Thursday, June 12, 2008

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Behaaloscha 5768

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Behaaloscha 5768

Shabbos in the Parashah

In this week’s parashah the Torah records that Moshe requested from his father-in-law, Yisro, that he continue journeying with the Jewish People. It is said (Bamidbar 10:29-33) vayomer Moshe liChovav ben Reuel haMidiani chosen Moshe nosim anachnu el hamakom asher amar HaShem oso etain lachem lecho itanu viheitavnu loch ki HaShem diber tov al Yisroel, vayomer eilav lo eileich ki im el artzi viel moladiti eileich, vayomer al na taazov osanu ki al kein yadata chanoseinu bamidbar vihayisa lanu lieinayim, vihayah ki seileich imanu vihayah hatov hahu asher yeitiv HaShem imanu viheitavnu loch, Moshe said to Chovav son of Reuel, the Midianite, the father-in-law of Moshe, “ we are journeying to the place which HaShem has said, ‘I shall give it to you.’ Go with us and we shall treat you well, for HaShem has spoken of good for Israel.” He said to him, “I shall go; only to my land and my family shall I go.” He said, “Please do not forsake us, inasmuch as you know our encampments in the Wilderness, and you have been as eyes for us. And it shall be that if you come with us, then with the goodness with which HaShem will benefit us, we will do good to you.” Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky raises the following question regarding this dialogue between Moshe and Yisro. Moshe requested that Yisro travel with the Jewish People to the place which HaShem said, “I shall give it to you.” Why did Moshe not tell Yisro that they were traveling to Eretz Canaan or to the land that was flowing with milk and honey? Perhaps we can suggest the following answer. What is it that allows a Jew to ascend on the spiritual ladder and to achieve even more closeness to HaShem? Clearly it is the fact that HaShem has bestowed us with a gift of desire, which makes us want to understand more about HaShem and the world that he created. Moshe was informing Yisro that after his exhausting search for true spirituality, he should accompany the Jewish People to the place that HaShem had said, ‘I shall give it to you.’ The reason for this is because this is the key to spiritual growth. One must recognize that everything in life is a gift, and the actual desire for spiritual growth is a gift. Nonetheless, there are certain things that HaShem chose to be referred to as gifts, and one of those gifts is Eretz Yisroel, the Chosen Land. Another gift that HaShem bestows upon the Jewish People is Shabbos, as the Gemara (Shabbos 10b) states: HaShem said to Moshe, “I have a wonderful gift in my treasure house and Shabbos is its name and I wish to give it to the Jewish People.” We should view Shabbos as a wonderful gift that HaShem bestowed upon us that allows us to increase our desire to know HaShem and to serve him to the best of our abilities.

Shabbos in the Zemiros

Ribbon kol HaOlamim

Published in 5401 (1641)

Vishivisi HaShem likrasi shetirachameini od bigalsui ligaaleini ulioreir libi liahavasecho, I have set HaShem before me that You should further show me mercy in my exile to redeem me and inspire my heart to love. What is the association between setting HaShem before ones self and with HaShem showing us mercy in our exile? The answer to this question is truly a profound idea. It is very easy for one to despair of the exile, as we have been in exile for over two thousand years and no one can predict for certain what tomorrow will bring. Yet, by placing HaShem before ones self, it is much easier to bear the exile, as one knows that HaShem will have mercy on His nation and He will redeem us. The knowledge that HaShem is with us in exile is sufficient to inspire our hearts to love HaShem even more.

Shabbos in Tefillah

Vinehedar bichavod al hamerkavah, and is splendrous in glory above the Chariot. How are we to relate to the fact that HaShem is splendrous in glory above the Chariot? Perhaps the idea is that in truth, HaShem’s glory fills the entire earth. Yet, by declaring that His glory resides above the chariot, we will be forced to honor HaShem even more than usual. This is because the more distant someone is from us, the easier it is for us to respect or disrespect him. With regard to HaShem, so to speak, although we must believe that HaShem is constantly with us in every aspect of our lives, we must respect Him as if He were far away from us.

Shabbos Story

Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky writes: Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski in Not Just Stories tells the legend of Rabbi Moshe of Kobrin, whose disciple, Reb Yitzchok, was in dire straits. Impoverished, he had hardly any food to feed his children, and in addition he had two daughters to wed. Reb Yitzchak's wife pleaded with him to ask the Rebbe of Kobrin for a blessing, but alas, each time Reb Yitzchak crossed the saintly Rebbe's threshold, he forgot about his own necessities. Finally, Reb Yitzchak mustered the courage to ask for a blessing of wealth. Rabbi Moshe promised him the blessing of great wealth, but he made one provision. He gave Reb Yitzchak two gold coins and ordered him to buy the finest food and drink. “However,” added the Rebbe, “your wife and children may not partake in any of this food. Not a morsel. Not under any circumstance. After you use the money,” concluded the Rebbe, “return back here.” The next days were mere torture. As his starving wife and children looked on, Reb Yitzchak only nibbled on the food he had bought. He was sick to his stomach. The fine delicacies had no flavor. He could not bear to see the pain of his starving family while he enjoyed the finest food. The pain added a gall-like flavor to the normally delicious food. Reb Yitzchak pleaded with the Almighty to take his soul so that he would not bear the pain. Reb Yitzchak quickly returned to the Rebbe. “Yitzchak,” said the Rebbe. “I could have blessed you immediately, but are you ready to enjoy the abundance of wealth, while knowing that other Jews do not have? Your recent experience is a lesson for those who have, while others are deprived. Now, Yitzchak, are you ready for wealth?” Reb Yitzchak exclaimed, “Never!” and returned home. Eventually, the blessing rested upon Reb Yitzchak and his wife, but they never forgot the plight of others.

Rabbi Kamenetzky writes further: Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski tells a wonderful story that took place back in Europe. Little Chaim sat in the back row of his cheder. One day the Rebbe, a stern fellow who had little patience with his young charges, called upon him to recite the letters of the Aleph-Bet from a small reader. The teacher took a long stick and pointed to the letter Aleph on the page. “Vos iz Das? (What is this?)” he shouted. Chaim looked him straight in the eye, shrugged his shoulders, and said nothing. Whack! The stick came down solidly on the boy’s hand. “I said, ‘Vos iz Das!’ “screamed the teacher, tapping his stick fiercely on the letter. Again, Chaim jutted out his lower lip and shrugged his shoulders even higher. He spread out his hands, palms up offering his hand as a sacrifice to the dreaded stick, while intoning, ‘I have no idea what that letter is! His offering was duly accepted, and once again, the frustrated teacher brought the stick down on poor Chaim’s hand. After futile attempts to have Chaim pronounce the Aleph, the teacher went to the next student who proceeded to recite the entire Aleph Bet flawlessly. After class, Chaim’s friends surrounded him. “We don’t understand.” They stated in uniform amazement. “Everybody knows the letter Aleph! When the Rebbe pointed to the Aleph, why didn’t you just tell him, ‘It’s an Aleph’?” Chaim smiled. “I’m smarter than that. Of course I knew what the letter was! But I also I knew that the moment I say ‘Aleph,’ our Rabbi would point to the Bet and ask me, ‘what is that?’ Then he’d point to the Gimmel and Dalet! Soon I’d have to recite the entire Aleph-Bet! I’d rather take a few whacks at the beginning and not have to go through the whole ordeal!” [Reprinted with permission from]

Shabbos in Navi

Shoftim Chapter 16

In this chapter the Navi records how Delilah, the wife of Shimshon, was able to convince Shimshon to reveal the source of his strength. After Shimshon revealed to Delilah that the source of his strength was his hair, the Plishtim shaved Shimshon’s head and blinded his eyes. Shimshon was then summoned to amuse the Plishtim at their celebration to their god Dagon, and Shimshon leaned on the pillars of the building and he caused the building to collapse, thus killing himself and thousands of Plishtim along with him. It is noteworthy that when Shimshon revealed his secret to Delilah, it is said that Delilah saw that he had told her all that was in his heart. The Gemara (Sota 9b) states that she knew this because words of truth are discernible. The Mishna (Demai 4:1) states that on Shabbos, even an am haaretz, one who is normally suspect to be lax in tithing, will tell the truth. The reason for this is because the fear of Shabbos is upon him. We should merit being so aware of the holiness and awe of Shabbos that we should recognize the truth that HaShem is our King and that He will bring the Ultimate Redemption, speedily, in our days.

Shabbos in Agadah

It is said (Shemos 16:15) vayiru vinei Yisroel vayomru ish el achiv man hu ki lo yadu mah hu, the Children of Israel saw and said to one another, “It is food!” – for they did not know what it was. Further on it is said (Ibid verse 30) vayikriu veis Yisroel es shimo man, the House of Israel called it manna. The Sar Shalom from Belz wonders as to why the Torah states a second time that they referred to it as manna. He answers that initially the Jewish People referred to it as manna because they did not know what it was. Once Shabbos passed, however, and they were infused with the light of Shabbos, the Jewish People merited a higher spiritual level and they were able to refer to the manna on the level of sod, which is defined as the secrets of the Torah.

Shabbos in Halacha

The only way one is permitted to leave uncooked food inside an ignited oven is by using an oven insert (i.e. a metal box, inserted in the oven, in which the food is cooked). It is also preferable that the knobs be covered.

Shabbos in Numbers and Words

In the Friday evening prayer we recite the words atah kidashta es yom hashevii lishmecho tachlis maaseh shamayim vaaretz, You sanctified the seventh day for Your Name’s sake, the conclusion of the creation of heaven and earth. It is noteworthy that the word tachlis contains the letters taf, taf, and yud, which in mispar katan, digit sum, equals 9, and Shabbos in mispar katan also equals 9. The remaining letters of the word tachlis are kof and lamed, which spell the word kol, meaning everything. Thus, Shabbos is the climax of creation and all the blessings of the week are contained within Shabbos.

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Behaaloscha 5768

Is sponsored as a zechus lirifuah shileima Yosef Chaim Avinoam Ben Alexandra Bruria

Bisoch shaar cholei Yisroel.

Shabbos hi milizok urefuah kirovah lavo.

I will be giving a class in Navi Shabbos afternoon

At Congregation Dovid Ben Nuchim-Aish Kodesh

14800 West Lincoln, in Oak Park, ½ an hour before Minchah.

Have a wonderful and delightful Shabbos

Prepared by Rabbi Binyomin Adler.

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