By Stephen Kirshenbaum
We say in the 13 Middos HaRachamim over the course of the Yamim Noraim that HKBH is ‘Rav Chesed V’Emes.’ Emes signifies Shuras HaDin, the strict Halacha, the Din; Chessed signifies when one is not Zocheh in the Din, but G-d then operates and interacts with us through His Chessed, through His kindness. This duality of Chessed and Emes seem to contradict one another. Emes is the underlying Din and Chessed is not the Din, but the Rachamim contained outside the scope of the Din. The Gemara Rosh HaShanah teaches that first HKBH judges a person with Emes and if the person is not Zocheh through Emes, G-d then judges through Chessed for the person to ultimately be Zocheh.
The question is the order is backwards. If it happens that first HKBH judges with Emes and then if the person needs it, through Chessed, so the order in the 13 Middos should be Emes and then Chessed. Why is it written Rav Chessed and then Emes? Similarly, in the daily Shmoneh Esrei, we say ‘Melech Ohev Tzedaka U’Mishpat.’ The Psak by David HaMelech reads Oseh Mishpat U’Tzedaka. The Gemara teaches that Mishpat is Lav Tzedaka and Tzedaka is Lav Mishpat – they’re 2 different things. Again, the order is seemingly backwards? The Gemara answers that David HaMelech Paskened through Mishpat with a Din Torah; if the Ani lost, he ruled the Ani would have to pay, but then he would give Tzedaka to the Ani thereafter. So, the Melech Ohev Tzedaka U’Mishpat is the opposite once again. First, the Mishpat would take place, and then the Tzedaka would occur thereafter. Why is it written in the reverse order?
The Rambam, in the Seder of the different levels of giving Tzedaka, teaches that the highest level of giving Tzedaka is when the giver is Mechazek someone else that he would be able to earn his own Parnasa and earn his own way. The giver doesn’t give him anything for free, but rather he sets him up to enable to support himself. That’s the Darga of Tzedaka that is Li’Maala Mi’Kulam, that’s on a higher level than the other forms of Tzedaka.
So, HKBH operates based on the highest Darga of Tzedaka with people. He gives people the opportunity to earn Zechusim their own way. He puts people in the situation to do Miztvos and attain more and more Zechusim on their own. He puts these opportunities to do Miztvos in people’s way to compile Zechusim. He enables them to earn Zechusim themselves. The Lechatchila is this highest level. On that Darga of Tzedaka, HKBH is Rav Chessed V’Emes. The Chessed is that G-d throws Mitzvos in each person’s path to enable the person to compile Zechusim and earn their own way through the Emes by doing the Mitzvos themselves. He gives us moments of inspiration for each person to do better. The highest Tzedaka of HKBH is that he allows each and every one of us to be Zocheh through the Lechatchila, through the Mishpat. To compile more and more Zechusim for the Yom HaDin.
We daven that we should be Kasveinu BiSefer Zechuyos. What’s Sefer Zechuyos, either we have Zechuyos or we don’t – why are we davening specifically to be written in this Sefer Zechuyos? Says Rav Mattisyahu Solomon, HKBH throws Mitzvos and Zechuyos in every Jew’s path throughout the year to ensure that he would ultimately be Zocheh Ba’Din. We daven for those opportunities and that we should be Zocheh to take advantage of those opportunities.
Rav Hutner asks regarding the Hallel HaGadol – why 26 Ki LiOlam Chasdo’s? Because we know there were 26 generations in the world until Matan Torah in which the world was Niskayem through the Chessed HaShem. After Matan Torah, it was a different world and a different kind of Chessed HaShem; it was a world in which we needed Torah to accomplish the Kiyum within the Briya. Says Rav Hutner, the first 26 generations were rooted in pure Chessed HaShem, and so it was easier and it was free. However, after Matan Torah, there was a higher Madreiga of Chessed – people needed to earn the Kiyum through the Torah themselves. This was the higher Darga of Chessed, one in which man was given the tools, i.e. the Torah, to earn and accomplish the Kiyum on his own. The biggest Chessed is not to give someone something for free but rather to give him the tools to earn on his own. Man was now able to be Zocheh on his own to accomplish this Kiyum.
This is why it’s called Assara Maamaros that created the world and the Asseres HaDibros. Why Amira by creation and why Dibros by Matan Torah — G-d spoke in both instances? Assara Maamaros was the original way the world was created, which is a gentler form of speech in which the world was free through the Chessed HaShem; by the Asseres HaDibros, HKBH is saying for now on, these are the Halachos and these are the Mitzvos, now it’s on you to earn and succeed in the Kiyum HaOlam. HKBH puts us in the situation to be MiKayem more and more Mitzvos to be Zocheh BaDin and to the Kiyum HaOlam, the highest level of Chessed He can do for us.