Shabbos in the Parashah
In this week’s parashah it is said (Bamidbar 15:38) dabeir el bnei yisroel viamarta aleihem viasu lahem tzitzis al kanfei bigdeihem ledorosam venasnu al tzitzis hakanaf pesil techeiles, speak to the Children of Israel and say to them that they shall make themselves tzitzis on the corners of their garments, throughout their generations. Rashi writes that the word pesil is derived from the slaying of the Egyptian firstborn, as the Targum (Aramaic translation) of the word shikul, bereavement, is tichlah, which is the same as the word techeiles. Rashi continues and states that the Egyptian firstborns were slain at night and the color of techeiles is similar to the sky that darkens towards evening. The eight threads in the tzitzis correspond to the eight days that the Jewish People waited from the time they left Egypt until they sang praise to HaShem at the Sea. It is noteworthy that Rashi explains the word techeiles, normally translated as blue-dye wool, to mean death and bereavement. One would think that there would be a more positive interpretation in describing the holy mitzvah of tzitzis. Yet, if one were to examine the word tzitzis, one would see why the interpretation that Rashi offers for the word techeiles actually complements the word tzitzis. In explaining the word tzitzis, Rashi writes (Bamidbar Ibid) that the word tzitzis refers to the pesilim that are suspended from the garment, as it is said (Yechezkel 8:3) vayikacheini bitzitis roshi, and [he] took me by a lock of my head. Alternatively, the word tzitzis is derived from the meaning to see, as regarding tzitzis it is said (Bamidbar 15:39) urisem oso, that you may see it, and it is said (Shir HaShirim 2:9) meititz min hacharacim, peering through the lattices. The definition of the mitzvah of tzitzis is that one is given the opportunity to see the hand of HaShem in this world. The Egyptians chose to ignore the miraculous events that were occurring, so ultimately their firstborn were slain and the Jewish People witnessed the downfall of the entire Egyptian empire. This idea is reflected in the verse regarding the plague of darkness, where it is said (Shemos 10:23) lo rau ish es achiv vilo kamu ish mitachtav sheloshes yamim ulechol bnei yisroel hayah ohr bimoshvosom, no man could see his brother nor could anyone rise from his place for a three-day period; but for all the Children of Israel there was light in their dwellings. This teaches us a profound lesson regarding the world we live in. The gentiles may be submerged in darkness, but the Jewish People can use that darkness to see the true light. On Shabbos, one is granted a neshama yeseira, which allows him to experience the light of Shabbos. When Shabbos ends, one is again plunged into the darkness of the weekday and the exile that we still suffer from. We are given mitzvos, such as tzitzis, Tefillin, and milah, which serve as beacons of light even in the weekday, so that we do not stumble in the darkness. The essential idea of lighting candles in honor of Shabbos is so that one should not stumble (See Rashi Shabbos 25b s.v. hadlakas neir beShabbos). Let us use the Holy Shabbos to illuminate our lives, and to bring the Divine Presence into our homes, so that we will not stumble, and then we will merit true peace and tranquility.
Shabbos in the Zemiros
Composed by the Kabbalists of the seventeenth century
Tzeischem leshalom malachei haShalom malachei elyon mimelech Malchei haMelachim HaKadosh baruch Hu, may your departure be for peace, O angels of peace, angels of the Exalted One, from the King Who reigns over kings, The Holy One, Blessed is He. This passage is difficult to understand, because it would not seem logical to send the angels away, especially after they have just arrived. Many answers are offered to this question, but I would like to suggest a novel approach that sheds light on the essence of a Jew’s existence. It is well-known that the Vilna Gaon had angels who came knocking on his door offering to teach him Torah, and he rejected them, declaring that he wished to gain an understanding of Torah through his own human efforts. Similarly, we can suggest that the angels who escort us home on Friday night are there to protect us and to bless us, but we wish to demonstrate that the Jewish People are on a higher level than the angels, as we have freedom of choice. We wish the angels a peaceful departure, with the intent that we can now focus our efforts on serving HaShem with the capabilities that He has bestowed upon us. We always need HaShem’s help, and Shabbos is a gift that HaShem grants us so that we can attain high levels of holiness, but we must still put in the effort to achieve these spiritual plateaus.
Shabbos in Tefillah
Yishtabach shimcho laad malkeinu, may Your Name be praised forever-our King. It is said (Tehillim 145:1) tehillah leDovid aromimcho Elokai hamelech vaavrcho shimcho liolam vaed, a psalm of praise by Dovid: I will exalt You, my G-d the King, and I will bless Your Name forever and ever. The Radak writes that one explanation of this verse is that I will praise You, HaShem, Your Name that exists for eternity. Similarly, we can suggest that here we are declaring that we will praise HaShem, Whose Name is for eternity.
Tulsa, Okalahoma, was hardly a bastion of Orthodox Jewish life, but for Bernie Goldstein and a small group of Orthodox Jews, it was home. Bernie had moved to Tulsa looking to earn a livelihood. Born in Marietta, Ohio, Bernie had initially worked for his uncle in Tulsa. Subsequently, Bernie found a job working as an engineer for the U. S. Government. Bernie then settled down and married. Although Bernie was isolated from the mainstream Orthodox communities, he was committed to leading a true Torah lifestyle. Bernie did everything he could to pass this commitment on to his children. It once occurred that Bernie had to sell his boat. He placed an ad in the local paper, where he described the excellent condition of the boat, and he put the price at $7500.00. The ad did not generate much interest, as only a few people even bothered to call for more information. One man who called, whose name was Stan, made Bernie an offer. However, the amount that Stan offered Bernie was much less than the amount that Bernie wished to sell the boat for. Bernie reluctantly agreed to Stan’s offer, but he stipulated with Stan that Stan should give him a certified bank check. Stan uneasily agreed, but a week passed and Bernie did not hear from him. On Shabbos afternoon, Stan arrived at Bernie’s house to present him the bank check. Bernie responded, “today is my Sabbath and I cannot conduct business today.” Stan replied, “ oh, come on, you do not need to actually do anything. I will place the check down and I will take care of removing the boat by myself. Is that acceptable to you?” Bernie , however, remained firm. “ I am sorry, Bernie said, “but I cannot tend to this mater currently. If you come back tonight, we can complete the deal.” Stan grew angry and said, “ what is the matter with you? I brought you the check that you requested, and you do not wish to accommodate me! Then forget it. I will not return after all.” Having said that, Stan left. Bernie refused to let the episode disturb his Shabbos peace and he delighted in the Shabbos for the remainder of the day. On Motzai Shabbos, the phone rang. “ Hi, I am calling regarding the bait. Is it still available?” Bernie answered, “ it sure is. You are welcome to come over and look at it.” Shortly afterwards, two men arrived to see the boat. After examining the boat carefully, the men decided that they were willing to purchase the boat for the full amount that Bernie had requested. They gave Bernie the money, took the boat and left. Later, a family member told Bernie, “ the name Stan spells Satan, when using Hebrew letters to write the name. The Satan wished to test you to see if you were willing to compromise the holiness of Shabbos.”
Shabbos in History
Someone once asked the Belzer Rebbe, “what is the significance of eating kugel on Shabbos?” The Rebbe explained, “you should know that kugel has the power of transforming middas hadin, the Attribute of Judgment, into middas harachamim, the Attribute of Mercy.” The questioner asked, “ if this is so, why must we blow the shofar on Rosh Hashanah to transform the middas hadin into middas harachamim, when we can achieve the same result by eating kugel?” The Rebbe replied with a twinkle in his eye, “that is why we do not blow the shofar when Rosh Hashanah falls on Shabbos. The kugel we eat on Shabbos has the same effect in heaven as blowing the shofar, as it transforms the middas hadin into middas harachamim.”
The Gemara states that one who has bread in his basket cannot be compared to one who does not have bread in his basket. This dictum can also be applied to Shabbos, as one who has trust in HaShem will believe that all the blessing of the weekday is derived from Shabbos. It is fascinating that the words sheyeish bisalo, that he has in his basket, equals in gematria HaShabbos (708-707).
Shabbos in Halacha
Pouring hot liquids from a kli sheini onto food is not subject to the rules of a kli sheini. Rather, this will fall into the more lenient category of kli shelishi. In summary, the only uncooked foods that can be immersed in a kli sheini are those that are not readily cooked, such as water, oil and ginger or cinnamon sticks. Previously cooked liquids can be reheated in a kli sheini. Soluble pre-cooked foods like coffee, sugar and salt can be dissolved in a kli sheini.
Shabbos in Numbers and Words
In this week’s parashah, the Torah discusses the mekosheish, the one who gathered wood on Shabbos and was put to death. It is noteworthy that the word kosheish equals in gematria HaShabbos, as he was gathering wood which was a violation of Shabbos.
is sponsored by Dr. Jeffrey Eisman, Yonah Lev ben Dovid in loving memory of his mother Chava bat Yonah Lev ob”m niftarah June 7, 1983, 26 Sivan 5743. Mrs. Eisman instilled the fundamental tenets of Jewish faith in her children, allowing them to continue in the paths of their illustrious forebears and fulfilling the will of HaShem. May her memory be a blessing for her family and for all of the Jewish People.
Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Shelach 5767
is sponsored by Jerry and Claire Cohen in loving memory of their dear son Joshua (Josh) Yehoshua Yitzchok Ben Yaakov Zelig HaKohen ob”m.
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