Thursday, June 14, 2007

Korach 5767

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Korach 5767

Shabbos in the Parashah

In this week’s parashah the Torah discusses the literal downfall, of Korach and his entourage. It is said (Bamidbar 16:33) vayeirdu heim vechol asher lahem chaim sheolah vayovdu mitoch hakahal, they and all that was theirs descended alive to the pit; the earth covered them over and they were lost from among the entire congregation. Rabbeinu Bachye writes that despite the fact that the Gemara states that Korach and his congregation lost their share in the World to Come, this only means that they forfeited their share in the olam haneshamos, the world of souls, which is where a person can go immediately after death. Regarding techias hameisim, the Resurrection of the Dead, however, Rabbeinu Bachye posits that Korach and his congregation will be resurrected, as it is said (Shmuel I 1:6) HaShem meimis umechayeh morid sheol vayal, HaShem brings death and gives life, He lowers to the grave and raises up. It is frightening to contemplate that for arguing with Moshe about positions of leadership, an entire group consisting of the most distinguished individuals amongst the Jewish People would forfeit their share in the World to Come. This punishment demonstrates how terrible strife is and how one should distance himself as much possible from any sort of contention or dissent. It is noteworthy that we light candles immediately prior to Shabbos to promote shalom bayis, domestic harmony. Rashi explains that shalom bayis means that the lighting of the candles prevents people from stumbling in the darkness. Shabbos is a semblance of the World to Come, and one who lights the candles prior to shabbos is ensuring himself a share in the World to Come. It is fascinating to note that besides Korach, Dasan and Aviram, there were two-hundred and fifty men who argued against Moshe. The Baal HaTurim writes that it is said (Mishlei 24:20) ki lo sihyeh acharis lara neir reshaim yidach, for there will be no lasting outcome to evil; the light of the wicked will be extinguished. The word neir, candle, equals in gematria two-hundred and fifty. Perhaps this can also be interpreted to mean that those who cause strife and discord will not prevail, and their light will be extinguished. One who seeks to promote peace and harmony, however, which is reflected in the Shabbos candles, will earn himself an eternal reward, in the day that will be completely Shabbos and a day of rest, for eternal life.

Shabbos in the Zemiros

Bircas HaBanim

Adapted from Bereishis 48:20, Bamidbar 6:24-26

Yisimcha Elokim kiEphraim vichiMenasheh, may G-d make you like Ephraim and Menasheh. There are various reasons that are offered as to why we bless our sons on Friday night to be like Ephraim and Menasheh. It is noteworthy that Yosef symbolizes Tosefes Shabbos¸ adding on to Shabbos, so it would follow that his sons are an extension of that ideal. When we bless our children on Friday night to emulate Ephraim and Menasheh, we are beseeching HaShem that our children follow in the footsteps of Yosef and his sons, and that they bring Shabbos even into the weekday. It is noteworthy that the names Menasheh and Ephraim equal in gematria Shabbos and twenty-four, as we have mentioned numerous times that there are twenty-four chapters in Maseches Shabbos and Shabbos is mentioned twelve times in the Torah, so twenty-four alludes to the idea that everything on Shabbos is double. Perhaps this is the reason why we mention both sons of Yosef, so that in their merit we should receive double blessing in everything we do.

Shabbos in Tefillah

HaKel HaMelech HaGadol veHaKadosh bashamayim uvaaretz, the G-d, the great and holy King-in heaven and earth. We declare that HaShem is great and holy in heaven and in earth. We can understand how HaShem is holy in heaven, as heaven does not suffer from sin and deficiency. How do we understand that HaShem is holy on earth? Although the whole world is HaShem’s, it would seem more appropriate to confine the word holy to something that is removed and distanced from materialism. It is well-known that one approach to our existence in this world is to sanctify the mundane and elevate it to a spiritual level. This obviously means that within everything physical there is a spiritual element that needs to be drawn out. Thus, when we say that HaShem is holy in the heaven and in the earth, we mean to say that even the materialism contains godliness, and it is our obligation to draw out the spirituality and elevate the psychical to HaShem and His service.

Shabbos Story

Rabbi Paysach Krohn in his wonderful work Around the Magid’s Table tells a beautiful story. One Shabbos afternoon when young Yitzchak Eisenbach was in Jerusalem, he spotted a very valuable gold coin shining in the distance. The value of the coin was enough to support his entire family for two weeks! But it was Shabbos and young Yitzele knew that the coin was muktzeh, prohibited to be picked up and taken on the Shabbos. He decided to put his foot on top of the coin and guard the coin until sunset-a good number of hours-but worth every moment of the wait. An Arab boy saw Yitzchak with his foot strangely and obviously strategically placed, and decided to investigate further. “What is that that you are hiding?” the Arab asked. “Nothing,” replied Yitzchak, as he shifted his body to hide the fact that he was guarding a golden treasure. It was too late. The Arab boy pushed him, saw the prize, quickly grabbed it and ran away. All Yitzchak could do was watch in horror as his attacker melted into the Arab market place. Dejected, Yitzchak sulked to the nearby Chernobyl Bais Medrash (synagogue) where he sat in a corner. Normally, Yitzchak would help prepare the final Shabbos meal, but today he sat- dejected and depressed-until the Shabbos was over. The Rebbe inquired about young Yitzchak’s sullen mood and was told the story. Immediately after Shabbos the Chernobyl Rebbe (1840-1936) summoned Yitzchak into his private study. In his hand he held a gold coin, exactly the same size as the one Yitzchak had almost secured earlier that day. “I am very proud of you,” said the Rebbe. You did not desecrate the Shabbos even for a tremendous monetary gain. In fact,” he continued, “I am so proud of you that I am willing to give you this same coin.” The Rebbe halted. “On one condition. I want you to give me the reward for the mitzvah you did.” The boy looked at the Rebbe in utter disbelief. “You want to trade the coin for the Mitzvah?” The Rebbe nodded, slowly. “If that is the case, keep the coin. I will keep the mitzvah.” The Rebbe leaned over and kissed the child.

Shabbos in the Daf

Yevamos 44a

The Gemara discusses various forbidden relationships. The Sefer HaYetzirah writes that there are three concepts, and they are the world, the soul, and the year. We can suggest that holiness in the world is reflected in permitted and forbidden relationships. Holiness in the soul is reflected in how one conducts himself on a daily basis. Holiness in the year is reflected in Shabbos and Yom Tov, as these days are elevated and spiritual. One should exert himself to be enveloped in the holiness of these days. (See Sfas Emes Sukkos 5658 for a similar idea.)

Shabbos in Halacha

When one transfers hot food or liquid from a kli sheini to another vessel, the vessel that the food or liquid was transferred to is called a kli shelishi, a third vessel. Once a liquid is transferred to a kli shelishi, liquids do not have the capacity to cook most foods. Thus, it is normally permitted to immerse a raw or cooked food in a kli shelishi, even if the hot water of the kli shelishi is yad soledes bo.

Shabbos in Numbers and Words

It is said regarding Shabbos (Shemos 31:17) uvayom hashevii shavas vayenafash, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed. The first letters of the words shavas vayenafash in mispar katan, digit sum, equal nine, which is the same value as the word Shabbos in mispar katan. The last letters of the words shavas vayenafash in mispar katan equal seven, which alludes to Shabbos, the seventh day of the week

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Korach 5767

Have a wonderful and delightful Shabbos.

Prepared by Rabbi Binyomin Adler.

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