Office of the Chief Rabbi

D’var Torah: Ki Teitsei

Parents should never be jealous of their children.

In Parshat Ki Teitsei, the Torah gives us the mitzvah “כִּֽי־יִקַּ֥ח אִ֖ישׁ אִשָּׁ֑ה” – it is a mitzvah to get married. The Gemara in Mesechet Pesachim, Daf 49a, describes for us a couple well suited to marriage with these words “ענבי הגפן בענבי הגפן דבר נאה ומתקבל – when you have the fruit of the vine with the fruit of the vine it is something lovely and absolutely acceptable”. So here we have a description of a bride and groom who are similar in their aspirations, their attributes, their qualities, they are similar in their values and they both come from similarly wonderful families.

But the question we need to ask is, why are they compared to ‘ענבי הגפן – the fruit of the vine’ – to grapes?

Well you see, when it comes to the laws of brachot, the blessings we recite over food, it is well known that the Bracha for fruit is בורא פרי העץ – we thank Hashem for creating the fruit of the tree. When that fruit produces, say orange or apple juice, then we have a downgrading of Bracha. The Bracha on the juice is שהכל נהיה בדברו – it is the general blessing thanking Hashem for creating everything according to his will. This is because the juice has lost the special identity of the fruit. But there is one exception – and that is grapes. The Bracha over grapes is בורא פרי העץ, thanking Hashem for creating the fruit of the tree. But when we make a Bracha over the juice that comes from grapes, which of course is used to make wine, then we have an elevation of the blessing to בורא פרי הגפן. A special blessing for wine, thanking Hashem who has created the fruit of the vine. So, therefore, we see that grapes produce a juice which actually becomes superior to the grapes themselves.

And here we have a description of parents under a Chuppah. They are looking at their children with such pride and they’re deriving so much nachat from them because they can see that they have internalised their values and continued to practise the good deeds learned from them. However they’ve gone one further, and now they’re even better than their parents in so many respects. But rather than being jealous of their children, for the parents, this is a דבר נאה ומתקבל. It is something that’s lovey and most definitely acceptable.

You know, it’s so nice when we describe children with the old adage that and the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. But it’s even better when we can say the tree is finding it difficult to catch up with the apple that fell from it. That is the ultimate nachat that we can derive.

Shabbat Shalom