“…And you will gather your grain, and your wine, and your oil.” (Devarim 11:14)

The gemora tells us that when gathering your grain, Hashem will bless you with bountiful produce, etc. The gemora in Brachos 35b discusses this verse and says that there is a connection between when klal Yisrael is doing what they are supposed to be doing and how much work they will have to do. This verse, therefore, seems to be talking about a time when klal Yisrael is NOT doing the Will of Hashem, thereby they need to collect the grain themselves. Yet this verse is found in the paragraph of klal Yisrael accepting and doing the commandments! Tosafos deals with this issue and says that there can be different levels of allegiance that will bring about different levels of Divine providence in our work. Rav Eliyahu Baruch Finkel, one of the late Rosh Yeshivas of the Mir Yeshiva, answered this question with an important idea with which we are all familiar. When a father asks a son to do a job for him, or a father asks his servant to do a job for him, though he will use the same words, one can expect a different level of effort. For the servant it is just a job and he may even do it diligently, but that is where it ends. The son who loves his father, once he has a hint to what his father wants, will not only fulfill the exact request, but will also go beyond the call of duty to make sure that all peripheral aspects of the request are taken care of as well.

What the Torah is possibly telling us is that in order to receive the ultimate blessing from Hashem, it is not enough to do just what we are told. Even if we do everything that we are told, we can be still called someone “who is not doing the Will of Hashem”! What we need to do is, to figure out what Hashem would really want and what would really please Him.

We stand right now at a time with the mourning of the Beis Hamikdash behind us and Elul and the high holidays in front of us. At this time, many of us are also on (a much needed) vacation. B”H, we feel that it is our obligation to fulfill each halacha in its entirety and we do it. I would like to say that the challenge is great and those who are successful, I applaud them. However, as Rabbi Finkel points out, if all you did was fulfill your obligation, that may not be called “doing the Will of Hashem”. The will of God is to go far beyond the technical obligations which we have.

Enjoy your vacation and enjoy doing the true will of Hashem.