Hold On

This week’s Kiddush was sponsored by Reb Yisrael Neuberger in honor of his new book “Hold On”. (On the cover, there is a rope so the Rav digressed on the idea of a חבל.)

The word חבל not only means a rope but at times is used to describe a גרל as the Pasuk says in Haazinu כי חלק יקוק עמו יעקב חבל נחלתו( לב,ט). Now if every creation and creature in this world has a specific purpose as it says לא ברא הקב"ה דבר אחד לבטלה (במ"ר יח,יח, זהר א כג), then all the more so, the human being which is created בצלם אלוקים for sure has a purpose and a mission that only he can fulfil. At times in can be difficult to feel and realize that we have a purpose being that there are seven billion people in this world. But we must remember and internalize that we have a unique purpose and mission.

The Baal Hatanya writes in the Iggeres Hakodesh (page קיב) that it is impossible to explain logically what a person’s mission and purpose is in this world. It’s also impossible for a person to explain why his situation is the lot he received in this world. In Modern Hebrew, גורל means fate. It would seem that it’s a misuse. But in truth, a person has a fate and we believe that his fate is orchestrated by Hashem and opportunities, and circumstances that his life presents him can bring him to the place where he could and should fulfil his mission. Where a person finds himself is where he is to fulfil his mission in life, and therefore a person must approach his fate with faith. A person can feel that his lot and portion that he was dealt isn’t fair and if he had the other person’s situation with the intelligence or the wealth, than things would be better. But a person needs to internalize that he has his mission based on what he was dealt. Sometimes a person can feel like he’s an ארור המן and the other person is a ברוך מרדכי but it’s really עד דלא ידע. When Esther was taken to be the queen, it was probably very tragic. She could have felt that it was unfair that this was happening to her. But Mordechai pointed out to her ומי יודע אם לעת כזאת הגעת למלכות, that just maybe all this was happening in order for her to fulfil her life mission. The usage of מי יודע brings out the idea that this that a person is chosen for something cannot be explained logically. If a person doesn’t grab his moment and opportunity, he will have missed his chance. When Mordechai said to Esther כי אם החרש תחרישי בעת הזאת רוח והצלה יעמוד ליהודים ממקום אחר ואת ובית אביך תאבדו, it wasn’t a curse, rather he was saying who knows, this may be her mission and purpose and if she misses it, than it will be a missed opportunity and רוח והצלה יעמוד ליהודים ממקום אחר.

So to Reb Yisrael found the meaning in all the challenges and tribulations of his life and he utilizes the special place he was placed in from Hashem to bring other Jews closer to Hashem.

Contrasting Parshas Shekalim and Parshas Parah

This Shabbos we read Ki Sisa which is the Parshah of Shekalim and Parshas Parah was also read this past Shabbos. When contrasting Parshas Parah to Parshas Shekalim, they are total opposites. In the יוצרות for Parshas Shekalim, it says אז ראית וספרת והכנת וחקרת ומדדת וכלת ושקלת וכו' ומנית וספרת וקצבת וחרצת וכו'. Parshas Shekalim represents the idea of precision and that everything in the world is calculated mathematically to perfection. But in the יוצרות for Parshas Parah, it says אין לשוחח עוצם נפלאותיך אין להגיד חקר דתותיך וכו' אין לעמוד על ספן מדותיך וכו'. The Parah Adumah is מטהר הטמאים ומטמא הטהורים, it’s the ultimate ParaDox. Parah represents the chaotic dimension, what can’t be figure out. It expresses the idea that a person needs to be able to live with doubt and not full understanding of everything. Although these two ideas are complete opposites, a person needs to be able to live with both and apply each of them to the appropriate situation.

Counting the Contribution

The beginning of the Parshah discusses the מחצית השקל that was given by each individual for the consensus. But we don’t count people, rather we count the מחצית השקל that was given. It’s clear that what’s counted is not a person as he is but rather by his contribution. It’s said that the number of Jews in the world is less than the number that is considered a statistical error in China. But when you count the contributions that the Jews have given to the world, that’s where we make a difference. This idea is expressed in the way that the Jews were counted, not by person, rather by their contribution.

Recognizing Greatness

וישמע העם את הדבר הרע הזה ויתאבלו ולא שתו איש עדיו עליו (לג,ד) On the words איש עדיו, Rashi says that they lost the כתרים that were given to them when they said נעשה ונשמע. But in the next Pasuk, Hashem says to Moshe ועתה הורד עדיך מעליך and the very next Pasuk says ויתנצלו בני ישראל את עדים מהר חורב, referring to the כתרים. The Pasuk of ויתנצלו is brought down in Shabbos 88 to say that the Malachim came down and removed the כתרים. These Psukim are confusing as to when did Klal Yisrael actually lose there כתרים from נעשה ונשמע because on the one hand, in Pasuk ד it says they were מתאבל and lost their כתרים but in the very next two Psukim, Hashem is instructing to have the כתרים removed? (Rishonim deal with the complication among these Psukim.)

The Chozeh M’Lublin explains the Psukim as follows. The words לא שתו can be explained like when they were used by פרעה and the מכות that the Pasuk says ולא שת לבו גם לזאת, that he didn’t pay attention and wasn’t aware; lacked recognition. In this Pasuk, לא שתו איש עדיו עליו means that they were still wearing the כתרים from נעשה ונשמע but they lost the connection to them and they lacked recognition that they still had them. They failed to realize that even after they sinned, they still had greatness. But once they failed to recognize their own greatness, then Hashem says ועתה הורד עדיך מעליך, now that you failed to recognize that you still had your כתרים- your greatness, now remove them. If a person doesn’t recognize his own greatness, then he’ll lose it. When a person lacks the חשיבות for something, it gets taken away from him. As the Gemara in Brachos 62b says about Dovid HaMelech:

ויקם דוד ויכרת את כנף המעיל אשר לשאול בלט אמר רבי יוסי ברבי חנינא: כל המבזה את הבגדים סוף אינו נהנה מהם, שנאמר והמלך דוד זקן בא בימים ויכסהו בבגדים ולא יחם לו.

By cutting of the corner of Shaul’s coat, Dovid showed he lacked the חשיבות for it and therefore at the end of his life, he wasn’t נהנה from בגדים because you lose something that you don’t have חשיבות for.

Building the Mishkan and Shabbos

ואתה דבר אל בני ישראל לאמר אך את שבתתי תשמרו (לא,יג) On the word אך, Rashi says אף על פי שתהיו רדופין וזריזין בזריזות מלאכה שבת אל תדחה מפניה. כל אכין ורקין מיעוטין, למעט שבת ממלאכת המשכן. The word אך operates as a מיעוט to be ממעט building the Mishkan on Shabbos. Why would a person have thought that building the Mishkan overrides Shabbos if Shabbos is an עשה ולא תעשה and בנין המשכן is only an עשהand we says לא אתי עשה ודחי את לא תעשה ועשה?

The Gemara in Bava Metzia 32a talks about if a person’s parent tells him to be מחלל שבת, he should refuse and it’s learned from the Pasuk איש אמו ואביו תיראו ואת שבתותי תשמרו אני ה. The Gemara explains that the הוא אמינא would have been הואיל והוקש כיבוד אב ואם לכבודו של מקום, שנאמר כאן כבד את אביך ואת אמך, ונאמר להלן כבד את ה' מהונך, that since the Torah compares the Kavod one must have for his parents with the Kavod one must have for Hashem, therefore a person should listen to his parents even to the point of desecrating Shabbos comes the Pasuk to teach us that still one should not listen to his parents in such a case because כולכם חייבין בכבודי.

With the above Gemara, it could be understood why there was such a הוא אמינא to desecrate the Shabbos and build the Mishkan. If there was such a הוא אמינא in the Gemara by כיבוד אב ואם which is only הוקש to כבודו של מקום, all the more so for building the Mishkan which is not הוקש to כבוד שמים but it itself is כבוד שמים, as it says ובהיכלו כולו אומר כבוד, for sure there should be a הוא אמינא that its building should override Shabbos. Therefore the אך is needed to exclude the building of the Mishkan on Shabbos.

On the above mentioned Pasuk, the Ramban is bothered why this limitation is being said in the context of Shabbos. It would make more sense for it to appear in the Psukim talking about the building of the Mishkan as a limitation to when one cannot build the Mishkan. So why is it said in the context of Shabbos?

The שפת אמת in תרלא in the name of the Chidushei Harim answers that it’s not that the Mishkan is not important enough to override Shabbos but rather it’s something about Shabbos that makes the Mishkan unnecessary.

The Rav added that the אריז"ל says (in the סידור האריז"ל on the words ישמח משה במתנת חלקו) that the כתרים that we got when we said נעשה ונשמע but that were taken away from us by the חטא העגל are given back to us on Shabbos. The reason being is because on Shabbos, we revert back to a level of before the חטא העגל.

The Sforno in the beginning of Parshas Terumah writes that before the חטא העגל, there was no need for a Mishkan and there was a reality of בכל המקום אשר אזכיר את שמי אבוא אליך וברכתיך. But once Klal Yisrael sinned with the חטא העגל, now the שכינה was only able to exist and reside in the Mishkan.

In the Zmiros on Shabbos it says אוהבי ה' המחכים בבנין אריאל that the אוהבי ה' are waiting fot the building of the Beis Hamikdash and they are heartbroken by the lack of the Beis Hamikdash. But it continues ביום השבת שישו ושמחו כמקבלי מתן נחליאל that on Shabbos they can overcome that pain. The reason is because on Shabbos, we are כמקבלי מתן נחליאל-like those who were מקבל the Torah, and the people who originally were מקבל the Torah said נעשה ונשמע. And as the Sforno says, at that point, the Beis Hamikdash was not needed and it was only after the חטא העגל that the Mishkan was needed. Therefore although the אוהבי ה' long for the building of the Beis Hamikdash, on Shabbos they are שישו ושמחו like the מקבלי מתן נחליאל who didn’t need the Mishkan because בכל מקום אשר אזכיר את שמי. The idea of the Mishkan and Shabbos is one in the same that they each create the same reality. That which the Mishkan accomplishes with space, Shabbos accomplishes with time. Therefore, on Shabbos, there is no need for the Mishkan because the fact that we get the כתרים from נעשה ונשמע back on Shabbos indicates that a certain reality of before the חטא העגל exists and the necessity of the Mishkan was only because of the חטא העגל. Therefore on Shabbos where we are living on a level of before the חטא העגל, there is no need for the Mishkan. Therefore, that which the Torah limits the building of the Mishkan on Shabbos is specifically written in the context of Shabbos and not בנין המשכן to teach us that on Shabbos there is no need for the Mishkan.

It’s said in the name of the Rebbe Reb Bunim M’Pshischa that on Shabbos there are no בקשת צרכים because we are on the level of נעשה ונשמע as we from the fact that we get the כתרים back and מדה כנגד מדה is just like we were מקדים when we said נעשה ונשמע so to Hashem is מקדים that it says טרם יקראו ואני אענה-we are answered before we ask. This is why there is no בקשת צרכים on Shabbos because there is no need once we are on the level of נעשה ונשמע.

Milk and Meat

לא תבשל גדי בחלב אמו (לד,כו) The בית יוסף in סימן פז writes that אין לאכול דגים בחלב מפני הסכנה כמו שנתבאר בספר אורח חיים סימן קע"ג that because of סכנה, a person should not eat milk and fish together. The Rama in Darkei Moshe there writes that there is no such thing and the issue of סכנה is only by fish and meat and therefore נראה שנתערב להרב בית יוסף בשר בחלב. This is a very interesting back and forth between the Rama and the Beis Yosef and many people attempt to give an explanation for the Beis Yosef who seemingly made an error.

But the רבינו בחיי in Parshas Mishpatim quotes from רופאים who describe that there is such a סכנה in regards to eating milk and fish together as follows: וכן דעת הרופאים בתערובת דג וגבינה שנתבשלו כאחד שמוליד תכונה רעה וחולי הצרעת.


Thursday Night Parsha Shiur 5781