Thursday, December 1, 2011
Friday, November 25, 2011
'And Yitzchok said about his wife, "She is my sister"' (*Bereishis 26.7)
There are two types of love between two people. The first is that which one has for someone from whom he receives some enjoyment or other favor. The love comes because this person is of good character and acts towards him based on that. The love that he has is based on this good character. This is the love that a man normally has for his wife because he has enjoyment from her. In order for there to be this type of love there has to be a secession of this enjoyment, for if it was continual, he would have no enjoyment from it. (As *Chazal say, an enjoyment that is continual is not really enjoyment.)
There is another type of love, which is that of a brother for a sister. He loves her for herself and not because any type of enjoyment she gives him. In this love there is no secession. If she would also have good *midos, he would have enjoyment from these midos also [but they are secondary to his love of her.] From this we see that his love is greater then the enjoyment he has from her since from his love comes his enjoyment [and not vis versa].
In the first type of love, however, this is not the case. The enjoyment is greater then the love since the love comes from the enjoyment that she brings him. And this is why Yitzchok said about his wife 'She is my sister', since that was the level his love for her was on. (p. 108 Toras HaMaggid teachings of the *Rebbe Reb Ber, the *Maggid of Mizretch)
Have an Awesome Shabbos
Friday, November 18, 2011
ואשאל אתה ואמר בת מי את ותאמר בת בתואל בן נחור אשר ילדה לו מלכה ואשם הנזם על אפה והצמידים על אפה ידיה:
“And I asked her and said: ‘who is your father?’ and she said, ‘I am the daughter of Bisuel…’ and I placed a bracelet on her hands.
In this week’s parsha, Eliezer, Avraham’s faithful servant was sent on a very important mission. He was sent away to find a wife for Avraham’s son, Yitzchak. Before he left on this journey Avraham stressed that when he goes he needs to find a girl from his family, from his father’s house. Eliezer, a little overwhelmed asked Hashem for a sign to help him make the right choice. He asked that Hashem should send a girl that offers him and his camels something to drink from the well. That would be the sign that the girl is the one Hashem chose for Yitchak.
No sooner did he say those words Rivka appeared and “passed the test”. Eliezer was so sure that she was the right girl that he gave her the symbolic bracelets that engaged her to Yitzchak. He then asked who she was, and found out that indeed she was from the house of Avraham.
When Eliezer went to meet Lavan and Bisuel (her father and brother), something interesting happens. He tells the story almost exactly how it happened, he just mixes a few things up, he changed the order of how it happened. He said, “first I asked her name and then I gave her the bracelets”.
Rashi explains that this was because he was afraid that Lavan would never believe it if he said the way it really happened. He would assume that Eliezer was lying. Therefore he changed the order.
Well this is really strange, because moments before Eliezer was telling Lavan how God had shortened the way for him in order to get to Charan faster. Obviously Lavan didn’t have a hard time believing in miracles, so why over here was Eliezer afraid. It must have been that Lavan had a problem in the idea of trust itself.
We see throughout the next few weeks that Lavan lived a very selfish and untrustworthy life. He believed that since nobody could trust him, that he could not trust anyone. He assumed he was too smart to trust, anyone with a brain would not be stupid enough to trust. Therefore he could never accept that someone would let his guard down and actually trust. Therefore Eliezer was afraid to mention his complete trust in Hashem, he knew Lavan wouldn’t believe him and assume he was lying.
This is a very important message for our personal relationships and our relationship with God. Lavan looked at life as always trying to outdo the other person, and making sure that whatever they can do to me I do to them first. He never “believed in people”. Even the nicest actions of a person would be translated into a hidden agenda. When we deal with other people, we need not to think like that. We need to realize that there are good people who are interested just in helping and doing the right thing. We need to know that even though we don’t know why things happen, God knows what he is doing. Simply we need to trust…
Have an Awesome Shabbos
Adapted From the Shmuz
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
We just finished the most important part of the Jewish year, Elul. We have now entered זמן שמחתנו, the time of happiness. The question is why is סכות such a happy time? We leave the comfort of our houses to go live in a hut, why is that such a שמכה?
We all know that a סוכה needs to be a temporary dwelling. When we move into a community and decide that we want to stay and build a life there what is the first thing we do? The first thing that most people do is search for a house to live in so that they can establish themselves in that community. When you buy a house you ROOT yourself into the community. On סכות we are showing that we as a people, no matter where we live are not a people who are rooted in the community that we live, we are rooted in our heritage and in עולם הבא. Our real connection is up above.
This is also the שמכה that we have. We are showing that we are not a people who are rooted in the physical world. Yes, we are allowed to have a good life, work hard, make money, etc… But at the end of the day we are a spiritual people, connected to ה' and because of this we know that we have limitless potential.
Have an Awesome Chag
Thursday, October 6, 2011
On ראש השנה we are written and on יום כיפור we are sealed. יום כיפור is the ULTIMATE TIME of תשובה for the Jewish people. The רמב''ם says it is the זמן תשובה for every יחיד and the רבים (every single Jew personally as well as the Jews as a whole). He goes further and says that since it is the Jews last chance for תשובה we have a חיוב to beg and ask for סליכה and מחילה.
Why is that? Why is it our חיוב to do תשובה? We should be able to decide whether we are sorry for our actions or not! The reason for this חיוב is as follows, during the rest of the year it is up to every person to make their own relationship with ה', in their own special and unique way. However, on יום כיפור, ה' is coming down to us. ה' forces us to realize that we are all connected to Him.
Rav Aharon Kutler brings an example; you are sitting down by yourself and notice that there is a man walking towards you with his hand outstretched to shake yours, he is coming to greet you. This isn’t just a regular man however, it is the king! What would you do? Yes you have the ability to ignore him and go about your business, most of us though appreciate the fact that we have our lives and would like to continue living it. If you chose to ignore the king it would be a terrible insult and you would pay for it accordingly. It’s the same thing here. ה' is coming down TO US and showing us that we have a relationship with Him, whether we like or not, whether we believe it or deny it. The only thing we need to do for forgiveness is say, yes ה', אנחנו חטאנו, we have sinned, and acknowledge that fact. Yes we have sinned terribly and we may feel like we don’t deserve it but ה' is coming with His hand outstretched to show us that we don’t have to try that hard for us to have this relationship.
Have an Easy and Truly Meaningful Fast
With Help From Rav Moshe Beigelman
With Help From Rav Moshe Beigelman
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
ראש השנהone of the most intense, scariest, and happiest times of the Jewish year. It is during this time of the year where we are all judged, based on the things we have and done over the past year. As we all know if we are found to be a צדיק we are immediately written and sealed in the Book of Life. If we are found to be רשאים we are immediately written and sealed in the Book of Death. What about those of us who don’t really fit into either of those categories? Not all of us are great sages, and not all of us are evil people. What happens to us?
The גמרא in ראש השנה (ד' טז:, ע' ב) says that there is a third book which is left open until יום כיפור. This is called the Book of בינונים. When a person is written in ספר בינונים, they have ten days, the אשרת ימי תשובה to prove to ה' which Book they belong to. The גמרא says "זכו נכתבין לחיים לא זכו נכתבין למיתה" “If they merit life they are written for life, if they do not merit they are written for death. The רמב''ם translates the word זכו (Merits) to mean does “תשובה”. What does he mean by this? Wouldn’t it be just as good for the person to do a whole bunch of מצות in order to tip the scale in his favor?
The answer to this question is a very meaningful one. What is the definition of a צדיק? Usually when we think of צדיקים as people with long white beards who sit and learn תורה all day, and we think, I can never be like that… We are being taught something different here. Yes, those people are definitely צדיקים, but it isn’t just because they sit and learn תורה all day, they are צדיקים because they define themselves as צדיקים. A צדיק is a person who defines himself by doing good in the eyes of ה', yes he may do עבירות sometimes, but those are accidents. They don’t make him who he is, therefore he is able to do תשובה for the wrong things that he may have done. A real רשה is the opposite. It is a person who is completely controlled by his want to do bad. He is so caught up in his evil ways that תשובה doesn’t even cross his mind. He doesn’t care. A בינוני is the middle ground. He is a person without a specific definition of himself. He does good things, and he does bad things, he doesn’t define himself as anything.
זכו here means that we have the opportunity in the אשרת ימי תשובה to do תשובה and re-define ourselves for the next year. We get to make changes in ourselves, whether for the good or for the bad and make the choice whether we are going to be like צדיקים or רשאים.
It is my ברכה that we all choose to make the good choices so that we can all live a happy, healthy, wealthy new year.
Have a כתיבה וכתימא טובה
Thursday, September 22, 2011
...לא אוכל לצאת ולבוא...
… I am no longer able to go out and come in…
This phrase at the beginning of the second portion of this week’s תורה reading is a very strange and interesting one. משה רבינו, the Jewish leader, tells בני ישראל that he is no longer going to be leading them, and that he will not be bringing them into ארץ ישראל. He says, “I am no longer ABLE…” The big question here is, what do you mean he was not able? The מפורשים say that משה was actually in great health, physically and mentally. He still had the ability to lead! If משה really wanted to, all he had to do was just walk in! What does he mean he is not ABLE to go in?
רשי answers that, משה said this because he was unable to bring himself to go into the land against the will of ה'. משה could not bring himself to enter without ה'’s permission, even though he really could have. There is a strange thing that happens to us humans. Have you ever gotten so angry at someone all you wanted to do was slap them in the face? Now imagine that the person you want to hit is your father or mother. As angry as you may get, most of us realize that there is a line that we can’t cross. As much as we may want to hit them, as hurt, angry, or sad they have made us feel, we can’t physically bring ourselves to lift up our hands and hit them (which is a good thing by the way).
משה realized this too. He knew that if he went into א"י it would be a major slap in the face to ה' his Father. For whatever reason ה' decided the משה was not allowed to go in to the land and for that reason משה physically could not make himself enter. He could not bring himself to “slap his father” in the face like that.
This is a huge message that we should all keep in mind as we enter ראש השנה and יום כיפור. We need to learn from the strength of משה רבינו. There are so many times in our lives where we are tempted to go against the word of ה' and sin. We need to always remember that whenever we do this, it is a slap in the face of our creator. He created us to do good, and we are deliberately going the other way to do wrong by Him. When this happens, and these temptations come we need to say no, we need to lower that hand from His face and turn the other way.
Have Awesome Shabbos