Thursday, January 3, 2008

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Vaera 5768

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Vaera 5768

Shabbos in the Parashah

In this week’s parashah the Torah records the plagues that HaShem inflicted upon the Egyptians. Our tradition is that the Jewish People were not harmed by any of the ten plagues, despite the fact that Scripture indicates otherwise (See Ibn Ezra Shemos 7:24 and Rambam’s commentary to Avos 5:4 and Rabbeinu Yonah Ibid). Yet, the Torah specifically elaborates on this idea regarding the plague of arov, wild animals. It is said (Shemos 8:18) vihfleisi vayom hahu es eretz Goshen asher ami omeid aleha livilti heyos sham arov limaan teida ki ani HaShem bikerev haaretz, and on that day I shall set apart the land of Goshen upon which My people stands, that there shall be no swarm there; so that you will know that I am HaShem in the midst of the land. This verse contains many subtle references to Shabbos and we will mention a few. The most glaring reference to Shabbos in this verse is that the Torah mentions the distinction between the Jewish People and the gentiles, which is one of the fundamentals of the Holy Shabbos. We recite in the Shacharis prayers the words vilo nisato HaShem Elokeinu ligoyei haratzos vilo hinchalto malkeinu liovdei fisilim vigam bimnuchaso lo yishkenu areilim ki liYisroel amchah nisato beahavah lizera Yaakov asher bam bacharta, You did not give it, Hashem, our G-d, to the nations of the lands, nor did you make it the inheritance, our King, of the worshippers of graven idols. And in its contentment the uncircumcised shall not abide. For to Israel, Your people, have you given it in love, to the seed of Yaakov, whom You have chosen. Shabbos is a day of holiness and HaShem bestowed this precious gift solely upon the Jewish People. Further reference to Shabbos in this verse is that it is said so that you will know that I am HaShem in the midst of the land. Regarding Shabbos it is said (Shemos 31:13) viatah dabeir el bnei Yisroel leimor ach es Shabbsosai tishmoru ki os hi beini uveineichem ledorseichem ladaas ki ani mikadishchem, now you speak to the Children of Israel, saying: ‘However, you must observe my Sabbaths, for it is a sign between Me and you for your generations, to know that I am HaShem, Who makes you holy.’ The Sfas Emes writes in numerous instances that the ultimate goal of Shabbos is daas, knowledge, and daas means connection. The Sfas Emes (Vaera 5661) writes that the ultimate purpose of redemption from Egypt was so that the Jewish People would know HaShem. Thus, the function of distinguishing between the Jewish People and the Egyptians was so that the Jewish People would know HaShem, cleave to Him, and be worthy of redemption. Similarly, by preparing for Shabbos properly and observing Shabbos according to the Torah, we merit knowing HaShem and coming close to Him. Subsequently, when the Jewish People observe the Shabbos as a complete unit, we will merit the redemption, speedily, in our days.

Shabbos in the Zemiros

Ribbon kol HaOlamim

Published in 5401 (1641)

Uvruchim heim malachecho hakedoshim vahatehorim sheosim ritzonecho, blessed are Your holy and pure angels who do Your will. There are various interpretations offered to why it is necessary to declare that the angels perform HaShem’s will, when it would seem obvious that the angels cannot do otherwise. Perhaps we can suggest that the idea of an angel performing HaShem’s will is that even when man does not follow in the ways of HaShem, angels are sent out to perform HaShem’s will regardless. Indicative of this idea is the Gemara (Sukkah 53a) that states that Shlomo HaMelech observed that the Angel of Death was depressed. When Shlomo queried as to why he was depressed, the Angel of Death informed Shlomo that the two Cutheans who attend Shlomo were demanded of the Angel of Death by heaven and he was not able to take them. Shlomo had demons transport the two men to Luz, but upon reaching the city of Luz, they died before entering the city. On the following day the Angel of Death was happy, and he informed Shlomo that the very place where the two men were demanded Shlomo had sent them. Thus, we see that even if man attempts to thwart HaShem’s will, He will have His angels carry out His will.

Shabbos in Tefillah

Kulam bichochma asisa, You make them all with wisdom. The Medrash (Devarim Rabbah 5:2) states that Shlomo HaMelech said (Mishlei 6:6) lech el nemalah atzel reeh deracheha vachacham, go to the ant, you sluggard; see its ways and grow wise. The Medrash states that Shlomo HaMelech is exhorting the lazy person to observe the ant, who only survives for a mere six months. The ant’s entire food supply is a piece and a half of wheat, yet it stores whatever it can find from wheat, barely and lentils. The reason for this is because the ant says to itself, ‘maybe HaShem will decree upon me that I will live longer and thus I will have sufficient food to subsist on.’ For this reason, Shlomo encourages us to fortify ourselves with mitzvos in this world so that we will come prepared to the World to Come. It is noteworthy that in this passage, which is taken from a verse in Tehillim (104:24) Dovid HaMelech declares that HaShem fashioned all His works with wisdom. The entire world is filled with wisdom. We only need open our eyes and then we can indulge in this overflow of wisdom that HaShem created. We must learn from the ant, which is not lazy, but diligent, in its hope that HaShem will grant it more life. We too must be diligent in our mitzvah performance and we must hope that HaShem grants us more time to live, so that we can amass more mitzvos that will be to our credit for the World to Come.

Shabbos Story

The story is told that in Radin, the town in which the great sage Rabbi Yisrael Mayer HaKohen (the Chafetz Chaim) lived, a very widespread and hurtful dispute raged for some months between two groups of people, each of them seeking to take charge of the Chevra Kadisha, the burial society. Gossip and slander flew from both sides, and each week in shul the only conversation to be heard was “the latest about the conflict.” One Shabbos the Chafetz Chaim rose after the services, stood near the bima, asked permission to address the congregants, and said, “You all know that generally I do not speak in public. Even if I were given thousands of rubles, I would not speak, because my time is more precious than money, and there is no money in the world worth my wasting time. But I cannot keep silent when week after week I see what is happening to this congregation. I cannot keep silent when I see how this dispute is tearing us apart. I am an old man and I have lived in Radin for many, many years. Over the years I have known many people in this town, people I do not see here today. Do you know why? They are buried in the cemetery. And although most of you are relatively young, every one of you sitting here today knows that at some point in time, whether we wish for it or not, whether we think about it or not, every one of us will be required to give an accounting in the Heavenly Court. Dispute is so terrible, so destructive, that even if our lives were filled with good deeds, dispute can destroy all past merits, can erase years and years of Torah learning and good deeds. Dear brothers, think how we will feel when, standing in front of the Heavenly Court, we will look down from on high at the terrible tragedy brought on our community by this dispute. We will be so disturbed, so embarrassed, that we will search for any means of justifying what we are now doing, but nothing will help, no justification will be found. Some of you will cry out, ‘G-d, why do you blame me? In our town, there lived a Torah scholar by the name of Yisrael Mayer HaKohen, who saw us fighting, and he did not utter a word to stop us.’ That is why I now beg you all, do not mention my name when you are being judged! I have enough problems figuring out how I will endure judgment in the World to Come without worrying that I will have to bear the blame for this terrible dispute as well. Remember, do not blame me for keeping quiet! I am not keeping quiet.” And with that, the elderly sage sat down and cried. When the assemblage saw how disturbed the Chafetz Chaim was by this conflict, they decided to settle it, and indeed, within days, they did so.

Shabbos in Navi

Yehoshua Chapter 18

In this chapter the Navi states that Yehoshua instructed the Jewish People to appoint for themselves three men for each tribe and they would traverse the land and describe it in writing according to their heritage, and that land would be divided into seven portions. The men followed Yehoshua’s instructions, and then Yehoshua cast a lottery for them in Shiloh before HaShem. Yehoshua then apportioned the land for the Jewish People according to their tribes. The Navi then delineates the portion that the tribe of Binyomin received. It is noteworthy that Eretz Yisroel is referred to as eretz shivas haamimim, the land of the seven nations. The nations of the world are symbolized with the number seven and seventy, as there are seventy nation in the world. Yet, the Jewish People are also symbolized by the number seven. In Kabbalah. there are seven lower sefiros aside from the three higher sefiros. Shabbos is the seventh day of the week. Perhaps the idea of dividing up the land in seven portions was to demonstrate that the seven of the Jewish People negates the power of seven that is found amongst the nations. Thus, when we observe the Shabbos, which is the seventh day of the week, we are negating the force of seven that exists amongst the nations.

Shabbos in Agadah

It is well known that one should not cry on Shabbos and one certainly should not cause others to suffer on Shabbos. What is the reason for this? The simple explanation for this is that Shabbos is a day of joy and this special day should not be marred by suffering. Alternatively, we can suggest that since we tend to undergo many trials and tribulations throughout the week, it is only fitting that we have one day a week where we are free from tears and suffering.

Shabbos in Halacha

We learned previously that certain cooked foods can be reheated on Shabbos. These are fully dry cooked foods (even if cooled), and fully cooked liquids that have not cooled completely (i.e. they are still suitable as warm drinks). Even with regard to these foods, however, there are certain restrictions as to how one can reheat them. We will now discuss various methods to reheat these foods, and what is permitted and what is forbidden. We will also discuss the halachos of a blech. Even when one can reheat a cooked food or drink, one cannot place it directly over a flame or a source of heat that is normally used for cooking. This prohibition, referred to as “initially placing on a direct source of heat,” was enacted by the Chachamim because even when the act of cooking does not apply, placing food on a flame resembles cooking and might lead to actual cooking. Thus, one cannot warm up cooked foods on Shabbos on a flame, an electric range, or inside an oven. There are, however, several unconventional methods of heating which do not fall under the prohibition of “initially placing on a direct source of heat” because they do not resemble cooking.

Shabbos in Numbers and Words

The opening words of Kabbalas Shabbos are lechu neranenah laHaShem, Come! Let us sing to HaShem. The first letters of these three words, lamed, nun and lamed, in mispar katan, digit sum, equal 11, and 1+1=2, which reflects Shabbos, when everything is double.

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Vaera 5768

is sponsored is sponsored in loving memory of Meara bas Kalman Tzvi o”h,

Mary Bednarsh ob”m

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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