Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Masei 5768

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Masei 5768

Shabbos in the Parashah

The Gemara (Megillah 5b) states that when Tisha Baav once occurred on Shabbos, Rebbe sought to uproot the day of mourning, declaring that once Tisha Baav is deferred, it is deferred. The Chachamim, however, did not agree with Rebbe. The Koshnitzer Maggid (Parshas Masei) cites the Chozeh from Lublin who said that the explanation of this Gemara is that Rebbe desired to uproot entirely the distressed of Tisha Baav and subsequently to reveal the End of Days as Tisha Baav had occurred on the Holy Day of Shabbos. This is what Rebbe meant when he declared hoil viidchi idchi, once it has been deferred, it has been deferred. Yet, the Chachamim did not agree with Rebbe because one is prohibited from forcing the redemption to occur. The Koshnitzer Maggid, in a novel interpretation, suggests that the Gemara means that Rebbe sought to make Tisha Baav ikar, i.e. the essence, and to reveal the greatness of HaShem’s Kingship. Thus, although we are distressed because of the destruction of the Bais HaMikdash, we are strengthened and gladdened in the Holy Shabbos. Furthermore, we are certain that HaShem will have compassion on us and gather in the exiles speedily in our days. HaShem has more joy on the day that Tisha Baav occurs on Shabbos than He does, so to speak, on the days when we rejoice because of the obvious good inherent within them. Thus, it was this essence and pleasure that Rebbe felt that he would be able to uproot entirely the day of Tisha Baav and to reveal the end of days. Nonetheless, the Chachamim did not agree with Rebbe. Based on the words of the Koshnitzer Maggid, we can explain a well-known verse that states (Tehillim 137:5-6) im eshkocheich Yerushalayim tishkach yemini tidbak lishoni lichiki im lo ezkireichi im lo aaleh es Yerushalayim al rosh simchasi, if I forget you O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill. Let me tongue adhere to my palate, if I fail to recall you, if I fail to elevate Jerusalem above my foremost joy. We compare Yerushalayim to our right hand, which cannot be forgotten. Regarding Shabbos it is said (Shemos 20:8) zachor es yom haShabbos likadisho, remember the Shabbos day to sanctify it. We are required by the Torah to remember the Shabbos throughout the week. Shabbos is the essence of our lives. It is noteworthy that in Lecho Dodi we recite the words mikdash melech ir meluchah kumi tzii mitoch hahafeicha rav lach sheves bieimek habacha vihu yachmol alayich chemlah, O Sanctuary of the King, royal City - Arise and depart from amid the upheaval, Too long have you dwelled in the valley of weeping. He will shower compassion upon you. It is clear that we are comparing the arrival of Shabbos to the anticipated arrival of the Redemption. The Gemara (Shabbos 118b) states that were the Jewish People to observe two Shabbosos properly, they would be redeemed immediately. HaShem should allow us to recognize the essence of Shabbos in our lives and we will merit that the day of Tisha Baav will be uprooted forever and be transformed into a day of joy with the arrival of Moshiach Tzidkienu, speedily, in our days.

Shabbos in the Zemiros

Askinu Seudasa

Composed by the Arizal, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria

Nezamin la hashta bifsora chadata uvimnarta tavta dinahara al reishin, let us now invite the Shechinah with a newly-laid table And with a well-lit menorah that casts light on all heads. What does it mean that well-lit menorah casts lights on all heads? Perhaps the idea is that during the week we tend to be cloaked in darkness, as we are not prepared to bask in the Divine Presence. On Shabbos, however, when we have purified ourselves in preparation for this Holy Day, the well-lit menorah can cast light on our heads, as the splendor of Shabbos illuminates our beings.

Shabbos in Tefillah

Simicheim bitzeisam visasim bivoam osim bieimah ritzon konam, glad as they go forth and exultant as they return, they do with awe their Creator’s will. Why do we say that the heavenly bodies are glad as they go out and exultant as they return? The Malbim (Yeshaya 35:1) writes that Simcha is an internal joy and Sasson is the external manifestation of that joy. Thus, we can suggest that here we are declaring that the heavenly bodies go forth in a state of “internal” joy and when they return, their “joy” is externally reflected as they have accomplished their mission.

Shabbos Story

Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky writes: The story is told about the Toldos Aharon Rebbe. He was sitting at his table with one of his Chasidim. After a very long while, the sexton brought a bowl of beautiful fruit to the table. It was quite appealing and the Rebbe noticed the sparkle in the eye of the hungry patron. The Rebbe invited his disciple to make a blessing over the shiny crimson apple. The guest declared that such a beautiful fruit was worthy of a beautiful blessing and he resolved to make a blessing with all his heart one truly befitting this marvelous creation. The student stood up, held the apple in both his hands, and spent a few minutes contemplating the delicious fruit that Hashem had created. His eyes sparkled in anticipation, which enthused him even more. Carefully he annunciated every word of the blessing. Swaying back and forth he began, “Boruch Atah, Blessed art Thou . . . “ After what must have been the most eloquent blessing the man ever recited, he bit excitedly into the delicious fruit, and after swallowing, he once again praised the beautiful taste and appearance. The man seemed to revel in his act of spirituality, and the Rebbe knew he had to explain something to him. “You made a beautiful bracha my dear disciple,” he began. “Now I will teach you the difference between your blessing and the blessing of a complete tzaddik.” “You saw the fruit. You wanted to eat it. But alas, one is not allowed to eat a fruit without a blessing over it. And so you made a most beautiful blessing. It is truly commendable. A complete tzaddik, however, does not have his mind set on fruit. He wants to bless Hashem for his beautiful handiwork. But alas, one is not allowed to make that blessing without partaking in the pleasure of His handiwork. And so he looks for a fruit. When he finds the fruit, he is now ready to make the blessing he had long waited to make.” [Reprinted with permission from torah.org]

The Admor Rav Avraham Yehoshua Heshel of Kopichnitz, zt”l was a peer of many of the Gedolim of the past century. He was close with Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt”l, who lived in his neighborhood - the lower East Side. He also became close with Reb Yosef Shlomo Kahanamen when he traveled to America to raise funds for his Torah institutions in Eretz Yisrael. This friendship eventually resulted in Rav Kahanamen matching up Rav Avraham Yehoshua Heshel’s granddaughter with the son of Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt”l. When the Admor of Kopichnitz arrived in Eretz Yisrael to attend the wedding, he met Rav Shlomo Zalman for the first time, and developed a warm connection with him. After the wedding, when he was ready to return to America, the Admor went to Rav Shlomo Zalman to bid him farewell. When they heard a honk from outside, Rav Shlomo Zalman accompanied the Admor to the street. However, it turned out that it wasn't the car which was taking the Admor to the airport. Meanwhile, Rav Shlomo Zalman sent someone to bring a chair for the Admor, and urged him to sit. However, the Admor refused to sit down. The Admor explained, “When I was young I once heard a wonderful yesod from my father, my teacher, the Admor Reb Yitzchak Meir of Kopichnitz. Before you take any action, imagine that a photographer is standing opposite you, and photographing your every move. Take out the pictures and examine them. If you’re satisfied with your appearance- you can carry out what you intended. If not -refrain!” “I carried out this cheshbon, and said to myself, ‘How will I be able to look at a picture of myself sitting, with Rav Shlomo Zalman standing next to me!” (Chaim Sheyash Bahem) [Reprinted with permission from revach.net]

Shabbos in Navi

Shmuel I Chapter 2

In this chapter we learn about the tragic punishment that HaShem imposed on Eli and his descendants who would all die young because of the misdeeds of Chafni and Pinchas, the two sons of Eli. It is mind-boggling that there could be Kohanim serving in the Mishkan and acting in such a sinful manner. Yet, were we to contemplate our own actions, we may discover that we are also guilty of such behavior. Every week we invite the Holy Shabbos into our homes, and we are required to respect the Shabbos with appropriate behavior. Yet, there are times when we will speak about matters on Shabbos that are forbidden or certainly not becoming of the spirit of Shabbos. Some people may even read literature on Shabbos that is forbidden on Shabbos and even forbidden during the week (See Orach Chaim 307:16). We have to realize that our homes are a bastion of holiness, and Shabbos is a time when we can enhance the holiness in our lives.

Shabbos in Agadah

The Gemara (Shabbos 119b) enumerates many reasons for the destruction of the Bais HaMikdash. One statement the Gemara makes is that Yerushalayim was destroyed because they desecrated the Shabbos, as it is said (Yechezkel 22:26) umiShabbsosai helimu eineihem vaeichal bisocham, they hid their eyes from My Shabbosos, and I became profaned among them. How does one hide his eyes from Shabbos? We always refer to the aura of Shabbos as the light of Shabbos. Thus, one who does not respect the Shabbos is in a sense hiding his eyes from the light of Shabbos. The way to rectify this sin is to open our eyes and allow the great light of Shabbos to permeate our homes. In the merit of allowing the light of Shabbos into our homes, we should merit the rebuilding of Yerushalayim and the Bais HaMikdash, with the arrival of Moshiach Tzidkienu, speedily, in our days.

Shabbos in Halacha

Very often the need arises on Shabbos to remove a pot that is on a belch for the purpose of taking out food, and then afterward to replace the pot on the blech. On occasion it is also necessary to transfer hot food from one blech to another, i.e. taking the food to a different house within the eruv. These actions, referred to as chazarah, returning, resemble cooking and are thus only allowed under strict conditions.

Shabbos in Numbers and Words

In the past we have written that it is said regarding Shabbos (Shemos 31:16) vishamru vinei Yisroel es haShabbos laasos es haShabbos ledorosam bris olam, the Children of Israel shall observe the Shabbos, to make the Shabbos an eternal covenant for their generations. The first letters of the words laasos es HaShabbos equal in mispar katan, digit sum, 9, and the word Shabbos in mispar katan also equals 9. It is further noteworthy that that the first letters of the words vishamru vinei Yisroel in mispar katan equal 9. Additionally, the first letters of the words vinei Yisroel es haShabbos in mispar katan equal 9. The first letters of the words es haShabbos ledorosam in mispar katan also equal 9. Lastly, the first letters of the words bris olam in mispar katan also equal 9.

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Masei 5768

Is sponsored lizchus Refuah shileima

Alta Sara Frayda bas Ruchama Aidel Royza Shoshana

And for the continued Hatzlacha of Gesher HaTorah Day School,

A school for special needs in Chicago, Illinois

I will be giving a class in Navi Shabbos afternoon

at Congregation Dovid Ben Nuchim-Aish Kodesh,

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

Have a wonderful and delightful Shabbos

Prepared by Rabbi Binyomin Adler.

For sponsorships please call 248-506-0363.

To subscribe weekly by email, please send email to ShabbosTaamHachaim@gmail.com

View Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim and other Divrei Torah on www.doreishtov.blogspot.com

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Matos 5768

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Matos 5768

Shabbos in the Parashah

In this weeks parashah we learn about the request of the tribes of Reuven and Gad for a portion of land on the east side of the Jordan River. It is said (Bamidbar 32:1) umikneh rav hayah livnei Reuven vilivnei Gad atzum meod vayiru es eretz Yaazer vies eretz Gilead vihinei hamakom makom mikneh, the children of Reuven and the children of Gad had abundant livestock – very great. They saw the land of Yaazer and the land of Gilead, and behold! – the place was a place for livestock. The Torah continues to record how these two tribes requested from Moshe that they recite this land and in this manner they would not have to settle in Eretz Canaan, on the west side of the Jordan River. One who reads this passage in the Torah should be confounded at what appears to be the audaciousness of these two tribes. The Jewish People, after sojourning in Eretz Yisroel for forty years, were finally ready to enter into Eretz Yisroel. At this critical juncture in Jewish history, the tribes of Reuven and Gad seemed to have taken a left turn and abandoned the ideal of living in Eretz Yisroel. Moshe chastises the two tribes for appearing to abandon the Jewish People, similar to what the spies did thirty-nine years earlier. The two tribes therefore agreed to build pens for their flock and cities for their small children. They would then assist the Jewish People in battle until the nation had settled on the west side of the Jordan, and the two tribes would take their inheritance on the east side of the Jordan. I have always been troubled by this response. Moshe was concerned that were the two tribes to inherit on the east side of the Jordan, this would cause the Jewish People to become disheartened as they did when the spies brought back a slanderous report regarding the Land. How, then, did the tribes of Reuven and Gad alleviate Moshe’s concern? Although the answer to this question may be obvious, there is an important lesson to be gained from the response of the tribes of Reuven and Gad. They told Moshe that they would not return to their homes until the Jewish People inherited their inheritance. They would send every armed person to do battle and only then would they feel comfortable enough to settle on the east side of the Jordan River. Thus, in essence the tribes of Reuven and Gad were willing to sacrifice their own lives for the sake of the Jewish People inheriting the Land. The two tribes were demonstrating to Moshe that he did not have to be concerned that the Jewish People would become disheartened because of the fact that the two tribes would be settling on the east side of the Jordan River. In fact, by willing to fight on behalf of the Jewish People, they were demonstrating that they were willing to sacrifice their very lives so that the Jewish People would settle on the west side of the Jordan River. This idea can be applied to our observance of Shabbos. It is easy for a person to keep occupied during the week and then enter into Shabbos and cease from working. The preferred approach, however, is that one prepare himself during the week with the understanding that in this manner he will see blessing during the week. One must in a sense sacrifice his mode of casualness for the sanctity of Shabbos. When one sacrifices for Shabbos, he can be assured that he will inherit a boundless heritage, which will be the day that is completely Shabbos, and a rest day for eternal life.

Shabbos in the Zemiros

Askinu Seudasa

Composed by the Arizal, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria

Azamer bishevachin limeial go pischin divachakal tapuchin diinun kadishin, I will cut away the accusers with praises, bringing them up through the portals that are in the Apple Orchard, for they are holy. What is the association between the word zemer, singing, and zemor, cutting away? It would seem that when one offers praise to HaShem, he is removing all the evil forces that threaten to dishearten a person in his service of HaShem.

The Gemara (Sanhedrin 92b) states that Nevuchadnezzar was singing the praises of HaShem and he almost reached a point where he would have put Dovid HaMelech’s praises to shame. An angel then came and struck Nevuchadnezzar on his mouth, thus preventing him from continuing to sing Hashem’s praises. Perhaps the explanation of this Gemara is that elsewhere (Ibid 96b) the Gemara states that HaShem was prepared to accept the conversion of the descendants of Nevuchadnezzar, and the ministering angels rejected the request. The angels declared, “Master of the World! Will you allow the one who destroyed Your Bais HaMikdash to enter under the wings of the Divine Presence?” Thus, we see that one who causes destruction in an area of sanctity is not permitted to come close to HaShem and subsequently to sing HaShem’s praises. Dovid HaMelech greatly desired to build the Bais HaMikdash, so his praises were accepted by HaShem. Nevuchadnezzar, on the other hand, destroyed the Bais HaMikdash, and he was not allowed to praise HaShem. Thus, the association between zemer, song, and zemor, cutting away, reflects the concept of davar vihipucho, a matter and it’s opposite. One who cuts away at matters of sanctity cannot praise HaShem, whereas one who strives to lead a life of sanctity and seeks the building of the Bais HaMikdash merits praising HaShem for eternity.

Shabbos in Tefillah

Mileiim ziv umifikim nogah naeh zivam bichol haolam, filled with luster and radiating brightness, their luster is beautiful throughout the world. Yaakov Avinu is referred to as the shemesh, the sun. Perhaps this passage alludes to this idea. It is said (Bereishis 28:10) Vayeitzei Yaakov miBeer Sheva vayeilech Charanah, Yaakov departed from Beer-sheva and went toward Charan. Rashi (Ibid) writes that the reason why the Torah states that Yaakov left Beer-sheva is to teach us that as long as the righteous person is in the city, he is its glory, splendor, and majesty. When the righteous person departs from the city, these virtues are lost. Thus we see that Yaakov is refereed to as ziv, the shine of the city. It is therefore appropriate that here we describe the sun, i.e. Yaakov, as filled with luster and radiating brightness.

Shabbos Story

Rav Eliezer Gordon was born in 5601/1841 in the Lithuanian village of Chernian. His father, Rav Avraham Shmuel Gordon, had studied under Rav Chaim of Volozhin. Although Rav Avraham earned his living as a brandy maker, he spent every moment of his spare time studying Torah. Rav Chaim, who held him in high esteem, would often tell his students that although Rav Avraham looked like a simple tradesman, he was actually an outstanding talmid chacham. Since there was no mohel in Chernian, Rav Avraham Shmuel took his newborn son by sleigh to the nearby town of Svir for his bris. On the way, the sleigh suddenly slipped, and the infant fell out. The family, however, only realized what had happened once they had traveled quite a distance. Turning back, they began to search for the baby, finding him hours later at the outskirts of the forest between Chernian and Svir. They panicked when they saw a wolf standing beside him. But upon closer inspection, they realized the wolf hadn't harmed him; rather, it was guarding him. Obviously, the wolf had been sent by Shamayim to protect the baby, who soon had his bris and was named Eliezer.

During a condolence visit to Rabbi Berel Wein, a distinguished member of the Ohr Somayach faculty, who was sitting shiva for his late father, o.b.m., this noted Torah scholar and historian told a story of a visit his father made back in 1930 to the leader of Lithuanian Jewry, Rabbi Chaim Ozer Grodzensky. The head of the yeshiva he was studying at in Grodna, Rabbi Shimon Shkop, had sent him to solicit financial assistance from the Yeshiva Fund in order to save the yeshiva students from starvation. One story about Rabbi Chaim Ozer led to another. Rabbi Wein once asked a high-ranking official in the Israeli Ministry of Education how it was that a pronounced secularist like him was so helpful to Torah institutions. His response was a recollection of something that took place half a century before. At that time he was head of the Jewish socialist organization in the University of Vilna. One day he received a surprise visit from a messenger who informed him that Rabbi Chaim Ozer wished to see him. When he arrived he was warmly greeted by the rabbi who invited him to join him in some cake and tea. I will make the beracha, he said to his secular guest, and all you have to do is say Amen. He then got to the point. Pesach is drawing near and there are many hundreds of Jewish students in the university who will not be at a Pesach Seder. If I make a Seder for these irreligious students hardly anyone will come. But if you, as head of the socialists make one, you will get a big crowd. I will supply you with all the money you need to see that everyone who wishes to be at the Seder will have matzah and maror and four cups of wine. There were a thousand students at that Seder, the official concluded his story, so now you know that the money I am channeling to yeshiva is really coming from Rabbi Chaim Ozer.

Shabbos in Navi

Shmuel I Chapter 1

In this chapter we learn about a man named Elkanah from the tribe of Levi who had two wives, Chanah and Peninah. Peninah was blessed with children, whereas Chanah did not have children. Peninah caused Chanah much anguish over the fact that she did not have children. Elkanah and his family would ascend yearly to the Mishkan in Shiloh, and after one such pilgrimage, Chanah prayed to HaShem, begging Him to give her a child. Eli the Kohen assumed she was drunk, whereupon Chanah informed Eli that she was not drunk. Rather, she was a woman of aggrieved spirit and she had poured out her soul before HaShem. Eli blessed her to have a child and Chanah gave birth to Shmuel. The Medrash (Medrash Shmuel 1) states that Elkanah would take a different route up to Shiloh every year, in order to encourage the Jewish People to make the pilgrimage on the Three Festivals. This idea is a lesson for us regarding our preparations for Shabbos. One should always seek out new methods of preparation for Shabbos so that the observance of Shabbos does not become habitual.

Shabbos in Agadah

The Sfas Emes (Yisro 5638) writes that by remembering the Shabbos, one adds sanctity to the Shabbos. The root of Shabbos is in a very high place. Nonetheless, the Jewish People guard themselves during the week from any contamination and evil so that they will be prepared to accept the Shabbos in a state of purity. In this manner we can draw the root of holiness to Shabbos in this world.

Shabbos in Halacha

In summary, it is proper and advisable that all foods be completely cooked prior to the onset of Shabbos, and one should maintain the food only on a flame that is covered by a blech. Nonetheless, the absolute requirement of the Halacha is that one use a blech for foods that are less than half cooked (in case of necessity: one-third cooked), and for liquids that are below 160ยบ F at the onset of Shabbos. A piece of raw meat can be placed in a crockpot immediately prior to the onset of Shabbos to exempt the pot from requiring a blech.

Shabbos in Numbers and Words

Shabbos is referred to as yom chemdaso, the day of Hashem’s delight. The word chamad, desire, in mispar katan, digit sum, equals 7 (Ches is 8, mem is 40 which is 4, and dalet is 4. 8+4+4=16, and 1+6=7). This alludes to Shabbos, the seventh day of the week.

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Matos 5768

Is sponsored lizchus Refuah shileima

Alta Sara Frayda bas Ruchama Aidel Royza Shoshana

And for the continued Hatzlacha of Gesher HaTorah Day School,

A school for special needs in Chicago, Illinois

I will be giving a class in Navi Shabbos afternoon

at Congregation Dovid Ben Nuchim-Aish Kodesh,

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

Have a wonderful and delightful Shabbos

Prepared by Rabbi Binyomin Adler.

For sponsorships please call 248-506-0363.

To subscribe weekly by email, please send email to ShabbosTaamHachaim@gmail.com

View Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim and other Divrei Torah on www.doreishtov.blogspot.com