[Ed. Note] Out of the respect and recognition of the impact made by longtime BJL friend and contributor, Reb Shaya Gross, z’l, we will maintain a living memoriam to Shaya through the sweet words and thoughtful insights of  his Divrei Torah. BJL readers will remember his weekly column on the Parsha and on various Torah ideas and concepts. These meaningful words will help us remember this special young man who will be sorely missed and for those who did not merit to know him, this will be the most appropriate way for them to become familiar with who he was.

Parshas Re'eh begins by telling us that Hashem places before us the opportunity to receive a blessing or curse, depending upon whether we keep the Mitzvos. However, upon closer reading, the verses seem peculiar. The Torah says in regard to the curses ‘and the curses, IF you don’t listen….,' but regarding the blessings, the Torah says ‘the blessing that you listen…’ It doesn’t say you’ll get blessings IF you listen. This seems to imply that the listening to the Mitzvos is itself a blessing. What does that mean?

The Mishna in Avos, after contrasting the great Midos of Avraham and the poor Midos of Bilam, tells us that if we follow in the ways of Avraham, 'we will enjoy the fruit of our good deeds in this world and inherit the world to come.' What does this mean?

Some people think that if you live an immoral life and do what you want without rules and boundaries, then although you will lose out in the world to come, you will at least enjoy this world. The truth is that such a person will not enjoy this world either. He will live a meaningless life, and he will fall prey to his bad Midos. His jealousy and lusts will control him, never allowing him to be satisfied with what he has. Whereas a person with good Midos who strives to do the will of Hashem, although he or she may be tested and go through some difficult stages of life, in the long run, he or she will enjoy even this world much more than someone with bad Midos. Hence, the Mishna says that one with good Midos enjoys both worlds, whereas the one with bad Midos has nothing in either world.

Leaving Yiddishkeit is like a leaf falling off a tree. It flutters around for a little bit, but soon afterwards it is shriveled and withered on the ground with no nourishment and vitality. As the Pasuk states, the Torah is a TREE of life for those who HOLD onto it!

I suggest that is what our Pasuk is alluding to as well. It is telling us that besides the reward that we will get IF we listen to Him, the listening to Him is itself a blessing! Authentic Avodas Hashem keeps us happy, healthy, and balanced spiritually and emotionally.

Although we strive to serve Hashem altruistically, let us also keep these thoughts in mind to give us chizuk when times are tough and when we feel overwhelmed and pressured to give in to the Yetzer Hara; that by keeping the Torah and it's commandments, we will live a much happier and healthier life emotionally and spiritually. 
{Reb Baruch Gross writes: Along the same lines, I was thinking that the same is true in regard to trusting in Hashem. When we trust in Hashem, our loving father who loves us more than any parent could ever love a child, and we understand that Hashem wants what is the very best for us; then even when things seem so bleak and dark and looks like there is no end to sight in whatever issue we may be facing at any given time, we have to remember that Hashem loves us. By thinking about that, and trusting in Hashem that Hashem knows what we need to succeed in life to maximize our potential, we will be able to live a much happier life.  May Hashem bring the final redemption from all pain and suffering and bring the ultimate redemption with Moshiach speedily in our days.}