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