Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Fourteen Inspiring Teachings Regarding 4 Species and Sukkos

1 The Shem Mi’Shmuel, zt”l, provides an inspiring explanation of the why each person must take his own lulav, as we find in Sukkah 41. “Our sages explain that the four species allude to the four letters of Hashem’s Name. They also parallel the limbs of every Jew. Our esrog symbolizes the heart; the lulav is like the spine; hadasim are compared to the eyes; and aravos parallel the lips. The lesson here is that Hashem places His Name on every single Jew, not only upon the community as a whole. “This is why one cannot discharge his obligation with the lulav of his friend on the first day of Sukkos. After the heart-wrenching, self-searching teshuvah of Yom Kippur—the main element of our many viduim is our shame for having sinned—we are granted this special gift. In merit of our intense struggle, Hashem’s Name shines upon every single Jew and we are filled with the exuberance and deep joy of zeman simchaseinu.” [Shem M’Shmuel, Sukkos] 2 Rav Naftali of Ropschitz, zt”l, gave an intriguing insight into taking the four species on sukkos. “The Arizal revealed that both the word lulav and hadas have the same numerical value as chayim, life. This teaches us that through fulfilling this mitzvah one draws life. Not only that, our sages taught that, 'He who gives life will also give sustenance.' There are many other things without which one’s life is so deficient, that the sages compared the situation to being dead. One who is blind, has no children, and the list goes on--all are circumstances where one could say that life is hardly worth living, chas v'shalom. Taking the four species on Sukkos draws life in all its fullness into us and is a segulah to heal that which detracts from our joy in life.” Rav Mordechai of Nadvorna, zt”l, explained why he chose to use a very long lulav. “The Arizal explains that lulav is gematria chayim. It follows that a longer lulav is preferable, since this symbolizes a long life.” It is surely significant that the brochah is specifically al netilas lulav--"to take a lulav." The Beis Aharon of Karlin, zt”l, explains, “We can understand this in light of the mishnah in Avos: Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai said, I prefer the words of Rav Elazar ben Arach to yours, since what he said includes what all of you said. Rav Elazar ben Arach said that a good heart is the most important acquisition that a person can have. The very word lulav can be read as a contraction of lo lev—he has a heart. This means that a person takes heart and develops a lev tov. When a person has a lev tov, he is heartened and filled with vitality. In this manner he has the perseverance to fight his yetzer hora and will be victorious.” [Zera Kodesh; Ma’amar Mordechai, p. 136: 80; Beis Aharon] 3 The Sefas Emes, zt”l, gives an inspiring explanation of the lengthy hoshanos that we recite on Hoshanah Rabbah. “The Midrash states that aravos are compared to the Jewish people. Some Jews lack smell and taste: they don’t learn Torah or do good deeds. The Midrash also tells us that aravos allude to the lips. We see that those without Torah and good deeds know how to daven. The word aravah also means sweet, as we say ‘v’ha’arev na,’ in birchas haTorah. The intense prayers of these Jews are sweet to Hashem. In Sukkah 44 we find that it is called an aravah because its lip is chalak, smooth. This means that these Jews guard their tongues from speaking what is forbidden so their mouths are holy. “This is the meaning of the verse, ‘A prayer for the poor man who 'garbs himself.’ This means the destitute one who has no Torah or good deeds, and his prayers are his only spiritual garment in which he wraps himself like a tallis. Since Hoshanah Rabbah is designed primarily for such people, we offer abundant prayers. On Hoshanah Rabbah even such lowly people who are compared to aravos, can be uplifted and redeemed. Through their heartfelt prayers they will merit Torah and boundless joy on Simchas Torah.” [Sefas Emes, Sukkos] 4 The Sefer HaChinuch writes that even looking at the four species imparts joy to those who behold them. Rav Chaim Brim, zt”l, recalled, “The great Gaon, Rav Yechezkel Abramsky, zt”l, had a fascinating custom. During Sukkos his four species would be on display. He would place his lulav with hadasim and aravos in a vase filled with water which stood in the corner of his room. They were fanned out in such an elegant manner, like a monarch's bouquet that really drew the eye. His esrog was a large one from the type known as Yemenite esrog. It was completely clean and of a wonderful hue as it rested in its case which he left ajar. All who saw this were moved by their splendor and filled with sublime joy, just like the Sefer HaChinuch writes.” Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt”l, learned an important lesson from how people handle their lulav and esrog. “It is worthwhile to contemplate the great care with which people handle their four species. They handle them as if they were precious jewels. It is clear that this is not merely to avoid a monetary loss. The Jewish people are holy and feel a deep obligation to treat their four species with respect since through them we fulfill the will of Hashem. “Yet we only fulfill a Torah mitzvah with our four species once a year, maximum. The rest of the days are rabbinic in origin. During a year when the first day of Yom Tov falls on Shabbos the entire mitzvah is rabbinic. Surely it is only fitting to deal with our fellows in a much more sensitive manner than we do our lulav and esrog. After all, there is no limit of Torah mitzvos incumbent on us when dealing with our fellow Jews. If we only cherish and respect each other as is fitting, we will accrue many more mitzvos than we do when taking our lulav and esrog!” [Zeman Simchaseinu, p. 19; Halichos Shlomo, Part II, p. 205] 5 When the Lev Simcha, zt”l, heard about the exorbitant prices of hadasim, he vowed to do everything possible to lower the price. He summoned some a number of reliable followers who were known for their ability to get the job done and asked them to buy up a great deal of esrogim, lulavim, and hadasim to ensure that the price did not skyrocket. The rebbe felt very strongly about this, even suggesting that, if the price remained high, each shtiebel should purchase a couple of sets of four species to be used by everyone and no one else should buy a personal set. It was about this time that the merchants began selling “closed sets” which were not too pricey but were perfectly kosher. Some were even mehudar. Not surprisingly, a number of sellers heard about the Gerrer Rebbe's move to keep the price under control and were very upset by this. They pointed out that one who picked his own esrog and paid a very high price would surely get a more mehudar esrog. Why not make allowances for the chassidim who could afford to spend? But the rebbe would not be dissuaded. “It says in the verse, ‘La’asos mishpat kasuv’—‘To do the written law...’ that means one should act as is determined to be proper, in accordance with the actual law. Only then, ‘Hadar hu l’chol chassidov’—'...All the species of the chassidim will be considered mehudar!” When his followers searched for a source for this surprising ruling they found it in the Sefas Emes based on Sukkah 34. There we find that an esrog is called pri eitz hadar because, unlike the other trees, the fruit and its tree tasted the same, in exact accordance with Hashem's command. We see that the main character of hadar is to follow directions exactly! [Libam Shel Yisrael, Part III, p. 137] 6 Rav Yehoshua Heschel of Alkosh, zt”l, inspired those who learned from him to yearn for perfection. “It is surely surprising that the Jewish people are so careful to pay a lot of money to procure the cleanest, most perfect esrog that they can. Why do they exhibit so much more self-sacrifice for specifically this part of the mitzvah? “The answer is that the esrog alludes to its acronym: emunah, teshuvah, refuah, geulah. We need to exhibit great self-sacrifice to get anywhere in these four essential areas. Although refuah alludes to healing, which appears physical, it also refers to healing the spirit. “A Jew must have profound emunah. He must believe that Hashem loves him and will answer completely when he intones the brochos thee we say thrice daily, in each Shemonah Esrei. For example: ‘V’hachzireinu b’teshuvah shleymah l’fonechah; 'Viha’alei refuah shleymoh;’ ‘U’goaleinu geulah shleymah.’ “We must realize that there are many levels of each of these requests. One can get a partial refuah or a complete one. The same is true of teshuvah, geulah and emunah. We can have a living, vital emunah regarding every detail of our lives, or a static, general emunah, which fails to really bring Hashem into our lives. “All of these essentials are hinted to in our esrog, which alludes to the heart as our sages explain.” [B’Levas Eish, p. 294] 7 Rav Tzaddok Hakohain of Lublin, zt”l, applies a teaching from Sukkah 38 with characteristic brilliance. “Our sages say that waving the four species in the four directions stops harmful winds, while waving them up and down protects from harmful dew. Although one who merely takes them in his hand discharges his obligation, this extra aspect of the mitzvah is very helpful. “In terms of avodah, harmful winds refer to negative desires. As we find, ‘All that is olah al rucho to do’--'Anything that the spirit (wind) moves him to do.' He waves them around to stop harmful tal, dew. This means negative ideologies and attitudes. The Torah is called dew in Parshas Ha’azinu because our understanding in Torah flows down to us from on high. Like gently falling dew, the Torah slowly but surely influences us for the better. Negative ideologies and attitudes correspond to this on the other side. Waving the lulav purifies one from this all negative ideologies which distance him from Hashem.” [Pri Tzaddik, Sukkah] 8 Once, several avrechim were with Rav Meachmen Mendel of Kosov, zt”l, examining esrogim. One of the young men was afraid that the esrogim might be grafted with other fruits, rendering them invalid. He wanted to cut open the fruit to see if the seeds resembled those of a true esrog, using the siman of the Magen Avrohom. But when they presented this suggestion to the rebbe, he objected. “The Zohar says that one’s esrog alludes to his heart. If a person is simple and we don’t see any problem with him, will we begin to examine him to determine if he is acceptable? Of course not. It seems to me that, this time, you should just leave the esrogim as they are.” When the chasidim saw that the Rebbe passed away that year, they understood that he meant to arouse heavenly mercy with this ruling. One Sukkos, the Divrei Yechezkel of Shinova, zt”l, was feeling very glad with his esrog. “I am elated that we managed to get a mehudar esrog.” “My esrog is nicer than the rebbe’s,” a member of his family crowed. “I think your esrog is invalid,” replied the rebbe. The man rushed to bring the esrog and showed it to the rebbe. After a quick examination, the rebbe showed that the pitom was cleverly attached with a needle. “But how did you know that?” asked the astounded man. “An esrog is a modest fruit. If a person comes to such arrogance from his esrog, it is most likely invalid.” [Nefesh Shmuel; Shefa Chaim] 9 The Vilna Gaon, zt”l, gives a characteristically brilliant explanation of the verses regarding the seventy bulls brought on Sukkos. “We find in the Zohar that, although there are seventy nations, the two main nations are Eisav and Yishmael. The other sixty-eight nations get their spiritual vitality through Eisav and Yishmael. We further find there that a seir izim alludes to Yishmael, while a seir symbolizes Eisav. Since we find in Sukkah 55 that the seventy bulls brought during Sukkos allude to the seventy nations, it follows that thirty-five are brought for Eisav and the same amount for Yishmael. “This is why in the verses delineating the sacrifices we find a seemingly curious change. On the first, second and fourth day, the sin offering is described as a ‘seir izim.’ But on the third, fifth, sixth and seventh day it merely says ‘seir.’ “If we add up the bulls brought on the first, second and fourth day, we will find that they equal exactly thirty-five. These bulls benefit the nations under benefit the nations under Yishmael, hence the sin offerings on these days are called ‘seir izim.’ “On the third, fifth, sixth and seventh day we also bring a total of thirty-five bulls. These bulls benefit the nations under Eisav. It is clear why the sin offerings of these days are only called ‘seir.’” [Chidushei U’Biurei Hagra, Sukkah] 10 Rav Tzadok Hakohein of Lublin, zt”l, gives an inspiring explanation of the special joy of Shemini Atzeres and how it affects the entire year. “It is certainly intriguing that we learn the joy of the night of Shemini Atzeres from the words: ‘v’hoyiso ach somayach.’—‘and you shall be only joyous.’ This imparts a profound lesson to those with understanding. Unlike Sukkos which is replete with special mitzvos for everyone to fulfill, Shemini Atzeres has no special mitzvah of its own besides being joyous. The special avodah of this day is to establish the deep joy that will exist forever, since the joy of one’s mitzvos forges an eternal connection to Hashem. ‘ “Yet we must understand that the joy of Shemi Atzeres is rooted in the gladness of Sukkos; it is the natural outgrowth of its particular holiday joy. This is clear from the Midrash which reveals that on Shemin Atzeres we process and establish the joy of Sukkos in our hearts. This means that on Shemin Atzeres we internalize the profound delight of Sukkos so that every day of the coming year is blessed with a little bit of its bounty. We recharge our vitality and simchah on Shemini Atzeres which has repercussions for the next year. This is the culmination of zeman simchoseinu.” [Pri Tzaddik, Sukkos, 7, 17] 11 In the work Zer Zahav, we find the great importance of always being happy. “In Sukkah 50 we find that the celebration of the drawing of the waters was called simchas beis hashoeva based on the verse, ‘U'shavtem mayim b’sosson mimayanei hayeshuoh.’ Tosefos there brings the Yerushalmi that it was called the ‘joy of drawing’ since during that time they would draw ruach hakodesh by virtue of their joy--the Shechinah only rests upon a person who is joyous. He brings that the Yonah HaNovi first attained prophecy during this festival and owed his level to it. “We see the greatness of Torah and mitzvos performed joyously. The verse concludes that they drew from the waters of deliverance. This teaches that through keeping and learning Torah joyously one draws down every necessary yeshuah, be it physical needs or good middos and madregos. We learn the awesome importance of joy in avodah.” [Zer Zahav, Sukkos] 12 Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel, zt”l, explained the special avodah of simchah during the simchas beis hashoevah. “In Sukkah 51 we find that whoever didn’t see the simchas beis hashoevah never beheld joy. The anshei maaseh and chassidim would dance with lit torches while singing praises to Hashem. The question here is well known: were only the chassidim and anshei maaseh obligated to rejoice? Every Jew had this obligation. If so, why does the gemora single out the dancing of the chassidim and anshei maaseh? Didn’t every Jew dance? “The answer lies in understanding the fundamental difference between the rejoicing of the chassidim and anshei maaseh and those who were not on this level. Only the chassidim and anshei maaseh danced to bring joy to others. A regular person danced primarily to gladden his own heart. Complete joy is only when one is thinking about uplifting others.” [B’Chol Nafshecha, p. 385] 13 Regarding the details of the sukkah, Rav Nosson of Breslov, zt”l, explains, “The sukkah alludes to the clouds of glory that protected us in the desert. The desert is a completely desolate place, which symbolizes distance from Hashem. The clouds of glory sanctified even such places, destroying all negative influences, as we find in the Zohar. “This is why we build a sukkah specifically after the period between Rosh Hashonah and Yom Kippur. When we do teshuvah, we can conquer part of what is outside the usual bounds of holiness. Our repentance influences the world and brings even those who are outside of the realm of holiness closer. We leave our house—the usual place of sanctity—and go out into the world, expanding the bounds of holiness. “This explains why the verse tells us that s'chach consists of refuse of one’s vineyard and granary. S'chach symbolizes that we have transformed our refuse, our sins into merits. Through the special holiness generated during aseres yemei teshuvah we uplift even the furthest sparks. Hashem is with every Jew, surrounding him with kindness. “This is why a sukkah does not require a mezuzah. A mezuzah is placed at the doorway to one’s home to keep out negative influences. The sukkah, by its very nature, subdues these influences so that it does not require a mezuzah. “This explains why specifically a sukkah will protect from gehinom in the time to come, as we find in the verse. The spiritual source of the sukkah is the place where sins are transformed into merits. Because of this, one’s sukkah protects from gehinom.” In light of the above we can understand why the Rebbe of Tosh, shlit"a, often recommends learning meseches Sukkah as a segulah to save one from all suffering. His grandfather told him about this, declaring that Sukkah was his "olam habah maseches," the tractate he learned by heart for the next world. He would learn it in depth every single day. We find a similar concept in the words of the Maharam of Lublin zt”l, upon completion of his novellae on Sukkah: “Completed maseches Sukkah with assistance from on High. He should save us from all pain and difficulty, from all panic and confusion.” We also comprehend why learning Sukkah is a segulah for escaping machlokes, as Rebbe Nachman reveals in Sefer Hamiddos. It engenders holy unity, the opposite of machlokes. When we focus on the real tachlis, most meaningless machlokes simply dissipates. [Toras Nosson; 77-79; Avodas Ha’avodah; Sefer Hamiddos] 14

Friday, October 2, 2020

Thirteen Inspiring Sukah Insights

1 The Alshich, zt”l, gives a profound explanation of the mitzvah of sukkah. “Sukkah alludes to the material world. It must have three walls, and they allude to children, life and livelihood. One must beg Hashem for all of these, but should focus most on life and children. Although it is best to at least have three walls, if one has two and tzuras hapesach, at least a tefach which is placed slightly less than three tefachim away from the wall, it forms a third wall which counts like four tefachim. This constitutes the majority of seven tefachim, a minimum sized sukkah. This minimal sukkah represents a person who has full measure of two out of three of his minimum requirements: children and life. His livelihood, however, is tight. One in this situation should not feel too bad. He should recall that this world is merely a tzuras hapesach, portal to the next world. Let him focus most on doing whatever he can to acquire a good life there.” The Chofetz Chaim, zt”l, would say that one can tell about his portion in the next world from how he feels on Shabbos. The most sublime moment of his Shabbos gives him a taste of his world to come. We see that focus on the next world should spill over into one’s life while he is here in the material world. Talmidei chachomim should feel a sublime feeling during the week as well, since for them the week is like Shabbos. Rav Yisrael of Ruzhin, zt”l, stressed this point. “In the Zohar we find many examples of people entering into the lower Gan Eden. It is clear from the context that this does not refer to a place. It is a state of mind which we must strive to attain. We must strive to feel Gan Eden during our lifetime.” [Toras Moshe, Vayikra 23; Ruzhiner heard from Rav Yitzchak Moshe Erlanger, shlit"a] 2 The Bnei Yissochor, zt”l, offers a characteristically insightful explanation. “It is surely remarkable that this holiday is called Chag Hasukkos in the Torah (Vayikra, 23:34). It would seem more reasonable for it to be called Chag Hasukkah, since one requires only one sukkah. We understand why Pesach is knows as Chag Hamatzos. The obligation to eat matzah on leil haseder combined with the lechem mishneh that one must have on Shabbos and Yom Tov (as we find in Tosefos on Pesachim 116) surely requires matzos, plural. Shavuos also must be plural since it denotes the seven weeks between Pesach until Shavuos, which we count with longing. But why is Sukkos plural? “The answer is that we learn various halachos of Sukkah from the three times it says sukkos in the Torah, as we find on Sukkah 6. The holiday is called chag hasukkos after these verses.” The Pardes Menachem, zt”l, explains why we learn these halachos in this manner. “I believe that the threefold sukkos in the verse allude to the three Batei Mikdash. We daven on Sukkos that Hashem establish ‘Sukkas Dovid hanofales’—the Beis Hamikdash—since our sukkah alludes to the light of the Beis Hamikdash which fills our lives during this auspicious time. “This explains why two of the three sukkos are written samech chaf mem, without a vav. These allude to the first two batei mikdash which were destroyed due to our many sins. The third time is written malei with a vav because it alludes to the third mikdash which will not be destroyed. Let it be rebuilt speedily, in our days!” 3 Rav Shlomo Leib of Luntshneh, zt”l, pointed out the greatness of the sukkah. “The sukkah surrounds one's entire self by its very nature. What an exceptional mitzvah! The Arizal explains the walls and sechach of the sukkah draw down the light of Divine Names that embrace and care for us the entire year. The longer one spends in a sukkah the more this Divine flow reaches him. “Yet, even so, keeping Shabbos is greater than sukkah. Sukkah accesses light only when one is in the structure. The radiance of Shabbos—which the Zohar calls Hashem’s Name—fills a person throughout the entire day.” If we see Rosh Hashonoh and Yom Kippur as leading up to Sukkos, there are only three major rectifications wrought by all yomim tovim. The Rashash explains that, like a three-legged table that was common in the times of chazal, the entire world rests on this triad. Every mitzvah done during these days affects the entire year. Nevertheless, keeping Shabbos is what generates the next six days of the week—including Yom Tov—as we find in the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh. [Divrei Shmuel, Likutim p. 183; Nahar Shalom; Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh] 4 Rav Moshe of Kovrin, zt”l, had a devoted disciple with profound yiras shamayim. Yet he was often pained by a feeling that his mitzvos were not done correctly. He was always worrying over some detail; always bitter, never happy in his avodah. Although being careful to fulfill the details of halochah is so very important, once one has done his best he shouldn’t fret. In this instance the deficiencies were largely imagined yet his face was always clouded with his pervasive doubts. When Sukkos approached the Kovriner felt it was time to help this man see how this attitude negatively affected everyone around him. He summoned him and said, “I think you should go home for the holiday.” The chossid was devastated. How could he spend yom tov away from his teacher? Why was he banished for the festival? “I want to stay here with the Rebbe,” he burst out. “I want to experience the elevation available in Kovrin during the chag!” “I see that you are a sincere oved Hashem. But what can I do? For some reason, you are always preoccupied with reasons to be sad. This depression shows on your face at all times. During the holiday, zeman simchaseinu, we receive the ushpizin each day. They only remain if one receives them joyously, with a shining countenance. If they see a depressed person in the sukkah they immediately depart. “I enjoy having you here with us, as you well know. But I value the ushpizin more—they are irreplaceable! If you can overcome your sadness for yom tov you are welcome to remain. If not, you must go home so that the ushpizin can join me in the sukkah!” [Ner Hachaim, p. 202] 5 Regarding Sukkah we find the halochah l’Moshe M’Sinai known as lavud. Any space which is less than three tefochim wide is considered closed for halachic purposes. One yeshivah student first encountered this principle when he noticed a large, but strange sukkah. The walls were made entirely of wooden slats. Surprisingly, its walls were no more than a picket fence with relatively large gaps between the slats. The lad wondered: “Could this sukkah be acceptable? There is more space than structure!” When he presented this question to his teacher he leaned something new. “When the gaps are less than three tefachim wide the walls are considered whole due to lavud.” The Arizal explains that lavud is also true spiritually. Sometimes a teacher can be so close to his student that they feel like one. The student can yearn so strongly to be one with his teacher that he virtually receives a small spark of his mentor’s soul while the teacher is still alive. And this is certainly true after the teacher leaves the world. [Otzros Chaim, Sha’ar Hanekudim; Sha’ar HaGilgulim] 6 The Noverminsker Rebbe, zt”l, learned an insightful lesson from a well-known halochah. “On Sukkah 22 we find that, although one should see the stars through his sechach, if the sechach is so thick that he can’t see the sky it is still valid. This means the person who is so occluded with materialism that he can’t see the stars—doesn’t feel connected to Hashem in the sukkah— but feels exactly as he does at home, is also kosher. Why? Because, despite what he is feeling, it is impossible for a Jew to sit in the sukkah to fulfill this precious mitzvah, without it penetrating to his deepest self.” The Kaf Hachaim, zt”l, brings another explanation why one must see through the stars through his sechach. “The sukkah represents the clouds of glory which surrounded us in the desert. It is important that the stars are visible since this represents the Shechinah which is watching and protecting us, just like the clouds of glory in the desert.” [Otzar Meforshei HaTalmud, Sukkah, Introduction; Kaf HaCchaim] 7 Rav Shlomo of Zvhil, zt”l, once gave a beautiful talk about the greatness of the sukkah. “Although when looking at the sukkah it appears to be a few boards and some shrubbery on the roof, its inner content is very exalted. The floor of a sukkah alludes to certain Divine Names and the walls represent other Names. The sechach protects us from all bad and impurity like a mother protects her children. “Did you ever see a mother bird with her chicks? She spreads her wings over them to protect them. Hashem in His great holiness and endless mercy spreads His protecting wings over us, like a mother over her young.” He turned to Rav Elya Roth, zt”l, his faithful shamash, “Do you feel this closeness when you enter the sukkah? If you do, how is it possible to leave it? How can one spend an instant outside of this blissful space?” When Rav Elya—who had a very modest sukkah—recounted this experience, he added, “Let us recall that the sukkah is called tzilah d’meheimnusa, the shade of emunah. One must be very careful not to speak mundane words in the sukkah unless he has a very good reason. He must certainly guard his sukkah from forbidden speech: lashon hara, lies or other forbidden words should not be countenanced. We should work to spend as much time as possible intoning holy words in our sukkah. Let us learn and daven as much as we can while we are in its unique shadow.” [Ish Chossid Hayoh, p. 340] 8 Once, Rav Yisrael of Ruzhin, zt”l, was sitting in the sukkah, regal and meditative as usual, when he suddenly broke into loud laughter. His chassidim wondered at this, since the rebbe was famous for his composure and rarely had such outbursts. When the rebbe relaxed, they asked what had amused him. “In the middle of my meditation, I saw something a ways off that amused me. There was a simple Jew who was walking on the road when he suddenly felt famished. He was about to eat but remembered from his father’s house that one doesn’t eat anything outside a sukkah on Sukkos. “After a moment’s thought he took off his broad hat and cut off its top. After putting twigs and the like on the space he put the hat back on and began to eat. “I saw that the entire heavenly retinue was very joyous at this simple man’s temimus. Is it any surprise that I laughed?” [B’Pikudechah Asichah, Part II:111] 9 The Alshich, zt”l, learns a deep message from a statement of our sages. “In Sukkah 17 we find that three tefachim of invalid sechach nullifies one’s sukkah. We can explain that sechach alludes to one’s merits which protect him from harm. Each tefach alludes to a sin. One who commits one or two transgressions has not perforated his protection. This is clear from the gemora in Rosh Hashanah 17, that Hashem is ma’avir rishon rishon--He removes the first two sins since one is not yet used to the sin. But three tefachim annuls the protection. Three times it feels like it is permitted and becomes very difficult to overcome.” The Kedushas Levi, zt”l, provides a practical message for what one should do so that Hashem will “carry”—and overlook—his sins. “One who wishes Hashem to forgive his sins should overlook when his friend wrongs him. He should reason that since he is asking Hashem to forgive his sins, surely he should be as generous with his friend. This is the best way to get through the yomim noraim, or any time that one requires a Divine repreive.” The Imrei Emes, zt”l, recommended this piece during Elul as proper preparation for the yomim noraim. [Alshich, Parshas Emor; Kedushas Levi, Nitzavim; Imrei Emes, ad loc.] 10 The Zer Zahav, zt”l, offered a very powerful lesson about the greatness of sukkah. “On Sukkah 25 we find that a mourner is obligated in the mitzvah of sukkah since he can settle his understanding and achieve serenity in the sukkah despite his pain. We see that one can achieve mental tranquility for any purpose in the sukkah. It is important to fulfill this mitzvah with yishuv hada'as. In the merit of this mitzvah one can come to the level where he fulfills one mitzvah after the other with that same degree of composure and serenity. “The power to settle oneself in this mitzvah is derived from Avrohom Avinu. Even when he was in terrible pain he ran to take care of his guests.” Rav Eliezer Tzvi of Komarna, zt”l, explains the greatness of mental serenity. “When the yetzer hora accosts a person, tempting him to sin or act improperly, one’s immediate reaction should be that he needs to settle his mind before acting. If one refrains from acting impulsively and takes a moment to consider in this manner, his yetzer hora will immediately flee him. The nature of evil is to grab a person and push him to act without thinking. It cannot bear yishuv hada'as. “It is well known that the wicked would be swept away by the yetzer, acting without honest, patient deliberation. This is the meaning of the verse, ‘The wise man’s eyes are in his head but the fool walks in darkness.’ A wise man has yishuv hada'as. A fool rushes and regrets.” [Zer Zahav, Sukkos; Ohr Einayim, Kelalim Nechutzim l’Avodas Hashem] 11 The Beis Yisrael of Gur, zt”l, was walking in the early morning, as was his wont. It was the first day of Sukkos. He approached the sukkah of Rabbi Yaakov Klapholtz, zt”l, who was very ill but learned Torah with abundant self-sacrifice and love. After the Beis Yisrael listened to the host’s birchas haTorah from outside, he sent his companion in to ask if he could enter. When the host affirmed he could, the rebbe strolled in. He looked around at the very big sukkah. “The halochah is that one should live in the sukkah like he lives in his home. But this sukkah is larger than your modest home!” He lived in an apartment of one and half rooms where he raised his large family. The rebbe made another comment. “The Zohar writes that matzah heals. Since Sukkos is connected to Pesach in the words of our sages, it seems clear to me that sitting in the sukkah also has the power to heal.” As he walked home the rebbe kept repeating this last word, clearly trying to help Rabbi Klapholtz. Interestingly, the Sabba Kadisha of Slonim, zt”l, taught a similar teaching. “It says in the verse, Machatzti v’ani arpeh’—‘I have struck and I will heal.’ The word machatzti can also be understood to mean 'my mechitzos.' In this context the meaning is: I have granted the mechitzos of Sukkah, and I heal those who sit in it.” [Pe’er Yisrael, Part II, p. 222; Toras Avos, Ha’azinu] 12 The Shem Mi’Shmuel, zt”l, provides an inspiring explanation of the why each person must take his own lulav, as we find in Sukkah 41. “Our sages explain that the four species allude to the four letters of Hashem’s Name. They also parallel the limbs of every Jew. Our esrog symbolizes the heart; the lulav is like the spine; hadasim are compared to the eyes; and aravos parallel the lips. The lesson here is that Hashem places His Name on every single Jew, not only upon the community as a whole. “This is why one cannot discharge his obligation with the lulav of his friend on the first day of Sukkos. After the heart-wrenching, self-searching teshuvah of Yom Kippur—the main element of our many viduim is our shame for having sinned—we are granted this special gift. In merit of our intense struggle, Hashem’s Name shines upon every single Jew and we are filled with the exuberance and deep joy of zeman simchaseinu.” [Shem M’Shmuel, Sukkos] 13 Our sages tell us that sometimes the walls of the sukkah are extended until four amos beyond their position. This principle is known as dofen akumah, literally a crooked wall. The Divrei Yechezkel of Shinova, zt”l, applies this principle to everyday life. “We can learn a lesson from this that applies other mitzvos. It is best if a Jew does a mitzvah exactly as it should be performed according to halochah. Pressing circumstances can sometimes be an exception to this rule, however. How can one tell? If what he does is at least within the daled amos of halochah--even if it is not the most preferred opinion--this is acceptable. Acting in accordance with one of the gedoeli haposkim—not a rejected opinion—has a source in holiness. But if it is a da'as yochid or rejected opinion, this is outside the four amos of halochah, and has no source in holiness. Even though the dofen, which also means the situation, is akum, crooked--i.e., unusually difficult--one may not follow such an opinion.” When someone asked Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt”l, the purpose of the many likutim, the sources that list many halachic opinions, that have been published over the years, he replied along a similar vein. “Although one may not pick and choose in general, if he is under duress, it is sometimes permitted to rely on an alternate opinion of one of the great poskim. Therefore such works are worthy even though they do not take one path in halochah.” [Divrei Yechezkel, Sukkos, p. 65; Chiko Mamtakim, Part II]

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Write-Up Spirit of the Law Elul: Kitzur Shulcan Aruch Chapter 128 Completed

Deeper Dimension on Elul: Chapter 128: #1-16 1) The days of Elul are days of spiritual favor… We all wish to take advantage of the holy days of Elul, but wonder how we may do so? The Chidushei Harim and the Bas Ayis, explain that the Hebrew word, Elul makes up two words, לא לו which means not and for him. The message here is the more one is nullified to Hashem, the more he is able to take in G-dliness and connect himself heart and soul to Hashem. But sometimes this takes a pure hearted reminder. Rav Moshe of Kobrin recounted that when he was a child he was playing with other children when his older sister, who was the firstborn, said something that made an indelible effect on him. “Don’t you know that today it is already Elul and even the fish in the sea tremble out of fear of the upcoming Day of Judgment? How can you play with your friend’s like usual today?” She said this in such with such palpable fear and love of Hashem, that I was immediately filled with trembling for several hours. And I have never forgotten this warning.” In this vein we find that the Chazon Ish would say that yiras Shamayim cannot be learned from a book alone. Like a candle that must be lit from another flame, one must receive yiras Shamayim from someone who already has it.” But it is never too late to start again! 2) The custom is to blow the shofar during this month... The Chidushei Harim, zt”l, explains that we blow shofar during Elul as a kind of drill for the real thing, on Rosh Hashanah. It is only by preparing during this month by allowing the daily shofar blasts to slowly enter our heart, that we will feel a powerful inner movement to teshuvah when the shofar is blown on Rosh Hashanah.[1] Rav Yisachar Dov of Belz, zt”l, explained differently. On Rosh Hashanah we are so filled with dread that it is only on account of having blown the shofar in the course of the month of Elul that we can possibly fulfill this holy mitzvah on Rosh Hashanah. [Of course this fear must be balanced and must bring one to a feeling a great alacrity and care not to lose the great spiritual opportunities of these days, upon which our entire year is hinged. 3) It is the custom of Anshei Ma’aseh, people who embody the spirit of holy action, to check their mezuzos and tefilin, during this month... Although this is an excellent practice, it should never cause us to forget about the essentials. First and foremost we must rectify ourselves by repenting our sins and improving our character. Sadly, some people are not anshei maaseh at all but they use practices such as checking their mezuzos etc, since they prefer to focus on such things, then to even acknowledge their painful character defects. For someone who does not consider the results of his actions, there is truly no limit to the irreparable damage he can cause. Rav Wolbe, zt”l, recounted that when he was in Mir he stayed with a certain baal habayis for quite a while. When Elul came around, this man re-inspected all of his mezuzos and tefillin to ensure that they were 100% mehudar. When the young Rav Wolbe saw this he was frankly jealous of the man’s scrupulous attention to mitzvos. One day, when the lady of the house returned home, she confessed to her husband that she had paid quite a bit extra for vegetables in the market. Disregarding the young scholar’s presence, the man became livid and embarked on a tirade which lasted an hour. His beleaguered wife was terribly distressed by his outburst, and soon complained of a headache. She excused herself and went to lie down. A short time later, the poor woman died. Hashem Yishmor! Years later, Rav Wolbe was known to comment on this tragedy, “For an extra twenty cents spent on tomatoes this man indulged his terrible temper and killed his own wife, Rachmanah litzlan! Even with all of his attention to mitzvos, the fact that it was Elul didn’t mitigate his bad middos in any way at all!” 4) During the seven weeks from after Tisha B’Av until Rosh Hashanah we read a different haftorah of comfort... Even if Rosh Chodesh Elul falls on a Sunday we do not recite the usual haftorah of machar chodesh, which is recited when Shabbos is the day before Rosh Chodesh, since it does not discuss the comfort of Jerusalem... During Tisha B’Av we confronted the negative within which each of us which prevents the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash. But our great focus on the negative could bring to feelings of despair. For this reason we are so careful to specifically recite the seven haftoros of comfort. We each have to understand that eventually every Yerushalayim will be rebuilt and we will merit true teshuvah. As Rebbe Nachman cried out, “there is no despair at all.” Rav Tzaddok Hakhain of Lublin explains that the seven weeks of comfort correspond to the seven lower Sefiros[2] which correspond to the emotional drives in every person: joy and expansiveness, fear, pride, the will to prevail and the desire to show off one’s attainments. But of course, each of these can be used to serve Hashem. One can serve Hashem with love and fear. He can feel proud to be a Jew and give Hashem pride as it were. He can work hard to be victorious over the evil within and feel grateful to Hashem for his spiritual attainments. Through the holiness of each Shabos we build another one of these drives and are enabled to clarify them and use them to serve Hashem.[3] 5) We begin Selichos from Sunday... Most people begin to say selichos, either after midnight on motzei Shabbos or early Sunday morning. Rav Yissachar Dov of Belz, zt”l, explains that we start to say selichos after Shabbos, even if it means almost a week more than the four days minimum, because we want to begin to say the selichos while the light of Shabbos still shines upon us. We can also explain that the Zohar writes that one cannot feel holiness without preparation. What better way to find time to prepare to begin the selichos, then to have a full day of spiritual pursuits to focus on this mitzvah. 6) ...One should at least stand while reciting Kel Melech yoshev and the thirteen attributes of mercy... Rav Nosson of Breslov explains[4] that when one says the thirteen attributes of mercy, he should especially focus on Hashem’s kindness, in that he judges us favorably even though we have sinned. This is the deeper meaning of notzer chessed l’alafim, which literally means that Hashem rewards for good deeds until a thousand generations. Rav Nosson explains that Hashem guards the little bit of good a person has done and uses this to sweeten even thousands of accusers. Of course he must repent the evil he has perpetrated but Hashem waits for him to do so. This is the meaning of the rest of the sentence, nosay avon vafesha v’chata’a v’nakey. He carries sin, blemish and iniquity and cleanses it. This means in our context that Hashem supports the evil offspring of the sins, and waits for one to do teshuvah.[5] 7) One should choose the most worthy person to act as the prayer leader for Selichos and the high holy days... These prayers are so powerful and important that we should be very careful to find the best person to represent us. Yet the Baal Shem Tov said, that if one knows that his prayer leader is not worthy, he should make efforts to pray with as much concentration as he can muster and rely on Hashem. Although it is certainly fitting to daven in a place where the prayer leader is worthy, one should not worry overly much if his leader is unworthy. As always, he should just do what he can and hope to Hashem. 8) A mourner should not be the prayer leader if there is another as worthy as he is... The cantor in the Maharil Diskin’s shul, died shortly before the month of Elul leaving a widow and children. Strangely when the gabayim approached the Rav to discuss finding a new cantor, he put them off and would not discuss this. Since they knew that their Rav had certainly thought it through before reacting in this manner, they let this issue slide. When the first day of Rosh Hashanah arrived they asked the Rav who he had in mind to daven. To their great surprise he replied that the deceased cantor’s son should daven. After the services they asked the Rav how he had ruled against the Shulchan Aruch which states clearly that a mourner may not be a cantor when there is another as worthy. “After all, there are many people as worthy as he is, who could have served as cantor.” But the Rav disagreed. “Think of the widow of our old cantor. She is surely feeling her loss very keenly just now. How would she feel if instead of hearing her husband’s davening as she has been accustomed to do for all these years, she heard a stranger daven. Surely this would have caused her untold grief. The only replacement which would not pain her is her own son. Surely this is also a case where there is no one else who is as worthy as the son!” 9) Someone who says selichos without a minyan may not recite the thirteen attributes of mercy... Rav Nosson explains that the thirteen attributes of mercy give a person a balanced understanding of true mercy, through which he learns when to act with audacity and when not to.[6] This is a degree of tremendous understanding, which can only be attained through carefully examining one’s motives over and over again. One must have holy brazenness but only when this is appropriate. It is for this reason that we recite this prayer many times. This is also why one who has no minyan may not recite this prayer since it is only in through connecting to a “Jewish community” of at least nine other Jews that one can access this level of mercy and learn holy audacity. As our sages say, Hashem does not despise the prayer of the many. 10. A mourner may not leave his home to recite selichos except on Erev Rosh Hashanah . As is well-known, mourner have many restrictions, but many are unaware that mourning is an avodah. One reason a mourner may not leave the house is since this is likely to distract from his avodah. Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe, zt”l, imparts some of the avodah of a mourner. “I hadn’t heard that your mother, a”h, had passed away. When you were here I understood that she bore severe suffering in her illness. And now she has gone to the place of her menuchah. “Mourning is surely a great avodah for you. Your main work is to strengthen mightily the realization that your mother is not gone—she lives in the world of truth and she requires your help. Your avodah, Torah and mitzvos are of more importance to her now that she has gone and can no longer help herself. In the next world she has to face din and mishpat and her eyes are to you to save her from the judgments with your good deeds. The year of mourning can—and must!—be a year of ascent and spirutal chizuk for you.” Since the lengthy avodah of selichos on erev Rosh Hashanah will surely uplift a person, it is permitted for a mourner to leave home to join them. Since the rest of them are relatively short, the likelihood of distraction that is not rectified by the selichos is too great and this is forbidden. He should definitely say the selichos at home, but it is better to avoid the distraction of a social scene except during the very uplifting atmosphere of selichos erev Rosh Hashanah. 11. A sheliach tzibur and the toke’ah on Rosh Hashanah should separate himself from anything that leads to impurity from three days before the holiday, learning as much as possible about the davening and the halachos of teikyas shofar. They should also learn works of mussar… Once, before Rosh Hashanah, the Chozeh of Lublin, zt”l, ordered all baalei tokei’a to come see him. It was time to decide who would blow the shofar that year and to instruct him in the deep significance of this holy mitzvah. Rav Simchah Bunim of Peshischa, zt”l, joined the group of hopefuls even though he had no training and couldn’t blow the shofar. When the Chozeh saw him he was very glad. He said, “In Rosh Hashanah 29 we find that blowing shofar is a chochmah. Rav Bunim is a chacham, so he should blow shofar for us.” The two met privately and the Chozeh taught him all the kavanos, the mystical intentions, of blowing shofar. At the end of their last session, the Chozeh offered a shofar to Rav Simchah Bunim saying, “Take a shofar to be mechaven with.” Rav Simchah Bunim demurred, “But I don’t know how to blow.” The Chozeh got angry with him. Rav Bunim really was a chacham. He said, “How can the Rebbe be angry with me? I learned this hanhagah from Moshe Rabbeinu. First, Moshe said to Hashem, ‘What will I tell them if they ask me Your name?’ After Hashem answered, Moshe Rabbeinu said, ‘I am not a man of words,’ and asked Hashem to send someone else!” The Chozeh looked at him in a marked manner and said, “How can you compare yourself with Moshe Rabbeinu?” Rav Bunim shot back, “The Rebbe is also not Hashem…” When Rav Shamai Ginzberg, zt”l, told this story over he said, “Although this seems a difficult ma’aseh to understand on the face of it, there is a source for it in Yevamos 105b: When Rabbi Yishmael arrived in the beis medrash of Rav Yehudah HaNasi as a disciple, he said, “…I am Yishmael b’Rebbi Yossi, and I have come to learn Torah from Rabbeinu HaKadosh.” Avdan asked him, “Are you worthy to learn Torah from Rebbi?” Rabbi Yishmael answered, “Was Moshe worthy to learn Torah from Hashem himself?” “Are you Moshe?” was Avdan’s immediate response. Rabbi Yishmael shot back, “Do you think Rebbi is Hashem?” 12. Many people fast during the ten days of teshuvah. Since they are missing four days they also fast during the four days we recite selichos… [Note: in most places today people do not fast a full day when this is not required. At most they fast half a day, generally on Erev Rosh Hashanah as we find in the beginning of seif 14] Someone once asked Rav Shmuel Avraham Shapira of Slaviyta, zt”l, why the prevalent custom is not to fast voluntarily. “If a person feels that he can tolerate fasting, why shouldn’t he? Especially since the Gemara in Taanis 11 concludes that one who can tolerate extra fasting is indeed considered holy. It is only one who cannot tolerate such additional fasts who is considered a sinner!” The Rebbe replied, “My grandfather, Rav Pinchas of Koritz, zt”l, said something which answers your question quite well. He explained that sometimes the word גוי, gentile, can be read as body, as in the Hebrew word geviyah. This is one way to explain the verse in Tehillim (83:5): ‘אמְרוּ לְכוּ, וְנַכְחִידֵם מִגּוֹי וְלֹא-יִזָּכֵר שֵׁם-יִשְׂרָאֵל עוֹד.’ Imru refers to the evil inclination, who says: ‘Let us uproot them from their bodies, mi’goy/mi’geviya.’ How does it accomplish this? By destroying the health of person with a weak constitution through tempting him to observe extra fasts. ‘…And the name of Yisroel will not be mentioned anymore’—because the Jew who persists in this debilitating behavior cannot do anything then to serve Hashem!’” “Now you have your answer,” explained the Rav. “Today, it is forbidden to fast and engage is self-mortification since the generation is weak. This is certainly the advice of the yezter hara and will not lead to more holiness, which is the natural outcome of true Torah and avodah. On the contrary, this will only keep us from actualizing our potential. Instead of fasting, learn more and daven with more concentration!” 13. It is customary to visit the graves of Tzaddikim on erev Rosh Hashanah… It is an ancient Jewish tradition to visit the graves of tzaddikim or of one’s ancestors especially on erev Rosh Hashanah. The Chidah, zt”l, records that as a very young man, he accompanied his rebbi, the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh, zt”l, to the graves of tzaddikim in Yerushalayim. When Rav Yonasan Eibeschitz, zt”l, was appointed Av Beis Din of Metz, he arrived much later than the community in Metz had anticipated. Since he expected that his knew community would be waiting for him, he sent a message forward to Metz to explain his tardiness. “I have a chovas gavrah, a personal duty, to go to Eibeschitz in distant Silesia to prostrate myself at the graves of my forefathers. They will surely petition Hashem for mercy on my behalf.” The Chasam Sofer, zt”l, recounted that before the Gaon, Rav Mordechai Bennet, zt”l, died he said, “If the community needs anything after I am gone, they should come to pray at my grave…” When commenting about the status of a cemetery the Chasam Sofer remarked, “It is likened to a shul, since the living often pray there.” The Maharil, zt”l, writes that although the custom is to pray at the holy graves of tzaddikim, one must be very careful not to place his trust in the dead. One should petition Hashem in the merit of the departed righteous. Although this is brought in the Chayei Adam and the Mishnah Berurah, when someone once asked Rav Shmuel Hominer, zt”l, regarding this issue he said, “I never understood this psak. In Sotah 34 it says clearly that Kalev went to the graves of the Avos and said to them, “My fathers! Plead for mercy from on high that I be saved from the wicked advice of the meraglim!’ Rav Huminer concluded, “We see from here that one may even ask the tzaddik to daven on his behalf as Kalev did. Surely if there was anything improper about this the gemara would have mentioned it!” 14. On erev Rosh Hashanah everyone fasts until after mincha. They eat afterwards so as not to enter the holiday while suffering. He should use this precious day to learn Torah, do mitzvos and repent. This is especially true regarding sins between man and his fellow man. He should not wait until erev Yom Kippur instead asking his friend to forgive him today… The Chazon Ish, zt”l, was wont to say: “The velt divides the Torah into two parts: mitzvos between man and Hashem, and mitzvos between man and his fellow. This division is not precise, however, and is misapplied for the most part. “The truth is that the main difference between these two groups is mere semantics... Every person must understand that if we transgress an interpersonal mitzvah, we create a barrier between ourselves and our fellow human being, which raises a barrier between us and Hashem. If we have no compassion on our friend’s Divine image, we are automatically distanced from Hashem. “This explains why Rabbi Elazar ben Azaryah learns that Yom Kippur doesn’t atone for sins between man and his fellow man from the verse, ‘lifnei Hashem titharu’--'You will be purified before Hashem.' One who sins against his fellow man is not considered lifnei, before Hashem, due to the barrier formed by his sin. The verse states that those who are before Hashem are purified, not him.” Nevertheless, even if one cannot ask forgiveness, we need to wait and beg Hashem to assist us, as is clear from the following story: Rav Zalman of Volozhin, zt”l, was a child prodigy. At fourteen he learned in the great beis medrash in Vilna, and was well known for his brilliance. Once, a certain man came to him and expressed a desire to say over a, “peirush tov on a Mishnah in Maseches D’mai.” Since the man, like so many Lithuanian Jews of that time, pronounced his shin as a sin, what he said sounded like, “peiros tov.” The young Rav Zalman heard his visitor out, but he felt that the man’s interpretation was off. He felt a bit annoyed at having such bitter “peiros tov” thrust upon him, and he responded sharply after the man finished, “That isn’t peiros tov—it’s peiros d’mai!” Meaning, this is the awful “fruit” of the scholarship of an ignoramus. As soon as the abashed man left, Rav Zalman was filled with remorse. How could he shame a fellow Jew who was talking in learning to the best of his ability? Even though they had spoken one on one and Rav Zalman hadn’t shamed him in public, there was no excuse for such behavior. He frantically started to search the town for the man to beg his forgiveness but to no avail. The man was nowhere to be found. Rav Zalman searched for this man for well over a decade but still couldn’t find him. It was only with great difficulty that Rav Zalman’s son-in-law was able to stop him from undertaking a personal exile and taking up wandering throughout Lita so that he could admit his sin in every shul throughout the land in the hope of finding the wronged man. When the Vilna Gaon heard about this, he summoned Rav Zalman to try and comfort and encourage him. The Gaon closed their conversation by saying, “You did everything you possibly could to find the wronged party and make amends. About just such a case the Chovos Halevavos writes in the tenth chapter of Sha’ar Hateshuvah, “If a person earnestly repents after having sinned against his friend bodily or monetarily, Hashem will cause a broad-mindedness and a love to enter his friend’s heart until he forgives him….” Such was Rav Zalman’s faith in the Gaon, that although he certainly was already familiar with these words of the Chovos Halevavos, he was instantly comforted as soon as the Gaon uttered them! 15. We immerse and don Yom Tov garments… The Ben Ish Chai, zt”l, imparts the kavanah of the mikveh on erev Rosh Hashonah. “One reason for the custom to immerse erev Rosh Hashonah is to bring in the sanctity of the Yom Tov so we live a good, long and peaceful life. The first immersion one should have in mind that he wants to purify himself for the holiday. The second immersion focus on fixing any time you were angry. Think that you want to sweeten the judgments while immersion for a third time. One should meditate while doing the fourth immersion that he is removing the weekday garb of his soul. He should have in mind that the year and its cursed aspects should cease. The fifth immersion is to take on the sanctity of Yom Tov. While doing this immersion one should intend that the New Year with its blessings should begin.” [7] [Ben Ish Chai, Year I, Nitzavim] 16. It is customary to annul vows on erev Rosh Hashanah The deeper works explain that this is similar to teshuvah since it removes all hold the other side has on one. Many Kabalists annul vows each week before Shabbos and before Yom Tov for this very reason. One explanation of the connection is that complete teshuvah is all about nullifying oneself completely as illustrated in the following: The Ramasim Tzofim, zt"l, brings a fascinating exposition on teshuvah. "The Arizal reveals that when we say, 'Forgive our sins, ki rav huh, for they are great,' we are actually referring to the halochah that Rav says in Bava Kama 64. There we find that one who admits that he is obligated to pay a fine and then witnesses come to court and obligate him he is discharged from the fine. Since his confession obligated himself to pay the principle he need not pay the fine. Similarly, one who confesses obligates himself and is therefore patur, discharged from his sin. "Yet this is somewhat difficult. Although one who merely repents in his thoughts is a complete tzaddik, this is only if he had a deep awakening, as we find in Brochos, taking something to heart is stronger than one hundred hits. This shows that true teshuvah must move one on a very deep level, from the depths of his heart. "Now we understand why the Rebbe, Rav Bunim of Peshischa, zt"l, said that teshuvah is literally like killing oneself. If one does not reach this level he has to put in vast efforts to atone for his sins. "The Rebbe of Kotzk, zt"l, similarly declaimed that he is unsure if there is a true ba'al teshuvah in his generation. For one who does teshuvah must leave this world completely and ascend to the place of teshuvah. But on another occasion he said that teshuvah is a small level like a shoe. "We can explain this apparent contradiction when we realize that he was talking about two different types of teshuvah. Teshuvah from love is the higher form of teshuvah he was unsure if anyone in his generation truly reached. The lower level of teshuvah from fear, is the level of a shoe. For the only way to truly attain teshuvah through yirah is to be humble before all, like the dirt beneath everyone's shoe. If teshuvah from yirah does not bring one to this level of profound humility it is incomplete." [Ramasim Tzufim, p. 342]

Friday, September 20, 2019

Komarna, Rav Tzaddok and Rav Nosson on Ki Savo

Komarna Is simcha a mitzvah? Rav Tzaddok: How are the curses a sign for the Jewish people? The avodah of the curses. Rav Nosson: The avodah of Bikurim and why we dip in honey on Rosh Hashanah

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Maseh Choshev-Arizal Pesach

Pesach 1 (1 hour duration) Pesach 2a (9 minutes duration) Pesach 2b: (9 minutes duration) Pesach 2c: (9 minutes duration) Pesach 2d: (5 minutes duration) Pesach 2e: (recap, 12 minute duration) Pesach 2f: 10 minute duration Sorry about the many parts in part 2. All six parts are a total of 55 minutes long. Enjoy!

Friday, April 5, 2019

Rav Nosson, Komarna on Tazria; Rav Tzaddok on HaChodesh

Rav Nosson: (6 minutes long) powerful chizuk when things are hard Komarna (13 minutes duration) Avoiding arrogance in thought, speech and action that is tzaras Rav Tzaddok: (11 minute duration) grasping the light of redemption from Rosh Chodesh Nissan

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Rav Nosson, Rav Tzaddok Komarna on Shemini

Rav Nosson: Meaning of Mikveh More about Mikveh: If the main thing is an internal movement to teshuva etc, why does one need the water and if not, why do we need the internal avodah? Rav Tzaddok: How the four animal with one siman allude to the four nations the Jewish people endured exile in Komarna: Vayidom Ahaorn, a simple level and a deep one; One needs to experience pain in the wake of hardship and only then to go back to dveykus

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Komarna, Rav Tzaddok and Rav Nososn on Yisro

Komarna: (15 minute duration) Philosopher-Priest asked Ba'al Shem Tov: Since you believe Hashem is revealed everywhere, why can't you worship in church? Ba'al Shem Tov, for this Hashem made that every human needs to excrete waste. Sometimes you reveal G-dliness by rejecting something; Bechirah and Yediyah and Ishbitz; If one learns Ishbitz and feels his yirash shamayim slipping he is not learning it right; Rabeinu Bachayah when a person thinks about money matters during davening he transgresses the prohibition to have gods of gold and silver; Being wary of similar transgressions Rav Tzaddok: (10 minutes long) Amalek came before matan Torah since we always need a yeridah, descent before we attain an aliyah ascent; Rebbe Nachman's strategy that any fall can be converted into a descent for the sake of ascent; One reason why this is how things are is that we need humility to come to the next level; why is arrogance worse than other sins? Beis Avraham that any other sins are countered by the good we do while if one has the wrong attitude he just puffs himself up more making gavah worse; story of young man who refused all proposed matches and was told to work on humility. Later he was even harder to set up, "Now that I have humility, she is certainly not fitting.." Two stories about Rabbi Akivah Eiger's profound and apparently incomprehensible humility; Rav Shach's explanation that humility is an attitude, not what you know in your head Rav Nosson: (16 minutes length): Torah makes a clarification of fallen sparks; This takes much time so we should never be discouraged by it; tikun habris is connecting to Torah by learning lishmah; "If only they would leave Me but learn My Torah"; Learning can fix all sins if we have in mind that we want the light in torah to return us to good; Gra, Shem M'Shmuel and many others that one cannot immediately come to lishma; Rav Chaim Voluzhiner that becoming l'shmah is like climbing a many storied building, the main thing is to go in the right direction and eventually we reach the top

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Rav Tzaddok on Tu B"Shvat part 1-2 (33 minute total duration)

Rav Tzaddok Tu B'Shvat (30 minutes long) Why we don't make Tu Bishvat earlier since the year s longer; Tuv B'shvat is a spiritual illumination; Rav Tzaddok that during this time we can fix tavas achilah; the seven minim in avodah: Mekor Chaim from Zohar that Chita is 22 since it is Torah and se'orah is sha'ar vav, mishnah and the avodah of this; Rimon to know we are filled with mitzvos as our sage say even Jewish sinners are; VItebsker they are called sinners since they do not appreciate the wealth of good they have and so fall to sin; te'enah is harvested day by so so represents being regular in avodah like Yehoshah; that being regular in learning protects from sin like Rebbe Nachman said, and this is why Adam and Chava covered themselves with fig leaves; dates tamar is the chamber of exchanges; wine is gematria sode since it brings us high if we merit it as the sages say tirosh, can read tiheyeh rosh; but be careful of wine since it can also makes one destitute, tihiyeh rash; "teshuvah makes one a new person!" and the avodah of tu bishvat Tu B'Shat part 2 (3 minute duration) kasis l'meor zayit using pressures to generate light; choosing the connection of shemen while overcoming the distance of difficulty

Friday, January 18, 2019

Rav Nosson and Komarna on Beshalach Rashash Yahrtzeit shiur

Rav Nosson on Beshalach (18 minutes long): Komarna on Beshalach (18 minutes long) aleph is Alufo shel olam; Erdof, asig achalek shalal all start with aleph since even when the other side pursues, overtakes and divides spoils, Hashem is right there; We deal with difficulty by remembering it is from Hashem; Meshoch chasdecha l'yodech Kel kanoh v'nokem, Ei is Meeting Rav Pinchas of Koritz and catching a thief Rashash Yahrtzeit Shiur: (25 minutes long) Rashash and avodah; why is the language so hard 3 answers; chidah that he was a reincarnation of Arizal; a few stories about his greatness; the frog and the chicken and what it means to be Jewish; Proper way to relate to non-Jews and Maharal on what it means to be a Jew; Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach that lo sichanem does not apply when we admire a non-Jew who is admirable from a Jewish perspective

Friday, January 11, 2019

Chessed L'Avraham-Arizal Mikveh 2

Mikveh II from Maseh CHoshev Harimon Hasheni (29 minnute duration) Rabbi Eliezer of Djikov: kavanah of a mikveh is to undress, immerse and dress; Rabbi Chaim Tzanzer praised this since he meant we need to remove the soiled garments of sin, renew ourselves in the water and redress in new unsoiled garments; Rabbi Solom Kluger and that most authorities seem to oppose his view; Hashem has many names since we call Him how we view His actions (Midrash, Nefesh Hachaim etc); We are all an expression of constriction and we need to be a vehicle to divine names by connecting to the spiritual level that can be reached through them; A way of avodah to attain the spiritual level reachable by the divine names A"B Sa"g Ma"h and Be"n; A"B is seventy-two the numerical value of kindness since this level is an absolute divine kindness; It is the level of Cochmah that connotes nullifcation to Hashem (Rebbe Nachman) and a deep feeling of tranquility and serenity that you cannot explain to anyone (Ramad Vallie); How to attain this bitul; Sa"g is the level of Binah where a person applies what he felt during Chochmah and gets to a higher level of teshuvah through it; Mah is 45 the same number as Adam, man since it means emotional states of love, fear and dveykus and the resonance of those (Ba'al HaTanya); Ben has the same numerical value as beheimah, animal since it connotes dealing with the animal soul

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Rav Nosson, Komarna and Rav Tzaddok on Bo

Rav Nosson (14 minutes long) Rebbe Nachman's explanation of waking a person who is sleeping his life away through stories from ancient days; story of a person who was aroused by hearing the stories; How the story of the exodus in Egypt can wake us from spiritual slumber Komarna (18 minute duration) Not leaving over from the Korban Pesach; Pesach night is leil shimurim a night of protection; Rav Pinchas Epstein that even the impurity during the night is limited during this time; story about stuff left under the bed; Story from Avraham ben Avraham of Vilnah; Klasenberer Rebbe, we all have the same problem of dealing with the body; The Broken Vessels and giving the other side its due; Mayim achronim is one example of this; On Pesach we do not give them anything so we cannot leave over from the Pesach sacrifice; The same is true when we feel a great light don't fall later and give any of it to the other side; So Shabbos and after davening we need to be especially vigilant in this Rav Tzaddok: The deep emunah in every Jew even if he converted from Judaism as a way to rebel against G-d; Rav Zushia once rebuked a community "God loves every one of us so much. How can we do things against His will?"; Non-Jewish wagon driver asked Rav Zushia to help pick up hay and Rav Zushai said he can't, the wagon driver said "You can pick up the hay but you don't want to." Rav Zushia learned that this was from heaven. If we want to pick up the Hei the Shechinah we can can but we don't want to; Person who taught Ishibitz to someone who went off the derech did not understand it properly; Rav Morgenstern that Ishbitz is a focus on yeidiya but the level of bechirah is also always true; we do not understand how we the two are both true at the same time; Rav Nosson says to focus on bechirah before a fall and that it is from Hashem after not because the other aspect is not just as relevant; It is a strategy to help us in the practical realities of our situations. generally one who fell cannot deal with his error immediately, so better to focus on yediyah and repent later when you can; before a fall it is better to focus on bechirah

Friday, January 4, 2019

Arizal-Chessed L'Avraham Part II--Imbuing Shabbos in the week; Mikveh

Maseh Choshev Taking Shabbos into the days of the week; Shnayim mikra; Chayay Adam that you will feel the light of Shabbos after the mikveh; that the Ramchal did not go to the mikveh erev Shabbos and what he writes about this; Today you cannot have kavanos in the Mikveh room but you can under the water (didn't go into Rav Shlomo Kluger about this, maybe next time)

Komarna, Rav Tzaddok and Rav Nosson on Vaeirah

Komarna on Vaeira (11 minutes long) Hashem is right there with us in exile and takes us out of Egypt when we realize that at every instant, in every movement He is right there with us; Through this emunah we sweeten judgments with kindness; This is an aspect of tikin habris the main avodah of Shovavim Rav Tzaddok: The Ten Makkos, the Ten Sefiros and the Ten Kochos Hanefesh in us; Arizal on how the ten Makkos relate to birth; Spiritually birth is actualizing and miscarriage is failing to do so; Ramak on Isur Nidah; Arizal that sweating for a mitzvah like preparing for Shabbos or baking matzos fixes keri; The sympathetic labor camp supervisor who sent for a blessing from the "Kofetz Kaim" and the Chofetz Cham's reaction; Rav Zusia that they could not replicate Kinim since it is small teaches that when one diminishes himself with anavah evil has no hold on him Rav Nosson (8 minutes) shemad gematrai 344, ratzon 346 Moshe is the bridge between the two; Avoiding Bila'am; Remembering the tachlis; Power of visualization; bechirah what we want to happen usually does; Connecting to Moshe--tzaddikim; Chacham and Tam; explaining emunah; emunah is using sechel to understand what one should believe it; Rav Nosson from Yerushalmi--no one looks at things only with his intellect---otherwise you could never take any risk, like marriage or a job where you need to trust another; Bilam from Lavan --Lev Nun, since everything is whitewashed by Lavan; the antidote to Lavan is emes

Friday, December 28, 2018

Arizal--Chessed l'Avraham bringing Shabbos into the week 1

Kenaf Renanim Shabbos Rimon 26 (25 minutes) We can make havdalah until Tuesday since the influence of Shabbbos extends until then; One who focuses on the following throughout his week will not sin and shuts up the yetzer hara from any accusations; Sunday we bring in neshamah-thought, Monday ruach-dibur and tuesday nefesh, action; Pischei Sha'arim on what that is; Did Hashem make two equal light sources originally? Ibn Ezra: No merely two huge bodies that were the sun and moon; Maharal: yes they were equal; Pischei Sha'arim yes; the four yesodos of fire, air, water and earth and how they relate to the soul and the worlds; the meaning of the name Hashem told Moshe in our parsha and other names; the "seven Margalin, pearls"; the forty-two name in anah b'koach

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Rav Tzaddok Komarna and Rav Nosson on Shemos and Shovavim

Rav Tzaddok Shemos (17 minutes long) Rashi says (from Pirkei d'Rebbe Eliezer) Moshe used the donkey that Moshiach will ride and that Avraham rode but how old can a donkey be? Rav Tzadok explains that chamor alludes to chomer materialism since they overcame their material selves. But what about when Avraham says to Eliezer and Yishmael to stay with the chamor implying that it is not good? the chamor was the body and it can be used for holiness or a person can let it bring him down; Maharal in Gur Aryeh and Gevuros Hashem makes very similar point but somewhat different and proves that Avraham, Moshe and Moshiach are exceptional since Hashem took them above the world; Maharal explains that the ability to transcend nature was created between weekdays-nature and Shabbos-above nature; How Maharal diverges from Rav Tzaddok; Possible explanation of the creation of the negative donkey bein hashemashos according to Rav Tzaddok that Hashem also created Sheidim bein hashemashos; Zohar that every person has shin daled in him that must be tempered with a yud to form Shakai holy limits by channeling the yetzer hara in the correct way Komarna Shemos (14 minute duration) Rav Tzaddok so much of Torah was is commemorating the exodus since we were slaves on the 49th level of impurity and G-d redeemed us nevertheless this teaches that we should never despair; Zohar about Yechezkel's prophecy in chutz l'aretz to encourage the Jewish people that Hashem was with us in exile; Komarna What is His name? Ehekeh asher Ehekeh; Ramban from MIdrash that this means how you act to Hashem He acts to you; Maharal in Gevuras Hashem from Midrash that Hashem revealed Himself in a bush to teach that the DIvine Presence is everywhere; The importance of marital harmony to bringing the geulah; Ish and Isha have the shem Hashem in their name since He is there when there is shalom bayis; We bring the redemption and rebuild the beish hamikdash by marital harmony; why one who is unmarried lacks completion--this is compared to how he could be at his best but an unmarried man could be way beyond his married friend Rav Nosson Shemos-Shovavim (11 minute duration) Everything that the Jewish people suffered in Egypt we endure in our spiritual exile; They got through it by crying out to Hashem and so do we; Crying out to Hashem is the main avodah of Shovavim; Shovavim is tikun habris but bris is synonymous with emunah, simcha and anavah; Ba'alei Tosefos that the Jewish people only cried out when the king died since they were relying on the old king's decree to die with him and this limited them; Rav Tzadok the main time to access the light of Shovavim is on Shabbos;

Friday, December 14, 2018

Likutei Halachos and Rav Tzaddok-Komarna on Vayigash

Rav Tzaddok and Komarna (13 minutes long) Alter of Kelm Yosef tells the brothers to go up to their father since Eretz Yisrael is the highest land; This means spiritually, not higher in physical space; Yosef sent the best of Egypt; We pick up the sparks in exile and redeem them; It's like wine that is good when used correctly but very detrimental when misused; Dispute between Chovos Hatalmidim from Rav Elimelech and Rebbe Nachman whether most should use alcohol in avodas Hashem except Kiddush, havdalah and very rare occasion; What is the main thing?Story about tikkun chatzos and l'chaims; Komarna Yosef tells the brothers to hurry several other examples of this; if we knew the Shechinah was in exile with us we would hurry to do whatever we could in avodah Rav Nosson (13 minutes long) The Secret of Galus; Hashem is always with us and difficulty is the pathway to redemption; Changing a descent into an ascent; How? Tzifsei Tzaddik parable how teshuvah completely cleans out the other side; Chofetz Chaim on why baalei teshuvah are higher that they can explain that material pursuits are empty from experience; Because we bring light into the far places we were in before; Since we need a descent before ascending we can transform any descent into ascent; Teshuvah from love; Every good thing is forever; teshuvah from love

Chanukah Continues after 8 Days and Parshas Vayigash

Expanding Chanukah (18 minutes long.) From Alter of Kelm that Chanukah continues to shine until 30 days after 8; Divrei Chaim and Yesod Yosef prepared for Chanukah from at least 30 days before; Chanukah is shining a light into the darkness by channeling the yetzer hara for good; Mekor Chaim that the yetzer hara ferments bread since it is the main element in our avodah and why; Zohar that every person has a shin daled inside that we need to imbue with a yud by channeling it correctly; Rav Nosson that even after the days of Chanukah higher supernal illumination is available but we have no vessel to receive it now so we cannot keep lighting; if Chanukah was less than we would like we can always fix this after; Alter of Kelm deeper reason why we light eight days even though we had oil for one--that nature is from Hashem; His lesson that we need to work on internalizing our avodah and not merely going on what we got naturally since this can easily be lost or diverted; Rashbam and Rashi on our Parsha's verse that Yaakov saw the wagons and was revived; That Rashbam merely revealed a pshat aspect but never meant to nullify drash or the words of our sages; Bris, emunah, simcha and anavah are all one aspect; Bris means connection and that is its main element

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Rav Tzaddok Komarna and Rav Nosson on Vayishlach; Arizal on Chanukah with Chasidus

Komarna Vayishlach (20 minutes long): Why were the people of Shecehm killed? Hakesav V'hakabalah since Dina heard them threatening to kill Yaakov and the tribes and sent word to them; Komarna explains why Dina and Shechem were attracted to each other; the tikkun of their union and the death of Shechem and the twenty four thousand from Rema of Pano; Ramad Valie that despite the rectification Shimon and Levi still should not have killed anyone Rav Tzaddok Vayishlach (14 minutes long): Why Yaakov was punished for failing to give Dinah to Eisav; Alter of Kelm because he didn't feel conflicted about refusing to give her to him; Lubavitcher Rebbe, because we need to do anything for kiruv; Rav Tzaddok because Yaakov needed more confidence in himself; Rebbe Nachman that true emunas chachomim encompasses confidence in ourselves and the importance of our avodah Rav Nosson on Vayishlach (22 minutes long): Yaakov tells Eisav that he must go slowly teaches that although we need to have alacrity in divine service we also need to beware of going too quick; Gra and Chovos Halevavos-Zohar on negative results of going too fast; Rav Nosson that we Daven to make keilim, vessels so we cannot rush since we need to daven more to create vessels to hold the blessing in a good way Arizal with Chasidus on Chanukah From Chessed L'avraham's summary Maseh Choshev Part 1 (25 minutes): How the tikun of Chanukah and Purim is different than that of Shabbos and Yom Tov; Chanukah teaches that Hahsem reaches us in the darkness; Rav Nosson that Chanukah Hashem's bikur cholim to the Jewish people; that the further away we are from Him the more we should appreciate every good thing we do; That Chanukah and Purim sustain the Jewish people in exile; Netach-Hode in Avodah; Tal Oros on why the lower levels of what is higher builds all levels of the lower aspects

Friday, May 11, 2018

4 Video Shiurim on Bechukosai

Ramchal beautiful explanation of why the verse begins with Hashem's bris with Yaakov and only then mentions the other avos; Why it says, Avos and the significance of Hashem remembering the land ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Komarna Story sfas emes, chidushei harim; the greatness of these inyanim; Komarna on how we become a new creation through keeping mitzvos ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Rav Nosson: Hashem will never abandon us since we are filled with longing for Him; Yesod means connection and we bring this out by longing for Hashem ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Rav Tzaddok: Curses in Bechukosai and Ki Savo; Why one is in singluar and one is plural; why we read this every year two shabosim before Shavuos and Ki Savo two shabosim before Rosh Hashanah P.s. in the shiur I mention that there is no Zohar on Bechukosai and a comprehensive exploration of the avodah of the Klalos is available in Ramad Valie's masterful discussion. This was an error since there is a short Zohar on Bechukosai (Ki Savo has no regular Zohar on it). Yet the point stands, since it does not deal with the klalos (expect the encouragement mentioned in the piece on Rav Nossn and why the tochacha is called divrei habris and a bit more.) So if you want to understand the avodah aspect, you need Ramad Valie.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Connecting to Rebbe Shimon bar Yochai

Lag Baomer shiur: The word "Shimon" forms "Mash Avon"--"depart sins";Alludes to really hearing and internalizing as in Shema Yisrael; the greatness of Rebbe Shimon

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Video Shiurim Vayikra and Parshas Hachodesh

Rav Tzaddok on Parshas Hachodesh: The avodah of Rosh Chodesh, accessing the light of redemption especially available during this during Nissan Connection of above piece to Parshas Vayikra: Based on Rashi and Maharal on upper and lower water Komarna on Parshas VAyikra: Deeper dimension of sacrifice. Preparing for Pesach and About Rav Tzadok: About Rav Tzaddok and preparing for Pesach Rav Tzaddok on Parshas Vayikra: That Hashem calls all of us and we need Him to fill us with the light of Torah Rav Nosson on Parshas Vaykra: restoring what we put out of place due to sin

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Rav Tzadok on Vayakel and Para; Komarna on Vayakel; Rav Nosson on Pikudei

Rav Tzaddok on Vayakel and Pikudei: Do not make a fire on Shabbos also alludes to the fire of jealousy, desire and honor; Three of the four parshios fix each of these aspects respectively while hachodesh enables a deep sense of renewal Komarna on Vayakel: Not making fire o motzei Shabbos before kidusha d'sidra and havdalah; making clarifications during the six days of the week Rav Nosson on Pikudei: why the Mishkan traveled through the desert; we reveal the Mishkan through holy longing

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Rav Nosson on Ki Sisa: People are harder to deal with than the yetzer hara; patience with ourselves and others no matter what Komarna: Accepting the light of Shabbos and keeping it during the six weekdays; the detrimental effects of chilul Shabbos; the nature of Shabbos and the Jewish people's bond to the Jewish people Rav Tzaddok: The providence of Hashem: what we can understand and what we cannot; Only retroactively can we sometimes see the advantage of suffering like after we left Egypt

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Komarna, Rav Tzaddok and Rav Nosson on Purim

1) Komarna: : I go with this avodah each Purim and it never fails to helps focus on getting into and experiencing Purin; Profound but very powerful. Never fails to deepen and enhance one's Purim experience; Pesachya all gates open on Purim; How to access the elusive light of Purim 2) 4 minute Purim Shiur: Power of prayer on Purim and Chasidus behind Hamentashin 3) Rav Tzaddok on Purim:: we learn holy chutzah from Amalek; the avodah of Purim 4) Rav Nosson on Purim Part I: 5) Rav Nossno on Purim part II All beginnings were from Pesach but now are from Purim (Rebbe Nachman) what this means; why we drink? How Purim is a preparation for the avodah of Pesach; giving life to one's own sparks of holiness that is trapped in materialism A Freilichin Upliftin' Purim!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Short Shiurim on Titzvaveh, Zachor and Tanis Ester

Rav Tzaddok and Rav Nosson Parshas Zachor Who is Amalek? Can one renege on being Amalek? What it means that Amalek cooled us on the derech, way. Holy and unholy derech and how to overcome Amalek Komarna on Parshas Titzaveh and Mekor Chaim on Tanis Ester: eating and fasting as atonement; the avodah of eating as a sacrifice; what it means that the kohain eats and atones for us; how is the fast of Ester different from other fasts? Rav Tzaddok on Parshas Titzvaveh: Moshe and this Parshah; What the Bigdei Kehunah, kohanim and shemen hamishcha, the sanctifying oil had in common; Why do we need kohanim? The avodah of ketores Rav Nosson on Titzvaveh: The Menorah's oil alludes that we need to shine with holiness, especially when we are engaged in them; And the good point that must be actualized by focusing on it

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Rav Tzaddok and Chidushei Harim on Month of Adar

What is the avodah of the month of Adar? Adar=Aleph the Primal Cause dwells with us so Aleph reid that is G-d comes down to us especially during this month; the joy of Adar Determent of lack of joy

Friday, February 16, 2018

Rav Tzaddok, Komarna and Rav Nosson on Terumah

Rav Tzaddok: The Aron; never giving up; the more desperation, the more inspiration, the harder the challenges the greater the person Komrana Mikdash is the same gemarria as midos (without the vav) since this is the avodah of the mikdash Rav Nosson: making a mishkan

Friday, February 9, 2018

Rav Tzaddok, and Komarna on Mishpatim; Rav Noson on Shekalim

Rav Tzaddok Rav Tzadok: Tefilah and Dveykus in the parsha; Using all days and that a b'aal teshuvah will restore all his lost days; shovevim and mishpatim; mishpatim begins with slaves to teach that even a person enslaved to his desires will be redeemed; even if he wants to stay a slave he will also be redeemed Komrana: Not to hurt a convert with word's or monetarily--one who does so limits divine bounty on the world Rav Nosson on Shekalim: Mishkal means weigh, we need to learn to constrict the light to serve Hashem in a balanced way

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Komarna, Rav Tzaddok and Rav Nosson on Parshas Beshalach

Komarna: Emunah in G-d and Moshe: Living Emunah that everything is from Hashem thereby sweetening judgments Rav Tzaddok: Emunah-Dveykus stories relating to Komarna shiur; Why it tells us that Pharoh sent the Jewish people away; Why this week is called "Shabbos Shira"; The main Avodah of Shovavim is on his Shabbos Rav Nosson: Crying out to G-d--Practical Advice for Sweetening Judgments 1) Finding the positive in our situation so we open our mind and focus, coming to joy and transforming anguish and worry to joy; 2) Arousing good desire to overcome the negative desires that enable painful situations

Friday, November 3, 2017

Rav Nosson, Rav Tzaddok and Komarna Video and a write up of Shem Mishmuel:, "I am Dirt and Ashes"

I must apologize that the person who posted mistakenly labeled three of these videos. They are on Vayera and present some powerful Torah that are short and sweet.
Rav Nosson Vayera 1
Ayeh and the Akeida
Rav Nosson on Vayera 2
Zohar on Anar, Eshkol and. Mamre; The Chamber of Exchanges

Rav Tzadok Kometz Hamincha on Vayera
Lott, his wife; redeeming soul of Moshiach through his daughters' pure intentions

The joy of Avraham during the Akeida; the Greatness of the Akeida; The Avodah of the Akeidah

The Anavah of Avraham
The Shem MiShmuel, zt”l, offers a brilliant explanation of a Mishnah in Bava Kama 21. “We find in the mishnah that if a dog or goat jumped from the roof and broke vessels, the owner pays full damage since it is mua’d, expected for this animal to act in this manner. The Kabbalists reveal that this mishnah alludes to Kayin and Hevel. We can explain this in light of how we have explained elsewhere that the very name, Kayin and Hevel allude to their essence. ‘Kayin’ means kinyan, acquisition, since he was full of himself and felt he was a real acquisition for the world. ‘Hevel,’ means breath or nothingness, since that is how Hevel felt about himself. He did not have the audacity to bring a sacrifice on his own, only after he saw that Kayin brought his.
“Each of these character traits has an important place in avodah. Surely, one must feel important and understand that what he does makes an indelible impression on the world to be successful. As our sages revealed in Avos, one must be as bold as a lion in his Divine service. He must ‘uplift his heart in avodas Hashem,’ as we find in the verse. We all must say that the world was created solely for me, as our sages tell us in Sanhedrin. This is why Chava called him Kayin, saying, ‘I have acquired a man with Hashem.’ She meant that he use this faculty of kinyan for avodas Hashem. In such matters, one must feel that he is a real acquisition and have immense self-confidence.
“Similarly, the character trait of Hevel is imperative for sincere avodah. Avrohom declared that he was dust and ashes and Moshe and Aharon said, ‘V’nachnu mah?’—‘What are we?’ Whatever wisdom has to crown its head, humility uses to adorn its heel. Yet one must beware the danger of inappropriate humility that leads to great despair, indolence and coolness in avodas Hashem. 
“This is why the mishnah tells us that they leaped from the roof. These character traits must be used in proper balance as appropriate. If one misuses one, he jumps from the roof of his potential to the lowest point, since misusing these character traits causes deep, great falls. Hashem should protect us and show us the right way to serve Him sincerely!”
[Shem MiShmuel, Chanukah, p. 208]

Friday, October 27, 2017

Videos of Rav Nosson and Komarna; Write Up of Rav Tzaddok on Lech Lecha

Here is the first video: Rav Nosson on Lech Lecha
The Seven Nations were in Israel before Yisrael to reveal deep divine kindness. This is also why we leave the arla seven days before doing a bris milah
Here is the second: Komarna on Lech Lecha
The common denominator between Kayin, Korach and Sedom: Justice without Mercy

Never Despair!

Rav Tzaddok Hakohein of Lublin, zt”l, explains that one should never despair. “We may wonder why the Exodus is such a central part of the Jewish experience. It is the foundation of every holiday and we are supposed to feel this in the deepest part of our heart. What is the lesson from these numerous halachos?
“The answer is that in Egypt we were in the lowest possible place, the forty-ninth level of defilement. One would have thought that our situation was hopeless but Hashem delivered us from bondage and made us His nation. Our very first lesson at the inception of our peoplehood was that one should never despair, no matter what. G-d took us out then, and He can deliver us from any spiritual bondage no matter how hopeless it seems. No matter how depraved a Jew may be, what he has done or where he has been, it is never too late. He is definitely not as depraved as the hopeless slaves in Egypt. We need to know completely that Hashem will definitely deliver us, just like He delivered them!
"This was one of the lessons of Avraham's actions in Parshas Lech Lecha. There we find that Avraham pursued the powerful armies of the four kings with only three hundred and eighteen men. It seemed that he was doomed to lose, yet somehow he prevailed. This happened to Avraham, the father of the Jewish people to teach an important lesson. The quintessential character of a Jew is that we never give up, no matter what the odds. It is certainly singular that the numerical value of yiush, the Hebrew word for despair is 318, the number of men Avraham took on this seemingly hopeless quest. ”
(Pri TzaddikParshas Mishpatim)