Erev Shabbos Kodesh Chukas Inspiration 5775


This week we learn of the calamitous sin of מי מריבה, where HaShem instructed Moshe to speak to the rock to draw forth water for the Jewish People. Moshe chose instead to hit the rock and HaShem punished him by banning him from entering into Eretz Yisroel.

The Torah precedes this incident with the following verse (Bamidbar 20:1)וַיָּבֹאוּ בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל כָּל הָעֵדָה מִדְבַּר צִן בַּחֹדֶשׁ הָרִאשׁוֹן וַיֵּשֶׁב הָעָם בְּקָדֵשׁ וַתָּמָת שָׁם מִרְיָם וַתִּקָּבֵר שָׁם, the Children of Israel, the whole assembly, arrived at the Wilderness of Tzin, in the first month and the people settled in Kadesh. Miriam died there and she was buried there. Rashi (Verse 2) writes that the juxtaposition of the death of Miriam to the incident by Mei Merivah teaches us that for the entire forty years in the Wilderness, the Jewish People were sustained with water in tahor merit of Miriam. If we look at the words מי מריבה, we will discover the word מִרְיָם contained within. Furthermore, the first time the Jewish People complained for water, it is said (Shemos 15:23) וַיָּבֹאוּ מָרָתָה וְלֹא יָכְלוּ לִשְׁתֹּת מַיִם מִמָּרָה כִּי מָרִים הֵם עַל כֵּן קָרָא שְׁמָהּ מָרָה, they came to Marah, but they could not drink the waters of Marah because they were bitter; therefore they named it Marah. Here again we see the name מִרְיָם in the words כִּי מָרִים הֵם. Indeed, the Medrash (Pesikta Parashas HaChodesh) states that she was thus called because of the bitterness that the Jewish People endured from their Egyptian taskmasters. Nonetheless, it would seem odd that she would carry this “bitterness” with her throughout life.

In order to understand this enigma, it is worth citing an incident with the Satmar Rav zt”l. The Rebbe once asked someone how he is faring and the person responded, “הכל בסדר,” i.e. everything is fine, whereas the Rebbe retorted, “at the Seder (on Pesach) there is also מרור,” i.e. everything in life is not always perfect. The Torah begins Parashas Chukas with the discussion of the always regarding Parah Adumah, the Red Heifer that is used to purify one who has contracted corpse tumah. This mitzvah is referred to as a חק, a mitzvah without a rationale. It is noteworthy that when the Jewish People first complained for water in Marah, it is said (Ibid verse 25) וַיִּצְעַק אֶל יְהֹוָה וַיּוֹרֵהוּ יְהוָֹה עֵץ וַיַּשְׁלֵךְ אֶל הַמַּיִם וַיִּמְתְּקוּ הַמָּיִם שָׁם שָׂם לוֹ חֹק וּמִשְׁפָּט וְשָׁם נִסָּהוּ, he cried out to HaShem, and HaShem showed him a tree; he threw it into the water and the water became sweet. There he established for [the nation] a decree and an ordinance, and there he tested it. The word שָׁם שָׂם are the same words that the Torah uses regarding the death of Miriam. Based on the incident with the Satmar Rav, we can suggest that the Torah is hinting to the idea that in life there is always bitterness which is a חֹק, an ordinance, that is not rationale. Our job is to merely accept the vicissitudes of life that HaShem sends our way. The silver lining in all this is that after Miriam dies, we learn that the water that the Jewish People drank throughout their sojourn in the Wideners was in her merit. When one accepts the bitterness in life, one will discover the blessings that HaShem has provided for all along.

May we merit a Sweet and Revealing Shabbos!

Rabbi Adler

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Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim: Chukas 5775


Chukas 5775

New Stories Chukas 5775

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Chukas 5775

The Tribe of Levi, a Higher Standard

Introduction

ויאמר ה’ אל משה ואל אהרן יען לא האמנתם בי להקדישני לעיני בני ישראל לכן לא תביאו את הקבל השה אל הארץ אשר נתתי להם, HaShem said to Moshe and Aharon, “Because you did not believe in Me to sanctify Me in the eyes of the Children of Israel, therefore you will not bring this congregation to the Land that I had given them.” (Bamidbar 20:12)
In this week’s parasha we learn about how the Jewish People complained about the lack of water and HaShem instructed Moshe to take his stick and speak to the rock to draw forth water for the people. Moshe instead hit the rock, thus causing a desecration of HaShem’s Name and forfeiting his privilege of entering into Eretz Yisroel. The Ibn Ezra and the Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh cite many opinions regarding Moshe’s sin. Some commentators posit that Moshe’s sin was that he became angered with the Jewish People and for this reason HaShem punished him by not granting him entry into Eretz Yisroel. Other commentaries write that Moshe sinned because he disobeyed HaShem’s commandment of speaking to the rock and instead he struck the rock and this was not the correct method for producing water. There are also opinions that maintain that Moshe should only have hit the rock once and not twice. Many of the commentators cite the verse in Tehillim (106:32-33) where it is said vayakitzifu al mei merivah vayeira 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, as proof for their opinions. The Medrash (Shemos Rabbah) states that matters that Moshe did not explain fully were elaborated on by Dovid HaMelech in Tehillim. What message is Dovid HaMelech conveying to us with these words?

Are Miriam and Aharon different than Moshe?

Surprisingly, most of the commentaries seem to ignore an explicit verse in the Torah that sheds much light on the incident of Moshe deviating from HaShem’s instructions. It is said (Devarim 33:8) uliLevi amar tumecha viurecha liish chasidecha asher nisiso bimassah tiriveihu al mei merivah, of Levi he said: Your Tumim and Your Urim befit Your devout one, whom You tested at Massah, and whom You challenged at the waters of Merivah. Rashi writes something that at first appears to be very puzzling. Citing the Sifri, Rashi writes that HaShem, so to speak, came upon Moshe with a libel. If Moshe uttered the words (Bamidbar 20:10) shimu na hamorim, listen now, O rebels, what did Aharon and Miriam do? The Sifri is perplexing, because it appears to be asking a rhetorical question. The explanation of the question at first glance seems to be as follows: “we understand what Moshe did wrong, and thus was deserving of a punishment, but Aharon and Miriam did not do anything, so why were they also punished?” This, however, is difficult to understand, because in this verse Moshe is blessing the tribe of Levi, so why would he publicly reprimand himself? Furthermore, how can it be that there is a libel against members of the tribe of Levi? Aharon was faulted for his involvement in the fashioning of the Golden Calf, and Miriam sinned by gossiping about Moshe. Why does the Sifri deem Moshe’s act at Mei merivah to be different?

The tribe of Levi is held to a higher standard

In order to gain a better understanding to what occurred at Mei merivah, we need to focus on the uniqueness of the tribe of Levi. The Medrash (Shemos Rabbah 5:16) states that Moshe told Pharaoh that every nation has spiritual leaders that guide the nation, and the Jewish People are no different. Pharaoh therefore allowed for one tribe to be exempt from the slavery, and that tribe was the tribe of Levi. Thus, while the entire Jewish People was enslaved to the Egyptians and were bitterly persecuted, the tribe of Levi was free to do as they pleased. When Moshe was on his way to Egypt, he was required to circumcise his son, and his delay almost cost him his life. The reason for Moshe being liable the death penalty was not because he had delayed in the circumcision, as a father is not liable the death penalty for not circumcising his son. Rather, it would appear that Moshe was being held to a higher standard than other Jews, and HaShem deemed his delay to be a desecration of His name, which was only atoned for through death. Similarly, when Aharon abetted the fashioning of the Golden Calf, he may have violated a negative commandment of fashioning an idol, but the consequences could have been more severe, if Moshe had not interceded on his behalf. HaShem wished to punish Aharon by killing all of his sons, and Moshe’s prayers were effective to save two of them from death. Aharon, as a member of the tribe of Levi, was held accountable because his tribe was placed on a pedestal, and he did not conform to the high standard that his tribe exemplified. Similarly, Miriam gossiped about Moshe and was punished. What was it that was so serious about Miriam’s act? The Medrash states that Miriam questioned why Moshe was able to separate from his wife and other prophets were not required to do this. In truth, however, Moshe was from the tribe of Levi, and the tribe of Levi always went beyond the letter of the law. An example of their transcending the normal laws is from the Gemara (Yevamos 72a) that states that while sojourning in the Wilderness, the Jewish People did not circumcise their children because they required the northern wind to blow to heal the wound. HaShem did not allow the northern wind to blow because the wind would have dispersed the Clouds of Glory. The tribe of Levi, however, put their lives at risk by leaving the clouds and circumcising their children. Thus, we see that the tribe of Levi went beyond the letter of the law to fulfill HaShem’s will. Similarly, Moshe separated from his wife so he could always be connected to HaShem. This conduct was in line with the tribe of Levi always beings separated for spiritual pursuits.

When Moshe deviated from his calling he was punished

We can now better understand what occurred regarding the Jewish People’s complaint for water and why Moshe was punished so severely. The fact that the Jewish People requested water was not unique, as the Torah records other instances where they asked for water and HaShem provided for them. The uniqueness of this incident was that Miriam had just died, and the Gemara (Taanis 9a) states that it was in her merit that the Jewish People had the water source. When the Jewish People complained about the lack of water, HaShem decided to test Moshe and Aharon to see if they would go beyond the call of duty. Whereas in the past Moshe had used his staff to produce the water, here HaShem desired that he should talk to the rock, thus transcending the laws of nature. Moshe did not fulfill HaShem’s instructions to the letter, and it was for this reason that he was punished by not being granted entry into Eretz Yisroel. In truth there is a pattern to this action and reaction, as we see when Moshe complained to HaShem that by going to Pharaoh he had only made matters worse for the Jewish People. HaShem informed Moshe that he would see what He did to Pharaoh but he would not witness what HaShem would do to the gentile kings when the Jewish People entered Eretz Yisroel. Furthermore, in the Song of the Sea it is said (Shemos 15:16-17) ad yaavor amchah HaShem am zu kanisa tivieimo visitaeimo bihar nachalascho, until Your people passes through, HaShem – until this people You have acquired passes through. You will bring them and implant them…. Rashi writes that in this verse Moshe was prophesying that he would not enter Eretz Yisroel. Why did Moshe mention this prophecy in middle of the Song? The answer to this question is that after describing the Jewish People as the nation that HaShem acquired, Moshe alluded to his own future, as he was required as a member of the tribe of Levi to set the standard for everyone else. By failing to adhere to this standard, Moshe was punished. Thus, in his blessing for the tribe of Levi, Moshe was praising the tribe for their steadfastness in fulfilling HaShem’s will. The subsequent verses testify to the tribe of Levi going beyond the call of duty by punishing the sinners who were involved in worshipping the Golden Calf. The passage further alludes to the battle that the Chashmonaim waged against the Greeks. Similarly, Dovid HaMelech in Tehillim depicts a nation that provoked HaShem at Mei merivah, and Moshe suffered on their account. The words ki himru es rucho, because they acted contrary to his spirit, is interpreted by some of the commentators (see Radak and Ibn Ezra Ibid) to be referring to Moshe. We can therefore suggest that the verse is alluding to the idea that the Jewish People caused Moshe to act contrary to his calling as a member of the tribe of Levi. This deviation resulted in Moshe being punished for his sin.

The praises of Levi allude to the higher standard

We can now understand the words of the Sifri mentioned earlier. The Sifri not asking a rhetorical question. Rather, the Sifri is noting that Moshe sinned, and the Torah records his punishment. Regarding Aharon and Miriam, however, one would be led to think that their actions did not warrant a severe punishment of not being granted entry into Eretz Yisroel. The Torah therefore continues to describe the praise of the tribe of Levi, thus hinting to the idea that Aharon and Miriam, as members of that tribe, were also held to a higher standard.

 The Shabbos Connection 

The role of the tribe of Levi is to serve as spiritual guides for the Jewish People, and as the Rambam writes (end of laws of Shemitah and Yovel) every Jew is capable of aspiring to the level of the Levites. Throughout the week we may not be able to rise to these heights, as the burden of earning a livelihood weighs us down and we struggle to transcend the world of physicality. With the arrival of Shabbos, however, we are all given the opportunity to become connected to HaShem and His Torah. The word Levi means to become attached, and HaShem should allow us to attach ourselves to His Torah and to those who study it.

Shabbos in the Zemiros

Yom Zeh LiYisroel

Some opinions attribute the authorship of this Zemer to the Arizal.

בְּשֵׁשֶׁת כִּלִיתָ מְלֶאכֶת עוֹלָמִים, in six You completed the labor of the universe. What is the significance of the number six? The word for six in Hebrew is שֵׁשׁ. The word for rejoice isשָׂשׂ  (The letters שׁ and שׂ are interchangeable). The Gemara (Chulin 60a) states that were all of creation have been asked if they were satisfied with being created, they would have responded affirmatively. Thus, we see that that throughout the “six” days of creation, all of creation rejoiced in their having been created.

Shabbos Stories

Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach the Husband

“Although it is customary to ask forgiveness from one who has died,” R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach said at his wife’s funeral, “I shall not do so. Throughout our entire marriage we never offended or hurt one another. We conducted our lives according to the Shulchan Aruch, and I have no reason to ask her forgiveness.”

The following is an example of R’ Auerbach’s exquisite sensitivity towards his wife combined with his exactitude in fulfilling the Shulchan Aruch. R’ Yitzchak Yeruchem Borodiansky told this story in one of the eulogies during the shivah week.

Once, R’ Shlomo Zalman’s sister came to his house to ask about a certain bachur who was suggested as prospective match for her daughter. When she first entered the house, there were a few people waiting to speak to R’ Shlomo Zalman. She waited until they left, and finally she was alone with R’ Shlomo Zalman and his Rebbitzen. She asked him about the bachur, and he answered, “He’s a fine boy.”

When R’ Shlomo Zalman’ sister was about to leave, he asked her if she was planning on visiting their sister in Sharei Chessed before she went home and she answered in the affirmative. Later, when she left the house of their sister, she found R’ Shlomo Zalman waiting outside. He approached her and said, |”Regarding the bachur, you should know that you should only ask about others in privacy.” “But who was there?” she said. “The Rebbitzen was there,” he said, “and she doesn’t need to hear lashon hara.” Then he told her, “Don’t follow through with this shidduch. He’s not for your daughter.”

R’ Shlomo Zalman felt responsible to convey the proper information to his sister, but he was so sensitive to his Rebbitzen’s feelings that he didn’t even want to ask her to leave the room. Instead, he used his precious time to meet his sister in another location, saving his wife from hearing lashon hara and from being insulted! (Source: The Man of Truth and Peace)

 A Lawyer Meets His Match

A Rav in England had a friend who was a lawyer, and who knew very little about Yiddishkeit. Once, this lawyer approached the Rav with a very serious dilemma. He was currently defending a non-Jew who had become involved in criminal activities. This man was extremely cunning and deceitful, and the judge who saw right through his lies, decided to prosecute his lawyer as well, since he was a partner to the criminal’s deceit. It is common practice in England that the judges can implicate the lawyers, to ensure that they do not become tainted by their clients’ wrongdoings. This lawyer was in great danger of not only of losing his right to practice his profession, but of also of receiving a heavy punishment and fine. The lawyer was anguished and worried, and at a loss of what to do. The Rav said to him, “Listen, my friend, the best advice I can give you is to do what all of Klal Yisrael does. Simply daven to the Ribbono shel Olam, and He’ll save you from this tzara.” The lawyer replied, “What! I should ask HaShem? It’s not possible, and I’ll tell you why. Once I already asked for help from Him, and I promised that I wouldn’t ask for anything else.”

The lawyer explained that few years prior, he traveled to Australia for work, and stayed there for six months. While in Australia, his only daughter, who was then seven years old, suddenly became critically ill. After many tests, it was determined that it was cancer, and she began treatment. Unfortunately, she did not respond well, and she grew sicker. One day, which happened to be Shabbos, the doctor told the lawyer that her situation is critical, and she has only a few hours to live. The distraught father decided immediately to find a shul. Despite his ignorance of Yiddishkeit, he remembered that when he became Bar Mitzvah, his father took him to shul. He searched for a shul, and eventually found one, which was unlocked. It was the middle of the day, and the shul was empty. He burst out crying and continued crying without a stop for two hours. Amidst his tears he said, “HaShem, I need to ask You something, and I promise You that I’ll never ask for anything else. I ask of You that my beloved daughter remain alive.” Eventually, the lawyer felt a sense of relief, and returned to the hospital.

He was greeted at the hospital with miraculous news – his daughter had opened her eyes. She began improving little by little, and eventually fully recovered. In fact, her new X-rays showed no sign of a cancerous growth at all, and even the doctors admitted that it was a complete miracle.

The lawyer finished speaking, “So, didn’t you hear that I promised HaShem never to ask for anything else? How can I break my promise?”

The Rav said, “Your promise is not valid! HaShem is not a person. You can continue to request whatever you need from Him.”

The lawyer followed his advice, and was declared innocent. (Shaal Avicha Veyegadcha) (www.Revach.net)

Shabbos in Halacha

לישה – Kneading

  1. Permitted Methods of  Kneading
  1. שינוי בלישה – A Shinui in the Method of Kneading 

After the ingredients have been combined, mixing or stirring them is itself an act of kneading. To stir the ingredients, therefore, one must mix them in an irregular manner. The {Poskim approve a number of permitted methods. Here we will focus only on the practical methods.

  1. שתי וערב – Mixing With Crisscross Strokes 

One permitted method is to move [the fork or spoon] through the mixture in a crisscross fashion, changing direction with each stroke, rather than the commonly used method of continuous circular motion. When one mixes in this manner, it is preferable that one lift the fork or spoon out of the mixture with each change of direction.

Shabbos Ta’am HaChaim: Chukas 5775

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New Stories Chukas 5775

Saying Goodbye to Mom

My mother was a strong, opinionated dynamo. How could she be gone, just like that?

By Rabbi Nechemia Coopersmith

It felt like quite a while since I last spoke to my mom on the phone to bring her up to date with everything going on in our lives in Jerusalem, tell her what’s up with the kids, how our daughter Avia is doing a month after getting married.

And then I remembered.

I can’t call my mother and have one of our laid back chats; she died almost three weeks ago. I will never speak to her again.

For a brief moment the reality of my mother’s death hit me. My mother was such a formidable life-force, a strong, opinionated, forthright dynamo whose presence naturally commanded respect. How could she be gone, just like that? It’s not denial that I’m experiencing; it’s that my mother exuded so much passion and life it’s hard to imagine she is no longer here. It doesn’t seem possible.

The reality is slowly trickling in.

My mother, Myrtle Coopersmith, was 83 years old. My father, Dr. Harvey Coopersmith, celebrated his 83rdbirthday while we were sitting shiva in Toronto – the first time in 15 years the entire family was together. This August my parents would have celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary.

Allow me to share with you a few things about my mother and her final days.

Family First

Family was my mother’s first priority. She received tremendous satisfaction being a wife and mother. Her first priority was my father, whom she placed on a pedestal (“Ask Harv,” she’d tell people, “he knows everything.”) and then her five kids (all of whom at one point were under six years old – quite uncommon for a non-observant family in the sixties.)

When my father, then a family doctor, wanted to go back to school to specialize in endocrinology, my mother encouraged him to do so, knowing it meant he would not be around much for the next three years. My father would in turn drop everything to be home for dinner with the family at 6PM sharp, and then go back to the hospital.

My mother was the matriarch of the family, her kitchen was her royal office and her throne was at the head of the dining room table, where we would gather every Friday night. Decades later, when the entire family would come together around the dining room table, (a rare occurrence with my brother and I living in Israel), she would inevitably take in the scene and cry tears of joy and nachas.

A Jewish Leader

In addition to raising her family and cooking up storms (my mother was an amazing cook) my mother was always actively involved in community work, taking leadership positions. When we were kids she was the president of the PTA and the president of her Hadassah-Wizo chapter. She was the chairman of the Hadassah Bazaar, an annual one-day garage sale on steroids which raised one million dollars. She also became the president of Hadassah-Wizo Toronto.

She would get powerful businessmen on the phone soliciting funds first thing in the morning, sitting in her robe at her kitchen table. They stood no chance against my mother’s authoritative professional demeanor. You don’t say no to Myrtle Coopersmith.

During the shiva, a woman very involved in the Toronto Jewish community told me that my mother was her mentor. I was surprised. Apparently many decades ago my mother saw a need to galvanize the next generation of Jewish women to take active roles in the community and led a mission to Israel with the condition that participants give back to their community and assume leadership positions upon their return.

My parents were instrumental in helping Aish HaTorah get on its feet in Toronto, in the early days of the ba’al teshuva movement when many people viewed young 20-somethings becoming religious as cult-like behavior.

Saying It like It Is

My mother despised phoniness and had that ability to pierce through people’s armor and see what they were really made of. She was never shy to speak her mind no matter who she was talking to.

In 1979, when my brother Eric decided to stay in Jerusalem and study at Aish HaTorah, my mother, like a lioness protecting her cubs, flew to Jerusalem to meet Rabbi Noah Weinberg, o.b.m., to find out what this unknown yeshiva was about. After meeting my mother, Rabbi Weinberg told my brother, “In all my years of being a Rabbi, no one has ever spoken to me like that!”

That was the beginning of my parents’ relationship with Rav Noah. He had great respect for my parents, and my parents had great admiration and respect for him.

During that initially tumultuous time, Eric asked my mother, “What bothers you so much about my getting into Judaism? It’s not drugs or Hare Krishna. It’s the same Judaism that means so much to you.”

My mother’s answer solved the mystery. “I don’t want Rav Noah to replace your father as the most important man in your life.” Underneath it all, it was all about my mother’s love and respect for my dad.

“No one can or will ever replace Dad,” my brother replied.

Her Final Days

A couple of weeks before my daughter’s wedding it became clear that my mother was ailing and that my parents would have to miss the first major family simcha (celebration) in Jerusalem. My daughter, who was very close to her bubby and in some ways very similar to her, was crestfallen.

My wife and I flew out to visit right after sheva brachos was over, along with my brother and his wife. My mother was at home with 24-hour hospice care and we were fortunate to spend her last good week with her. She refused to take any medication because she did not want it to cloud her mind.

Before my brother and his wife returned home to Jerusalem, she told them, “Bring Moishie.” Eric’s son Moishie is the eldest grandchild, and my mother had a very special relationship with him that began when he was a nursing infant. Two months after he was born Eric and his wife visited my parents. My sister-in-law needed to be hospitalized for a serious but not life-threatening ailment. She ended up requiring surgery and stayed in the hospital for two months.

During that time my mother, without hesitation, became Moishie’s surrogate mother, taking care of him 24/7, bundling him up every day in the middle of winter to bring him to his mother in the hospital, never once giving my sister-in-law the feeling that she was somehow inconvenienced.

That period when my mother took care of Moishie when no one else could forged a special bond between them. She wanted to see him one last time before she died.

Ten days later, Eric returned with his son, now a married man with children of his own. They arrived Thursday night and at this point my mother was very weak. When they walked into her room she opened her eyes, smiled, and said, “Moishie!”

At 5:30 AM the next morning my mother peacefully passed away. Jewish law stipulates that from time of death until burial the deceased cannot be left alone. The soul is hovering over the body and can be disoriented and confused. Shomrim, those who watch and guard the deceased, recite Psalms that provides comfort and soothing to the soul. While my father and siblings were making arrangements for the funeral, Moishie watched my mother, taking care of her soul when no one else could, returning my mother’s kindness so many years later. (www.aish.com)

 

 

 

 

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Erev Shabbos Kodesh Korach Inspiration 5775


I had the privilege this week to speak to a fifth grade girls class upon their siyum of Chumash Shemos. The question I posed is, why do we celebrate the completion of a Chumash or Mesechta? Furthermore, what is the connection between Korach and a siyum?

I was once standing on Har Hazeisim, the Mount of Olives, and I contemplated its name. The verse in Koheles (7:1) entered my mind, where it is said טוֹב שֵׁם מִשֶּׁמֶן טוֹב, a good name is better than good oil. Clearly the name הר הזיתים is a euphemism for the idea that a good name is preferred to good oil. The Medrash (Koheles Rabbah 7:1)  states that we find that people who were saturated with oil, i.e. Nadav and Avihu were anointed as Kohanim, entered into a place of life, i.e. the Kodesh HaKodashim, and died, whereas people with a stellar name, i.e. Chananya, Mishael and Azaryah, entered into a place of death,. i.e. they were cast into the fire, and they emerged alive. It is noteworthy that the Rokeach (based on Bamidbar Rabbah 18:16) in this week’s parasha writes that Korach said, “Aharon was anointed with a drop of oil, whereas I am the son of יצהר, who is completely oil.” Clearly Korach did not subscribe to the idea that a good name is better than good oil.

When the Nazis entered the city of Krakow, they led the Jews to the cemetery and demanded the destruction of the tombstones. One Jew was having difficulty destroying a tombstone, and the Nazi supervising him grabbed the ax, yelling, “dirty Jew, I’ll show you how to get the job done!’ The Nazi swung at the tombstone and the metal of the ax went flying off, almost killing the Nazi. Of course, in the perverted world of the Nazis, the Jew would have been dead on the spot, but somehow, somewhere, in the recesses of the Nazi’s sewer mind, he was able to acknowledge that something supernatural was taking place here. The Nazi left the Jew alone and wandered off to cause mischief with the other hapless Jews. The Jew, in the meantime, was curious whose tombstone this was that merited such protection. He bent down and scraped off the dirt encrusted on the stone, and lo and behold, he discovered the identity of the person buried there. No, it was not the famous Rema, Rabbi Moshe Isserles, who wrote glosses on the Shulchan Aruch. Nor was it the legendary Rebbe Reb Heschel of Krakow. In fact, it was not the grave of any of the leading sages of Krakow from past centuries. It was the grave of a woman, named Sara Schenirer, founder of the Bais Yaakov movement!

Sara Schenirer started a movement that has been perpetuated until this very day, and we can see the fruits of her labor. When we make a siyum, we are acknowledging our accomplishments of the past and we then continue on to even greater accomplishments. Korach, on the other hand, sought to bring an end to the Jewish People. How did he wish to accomplish this? By declaring that everyone is holy, and Hashem’s appointment of Moshe and Aharon as leaders was false. When one does not trust HaShem’s judgment, there is no hope for continuity.

Yaakov requested that his name not be mentioned regarding the quarrel of Korach and his entourage. What was Yaakov concerned about? The Gemara (Taanis 5b) teaches us that Yaakov never died. The Gemara explains that this means that Yaakov’s life was perpetuated through his descendants. When Yaakov foresaw Korach’s’ evil plan, he expressed his wish not to be associated with any plan that would bring an end to the Jewish People,. How fitting, then, was the punishment of Korach and his group, that they descended alive into the earth. For eternity, Korach and his followers are forced to acknowledge the continuity of the Jewish People.

HaShem should give us the awareness of how fortunate we are to be His Chosen People and that we are a part of eternity.

Have an Everlasting Shabbos!

Rabbi Adler

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Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim: Korach 5775


Korach 5775

New Stories Korach 5775

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Korach 5775

Having the Right Perspective

Introduction

In this week’s parashah the Torah records the rebellion that Korach staged against Moshe. Every year we are confounded by the audacity of Korach and his entourage as they attempt to persuade the Jewish People that Korach is the correct person for the job, i.e. leading the Jewish People and Moshe and Aharon should step down. One may be led to draw a parallel of this scenario to the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, where there have been suggestions in the past that the Arab people could actually govern themselves without requiring any assistance from the Israeli government. Anyone who is logical would realize that this situation would be untenable and the civilized land would instantly be transformed to chaos and anarchy. Similarly, had Korach assumed the leadership position, it is possible that he would have undermined the basic tenets of the Torah and lead the entire nation towards apostasy. How, then, can we understand what Korach had intended and what the Jewish People were hoping to gain from this revolt?

Korach Had Distorted Vision

It is well-known that any person who is mentioned in Scripture was of a high spiritual level. This is despite the appearance of an apparently glaring deficiency that this person may have had in his character. Regarding Korach Rashi quotes the Medrash that states that Korach was a piekeiach, literally translated as a smart person. The word piekeiach, however, has another meaning, as we recite in the morning blessings that HaShem is pokeiach ivrim, He opens the eyes of those who cannot see. Thus, Korach had far-reaching vision, to the point where he saw in a vision that the great prophet Shmuel would be one of his descendants, and this led Korach to believe that this greatness should descend from him. It is noteworthy that at Sinai, it is said (Shemos 20:15) vichol haam roim es hakolos vies halapidim vies hahar ashein vayar haam vayanuu vayaamdu meirachok, the entire people saw the thunder and the flames, the sound of the shofar and the smoking mountain; the people saw and trembled and stood from afar. The Jewish People all saw sounds, which is ordinarily impossible for a human being to perceive. Korach claimed that the entire nation is holy, and as Rashi comments, Korach declared that the entire Jewish People had heard the commandments at Sinai. Yet, Korach, by pursuing his dreams of grandeur, demonstrated that his perception of holy matters had become distorted.

Tzitzis Provides Clear Vision

At the end of last week’s parashah, Shelach, it is said (Bamidbar 15:39) vihayah lachem litzitzis urisem oso uzchartem es kol mitzvos HaShem vaasisem osam vilo sasuru acharei livavchem viacharei eineichem asher atem zonim achareihem, it shall constitute tzitzis for you, that you may see it and remember all the commandments of HaShem and perform them; and not explore after your heart and after your eyes which you stray. The Medrash states that the color of techeiles, blue-dyed wool that is used on the tzitzis, is similar in color to the sea. The Sea is akin to the firmament, and the firmament is similar to the Heavenly Throne. Thus, by gazing at the tzitzis, or more specifically, at the significance of the mitzvah of tzitzis, one can reach a level where he is aware of HaShem’s Presence in his life. The Medrash (Bamidbar Rabbah 18:3) states that the juxtaposition of the parashah of tzitzis to the parashah of Korach is that Korach scorned the mitzvah of tzitzis. Korach accomplished this when he and two hundred and fifty men from his entourage donned clothing that was comprised completely of techeiles and approached Moshe. They asked Moshe, “do these garments require that tzitzis be hung on them?” Moshe responded in the affirmative, whereby Korach mockingly declared, “if a garment that is completely comprised of techeiles is required to have tzitzis, can four strings absolve one’s obligation of tzitzis?’ Here again is an example of how Korach’s perception was distorted. Instead of utilizing techeiles as an opportunity to be cognizant of HaShem’s Presence in his life, Korach chose to scorn HaShem and His Torah. Thus, Korach wished to prove to the Jewish People that everything was a matter of perspective. This is similar to the claims that we hear in our times that the Torah is Heaven forbid, open to interpretation. Nothing could be further from the truth. HaShem gave us the Torah and the mitzvos contained within as a vehicle to come closer to Him and not as a pretense to scorn Him and the Torah.

The Shabbos Connection

Similarly, HaShem bestowed upon His Chosen Nation His Holy Shabbos, a day when we can perceive far more than we are capable of perceiving during the week. It is said (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. The Medrash (Medrash Tehillim §92) states that Shlomo HaMelech contemplated all seven days of the week and he was able to find fault with the creation of six days but he could not find fault with the Shabbos, as it is a day of complete holiness and rest. Nonetheless, one who violates the Shabbos is punished with death, so even regarding Shabbos, Shlomo HaMelech declared that it is haveil havalim, futility of futilities (Koheles 1:2). This teaches us that we must have the correct perspective of everything holy, and when we observe the Shabbos properly, HaShem will reward us beyond our expectations.

Shabbos in the Zemiros

Yom Zeh LiYisroel

Some opinions attribute the authorship of this Zemer to the Arizal.

קִדַּשְׁתָּ בֵּרַכְתָּ, אוֹתוֹ מִכָּל יָמִים, You hallowed, You blessed it more than any days. How is Shabbos more sanctified and blessed than the rest of the week? The Zohar states that the six days of the week are blessed from the Holy Shabbos. This statement would appear to contradict the idea that Shabbos is more blessed than the any other day, as any blessing that other days have is only due to the blessing of Shabbos. In what way, then, is Shabbos a more blessed than any other day? The answer to this question is based on a concept espoused often by the Sfas Emes, that the word ברכה is associated with the word הרכבה, grafting. We can thus interpret the statement that Shabbos is more blessed than any other day as follows: Specifically because all the days of the week derive their nourishment from the Holy Shabbos, the Shabbos is more grafted, i.e. connected to the days of the week than the days of the week are connected to Shabbos. This is because the roots of a tree are always stronger than the branches.

Shabbos Stories

Removed from the “Mizrach Vant”

Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky writes: In the mid 1800’s, Rabbi Avraham Shmuel of Aishishok served as the Rav of the town of Rassein, a small village near Kownus, Lithuania. A brilliant scholar and the author of the Amudei Aish, the community revered him and afforded him the utmost respect. Unfortunately, the Czar government of that era had different visions for a rabbi and appointed their own lackey, a puppet of the state known as a Rav Mitaam. The Rav Mitaam served as the official liaison to the Russian Government and any official dictate or transaction, having to do with Judaism, went only through the Rav Mitaam. Unfortunately for that Rabbi, the townsfolk knew of his very limited capabilities, and relegated him to a seat in the middle of the congregation near the Bimah as opposed to the traditional place up front near the Holy Ark. But one week the young designate decided that he had enough. He wanted to be afforded the same dignity as Rabbi Avraham Shmuel. He woke up early that Shabbos and came to shul before anyone arrived. He sat himself down in the seat designated for Rabbi Avraham Shmuel next to the Aron Kodesh (Holy Ark). No one had the nerve to say anything to him for fear of government reprisal. During that era, immediately before Musaf, all congregations throughout Russia said a special prayer on behalf of the Government and Czar Nikolai. That week the chazzan, it is not known whether it was an orchestrated ploy or a lapse in memory, forgot to say the prayer. He was about to continue with the Musaf service when suddenly an elderly Jew, a former cantonist soldier who was captured as a youngster and forced to serve in the Czar’s army for many years, jumped up from his seat and charged toward the front of the synagogue. He began raining blows on the official designated rabbi, the Rav Mitaam. “What kind of Rabbi are you!” he shouted. “How dare you allow the chazzan to forget the prayer on behalf of our benevolent leader? I served the Czar faithfully for twenty years and you forget to bless him?!” The congregants joined the fray, some trying to separate the older soldier from the bedazzled rabbi, others getting in the blows they always longed to afford the government appointed rabbi. It was not long before the police arrived, and arrested the soldier, who was dragged out of the synagogue, yelling and hollering about the lack of honor afforded his Majesty. “After all the years I worked for the czar, I will not allow this poor excuse for a rabbi, to belittle the dignity of His Majesty!” The local policeman could not decide the fate of the soldier who struck a government official, to defend the honor of the Czar. Finally the case was brought to the Governor General of the region who asked the “rabbi” to defend his inaction. “You see,” stammered the Rabbi, “I was sitting very far from the Bimah and I truly did not hear the chazzan skip, the prayer. After all, I was sitting next to the Holy Ark all the way up front!” The decision came down from the governor’s office. No more would the official Rabbi be allowed to sit up front. From now on, he must sit amongst the people to make sure that all the prayers are said correctly. (www.Torah.org)

Shabbos in Halacha

לישה – Kneading

  1. Permitted Methods of  Kneading
  1. שינוי בסדר – A Shinui in the Order of Combining Ingredients

If there is no Common Practice

In a case where there is no clear-cut common practice, one should add the solids to the bowl first and then the liquid. However, this is a leniency which one may only rely on in cases of necessity. (We will clarify later what is meant by ‘necessity.’)

Kneading with a Coagulated Substance

When a coagulated substance, i.e. mayonnaise, is used to bind the food particles, it is not necessary to employ a shinui in pouring the ingredients because no binding occurs until the mixture is stirred. Thus, the ingredients may be combined in the usual order.

Shabbos Ta’am HaChaim: Korach 5775

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New Stories Korach 5775

The Dragon Slayer

Almost totally paralyzed, Marcie Alter vanquishes dragons with her sword of courage and determination.

by Sara Yoheved Rigler      

Marcie Alter is an unlikely dragon slayer. She is almost totally paralyzed. She breathes through a tracheotomy tube, and can neither speak nor eat. Yet, from her bed in Jerusalem’s French Hospice, she wages a steady battle against her own inner dragons, especially that frightening dragon that proclaims: “It’s too hard. Don’t even try, because it’s just too hard.” Marcie vanquishes that dragon daily with the sword of courage and determination.

Marcie, aged 49, is writing her autobiography, although the only way she can type into her special computer is by moving an electrode glued to her forehead.

Marcie recently published a cookbook, although she hasn’t eaten in eight years. (She is fed by a feeding tube to her stomach.)

Marcie learns Torah every day, although she cannot turn the pages of a book.

Marcie founded a Happiness Club in the hospice where she lives, although she has nothing ostensibly to be happy about.

Marcie prays every morning with devotion and joy, although she cannot speak. A lesser soul might be angry at God for the cavernoma (bleeding in the brain) that left her totally paralyzed eight years ago, at the age of 41.

Yesterday morning I intended to go to pray at the Kotel (the Western Wall), a seven-minute walk from my house in the Old City of Jerusalem, but I got interrupted by a phone call, a houseguest, and my son. I thought, it’s getting late, I don’t have the time, it’s really a strain on my problem right knee, walking the 140 steps to and from the Kotel is hard, I have so much to do today, it’s just too hard …

Then I noticed on my wrist what I call, “My Marcie Can-Do Bracelet,” one of the products of the jewelry designing business she started last year. (Marcie designs the jewelry and, since her hands are paralyzed, her friends string it.) Someone had told me that Marcie has undertaken to go to the Kotel for 40 consecutive Sundays, her adaptation of an ancient custom to pray at the Kotel for 40 consecutive days in order to receive a longed-for blessing. (I’ve done it; it works.) The blessing Marcie yearns for is a surgery that will separate her fused jaws and enable her to eat. But how can paralyzed Marcie, who lives in Jerusalem’s French Hospice, possibly get to the Kotel?

Her saintly friend Emunah Witt HaLevi pushes Marcie in a wheelchair to a nearby bus stop. The bus driver helps set up a ramp, and Emunah pushes Marcie on, maneuvering the bulky wheelchair into the crowded bus. They have to change busses once, and then it’s a ten-minute uphill push to the Kotel.

Looking at my Marcie Can-Do Bracelet, I thought, If Marcie can get to the Kotel, of course, I can, too! Time constraints, the pain in my knee, the specter of the 140 steps, and my worries about getting everything done—all magically vanished. With the vigor and vim I used to feel three decades ago, I walked to the Kotel, the bracelet like a fuel packet propelling me along.

If You Can Give, You Can Live

Inspired by reading articles on Aish.com, Marcie Alter made aliyah from Pittsburgh in 2003 at the age of 38, a single mother of one son. She was excited to start a new life in Israel, and took up residence at Sde Eliyahu, a religious kibbutz in the north.

During those first months of her alert, intelligent mind trapped in the cage of an inert body, Marcie prayed to die.

Three years later, she experienced her leg going numb. The doctors at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital diagnosed bleeding in the brain. They did three surgeries before they were able to stop the bleeding. The surgeries, so close to the brain stem, saved her life, but left her paralyzed and unable to speak; she can move only her head and make jagged movements of her right forearm.

During those first months of her alert, intelligent mind trapped in the cage of an inert body, Marcie prayed to die. Then she realized that her life could still have purpose and meaning, that even in her limited state she could still help people. This was an epiphany for her. If you can give, you can live. Marcie started to think of ways she could benefit others.

This realization banished Marcie’s suicidal thoughts. But she was still confined to her bed in the old, dilapidated hospice. Venturing out in her totally incapacitated state made Marcie feel as vulnerable as a bound person pushed into water. Whenever the staff tried to take her out in a wheelchair, Marcie would have a panic attack.

Around that time, Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller started to come weekly to deliver a class on the weekly Torah portion just to Marcie. She also sent volunteers from Neve Yerushalayim, where she teaches, to visit Marcie and read to her from Torah-oriented books.

One such volunteer, Ariela, became engaged. Ariela begged Marcie to come to her wedding. It was a daunting, frightening prospect, but Marcie overcame her own fears in order to fulfill Ariela’s wish. She agreed to go. The volunteers dressed Marcie up, outfitted her with a hat, and applied make-up. Then she was taken by ambulance to the wedding.

Sitting in her wheelchair at the chuppah, Marcie had a spiritual experience. The small, confined “room” in which she had been trapped since her paralysis turned out to be an elevator. The door opened, and she exited into a higher, spiritual world, lit up by the Divine Presence. She realized that although her body couldn’t walk, her soul could fly.

No Excuses

Marcie has a myriad of excuses not to work on herself: she cannot move or talk, she is in constant pain (a 7 without meds, a 4 with meds), and just living with her total disability would be achievement enough. However, Marcie relies on no excuses and constantly works on herself.

Inside the prison of her body, she battles negative emotions and unworthy thoughts.

Inside the prison of her body, she battles negative emotions and unworthy thoughts. One day she told me that she was struggling against anger. One of her nurses was rough. When she lifted Marcie to bathe her, she would hurt her. (The irony: Marcie cannot move, but she still feels pain!) Marcie could not yell at her to stop, could not ask her to be more gentle. Inside, however, she fumed at the rough treatment. Marcie told me she was working on herself to be more patient and forgiving.

Marcie communicates by the laborious process of moving her right forearm to point to letters and numbers on a board. Because the forearm, unlike fingers, lacks fine motor control, her movements are jagged. Pointing to each letter takes her much effort.

Once I asked Marcie which are the most important character traits to work on. On her letter board she spelled out: PATIENCE AND GRATITUDE.

I looked at her frail body, breathing through a tracheotomy tube and hooked up to a feeding tube, and asked her, “What do you have to be grateful for?”

On her letter board she spelled out four answers:

SOCIALIZED MEDICINE

PAIN MEDS

FRIENDS

TORAH

Too Hard?

A woman on the verge of divorce, hearing about my Marriage Workshop, came to see me. Her marriage, riddled by vicious fighting between her and her husband, was indeed terrible. A succession of marriage counselors and therapists had not helped. Since they have five children, I advised against divorce, which would solve none of her problems, since she would still have to be in constant contact with the children’s father.

“So I should stay in this bad marriage?” she asked angrily.

“Not at all,” I replied. “You should make it a good marriage.” Then I gave her concrete suggestions for how to do that. I wrote down my suggestions and handed her the page. She looked at it, shook her head, and said, “This is too hard.”

There was the dragon of “too hard” again, wrecking its ruin. Suddenly I looked down at my wrist and saw my Marcie Can-Do Bracelet. I took it off and handed it to my visitor, telling her all about Marcie. Then I sent her off to the French Hospice to meet Marcie, for whom everything is hard and nothing is too hard.

When I saw Marcie at the Kotel yesterday, I told her how my Marcie Can-Do Bracelet had propelled me there, despite my resistance. “You inspire me to do what’s hard for me.”

Today, when I was visiting Marcie at the hospice, she wrote out: I ALSO DO THINGS I DON’T WANT TO DO. YOU INSPIRE ME.

I shook my head uncomprehendingly. “How can I inspire you?”

With the difficulty that pointing to each letter entails, Marcie spelled out: I DID NOT FEEL LIKE PRAYING TODAY. I WAS INSPIRED BY YOU YESTERDAY. IF YOU CAN DO THINGS YOU DON’T WANT TO DO, SO CAN I.

So can all of us. (www.aish.com)

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Erev Shabbos Kodesh Shelach Inspiration 5775


This week’s parasha contains one simple lesson for all of us. Refrain from excess speech. What does that mean? The spies reported back to Moshe and the Jewish People about many things that they witnessed in the Promised Land. Unfortunately, their slander of the land was calamitous for the Jewish People, as we still suffer today from their malicious speech. One must wonder, though, why their speech had an effect of such magnitude? After all, they only spoke about the land. There were no Jews in the Land of Canaan at the time, and the spies did not even describe specific people, which is the actual prohibition of Lashon Hara (laws of slander). What was their error and how can we learn a lesson from it?

To understand the nature of the spies’ sin, we can look at the prohibition of the Torah regarding the mizbeiach, the altar. The Kohen is required to ascend the mizbeiach by way of a ramp and not to use steps, as the steps would allow for his “nakedness” to be revealed. The Torah is not refereeing to the typical immodesty that one is familiar with. Rather, even the widening of the Kohen’s steps is tantamount to revealing one’s nakedness. Rashi writes that this prohibition regarding an inanimate object teaches us how we must be careful of the honor of any human being. Apparently, the Torah found it necessary to teach us lessons of honor and respect through inanimate objects. Rashi in our parasha writes that the spies did not take a lesson from Miriam, who slandered Moshe ever so slightly, and was punished with Tzaraas. In truth, however, we can relate to the missed lesson of the spies.  At times we need to learn lessons from extreme examples, such as not taking wide steps on the mizbeiach and speaking ill of the land. Perhaps this will also explain why HaShem told Moshe  that even if you find the request of sending spies to be favorable, I am displeased with this request and I will cause them to stumble. Why would HaShem cause someone to stumble? Does HaShem not seek out our welfare? The answer to this question is that HaShem was telling Moshe that the spies had their chance with Miriam, but He was willing to afford them another opportunity , this time through an inanimate object, to refrain from slander. Yet, the spies missed the whole point and spread malicious lies about the land. While normally think that it is easier to refrain from speaking poorly about an inanimate object than to speak about a fellow human being, in truth the opposite is the case. One who understands the gravity of slander will surely refrain from talking ill about his fellow man. Speaking ill of the land, however, takes more restraint.

HaShem should give us the understanding that slander is a symptom of sinas chinam, baseless hatred, and when we learn to refrain from excessive speech and speak only good of our fellow Jew, we will be deserving of the Redemption.

Have a slander-free Shabbos!

Rabbi Adler

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Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim: Shelach 5775


Shelach 5775

New Stories Shelach 5775

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Shelach 5775

Our mission in this world

Introduction

In this week’s parasha the Torah records the incident of the Meraglim, the spies that Moshe sent to ascertain if the Jewish People would be capable of conquering Eretz Yisroel. The spies retuned from their forty day journey with a slanderous report, and this report was the catalyst for the Jewish People to die out in the Wilderness. There are many aspects to this episode, but I wish to focus on one subtle point that is the underlying theme of this tragic incident. It is said (Bamidbar13:3) vayishlach osam Moshe al pi HaShem kulam anashim roshei vinei Yisroel heimah, Moshe sent them forth from the Wilderness of Paran at HaShem’s command; they were all distinguished men; heads of the Children of Israel were they. Rashi writes that from the fact that the Torah states that the spies were all distinguished men, we learn that at the time that they were sent on their mission they were righteous. This statement, however, is very difficult to understand, as we see that after a mere forty days they had become traitors to their people and they caused a tragedy for all future generations. This tragedy was manifest in the destruction of both the first and second Bais HaMikdash, which, like the return of the spies, occurred on Tisha Baav. One must wonder, then, how it is possible that the spies commenced their mission as righteous individuals and yet their mission culminated in such treachery.

What is in a name?

In order to understand this transformation in the character of the spies, we must first gain an insight into a number of statements that appear in the Gemara and Medrash. The first statement that requires explanation is that the Gemara (Sota 34b) states that Rabbi Yitzchak said that we have a tradition that the spies were called by their actions and we only have a tradition regarding one of the spies. This spy was Sisur ben Michael, as Sisur means that he demolished (so to speak) the actions of HaShem, and Michael means that he made (so to speak) HaShem weak. Rabbi Yochanan added that we also have a tradition regarding the name Nachbi ben Vafsi, as Nachbi means that he concealed, (so to speak) the words of HaShem, and Vafsi means that he skipped over, so to speak, the character traits of HaShem. The Medrash (Bamidbar Rabbah 16:10) goes even further and states that there are those whose names are nice and their actions are despicable. There are those whose names are despicable and their actions are nice. Then there are those whose names and actions are nice, and there are also those who both their names and their actions are despicable. Regarding the spies, both their names and their actions were despicable. What is the meaning of this Gemara and Medrash? How is it that the names of the spies were despicable and contained negative connotations?

Name and soul are synonymous

Let us understand the significance of a person’s name. It would seem that the word sheim, meaning name, is associated with the word neshamah, soul. Not only are the words closely related because of the word sheim that is contained within the word neshamah, but they are intrinsically associated with each other as it is logical that the essence of the person is his neshama. Thus, when we refer to a person’s name, we are referring to his neshama, which is the unique imprint that HaShem gave him to fulfill his mission in life. The Medrash (Bamidbar Rabbah 16:1) states that there is no one more beloved to HaShem than shluchei mitzvah, those who are sent on a mission regarding a mitzvah and they sacrifice themselves to fulfill their mission. The Sfas Emes writes that in this sense every person is a shilach mitzvah, a messenger with a mission in this world. The spies had great neshamos, souls, and their mission was to maintain that high level of spirituality. One must wonder, then, where they went wrong. It would seem from the reading of this episode that the spies failed to see themselves as messengers of HaShem and of the Jewish People. Rather, they transformed their mission to a mission of selfishness, where they chose to see what they felt would be to their benefit and not for the benefit of the rest of the people.

Seeing the land for the good

It is worth noting that specifically regarding this mission Moshe conferred upon Hoshea ben Nun the name Yehoshua. By adding the letter yud to his name, Moshe was demonstrating that Hoshea was charged with a mission of maintaining the purity of his neshama, and furthermore, that he should elevate the mission, as the letter yud reflects righteousness (Likutei Moharan I 34:6). It is also noteworthy that Moshe charged the spies with the mission of seeing the land. It is for this reason that when Moshe repeats the incident of the spies, he said (Devarim 1:23) vayitav bieinay hadavar, the idea was good in my eyes and Rashi (Ibid) writes that we can infer from this that it was good in the eyes of Moshe but not in the eyes of HaShem. How is it possible that Moshe disagreed, Heaven forbid, with the wishes of HaShem? Perhaps the answer to this question is that the Gemara (Nedarim 38a) states that regarding Moshe it is said (Mishlei 22:9) tov ayin hu yivorach, one with a good eye will be blessed. Moshe desired that the spies should see the good in the land, and had they done so, it would have been a reflection of the exalted level of their souls. When they failed to see the good in the land, it became necessary for HaShem to show Moshe himself the land, as it is said (Devarim 34:1) vayareihu HaShem es kol haaretz, HaShem showed him the entire land. The Sforno (Bamidbar 22:41) explains that whereas Balaam had an evil eye, Moshe had a good eye, and he used his good eye to see the good that is contained in Eretz Yisroel. Thus, we see that one has to look into his name and his soul, i.e. his essence, and determine what his mission is in this world. One who lives up to his mission will certainly be deemed a shilach mitzvah.

The Shabbos connection

The Sfas Emes (Mishpatim 5631) writes that the six days of the week are referred to as sheishes yimei melacha, the six days of work, and the word melacha is similar to malach, an angel. Everything in this world has within it life from HaShem and one was sent to this world to perform the will of HaShem, as there are mitzvos contained within every action of man. Nonetheless, the life from HaShem and mitzvah are concealed and one must realize what is contained within every action that he performs. The Sfas Ems writes that on Shabbos everything is revealed, as Shabbos is a semblance of the World to Come. The Zohar states that all illnesses of the body and of the soul are due to excess eating and drinking, whereas on Shabbos ones consumption is all considered to be a mitzvah. Hashem should allow us to fulfill our mission in this world and to merit the day that will be completely Shabbos and rest, for eternity.

Shabbos in the Zemiros

Yom Zeh LiYisroel

Some opinions attribute the authorship of this Zemer to the Arizal.

לְנֶפֶשׁ מְצֵרָה, תָּסִיר אֲנָחָה, שַׁבָּת מְנוּחָה, for  a troubled soul it removes moaning – Shabbos of contentment. We normally associate the weekday with challenges and despair, and the Holy Shabbos with joy and light. Why, one must wonder, is Shabbos deemed to be a respite from trouble? Did not the Nazis yemach shemam and other enemies of the Jewish People alwa1ys choose Shabbos as a day of torment and cruelty? What is the uniqueness of this day that we contrast it with the trials and tribulations of the week? The answer to this question is that in this world there are opposing forces. There is light and darkness, sadness and joy, and so on. The Medrash (Bereishis Rabbah 11:8) states that the Shabbos complained to HaShem that every day of the week has  a partner except for the seventh day, and HaShem responded that the Jewish People will be the partner of the Jews. This teaches us that Shabbos stands apart from the rest of creation. Indeed, the Gemara (Brachos 57b) states that Shabbos is a semblance of the World to Come. For this reason we highlight the contrast of the weekday and Shabbos, as in reality, Shabbos is a world unto itself, which HaShem proffered upon His Beloved Nation as a day of joy and contentment.

Shabbos Stories

All in a day’s work

In the city of Vienna about two-hundred years ago lived a wealthy and famous banker, R’ Shimshon Werthheimer z”l. In the secular world, he was known for his great wealth and uncanny business acumen. Among Jews, he was famous for his love and support of Torah foundations, yeshivos, and generosity towards those less fortunate than him. Everyone knew: Those who knocked on R’ Shimshon’s door would not be turned away empty handed.

A short while after he passed away, the holy Rabbi Chaim of Sanz zt”l gathered his disciples. “Let me tell you,” he began, “what transpired in Heaven when the neshama (soul) of R’ Shimshon arrived, and the time came for him to give his ultimate reckoning:

“‘Let me tell you how I spent my day,’ R’ Shimshon began his testimony before the Heavenly Tribunal. ‘More or less, my days were always the same. I got up early, and went to shul to pray shacharis (morning prayers). After praying, I returned home for breakfast. After breakfast, I had a coffee and cigar as I read the daily newspapers. A banker, after all, must always be well informed. I recited Birkas Ha-mazon (Grace), and went to the bank.

“‘In the late afternoon, I returned home for lunch, and after eating a healthy meal and bentsching, I had a small rest. When I arose, there was invariably a line-up of collectors waiting for me. I gave each one of them my time, and tried to always give as generously as I could.

“‘At this point, it was already time to daven mincha. Between mincha and ma’ariv, I attended a shiur (Torah lesson). After praying ma’ariv, I had yet another shiur before going home to eat supper with my family. After supper I usually relaxed by playing some chess; it helped me overcome some of the day’s stresses.

“‘Before going to bed, of course, I recited the bedtime k’rias Shema, and that, give or take, was my schedule.’

“R’ Shimshon, as we all know, was a righteous man of great integrity, and after bearing witness, he was immediately ushered into Gan Eden among the righteous of Israel.

“It just so happens,” continued R’ Chaim, “that another banker, an associate of R’ Shimshon, also passed away that very day. After escorting R’ Shimshon to his exalted spot in Gan Eden, the Heavenly Tribunal once again adjourned.

“Not having been much of a shomer Torah u’mitzvos (Torah-observant Jew), he was quite terrified of having to bear testimony. Hearing R’ Shimshon’s testimony, and the Tribunal’s reaction, though, seems to have calmed his nerves.

“‘I was also a banker,’ he began. ‘In fact, my schedule was in many ways identical to that of my contemporary, R’ Shimshon. I too arose early. I ate breakfast, and read the dailies while savoring a hot coffee and smoking a cigar. I went to the bank, where I worked hard all morning, and returned home in the afternoon for a late lunch and a rest. I usually spent the rest of the afternoon keeping fit with some sports. After supper, I also liked to play a round or two of chess, and then I went to sleep. So you could say that, for perhaps four-fifths of our days, our schedules were identical.’

“Of course,” said R’ Chaim, “it takes no genius to realize that the Heavenly Tribunal did not view the second man’s daily schedule as being worthy of the reward given R’ Shimshon.

“‘Tell me something,’ the soul of the poor man protested, ‘my friend, R’ Shimshon, is he being rewarded for a lifetime of good deeds, or only for the few hours a day he spent studying Torah, praying, and giving charity?’

“‘R’ Shimshon was a righteous man,’ they said, ‘of course he will be rewarded for a lifetime full of righteousness.’

“‘Yet is it not true,’ he persisted, ‘that twenty out of the twenty-four hours of our days were identical? We slept, we ate, and we worked. If he’s being rewarded for all twenty-four, why shouldn’t I get my reward for at least twenty?’

“An original argument, no doubt, yet a foolish one all the same. The Beis- din shel ma’alah had no problem answering him.

“‘Suppose a farmer sells raw wheat at the marketplace,’ they told him. ‘To separate the straw and stones is too difficult, so he sells the wheat by the wagonload, ‘as is.’ Of course, all of this is taken into account when calculating his price, so his buyers know what to expect.’

“‘One day, he is struck by a brilliant idea. He goes around gathering lots and lots of stones and straw, and puts them in big sacks. He takes them to the marketplace, placing them alongside his regular wagonloads of grain. To his shock, no one seems the least bit interested in buying them.

“‘Tell me,’ he asks one of his regular buyers, ‘why is nobody buying any of these bags of straw and stones I prepared—I spent lots of time gathering them?’

“‘But who on earth would pay money for straw and stones?’ he replied. ‘And to boot, you’ve priced them identically to your grain! Who ever heard of such foolishness?’

“‘Yet you do pay me for straw and stones all the time,’ he replied. ‘You know that; there’s not a single wagon load of grain that I sell that doesn’t contain tens of pounds of them. When you pay me by weight, don’t you realize you’re paying me for the straw and stones too?’

“‘Of course I realize that. When I buy grain, I know there is invariably going to be some straw and stones too. I take that into account. I don’t need the chaff, but who ever heard of grain without it? When you buy grain, you’re always going to accept some straw and stones. But without the grain? It’s useless! Please don’t waste my time.’

“’A G-d-fearing Jew,’ they told him, ‘who lived a life of Torah and mitzvos, and used his business not only for his personal well-being, but to support Torah study and aid the poor, is rewarded for his whole day—all twenty-four hours! His work, his leisure time—it’s all part-and-parcel of the life of a dedicated Jew and philanthropist. The chaff, so to speak, joins the grain on the scale of life.

“‘But you lived a life void of Torah, of mitzvos, and of charity. Your days, so to speak, were all chaff and no substance. For what shall we reward you?’” [Ma’yan ha-shavua]

The Chozeh’s clock

as told by Rabbi Michel Twerski Shlita of Milwaukee

When the holy Chozeh of Lublin passed away, all of his Chassidim found themselves in a time of extreme aveilus [mourning]. It seemed to them that there would be no one, nowhere, to whom they could turn, that would replace the giant who had served as their guide and inspiration for so many years. Most grief-stricken of all was his son, R. Yossele Tulchiner, who was in his own right a man of great righteousness, he was himself a tzaddik of great repute, and he could find no consolation. He remained behind in Lublin for many weeks, trying to find someplace where he might comfort himself. At long last, he realized that he needed to move on.

Before he left, he went to see if he might collect some of his father’s belongings, so that when he returned home he would have some physical mementos with which to comfort himself. He threw a number of articles into a bag – amongst which was a wall clock. It was kind of a cumbersome thing, but it was something that reminded him of the room in which his father, the Chozeh, had learned, davened and received his Chassidim.

So he set out along the way, to return home to Tulchin. We must remember that R. Yosef, not unlike other tzaddikim of his time, was essentially destitute and penniless. And so he was very much dependent upon the goodwill of whoever happened to be traveling – that they might give him a lift in their horse-drawn wagon. Finally, someone pitied him, and as it turned out – as the Gemara says, “poverty follows the poor.” This fellow who gave him a ride, had an open carriage. A number of hours into the trip, it began to pour – it was a deluge! They were soon soaked to the bone, and a cool breeze began to chill them.

He knew that unless he found some haven, that he would catch the death of a cold. And so, he ran for the first shelter that he could find. He finally found an inn – the innkeeper was very hospitable and took him in, built a warm fire, offered him a warm drink, and something with which to cover himself in his discomfort. He spent the night there. The next day, the rain continued and he spent another day and night there.

Finally, the weather cleared, and he was able to set out again. It came time to negotiate with the innkeeper for his shelter and food. When presented with the bill, of course, R. Yossele had no money. So he turned to him and said, “Look, I have nothing. But I do have some of the mementos, the things that belonged to my illustrious father. Perhaps there is something here that would be of value to you.”

The innkeeper was no Chassid, and none of these things meant anything to him. So he searched through the bag. Finally, his eyes set on this clock. “This is really not worth it,” he said, “but it’s the only thing you have that even approaches in value, so I’ll take the clock.” Reluctantly but nonetheless gratefully, he surrendered the clock. R. Yossele left and continued on his way.

Many, many years passed. One of the Chozeh’s esteemed Chassidim, who was now a leader of a Chassidic community in his own right, [known as] the Saba Kadisha of Radoshitz, Rebbe Yissachar Ber, was traveling with his Chassidim. As they were traveling, they sought a place to spend the night, and they found this particular inn. The innkeeper was again very hospitable and gave the Rebbe his finest room.

The Chassidim did the best they could with the little bit of room that was left. Night fell, and everyone went to sleep. The proprietor of the inn went to bed. He heard sounds coming from the Rebbe’s room. At first he ignored them, but they became increasingly disturbing. The Rebbe was clearly marching around his room. Soon the marching turned into a dance. He could hear the Rebbe singing to himself and dancing.

At first, he thought it would soon end. Ten minutes. Half an hour. An hour. Throughout the night, the Rebbe danced. Finally, early in the morning, the innkeeper knocked on the door and said, “Rebbe, all night you’ve been awake dancing – I heard you! What’s happening?”

The Rebbe said, “I, too, would like to know what’s happening. Please tell me – where did you get this clock – the one in my room?”

The innkeeper replied, “There was once a traveler who couldn’t pay his bill. And he said that his father was a great Rabbi; I don’t remember the name. But some objects belong to him, and I claimed the clock in payment.”

The Radoshitzer said, “What did this traveler look like?”

The innkeeper described him. The Radoshitzer called his Chassidim. “It’s clear to me that R. Yossele must have traveled this way after his father’s petirah [passing]. And when he couldn’t pay his bill, he gave up the clock. I remember the clock well. When I used to go in to the Rebbe, the Chozeh, I would see that clock on the wall. I knew that this clock had to be the Rebbe’s!”

“What gave it away?” asked the Chassidim.

The Rebbe replied, “Every clock in the world, when it ticks, it’s depressing. Every tick signifies another second of life gone, spent, never again to be claimed. That’s how most of us deal with time.

“But the Rebbe had a command and appreciation for time; that every moment to him was a moment closer to the Geulah Shileima, to bias Moshiach Tzidkienu [the complete Redemption and coming of the righteous Messiah]. His clock did not tick with sadness or sorrow; it was not a mournful tick. It was positive – full of hope, not a tick of despair. The tick-tock of the Rebbe’s clock was one that marched towards the Geulah Shileima.

“When I came, I wanted to sleep – I was tired! But that clock – it kept me constantly moving towards the Geulah. How can you sleep when you have a clock that reminds you every moment that we are a moment closer to the Geulah Shileima? So I danced all night!”

Rav Michel Twerski adds: This clock of the Holy Chozeh represents something that we learned about, something which has the capacity to do two opposite things: the Parah Adumah [the red heifer], which defiles the pure, and purifies the defiled. For all of us, life presents many opportunities. For some of us, they turn into problems. We look at them – another problem, another nail into our hide, another difficulty, barrier, obstacle; another cause for sorrow, sadness; another area to drain us of our energy. And because we take that attitude, it cripples us; it turns into a shackle which won’t release us.

On the other hand, there are people who have very much the same kinds of challenges and tests. To them, they are opportunities, doors, gates – into bigger and better things – developing new strengths, insights; commanding new perspectives, and ways for us to be able to rise above the things that challenge our way in life. The same test – trial – tribulation; but attitude makes all the difference.

For some of us, those tests are the “tick in the clock,” which is a tick of despair, a sound of life wasted. For others, it brings us closer to our own Geulah, to redeeming all of the potential and all of the resources in ourselves. Something else to bring out the kochos hanefesh [soul powers] that we have. It is one move closer to our own personal Geulah, and ultimately, through us, a contribution to the Geulah Shileima.

Shabbos in Halacha

לישה – Kneading

  1. Permitted Methods of  Kneading

 1. שינוי בסדר – A Shinui in the Order of Combining Ingredients

 When a liquid is is used to bind food particles, bonding commences as soon as the ingredients are poured together; the ingredients must therefore be poured into the bowl in an irregular manner. The only acceptable shinui for pouring is to reverse the process in which the ingredients are commonly added to each other. For a mixture in which the common practice, i.e. the practice of most people is to add the solid particles to the bowl first, i.e. baby cereal, and then add the liquid, i.e. milk, one must do the opposite and add the liquid to the bowl first. With mixtures in which the liquid is commonly added first, the solids must be placed in the bowl before the liquid. [One who is unsure of the common practice may reverse the instructions printed on the food package.]

Shabbos Ta’am HaChaim: Shelach 5775

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New Stories Shelach 5775

First Class Jew

Suddenly my flight was upgraded, and I began to view the world differently.

by Rabbi Emanuel Feldman     

I was recently bumped up to first class on an overseas flight to Israel. El Al had oversold the coach section, and I was one of the fortunate few to be given complimentary seats upstairs. I am not certain that it is worth the extra thousand dollars normally charged for this pleasure, but I must admit that I loved it. The ambience was luxurious, the service gracious, the seat wide and comfortable. But something strange happened to me when I entered that first class compartment.

I confess that before very long I sensed within me the beginnings of an attitude towards those unfortunates in coach that was quite unbecoming: a blend of pride, hauteur, and what can only be described as something akin to condescension towards those huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

In the time it takes to climb nine steps I had forgotten my origins.

It was at first a deliciously wicked feeling, but soon enough I was troubled by it. Parvenu that you are, I scolded myself. Shameless arriviste. One short flight of stairs on a plane have you climbed, and look to what level you have sunk. By what alchemy have you suddenly been transmogrified into an aristocrat, and they into riffraff? Had it not been for the sheer accident of your being at the right point in the line, you too would be down there rubbing shoulders with screaming children, irritated parents, and harassed flight attendants. Countless times have you preached about the sin of forgetting our origins, and how the Torah constantly reminds us to remember where we came from. But in the time it takes to climb nine short steps you have forgotten your origins.

But as quickly as the twinges of guilt settled upon me, just as quickly did they dissipate. Pampered by the luxury, I let myself melt into the hedonistic ambience of eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we arrive in Israel.

It’s All Relative

Now and then I wondered about the great unwashed who were sitting downstairs. Was it noisy there, were the tourists already standing and chatting loudly in the aisles, had the attendants by now become impatient, had the saran-wrapped meals and the plastic cutlery been served, were the aisles already impassable and the rest rooms all occupied?

Thus enclosed in a cocoon of self-satisfaction, I dozed off in my soft leather chair. It had enough leg room and tilted back deeply enough for me to fall into the semi-somnolent airline state that resembles actual sleep.

And then I dreamed a dream. In the dream an old question was posed to me: If a tree falls in a forest, does it make a sound? Without hesitation, I answered firmly: Yes. A sound is a sound independent of its listeners. The existence of a sound is not dependent on who hears it.

A second question was posed to me: If you are in the first class compartment of a plane, and there are no passengers at all in the coach section, are you still in first class?

If there is no second class, there can be no first class.

Now this was a more complex question. If there is no second class, there can be no first class. First class-ness itself depends on second class-ness. So if no one at all is in the coach section, by what definition is my section first class?

And yet, the same level of luxury obtains in first class whether or not there are people sitting in coach. Like the tree that falls in the forest, first class-ness is its own entity: it is a state unto itself, independent of anything else, unrelated to other sections.

Or is it? One of the items the airlines sell with their first class tickets is the unsavory little pleasure of knowing that there are passengers on the same plane who are not in first class — who are sitting in a separate, curtained-off compartment behind you or beneath you in a place euphemistically called “coach,” in a section more crowded that yours, in seats narrower than yours, receiving service less frequent than you, attended by stewardesses more harried than yours, eating on table trays not covered by linen tablecloths like yours, and — if you don’t observe kashrut — eating food that is much less varied than yours.

But if the coach section is empty, that means that all the passengers are in first class. If everyone is in first class, that means that the first class passenger is being deprived of his unsavory first class pleasure. First implies a second. (See Rashi to Genesis 1:5) After all, as the incisive old adage puts it, it is not what we have that gives us pleasure; it the knowledge that our neighbor lacks what we have that gives us true pleasure.

The High Road

So bemused, I spent the next few hours in semi-sleep. Soon enough the questions dissolved in the steady hum of the engines, the quiet in the compartment, the whispering attendants, the dim lights, the thick blankets, the oversized pillows. Coach class, first class — why all this Talmudic hair-splitting? I was, for a change, having a comfortable trip to Israel, period.

The sun came up, and with it, breakfast. Entree, juice, eggs, warm bagels, lox, cream cheese, cereal, coffee, Danish, chocolate, milk — an endless array of goodies. I stretched, yawned, washed, davened, and sat down to enjoy the feast.

But the night-time question hung in the air. In the dawn’s early light it occurred to me that a truly pious Jew would not have had a difficult time answering it. Says the Talmud, “Do not look down at anyone.” And Nachmanides in his famous letter warns about humility and the evils of haughtiness and pride:

“… Humility is the finest quality among all the fine qualities Know, my son, that he whose heart is arrogant toward other beings is in fact a rebel against God’s kingdom, for he is utilizing God’s garments to glorify himself — for it is written (Psalms 93:1): “God reigns, he is robed in pride….”

Nachmanides goes on to demonstrate that in whatever man would be proud — be it his wealth, his glory, his wisdom — he is foolish and sinful, for all these things are God’s alone.

Beyond this, the Torah itself (Deut. 17:20) warns a king not to multiply chariots or sessions “so that his heart not be lifted up among his brethren.” A king — who has authority and majesty — is warned against the pride which is his due; how much more so ordinary people.

Only two more luxurious hours remained before landing, and I would not allow vexing reveries to disturb my tranquility. Not for me these trivial exercises in pettiness. Thus purified and cleansed, I awaited our arrival in the Holy Land.

And yet…. what if no one was in fact down there in coach?

I was only curious. It had nothing to do with my being upstairs; I was simply wondering. Could there be such a thing as a coach compartment without any passengers at all? An entirely empty coach cabin: that would be something to see. Just theoretically, of course.

Danish and Coffee

I don’t recall exactly what happened next — was I dreaming again or not? — but I found myself arising from my chair, walking to the cabin exit, and descending the circular stairwell. Nine steps. Once on the lower level I turned towards the back of the plane, parted the curtain and peered inside. Before me were unruly children, impatient flight attendants, a long line before the restrooms, papers and refuse on the floor, mothers diapering babies, 200 passengers pressed closely together.

It is much easier for a religious Jew to be in first class than to be a first class religious Jew.

I slid back the curtain, climbed back up the stairwell, entered the first class compartment, and sank into my seat. The compartment was tranquil, and the attendant plied me with more Danish and asked me how I would like my coffee.

But my mind was elsewhere. Dream or not, I knew that Nachmanides would never have experienced the tiny surge of reassurance that coursed through me as I beheld the multitude overflowing the coach sections.

It was then that I became aware of four unvarnished facts of life:

  1. For ordinary people who have not attained Nachmanides’ heights, first class does require a second class.
  2. The “lifted heart” warning of the Torah is directed not only to a king who is tempted daily by pride, but is directed at every human being; for anything — even a seat that is three inches wider with leg room four inches longer — can generate an attitude of “lifted heart.”
  3. The frail human heart not only needs someone to look up to, but also someone to look down at.
  4. It is much easier for a religious Jew to be in first class than to be first class religious Jew.

from The Shul Without a Clock (Feldheim.com) (www.aish.com)

 

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Erev Shabbos Kodesh Behaalsocha Inspiration 5775


I have written in the past about the recurring theme mentioned in this week’s parasha  of אסיפה, in-gathering. It is noteworthy that the word אסף in א”ת ב”ש is תחו, who was the ancestor of אלקנה, the father of Shmuel. The Yalkut Shimoni (Shmuel I) also references this א”ת ב”ש, so it would seem that there is a connection with the word אסף and with Shmuel. We know that Korach foresaw that Shmuel would be his descendant and for this reason he quarreled with Moshe. Shmuel referred to himself as the רואה, the one who sees. It follows, then, that Shmuel’s ancestors were all prophets or people with visions. How does this relate to the word אסף mentioned in our parasha?

The Sfas Emes writes that the Jews desired a desire, i.e. they recognized their lofty spiritual level and they desired physicality so that they could earn reward for their deeds. It is noteworthy that they are referred to as the אסַפְסֻף, as they had a double desire, reflecting their double vision. Further on we find that Moshe chose elders and he “gathered” seventy elders, clearly people with vision. Lastly, Miriam was punished for slandering Moshe regarding Moshe’s level of prophecy, and upon her completion of quarantine, she was “gathered in.” Here too we see that someone being reinstated to a level of prophecy and awareness is referred to someone who is gathered in. Korach “gathered” the people together to quarrel with Moshe on account of his vision, but he was mistaken as it was Shmuel, his descendant, who would be the man with the vision.

The lesson from all this is that if we wish to attain elevated levels of spirituality, we must connect with other Jews for the right reasons, which are for Torah study, mitzvah observance, and for the purpose of unity. Self-indulgence and delusional pursuits of grandeur will not only obscure one’s vision, but will cause one to be disconnected from the Jewish People, similar what happened to Korach and his entourage.

HaShem should bless us with the Unity of Shabbos and the Ultimate in-gathering of the exiles, with the arrival of Moshiach Tzidkeinu, speedily, in our days.

Have a Unified and Spiritually Elevating Shabbos!

Rabbi Adler

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