מלך (“king”) spelled backwards is כלם (“all”) and both words have the gematria of 90. This expresses the idea that a king embodies all.
יֵצֶר הַרַע = תָּקַעה – The term in Hebrew used for the evil inclination (יֵצֶר הַרַע) equals in gematria the root word for blowing [the shofar] (תָּקַעה). Both equal 575. The message is clear. To disrupt the “Yetzer Hara,” a forceful blow must be projected to jolt the ever present evil inclination.
The Gemara (Gittin 68b) recalls a period when Shlomo Hamelech (King Solomon) was kicked off his throne and forced to roam about the streets. Yet Shlomo “ruled over his stick” – he made sure to take his sceptre with him to be able to maintain his mindset of royalty.
The question may be posed; is one a “ruler” – if he “rules” over a stick? Perhaps an approach to this query could be, Shlomo’s nature was to rule and that would manifest itself in any situation that emerged. Whether it would be the loftiest position, as the ruler over the nation of Israel, or the mundane position of ruling over a stick, “rulership” was embedded into his being. One must realize that their destiny will guide them in their talents whether it be in grand or ordinary fashion. In some senses, we can’t escape our destiny.
Abba Shaul states that “V’anveyhu” teaches us to emulate Hashem: “Ma hu rachum v’chanun, af ata rachum v’chanun – Just as Hashem is merciful and compassionate, so too, you [i.e., man] should be merciful and compassionate” (Shabbos 133b). We say in “ashrei” every day: “You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing” (Psalms 145:16). Based on the idea that we must follow in the ways of Hashem, the verse instructs us to open our hands when a living being is in need.
(This was written in 5768.) The period referred to as Bain Hametzarim, the Three Weeks, is almost upon us, and it is worth our while to reflect on our current situation. This week we heard about the Israeli and terrorist group prisoner swap, where the Israelis received the bodies of two soldiers who were killed al Kiddush HaShem, sanctifying G-d’s Name, while the terrorists received in exchange live murderers with Jewish blood on their hands. Although I normally refrain from using current events and politics as a springboard for insights in the weekly Torah portion, it is noteworthy what the terrorist declared when he reached his safe haven in Lebanon. According to news reports, the terrorist announced, “I return today from Palestine, but believe me, I return to Lebanon only in order to return to Palestine.”
Returning to Eretz Yisroel
Leaving aside the intent of this murderer’s words, let us focus on how this statement can be applied to us. We have been in exile for almost two thousand years. Every day in our prayers we declare that we wish to return to Eretz Yisroel. What does it mean to return to Eretz Yisroel? Are we saying that we wish to live a life completely according to the Torah, or are we merely engaging in some form of nostalgia? Every individual must decide for themselves what returning to Eretz Yisroel means, but there is one thing that we can all agree upon. The idea that we are all still in exile is a fact that no one can dispute. The Gemara (Kesubos 111a) states that the Jewish People are cautioned from ascending to Eretz Yisroel in a forceful manner. Nonetheless, it is incumbent upon every Jew to anticipate the arrival of Moshiach and yearn for the day when we will all return to the Land that HaShem promised to our forefathers. Thus, we should also declare, “we have left Eretz Yisroel to reside in the exile, against our will, but believe me, I am only in the exile in order to return to Eretz Yisroel.”
The Mitzvah of Seeking out the Bais HaMikdash
The Ramban (Parashas Korach) is of the opinion that there is a biblical commandment to seek out the construction of the Bais HaMikdash. Are we seeking to reach the point where we can be confident that the Bais HaMikdash will be rebuilt? Fortunately, we have an opportunity every week to tastes a semblance of the redemption and this occurs on the Holy Day of Shabbos.
The Messianic Era is to Study Torah
The Rambam (Hilchos Melachim 12:4) writes that the sages and the prophets did not desire the Messianic Era for the purpose of dominating the nations of the world or for the purpose of eating and drinking and being merry. Rather, they desired the Messianic Era so that we should be free from oppression and thus we will be able to study HaShem’s Torah and thereby merit a portion in the World to Come.
The Shabbos Connection
Shabbos is a day when we rest from our labor and toil of the week and we have the opportunity to engage in praying to HaShem and studying His Holy Torah. The Gemara (Shabbos 118b) states that were the Jewish People to observe two Shabbosos properly, they would be redeemed immediately. We have the opportunity, this Shabbos, to observe the Shabbos as an entire nation. If we will all observe the Shabbos properly, we will not need the reminder of the Three Weeks and Tisha Baav to remind us that we are still in exile, longing to return to Eretz Yisroel. May we see today the fulfillment of the verse that states (Yeshaya 52:8) kol tzofayich nasu kol yachdav yiraneinu ki ayin biayin yiru bishuv HaShem Tziyon, the voice of your lookouts, they raise their voice, they sing glad song in unison; with their own eyes they will see that HaShem returns to Tziyon.
Shabbos in the Zemiros
The composer of this zemer is Shlomo, a name formed by the acrostic of the first four stanzas. Nothing definite is known about him, although some speculate that he was the famous Shlomo ben Yehudah ibn Gabriol. The zemer concentrates on the requirement to honor the Shabbos with culinary delights and closes with the assurance that the observance of the Shabbos will herald the final Redemption.
יְשׁוֹרְרוּ שָׁם רְנָנַי, לְוִיַּי וְכֹהֲנַי, וְאָז תִּתְעַנַּג עַל י-ְה-ֹוָ-ה, there my singers will exult, my Levites and Priests, and then you shall take pleasure with HaShem. The Sages constantly exhort us to refrain from construction of the Bais HaMikdash on Shabbos. We learn from this that the holiness of the Bais HaMikdash is akin to the holiness of Shabbos. Perhaps this is the message of this passage, that when the Bais HaMikdash is rebuilt, there we will take pleasure with HaShem, similar to what it said regarding Shabbos (Yeshaya 58:14) אָז תִּתְעַנַּג עַל יְ-ה-ו-ָה, then you will delight in HaShem.
The Heilege Rebbe, The Rebbe Reb Meilech from Lizhensk
The Sabba Kaddisha of Radoshitz, in his sefer, Niflaos (vol. 1, pp. 21– 22), recorded an amazing story about the formulation of this “Prayer before Praying.” The story goes like this: When he was a child, the Sabba Kaddisha was once visiting Rebbe Elimelech of Lizhensk. He was conversing with chassidim from the Rebbe’s inner circle in front of the Rebbe’s home when several extremely tall men came and hurried into the house. When they reached the doorway, they had to stoop down to enter since they were so unusually tall.
The holy Rebbe closed the door behind them before the chassidim could catch a glimpse of their faces. They waited outside until the visitors left to see if they could recognize them. Again the chassidim were astonished when the men left. They did so in such a hurry that they could not make out the men’s features and just saw their backs; they left so fast they almost vanished. The chassidim realized that something unusual had just taken place, and they decided to investigate and find out what had occurred. The elder chassidim among them approached the Rebbe and asked him to explain the strange incident.
This is what the Rebbe told them: “When I realized that most people cannot concentrate properly on their prayers anymore due to the awesome burdens of earning a livelihood, and they lack the time and the understanding to concentrate fully, I decided to rewrite the standard formula for the prayers. I would write a new, short and concise version that would be equally understood and grasped by everyone. The holy Members of the Great Assembly, the Anshei Knesses HaGedolah (the original authors of the standard prayers from the time of the Talmud), realized what I intended. They came here to ask me not to change even one prayer from their established formula. I took their counsel and discussed the matter with them. They advised me to establish a prayer to pray before the formal prayer service. This would help anyone who lacks the concentration and proper devotions that are necessary for all formal prayers.” This “prayer before prayers” is the Yehi Ratzon prayer printed in many siddurim in the name of Rebbe Elimelech of Lizhensk. [Reprinted from a Free Download from the book “Mipeninei Noam Elimelech” translated and compiled by Tal Moshe Zwecker by permission from Targum Press, Inc.]
There is a story told of the Rebbe’s brother the Rebbe Reb Zisha of Hanipoli. After Rebbe Elimelech passed away he was approached by his brother’s students to be their new leader. Rabbi Zisha declined and explained his reason with a parable. “The possuk in Bereishis 2:10 states “And a river went forth from Eden to water the garden and from there it split into four paths.” The Torah is eternal and alludes to all events above and below for all generations. Eden alludes to our holy master the Baal Shem Tov. The river was his student the holy Mezritcher Maggid. The garden refers to my brother the Rebbe Elimelech. This then is the meaning: a river flows from Eden to water the garden, the Torah flows as water from the Baal Shem Tov by way of the Mezritcher Maggid to the Rebbe Elimelech. From there it separates into four paths: they are 1. The Holy Rebbe the Chozeh or Seer of Lublin. 2. The Holy Rebbe Avodas Yisrael the Koznitzer Maggid. 3. The Holy Rebbe Mendel Rimanover and 4. The Holy Ohev Yisrael the Apta Rav. You need no Rebbe other than them.”
Shabbos in Halacha
Opening Food Packages
II Practical Applications
As we mentioned previously, it is preferable that one opens all containers and packages prior to Shabbos. The following procedures should be followed in the event that one inadvertently did not open the container prior to Shabbos.
- Paper and Plastic Bags
Bags also fall under the prohibitions of tearing and forming an opening, and one may only tear bags in a destructive manner (without tearing any words or pictures.)
Rabbi Menachem Genack
The Connection between Korbanos and Parsha Pinchas
The pasuk says, “Command the children of Israel and say to them: My offering, My food for My fire offerings, a spirit of satisfaction for Me, you shall take care to offer to Me at its appointed time” (Numbers 28:2). Rashi (s.v. Tzav; Command the children of Israel) brings down, What is stated above? “Let the Lord appoint” (id. 27:16). The Holy One, blessed is He, said to him (Moshe), “Before you command Me regarding My children, command My children regarding Me.” This is analogous to a princess who was about to depart from the world and was instructing her husband about her children, (and he replied, “Before you instruct me about them, instruct them about me”), as it is stated in Sifrei Pinchas 2:4.
Rabbi Genack says the Sifrei was bothered by two questions. Firstly, how are korbanos relevant to parsha Pinchas and secondly the place to mention korbanos is in sefer Vayikra for that’s Torat Kohanim, where the mitzvos of the avoda are stated (see the Torah Temimah for his explanation).
Rabbi Genack answers that the relation of the timidim and musafin to parsha Pinchas is that parsha Pinchas is talking about inheritances. In the beginning of the parsha it describes how Pinchas became a Kohen followed by inheritances of the land and then inheritances of each individual. Thereafter, Moshe said, “Let the Lord, the God of spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation” (id. 27:16), referring to Yehoshua’s inheritance of Moshe’s mantel of leadership. Therefore, since all the inheritance issues were discussed here it also adds korbanos because the “main reason” for all of theses inheritances is to build the Beis Hamikdash where korbanos can be brought, as it says, “For you have not yet come to the resting place or to the inheritance, which the Lord, your God, is giving you” (Deuteronomy 12:9), and on this the rabbis expounded: “to the resting place is Shiloh and [or to] the inheritance this is Jerusalem” (Sifrei; Zevachim. 119a).
Also Rabbi Genack says – the inheritance of the land comes in the merit of bringing korbanos, as it says in the Gemara (Taanis 27b), when Avraham asked Hashem, ‘In what way will I know I will inherit you – that with Israel the inheritance lies – and Hashem responded – “Take for Me three heifers ….’”(Genesis 15:9) that is, through the zechut of korbanos, we will merit the land (brought down by Rashi, Veychshevena Le’Tzedakah). So it mentioned here the sacrifices of the community because it is in the merit of these sacrifices that the promise of inheriting the land will remain intact.
Birchat Yitzchak Page 236
Rav Avrohom Genechovsky Zt”l
Shulchan Aruch – Siman 158 and Siman 152
Washing Hands for a Meal
There was a case where one washed his hands and made a bracha and then noticed that there was an object on his hand which caused a chatzizah; so he took off the object to avoid a chatziza in order to wash again. The question is whether he has to make a second bracha. (The question is only if the chatzizah was on the fingers, not on the place of his main hand, for there are opinions in Shulchan Aruch; 161:64, that the chiyuv is only until kishrei etzbeoseha.)
One can’t bring a proof from a case of where one chooses to use a different shofar, for there a new bracha must be made (Mishna Berurah: Siman 685; Seif Katan 4) because it was a different object whereas here it’s just a second action and is similar to a case where one takes a lulav and sees he took it upside down, and then turns it over, where he need not make a second bracha (however, see Mishna Berurah: Siman 651; Seif Katan 56 where it seems to say you do have to make a bracha – this is discussed later in this Seif of Rav Avrohom’s sefer).
However, it may be said that one must make a new bracha because he had a hesech hada’as, as he thought he already fulfilled the mitzvah and therefore the bracha becomes batel as proven in the Biur Halacha (Siman 690: Siman 4 s.v. ein). (Rav Avraham then discusses a question by lulav regarding nanuim.)
Perhaps, however, it can be argued that a bracha shouldn’t be made because of the second hand (that didn’t have the chatzizah) where a new washing wouldn’t be needed. But Rav Avrohom rejects this because both hands were wiped against each other and the one that had the chatzizah was metameh the one that didn’t require a second washing.
Rav Avrohom concludes that based on hesech hada’as, it seems a new bracha would be necessary but still leaves it be’tzarich iyun.
(Rav Avrohom discusses this issue further in this Siman.)
Sefer Bar Almugim Pages 130-131
Rabbi Yakov Nagen (Genack)
Loving Man – In Pirkei Avot
In his hakdamah to Shir HaShirim (Olat Reiyah: Vol. 2, 4:42), Rav Kook divides Rabbi Akiva’s life into three categories of love. When Rabbi Akivah was a simple shepherd he had a love for his wife Rachel. When he became among the Torah greats he gained a love of man, as he says; “Love your friend like yourself; this is a main principle in the Torah” (Sifrah Kedoshim 2:4). At the end when he met death by the Romans who scraped off his skin with brass combs, he reached the level of love of G-d and fulfilled, “Love Hashem your G-d with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 6:5) – ‘even if G-d takes your soul’” (Brachos 1b).
Rabbi Akiva knew all three loves were connected and therefore says the love in Shir Hashirim is allegorical to love between Bnei Yisroel and Hashem, as it says, “Rabbi Akiva said: Far be it! No man in Israel disputed that the Song of Songs [saying] that it does not defile the hands. For the whole world is not as worthy as the day on which the Song of Songs was given to Israel; for all the writings are holy but the Song of Songs is the holy of holies. If they had a dispute, they had a dispute only about Kohelet” (Yadayim 3:5).
Rav Kook explains how it is that Rabbi Akiva first grasped love of man and then G-d; for when the Mishna discusses kinyanim needed to acquire the Torah, the love of G-d precedes the love of man (Pirkei Avot 6:6). However, as we will discover, Rabbi Akiva’s love of G-d was the root source for his love of man.
We see love of man based on Rabbi Akiva’s statement “Love your friend like yourself and this is a main principle of the Torah” (Sifrah Kedoshim 2:4). However, this statement must be qualified with another of Rabbi Akiva’s where he says, “Human beings are beloved because they were created in the image of God. It is an even greater love that this was made known to humanity, as it says, ‘and in the image of God were people created’” (Genesis 9:6, Pirkei Avot 3:12).
What became known to man is that he was created in the image of G-d which then indicated man’s love of his fellow man is steeped in the fact that he knows his fellow is created in the image of G-d. Therefore, hidden in Rabbi Akiva’s “main principle” is that love of man emanates from love of G-d.
Rav Kook opens his sefer by saying man is created in the image of G-d and that is the foundation of the Torah; in truth capturing the foundation laid down by Rabbi Akiva. It may be said that this secret was hidden from Rabbi Akiva’s talmidim who died because they didn’t give kavod to each other (Yevamos 62b). Perhaps this is why Rabbi Akiva expressed such a Mishna.
True love that’s not depended on anything (Pirkei Avot 5:16) hardly exists in nature without entanglement as we are biological beings that follow our instincts. But we know there exists a greater love above us and that is a Divine one as the Zohar (Trumah 146.2) explains, the root of Hashem’s name is aleph, hey, beis, hey, spelling ahava. Therefore the source of love in the human world is contained in the Tzelem Elokim that’s in each of us.
The Gemara (Sotah 17a) says a man and his wife, if zoche, the Shechina dwells among them, and if not they are devoured like a fire. Both ish and isha share an aleph and shin in their name. The extra yud from ish and extra hey from isha spells Hashem’s name. So if a man and women are connected then so is the name of Hashem complete on its own and with them.
So Rabbi Akiva’s words on Shir Hashirim were not just allegorical for the love between man and a woman is comparable to and drawn from Divine love and is thus kodesh kedoshim.
G-d’s essence and love of husband and wife both equal 13 (ahava and Echad) Ahava, 13 and Echad, 13 is one foundation. We say everyday “Shma Yisroel Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echad” – and by man and woman the verse says “And they (husband and wife) will become one flesh (basar echad)” (Genesis 2:24). This sheds light on when Rabbi Akiva said Hashem “Echad” at the end of his life culminating all loves.
The opposite of love is hate. The second Beis HaMikdash was destroyed for sinat chinam which opposes the theme of the Beis HaMikdash which will only be built through ahava. The Beis HaMikdash sought to bring love among the nation of Israel and between the nation of Israel and G-d, as it says, “Rav Katina said that when the Jews came up for the pilgrimage festivals, the priests would pull back the curtain in the Beis HaMikdash and show them that the Cherubim (one of which had masculine features and one of which had feminine features) were embracing one another. The priests would say: ‘See how beloved you are before the Almighty, like the love of a male and female.’” (Yoma 54a).
Since Chazal blamed the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash on sinat chinam, the remedy is for us to build love for our fellow man which is inspired by love of Hashem as love of man is wrapped up in the love of G-d allowing an all-encompassing love to spring forth by means of our connection with G-d.
Translated Excerpt from Nishmat HaMishna 407-411
Notes from The Editor
“Wherefore say: Behold, I give unto him My covenant of peace”(Numbers: 25:12)
Midrash Rabbah (21:1) says Pinchas got this reward through “din” – he deserved it. Many explanations are offered on what it means he deserved it. In Divrei Siach (Parsha Pinchas), Rav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita explains the Midrash to mean that in general, for every mitzvah we perform, we “don’t deserve” reward because we are obligated to do it. Here, however, the Gemara notes that Pinchas entered a dangerous situation, not one of automatic obligation, giving him a reward based on “din.” Perhaps based on “drash” it can be said that the name Pinchas indicates potential hesitation as his name can be broken into two words ‘pen’ ‘chas’ “maybe I should take pity” (as a descendant of Aharon). However, Pinchas overcame his nature and took his deserving reward.