Thursday, November 1, 2007

Shabbos: Ta'am HaChaim Chaye Sara 5768

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Chaye Sara 5768

Shabbos in the Parashah

In this week’s parashah it is said (Breishis 24:67) vayivieha Yitzchak haohela Sara imo vayikach es Rivka vatehi lo liisha vayehaveha vayinacheim Yitzchak acharei imo, and Yitzchak brought her into the tent of Sara his mother; he married Rivka, she became his wife, and he loved her, and thus was Yitzchak consoled after his mother. Rashi quotes the Medrash (Bereishis Rabbah 60:16) that states that the juxtaposition of the words vayivieha Yitzchak to the words haohela Sara imo teaches us that when Yitzchak married Rivka, he observed that she was similar to his mother in every manner. When Sara was alive the candle would remain lit from one Friday afternoon to the next, blessing was found in the dough, and the cloud was above the tent. When Sara died, these phenomena ceased, and when Yitzchak married Rivka, the miracles returned. The simple understanding of the idea that the candle remained lit from one Friday afternoon to the next is that a miracle occurred and the candle was never extinguished. Upon deeper reflection, however, there is a profound lesson to be gained from this phenomenon. Sara was of such stature that she did not allow the candle to become extinguished during the week. It is very easy for one to observe Shabbos, as when the sun sets on Friday, one is forbidden to engage in the thirty-nine primary acts of labor, and one is required to sanctify the day and delight in it. Yet, this is one level of observing and honoring the Shabbos. A higher level is when one conducts himself or herself throughout the week on the level of Shabbos. This means watching one speech, being meticulous regarding the honor of others, avoiding impure areas and thoughts, and constantly seeking ways to be prepared for Shabbos. The Zohar states that a Torah scholar is in the category of Shabbos. The explanation for this statement is that the Rambam (Hilchos Deios) writes that a Torah scholar is judged on a different plane than the average person. For one to truly be in the category of Shabbos, he must conduct himself the entire week on a higher plane. Rivka truly reflected these ideas, as she was raised in the house of wicked people, and she still persevered and remained righteous. When one can traverse the darkness of the weekday and still enter into the Shabbos bathed in the light of Torah and mitzvos, one has certainly experienced Shabbos in the week. When the entire Jewish People will observe Shabbos, i.e. when we will recognize that we must conduct ourselves at all times on a higher plane than the rest of the world, we will instantly merit the Final Redemption with the arrival of Moshiach, speedily, in our days.

Shabbos in the Zemiros

Ribbon kol HaOlamim

Published in 5401 (1641)

Melech someich noflim, King Who supports the fallen. One must wonder who the fallen refers to. It is said (Devarim 22:8) ki sivneh bayis chadash viasisa maakeh ligagaecho vilo sasim damim biveisecho ki yipol hanofeil mimenu, if you build a new house, you shall make a fence for your roof, so that you will not place blood in your house if a fallen one falls from it. The Gemara (Shabbos 32a) asks the obvious question. Why does the Torah describe the person who may fall in the future as the nofeil, the one falling in the present? If one has not fallen yet, he cannot be deemed to be falling. The Gemara answers that the Torah is teaching us that HaShem decreed from the beginning of time that this person will fall. Thus, he is deemed to be falling in the present state. It would seem from this Gemara that every human being is deemed to be in a state of falling. While the Jewish People are always aspiring to ascend the spiritual ladder, we must bear in mind the dictum of the Gemara (Kiddushin 30b) regarding the battle that one engages in with the Evil Inclination. The Gemara states that if HaShem were not assisting the person in his struggles with the Evil Inclination, the person would not be able to subdue the Evil Inclination alone. Thus, HaShem is truly the King Who supports the falling ones. Hashem should allow us to merit overcoming our Evil Inclinations and we should serve HaShem with pure hearts.

Shabbos in Tefillah

Baruch atah HaShem Elokeinu Melech haOlam yotzeir ohr uvorei choshech oseh shalom uvorei es hakol, Blessed are You, HaShem, our G-d, King of the Universe, Who forms light and creates darkness, makes peace and creates all. This blessing contains a profound message to the Jewish People regarding our belief system. The Gemara (Brachos 11b) points out that that although in Scripture it is said (Yeshaya 45:7) yotzeir ohr uvorei ra, Who makes peace and creates evil, we do not want to attribute the creation of evil to HaShem so we instead declare that HaShem created everything. Although at first glance this may seem odd, as we appear to be concealing the fact that HaShem also created evil, in truth we are declaring that HaShem created both good and evil and we are demonstrating that even evil is ultimately for the good. Although in our present state we can not necessarily see the good in events that occur, we know that HaShem is good and desires only good for mankind.

Shabbos Story

Rabbi Dovid Glodwasser relates: I had received a plea to travel to Croatia and Bosnia and spend Shabbos with a group of people who had an urgent thirst for spirituality. They not only had not had a rabbi since the 1940s, but they had just gone through a horrifying war. Realizing the urgency of the request and what it would mean to people living through such troubled times, I could not refuse. And so I was booked on a connecting flight Thursday evening leaving New York’s JFK Airport for Vienna and continuing on to Bosnia with my final destination - Sarajevo. The flight Thursday evening was delayed for one hour in the airport and one hour on the runway. My connecting flight in Vienna was scheduled to leave within 45 minutes of my arrival. I asked the flight personnel what they thought my chances were of my making the connecting flight. They assured me that there would be no problem. However, even with their assurance, I cannot say that I was not concerned. Sure enough, moments after the flight landed in Vienna Friday morning, as I rushed to the connecting flight, I was informed that the flight had just left. I raced to the transfer desk and was told that it would be impossible to make a connection that would arrive in time for Shabbos. In fact, there would be no flights connecting to Sarajevo until possibly Sunday evening. I could not believe it! I had traveled to Europe, blocked out my entire schedule in order to spend Shabbos with these people, and now I was faced with the possibility that the trip might have been in vain! I explained to the airline supervisor how important it was that I get to Sarajevo in time for Shabbos. I was almost in tears and I begged for understanding. When the supervisor realized the urgency of this mission she told me to wait a moment and went into a back office. Moments later she emerged, smiling. “We have arranged for a jet to fly you to your destination.” Airline personnel soon arrived to escort me to the plane. To my surprise, I was the only passenger in a small plane. The far-reaching hand of Divine Providence moved swiftly that Friday afternoon and, miraculously, I arrived in time for Shabbos. I was told that usually fifteen to twenty people show up for the Friday night services. However, some additional preparations were made due to the fact that word had spread about the special guest the community would be hosting that Shabbos. The beautiful shul that once stood so proudly in the center of town had been destroyed - it had actually been systematically bombed in sections. Today, the only indication that a shul once stood there is a plaque on a brick wall of a parking lot. The group was to meet in the synagogue which is currently housed in the community center... An elderly woman approached me and asked if I would say the Kaddish for her husband. She explained that her husband had died during the war and throughout these difficult years she had never found someone to say Kaddish for his soul. She said that tonight would be his yahrtzeit (the anniversary date of a person’s passing). I told her at once that it would be my privilege to say Kaddish for her husband. Following the prayers, we all assembled in a large room where I recited the Kiddush for everyone. I personally poured a little bit of wine from the cup for each person. The spirit in the room that evening was contagious. We sang, we learned, we ate, and we discussed various topics of Torah, continuing late into the night. One of the middle-aged men came to me with his cup of wine and asked me whether he had to drink it, or if he could save it for a future happy occasion (since kosher wine was difficult to obtain). I told him he could drink some of it and save the rest. I returned to my room early in the morning exhausted, yet exhilarated from one of the most special Friday nights that I had ever experienced. The next day we studied and davened together throughout the day. The same elderly woman approached me, and fully repeated her request that I say Kaddish for her husband. She then came to me once again before the afternoon service - I assured her that I would recite the Kaddish. We said farewell to the Shabbos with a Torah class that lasted from 4:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. After the class, I continued to answer personal questions from various individuals. Then I noticed the elderly woman waiting to speak to me. She said to me, “Because you redeemed my husband’s soul after all these years, I would like to redeem the Kaddish that you said.” She told me her name was Leah and she presented me with what looked like a round object wrapped in silver foil. She explained that the coin was over 100 years old and was the last possession that she had of her husband’s. She wanted me to have it. I politely refused by saying that it is important for her to have a memento. She then said, “Up until now the coin was my memento, but from this day onwards, I no longer need the coin - for I have the Kaddish.” The next morning at 8:00 a.m. I was preparing to leave for the airport to fly into Sarajevo. Before I left, I wanted to say goodbye to the elderly woman who had asked me to say Kaddish. I got her telephone number from the community center and when I dialed her number a young person answered. When I asked to speak with Leah, the young person said, “I am so sorry. Leah passed on early this morning.” I then learned that her husband had not died in the recent civil strife, but during World War II. For one reason or another, she had been unable to find anyone to say Kaddish for him. She willed herself to stay alive for another 50 years until she could perform this final duty.

Shabbos in Navi

Yehoshua Chapter 9

In this chapter we learn how the Givonim deceived Yehoshua and the leaders of the Jewish People by claiming that they came from a faraway land and they wished to seal a covenant with the Jewish People. The Jewish People sealed a covenant with them and three days later the Jewish People discovered that the Givonim were really their neighbors and they resided close by. Nonetheless, to avoid a desecration of HaShem’s Name, the Jewish People did not have the Givonim killed. Rather, Yehoshua cursed them by declaring that the Givonim would always be slaves and they would function as woodchoppers and water drawers for the House of HaShem. The Givonim responded that they had acted out fear, as they had heard that HaShem had instructed Moshe to give the entire land to the Jewish People and to annihilate the inhabitants of the land. It is noteworthy that the Givonim deceived the Jewish People because of their fear of HaShem’s command. In a similar vein, HaShem has commanded us to fear Him and observe His Shabbos. The Baal HaTurim (Bereishis 1:1 quoting Tikkunei Zohar) writes that the word Bereishis is an acrostic for the words yarei Shabbos. Yet, do we really fear the Shabbos, or, in the words of the Medrash (Toras Kohanim Kedoshim 7) from the One Who commanded us regarding the Shabbos? We should learn from the Givonim and be cognitive of HaShem’s commandment to observe the Shabbos. When we observe the Shabbos, we will merit fearing HaShem, Whose glory fills the entire world.

Shabbos in Agadah

The Gemara (Shabbos 113a) states that the clothing that one wears on Shabbos should be different than the clothing that he wears during the week. The Maharal explains that Shabbos is holy and anything that is holy is distinct from materialism. For this reason, writes the Maharal, one is forbidden to perform labor on Shabbos, as labor by definition is bringing something to fruition, which is considered materialism. An object that is removed from materialism is deemed to contain honor, and for this reason ones Shabbos clothing should be distinct from the clothing that he wears during the week. Perhaps we can suggest an alternative explanation to this statement of the Gemara. Elsewhere (Sanhedrin 90b) the Gemara states that the righteous will be resurrected in the future with the very clothes that they were buried in. [There is a discussion (See Kesubos 111b and Tosfos and Gilyon HaShas Ibid) whether the righteous will be resurrected in the same clothing that they were buried in or if they will be resurrected in different clothing.] One must wonder regarding the significance of the righteous being resurrected in their clothing. It would seem that clothing is a covering for the body in this world, but in the future man will be akin to Adam HaRishon before the sin, where there was no need for clothing. Why then will the righteous be wearing clothing at the time of the resurrection? Perhaps the idea of this Gemara is that clothing, besides for the need of covering the body, also symbolizes a state of preparedness. After the sin of Adam HaRishon, HaShem clothed Adam and Chava in garments of skin. The purpose of these garments was so that Adam and Chava would be prepared for the first Shabbos of creation. It is noteworthy that the Gemara in Shabbos (113a) states that one should change his clothing, manner of walking and his manner of speech on Shabbos. The only one of these distinctions that is performed prior to the onset of Shabbos is the changing of ones clothing. Thus, it is evident that changing ones clothing prior to the onset of Shabbos is a symbol of preparedness. This then is the explanation of the Gemara in Sanhedrin regarding the resurrection of the righteous. The righteous will be resurrected in their clothing as a reward for having always been in a state of preparedness in this world. The idea is that the Gemara (Avodah Zara 3a) states that one who toils prior to Shabbos will eat on Shabbos. The period when the righteous will be resurrected is referred to as a day that is completely Shabbos. Thus, when the true Shabbos arrives, the righteous will be prepared in their “Shabbos” clothing. It is for this reason that we change our clothing in honor of Shabbos, so that we reflect a state of preparedness for this Holy Day.

Shabbos in Halacha

One can add cold water to hot tea or to coffee in a cup (kli sheini) or to hot soup in a bowl (kli sheini) but one is forbidden from adding cold water to a pot of hot water or soup (kli rishon).

Shabbos in Numbers and Words

It is said (Shemos 31:16) veshamru vnei 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. Here is something that is truly amazing. The words es HaShabbos laasos es HaShabbos all end with the letter taf. Perhaps the significance is as follows. The Gemara (Shabbos 118a) states that one who delights in the Shabbos is granted a boundless heritage. This heritage is the heritage of Yaakov, who was promised the land without any border. The Medrash (Bereishis Rabbah 11:7) adds that only regarding Yaakov does the Torah state explicitly that he kept the Shabbos, whereas regarding Avraham and Yitzchak the Torah does not state explicitly that they observed the Shabbos. This then can be the explanation for the words that end with the letter taf, which equals in gematria four hundred. The Gemara (Megillah 3a) states that the dimensions of Eretz Yisroel are four hundred parsa by four hundred parsa. Avraham and Yitzchak were only promised a finite area of land, whereas Yaakov was promised by HaShem a boundless heritage. Similarly, one who observes the Shabbos will not only be rewarded with the equivalent of Eretz Yisroel, which is four hundred by four hundred parsa. Rather, he will be rewarded with taf and taf and taf and taf and taf until infinity.

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Chaye Sara 5768

is sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Moshe Gasner

in honor of the marriage of their son Ari to Reena Durden.

Mazel Tov to Rabbi and Mrs. Eleazar Durden

and to the extended Gasner and Durden families.

May Ari and Reena be zoche together to build a Bayis Neeman BiYisroel.

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Chaye Sara 5768

is also sponsored lizeicher nishmas Simcha Zelig ben Elimelech ob”m

Have a wonderful and delightful Shabbos

Prepared by Rabbi Binyomin Adler.

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