Parshas Bamidbor

Yaakov Ovinu Arranged the Shevotim to carry him to his buriel
in the same Pattern that they will walk with the Degolim in the midbor

Dear Chaveirim.

In this week’s mamar we discuss the Midrash that Rashi brings in short, but it is mentioned in length in Medrash Tancumeh:

When Yaakov Avinu passed from this world, he blessed each of his sons and gave them specific instructions regarding how they were to carry him to the Land of Cenaan. He emphasized that they do so with reverence and respect and that no one touch his bier—especially none of the Egyptians. . . He specified which three sons were to stand on the eastern side, which three on the southern side, which three on the northern side and which three on the western side. Yaakov promised them that in return for fulfilling his instructions, HKB”H would rest His Presence upon them in similar divisions, in the future.

They honored his commands and HKB”H fulfilled the promise. Moshe, however, feared that these divisions would stir up controversy. HKB”H told Moshe not to concern himself with such worries; each tribe will know and recognize its proper position based on their father’s instructions. I have not instituted anything new for them in this matter—their positions are in accordance with the way they surrounded Yaakov’s bier; they will surround the Mishkan in a similar fashion.

Thus, we have learned an astonishing fact. During the entire forty year sojourn in the desert–during which time they completed forty-two distinct journeys, on their way from Egypt to Eretz Yisroel–they travelled and camped according to the very same pattern and order as they had done while transporting Yaakov Avinu after he passed away. We must endeavor to understand why Yaakov Avinu arranged them in this specific order; furthermore, his instructions conveyed to them that they would follow this same pattern and array during their travels in the desert wilderness.

We propose an explanation based on the description we find concerning the manner in which Elisha took leave of his holy Rabbi Eliyahu HaNovi—who ascended to the heavens in a whirlwind (Melochim 2 2, 9): “As they were crossing, Eliyahu said to Elisha, Request what I should do for you before I am taken away from you. Elisha said, May twice as much as your spirit be mine. He said, You have made a difficult request. If you see me taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if you do not, then it will not happen.”

A chossid of the great Rabbi Meir of Premishlan, zy”a, expressed his desire to experience the same excitement and sense of enlightenment that he experienced while in the Rebbe’s presence even while back in his own home. The Rebbe explained that at the moment he took leave of the Rebbe, the student was overwhelmed by feelings of longing and desire; but, with time, those passions tended to subside. Rabbi Meir advised the student to always picture in his mind the moment he left his Rebbe; this would help reinforce and maintain the strong bond between the student and his Rebbe even back in his own home.

He then employed this concept to explain Eliyahu’s response to Elisha: “If you see me taken from you, it shall be so for you”. In other words, Eliyahu was suggesting that Elisha constantly picture in his mind’s eye the image of how Eliyahu was taken away heavenward in a fiery chariot and a whirlwind and the emotions experienced by Elisha at that moment. He was telling Elisha that this would help maintain the strong bond between them even after Eliyahu’s ascent to the heavens. This can be understood as follows: by means of the passionate longing of the student, the teacher is able to continue influencing the student—even after ascending to the heavens.

Alas, we can rejoice at having gained some insight into Yaakov Avinu’s tremendous wisdom and loftier purpose. He commanded his sons to transport him for burial in the precise order and array that they would travel and camp in the desert. After all, the midbor, the desert wilderness, is a place where the negative forces of impurity and the Klipos reign as explained by the Arizal in Shaar HaKavons.

Certainly, during their forty year sojourn in the desert, Bnei Yisroel were at great risk of falling prey to the negative influences of the Klipos, chas v’shalom—especially after departing from Mitzrayim where they had fallen to the forty-ninth level of tumah. Therefore, Yaakov Avinu felt it necessary to devise a method to insure his children’s safe passage through this dangerous area. This was accomplished by instructing his children, the heads of the tribes, to transport him to burial according to the order and divisions that would prevail in the midbor. For, throughout their travels during their forty year stay in the desert wilderness, they would always replicate the order and formation instituted for transporting Yaakov to his burial. This would insure that they would always remember the emotional attachment they felt toward Yaakov when they left him and would guarantee their attachment to the kedushah that he transmitted to them.

So  Chaveirim let us acquire an important message: In order to succeed in the present and in the future we must remember the past. Let us all have a wonderful Shabbes.



Translation Bamidbor 5771

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מאמר ל”ג בעומר


כבוד החברים הנעלים והנכבדים כל אחד בשמו ובתוארו יבורך.

מוצאי שבת קודש הבא עלינו לטובה נחוג את יום הקדוש והנשגב של ל”ג בעומר אשר הצדיקים הפליגו בקדושת היום, לרגל היותו הילולא של התנא האלקי רשב”י ע”ה. ביום זה עולים אלפים רבבות מישראל למירון להתפלל על הציון הקדוש של רשב”י ורבי אלעזר בנו, לכן בחרנו להקדיש את מאמר השבוע לכבוד התנא האלקי רשב”י. במאמר זה אנו עוסקים בסיום הסיפור של יציאת רשב”י מהמערה בגמרא (שבת לד.): “חזייה [רשב”י ראה] ליהודה בן גרים, אמר [בפליאה], עדיין יש לזה בעולם, נתן בו עיניו ועשהו גל של עצמות”, שהקפיד עליו על שסיפר ונשמעו הדברים למלכות.

מי היה אותו יהודה בן גרים. חידוש גדול מצינו על כך בתוספות (שבת לג: ד”ה ה”ג ר”ת), כי לא היה אדם פשוט אלא אדם גדול תלמידו של רשב”י כמבואר בפירוש בגמרא (מועד קטן ט.), זאת ועוד מבואר שם, שאמר רשב”י לבנו רבי אלעזר שילך לקבל ממנו ברכה, וכך שנינו שם: “רבי יונתן בן עסמיי ורבי יהודה בן גרים תנו פרשת נדרים בי רבי שמעון בן יוחי… אמר ליה [רשב”י] לבריה [רבי אלעזר], בני אדם הללו אנשים של צורה הם, זיל גביהון דליברכוך”. לכן לא גרס רבינו תם כאן בגמרא: “הלך יהודה בן גרים וסיפר דבריהם ונשמעו למלכות”, בלי תואר של כבוד, אלא גרס: “הלך רבי יהודה בן גרים”. וגם בסוף הסוגיא לא גרס רבינו תם: “ועשהו גל של עצמות” שהוא לשון גנאי, אלא גרס: “נח נפשיה”.

יומתק להבין בזה מה שפירש רש”י: “וסיפר דבריהם, לתלמידים או לאביו ואמו, ולא להשמיען למלכות, ונשמעו על ידו למלכות”. בדרך הפשט נראה כי כוונת רש”י ליישב דקדוק הלשון: “ונשמעו למלכות”, ולא אמר: “וסיפר דבריהם למלכות”, ומוכח שלא נתכוון לספר למלכות אלא נתגלגלו הדברים עד שנשמעו למלכות. אך לפי האמור יש לומר, כי היות שרבי יהודה בן גרים היה אדם גדול תלמיד רשב”י, לא יעלה על הדעת שהיה מוסר וסיפר את הדברים למלכות, לכן פירש רש”י רק שלא נזהר מלספר הדברים לקרובים אליו, וכך נתגלגל שנשמעו הדברים למלכות.

אולם כל לומד תורה ישכיל ויבין, שיש כאן שתי פליאות גדולות המחייבות אותנו לבאר הדברים ברחבת ידים: א) מאחר שרבי יהודה בן גרים תלמידו של רשב”י היה אדם גדול, עד כדי כך שרשב”י מצא לנכון לומר לבנו שהוא אדם בעל צורה וילך אליו לקבל ממנו ברכה, איך יתכן שיצא ממנו מכשול כל כך גדול שנשמעו הדברים למלכות, וכתוצאה מכך גזרו מיתה על רשב”י והיה צריך לברוח ולהתחבר במערה י”ג שנה. ב) אנו רואים כי כשיצא רשב”י מהמערה היה כל כך שמח, עד שנתלבש במדת החסד להמתיק הדין של רבי אלעזר בנו, כמבואר בגמרא הנ”ל: “כל היכא דהוה מחי רבי אלעזר הוה מסי רבי שמעון”, זאת ועוד שאמר מפורש: “הואיל ואיתרחיש ניסא איזיל אתקין מילתא”, ואכן עשה תיקון לכהנים לטהר להם את המקום. הנה כי כן מאחר שכלל גדול הוא (אבות פ”ב מ”ב): “מצוה גוררת מצוה”, מדוע לא מצא רשב”י לנכון ביום שמח זה לעשות חסד נוסף, לסלוח לתלמידו רבי יהודה בן גרים, שלא סיפר הדברים בכוונה אלא לא נזהר מלספר לקרובים אליו ונשמעו למלכות, הן אמת שלא נהג כראוי, אולם אין ספק שנצטער על כך צער רב, מדוע אם כן לא מחל לו רשב”י.

לכבוד ל”ג בעומר יומא דהילולא של התנא האלקי רשב”י, פתח דברינו יאיר לברר מקחו של צדיק מעשה רב של רשב”י, על פי מה שהביא ב”סדר הדורות” להגה”ק רבי יחיאל היילפרין זצ”ל [אשר כל מאורי עולם הפליגו מאד בגאונותו וקדושתו [בראשם החיד”א שכתב ב”שם הגדולים” (מערכת ספרים אות ס’): “ובחלק התנאים והאמוראים הן הראנו את כוחו בתלמוד ועוצם בקיאותו דכל רז לא אניס ליה… מבהילים את הרעיון מראות נפלאות ופלאי פלאות בקיאותו”]. והנה מה שכתב (חלק תנאים ואמוראים אות י’ ערך יהודה בן גרים) דבר פלא בשם ספר “נובלות חכמה” להמקובל האלקי היש”ר מקנדיאה, כי רשב”י היה נשמת משה רבינו ויהודה בן גרים היה גלגול המצרי שהרגו משה, לכן כמו שהרג משה את המצרי, כן הרג רשב”י נשמת משה את יהודה בן גרים גלגול המצרי.

אמנם דבר זה צריך ביאור, שהרי המצרי היה גוי גמור, הנה כי כן איך זכה להתגלגל בגדול בתורה כרבי יהודה בן גרים. אך ביאור הענין הוא על פי מה שגילה לנו רבינו האריז”ל ב”שער הפסוקים” (פרשת בראשית דרוש ד’ ופרשת שמות ד”ה ויהי בימים), הטעם שסיבב הקב”ה שמשה יהרוג את המצרי, זאת ועוד, מדוע הרגו בשם המפורש ולא בחרב, כי משה רבינו היה הגלגול של הבל, ואילו המצרי היה הגלגול של קין שהרג את הבל. והנה מקרא מלא דיבר הכתוב (בראשית ט ו): “שופך דם האדם באדם דמו ישפך”, כלומר השופך דם האדם לרצחו, כי אז “באדם” על ידי האדם עצמו שנרצח “דמו ישפך”, כי שניהם באים בגלגול והנרצח הורג את רוצחו, לכן סיבב הקב”ה שהבל איש צדיק בא בגלגול משה, ואילו קין אחיו הרוצח בא בגלגול המצרי, וכאשר בא משה וראה איש מצרי מכה איש עברי, השיג ברוח קדשו כי טמון בו ניצוץ אחיו קין, על כן הרגו כדי לתקן את נפש קין אשר בקרבו.

ענין נפלא זה מוביל אותנו בסבך שבילי גלגולי הנשמות אשר נשאיר למאמר עצמו ולסיכום אנו אומרים:

והנה כאשר נתבונן בזה תתמלא נפשנו התפעלות עצומה, איך הקב”ה מגלגל בדרכים נפלאים תיקון הנשמות, כי מתחילה נתגלגל קין שהרג את הבל בתוך המצרי, ובא משה גלגול הבל והרג את המצרי בשם תכ”ה כדי לתקן את נפש קין אחיו. והנה הנפש של קין שבתוך המצרי גרם למשה גלגול הבל אחיו לברוח למדין, אשר שם השיג את שלימותו במראה הסנה והוציא את ישראל ממצרים ומסר להם את התורה, ובכך היה קצת תיקון לנפש קין שבתוך המצרי שגרם לכל זה.

אחר כך נתגלגל קין שהיה בתוך המצרי ביהודה בן גרים, ובא רשב”י גלגול משה ולמד עמו תורה כדי להשלים תיקונו, אך עדיין נשאר בו קצת מזוהמת המצרי, ומחמת כן לא שמר יהודה בן גרים על דיבורו, וגרם לרשב”י לברוח ולהתחבא במערה שהשיג שם את שלימותו, ובזכות זה כשיצא רשב”י מן המערה גילה תורת הנסתר בישראל, לכן כשפגש רשב”י בתלמידו יהודה בן גרים נתן בו עיניו, לתקנו בשם תכ”ה שהתחיל משה לתקן בשם זה את נפש קין אחיו ונשלם תיקונו. יהי רצון שיתקיים בנו דברי הפייטן האלקי: “תורתו מגן לנו, היא מאירת עינינו, ימליץ טוב בעדנו, אדונינו בר יוחאי”.

שבת שלום ומבורך

ידידכם פנחס



Rashb’y the Gilgul of Moshe Rabeinu purifies his Pupil
Rabbi Yehudah ben Gerim a Gilgul of the Mitzri!

Dear Chaveirim.

This coming Motzei Shabbos we enter the holy day of Lag BoOmer – when we count 33 days of the Omer. On this day we celebrate the “Hilule” – Your-Tzeit, of the holy Tanna Eloky Rashb’y. This mamar is devoted for this great holy person olov hasholom.

In it we address and clarify a surprising incident described in the Gemoreh (Shabbos 34.) that after secluding themselves in a cave for thirteen years, Rashb’y and his son, Rabbi Elozor, departed the cave and encountered Yehudah ben Gerim. As a consequence of the latter not having guarded his tongue, the Roman government had sentenced Rashb’y to die — this forced him to flee and seek refuge in the cave until that regime had died and the decree had been repealed. Upon exiting the cave and encountering Yehudah ben Gerim, Rashb’y proclaimed: “Is this one still in the world? He turned his eyes upon him and turned him into a heap of bones”.

Before delving into this matter, we examine who exactly Yehudah ben Gerim was. Was he an ordinary person who did not know how to guard his tongue? Or, was he a great Torah scholar who failed by speaking when he should have kept quiet?

In this regard, we find the surprising revelation from Rabeinu Tam in Tosafos (Shabbos 33:) that he was an esteemed student of Rashb’y’s and not an ordinary person. In fact, the Gemoreh (Moed Koten 9.) teaches us that Rashb’y even sent his son Rabbi Elazar to go and obtain a berocheh from him and, furthermore, Rashb’y describes Rabbi Yehudah ben Gerim and his associate as men of stature.

For this reason, Rabeinu Tam has a slightly different version of our Gemoreh. Rather than mentioning “Yehudah ben Gerim” without any title of honor, his version reads “Rabbi Yehudah ben Gerim”. Additionally, at the conclusion of the passage, it states: “And he turned him into a heap of bones” – a description that is belittling, Rabeinu Tam’s version reads: “Venouch nafsho” –  “and he passed away”.

It is apparent that we need to address the question: We have seen from the Gemoreh that when Rashb’y emerged from the cave he was so ecstatic that he sought to perform acts of kindness and benevolent deeds — he reversed the acts of harsh judgment due to his son Rabbi Elazar and he cleared an area of uncertain corpse contamination for the Kohanim. Why didn’t Rashb’y see fit, on this joyous occasion to forgive his talmid rabbi Yehudah ben Gerim?

In honor of Lag BoOmer, a day celebrating the holy Tanna Rashb’y, we try to clarify and illuminate the actions of this great tzaddik, by introducing an amazing fact taught by the Seder HaDoros in the name of the sefer Novlos Chochmeh: Rashb’y was a gilgul of Moshe Rabeinu’s neshomeh and Yehudah ben Gerim was a gilgul of the Mitzri – Mitzri, slain by Moshe. So, just as Moshe killed the Mitzri, Rashb’y, a gilgul of Moshe’s neshomeh, killed Yehudah ben Gerim, a gilgul of the Mitzri.

This takes us on an astonishing journey of gilgulei neshomes. A subject that show us a drop of the incredible methods HKB”H employs to purify and rectify neshomehs. We will leave all the details to the original mamar plus the wonderful translation.

We should all have an inspiring Lag- BoOmer. We are mispalel to Hashem that the words of the heavenly poet are fulfilled: “Toroso mogen lonu, hi meiras eineinu, yamlitz tov baadeinu, adoneinu Bar Yochai” – let the Torah of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, protect us, enlighten us, and advocate on our behalf!

A lechtiken and sweet Shabbos.


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Translation-Lag BoOmer 5771

Parshas Behar

“Bishnas Hayovel Hazos Toshuvu Ish El Achuzoso”

The secret of Geule according the Zohar
In the year: Five Thousand Four Hunderd & Eight


Dear Chaveirim.

This week we discuss an amazing mamar in the Zohar that the secret of the Geule is revealed in the possuk: “Bishnas hayovel hazos toshuvu ish el achuzoso”. The word “Hazos” represents the year: Five Thousand Four Hunderd & Eight. The letter Hei of “Ha-zos” has the numerical value of five, which alludes to Five thousand. The other letters “zos” – zeyin alef tov, have the numeral value of four hundred and eight.

The commentators are puzzled by this statement in the Zohar. After all, more than three hundred years have passed since the year 5408 and our salvation has yet to come. Additionally, instead of 5408 being a year of redemption, it was a year of tragedy and evil decrees. In the years 5408 and 5409, the Cossacks led by the tyrant Chmelnitzki, yimach shemom, massacred tens of thousands of innocent Jewish men, women and children in Poland.

This phenomenon can be explained based on a well-known principle described in our sacred sources. HKB”H created the world as a level playing field with equal and opposite forces. In any year designated for redemption, the “samech-mem” rallies all of his prosecutorial forces and works his hardest to prevent Yisroel from realizing its redemption. For, he knows full well that when Yisroel are redeemed he will cease to exist. Therefore, if Yisroel are truly unworthy of redemption, due to their numerous transgressions, their transgressions are recalled rather than the anticipated redemption. Instead of realizing the tremendous illumination of redemption an intense darkness, chas v’shalom, befalls Yisroel.

After a long journey into the land of our holy sages we come to the conclusion, that every year, and in fact every single day, is an opportunity to hasten the redemption and to resurrect the dead. Just as Moshiach told Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi that he would come that very day: “Hayom im bekolo tishmoin” – but only on the condition that we engage in Torah study — symbolized by the five “aleph”s of the five mentions of the word “OHR” in conjunction with teshuveh —comprised of: Tzom Kol Momen”, which equals 408. When we fulfill this condition, the promise of the possuk will be realized: “Bishnas Hayovel Hazos Toshuvu Ish El Achuzoso” – In this Jubilee year, each of you shall return to his ancestral heritage — swiftly bimheiro beyomeinu omein.

A wonderful and lechtiken Shabbos


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Translation-Behar 5771



Parshas Emor

By davening with a Minyan of Ten we Renew
the Ten Maamoros that Sustain and Revitalize Creation

Erev Rosh Chodesh Iyar.

Dear Chaveirim.

In this week’s mamar for parshas Emor, we discuss the possuk in this parsha: “Venikdashti besoch bnei yisruel”. From this possuk chaza”l teach that every “dovor shebekedushe”Kadish & Kedushe, should be said only with a minyan who are not less than 10 people. How important it is to daven with a minyan we can learn from what our holy sages – chazal, reveal to us in the Gemoreh (Berochos 6:):

“When HKB”H arrives at the Beis Hakneses and does not find ten men present, He immediately becomes angry and says: “Why is it that I have come and there is no man, I have called and no one answers?”

Furthermore we learn in the Gemoreh (Berochos 47:) what a great zechus it is to be from the first ten who make up the minyan:

“Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: A person should always awake early to go to the synagogue, so that he should merit to be counted among the first ten. For, even if one hundred people come after him, he receives a reward equal to that of all of the one hundred who came later”.

So Chaveirim it is time to explore, why is it so important to have at least 10 people when we daven to the heiliger Bashefer. So is it essential for us to try to understand why it angers HKB”H, so to speak, when He does not find ten men present for the Tefilo.

We explain this, based on the words of the great mekubel Rabbi Meir ben Gabai in his seifer “Tolaas Yaakov”, with the mishneh (Ovos 5, 1): “Beasoro maamoros nivro huolom”“With ten sayings the world was created”, as specified in parshas Bereishis: “Vayomer elokim yehi ohr”… “Vayomer elokim yehi rokia besoch hamayim”… “Vayomer elokim tadshe huoretz deshe” etc. etc.

The Baal Shem Tov teaches us a very important lesson, based on the words we recite every morning Shachris in the broche of “yotzer ohr”: “Hamechadesh betuvo bechol yom tomid maasei bereshis” – HKB”H renews in His goodness, each day, continuously, the work of creation. This teaches us that the process of creation is renewed on a daily basis; just as HKB”H created the universe originally by means of ten maamoros, the daily renewal process is similarly accomplished via the ten maamoros.

We can now begin to comprehend the Tolaas Yaakov’s explanation, concerning the virtuous status of the first ten men arriving to form the minyan: They correspond to the ten maamoros through which the world was created and form a complete entity of kedushah. For, this initial gathering of ten represents a symbolic gesture to prepare and rectify in the heavens above the ten maamoros employed by HKB”H to create the universe. As a result, their prayers are capable of renewing creation via the ten maamoros and, in this merit, they themselves are the recipients of blessing and prosperity delivered by these newly prepared conduits.

Continuing along this path of enlightenment, we can now revisit Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi’s statement:

“A person should always awake early to go to Shul so that he should merit to be counted among the first ten. For, even if one hundred people come after him, he receives the reward equal to that of all of the one hundred who came later”.

It is clear, now, that the one hundred men that arrive subsequently to daven are making use of the very same conduits of plenty established by the ten maamoros that were supplied by the first ten men. Consequently, those first ten deserve a reward commensurate to all of the others.

This my friends is only the tip of the iceberg, or should I rather say; the tip of the volcano. We go on to explore how HKB”H himself joins the minyan, to fill the quote of 11 features of the Ketores, that symbolize the 2 letters vov kei, their numeral velue is 11, that are missing from the shem Havaye in Golus.

Luckily this week the talented Dr. Baruch Fox is back with his wonderful translation and as always did a superb job that will give you great pleasure.

So friends next time you walk on the street rushing somewhere and all of a sudden you hear someone calling out: A tzenter to minyan, try not to turn away, but rather feel lucky to meet HKB”H waiting patiently for the minyan to fill. You will just benefit from it.

A guten Chodesh and a wonderful Shabbos.



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