Thursday, November 15, 2007

Shabbos: Ta'am HaChaim Vayeitzei 5768

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Vayeitzei 5768

Shabbos in the Parashah

In this week’s parashah it is said (Breishis 29:1-3) vayisa Yaakov raglav vayeilech artzah vnei kedem vayar vehinei beer basadeh vehinei sham shelosha edrei tzon rovtzim aleha ki min habeer hahi yashku haadarim vihaeven gedolah al pi habeer vineesfu shama chol haadarim vigalilu es haeven meial pi habeer vishishku es hatzon viheishivu es haeven al pi habeer limkomah, so Yaakov lifted up his feet, and went toward the land of the easterners. He looked, and behold-a well in the field! And behold! Three flocks of sheep lay there beside it, for from that well they would water the flocks, and the stone over the mouth of the well was large. When all the flocks would be assembled there they would roll the stone from the mouth of the well and water the sheep; then they would put back the stone over the mouth of the well, in its place. The Ramban cites the Medrash (Bereishis Rabbah 70:8) that states that this entire episode regarding the wells and the shepherds removing the large stone alludes to the pilgrimage of the Jewish People on the three festivals and the drawing of the water alludes to the receiving of Divine Inspiration. The replacement of the stone alludes to the festival in the future at the time of the Ultimate Redemption. If we were to continue in the vein of the Medrash, we can suggest that the subsequent verses refers to Shabbos, which we find juxtaposed to the mention of the festivals in Parashas Emor. Thus, we read that Yaakov queries the people regarding their origins, and they respond that they are from Charan. This can allude to the idea that the weekday is akin to anger, as we find in the beginning of the parashah where it is said (Bereishis 28:10) vayeitzei Yaakov mibeer sheva vayeilech Charana, Yaakov departed Beer Sheva and went toward Charan. This verse can be interpreted homiletically to read that Yaakov left Beer Sheva, i.e. he entered into Shabbos, the seventh day, and Charan, i.e. anger, left. Yaakov then asks if they know Lavan. What was the purpose of Yaakov asking this question? Perhaps the idea is that the Shem MiShmuel writes that Calev and Pinchas, the two spies sent by Yehoshua, understood from Rachav that the inhabitants of the land were subdued, because Rachav was Lilis, the great demon. Once Rachav acknowledged that the inhabitants were fearful of the Jewish People, the spies knew that the land would be conquered by the Jewish People. Thus, Yaakov was wondering how Lavan was faring and if he would be able to be victorious over Lavan and his evil schemes. The shepherds responded that they know who Lavan is, i.e. that he is Balaam, the master sorcerer (see Gemara Sanhedrin 105a and Rashi Ibid; Targum Yonasan Bamidbar 22:5). Yaakov then queried them if there was peace by Lavan and they responded with the word shalom, peace. The Baal HaTurim notes that Yaakov asked haShalom lo, is there peace with him, and the shepherds responded shalom, peace. The Baal HaTurim writes that they did not answer that Lavan had peace, as it is said (Yeshaya 57:21) ein shalom amar Elokai larishaim, ‘there is no peace,’ said my G-d, ‘for the wicked.’ Based on what we have mentioned previously, we can suggest that Yaakov, who reflects Shabbos, wished to know how he could subdue Lavan, who in a later reincarnation would be Balaam. The shepherds responded, shalom, peace. The Gemara (Shabbos 119b) states that when a Jew arrives home from shul on Friday night, he is escorted by two angels, one good and one evil. If when he arrives home and finds the lamp burning, the table set and his bed made, the good angel says, “may it be the will of HaShem that it should be this way the next Shabbos as well,” and the bad angel is forced to answer amen against his will. If the table is not set, however, then the bad angel says, “May it be the will of HaShem that it should be this way the next Shabbos as well,” and the good angel is forced to answer amen against his will. Thus, the shepherds were intimating to Yaakov that the manner in which to subdue Lavan would be by Yaakov conducting himself properly and then Lavan, i.e. Balaam, would be forced to answer amen. It is noteworthy that the Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh (Bamidbar 23:24) explains that this is the rationale for why the Torah records the blessings that Balaam proffered on the Jewish People, as HaShem desired that the evil angel, i.e. Balaam, be forced to acknowledge that the Jewish People are blessed. Hashem should allow us to merit the holiness of Shabbos of which it is said (Prayer of Kegavna recited by Nusach Sefard) “when the Shabbos arrives, she unified herself in Oneness and divests herself of the Other Side [any trace of evil], all harsh judgments are removed from her.”

Shabbos in the Zemiros

Ribbon kol HaOlamim

Published in 5401 (1641)

Melech podeh umatzil, King Who redeems and rescues. What is the distinction between podeh and matzil? Are not redeeming and rescuing one and the same? A perusal of Scripture reveals that the word padah is associated with spiritual deliverance, whereas the word matzil is associated with physical deliverance,. Thus, we are declaring that HaShem is the King Who redeems us spiritually from all evil and HaShem also rescues us from any physical danger.

Shabbos in Tefillah

Hakol yeromimucha selah yotzeir hakol, All will exalt You, Selah! You Who forms everything. What does the word Selah mean? It is interesting to note that the word Selah is similar to the word soles, which means fine flour. It is also said (Yeshaya 57:14) viamar solu soul panu derech harimu michshol miderech ami, He will say, “Pave, pave! Clear the road! Remove the obstacle from My people’s path.” Although the standard translation of the word Selah is eternal, we can suggest that Selah connotes that HaShem is pure and refined, and we must strive to emulate HaShem in this manner. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to praise HaShem, so we must refine and purify ourselves so we can be worthy of praising HaShem.

Shabbos Story

In the city of Cracow resided an elderly, wealthy Jew, Reb Shimon. His wealth was well known to the people of Cracow; just as well known, however, was his stinginess. All the days of his life, he did not so much as give one coin to tzedakah. Thus his nickname: “Shimon the Miser.” One day, Reb Shimon passed away. The town’s burial society decided to bury him in a disgraceful manner and lay him to rest on the outskirts of the cemetery, a place reserved for the lowly members of the town. That Friday afternoon, the rabbi of Cracow, Rabbi Yom Tov Lipman Heller (author of “Tosafos Yom Tov”), sat in his home engaged in Torah study. Suddenly, he heard a faint knock at the door. “Come in,” the rabbi called out. The door opened and in walked Reb Zalman, one of the poor men of Cracow. “Rebbe,” said Reb Zalman, “could you please help me? This week, I do not have even one coin in order to buy food for Shabbos.” “What do you mean by, ‘this week’?” asked Rabbi Heller. “What did you do until this week?” “Until this week,” answered Reb Zalman, “every Friday morning, I would find an envelope placed under my door containing the amount of money I need to buy food for Shabbos. Yet this morning, I checked under my door and there was no envelope! I am therefore left without any money to buy Shabbos food." While they were conversing, there was another knock at the door. Another pauper walked in; he, too, came to ask for money for Shabbos. He was followed by another pauper and yet another.... They all had the same request: “Rabbi, please provide us with our Shabbos needs.” The wise rabbi deduced that the man who had passed away that week, an individual who everyone had thought to be a miser, was in reality a hidden tzaddik who had performed the mitzvah of tzedakah with utmost secrecy. Every week, Reb Shimon had apparently provided scores of Cracow’s poor with the funds to acquire their Shabbos needs. The rabbi made a public announcement: “I order the entire community to gather in the shul at once!” The rabbi, wrapped in his tallis, ascended the podium, opened the ark, and declared, “We, the people of Cracow, are gathered here today in order to beg forgiveness from one of the tzaddikim that lived in our midst. His greatness went unnoticed by us; we denigrated him and called him, ‘The Miser.’ “In the name of the entire community,” cried the rabbi, “I hereby beg for total forgiveness from Reb Shimon, who was a righteous and holy Jew!” Years later, when it came time for Rabbi Heller to depart to his Heavenly abode, he requested to be buried next to the tzaddik, Reb Shimon.

Shabbos in Navi

Yehoshua Chapter 11

In this chapter the Navi continues to elaborate on the conquest of Eretz Yisroel. It is said that Yehoshua defeated many kings and destroyed their cities. It is said further that not one city made peace with the Jewish People except for the Chivi, inhabitants of Giveon. This was due to the fact that HaShem hardened their hearts toward battle against the Jewish People in order to destroy them-that they not find favor-so that they would be exterminated, as HaShem had commanded Moshe. The Gemara (Sanhedrin 58b) states that a gentile who observes Shabbos is liable the death penalty. The Zohar states that Shabbos is shalom, peace. Perhaps this is an additional reason why the nations refused to make peace with the Jewish People. Only a Jew can experience true peace, whereas a gentile, who is prohibited from observing Shabbos, cannot experience true peace.

Shabbos in Agadah

The Medrash (Bereishis Rabbah 11:7) states that Yaakov reflects Shabbos. Why is it that Yaakov has more of a connection to Shabbos than the other Patriarchs? Perhaps the idea is that Yaakov was subject to exile, whereas Avraham and Yitzchak were not exiled from their homeland for a lengthy period of time. Shabbos means to rest, and it was specifically Yaakov who was able to appreciate the rest from the hardships of exile. This idea can also help us understand why the World to Come is referred to as a day that is completely Shabbos. Given the fact that the majority of our history we have been in exile, it is only fitting that our reward be that we merit Shabbos for eternity.

Shabbos in Halacha

One is prohibited from pouring hot water from a kettle or urn (kli rishon) into a cup containing some cold water. One can, however, add a small amount of hot water to a larger quantity of cold water, as long as the resulting mixture will not be yad soledes bo.

Shabbos in Numbers and Words

The Medrash states that shamor, safeguard the Shabbos, and zachor, remember the Shabbos, were said by HaShem in one utterance. The word shamar (without the letter vav) in mispar katan, digit sum, equals 9, and the word Shabbos in mispar katan also equals 9. The word zachar (without the letter vav) in mispar katan equals 11, and 1+1=2, which denotes the concept that everything on Shabbos is double.

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Vayeitzei 5768

I will iy”h deliver a class in Navi this Friday night at my home

at 26100 Marlowe Place in Oak Park.

We will be studying Sefer Shmuel, the first Perek.

The class will be 8:30-9:15 and there will be Oneg Shabbos

Have a wonderful and delightful Shabbos

Prepared by Rabbi Binyomin Adler.

For sponsorships please call 248-506-0363.

To subscribe weekly by email, please send email to

View Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim and other Divrei Torah on

No comments: