Thursday, February 26, 2009

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Parashas Terumah 5769

שבת טעם החיים פרשת תרומה תשס"ט
Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Parashas Terumah 5769
The month of Adar and Shabbos are a state of permanency in this temporal world
We have now entered into the month of Adar and in less than two weeks we will celebrate the holiday of Purim. It is important to understand the connection between the month that we are in and the parashah that we are currently reading. The Chiddushei HaRim writes that the word Adar is similar to the word adur, which means I will dwell. What is the association between the month of Adar and dwelling? In order to understand the connection between the month of Adar and dwelling, we will examine the Medrash regarding the building of the Mishkan. The Medrash (Shemos Rabbah 33:1) states that HaShem wished that the Jewish people build for Him a Mishkan so that He will have a place to dwell amongst them. What does it mean that HaShem dwells amongst the Jewish People?
Permanency of Shabbos
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 Zohar states that the word ledorosam can be read lidirosam, to dwell amongst them. How is Shabbos associated with dwelling? In one sense we can suggest that the Gemara (Pesachim 117b) states that Shabbos is kivia vikayma, permanent and existing. Similarly, the Gemara states that Shabbos is kovea, renders permanent, regarding the separating of tithes. Thus, unlike the days of the week which can often be tumultuous and unstable, Shabbos has an aura of permanency and stability. On a deeper level, however, Shabbos is the source of blessing for the weekday, so it follows that when the Jewish People observe the Shabbos properly, the Shabbos sustains the Jewish People.
Purim is a permanent holiday
Based on this premise that the permanency of Shabbos is based on how we observe Shabbos, we can suggest that this is the meaning of the words of the Chiddushei HaRim who writes that the word Adar is also associated with the concept of dwelling. On the surface, the miracle of Purim, when the Jewish People were saved from a decree of annihilation, was a temporary reprieve. Despite the fact that the Jewish People rebuilt the Bais HaMikdash shortly afterwards, they did not retain the level of holiness and elevated spirituality that they had experienced when they were delivered from the clutches of Haman. Nonetheless, the Medrash (Medrash Mishlei §9) states that although in the future all the festivals will be nullified, the days of Purim will never leave the Jewish People. What is so unique about Purim that even after Moshiach arrives we will commemorate its message? The answer to this question is that the miracle of Purim demonstrated to the Jewish People that despite the temporal state of this world, HaShem still dwells amongst us, and this idea is eternal. The Zohar states that the Jewish People, the Torah and HaShem are all one. Thus, the fact that HaShem delivered the Jewish People from annihilation reflects the idea that we will always be one with HaShem. Similarly, the Pinei Menachem cites the Zohar that states that if there is no holiness below, so to speak, there is no holiness above. Based on the words of the Zohar, we can comprehend the Medrash that states that HaShem desired to dwell amongst the Jewish People, and for this reason He instructed them to erect a Mishkan. By erecting a Mishkan and living in holiness, the Jewish People, in a sense, were allowing HaShem to dwell in holiness.
The Shabbos Connection
Shabbos is a time when HaShem, so to speak, dwells in our midst. We find that regarding Purim it is said (Esther 9:28) vihayamim haeileh nizkarim vinaasim bichol dor vador, and the days should be remembered and celebrated by every generation. Regarding Shabbos it is said (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. It is also said regarding Shabbos (Shemos 20:8) zachor es yom haShabbos likadisho, remember the Shabbos day to sanctify it. Thus, we see that regarding both Shabbos and Purim we are instructed to remember the day and celebrate the day. Furthermore, regarding Purim it is said bichol dor vador, by every generation, and the word dor alludes to the idea that Purim has permanence amongst the Jewish People. HaShem should allow us to celebrate the Holy Shabbos and the wondrous day of Purim and we should merit the day when Purim will not cease among the Jews, and its remembrance will not perish from their descendants.

Shabbos in the Zemiros
Mah Yedidus
Composed by an unknown author named Menachem
Shabbos clothing and Shabbos candles
Livush bigdei chamudos lihadlik ner bivracha, dressed in beautiful garments to kindle the flame with blessing. What is the association between wearing beautiful garments and lighting the Shabbos candles? The Torah (Bereishis 27:15) refers to the garments that Yaakov wore to receive the blessing from Yitzchak as bigdei chamudos, precious garments. Through Rivka’s foresight, Yaakov disguised himself as Esav and received the blessings from Yitzchak. The Pinei Menachem writes that in a similar vein it is said regarding the building of the Mishkan (Shemos 35:26) vichol haanashim asher nasa liban osana bichochma tavu es haizim, all the women whose hearts inspired them with wisdom spun the goat hair. Thus, we see that it was in the merit of our Holy Matriarchs that we entered into a state of holiness. Similarly, with the onset of Shabbos the Jewish women light Shabbos candles, and we don our Shabbos finery which allows us to bask in the holiness the entire Shabbos.
Shabbos in Tefillah
Holiness leads to fear of HaShem
Kedusha kulam kiechod onim bieimah viomrim biyirah, all of them as one proclaim His holiness with fear, and say with awe: Kedushah is defined as holy and separate and it is this distinctiveness of HaShem that causes all of creation to fear Him. Unfortunately, when people do not act holy, they lose their fear of HaShem. Hashem should allow us to be cognizant of the fact that He created the entire world and this should lead us to lead holy lives where we can fear Him.

Shabbos Story
His style of Daf Yomi
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky writes: In a small shul in Yerushalayim, a daily Daf HaYomi shiur (Talmudic folio class) was held each morning before Shacharis. An elderly Russian immigrant attended the shiur. Quiet as he was, his behavior in the shiur intrigued the lecturer. He would never ask a thing. Often he would nod off. Sometimes, when the Rabbi quoted a particular Talmudic sage, the old man’s face would light up - especially when the Rabbi mentioned an opinion from an obscure Talmudic personality.
This behavior continued throughout the summer. Always quiet, the man would sometimes nod off, and at other times he would perk up. Then winter came. The group of men would gather around the table in the frigid mornings huddled close as they would warm to the strains of the Talmud and the straining heater in the old synagogue. The old man never missed a class.
One morning a rare snow blanketed Jerusalem. No one showed up to the shiur except the Rabbi and the elderly Russian Jew. Instead of giving his usual lecture, the Rabbi decided he would ask the old Jew a little bit about himself.
“Tell me,” he inquired, “I watch you as I say my shiur. Sometimes you look intrigued but at other times you seem totally disinterested. The trouble is I would like to make the shiur more interesting for you during its entirety, but I can't seem to make out what perks you up and makes you doze?”
The old man smiled. “I never had a Jewish education. I can barely read Hebrew. I do not come to the shiur for the same reasons that the other men come.” He paused as his eyes pondered his past. “You see, I was a soldier in the Red Army during World War II. Every day our commander would herd us into a room and put a gun to our heads. He commanded us to recite the names of every member of the Politburo. And we did. We learned those names backwards and forward. I come to this class to hear the names of every rabbi in the Talmud. If I cannot learn at least I will know the names of all the great sages! “That.” he smiled, “is my Daf HaYomi!” [Reprinted with permission from]
Shabbos in Navi
Shmuel I Chapter 31

Despising the profane and embracing the holiness of Shabbos

In this last chapter of Shmuel I, we learn about the tragic deaths of Shaul and his sons. The Plishtim found Shaul’s corpse and they cut off his head and stripped him of his battle gear and they placed his gear in the temple of Ashtaros and they hung his remains upon the wall of Bais–shan. The inhabitants of Yaveish Gilad heard what the Plishtim had done to Shaul and during the night they took the remains of Shaul and his sons and brought the, back to Yaveish and they burned them there. They then took the bones of Shaul and his sons and buried them under the tamarisk tree and then they fasted for seven days. It is fascinating that Shaul told his arm-bearer to stab him so that the Plishtim, who were uncircumcised, should not stab him and make sport of him. Shaul was so holy that he only feared that unholy people would be the cause of his death. We should approach Shabbos in the same fashion, with the realization that despite all the impurities we may have encountered during the week, Shabbos is holy and can purify us.

Shabbos in Agadah

The Torah was given on Shabbos

The Pinei Menachem writes that the Gemara (Shabbos 86b) states that all opinions concur that the Torah was given on Shabbos. This means, writes the Pinei Menachem, that the power of Shabbos is an aid. Furthermore, the Sfas Emes writes that the reason Moshe added a day for the preparation of receiving the Torah was so that the Torah should be given on Shabbos.

Shabbos in Halacha

Exception to the prohibition of insulating with a heat-retaining material

There is an exception which only applies in cases of necessity. One can insulate a pot with heat-retaining material, in case of necessity, if the food has cooled below yad soledes bo (110ºF), even while in a kli rishon. Thus, if one does not have available a container with which he can transfer the food, he would be allowed to insulate a kli rishon (i.e. the original pot) to preserve hot food that is essential to the Shabbos meal.

Shabbos Challenge Question

Last week we posed the question: Why is Shabbos referred to as a kallah, a bride? The Pinei Menachem writes that Shabbos is referred to as chemdas yamim, ‘most coveted of days,’ and this is in accordance with the Targum that renders the word (Bereishis 2:2) vayechal, (HaShem) completed, as vichamad, and he coveted. Based on this the Pinei Menachem suggests that the Shabbos is referred to as a kallah, a bride, similar to what it is said (Tehillim 84:3) nichsifa vigam kolsa nafshi, my soul yearns, indeed it pines, and it is for this reason we recite in Kabbalas Shabbos the words lecho dodi likras kallah, come my Beloved to greet the bride.

This week’s question is: why would it be permitted to cry on Shabbos? If you have a possible answer, please email me at and your answer will be posted in next week’s edition of Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim.

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim
Parashas Terumah 5769
I will be giving a class in Navi on Shabbos afternoon at Beis Haknesses HaGra 14561 Lincoln in Oak Park, a half an hour before Minchah.
Have a wonderful and delightful Shabbos.
Prepared by Rabbi Binyomin Adler.
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