Mamar Parshas Ki-Sovo

27 Times Yud Kei Vuv Kei mentioned in the Tochacha Equals Shabbos
who Spare us from all the Curses of the Tochachos

 

Dear Chaveirim.

During this week’s Torah reading of parshas Ki Sovo, we need to have a specific intent and focus. Doing so will have the unique ability to spare us from the harsh decrees of Rosh HaShanah. The Gemorah (Megillah 31:) teaches that Ezra instituted that we read the curses contained in parshas Bechukosai before Shavuos and the curses contained in parshas Ki Savo before Rosh HaShanah, so the year and its curses will be done with.

The Tiferet Shlomo explains that even if a harsh judgment had been rendered against us, chas v’shalom, the recitation of this week’s portion is considered as if we had actually received the punishment. Consequently, we will have fulfilled the dictum of: “Let the year and its curses be done with.”

Thus, we have learned a very important principle. During the Torah reading this Shabbos kodesh, it is essential that each and every one of us assume an appropriate attitude of fear and awe of Hashem; we must have the intent during the reading of the Tochachah, the Admonition, that it should be considered as if we had received our due punishment in reality. In this manner, we can put this year’s curses behind us and prepare to begin a new year with a clean slate. Therefore, it is only fitting that we examine the Tochachah through the eyes of some of our holy commentaries.

We are suggesting a new chidush based the Rokeach on the Torah (Ki Sisa), one of the masters of the Tosafos. According to the Rokeach, it turns out that in the Tochacha there are mentioned twenty-seven times Yud Kei Vuv Kei, which numerical in Loshon Kodesh adds up to Shabbos. This opens up for us new beautiful avenues of Torah ideas , that the kedushah of Shabbos has the power to save us from all of these curses.

May it be G-d’s will that our sages words are fulfilled: “May this year end along with its curses and may the new year begin along with its blessings. May we all merit a ksivah va’chasimah tovah, and a year of redemption and salvation, speedily in our days Omein.

A lechtiken and sweet Shabbos.

Pinches

~  For the  Mamar in Lashon Hakodesh, see the weekly “Hamachne Hachareidi”. ~

~ Click the link below for the full English translation ~

Translation-Ki Sovo

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Mamar Parshas Ki Seitze

Instead of “Forty Lashes” Hashem granted us
Forty Days from Rosh Chodesh Elul to Yom Kippur

Dear Chaveirim.

I would like to introduce you to a taste of this week’s mamar, by quoting citations from the wonderful translation of our beloved and devoted friend Dr. Baruch Fox.

In this week’s parsha, parshas Ki Seitzei, we learn about the number of lashes a sinner receives forty lashes. Our sages provide us with the reason why the sinner is punished with precisely forty lashes: To purify the life-force of the sinner that was created in forty days. Nevertheless, the Mishnah says: “How many lashes is he given? Forty minus one, as it says ‘by a count of forty,’ meaning a number that is close to forty.” We can only wonder! After all, the possuk specifically states: “he shall strike him forty lashes.” How, then, do the sages derive that we are only supposed to inflict thirty-nine lashes upon the sinner, a number that is close to forty? Furthermore, if the forty lashes correspond to the forty days required to form a new life, how do a mere thirty-nine suffice?

We find a tremendous insight concerning this matter in the Gur Aryeh written by the remarkable Maharal of Prague, zy”a. His explanation is based on Rashi (Bereishis 7,4) who explains that the generation of the flood were punished by means of forty days of rains corresponding to the forty days required to create a new life. The Maharal proceeds to explain that the physical form, the body, is created during the first thirty-nine days, and the spiritual soul, the neshomeh, enters the body on the fortieth day. Additionally, when one sins, the sin is due primarily to the influences of the physical body. The neshomeh, however, a part of Hashem from above, is free of sin, since it only longs for spiritual gratification and to serve Hashem.

Despite this fact, so long as the physical body is blemished by one’s sins, the neshomeh is affected as well—as we have learned (Bava Kamma 92:): That which is connected with the defiled is also defiled. For this reason, the Torah states: “he shall strike him forty lashes”—corresponding to the defilement of the body and the neshomeh which were created during the forty days of the formation of life. In reality, however, after the sinner has received the first thirty-nine lashes, the body—which was formed in thirty-nine days—has already been purified of its sinful blemishes. The neshomeh, as a result, is now also pure and free of defilement, since it is no longer attached to a defiled body.

How beautifully this insight fits with the incredible remedy Hashem has provided us with during the forty days of teshuvah from Rosh Chodesh Elul to Yom Kippur! The first thirty-nine days which extend up until erev Yom Kippur serve to purify and correct the sins and blemishes of the body that was formed over a thirty-nine day period. Yom Kippur itself, the fortieth day, corresponds to the neshomeh, which was formed on the fortieth day. For this reason, the Torah forbade eating and drinking and all physical pleasures on this holy day—to eliminate any dealings with the needs of the physical body. Thus, we are able to pay attention to the pure untainted neshomeh.

So let us take advantage of the great gift Hashem granted us – the forty days from Rosh Chodesh Elul to Yom Kippur, so we can do Tshuvah and purify our physical body and holy soul. In this zchus we will all have a “ksivah va’chasimah tovah.”

Pinches

~  For the  Mamar in Lashon Hakodesh, see the weekly “Hamachne Hachareidi”. ~

~ Click the link below for the full English translation ~

Translaion Ki Seitzei

Mamar Chodesh Elul

Dear Chaveirim.

First of all A gutten Chodesh! We had just stepped with both feet into chodesh Elul – the month which tzadikim used to say: “Even the fish in the oceans are shivering because of the upcoming “Yom Hadin” – “Trial Day” on Rosh Hashone, when all creatures stand before Hakodesh Boruch Hu to be judged for all their doings of the passing year. From what we say in “Unsane Tokef” we learn, that even the holy angels are full of fear and fright from the upcoming “Yom Hadin”.

The good news is that we have a great chance to get out of this trial like victors. Luckily Hkb”h gave us a full month – the month of Elul, when we can do Tshuve to cleanser our souls. We get a chance to hire the greatest lawyers free of charge; they are what I call the 3 T’s – Torah-Tefilo-Tshuve!

But it is very important for us to be aware, that the Yeitzer Hurah also knows how easy it is for us to rectify all our wrong doings, so he puts up a fight using all tactics available to avoid us from doing Tshuvah. One of his famous tricks is to put us into the mode of “Yiush” – Despair, it goes something like this: Who do you think you’re fooling you great baal aveiro, didn’t you promise last year; two years ago; year after year, that you are going to change, so what are you putting up an act. This argument has a terrible affect to cool off the awakening fire that we want to feel in Elul. The question is how do we counter fight this argument?

So friends here is what the heilger Bnei Yisoscher teaches us: We most remember the tremendous difference between Hakodesh Boruch Hu, the creator of the world and all it inhabitances to human beings. The lives of all human beings are limited because they are destined to die. Therefore their good characteristics are also limited. No matter how much patients and tolerant a person is, ready to forgive those who pained or insulted him, eventually after numberless times he will lose his cool and explode, expressing his anger openly or hiding it.

But, says the Bnei Yisoscher, Hakodesh Boruch Hu is completely different; he is called in kabalistic circles “Ein-Sof” – “End-Less”, because he is endless. He is the creator but he wasn’t created, he always lived and will live forever. Therefore just like his being is “Ein-Sof” – “End-Less”, so are all his characteristics: Rachum, Chanun, Erech Apayim… endless. This explains why we must believe that Hashem forgives us again & again countless times as we say in Shmone-Esrei: “Chanun hamarbe lisloach” – he never ceases to forgive, because he is not human that gets tired to forgive.

Who like Hashem knows the truth, how hard it is for us to fight the Yeitzer Hurah, who never ceases to fight us, by coming up daily with new tactics how to lore us into his trap, like we say every day in Tfilas shachris: “ki hu yoda yitzreinu”“Because he knows our Yeitzer Hurah”.

So we must answer the Yeitzer Hurah: You fool, yes I have promised so many times that I want to change, but now I want to try again, and I will do my best to better my ways, and Hakodesh Boruch Hu who is “Ein-Sof” – “End-Less” will forgive me again and again. He will give me a new chance and stand by my side, until I will finely see the light and find the true path of Torah.

Another trick the Yeitzer Hurah uses is, to give us mussar how hard we need to work in Elul, learning day and night, davening all day long; so that we should feel that it is impossible for us to do it.

But again he is lying as the Torah says in parshas Nitovim: “Ki korov eilecho hadovor meeod beficho uvilvovcho laasoso”. Meaning that the mitzvah of Tsuvah is very close to us, we just need to express it with our mouths and add the intentions of our heart and we will succeed.

We need to take a few small steps to upgrade our behaviors: Be more devoted to Kvius itim leTorah – to learn Torah morning or night; daven a little more bekavone; make Broches on our food a little slower and think about the meaning of the words; stop talking loshon hurah.

So let us not waste the fantastic opportunity Hakodesh Boruch Hu gave us in this holy month Elul, to do Tshuvah and rectify all our wrong doings. It is much easier then we can imagine, and in this zchus we will have a Ksive Vachasime Tovah and a good gibentched year.

Pinches  

~  For the  Mamar in Lashon Hakodesh, see the weekly “Hamachne Hachareidi”. ~

~ Click the link below for the full English translation ~

Translation-Chodesh Elul

Mamar Parshas Re’eh

Dear Chaveirim.

I am sure that this mamar will find most of you on vacation. I hope you enjoy your vacation and fill up your batteries, so you can continue all year long with the great responsibilities that lay upon your shoulders. But for the time being why not take a break to have taste of a sweet dvar torah on this week’s parsha.

In this week’s parsha Reei we learn about the mitzvah of maaser: “Aser TeAser es kol tevuas zaracho” – You should take off a tenth of all your grains and eat it in Jerusalem. The question is why does the Torah use a double language: “Aser TeAser”. In truth, we have already seen this formula employed in the words of Yaakov Ovinu (Bereishis 28,22): “Vechol asher titen li Aser Aasrenu loch”  —“and whatever You will give me, I shall take of a tenth to you.” Translated literally, this phrase suggests giving two tenths; although, by halachic standards, it is sufficient to give a single tenth for tithes.

We propose a Chidush by introducing the Torah’s stern warning concerning material wealth in this world (Devarim 8,11): If we accumulate material wealth and achieve personal gains in this world, we must always remember to give the credit to Hashem. We must not fall prey to the dangerous attitude of: “Kochi veotzem yodi” —whereby, we mistakenly take the credit ourselves for these gains. We also mention the Gemorah (Berachos 61.): In the description of the creation of man, the word “Vayitzer”—and He formed—appears spelled with two “yod”s, alluding to the yetzer tov and the yetzer horah.

Now, we can suggest that when Yaakov Ovinu prepared himself to go to Choron, where he would stay in the house of Loven haroshe, he became very concerned. He knew through divine inspiration that he would be required to work for his keep. Therefore, he worried that he might fall prey to the corrupt and misguided perspective of: “Kochi veotzem yodi” due to the influence of Loven haroshe. Consequently, he prayed to Hashem (Bereishis 28,20) to guide him on his dangerous journey.

He concludes his prayer with the words: “Aser Aasrenu loch”. The literal meaning of the word “Aser”, is ten—the numerical value of the letter “yod.” So, when Yaakov Ovinu says “Aser Aasrenu loch”, utilizing two forms of the word “Aser“, we can interpret this as an allusion to two “yod”s. In other words, he tells Hashem that whatever possessions He gives him, he will view them with the two “yod”s of “Vayitzer”– so he will always remember the yetzer tov and the yetzer horah. By doing so, he planned to protect himself from falling prey to the yetzer horah and its doctrine of: “Kochi veotzem yodi”. Seen in this light, Yaakov’s words to Lavan are so fitting and appropriate (Bereishis 31,42) where he conveys the fact that if not for the intervention of the G-d of his forefathers, he would have been sent off penniless.

So now we can achieve a greater insight into the Holy mitzvah of: “Aser TeAser es kol tevuas zaracho”. We must always remember to follow in the footsteps of Yaakov Ovinu, who vowed to Hashem: “Vechol asher titen li Aser Aasrenu loch”. It is a constant reminder that the Almighty created man with two “yod”s—a yetzer tov and a yetzer horah. Thus, we are reminded of the constant struggle to resist and overcome the yetzer horah’s attempt to indoctrinate us with the corrupt and misguided belief of: “Kochi veotzem yodi”.

So Chaveirim were ever we are, we must never forget, that while packing up our belongings to go for vacation, the two Yud’s are always following us – the yetzer tov and the yetzer horah. The only way to keep the yetzer horah in check is by donating some time of the day to Hashem – davening with kavone three times a day, opening up a Gemore in mornings and evenings. I promise it will not spoil your vacation it will only enhance them.

Have a wonderful and lechtiken Shabbes

Pinches

~  For the  Mamar in Lashon Hakodesh, see the weekly “Hamachne Hachareidi”. ~

~ Click the link below for the full English translation ~

Translation-Reeh