Articles: Sefer Devarim: Parashat Reeh: Children of Hashem

Contributed by: R. Ezra Mizrahi

Shabbat Reeh "You are the children of Hashem your God. Do not cut yourselves or shave the front of your heads for the dead, for you are a people holy to the LORD your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the LORD has chosen you to be his treasured possession."

The torah tells us that we are considered the children of Hashem. Rabbenou Ovadya Seforno explains the reason why the verse telling us that we are the children of Hashem is written right near the law forbidding one to scar oneself while mourning for a relative that passed way. One who loses a relative should not overextend one's mourning, especially when there is still a related person alive that is greater in stature and importance than the one who passed away. Showing immense grief for the "lesser" indivudal, would minimize the importance of the relative that remains alive.

The Seforno explains that the Torah is telling us not to mourn too greatly, because there is ALWAYS a relative of higher stature remaining alive. This relative is Hashem yitbarach, our father. The Ohr Hahayim HaKadish explains further that the verse uses the term "atem" ("you" plural, in Hebrew) showing that other nations do not have this warning about extending mourning, because we are the children of Hashem, and they are not – "Banim Atem" – you are the children of Hashem, other nations are not.

In this week's parasha, we find consolation for those who experienced personal loss in the recent war that transpired in Israel. Just as a father sends a son out to learn and establish himself far from home, so too Hashem sends the Neshama (soul) down to this earth to achieve and succeed. Hashem has called back certain children, and we should not mourn to heavily, but rather take comfort in the fact that the child has returned to the Father.
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