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ולזבולן אמר שמח זבולון בצאתך ויששכר באהלך

To Zevulun he said: Rejoice, Zevulun, in your going out, and Yissachar in your tents. (33:18)

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Moshe Rabbeinu appears to be counting words. His blessings to the three Shevatim, Tribes, of Dan, Yissachar and Zevulun are quite brief. This is in stark contrast to the blessings given by Yaakov Avinu prior to his death. It is precisely these tribes whom he blessed profusely, sparing no words in showering them with eloquent and lengthy blessings. Why did Moshe choose the path of brevity, while Yaakov functioned on the other extreme? Furthermore, Moshe’s blessings do not seem to do justice to Yissachar, who abides in his tents. These tents are the tents of Torah, which produced the nation’s greatest Torah scholars. Through their diligence and toil in Torah, Bnei Yissachar achieved proficiency and clarity in Torah which pivoted them to leadership positions in Torah erudition. It almost seems unfair to allude to such distinction with one word: b’ahalecha, “in your tents.”

Horav Yisrael Belsky, Shlita, explains that Moshe’s conciseness does not demonstrate his lack of esteem for their accomplishments; rather, we derive from this pasuk that it is not always necessary to go into great detail, presenting a flowery accolade upon expressing one’s estimation of another person – especially if this praise is in regard to excellence in Torah. Chazal teach in Pirkei Avos 6:4, Kach hee darkah shel Torah… im atah oseh kein ashrecha v’tov lach, “This is the way of Torah… if you conduct yourself in this manner, you are praiseworthy and it will be good for you.” That is all. If you achieve excellence in Torah – it will be good for you. It does not go into detail. It does not explain what kind of good or how much good – just simply – it will be good.

This is because one who delves into Torah, who makes it his life’s work to immerse himself in its verities, to plumb its depths, does not require a lengthy litany to explain to him what is expected of a ben Torah and the benefits he will accrue by choosing this path of life. On the contrary, for one who does not appreciate a life of Torah, a detailed explanation of its benefits will simply make him feel ill at ease and uncomfortable concerning his lack of knowledge. Let it suffice to say that the individual who learns needs no directive concerning its benefits, and he who does not learn will gain nothing from hearing the accolades of one who learns.

One appreciates Torah when he learns Torah. When one tastes the sweetness of Torah, he acknowledges that this alone is its greatest benefit. One who does not learn views Torah study as an enormous task which is impossible to master – so why bother? Thus, Moshe chose the route of brevity. He knew to whom he was speaking. The individual who was learning did not require a pep talk, while the one who chose not to learn would only be turned off by it. Sometimes less is more.

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