Thursday, September 11, 2008

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Ki Seitzei 5768

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Ki Seitzei 5768

Shabbos in the Parashah

In this week’s parashah the Torah discusses the laws of going out to battle. One of the laws of battle is that the Jewish People retain a state of sanctity in the camp. It is said (Devarim 23:10) ki seitzei machaneh al oyvecho vinishmarta mikol davar ra, when a camp goes out against your enemies, you shall guard against anything evil. Further on it is said (Ibid verse 15) ki HaShem Elokecha mishaleich bikerev machanecho lihatzilcho vilaseis oyvecho lifaenecho vihayah machanecho kadosh vilo yireh vicho ervas davar vishav meiacharecho, for HaShem, your G-d, walks in the midst of your camp to rescue you and to deliver your enemies before you; so your camp shall be holy, so that he will not see a shameful thing among you and turn away from behind you. The Torah is telling us that the key to salvation is through modesty. When the Jewish People act in a modest fashion, their camp is deemed to be holy and HaShem allows His Presence to reside amongst them. This idea is reflected in the following teaching from the Gerrer Rebbe, the Lev Simcha. It is said (Ibid 24:15) biyomo sitein sicharo, on that day shall you pay his hire. The first letters of the words biyomo sitein sicharo spell out the word Shabbos. The Lev Simcha writes that it is said (Ibid 21:10) ki seitzei lamilchama al oyvecho unsano HaShem Elokecha biyadecha vishavisa shivyo, when you will go out to war against your enemies, and HaShem, your G-d, will deliver him into your hand, and you will capture his captivity. The Lev Simcha cites a Medrash that interprets the verse as follows: ki seitzei lamilchama al oyvecho refers to the days of the week, and unsano HaShem Elokecha biyadecha refers to Shabbos. The Lev Simcha writes that this is the meaning of the verse that states biyomo sitein sicharo, on that day shall you pay his hire. On the day of HaShem, which is Shabbos, as that is when HaShem rested, you shall pay his hire, i.e. HaShem will give you a reward. Based on the words of the Lev Simcha we can interpret the verses said regarding being modest when going out to battle in the same manner. When one goes out to battle, he is warring with the Evil Inclination, who tempts a person with desires that he is not accustomed to when at home. Nonetheless, when one acts in a modest fashion, he captures his captivity, i.e. he subdues the Evil Inclination. The weekday is the battle ground with the Evil Inclination. When a Jew battles his Evil Inclination during the week and succeeds in overwhelming the Evil Inclination, then vishavisa shivyo, he will earn the reward of Shabbos. It is noteworthy that in the word vishavisa is the word Shabbos. Hashem should allow us to serve him in a modest fashion, and make our camps holy, and then we will merit the holiness of Shabbos and the day that will be completely Shabbos and rest day for eternal life.

Shabbos in the Zemiros

Askinu Seudasa

Composed by the Arizal, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria

Limeevad nishmasin viruchin chaditin bisartin uvislasin uvislasa shivshin, thereby creating holy souls above and new spirits below, With the thirty-two paths of wisdom with the three-branched Torah. Shabbos is a time of renewal. The Sfas Emes writes repeatedly that Shabbos is a time when everything returns to its roots. The thirty-two paths of wisdom reflect the word lev, heart, which equals thirty-two in gematria. The renewal of a Jew can be found in his heart. When one opens up his heart to serve HaShem, he is granted renewal and a new spirit to serve HaShem with even more love. The Torah is comprised of three branches, which are the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings. The number there denotes a strong bond which cannot be broken. Perhaps it is for this reason that we eat three meals on Shabbos, to demonstrate that our connection to HaShem is strong and cannot be broken.

Shabbos in Tefillah

Tiferes ugedulah seraphim vichayos viofanei hakodesh, splendor and greatness – the Seraphim, Chayos, and holy Ophanim. One must wonder what connection the Holy Angels have to the Holy Shabbos. The Gemara (Shabbos 89a) states that when Moshe ascended to Heaven to receive the Torah, the angels protested to HaShem that man should not receive the Torah. One of the responses that Moshe gave to the angels was that they do not have Shabbos, as they do not work during the week. This being the case, why would the angels associate with the Shabbos? It would seem, however, that this passage demonstrates to us that Shabbos is not merely a day of rest from the toil of the week. Rather, Shabbos is a day when HaShem rested, so to speak, and it is for this reason that we are praising HaShem. Thus, the angels also have a connection to Shabbos, as the essence of Shabbos is to praise HaShem, Who rested on the Seventh day.

Shabbos Story

Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky writes: One of the most poignant episodes in the fascinating life of the Ger Tzedek of Vilna, Avraham ben Avraham, came in the last moments of his life. Avraham ben Avraham was born as Count Potocki, and converted after taking an interest to Judaism while studying in the University of Paris. He eventually returned to Vilna the ranks of the perushim, those who separated themselves for a life of total Torah immersion. His family had conducted a massive search for him and when he was found he was turned over to the inquisitorial board of the church that could not persuade him to forego Judaism. He was sentenced to the auto-de-fé death by fire. An old friend of the Count from the days before his conversion was the one who was appointed to light the bonfire. As the pyre was being formed and the flames about to be set, the man approached the ger. Fearful of the terrible crime he was about to perpetrate, he asked the holy convert, “When you come to heaven are you going to ask your G-d to enact Heavenly retribution against me?” Ignoring the commotion that surrounded him, Avraham ben Avraham smiled. “Let me tell you a story,” he began. “When I was a young child, my father gave me a beautiful toy soldier which I cherished. One day you came to play with me and because your soldier was nowhere as nice as mine. You were obviously jealous. So when you thought I was not looking, you broke my soldier. I was enraged, and I swore to take revenge. “Of course when I grew older, the whole incident was a joke to me. I realized that compared to all the accomplishments I had in my life and the wealth I was to inherit, the silly soldier meant nothing to me! It never again crossed my mind.” The ger tzedek emitted a slight laugh. “I am about to enter the world of Olam HaBah. In my religion, one who sanctifies his life for the sake of Judaism is considered the greatest of all the righteous. Believe me, when I receive my awaited award, your fate will be as irrelevant to me as the fate of my toy soldier! Do not fear. I will not have the need or even desire to think of taking revenge for your inane acts of this petty world.”

Rabbi Kamenetzky writes further: A brilliant young student entered the portals of Yeshiva Torah Voda'ath in the 1940s. Hailing from a distinguished rabbinic family which instilled within him a creative mind, he questioned some of the arcane dormitory rules and restrictions that were imposed with boys of less character in mind. But rules, said the dormitory counselor, are rules and he wanted to have the young student temporarily expelled until he would agree to conform. An expulsion of that sort would have left the young man (who lived out of town) no alternative but to leave the Yeshiva. They brought the matter before the Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetzky. “True,” he said, “rules are rules, but I owe this young man something.” The dorm counselor looked stunned. “In the 1800s this boy’s great-grandfather helped establish the kollel (fellowship program for married Torah scholars) at which I would study some decades later. I owe his family a debt of gratitude. If the rules disallow his stay in the dormitory, then he will sleep in my home.” [Reprinted with permission from]

Shabbos in Navi

Shmuel I Chapter 8

In this chapter we learn of the Jewish People’s request from Shmuel that he appoint a king over them. Shmuel complained to HaShem and HaShem responded that they were not rejecting Shmuel as a leader. Rather, they were rejecting HaShem from reigning over them. Shmuel then proceeded to inform the nation that the king would dominate them in all areas of life, but the Jewish people nonetheless insisted that they have a king who would reign over them. We are used to a democracy, but the concept of a Jewish king contradicts such a free lifestyle. In truth, however, even if we were not ruled by a king, we are still under the reign of HaShem. The Gemara (Megillah 14a) states that we do not recite Hallel on Purim. The reason for this ruling is because when we left Egypt, we were no longer slaves to Pharaoh. Rather we had become slaves to HaShem. When we were saved from the decree of HaShem, we still remained as slaves to Achashveirosh. This teaching should leave us bewildered. Is it possible that for over two thousand years, in a certain sense, HaShem has not been a king? A different perspective of this idea would be that for over two thousand years, we have been slaves to the nations of the world. Yet, every week HaShem gives us the opportunity to throw off the shackles of slavery by entering into the Holy Shabbos, a day when all harsh judgments are removed, and we are free to serve HaShem properly. This thought should prompt us to repent our ways immediately, and then we will merit the day when HaShem alone will be king over us and the entire world.

Shabbos in Agadah

The Imrei Emes, the Gerrer Rebbe, writes (Ki Seitzei 5677) that it is brought in Tikkunei Zohar that on Shabbos we are prohibited from performing forty acts of labor minus one, and this number corresponds to the forty minus one lashes that one receives upon violating a negative commandment. One who is scrupulous to avoid performing one of the thirty-nine acts of labor on Shabbos does not require thirty-nine lashes. The Imrei Emes cites the Targum attributed to Yonasan who states that regarding lashes it is said (Devarim 25:3) viniklah achicho lieinecho, and your brother will be degraded in your eyes. The Targum renders the words to mean that your brother should not be ashamed. The Imrei Emes writes that this means that one should not be ashamed because of the lashes. Rather, one should be ashamed because of the sin that he has committed. On Shabbos, however, one can shame himself without actually being whipped. The Zohar states that the word Bereishis is an acrostic for the words yarei Shabbos¸ fear of Shabbos, and for the words yarei boshes, fear which leads to shame. Shabbos contains within it a chastisement to an understanding heart, and it is for this reason that one does not receive lashes on Shabbos.

Shabbos in Halacha

One can only return a fully cooked item that is removed from the blech on Shabbos while the food is warm. This means that it can still be enjoyed as a warm food or drink. Once cooled, however, the fully cooked item cannot be returned to the blech, as this would be deemed a new initial warming procedure. [Regarding liquids, once they are cooled, the prohibition of cooking also applies.]

Shabbos in Numbers and Words

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. It is fascinating to note that the word ledorosam forms an acrostic for the words dal rosam, remove the hot fiery coals, an allusion to the Gemara (Sanhedrin 65b) states that on Shabbos the fires of Gehinom rest and the wicked are granted respite from their punishment.

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Ki Seitzei 5768

Is sponsored as a zechus lirifuah shileima

Yeruchem Shmuel Ben Dina bisoch shaar cholei Yisroel

I will be giving a class in Navi Shabbos afternoon

at Congregation Dovid Ben Nuchim-Aish Kodesh,

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

Have a wonderful and delightful Shabbos and may we merit this year the speedy arrival of Moshiach Tzidkienu bimheira viyameinu amen.

Prepared by Rabbi Binyomin Adler.

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