Shabbos in the Parashah
This week’s parashah is Parashas Naso and is followed immediately by the festival of Shavuos. The commentators traditionally link the parashah to the adjoining festival, so we will follow this approach and discuss the parashah and the festival of Shavuos. In Parashas Naso the Torah discusses the law that requires that people who have contracted various impurities must be sent out from the camp. It is said (Bamidbar 5:1-3) vayidabeir HaShem el Moshe leimor tzav es binei Yisroel vishalchu min hamacahaneh kol tazruah vichol zav vichol tamei lanefesh mizachar viad nikeivah tishaleichu el michutz lamachaneh tishalchum vilo yitamu es machaneihem asher ani shochein biscoham, HaShem spoke to Moshe, saying, “Command the Children of Israel that they shall expel from the camp everyone with tzaraas, everyone who has had a zav emission, and everyone contaminated by a human corpse. Male and female alike shall you expel, to the outside of the camp shall you expel them, so that they should not contaminate their camps, among which I dwell.” The Baal HaTurim offers a fascinating insight as to why the Torah juxtaposes the laws of a man who sins to the laws of sending out one who is impure from the camp. It was the sin of Adam HaRishon, the first man, who ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Bad and the Serpent deceived the woman, Chava, and the Serpent spoke evil about man. Subsequently, HaShem punished all three. The Serpent was afflicted with tzaraas, the woman was punished with impurities of zavah, and man was punished with death. Corresponding to these three punishments the Torah enumerates here the three punishments. Tzaraas corresponds to the punishment of the Serpent, zav alludes to the woman’s punishment, and becoming contaminated by a human corpse corresponds to the punishment of death that was decreed upon man. The words ‘male and female alike shall you expel’ alludes to the fact that man, woman, and the Serpent were all expelled from Gan Eden. It is noteworthy that the Ramban here writes that after counting the Jewish People and separating the Erev Rav (the mixed multitudes of converts) from their midst, the Torah concludes with the discussion of sin offerings regarding one who steals from a Jewish convert. Elsewhere (Shemos 19:1) the Ramban writes that it is likely that prior to the Jewish People receiving the Torah, they separated from their midst the Erev Rav, as only the Jewish People received the Torah. What lesson can we derive from the statements of the Ramban? To gain a better insight into the words of the Ramban, we must focus on the preparation that one must engage in prior to the festival of Shavuos. There are no specific mitzvos that one performs on Shavuos. Yet, Shavuos is refereed to as zeman matan Toraseinu, the time of the giving of the Torah. How does one prepare for the giving of the Torah? The Lev Simcha, the Gerrer Rebbe, cites his father, the Imrei Emes, who raises the following question. It is said (Devarim 33:4) Torah tzivah lanu Moshe morashah kehillas Yaakov, the Torah that Moshe commanded us is the heritage of the Congregation of Yaakov. This verse states explicitly that Torah is a heritage to the Jewish People. Yet, the Mishna in Avos (2:17) states vihaskein atzmicho lilmod Torah sheainah yerushah loch, apply to study Torah, for it is not yours by inheritance. The Mishna clearly states that Torah is not a heritage. What is the resolution to these contradictory statements? The Imrei Emes answered that while the study of Torah itself is a heritage, the preparation for Torah is not a heritage. We can suggest that this means that the preparation for Torah is to remove the evil influences from our midst. It is said (Tehillim 34:15) sur miera vaaseih tov bakeish shalom viradfeihu, turn from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it. The Mishna (Avos 6:3) states that the word tov usually alludes to Torah. Thus, we can interpret this verse to mean that one must first turn away from evil and only then can he accept the Torah. Prior to receiving the Torah at Sinai, the Jewish People were required to distance themselves from the Erev Rav, who were deemed to be a bad influence on the people, as is evidenced with the fashioning of the Golden Calf. It was the Erev Rav who instigated the creation of the Golden Calf, which led to dire results fro the Jewish People. Similarly, to maintain the holiness of the camp, those who contracted tzaraas or impurities were required to leave the camp. This law had its precedent in the episode of Adam HaRishon eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Bad, and this act resulted in HaShem banishing him from Gan Eden. HaShem did not want Adam to sully the character of Gan Eden, and for this reason he and Chava were banished forever. Prior to accepting the Torah on Shavuos, every individual must make a reckoning of his surroundings and his actions and to properly prepare for receiving the Torah, one must cleanse himself from all sin and one must distance himself from all evil influences. Similarly, prior to Shabbos one must purify himself and distance himself from the overtures of the evil influences that permeate his life during the weekday. One who properly prepares for Shabbos and Yom Tov will certainly merit Divine Assistance and be able to study Torah in an exalted state of holiness and purity. HaShem should allow us that this Shavuos we all enter the festival properly prepared, and we should merit the arrival of Moshiach Tzidkienu, the descendant of Dovid HaMelech, who was born on Shavuos, speedily, in our days.
Shabbos in the Zemiros
Ribbon kol HaOlamim
Published in 5401 (1641)
Bo eshbos kaasher tzivisani lisharsecho vichein agid gedulascho birinah, on it shall I rest, as You have commanded me, to serve You, and so I shall relate Your greatness with joyous song. One of the most important aspects of Shabbos is singing and praising HaShem. Thus, we declare that we will serve you, and we serve HaShem by relating His greatness with joyous song.
Shabbos in Tefillah
Hamisgaeh al chayos hakodesh, He Who exalts Himself over the holy Chayos. It is noteworthy that the word gaeh, exalted, equals 9 in gematria, and the word emes, truth, in mispar katan, digit sum, equals 9. Thus, we declare that HaShem is exalted above all else as HaShem is the Ultimate Truth in this world.
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky writes: Many years ago, my father told me the following story: Before the turn of the century, Reb Dovid, a talented worker, decided that he had had enough of the shtetl. There was no money to be made, and he decided to travel to
Rabbi Chaim Dovid Green writes: The Maggid of Dubno was famous for answering all questions with a parable. Even when he was asked why he always answered with parables! Here is the answer he gave. “Truth was walking about town but everyone was scared to look at him. Wherever he went, people screamed and ran away because he was completely naked! Along came his friend named Parable who told Truth that if he wanted to be accepted, he would offer him a suit of clothing. That is what happened. Parable gave Truth a suit so people would be more comfortable in his presence.” The Maggid was once asked why there is a need for the two Jewish Holidays of Simchas Torah and Shavuos as they seem to have the same function. Why don't we condense them into one grand
Shabbos in Navi
In this chapter the Navi records how Shimshon burned down the grain fields of the Plishtim and how Shimshon smote one thousand Plishtim with the jawbone of a donkey. Shimshon became thirsty and he cried out to HaShem, and HaShem split open the hollow that was in the jawbone and water came out from it for Shimshon to drink. These miracles demonstrate to us that at times HaShem changes the order of the world for the righteous. Lest we think that we are not deserving of such miracles, HaShem has granted us the Holy Shabbos, which is a miracle in itself. Is it possible that an entire nation rests for a complete day and relies on HaShem to provide their sustenance? This is the greatness of Shabbos, as those who observe the Shabbos properly will be greatly rewarded.
Shabbos in Agadah
In the Book of Rus which we read on Shavuos it is said (3:1) virachatz vasacht visaamt simlosaiich alayich viyaridit hagoren al tivadi laish ad kaloso leechol vilishtos, therefore, bathe and anoint yourself, don your finery, and go down to the threshing floor, but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. The Gemara states that Naomi was telling Rus to don her Shabbos finery in preparation of meeting Boaz. Moshiach is a descendant of Boaz and Rus. In Kabbalas Shabbos we recite the words hisnaaari meiafar kumi livshi bigdei sifarteich ami al yad ben Yishai bais halachmi koravh el nafshi gealah, shake off the dust – arise! Don your splendid clothes, My people, Through the son of Yishai, the Bethlehemite! Draw near to my soul – redeem it! In preparation for Moshiach’s arrival, we must don our Shabbos finery, and then HaShem will deem us deserving of the Ultimate Redemption, speedily, in our days.
Shabbos in Halacha
Regarding adjustable crockpots, one is required to line the entire heating element with aluminum foil. Preferably, one should also cover the knob on the crockpot.
Shabbos in Numbers and Words
The last verse in the Book of Rus states (4:22) viOveid holid es Yishai viYishai holid es Dovid, and Oveid begot Yishai, and Yishai begot Dovid. The Gemara states that were the Jewish People to observe two Shabbosos properly, they would be redeemed immediately. This idea is alluded to in this verse, as the words Yishai viYishai holid (701) equals in gematria the word Shabbos (702), and Moshiach will be a descendant of Dovid HaMelech. HaShem should allow us to merit the redemption immediately.
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