Thursday, December 27, 2007

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Shemos 5768

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Shemos 5768

Shabbos in the Parashah

This week we commence a new book in the Torah, the Book of Shemos. The Ramban refers to the Book of Shemos as the Book of Geulah, Redemption. In continuing with the theme that we mentioned last week regarding unity, it is noteworthy that the parashah commences with the verse that states (Shemos 1:1) veileh shemos bnei Yisroel habaaim mitzraymah es Yaakov ish uveiso bau, and these are the names of the Children of Israel who were coming to Egypt; with Yaakov, each man and his household came. Despite the fact that the Jewish People are set to descend into exile and slavery, the Torah provides the antidote before the punishment. The Gemara (Yoma 9b) states that the Bais HaMikdash was destroyed because of sinas chinam, unwarranted hatred amongst Jews. The Egyptian exile was precipitated by the hatred that the brothers had for Yosef. The antidote for this enmity amongst the brothers was unity. We find later in the parashah that Moshe goes out to his brothers. Moshe acted in this manner despite the fact that he grew up in the royal palace and he could have justified himself by remaining inside the palace and not acting on behalf of his downtrodden brethren. Thus, an act of brotherhood and unity was what led to the redemption from Egypt. It is fascinating to note that the actual exodus culminated with the offering of the Korban Pesach, regarding which the Maharal writes that the underlying theme of the Korban Pesach is unity. This idea is reflected in the fact that the offering was required to be eaten whole, in one house, a bone could not be broken, and numerous other aspects that reflect unity (see Maharal in Gevuros HaShem §60 for further explanation of this concept). Thus, the exile was catalyzed by needless hatred, and the exodus was predicated on unity and culminated in an offering that symbolizes unity. The Medrash (Targum attributed to Yonasan ben Uziel Shemos 2:24) states that the Jewish People were redeemed when they all repented without anyone being aware of each other’s repentance. The conventional form of repentance is where the Jewish People assemble and pray and fast in unison. Yet, the Jewish People in Egypt were required to distance themselves from idolatry and become one with HaShem. This form of repentance necessitated that each Jew reflect on his actions in private and repent from his sins. Additionally, while the Jewish People were enslaved to the Egyptians, aside from one or two individuals, there was no slander amongst the people [The Medrash (Shemos Rabbah 1:30) states that Moshe claimed that the Jewish People were not deserving of redemption because there were slanderers amongst them. However, Reb Tzadok in Ohr Zarua Latzaddik §7 explains that Moshe hid the Egyptian that he killed in the sand, and the Medrash (Ibid 1:29) states that this alludes to the idea that the Jewish People would not reveal the secret that the Egyptian had been killed.] This was a sign of unity. Furthermore, the Jewish People were required to be circumcised before being redeemed, and the Rambam (Moreh Nevuchim 3:49) writes that circumcision is a sign of brotherhood. Thus, circumcision reflects unity, and in the merit of this display of unity the Jewish People were deemed deserving of redemption. In a similar vein, Shabbos is the culmination of the week. Whereas the week has potential for strife and discord, the Holy Shabbos reflects unity, where we are one with HaShem with HaShem, His Torah, and His people. When we observe the Shabbos properly, we will merit the Ultimate Redemption, regarding which it is said (Micah 7:15) kimei tzeischso mimitzrayim arenu niflaos, as in the days when you left Egypt I will show it wonders.

Shabbos in the Zemiros

Ribbon kol HaOlamim

Published in 5401 (1641)

Modeh ani lefeonecho HaShem Elokai vEilokei avosai al kol hachesed asher asisa imadi vaasher atah asid lassos imi viim kol bnei veisi viim kol briyosecho bnei vrisi, I give thanks before You, HaShem, my G-d and the G-d of my ancestors, for all the goodness You have done with me and which you will do with me, with all my household, and with all Your creatures who are my fellows. This declaration is awe-inspiring, as we thank HaShem for the kindness that he performs with the entire world. How often do we thank HaShem for being benevolent to others? It is difficult enough to thank HaShem for the good that He performs with us. To declare that HaShem is good because of the kindness that He performs on behalf of the entire world is nothing short of remarkable. Perhaps this unique declaration is recited on Shabbos because we are free from our pursuit of materialism and we can recognize that Hashem controls everything that occurs in the world, so it is only fitting that we praise Him for the kindness that He performs with our household and with all of His creatures.

Shabbos in Tefillah

Mah rabu maasechah HaShem, how great are Your works, HaShem. The word mah, normally translated as how, can also be understood as an exclamation of wonder. It is truly amazing how great the works of HaShem are. It is said (Devarim 10:12) viatah Yisroel mah HaShem elokecha shoeil meimach, now, O Israel, what does HaShem, your G-d, ask of you? The Gemara (Menachos 43b) states, do not read mah, rather meah, as this alludes to the daily requirement that one recite one hundred blessings. The Baal HaTurim (Devarim 10:12) writes that the word mah in at bash equals one hundred. We can suggest that the word mah itself reflects praise. Similarly, in the Hagadah Shel Pesach we recite the words mah nishtanah halaylah hazeh mikol haleilos, literally translated as why is this night different from all other nights. Homiletically, however, we can interpret this passage as follows. The word nishtanah is from the root yashan, which means old. Reb Yaakov Emden writes in his siddur that in his opinion, the greatest miracle that has occurred to the Jewish People is our survival amongst the gentiles throughout the generations. Thus, we can suggest that in the Hagadah we are declaring the following: Mah, how remarkable it is that nishtanah halaylah hazeh, we have been in the darkness of exile for so long, and we still survive and flourish in our service of HaShem. Hashem should allow us to renew our service to Him and then we will merit the Ultimate Redemption, speedily, in our days.

Shabbos Story

In the house of Reb Yechezkel Abramsky, the Shabbos table was always set early Friday morning. Reb Yechezkel once related, “my wife’s grandfather (author of the Ridvaz commentary on the Talmud Yerushalmi) was seriously ill. Sitting at his beside, I heard him say, ‘Master of the universe! What is it that I must pledge to merit a speedy recovery? I wrote a commentary on the Talmud Yerushalmi. Do You wish that I also write a commentary on Talmud Bavli?’ The Ridvaz then feel silent, as if he were asleep. When he awoke, he called to his wife and said, ‘from now on, when I return from shul on Friday morning, we must set the table for Shabbos. It was revealed to me that by pledging this, my life will be extended. Soon afterward, the Ridvaz’s condition improved dramatically.

Shabbos in Navi

Yehoshua Chapter 17

In this chapter the Navi continues to delineate the inheritance of the tribe of Yosef. It is said (Yehoshua 17:14) vayidabru bnei Yosef es Yehoshua leimor madua nasata li nachalah goral echod vichevel echod vaani am rav ad asher ad koh beirchani HaShem, the children of Yosef spoke to Yehoshua, saying, “Why have you given me an inheritance of [only] a single lot and a single portion, seeing that I am a numerous people, for HaShem has blessed me to such an extent?” The Sfas Emes writes that Yosef reflects Tosefes Shabbos, adding on to Shabbos. Perhaps this idea is alluded to in this verse, as the children of Yosef declared that HaShem has blessed them to such an extent, i.e. not only do they earn the blessing of Shabbos, but this blessing extends itself into the week. This is alluded to in the fact that the word koh in mispar katan equals 7, and Shabbos is the seventh day of the week.

Shabbos in Agadah

On Friday evening we recite Kabbalas Shabbos where we welcome the Shabbos. What does it mean to welcome the Shabbos? Is Shabbos not a day that comes whether we welcome it or not? Why is it necessary to welcome the Shabbos? In the prayer of Lecho Dodi we recite the words likraas Shabbos lechu vineilcha, to welcome the Shabbos, let us go forth. Yet, the word likraas, whose root is kara, means to call. The Medrash Toras Kohanim beginning of Vayikra) states that the word kara denotes a term of endearment. Perhaps we can suggest that when we are welcoming the Shabbos, we are essentially stating that Shabbos is endearing to us, and we go forth to welcome and embrace the Shabbos like a long-lost friend.

Shabbos in Halacha

Tea bags or tea leaves cannot be immersed in hot water that is yad soledes bo on Shabbos, no matter what kind of vessel one wishes to immerse the tea bag or leaves in. One must therefore prepare tea essence before Shabbos, and this is accomplished by pouring water over the leaves or tea bags and allowing them to steep in the water. If the essence of tea is kept hot during Shabbos i.e. on the blech, it is best to pour some essence into a glass and then add hot water to it. If the essence is not kept hot, one must first pour hot water into a cup (kli sheini), and then add the essence.

Shabbos in Numbers and Words

The Medrash (Shemos Rabbah 1:28) states that Moshe requested from Pharaoh that the Jewish People be granted one day of rest every week, and Pharaoh agreed to allow the Jewish People to rest on Shabbos. It is noteworthy that when Pharaoh decided to rescind this grant, it is said (Shemos 5:5) vayomer Pharaoh hein rabim atah am haaretz vihishbatem osam misivlosam, and Pharaoh said, “Behold! The people of the land are now numerous, and you would have them cease from their burdens. The word vihishbatem contains the word Shabbos.

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Shemos 5768

is sponsored by Avraham and Rochel ElChonen

shevach vehodaah laHashem al kol hatov

vial simchas nisuiin shel Aharon and Aviva

I will be delivering a class in Navi this Friday night

at my home 26100 Marlowe Place in Oak Park.

The class will be 8:30-9:15

We will be studying Sefer Shmuel Perek 1 and there will be Oneg Shabbos.

Have a wonderful and delightful Shabbos

Prepared by Rabbi Binyomin Adler.

For sponsorships please call 248-506-0363.

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