Midreshet Amit


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Looking Back at the Past and Forward to the Future

By: Mrs. Ilana Gottlieb

Pashat Ki Tavo begins with והיה כי תבוא אל הארץ - and it will be when you come into the Land. The Ohr Hachaim quotes the Midrash that the word והיה is לשון
- שמחהa term of happiness . In contrast, the Gemara (Megilah 10b) teaches that ויהי is  לשון צער- a term of pain and sadness. Similarly, in Parshat Beshalach, the Torah teaches: והיה ביום השישי והכינו את אשר יביאו - and it will be on the sixth day when they prepare what they bring in. The Chida learns from the use of the word והיה in association with Shabbat preparation that the way to prepare for Shabbat is with Simcha. Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook asks why is it that והיה (and it will be) connotes happiness and ויהי (and it was) signifies suffering and pain? The word היה (it was) is past tense. However, when you add the ‘ו’ prefix, the word is transformed to future tense. Conversely, the word יהי (meaning it will be) is future tense but when you add the ‘ו’ prefix, the word becomes past tense.  
If you think that the future is only going to be like the past then that is ויהי which is lashon tz’ar. When one thinks that the future will not be better than the past – that is a painful experience. Our collective national history is full of suffering from wars, pogroms, and holocausts. To expect that the future will contain more of the same is painful.  However, if you believe that the future will be better than the past then that is והיה . Anticipating a brighter tomorrow is לשון שמחה . We should always be looking ahead and planning for a brighter future full of simcha and bracha.
Shabbat Shalom