Friday, February 8, 2008

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Terumah 5768

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Terumah 5768

Shabbos in the Parashah

In this week’s parashah the Torah records the instruction that HaShem gave to Moshe regarding the construction of the Mishkan. The primary vessels in the Mishkan were the Aron (ark) the Shulchan (table) and the Menorah (the candelabra). What was the significance of these vessels? It is noteworthy that in the Friday night zemiros recited in many households, we declare that I have kindled my lamps, spread my bed and changed my clothes in honor of the Shabbos day. It would appear from this declaration that there are three components to the holiness of Shabbos. One aspect of Shabbos is the lighting of candles, the second aspect is having a bed made, and the third aspect is fresh clothing. The lighting of the candles corresponds to the lighting of the Menorah in the Mishkan and in the Bais HaMikdash. The prepared bed corresponds to the Aron, the ark, as it is said (Shir HaShirim 1:13) tzeror hamor dodi li bein shadai yalin, but my Beloved responded with a bundle of myrrh, the fragrant atonement of erecting a Tabernacle where His Presence would dwell between the Holy Arks staves. Thus, we see that the Aron reflects the idea of rest. This is also evidenced by the fact that it is said (Bamidbar 10:35) vayisu meihar HaShem derech sheloshes yamim vaaron bris HaShem noseia lifneihem derech sheloshes yamim lasur lahem menuchah, they journeyed from the Mountain of HaShem a three-day distance, and the Ark of the covenant of HaShem journeyed before them a three-day distance to search out for them a resting place. The idea of changing one clothes corresponds to the Shulchan, where the Lechem HaPanim, the Showbread, was placed. The Lechem HaPanim was placed on the Shulchan every Shabbos and was removed the subsequent Shabbos when new loaves replaced the old ones, and the bread was eaten by the Kohanim. Thus, the Lechem HaPanim reflected renewal and this renewal occurred on Shabbos. Similarly, prior to the onset of Shabbos one should change his clothing, as this external action reflects the transformation that one undergoes internally upon the arrival of Shabbos. HaShem should allow us to sanctify our homes to be akin to the Mishkan, and we should merit the building of the Third Bais HaMikdash, with the arrival of Moshiach Tzidkeinu, speedily, in our days.

Shabbos in the Zemiros

Ribbon kol HaOlamim

Published in 5401 (1641)

Achaleh fanecha hameirim, I beseech Your lustrous face. What does it mean that HaShem’s face is lustrous? Perhaps the idea that we are expressing here is based on the verse that states (Mishlei 27:19) kimayim hapanim lapanim kein leiv haadam liadam, as water reflects a face back to a face, so one’s heart is reflected back to him by another. The commentators write that this verse applies, so to speak, to the love that HaShem has towards the Jewish People. Thus, when we state that we are beseeching HaShem’s lustrous face, we are implying that we desire that HaShem look upon us favorably. This is akin to what is said (Bamidbar 6:25) yaeir HaShem panav eliecha, may HaShem illuminate His countenance for you and be gracious to you. We ask HaShem to illuminate His countenance to us, and this in turn will allow us to be illuminated.

Shabbos in Tefillah

Adon uzeinu, O Master of our power. Why do we refer to HaShem as Master of our power? It is obvious that HaShem controls everything in the world, and even our thoughts are ultimately guided by HaShem. Perhaps we can suggest that the idea being expressed here is that the Gemara (Sukkah 52b) states, “if HaShem were not assisting a person in overcoming the Evil Inclination, the person would not be capable of overcoming it.” Thus, here we declare that HaShem is the Master of our power, i.e. the Evil Inclination, who constantly threatens to overpower us. We must pray to HaShem for Divine Assistance in subduing our Evil Inclination so that we will be able to fulfill HaShem’s will.

Shabbos Story

One day about two-hundred years ago, for reasons unknown, the son of a wealthy, Egyptian magnate disappeared from his lavish abode, leaving behind his father, mother, and two brothers. There was some speculation that he had been kidnapped, but no ransom note was ever delivered. Others were sure he had been murdered, yet his body was never found. Still others thought he felt cramped by his family’s lifestyle, and had gone to seek his own fortune, but he was never sighted by anyone anywhere. The story was popular conversation for many years, but as is often the case, eventually grew old, and was more-or-less forgotten. At least until the father died, leaving behind a substantial inheritance for his remaining sons. It was not long after his death that a youngish man appeared, claiming to be the man’s long-lost son. Of course, he felt he was entitled to his portion of the inheritance. Astonishingly, he was able to answer exceptionally detailed questions about the appearance of his childhood home, his ‘parents’ and ‘siblings’, and his upbringing. Try as they might, they were simply unable to stump him. He claimed to have been wandering for the past thirty years, which he said explained why he no longer looked even remotely similar to what everyone remembered, including his ‘brothers.’ Hearing that his parents had passed away, it was natural that he would come to claim his part of the family riches. Despite his inexplicably intimate knowledge about the minutest details of their family life and history, the other two brothers were adamant in their protestations—this man was not their brother! They offered him a tidy sum of money just to be rid of him, but he stubbornly refused. He was their brother, he said, and he wanted no less than his portion of the inheritance. Eventually, word of their feud reached the Sultan of Egypt. Seeing as they could not reach an agreement, the Sultan himself consented to listen to both side’s claims in his private court, and render judgment. The two brothers and the claimant agreed that the Sultan’s word would be binding and final. “Tell me something,” the Sultan asked, “where were you for thirty years that you never even sent a letter to your parents telling them of your whereabouts?” He was not ill-prepared. He claimed to have been taken captive in India. His captors did not allow him to have any communication with the outside world, and thus it was not possible for him to make contact. For many days, the Sultan tried to get to the bottom of things—to find a hole either in the claim of the brothers, or in the testimony and memories of the ‘long-lost brother.’ In the end, he threw up his arms in frustration, unable to render a ruling. “Most exalted master,” the vice-Sultan chimed in, “far be it from me to intercede, but in the annals of our history, in such circumstances, it has been the way of your predecessors to engage the services of a Jew. The Jews are a wise nation, and have often been instrumental in helping to bring some of the most difficult cases to a satisfactory conclusion.” The Sultan was intrigued. “Which Jew do you suggest I use?” “That’s the strange thing. Protocol says you just send out a clerk to bring the first Jew he finds on the street, no matter who it is. If precedent is to be trusted, he will somehow help the Sultan to render judgment.” “If that’s so,” ordered the Sultan, “go find me a Jew!” Aaron Perdo was a quiet, Jewish, Egyptian goldsmith. For half-a-day he would practice his trade; the rest of his day was spent studying Torah in the local Beis HaMidrash. This morning, he had awoken remembering the strangest dream. In his dream, he found himself in the most spectacular shul, the likes of which he had never seen. It was furnished as richly and as lavishly as a king would a palace. The shul was packed with people, and the Torah was being read. Aaron was called to the Torah, and ascended the bimah. He found the sefer Torah open to parshas Terumah. The chazzan began reading: “Be-tab’os aharon yi’hiyu ha-badim, the sticks must be in the rings of the Ark,” but instead of reading ha-aron/the Ark, the chazzan read aaron, which sounds like the name Aaron. R’ Aaron (Perdo) corrected the chazzan. He read the verse again, but again he read it, Aaron. This was the end of R’ Aaron’s enigmatic dream; he had no idea what it meant. His dream gave him no rest: he thought about his dream during prayer, and was still thinking about it as he arrived at his jeweler’s shop, where an old woman sat impatiently waiting for him to open. Her tattered clothing bespoke poverty—not the type of woman that usually frequented his place. When it became clear she was eyeing the most expensive rings, R’ Aaron felt he had to ask: “The rings you are looking at are very expensive,” he said. “Are you sure you have the money to pay for them?” “I don’t today,” she confessed, “but tomorrow I will. Tomorrow I will become a wealthy woman. Right now, my dear son is in the midst of a very important court case. Tomorrow, he promised me, the case will be decided in his favor. And he said that to celebrate, I can buy myself any ring I want!” R’ Aaron was less than enchanted with her tall tale. He was glad when she finished browsing and left. Soon after, a wealthy man came in the store and asked if R’ Aaron could bring some rings to his home for his wife to choose from. It was on the way to the rich man’s home that R’ Aaron was stopped by the court clerk, and ordered in the name of the Sultan to appear in the Sultan’s palace. As R’ Aaron ascended the polished marble stairs and got his first glimpse of the palace, it hit him: this had been the spectacular building that was the shul in his dream. It was just that in the place where the bimah had been, the Sultan sat on his magnificent throne. In measured words, the Sultan conveyed the main arguments of both sides, and why he was having an impossible time bringing the case to resolution. “So, R’ Aaron—can you solve the mystery?” Though he trembled inside, R’ Aaron knew he could. He turned to the claimed ‘missing son.’ “Tell me—you claim to be the missing son, but isn’t your last name really such-and-such? Isn’t your mother still alive? In fact, I’ll even describe how she looks…” R’ Aaron began describing the pauper woman who had come to his store than morning. His shock at R’ Aaron’s words, and the confidence with which they were spoken, caused the man to collapse on the spot. It was obvious to the Sultan, and to everyone present, that he had just been caught as his ruse. He was dealt with accordingly, after which everyone’s attention turned to R’ Aaron and his brilliant and instantaneous resolution which caught them all so off-guard. How did he know that woman was his mother, they asked? R’ Aaron told them about the dream he had that night. “As soon as you told me about the man’s claims,” he said, “I understood the meaning of the misread verse. Be-tab’os Aaron—in Aaron’s rings, that’s me, yi’hiyu ha- badim—the badim, or liars (badim in Hebrew can mean poles but it can also mean liars) will be found. I thought about the woman who came into my store looking for a ring—a gift from her soon-to-be-rich son, and realized right away who the liar was!” “With a Torah like that,” the Sultan was heard to remark as R’ Aaron too his leave, “it’s no wonder the Jews are so smart!”

Shabbos in Navi

Yehoshua Chapter 23

In this chapter the Navi records that Yehoshua summoned all of the Jewish People and exhorted them to stay true to HaShem and His Torah. Yehoshua warned the people that if tihey would not follow in HaShem’s ways, they would suffer from the nations and ultimately they would be banished from Eretz Yisroel. In a similar vein, the Jewish People must observe the Shabbos, as Shabbos is in time what Eretz Yisroel is in place. Eretz Yisroel is the holiest land in the world, and Shabbos is the holiest day of the week. The Gemara states (Shabbos 118b) states that had the Jewish People only observed the first Shabbos in the Wilderness, no race or nation could have assailed them. Observance of Shabbos ensures that we will not be harmed by the nations.

Shabbos in Agadah

The Shabbos that we bless the New Moon is referred to as Shabbos Mevarchim, the Shabbos of the blessing. Besides the blessing of the New Moon, we can suggest that the Shabbos of the Blessing reflects the statement of the Zohar that Shabbos is the source of blessing for the entire week.

Shabbos in Halacha

For the purpose of halacha the blech is divided up into three areas. One area is directly above the flame, the second area is near the flame where food could become heated to yad soledes bo. The third area is the perimeter of the blech, where food cannot become heated to yad soledes bo. We will see next week that different halachos apply to each of these three areas.

Shabbos in Numbers and Words

There are two words in the Hebrew language that refer to sustenance. One word is mazon and the other word is lechem. Mazon is translated as sustenance, and lechem is translated as bread. It is noteworthy that the word mazon in at bash is yud, ayin, vav, and tes. These letters are 1+7+8+9=25, and 2+5=7. The word lechem in mispar katan, digit sum, is 3+8+4=15, and 1+5=6. This alludes to the idea expressed in the Zohar that Shabbos is the source of blessing and sustenance for the weekday. Thus, mazon represents 7, which is Shabbos, and Shabbos sustains the lechem that one earns during the 6 days of the week. It is also noteworthy that the word lechem in at bash is 20, 60, 10 and the mispar katan of those numbers is 9. The word Shabbos in mispar katan also equals 9, alluding to the idea that the 6 days of the week are sustained by Shabbos.

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Terumah 5768

is sponsored for the Refuah Sheleima of the cholim in our community and elsewhere.

I will be delivering a class in Navi this Friday night

at my home 26100 Marlowe Place in Oak Park.

The class will be 8:45-9:15

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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HaSefaradi said...

Thank you for the great story rav, as well as your usual hard work.

Have a sweet and restful shabbat.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the compliment. Enjoy.