Shabbos in the Parashah
In this week’s parashah, Acharei Mos, we read about the passing of Nadav and Avihu, the two elder sons of Aharon HaKohen. The Mishna Berura (O. C. 621:2 quotes the Zohar that states that one who cries upon hearing this passage in the Torah describing the deaths of Nadav and Avihu will be granted atonement for his sins and his children will not die in his lifetime. One must wonder what is so significant about the deaths of Nadav and Avihu that if one were to cry over their deaths thousands of years later, he will merit a reward. In order to glean a proper understanding into this matter, let us take a closer look at the festival that is approaching, the festival of Pesach. On Pesach we commemorate our freedom from the Egyptian slavery. Yet, we do more than commemorate our liberation from servitude. We are instructed to relate to our children the entire story of our slavery to Pharaoh and the Egyptians and to relate the wondrous miracles that HaShem performed for us upon redeeming us from slavery and regarding the splitting of the
Shabbos in the Zemiros
Ribbon kol HaOlamim
Published in 5401 (1641)
Ana melch malchei hamelachim tzavei limalochecho malachei hashareis misharsei elyon, please, O king, Who reigns over kings, instruct Your angels, the ministering angels. One must wonder why we beseech HaShem to engage the ministering angels with the onset of Shabbos. Would we not prefer that HaShem Himself bless us at all times, and particularly on this holy day that He has bestowed upon His beloved nation? The concept of praying to angels and acknowledging their presence in our lives is one of great debate, but we will suffice with an explanation related to Pesach. It is said regarding the night prior the Exodus when HaShem slew the Egyptian firstborns (Shemos 12:23) viavar HaShem lingof es Mitzrayim viraah es hadam al hamshkof vial shtei hamezuzos upasach HaShem al hapesach vilo yitein hamashchis lavo el bateichem lingof, HaShem will pass through to smite Egypt, and He will see the blood that is on the lintel and the two doorposts; and HaShem will pass over the entrance and He will not permit the destroyer to enter your homes to smite. This verse is astounding. Hashem Himself, in all His glory, is going out in
Shabbos in Tefillah
Viain zulasecho malkeinu lichayei haolam haba, and there will be nothing except for You, our King, in the life of the World to Come. The Gemara (Brachos 57b) states that Shabbos is a semblance of the World to Come. In the World to Come there will be nothing except HaShem, so it follows that we should approach Shabbos as a day when we are with HaShem alone, and we bask in His Presence.
No one could get Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev angry. No matter what anyone did, he would always find something nice to say. He believed in treating all Jews kindly, no matter how much his patience was tested. Rabbi Levi Yitzchak’s neighbor had a son who did not want to keep any of the mitzvos. One year, during the Seder, the family was about to make a sandwich of matzah and maror for koreich. To everyone's surprise, the boy pulled from his pocket two slices of bread and some meat, and made himself a sandwich. His father started to cry: “How dare you bring bread to my Seder?” “But father,” the boy answered, “I’m hungry after reading the Hagadah. What difference does it make if I eat bread or matzah? I’m sure Rabbi Levi Yitzchak wouldn’t mind. The father jumped up from the table and grabbed his son. “Oh, wouldn’t he? Let’s go ask him.” The whole family marched next door, the father leading the boy by the ear. “Rabbi,” the man said, “even you would not tolerate what my son just did. He ate bread at our Seder. I have four sons, rabbi, and I don’t have to tell you which one he is.” Everyone in the room was shocked; everyone, that is, except for Rabbi Levi Yitzchak. He smiled at the boy and asked if it was true. “Certainly, Rabbi,” the boy said. “I was hungry so I made myself a sandwich.” “Don’t you know that on Pesach Jews don’t eat bread?” Rabbi Levi Yitzchak continued. “Well, Rabbi,” the boy answered, “to be totally honest, I don’t really believe in all this. What difference could it possibly make if I eat bread or matzah?”
The entire room was silent. Only the boy’s mother could be heard sobbing in the doorway. “Please come here,” Rabbi Levi Yitzchak called to the boy. The boy walked slowly, afraid that this time he had gone too far. As he approached the table, the rabbi hugged him. “Such a fine boy,” he said to the father, “and so honest too,” he added to the mother. “He’s ready to admit what he did and he’s acting according to his beliefs. Such a fine, honest boy must sit with me at my Seder. I have so much to learn from him! Just one thing though.” The rabbi turned to the boy and said, “There’ll be no sandwiches at the Seder table - unless you make them with matzah.”
[This story was related by Rabbi Label Lam, reprinted with permission from Torah.org] A few years back, my wife and I had the pleasure to spend Shabbos at a hotel with Rabbi Pesach Krohn. He told over the following story. A young man from Mid-West was married for a good number of years without the blessing of children. One year his wife was expecting and she gave birth prematurely. The child weighed only a few pounds and remained hospitalized in Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit. After a period of time the child was strong and healthy enough to be sent home. They made a Bris and named the boy Yaakov. Now with his son at home, the father of the boy didn’t forget the tireless effort of the nurses that cared day and night for his child. He wanted to express his gratitude somehow. He did something seemingly unusual. He called his Rosh HaYeshiva – his spiritual mentor Rabbi Elya Svei in
Shabbos in Navi
In this chapter the Navi records how after Gideon died, the Jewish People once again went astray after the idols. When Shabbos departs, it is easy for one to become lax in his pursuit of becoming close to HaShem. We must praise HaShem that He grants us His precious gift of Shabbos every week, so that we can constantly bond with HaShem and His Holy Shabbos.
Shabbos in Agadah
Pesach is referred to in the Torah as Shabbos. Both Pesach and Shabbos are times when we unite with our families to serve HaShem. Shabbos is referred to by the Zohar as the Secret of Unity, and the Maharal writes that that the theme of Pesach is unity.
Shabbos in Halacha
There are instances where if one lifts a pot, he can no longer return the pot to its original position, i.e. the pot was left on an uncovered flame. In such situations one would be allowed to scoop food from the pot without lifting it from the flame. However, one should be careful not to stir the food when inserting the spoon. The same rule will apply to a pot that si too heavy to be lifted. [This ruling applies only to cooked food. If the food is not completely cooked, then it is absolutely forbidden to remove food from the pot in any manner, as this will cause the remaining contents of the pot to cook quicker.
Shabbos in Numbers and Words
The Torah refers to Pesach as a chok, a statute (Shemos 13:9). It is noteworthy that the word chok in mispar katan, digit sum, equals 9 (ches is 8, and kuf is 100, which is 1, and 8+1=9). Pesach is referred to in the Torah as Shabbos (Vayikra 23:15) and the word Shabbos in mispar katan also equals 9 (shin is 300, which is 3, bais is 2, and saf is 400, which is 4, and 3+2+4=9).
Insights into the Hagadah
It is said (Shemos 17:16) vayomer ki yad al keis kah milchama laHaShem baAmalek midor dor, and he said, “For the hand is on the throne of G-d: Hashem maintains a war against Amalek, from generation to generation.” The Medrash (Tanchumah Ki Seitzei 11) states that HaShem said that His Name and His Throne will not be complete until the eradication of Amalek occurs. It is fascinating to note that the Gemara (Taanis 29a) states that mishenichnas Adar marbim bisimcha, when the month of Adar begins, we increase our joy. Rashi writes regarding this: yimey nissim hayu liYisroel Purim uPesach, days of miracles for the Jewish People, Purim and Pesach. The simple explanation of Rashi’s commentary is that we begin our joy in Adar with the festival of Purim and that joy continues into the Month of Nissan with the celebration of Pesach. Perhaps we can suggest an alternative interpretation to the words of Rashi based on the above-mentioned Medrash. We commence the Hagadah shel Pesach with Kadesh urchatz, and we enumerate the fifteen steps that will be performed throughout the Seder. The Medrash (See Gemara Megillah 15a and Rashi Ibid s.v. Yom Tov Rishon shel Pesach; Esther Rabbah 8:7, Magen Avraham Orach Chaim 490) states that Haman was hung on the first days of Pesach. The Medrash mentioned previously states that HaShem’s Name and Throne will not be complete until the nation of Amalek is obliterated. Although it would appear that this will not occur until the time of the ultimate Redemption, the month of Nissan and the festival of Pesach certainly qualify as a propitious time for our redemption. This idea is based on the Gemara (Rosh Hashanah 11a) that states: biNissan nigalu biNissan asidin ligaeil, in the month of Nissan we were redeemed and in the month of the Nissan we will be redeemed in the future. Thus, according to Rashi, the redemption commenced with the hanging of Haman, which we celebrate on Purim in Adar, and the joy continues into Nissan as the actual hanging of Haman occurred on Pesach. Haman was a direct descendant of Amalek, so it is fitting that we commence the Seder with the fifteen steps. The Name of HaShem, kah, is in gematria, numerical value, 15. When we celebrate Pesach and Haman’s downfall, we are striving to perfect HaShem’s Name and Throne by adding 15 to HaShem’s Name of kah. It is further noteworthy that the Mishna (Avos 6:6) states that kingship is acquired with thirty attributes. Thus, the Name kah and the fifteen steps of the Pesach Seder combine to the number 30, a sign that in the month of Nissan we will merit the ultimate redemption and the fulfillment of the verse that states (Ovadiah 1:21) Vialu moshiim bihar Tziyon lishpot es har Esav vihaysah LaHaShem hamelucha, and saviors will ascend Mount Zion to judge the mountain of Esav, and the kingdom will be HaShem’s.
The first and second nights of Pesach are referred to as the Seder nights. It is noteworthy that the word Seder in mispar katan equals 12 (samach is 60, which is 6, dalet is 4, and reish is 200, which is 2, and 6+4+2=12). This can allude to the idea that there were twelve loaves on the Shulchan, the table in the Bais HaMikdash, and at the Seder it is like we are reenacting the service of the Bais HaMikdash. The number 12 also alludes to the idea that Pesach occurs in the month of Nissan, which is the first of the twelve months of the year.
We recite in the Hadagah the words mitchilah ovdei avodah zara hayu avoseinu, in the beginning our fathers were worshippers of idols. The words “our fathers” can either refer to Terach, father of Avraham, or Avraham himself, as the Medrash (Bereishis Rabbah 39:8) states that Avraham also served idols in his early years. It is noteworthy that the word mitchilah is an acrostic for Terach (taf) mechilah, Terach gained atonement for his sins, as the Medrash (Tanchumah Shemos 18) states that although Terach worshipped idols throughout his lifetime, he repented prior to his death.
Vihi sheamdah laavoseinu, and it is this that has stood by our forefathers and us. There are various interpretations as to what the word vihi¸ and this, refers to. Perhaps we can suggest that the word vihi in gematria equals 22, and there are twenty-two letters in the Hebrew alphabet. The Medrash (Bamidbar Rabbah 13:19) states that the Jewish People were worthy of redemption from
It is said (Shemos 15:9) amar oyev erdof asig achaleik shalal timlaeimo nafshi arik charbi torisheimo yadi, the enemy declared, “I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide plunder; I will satisfy my lust with them. I will unsheathe my sword, my hand will impoverish them.” It is written that the word shalal is an abbreviation for the words shemam, lishonam, and levusham, their names, their language and their clothing. This alludes to the Medrash mentioned above that states that the Jewish People merited redemption from
Is sponsored by Dr. Mark Schare in loving memory of his father, Mordechai Ben Menachem Mannes ob”m, niftar 12 Nissan.
And is also sponsored lizeicher nishmas Rav Ezriel Yehuda ben Rav Moshe ZY"A,
niftar 16 Nissan
at Congregation Dovid Ben Nuchim-Aish Kodesh
14800 West Lincoln, in
Have a wonderful and delightful Shabbos and a Chag Kosher V’sameach
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