Thursday, January 17, 2008

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Beshalach 5768

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Beshalach 5768

Shabbos in the Parashah

In this week’s parashah we find the culmination of creation. It is said (Breishis 2:3) Vayivarech Elokim es yom hashevii vayikadeish oso, Hashem blessed the seventh day and sanctified it. The Medrash (Bereishis Rabbah 11:2) states that HaShem blessed the seventh day by providing a double portion of manna on Friday, and HaShem sanctified the seventh day by not allowing manna to fall on Shabbos. Thus, in this week’s parashah, when the Torah records the commencement of the manna falling for the Jewish People in the Wilderness, we are reading of the culmination of creation. One must wonder, however, what the association of manna is to creation. Why is the sustenance that HaShem provided for the Jewish People in the Wilderness correlated to the six days of creation and to Shabbos? In order to understand the association between the manna and creation, we must first understand a somewhat related concept. The Gemara (Pesachim 118a) teaches us that ones sustenance is as difficult as the splitting of the Sea. Yet, the Gemara elsewhere (Beitzah 16a) teaches us that one’s sustenance is decreed upon him every Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year. These two statements appear to be contradictory. If HaShem already decided on Rosh HaShanah what a person’s sustenance will be, why does the Gemara state that it is difficult for one to obtain his sustenance? To answer these questions, we must look to the words of the Maharal for illumination on the subject of miracles and the natural order of events. Regarding the splitting of the Sea, it is said (Shemos 14:27) vayeit Moshe es yado al hayam veyashav hayam lifnos boker liiaisnao umitzrayim nasim likraso vayinaeir HaShem es Mitzrayim bisoch hayam, Moshe stretched out his hand over the sea, and toward morning the water went back to its power as the Egyptians were felling toward it; and HaShem churned Egypt in the midst of the sea. The Medrash (Shemos Rabbah 21:6) states that Moshe wondered to HaShem how the Sea would split, and HaShem responded that He had already stipulated with the Sea from the time of creation that it would have to split before the Jewish People. The word liiaisnao, to its power, is read as litnao, to its condition, i.e. the stipulation that HaShem made with the Sea at the time of creation that it would split for the Jewish People. The Maharal (Gevuros HaShem second introduction) expounds at length on the idea that even miracles are built in to the natural order of events. Thus, writes the Maharal, HaShem stipulated with creation that the Sea would split for the Jewish People. Based on this premise, we can explain the connection of manna to creation, and we can also understand why sustenance and other matters are as difficult as the splitting of the Sea. In essence, everything that occurs in the world is part of the natural order of events. Regarding sustenance, finding a mate, and other matters of concern in people’s lives, it is much simpler to make declarations like “the economy is bad” or “there is something wrong with me” than to acknowledge the fact that HaShem has set in motion every situation from the time of creation. Thus, people tend to believe that things will just never happen, and when a “miracle” occurs, they attribute this to an unnatural phenomenon. This, then, can be the explanation of the Gemara that states that ones sustenance or finding a mate is as difficult as the splitting of the Sea. When HaShem split the Sea, there was no difficulty involved. Rather, the splitting of the Sea, as the Maharal postulates, was part of the natural order of creation. What is difficult, however, is for people to understand that miracles are part of that natural order. This “difficulty” is based on people’s misconception that most of the time things will not go their way. Were people to realize that every challenge is an opportunity for growth and for becoming closer to HaShem, then these “difficulties” would not be perceived as such. Rather, people would realize that everything is a miracle, because all the opportunities for growth and closeness to HaShem have already been stipulated from the time of creation. In a similar vein, HaShem conditioned from creation that although manna will fall for the Jewish People in the Wilderness for six days of the week, on Shabbos there would be no manna. One may wonder if this would be deemed a miracle. The answer to this question is that based on the words of the Maharal, the fact that the Jewish People received a double portion of manna on the sixth day of the week and manna did not fall on Shabbos is clear evidence that HaShem had stipulated that people would be sustained regardless of manna falling from heaven. Thus, the fact that manna fell from heaven during the week was a miracle, yet the miracle was couched in the natural order of events from creation. In conclusion, the discussion of miracles and nature is merely a matter of perspective. The Gemara (Taanis 25a) states that when the daughter of Rabbi Chanina ben Dosa was concerned about kindling Shabbos candles without oil, her father responded, “the One Who instructed the oil to burn also instructed the vinegar to burn.” While we may perceive vinegar burning as a miracle, for those who are close to HaShem, like Rabbi Chanina Ben Dosa, vinegar and oil burning were one and the same. Hashem gave the Jewish People the Holy Shabbos so that we can see for ourselves that one does not require his sustenance to fall from heaven on Shabbos. Additionally, one will merit a double portion during the week that will sustain him on Shabbos. Thus, HaShem instituted that from the time of creation, Shabbos would function as a day of miracles. When one does not work on Shabbos, he demonstrates that a “miracle” can occur, and this miracle of Shabbos can even occur in the six days of the week as part of the natural order in the world.

Shabbos in the Zemiros

Ribbon kol HaOlamim

Published in 5401 (1641)

Barcheini vashalom visifkod osi vies kol bnei veisi vechol amcha beis Yisroel lechayim tovim ulishalom, bless me with peace, and remember me and my entire household, and Your entire people, Israel, for a good life and for peace. The word visifkod, literally translated as remember , can also mean to redeem, as we find that Yosef told his brothers before his passing (Bereishis 50:24) velokim pakod yifkod eschem, when G-d will indeed remember you, and the Medrash (Pirkei D’Rabbi Eliezer § 47) states that the words pakod yifkod, will indeed remember, were the words that would be used by the redeemer. It is thus appropriate that on Shabbos we beseech HaShem to remember that we have suffered for so long in this bitter exile, and that he should redeem us and bring us Moshiach Tzidkeinu, speedily, in our days.

Shabbos in Tefillah

Hamelech hameromam levado meiaz, the King Who was exalted in solitude from before creation. It is said (Tehillim 93:2) nachon kisacha meiaz meiolam atah, Your throne is established from of old; eternal are You. The Medrash (Shemos Rabbah 23:1) interprets this verse to mean that HaShem’s Throne was not firmly established until the Jewish People sang shirah, praise, at the Sea, and the song began with the word az, then. When we praise HaShem, we are not merely uttering words of flattery and appeasement. We are in essence establishing HaShem’s Kingship in this world. Although HaShem is a king even without man, He is, so to speak, without a crown unless we praise Him. The Baal HaTurim (Devarim 26:15) writes that when we praise HaShem, it is for HaShem’s glory. The crowns that we so to speak bestow upon HaShem with our prayers, Hashem Himself returns those crowns to us. This idea should inspire us to constantly praise Hashem for all the good that He bestows upon us.

Shabbos Story

The father of a not-so-young yeshiva bachur told the following story: Our oldest son was soon going to turn twenty-eight, and he was still single. When we first realized it was not going to come easy, and that our younger children would in-turn suffer from the delay, my wife and I stopped sleeping at night. Every day, we would await “the” phone call, and wonder if, perhaps, today would bring relief. As the years passed, we suffered many disappointments. My entire life had become wrapped up in finding a shidduch for our son. I was nervous and overwrought constantly. I was unable to function as a father for my younger children. One Chanukah night, when my wife had taken the children to visit my mother, I stayed home, too depressed to go along. As I sat there staring at the candles, I slowly felt a tremendous sense of siyata diShemaya flow from the candles and envelop me. “Enough!” I told myself, “This cannot go on.” The following Friday night, after the little ones were asleep, I told my family the following story, which I heard from one of the gedolei hador zt”l: He had once been riding on a bus when he noticed that in the front-passenger seat sat a small boy. On his knees, he held a plastic dashboard that had a steering wheel and a horn attached to it. His gaze was fixed intently on the road ahead. As the bus veered right and left, he turned his steering wheel accordingly. Of course, when the bus stopped, he stepped on “the brakes,” and a small pneumatic psssss escaped his lips. He checked the doors and windows periodically, and honked abrasively when they were cut off. He worked hard the entire trip, much to the amusement of the passengers. “He dreams day and night about becoming a bus driver,” his father explained. “Before I got him the steering wheel, he would drive me crazy, trying to honk my horn, and getting in my way. Now, I sit him next to me, and I tell him: Gadi - start the motor and drive the bus! As you can see, he does a beautiful job, and I can do mine in peace.” “Did you hear that?” the Torah Sage later remarked. “The Almighty runs the whole show: He gives us a steering wheel, turns to us, and tells us: Nu - drive the bus! And we, small-minded children that we are, sweat and struggle to keep the bus on course. We exhaust ourselves from the effort, while ‘upstairs,’ all the passengers are amused. Our livelihood is fixed on Rosh HaShanah, yet we struggle to earn it, and work overtime to earn even more. If we feel someone is getting in our way of earning a living, we yell at him: Get outta my way... What we fail to see is that our Father is really the one driving the bus, and that while we must wave our arms and go through the motions as best we can, we should never forget that we're really just back- seat drivers.” From now on, I told my family, we are going to try to take things in stride. Your mother and I are still going to continue doing everything we possibly can, but I am going to try to keep things in perspective, and not allow stress and obsession to ruin our family. (Remarkably, a few weeks after telling his family this story, and changing his attitude, the right match came along, and his son became a chassan.)

Shabbos in Navi

Yehoshua Chapter 20

In this chapter the Navi records that HaShem instructed Yehoshua to set up the cities of refuge so that one who kills unintentionally will be able to flee to one of these cities and be saved from the avenger of the blood. The weekday is often compared to galus, exile, whereas Shabbos is akin to redemption. We should view the Holy Shabbos as our city of refuge from the perils of the weekday, and HaShem should redeem us, speedily, in our days.

Shabbos in Agadah

In the Shabbos prayers we beseech HaShem with the words sabeinu mituvecha, satisfy us from Your goodness. What does it mean to be satisfied from HaShem’s goodness? If we are satisfied from HaShem’s good, this would imply that we no longer desire good from HaShem, heaven forbid. We have explained previously that the word sava, satisfied, is related to the word sheva, which means seven. The word sheva itself, however, is often interpreted to mean plenty. Perhaps the explanation of our request sabeinu mituvecha is that HaShem bestow sheva, abundance upon us. It is further noteworthy that the word shefa translated as abundance, is similar to sheva, which can also mean abundance.

Shabbos in Halacha

Fully cooked foods can be placed near a flame for reheating. It is permissible for one to immerse fully cooked foods in a kli rishon that is off the flame. [Baked items can only be reheated in a dry kli rishon.]

Shabbos in Numbers and Words

The word Shabbos has a miluy, the fill-in of the word. Shin is shin, yud and nun. The miluy of the letter shin in mispar katan, digit sum is 1+5=6. The miluy of the letter beis is yud and tav, and in mispar katan it is 1+4=5. The miluy of the letter tav is yud and vav, and in mispar katan it is 1+6=7. When we add 6+5+7=18, and 1+8=9, and the word Shabbos in mispar katan equals 9. Thus, Shabbos and all that Shabbos contains symbolize 9, and the word emes, truth, in mispar katan, equals 9.

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Beshalach 5768

is sponsored Lerefuah Sheleima

Ilana Leah Bas Shaindel Rochel bisoch shaar cholei Yisroel

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.

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1 comment:

Avromi said...

I saw from the Maharal that the comparison between sustenance and the splitting of the sea is "tough beginnings." It is incumbent on everyone to initially make an effort. Even though it is decreed on Rosh Hashanah, it is still a struggle.