It is stated in the Jerusalem Talmud (Bikkurim 3:3) and also quoted by Rashi in his commentary on Torah (Bereishit 36:3) that when one marries, G‑d forgives the sins of the Chatan and Kallah. Accordingly, as of today, your slate is clean and you have the opportunity to start again anew.

This being the case, I can imagine that standing now under the Chuppah you are pondering “How would G‑d like us to be” or “What does He want of us?”

The question you are confronted with is definitely a good one. Fortunately, it was already asked and answered long before you.

In the Torah portion of this week, parshat Eikev, Moshe rebukes and admonishes the Jewish people for provoking Hashem with the golden calf. Nevertheless, Moshe tells them, “Even now, His compassion and His affection are still upon you, and now, Israel, what does Hashem your G‑d ask of you, but to fear Him?” (11:12).

The Gemara (Berachot 35a) wonders at Moshe’s expectation, “Is fear of G‑d, then such a small thing?” The Gemara replies, “Legabi Moshe milta zutra he” — “In the case of Moshe, i.e. for Moshe, it was a small thing” — that is, for Moshe fear of G‑d was elementary.

Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of Chabad Chassidut (known as the Alter Rebbe), in his Sefer Tanya (ch. 42) wonders that at first glance the answer of the Gemara is incomprehensible, for it is written: “What does Hashem require “me’imach” — “from you” (Israel). Thus, the ease of Moshe’s fear of G‑d is not necessarily relevant to the Jewish people’s task of fearing G‑d.

Rabbi Schneur Zalman explains that each and every soul of the house of Israel possesses a spark of Moshe — an intuitive reverence for G‑d and His word. Thus, Moshe didn’t mean to trivialize fear of G‑d but to emphasize that it is within the potential and grasp of everyone.

The spark of Moshe within the Jew is analogous to diamonds in the ground. Regardless of the intensity of their brilliance they shine only when the crust of the earth is removed. Similarly, the spark of Moshe in the Jew’s heart may be concealed to the point of invisibility, but when the Jew desires, it reveals itself.

When that spark shines, then no spiritual height or religious experience is out of reach, and then fear of G‑d is a small thing which is easily attainable.

The question that remains is how do we ignite the spark?

To answer this poignant question, let me share with you an interpretation a Chassidic Rebbe once gave for the words “legabi Moshe” — “for Moshe.” It is stated in Tikunei Zohar (69) that “itpashtuta d’Moshe bechol dor” — “there is an influence of Moshe Rabbeinu in every generation,” and it is clothed in the tzaddik of the particular generation, who reveals it to the Jews. Accordingly, the Chassidic Rebbe explained that “legabi Moshe” does not mean “for Moshe” [fear of G‑d was a small thing] rather, “legabi Moshe” means “being close to Moshe.” It is indeed not easy for every individual to attain the proper fear of Hashem. However, the Gemara is advising us that through “being close to Moshe” — being connected to a tzaddik, a Torah leader of the generation — one will receive the guidance and inspiration to achieve the proper level of fear for Hashem.

The message, to you dear Chatan and Kallah, as you start out fresh in married life and indeed earnestly want to do what Hashem expects of you is to stay attached to the teachings and guidance of the Moshe Rabbeinu of our generation. Through his tutelage you will achieve great strides in Yiddishkeit and at the same time bring material and spiritual Heavenly blessing into your home.


In this week’s Torah reading of Eikev, Moshe continues admonishing the Jewish people as he has started two weeks ago in the Parshah of Devarim. This week he recalls their terrible failing of making the golden calf and how Hashem wanted to destroy them, G‑d forbid, and he interceded with prayer on their behalf. He then reminisces that Hashem said to him “P’sol lecha shnei luchot avanim karishonim” — “Chisel out for yourself two stone Tablets like the first ones” (10:1).

The Gemara in Nedarim (38a) raises a very interesting question. “How did Moshe become rich?” It seems that Moshe was reported to be a man of considerable wealth, so the Sages probed the source of his wealth. Their finding to this query was “mipesolton shel luchot” — “from the chips of the Tablets.” Since it says “p’sol lecha” — “chisel out for yourself”--the Sages deduced that Moshe was permitted to keep the fragments that fell from these extremely valuable stones when the lettering was being chiseled out on them.

This observation is curiously baffling, to say the least. A popular law among decent people is that it is not right to count other people’s money. According to some commentaries this is among the advice that our Sages give in Pirkei Avot (2:12) when they say “Let the money of your fellowman be as dear to you as your own.” We are being taught that just as a person’s money is dear to him and he does not appreciate others discussing it, similarly a person should treat his friend’s money the same way — he should not count his friend’s money. Undoubtedly, Moshe was a person of great integrity; why suddenly would the Sages deem it proper and necessary to scrutinize the source of his financial wealth?

It therefore seems to me that no one questioned Moshe’s wealth. Everyone was immensely impressed with his honesty and integrity. There was not a sliver of doubt about a single penny of his. If G‑d felt it necessary to make Moshe rich no one had any reservation or envy. However, in addition to his vast material wealth Moshe was also the wealthiest person in the community in spiritual wealth and this is what our Sages were interested in. They knew very well that material wealth is a gift from heaven but spiritual affluence is the achievement of man. How did Moshe do it? They were eager to know the source of his spiritual success, and perhaps they figured that if they knew how he acquired it, it would be something that they too could emulate.

What they concluded was that his part of his vast spiritual wealth was mipesolton shel luchot — the chips of the luchot. This can be explained in the following way:

The Ten Commandments, and all the 613 mitzvot that are included in them (see Shemot 24:12, Rashi), are of equal importance. However, there are some people who play favorites and show preference to some of the mitzvoth--and some go a step further and observe only some mitzvot and entirely neglect others. These people compare some of the mitzvot to precious stones, and regard others as mere “chips” which are much less valuable. The chips of the Tablets are symbolic of often neglected mitzvot.

Our Sages came to the conclusion that Moshe reached his spiritual wealth because of his careful observance of every mitzvah, even those that some people considered to be merely “chips.”

My dear Chatan and Kallah, I am not a financial consultant and do not offer tips on how to become rich. What I am seeking to convey tonight is the advice of our Sages on how to become rich spiritually. I pray that in your home no mitzvah will G‑d forbid, be regarded as a chip. All will be observed meticulously and held in the highest regard and greatest esteem. For properly caring for Hashem’s spiritual treasure I am sure that He will provide you all the best from His material treasures in abundant measure.