Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Spirit of the Law: Shabbos #11

Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 72:11: “One is obligated to review the parshah of the week; one reads the text of the chumash twice, and the Targum of Onkelos once.”

The first question that springs to mind when one learns this halachah is, what is the purpose of reviewing the chumash twice? Shouldn’t once be sufficient?
Rav Shmuel Hominer, zt”l, states in the introduction to his work Eved HaMelech on the chumah that reviewing the parshah in the way indicated here makes it as if one fulfilled all the mitzvos revealed in that parshah, even those which they cannot do or which cannot be performed presently. The second review demonstrates that the study is not just learning, but is avodah.
Rav Moshe Soleveitchik, zt”l, of Switzerland explained that we say the verses of the parshah twice because this shows that we recognize the endless depth of the Torah. The first time corresponds to whatever commentaries we learn, and the second time is like learning the verses alone without any commentary. Even with all the deep commentaries we may learn, we still recite the text a second time to internalize that we have not yet begun to enter the depths of the written Torah.
Rebbe Nachman, zt”l, brings a “proof” of the infinite levels of the Torah. The Tikkunei Zohar comprises seventy profound chapters filled with the deepest Kabbalistic secrets, seventy facets of interpretation of a single word—the first “Bereishis” of the Torah. Rebbe Nachman says that we see from it that a book like this could have been written about each and every word of the holy Torah!
There is another way of understanding why we review the text of the chumash twice. The Chid”a, zt”l, quotes the Rabbeinu Efraim, zt”l, one of the baalei Tosafos, who writes that the first words of Sefer Shemos—ואלה שמות—form an acronym of the phrase: וחייב אדם לקראות הפרשה שניים מקרא ואחד תרגום—“One is obligated to read the parashah; twice its verse, and once its Targum.” The Chid”a then goes a step further. He explains why is this halachah is hinted at specifically in the first words of Parshas Shemos. It is well known that the purpose of our exile to Egypt was to raise up the sparks of holiness that had been exiled there through our physical labor in clay and brick-making. The Arizal writes that we review the parshah in this way to clarify holiness from klippas nogah which is comprised of things with both a potential for holiness and a potential to be used for impurity (like eating, business, sleep, etc). Klippas nogah is expressed in the language of the nations that can be sanctified through their use in Torah study. [See Likutei Moharan I:19] This is why the numerical value of Targum equals 649—the same as the numerical value of tardeimah. [This is the deep sleeping state of spiritual unawareness, which requires clarification.] Based on this teaching of the Arizal, it is fitting that the mitzvah of reviewing the Torah with the Targum is alluded to at the beginning of Parshas Shemos, the parshah which discusses our exile in Egypt, whose purpose was also to clarify sparks and raise them up from exile.

No comments: