In this week’s parasha we find the incident where Avraham rescues Lot and then when the king of Sodom offers Avraham to take all the spoils of war, Avraham responds (Bereishis 14:23) אִם מִחוּט וְעַד שְׂרוֹךְ נַעַל וְאִם אֶקַּח מִכָּל אֲשֶׁר לָךְ וְלֹא תֹאמַר אֲנִי הֶעֱשַׁרְתִּי אֶת אַבְרָם, “if so much as a thread to a shoestrap; or if I shall take from anything of yours! So you shall not say, ‘It is I who made Avram rich.’” The Gemara (Sota 17a) states that in the merit of this proclamation, Avraham’s descendants merited the mitzvah of Tzitzis and Tefilin. One must wonder why we merited these mitzvos specifically. Had Avraham mentioned a cow and a shoe, would we have merited the mitzvah of Parah Adumah (the Red Heifer) and Yibum and Chalitzah (The Torah dictates that if a married man dies childless, the widow is to marry her dead husband’s brother, preferably the eldest. The firstborn son they produce together is considered a continuation of the dead husband’s line. This practice is known as Yibum, or levirate marriage. The brother-in-law is called the Yavam; the widow is called the Yevamah. If the dead man’s brother does not wish to marry the widow, or she does not want to marry him, a standard divorce is insufficient to sever their bond. Instead, they perform a procedure known as Chalitzah, which means removal; in this case, the removal of the brother-in-law’s shoe. Only after the Chalitzah ceremony has been completed is the widow free to marry someone else.)
The answer to this question can be found in the subsequent words of Avraham, when he declares, וְלֹא תֹאמַר אֲנִי הֶעֱשַׁרְתִּי אֶת אַבְרָם, “So you shall not say, ‘It is I who made Avram rich.’” Avraham was essentially stating that he desired that his entire income should come directly from HaShem without intermediaries. Indeed, we make the request often, when we recite the words in Bircas HaMazon, וְנָא אַל תַּצְרִיכֵנוּ יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ לֹא לִידֵי מַתְּנַת בָּשָׂר וָדָם וְלֹא לִידֵי הַלְוָאָתָם, HaShem, our G-d, make us not needful of the gifts of human hands nor of their loans. In the merit of this request, HaShem promised Avraham the mitzvah of Tzitzis, the two mitzvos where we tie the knots of strings and leather as symbol of our complete connection to HaShem.
HaShem should allow us to strengthen our bond with Him through the Study of Torah and performance of His Holy Mitzvos!
Have a Strongly Connected Shabbos!