Thursday, July 3, 2008

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Chukas 5768

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Chukas 5768

Shabbos in the Parashah

In this weeks parashah the Torah informs us of the grave error that Moshe committed by striking the rock to draw water instead of speaking to the rock HaShem had instructed him. Hashem punished Moshe and Aharon for this act by not allowing them to enter into Eretz Yisroel with the Jewish People. The commentators offer numerous reasons to explain what Moshe’s error was regarding striking the rock and not speaking to the rock. I would like to focus on a different aspect of this incident, which would seem to be diametrically opposite to what occurred in Parashas Korach. When Korach staged his rebellion against Moshe, we learn that Moshe distanced himself as much as possible from the dispute, and he even went as far as attempting to recon ciliate his differences with Dasan and Aviram, his archenemies in the Wilderness. Regarding the incident where Moshe struck the rock, however, we find that Moshe lashed out at the Jewish People, as it is said (Bamidbar 20:10) vayakhilu Moshe viAharon es hakahal el pinei hasola vayomer lahem shimu na hamorim hamin hasela hazeh notzi lachem mayim, Moshe and Aharon gathered the congregation before the rock and he said to them, “Listen now, O rebels, shall we bring forth water for you from this rock?” Rashi writes that because Moshe became angry he made a mistake and struck the rock instead of speaking to the rock. One must wonder what caused Moshe to become angry. It is said (Tehillim 106:32-33) vayaktzifu al mei merivah vayera liMoshe baavuram ki himru es rucho vayivatei bisfasav, they provoked at the Waters of Strife, and Moshe suffered because of them, because they acted contrary to his spirit, and He pronounced with His lips. Many commentators understand this to mean that the Jewish People caused Moshe to get angry and they forfeited Moshe as the leader who would bring them into Eretz Yisroel. It is noteworthy that the Gemara (Shabbos 88a) states that after the Jewish People worshipped the Golden Calf, they forfeited the crowns that they had received when they recited the words naaseh vinishma, we will do and we will listen. Nonetheless, the Zohar states that every Shabbos Moshe returns the crowns to the Jewish People. Furthermore, we find that when the Jewish People were enslaved to Pharaoh in Egypt, Moshe requested from Pharaoh that the Jewish People receive Shabbos as a day of rest. Thus, Moshe embodied the ideal of Shabbos, which is a time of complete peace and serenity. The Jewish People, in requesting water from Moshe, caused this tranquility that Moshe had to be disturbed, albeit momentarily. This is an important lesson for us to consider. At times we may be deluded into thinking that if we only speak a few mundane words on Shabbos HaShem will be forgiving as for the most part we observe Shabbos properly. We must know that HaShem bestowed upon the Jewish People His Holy Shabbos so that we will be completely engaged in spiritual pursuits. When we come to this recognition, HaShem will bring us the Ultimate Redemption and Moshe and all our great leaders will be reunited with us, speedily, in our days.

Shabbos in the Zemiros

Askinu Seudasa

Composed by the Arizal, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria

Askinu Seudasa dimheiminusa shleimasa chedvavsa dimalka kadisha, prepare the feast of perfect faith, the joy of the Holy King. This mystical zemer allows us a glimpse into the holiness and sanctity of Shabbos. The first thing we recite is that we must prepare for this momentous feast. The Gemara (Avodah Zara 3a) tells us regarding Shabbos that one who prepares prior to Shabbos will eat on Shabbos. We should merit this Shabbos to prepare properly for Shabbos and in the merit of our preparation and observance of Shabbos, HaShem will bring us the Ultimate Redemption, speedily, in our days.

Shabbos in Tefillah

Tovim meoros shebara Elokeinu, good are the luminaries that our G-d has created. In the simple sense this passage is based on the verse regarding the luminaries that states (Bereishis 1:18) vayar Elokim ki tov, and G-d saw that it was good. Thus, we refer to the luminaries as good. In a deeper sense, however, we can suggest that this passage alludes to Moshe, of whom it is said (Shemos 2:2) vateireh oso ki tov hu, she saw that he was good. The Gemara (Sota 12a) states that this teaches us that when Moshe was born, the entire house was filled with light. Jewish leaders are referred to as luminaries (See Sukkah 29a) Thus, we declare that the luminaries, i.e. the Torah leaders and the righteous that HaShem created are good, as they show us the proper path in serving HaShem.

Shabbos Story

Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky writes: Rabbi Shimshon Zelig Fortman was the Rav of Congregation Knesseth Israel in Far Rockaway during the 1940s. During that period, the naysayers had all but discounted any chance of a rebirth of Orthodox Jewry. They had hardly a voice in Washington, they were disorganized and fragmented, and the destruction of European Jewry was almost the last nail in the alleged coffin of traditional Torah Yiddishkeit. Rabbi Fortman had a young son-in-law, Moshe, who had studied in Yeshiva Ner Israel in Baltimore. He would tell his father in-law how he saw a future for Orthodox Jewry that was filled with honor and power. Their representatives would have direct access to Congress, the Senate, and even the President of the United States. They would influence legislation with their values and fill stadiums and coliseums with Torah assemblies and prayer gatherings! Rabbi Fortman was very concerned about his young son-in-law's ivory-towered dreams. He felt that he the dreams distracted him and he would never accomplish anything. Rabbi Yosef Kahanamen, the Ponovezer Rav had recently come to America to raise funds for his Yeshiva in Israel and was staying by Rabbi Fortman in Far Rockaway. Surely, Rabbi Fortman thought, Rabbi Kahanamen would terminate Moshe's fantasies and teach him about the realities of accomplishment. Moshe and Rabbi Kahanamen met for nearly an hour. The Rav listened intently and then told young Moshe, “Dream my son. Continue to dream. In fact you can continue to dream as long as you live. But remember one thing. Never fall asleep.” Young Moshe was eventually known to hundreds of thousands of Jews world-over as the man who may have been one of the most influential personalities in the emergence of Torah Jewry today Rabbi Moshe Sherer, the President of Agudath Israel of America until his passing this past year.

Rabbi Kamenetzky writes further: Rabbi Yisrael Lipkin of Salant, the founder of the mussar movement, once stayed at an inn. The inn was quite crowded and the innkeeper realized that he was low on meat. Seeing a distinguished and pious-looking Jew with a beard, the innkeeper approached Reb Yisrael. “Are you perhaps a shochet? You see, I am running low on meat and I must slaughter a cow.” Reb Yisrael was taken aback. “I would love to help,” he stammered, “but unfortunately I am not a ritual slaughterer.” The next morning Rabbi Lipkin approached the innkeeper. “I have a tremendous business opportunity. If you were to invest a few hundred rubles with me, I can guarantee a nice return.” The man looked quizzically at the rabbi. “Reb Yid,” he stammered. “I hardly know you! How do you expect me to invest with you? Give me a few references, and as many days, and let me check out the deal in its entirety. Then we can meet and I'll make my decision.” “Aha!” Exclaimed the great mussar luminary. “Just yesterday, you were about to trust me with the ritual slaughter of your cow. You were going to feed you guests with that meat based on the appearance of my frock and beard. Nevertheless, you would not invest a few rubles on those same grounds. Shouldn’t one treat his spiritual skepticism on the same level as his financial uncertainties?” [Reprinted with permission from]

Shabbos in Navi

Shoftim Chapter 19

In this chapter we learn of the tragic incident referred to as Pilegesh biGivah, the concubine of Givah. A man allowed his concubine to be violated by a lawless band of thugs and the concubine died. Her master sliced her body into twelve pieces and sent her parts throughout Eretz Yisroel. This caused an outrage as we will discuss next week. What lesson can we take from this incident? Certainly no one that we associate with would stoop to such depravity. Yet, we must realize that all Jews are responsible for each other. We cannot hear stories of misconduct and merely shrug our shoulders. We must be filled with anguish when we are made aware of such a shocking incident. Similarly, this week there was a tragic terrorist act in Eretz Yisroel where an Arab (yemach shemom vizichram) killed and injured Jews with a tractor. It appears that our hearts have turned to stone as we can hear of such an atrocity and remain silent. We must pray to HaShem that He save us from the hands of our enemies. The merit of observing Shabbos should allow us to know only good tidings, and witness the rebuilding of Jerusalem, the Bais HaMikdash, and the arrival of Moshiach, speedily, in our days.

Shabbos in Agadah

The Sfas Emes (Beshalach 5643) writes that we know that HaShem gave the Jewish People the mitzvah of Shabbos while they were in Marah. This being the case, why does it say regarding the giving of the manna (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. Did they not already receive the Shabbos? The Sfas Emes explains that although the Jewish People had received the commandment regarding the Shabbos in Marah, when HaShem gave the manna, they also received the gift of Shabbos. Incorporated in this gift was the preparation for Shabbos on the sixth day of the week when the Jewish People are bestowed with a light that allows us to receive the Shabbos. Thus, upon receiving the manna the Jewish People merited to receive the connection that allows them to perceive the light of Shabbos.

Shabbos in Halacha

Regarding liquids, one must always use a blech unless they are above yad soeldes bo at the onset of Shabbos. We have learned previously that it is not clear the exact definition of yad soledes bo and only a temperature of 160º F can be deemed to be definitely yad soeldes bo. Thus, one must use a blech to maintain liquids on the stove unless they are above 160º F at the onset of Shabbos.

Shabbos in Numbers and Words

In the Shabbos Shacharis prayers we recite the words laKel asher shavas mikol hamaasim bayom hashevii nisalah viyashav al kisei kevodo, to the G-d Who rested from all works, Who on the seventh Day was elevated and sat on the Throne of His Glory. It is noteworthy that the first letters of the words mikol hamaasim, in mispar katan, digit sum, equal 9, and the word Shabbos in mispar katan also equals 9. Furthermore, the first letters of the words laKel asher shavas and of the words bayom hashevii equal in mispar katan 7, which alludes to Shabbos, the seventh day of the week.

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Chukas 5768

Is sponsored by the Kozadayev family in memory of Mrs. Adel Kozadayev’s father, Nachum ben Reuven ob”m.

I will not be giving a class in Navi Shabbos afternoon

at Congregation Dovid Ben Nuchim-Aish Kodesh,

14800 West Lincoln, in Oak Park

Have a wonderful and delightful Shabbos

Prepared by Rabbi Binyomin Adler.

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