I did not forget… Shabbat Kodesh Parshat Ki Tavó

We will read this week about the person visiting the Beit Hamikdash. Having finished his “Maaser”(special Tzedakah apportioned from his crop) obligations:

וְאָמַרְתָּ֡ לִפְנֵי֩ יְהֹוָ֨ה אֱלֹהֶ֜יךָ בִּעַ֧רְתִּי הַקֹּ֣דֶשׁ מִן־הַבַּ֗יִת וְגַ֨ם נְתַתִּ֤יו לַלֵּוִי֙ וְלַגֵּר֙ לַיָּת֣וֹם וְלָאַלְמָנָ֔ה כְּכׇל־מִצְוָתְךָ֖ אֲשֶׁ֣ר צִוִּיתָ֑נִי לֹֽא־עָבַ֥רְתִּי מִמִּצְוֺתֶ֖יךָ וְלֹ֥א שָׁכָֽחְתִּי׃ 

“You shall declare before your G‘d: “I have cleared out the consecrated portion from the house; and I have given it to the [family of the] Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, just as You commanded me; I have neither transgressed nor forgotten any of Your commandments”.

This is odd. The verse does not suggest what the person is referring to by saying that he has “not forgotten”. What is it that he could have forgotten and did not?

Rashi explains that it is related to the Bracha one has to say before fulfilling the MaaserMitzvah. One still wonders why it is mentioned in this unusual way. “I did not forget” when it could have simply said “I said the relevant Bracha”?

Many years ago, I was assisting an acquaintance to resolve a serious personal issue which clouded his day to day life. Since then, we both moved on and haven’t seen each other for decades. Last year, out of the blue, he called me on Erev Rosh Hashanah to wish me a happy new year. We were both busy, so it was a rather short conversation. But before he hung up, he said emotionally: “I will never forget”. We both knew what he meant.

Perhaps, the Torah relates to this inner emotion which a person sometimes feels towards his creator. This person comes to Jerusalem, confirms in the holiest place having done what wasexpected. Having concluded a successful few working years, then adding ” I did not forget “…

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Chaim Michael Biberfeld