Friday, July 27, 2007

Shabbos: Ta'am HaChaim Vaeschanan-Nachamu 5767

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Vaeschanan-Nachamu 5767

Shabbos in the Parashah

This week is referred to as Shabbos Nachamu, the Shabbos of Consolation. One must wonder where the consolation is. We just finished mourning the destruction of the Bais HaMikdash and our long and bitter exile, and now we are accepting consolation? How can we understand this apparent paradox? Let us take a closer look at destruction and exile and then we can begin to better understand comfort and consolation. When one witnesses destruction and devastation, what is the initial reaction? Certainly one feels that if he has reached this point, there is no hope left for him. Yet, it is obvious that such thinking is not rational, because if something was truly destroyed, there would really be no point in mourning its loss. We are accustomed to mourning and grieving as if there is no return, but those who acknowledge the truth of this transient world know that nothing is ever really lost, and one cannot mourn something forever. One is commanded to mourn and grieve over the loss of a loved one, but as the Ramban writes in Toras HaAdam, we all know that it has been decreed that every man who enters this world must die. This being the case, why do we cry when someone passes away? The Ramban offers us a brilliant insight into the purpose of creation. If Adam HaRishon, the first man, had not sinned by eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Bad, he would have lived for eternity. Once HaShem decreed that man had to die, we cry for the lost potential of every person. Let us apply this idea to the mourning that we experience for the Bais HaMikdash and the exile. When we sit down on the floor on Tisha B’Av and mourn for our loss, we are in essence mourning for the lost potential of the Jewish People. We lament the fact that we can not experience closeness to HaShem, offer sacrifices to Him, and be in a constant state of awareness that HaShem controls everything in the world. How can we be consoled in this state of mourning? We must draw a parallel to the person who is in mourning for a loved one. The one closest to him has just passed on and immediately people come and console him. Do we deem this sort of consolation to be odd? We know that not only is this behavior acceptable, it is actually required by the Shulchan Aruch, the Jewish Code of Law. Similarly, after lamenting our current state of affairs in the exile, we are required to be comforted. Who, however, can comfort us? Scripture itself provides the answer to this question. It is said (Eicha 2:13) mah aideich mah adameh loch habas Yerushalayim mah ashveh loch vanachmeich besulas bas Tziyon ki gadol kayam shivreich mi yirpah loch, with what shall I bear witness for you? To what can I compare you, O daughter of Jerusalem? To what can I liken you that I may comfort you, O maiden daughter of Zion? Your ruin is as vast as the sea. The Medrash (Eicha Rabbah 2:17) states: the One Who will in the future heal the ruin of the sea will heal you. Thus, the words “who can heal you?” refers to Hashem. The Only One Who can truly offer us consolation is HaShem. In Bircas HaMazon on Shabbos we recite the words uvirtzoncha haniach lanu HaShem Elokeinu shelo sihay tzarah yagon vanacha beyom menuchaseinu, may it be Your will, HaShem, our G-d, that there be no distress, grief, or lament on this day of our contentment. One may wonder how it is possible that there should not be distress and grief on Shabbos if we are still in exile and we still mourn the destruction of the Bais HaMikdash. The answer to this question can be found in the next passage, where we recite the words vihareinu HaShem Elokeinu binechemas Tziyon irecho uvivinyan Yerushalayim ir kadshecho ki atah baal hayeshuos uvaal hanechamos, and show us, HaShem, our G-d, the consolation of Zion, Your city, and the rebuilding of Jerusalem, City of Your holiness, for You are the Master of salvations and Master of consolations. Thus, we see that HaShem is the Only One Who can truly console us, and this fact warrants our request that we not experience any distress or grief on the Holy Shabbos. With this thought in mind we can better understand why we refer to this Shabbos as Shabbos Nachamu, the Shabbos of Consolation, because Shabbos is beyond exile and destruction, and in the merit of Shabbos observance we will witness the Ultimate Redemption, speedily, in our days.

Shabbos in the Zemiros

Ribbon kol HaOlamim

Published in 5401 (1641)

Melech abir, King Who is mighty. We find that the word abir denotes angels, as it is said (Tehillim 78:25) lechem abirim achal ish, humans ate the bread of angels, and the Gemara (Yoma 75b) states that this refers to the manna that the Jewish People ate in the Wilderness. In a simple sense, angels are referred to as abirim because they are mighty. Alternatively, angels have wings, which are referred to in Hebrew as eivarim. Perhaps we refer to HaShem as abir, the mighty one, because HaShem towers above all and Hashem, so to speak, “flies” above us with His outstretched and mighty wings that protect us.

Shabbos in Tefillah

Tehillah visiferes, praise and splendor. Here again we can interpret this attribute of HaShem vis a vis the Jewish People. It is said (Devarim 26:19) ulisitcho elyon al kol hagoyim asher asah lishilah ulisheim ulisifares vilhiyoscho am kadosh laHashem Elokecha kasher diber, and to make you supreme over all the nations that He made, of praise, for renown, and for splendor, so that you will be a holy people to HaShem, your G-d, as He spoke. When HaShem makes us supreme over the nations, it is for praise, renown and for splendor, which implies for our praise and splendor. Yet, we know that ultimately everything that HaShem created is for His glory. Thus, our praise and splendor is really HaShem’s glory.

Shabbos Story

Many years ago, the first Bobover Rebbe zt”l found himself in Vienna, in order to undergo an ear operation. Accompanying him on the trip was his son, the previous Rebbe zt”l. The hospital was outside the city, and they took a room in a hotel near to the hospital. For Shabbos, their plans were to be in Vienna-proper, seeing as where they were, outside the city, there was no kosher food, nor a mikveh (ritual bath) in which to tovel (immerse) before Shabbos, nor a minyan (prayer-quorum). As sometimes happens, things did not quite go as planned. As the saying goes, “mentsch tracht, Gut lacht-man thinks and G-d laughs.” The procedure took longer than expected, and they were forced to spend Shabbos in their hotel room; no mikveh, no minyan, and no Shabbos meals (they did however still have some bread and dairy products). The Rebbe noticed that his son was quite distressed over their predicament. “My son,” he said, “I understand that you are upset because this is the first time you are ever experiencing such a Shabbos. So much seems to be missing; no mikveh, no minyan, and no Shabbos foods. Let me offer you a word of advice: Do not miss out on this unusual opportunity to experience kedushas Shabbos (Shabbos sanctity) in other ways. Shabbos is still holy-in spite of our lacking the customary comforts with which we normally honor it. Know my son that even the walls of our hotel room proclaim, ‘Today is Shabbos for Hashem!’ You must only be willing to hear them.” [Kedushas Tzion, parshas Beshalach, footnote to page 109]

Shabbos in History

Reb Moshe Shternbuch Shlita writes that there are two distinct aspects of Shabbos. On the one hand, there is the Shabbos of rest and relaxation; of song, hearty meals, and time with friends. On the other hand, there is the complex side of Shabbos: The laws, the details, and the rigidity which (under rare circumstances) says it is necessary to allow one’s house to burn down rather than to extinguish a fire on Shabbos. The Shabbos full of halachic minutiae, which the Gemara aptly describes as “mountains hanging on a hair.” The Jews that left Egypt were a broken nation. They were broken in spirit by their having descended to the very depths of depravity. And they were broken physically by the bondage. This was a time to uplift their spirits by giving them a taste of the beauty and sweetness of Shabbos, which is what Moshe Rabbeinu taught them in Marah. It was only after their first Yom Kippur, when they had achieved full repentance for their sins, and were no longer brokenhearted and dejected, that Moshe felt confident enough to reveal to them the harsher more exacting side of Shabbos.

Shabbos in the Daf

Yevamos 86b

The Gemara states that there are twenty-four instances in Scripture where the Kohanim are referred to as Leviim. We have mentioned numerous times that Reb Tzadok HaKohen from Lublin writes that the concept of Shabbos is mentioned twelve times in the Torah, and we know that every thing on Shabbos is double, so essentially Shabbos is represented by the number twenty-four. This idea is also reflected in the fact that a bride adorns herself with twenty-four ornaments, and the Shabbos is referred to as the bride. In a similar vein we can suggest that the Zohar states that a Torah scholar is akin to Shabbos, and the Kohanim and Leviim were the quintessential Torah scholars amongst the Jewish People, so it is appropriate that the Kohanim are referred to as Leviim twenty-four times in Scripture.

Shabbos in Halacha

One cannot add liquid condiments like ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise to a hot kli rishon. Although these items have been cooked previously, they are nonetheless subject to the prohibition of re-cooking cold liquids. One can, however, use dry pre-cooked seasonings like sugar and salt on hot solid foods, even in a kli rishon, as one is not prohibited from re-cooking dry items. This ruling, however, only applies to a kli rishon that has been removed from the belch. One is never allowed to add seasoning to a pot while it is on a flame or on a hot blech.

Shabbos in Numbers and Words

In this week’s parashah it is said (Devarim 5:12) shamor es yom HaShabbos likadsho, safeguard the Shabbos day to sanctify it. How does one safeguard the Shabbos day? When one studies the laws of Shabbos during the week, he can enter into Shabbos with the knowledge that the Shabbos will be safeguarded. The word shamor in mispar katan, digit sum, equals 15, and 1+5=6, which alludes to the six days of the week.

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Vaeschanan-Nachamu 5767

is sponsored by Ephraim and Devorah Rich

in loving memory of Ephraim’s grandmother, Mrs. Sara Reich ob”m

Sara bas Yechiel Tzvi, Niftarah 17 Av

Have a wonderful and delightful Shabbos.

Prepared by Rabbi Binyomin Adler.

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