Shabbos in the Parashah
In this week’s parashah the Torah records the rebellion that Korach staged against Moshe. Every year we are confounded by the audacity of Korach and his entourage as they attempt to persuade the Jewish People that Korach is the correct person for the job, i.e. leading the Jewish People and Moshe and Aharon should step down. One may be led to draw a parallel of this scenario to the current Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, where there have been suggestions in the past that the Arab people could actually govern themselves without requiring any assistance from the Israeli government. Anyone who is logical would realize that this situation would be untenable and the civilized land would instantly be transformed to chaos and anarchy. Similarly, had Korach assumed the leadership position, it is possible that he would have undermined the basic tenets of the Torah and lead the entire nation towards apostasy. How, then, can we understand what Korach had intended and what the Jewish People were hoping to gain from this revolt? It is well-known that any person who is mentioned in Scripture was of a high spiritual level. This is despite the appearance of an apparently glaring deficiency that this person may have had in his character. Regarding Korach Rashi quotes the Medrash that states that Korach was a piekeiach, literally translated as a smart person. The word piekeiach, however, has another meaning, as we recite in the morning blessings that HaShem is pokeiach ivrim, He opens the eyes of those who cannot see. Thus, Korach had far-reaching vision, to the point where he saw in a vision that the great prophet Shmuel would be one of his descendants, and this led Korach to believe that this greatness should descend from him. It is noteworthy that at Sinai, it is said (Shemos 20:15) vichol haam roim es hakolos vies halapidim vies hahar ashein vayar haam vayanuu vayaamdu meirachok, the entire people saw the thunder and the flames, the sound of the shofar and the smoking mountain; the people saw and trembled and stood from afar. The Jewish People all saw sounds, which is ordinarily impossible for a human being to perceive. Korach claimed that the entire nation is holy, and as Rashi comments, Korach declared that the entire Jewish People had heard the commandments at Sinai. Yet, Korach, by pursuing his dreams of grandeur, demonstrated that his perception of holy matters had become distorted. At the end of last week’s parashah, Shelach, it is said (Bamidbar 15:39) vihayah lachem litzitzis urisem oso uzchartem es kol mitzvos HaShem vaasisem osam vilo sasuru acharei livavchem viacharei eineichem asher atem zonim achareihem, it shall constitute tzitzis for you, that you may see it and remember all the commandments of HaShem and perform them; and not explore after your heart and after your eyes which you stray. The Medrash states that the color of techeiles, blue-dyed wool that is used on the tzitzis, is similar in color to the sea. The Sea is akin to the firmament, and the firmament is similar to the Heavenly Throne. Thus, by gazing at the tzitzis, or more specifically, at the significance of the mitzvah of tzitzis, one can reach a level where he is aware of HaShem’s Presence in his life. The Medrash (Bamidbar Rabbah 18:3) states that the juxtaposition of the parashah of tzitzis to the parashah of Korach is that Korach scorned the mitzvah of tzitzis. Korach accomplished this when he and two hundred and fifty men from his entourage donned clothing that was comprised completely of techeiles and approached Moshe. They asked Moshe, “do these garments require that tzitzis be hung on them?” Moshe responded in the affirmative, whereby Korach mockingly declared, “if a garment that is completely comprised of techeiles is required to have tzitzis, can four strings absolve one's obligation of tzitzis?’ Here again is an example of how Korach’s perception was distorted. Instead of utilizing techeiles as an opportunity to be cognizant of HaShem’s Presence in his life, Korach chose to scorn HaShem and His Torah. Thus, Korach wished to prove to the Jewish People that everything was a matter of perspective. This is similar to the claims that we hear in our times that the Torah is Heaven forbid, open to interpretation. Nothing could be further from the truth. HaShem gave us the Torah and the mitzvos contained within as a vehicle to come closer to Him and not as a pretense to scorn Him and the Torah. Similarly, HaShem bestowed upon His Chosen Nation His Holy Shabbos, a day when we can perceive far more than we are capable of perceiving during the week. It is said (Shemos 16:29) riu ki HaShem nasan lachem haShabbos al kein hu nosein lachem bayom hashishi lechem yomayim shevu ish tachtav al yeitzei ish mimekomo bayom hashevii, see that HaShem has given you the Shabbos; that is why He gives you on the sixth day a two-day portion of bread. Let every man remain in his place; let no man leave his place on the seventh day. The Medrash (Medrash Tehillim §92) states that Shlomo HaMelech contemplated all seven days of the week and he was able to find fault with the creation of six days but he could not find fault with the Shabbos, as it is a day of complete holiness and rest. Nonetheless, one who violates the Shabbos is punished with death, so even regarding Shabbos, Shlomo HaMelech declared that it is haveil havalim, futility of futilities (Koheles 1:2). This teaches us that we must have the correct perspective of everything holy, and when we observe the Shabbos properly, HaShem will reward us beyond our expectations.
Shabbos in the Zemiros
Ribbon kol HaOlamim
Published in 5401 (1641)
Malachei hashalom boachem lishalom barchuni lishalom viimru baruch lishulchnai hearuch vitzeischem lishalom meiatah viad olam amen selah, O, Angels of peace, come in peace. Bless us in peace. Pronounce ‘Blessed’ upon my prepared table. Take leave in peace, now and forever. Amen. Selah. This passage appears to be an elaborated version of shalom aleichem, where we greet the ministering angels, request their blessing and then bid them farewell. The Gemara (Brachos 64a) states that when one departs from his friend, he should not use the words leich bishalom, go in peace. Rather, one should bid his friend farewell with the words leich lishalom, go to peace. One must wonder, however, why we greet the angels with the word lishalom and we bid them farewell with the word lishalom, to peace. Perhaps the answer to this question is that the Mishna (Avos 4:11) states that when one performs a mitzvah, he creates an angel who is an advocate on his behalf. We therefore address the angels with the words leich lishalom, go to peace, as these words imply that one is ascending higher, and it is our hope that the angels that we have created through our mitzvos will advocate on our behalf and allow us to ascend the spiritual ladder.
Shabbos in Tefillah
Chesed virachamaim malei chevodo, kindness and mercy fill His glory. The glory of HaShem, according to our perception, is when we emulate His ways. Thus, when we act with kindness and mercy to others, we are, so to speak, filling HaShem’s glory.
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky writes: In the mid 1800’s, Rabbi Avraham Shmuel of Aishishok served as the Rav of the town of
Shabbos in Navi
In this chapter we learn how the tribe of Dan conquered the city of
Shabbos in Agadah
It is said regarding the mitzvah of tzitzis (Bamidbar 15:40) limaan tizkiru vaasisem es kol mitzvosai vihiyisem kedoshim lElokeichem, so that you may remember and perform all My commandments and be holy to your G-d. The Gerrer Rebbe, the Pinei Menachem (Parashas Shelach page 95) cites Targum Yonasan who renders the words ‘and be holy’ to mean that one should be akin to the ministering angels who serve HaShem upon high. The Pinei Menachem cites his holy brother, the Lev Simcha, who quotes Rashi who writes that the ministering angels also wear tzitzis. The Pinei Menachem suggests that this can mean that the righteous who wear tzitzis are spiritually elevated, as we find regarding Rabbi Yehudah bar Illai, of whom the Gemara (Shabbos 25b) states that prior to the onset of Shabbos, he would wash himself and then he would warp himself and wear garments of linen with tzitzis attached. He would then take on the appearance of a ministering angel. This was specifically on Erev Shabbos, a time of holiness for Torah scholars. Furthermore, Rabbi Yehudah bar Illai accepted upon himself the holiness of Shabbos. and one is also required to wear tzitzis on Shabbos.
Shabbos in Halacha
We have previously mentioned that there is a question regarding the definition of ‘the food of Ben Drusoai.’ Some Poskim rule that food is deemed to be edible when it is one-third cooked. Accordingly, food that is one third cooked prior to the onset of Shabbos (i.e. it has been heated past yad soledes bo for one-third of it usual cooking time) can be maintained on a flame without a blech. Other Poskim, however, maintain that only half-cooked food is deemed to be edible and a blech is required unless the food had been half-cooked prior to the onset of Shabbos (i.e. heated for half its cooking time). Following the more stringent opinion, one must use a blech unless the food is half-cooked prior to onset of Shabbos. In a case of necessity, such as if no blech is available, one can maintain the food on a flame if the food is at least one-third cooked prior to the onset of Shabbos. This is the basic requirement of the Halacha. Nonetheless, it is proper to always use a belch and to ensure that all food is completely cooked prior to the onset of Shabbos.
Shabbos in Numbers and Words
The Zohar (Korach) states that Korach disputed the concept of Shabbos. It is noteworthy that Korach said (Bamidbar 16:3) ki chol haeidah kulam kedoshim, for the entire assembly – all of them – are holy. The words ki chol haeidah kulam kedoshim equal in gematria the word HaShabbos.
Is sponsored by Marc and Sheila Meissner and family in honor of the Bar Mitzvah of their dear son Binyomin Yitzchok. May they see much nachas from Binyomin Yitzchok and from all their children.
Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Korach 5767
is sponsored by Dr. Jeffrey Eisman, Yonah Lev ben Dovid in loving memory of his mother Chava bat Yonah Lev ob”m niftarah June 7, 1983, 26 Sivan 5743. Mrs. Eisman instilled the fundamental tenets of Jewish faith in her children, allowing them to continue in the paths of their illustrious forebears and fulfilling the will of HaShem. May her memory be a blessing for her family and for all of the Jewish People.
Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Korach 5767
is sponsored by Jerry and Claire
at Congregation Dovid Ben Nuchim-Aish Kodesh,
14800 West Lincoln, in
Have a wonderful and delightful Shabbos
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