Parshas Kedoshim

Unbelievable: Last week chometz was our greatest enemy,
the coming Shabbos 2 fresh baked challos will decorate our table!

Dear Chaveirim.

I hope that bezras Hashem you all had a wonderful YomTov of Chag Hapessach and really felt “zman cheiruseinu” – a time when every Jew cleanses himself from all the Chometz, which symbolizes the Yeitzer Hurah and the desires of the physical world which we accumulated during the year.

I want to point out an amazing thought: During the entire eight days of Pesach, chometz was our greatest enemy. We, or rather our wives, chased after every crumb of chometz with a mop and broom all over the place; getting it out of every corner in the house; making sure that even a drop of it doesn’t remain in our home.

But behold a week later we prepare for Shabbos with 2 big beautiful freshly baked challos filling our home with their fresh smell. We hold them both dearly with our ten fingers while blessing HKB”H with the broche: “Hamotzi lechem min huorotz”.

So how can that possibly be? Just a week ago it was so un kosher; so not welcome in our homes, because of its being a symbol of the Yeitzer hurrah, and after a week, we have such a dramatic change, so welcoming it into our homes that it is chosen to decorate our Shabbos table?

The answer is as follows:

We learn in the Mishnah (Ovus 6,11): “All that the Hakodosh Boruch Hu created in His world, He did not create it other than for His own glory.” In this light, even the creation of man with two Yeitzers – Yeitzer Hurah and Yeitzer Hatov, was intended to glorify Hashem, by utilizing even the Yeitzer horah in the service of Hashem.

This idea is also presented in the Mishneh (Beroches 54.) explaining the mitzvah of loving Hashem with all of our heart: “Veohavto es Hashem elokecho bechol levvovcho” – this refers to serving Hashem with both Yeitzers. So, we see clearly that we are required to also serve Hashem with the powers of our Yeitzer Horah.

We find this idea expressed in the Yerushalmi (Soteeh 5,5): “Avraham transformed his Yeitzer Hurah into a Yeitzer Tov as indicated by his loyal heart”—a description found in Nechemiah. The Korban HaEdah explains this as follows:

“Even actions dependent on physical desire and craving, such as eating and drinking, Avraham was able to dedicate to the love and service of Hashem, rather than performing them for his own pleasure”.

But here is the catch: In order to conquer the Yeitzer Hurah so we can use him to serve Hashem, we must first overcome him. It is like conquering an enemy that you cannot conquer him unless you are stronger than him. If he is stronger than you then not only will you not conquer him but instead he will conquer you.

So this friends is the secret of Pesach, which is a time to cleanse ourselves from the Yeitzer Hurah that was stronger than us during the year and conquered us instead of our overpowering him. We accomplish this by obeying Hashem’s command not to eat or keep chometz on all the days of Pesach.

By doing this we chase away the Yeitzer Hurah from our hearts and souls, thus cleansing ourselves of the grip of the Yeitzer Hurah. Only then can we conquer him after Pesach and decorate our Shabbos table with chometz, to fulfill our commitment to service Hashem with the Yeitzer Hurah as well as with the Yeitzer Tov.

“Veohavto Lereiacha Kamochah”

This week we don’t have the English translation, but never the less we will give a small summery, a taste of this week’s mamar on parshas Kedoshim. We discuss one of the greatest mitzvohs that seems so easy and yet it is not easy at all. It is the mitzvoh of: “Veohavto Lereiacha Kamochah”. Rashi brings the mamar of the great tanah Rabbi Akivah: “Ze klal godol batorah” – this mitzvah is a great rule in torah: Loving your friend just like your own self.

We are now in the days of sefirah, days of mourning for the 24,000 talmidim of Rabbi Akivah, who as the Gemoreh says, all died because: “shelo nahogu kovod ze bazeh” – they did not have respect for each other. Isn’t it more than obvious that Rabbi Akivah who had felt the great loss of his 24,000 talmidim who died due to not respecting each other would rightfully say: “Veohavto Lereiacha Kamochah, ze klal godol batorah”!!!

In the mamar we explain why the punishment is so brutal when we do not respect each other. I think that those of us who are parents to our lechtike kinderlich, know how frustrating it is for parents to watch when our offspring don’t get along with each other. So is Hashem our Tate in himel, he wants to see how we his kinderlich live in peace and harmony.

We suggest a deeper thought based on a very interesting observation from the Meharil and Chasam Sofer about the actual writing in the seifer torah. All the letters in ksav Ashuris are written from left to right, while the words themselves composed of letters are actually written from right to left.

We explain this with what Rashi says in the beginning of parshas Bereshis: In the beginning HKB”H thought that he would create the world with midas hadin, but then he saw that the world would not survive, so he inserted midas harachamim before midas hadin.

Since the world was created with the Torah, we suggest the every letter by itself reflects the beginning thought of creating the world with midas hadin. Therefore it is written from left to right, because left is a symbol of din. But the words reflect the actual creation of the world with midas harachamim. Therefore it is written from right to left, because right is a symbol of midas hachesed.

It is a well-known klal that there are 600,000 neshomos, each one representing one of the 600,000 letters in the torah. So we can assume that if a person has only himself in mind, he is a letter that is written from left to right, which is an expression of midas hadin. But if he connects to his fellow Jews, loving his friends like his own self, then they are like a connection of a few letters that make up a word, which is written from right to left and represents midas hachesed. This is what the possuk says: “Veohavto Lereiacha Kamochah ani Hashem” – by loving your friend like yourself you are causing: “Ani Hashem” – that Hahem should treat us with the shem Havayah that is pure rachamim.

So friends let us not forget especially in these days when we mourn of the loss of such great talmidei chachomim, the important lesson that we need to learn from this: To respect each other; to help each other; to see only the good in each other.

I always say: Why did HKB”H create us with two eyes? So we should use our left eye to see our our own faults. Only then can we use our right eye to see the good in our fellow Jews. Let us not forget: The Beis Hamikdosh was destroyed because of sinaas chinom and it will be built by ahavaas chinom – love without any reservations or conditions.

A wonderful and lechtiken Shabbos.

Pinches

~  For the  Mamar in Lashon Hakodesh, subscribe to  the weekly news paper “Hamachne Hachareidi” at news@hamachne.com. ~

 

Chag Ha’Pesach

The Father Himself Is a Composite of All Four Sons
on Pesach He Rectifies Himself and Them As Well

Dear Chaveirim.

It is only a few days away that we will all have the great privilege and zechus to welcome and embrace one of the holliest Yomim Tovim the heilige Chag Hapasaach. We will all sit by the Seider night, dressed in a white Kitel like the Malochim – angels, who hkb”h sends to visit us on the Seider night, so they can listen how we are mekayem the mitzveh of “sipur yetzias mitzrayim”. What a holy night, what a great chesed from Hashem! We need to make the broche of “Shehecheyonu vekiumunu”  with the greatest kavone possible. Yes chaveirim, give thanks to Hashem that we are still here. Nothing should be taken for granted.

There is so much to say; so much to think; so much to share, it’s endless. But yet we need to focus on a few warm points to present to our families; to our lechtike kinderlich, so we can be mekayem properly the great mitzvah of: “Vehigadeto lebincho”.

In honor of the heiligher bashefer, his heilige torah and his heilige kinderlich, we want to share with you today 2 mamaorim for the seider night. The first mamar [which it’s heading I put above] is based on the incomparable words of the Sefas Emes (Pesach 5634) addressing the topic of the four sons described in the Haggadah.  He teaches us that every person is composed of elements from each of the four sons—each with his own trials and tribulations, doubts and struggles with the yetzer hora. The Sefas Emes points out that the four sons correspond to the four expressions of redemption mentioned in parshas Vaeroh (Shemos 6, 6): “vehoteaisi, vehitzalti, vegoalti, velokacht” —I shall take you out, I shall rescue, I shall redeem, I shall take—which, in turn, correspond to the four exiles which Yisroel were destined to endure.

In this path we continue to explore an important principle.  All the various types of children that are born into the world—which the author of the Haggadah categorizes as “chochom,” “roshe,” “tam,” and “she’eino yodeah lishol”—are the product and embodiment of the elements of the four sons contained and internalized potentially within the father.  For, the children are mere reflections of the father’s inner thoughts and moral compass:  (a) since one’s descendants inherit their positive and negative traits from their parents from the time of their conception, and (b) all the years that the children grow up under the father’s influence, they acquire his methods of dealing with life’s situations.

Thus, we have achieved an important and deeper understanding of the mitzvah of “sipur yetzias Mitzrayim,” which we perform on the night of the Seder.  We have learned in the Mishnah:  “In each and every generation, one is obligated to view himself as though he has departed from Egypt”.  By departing from the Egyptian exile on this special night—an exodus which mentions the four expressions of redemption corresponding to the four sons which the father embodies—a father possesses the ability to rectify the four types of children he may have produced. 

It is understandable, therefore, that HKB”H commanded a father to raise his children according to Torah guidelines—as the Gemoreh (Kiddushin 29:) derives from the possuk (Devorim 11, 19):  “And you shall teach them to your children”.  Since the children one begets are merely a product and reflection of the four sons concealed and contained within the father, their deficiencies and shortcomings are in actuality inherited from their father.  As a consequence, it is his obligation to raise and educate them in the ways of Torah in order to correct the deficiencies he caused in them. 

Additionally, since a father contains within himself the elements and characteristics of all four types of sons—all of which have a tremendous influence and effect on the actual children he is raising—the advice and solution for this father are obvious.  If he endeavors, from the onset, to correct the characteristics of the four sons contained within his own person, it will be much easier, afterwards, to correct the shortcomings of the actual children he begets—each of whom will also contain these four elements.

In the second mamar we are presenting a new thought on the established Jewish custom that the young children recite the fifteen “simonim” of the Seder out loud before the father of the household. I think that its contents is best said in the following heading:

HKB”H Himself Fulfills All of the Mitzvos of the Seder Night

By Reciting the Fifteen Simonim of the Seder We Beg of HKB”H:
Our Father in Heaven Please “Sanctify” Please “Wash”!

I am attaching 2 beautiful translation by my friend Dr. Baruch Fox, who spends a lot of his time to do such a superb job leshem shomayim. I want to wish him his family and all of you a chag kosher vesomaich.

Pinches

~  For the  Mamar in Lashon Hakodesh, subscribe to  the weekly news paper “Hamachne Hachareidi” at news@hamachne.com. ~

~ Click the link below for the full English translation ~

 Translation-Pesach 5771 #1

Translation-Pesach 5771 #2

Parshas Metzorah

The Essence of Shlomo Hamelech’s Wisdom Is
to Distance Oneself from Haughtiness and to Embrace Humility

 

Dear Chaveirim Sholom Ubrocho.

First of all due to Rosh Chodesh Nisan I want to greet you all with a guten chodesh. Today we stepped into the first month which represents the month of Yetzias Mitzrayim. It can be said reighfully that if all the oceans would be ink; all the trees would became papers; all the people would be writers, they wouldn’t be able to express to its fullest the depth of the great miracles of Yetzias Mitzrayim. But before we do that next week we need to learn about this week’s parsha, parshas Metzoro.

We are discussing about what we learn in the parsha that the metzoro brings for his pufiracation: “eitz erez ushni tolaas veeizov” – “a cedar wood, and a crimson tongue of wool, and hyssop“. Rashi comments: “Cedar wood, Because afflictions come as a result of haughtiness. Crimson wool and hyssop: What is his remedy? He should lower himself of his arrogance like a worm and like a hyssop”.

It is worth noting that the source for Rashi’s comment concerning the cedar wood and hyssop—representing haughtiness and lowering oneself to a state of humility—comes from the wisest of all men. The following verses describe the incredible wisdom of Shlomo HaMelech, a”h, (Melochim I, 5, 9):  

“G-d gave wisdom and considerable understanding to Shlomo, and breadth of heart as the sand which is upon the seashore. Shlomo’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the East and all the wisdom of Egypt. He was wiser than all men… his fame spread to all the nations around him. He spoke three thousand proverbs, and his songs were one thousand and five. He spoke of the trees, from the cedar which is in Lebanon down to the hyssop which grows out of the wall”.

Pertaining to this wisdom, our blessed sages expound in the Midrash (Bamidbar Rabbah 19, 3):

“He spoke three thousand proverbs (analogies) on every single verse; he provided one thousand and five reasons for every proverb. He spoke of the trees—is it even possible to speak of the trees? Rather, Shlomo said: Why is the metzoro purified by the tallest and the lowliest, by the cedar tree and by the hyssop? Since he was haughty like the cedar, he was stricken with tzara’as; by lowering himself to the level of a hyssop, he was cured by the hyssop”.

After careful consideration, one can only be amazed. The Scriptures describe Shlomo’s vast knowledge in terms of three thousand proverbs on each possuk and one thousand and five reasons provided for each proverb. Based on a figure of 5,845 verses in the Torah, we can calculate that Shlomo HaMelech provided billions of elucidations and reasons covering the entire Torah (5,845 x 3,000 x 1,005= 17,622,675,000).

Despite this vast wealth of knowledge and this mind-boggling number of elucidations, it is astounding that the sole example Scriptures chooses to personify this incredible, superhuman wisdom is: “He spoke of the trees, from the cedar which is in Lebanon down to the hyssop which grows out of the wall”. As we learned from the Midrash, this example pertains to the metzoro, who brings cedar wood and a hyssop on the day of his purification.

We suggest an interesting idea based on what we learn from the Gemoreh and Midroshim that the foundation of the entire Torah and Yiddishkeit is the adherence to the attribute of humility and the avoidance of arrogance. Our sages point out that the very fact that HKB”H chose Yisroel over all the other nations demonstrates this point. For, Yisroel is the most humble of nations, whereas all other nations exhibit excessive pride and haughtiness. This is expressed so beautiful in the Gemoreh (Chullin 89.) as follows:

“HKB”H said to Yisroel: I desire you as My people, because even at a time when I bestow greatness upon you, you humble yourselves before Me. I granted greatness to Avraham, and he said before Me: “though I am but earth and ashes.” I granted greatness to Moshe and Aharon, and they said: “for what are we?” I granted greatness to David, and he said: “but I am a worm and not a man.”

Continuing along this path, let us now endeavor to make sense of our sages’ puzzling statement regarding Shlomo HaMelech. Concerning Shlomo HaMelech: “He spoke of the trees, from the cedar which is in Lebanon down to the hyssop which grows out of the wall”. This description alludes to the fact that he explained the reason why HKB”H commanded the metzoro to bring cedar wood and hyssop as follows: Since he was haughty like the cedar, he was stricken with tzara’as; by lowering himself to the level of a hyssop, he was cured by the hyssop.

The possuk teaches us that through all of Shlomo HaMelech’s billions of insights concerning the mitzvos, he revealed how they are all directed at teaching man one essential lesson: to distance himself from the cedar tree—symbolizing the negative attribute of haughtiness, the root of all sin—and to embrace the lowly hyssop—symbolizing humility, the source of all kedushah, sanctity.

If we examine these three books attributed to Shlomo HaMelech, we find that every chapter is overflowing with the theme of the Almighty’s greatness and man’s lowliness. This is especially true of the Book of Koheles which opens and concludes with a portrayal of man’s lowly and gloomy condition. Koheles begins begins (1, 1): “The words of Koheles son of David, king in Yerushalayim: Futility of futilities! – said Koheles—futility of futilities! All is futile! What profit does man have for all his labor which he toils beneath the sun? A generation goes and a generation comes, but the earth endures forever”. In a similar vein, the book of Koheles ends(12, 14): “For G-d will judge every deed—even everything hidden—whether good or evil”.

Man must learn to distance himself from haughtiness—symbolized by the cedar tree—and to embrace the attribute of humility—symbolized by the hyssop. If we would follow this holy rule, we would avoid so much aches and pain between husbands and wives; between parents and children; between siblings. There would be much more achdus between fellow Jews; more respect to each other, that we would be zoche finally to the geuleh shleimo still in this month as is said: “Benisson nigalu ubenisan asidim lehigueil” bimheiro beyomeinu omein.

Let us all have an easy preparation for Peissach and a lechtiken Shabbes.

Pinches

~  For the  Mamar in Lashon Hakodesh, subscribe to  the weekly news paper “Hamachne Hachareidi” at news@hamachne.com. ~

~ Click the link below for the full English translation ~

Translation-Metzoro 5771