Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hint to the Tanya in the Dinnim of Sota

I saw what I think is a hint to a concept in the 7th perek of Tanya in this week's parsha, parshas Nasso (Bamidbar 5:22).

The Baal Hatanya, in explaining the severity of forbidden intimate relationships relative to the aveira of hotza'as zera l'vatala, says that in forbidden relationships, the sin is harder to rectify because the chiyus the person delivered over to the side of evil found a vessel in the other person with whom he committed the aveira. A connection remains between them, even after the aveira is over because of that, even if the person claims that he has no connection to the other person.

This is not the case with respect to hotza'as zera l'vatala, however, where there is no other person involved to serve as a vessel for the chiyus he delivers to the side of impurity.

In the parsha, Rashi on the above-cited pasuk, explains that not only does she suffer a terrible death when she drinks the Sota water, but the person with whom she sinned, who is not present at the time, also dies when she drinks. If the two have no connection between them because each merely used the other for their own benefit, by what process could her drinking of the water affect him?

The explanation could be, based on Rashi's explanation, that the connection is, as the Tanya explains, in his chiyus which unpleasantly binds the two of them together.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Rav Moshe Weinberger - Shalosh Seudos Drasha - Parashas Acharei-Kedoshim 5752

Below is a write-up of Rav Weinberger's Shalosh Seudos drasha from this Shabbos, Parshas Acharei-Kedoshim. This version reflects his review of the write-up. You can see past write-ups of Rav Weinberger's Shalosh Sheudos Torahs here and get thousands of his shiurim in mp3 format at

Rav Moshe Weinberger
Shalosh Seudos Drasha Parashas Acharei-Kedoshim 5752
The Yismach Yisroel of Alexander: The Tumah of the Ego

(Original text of the Yismach Yisroel (Pesach Sheini p.129) is in regular font. Rav Weinberger’s comments are in italics)

This is a Torah from the Yismach Yisroel of Alexander.

Tonight we are going into Pesach Sheini. We don't have the Bais Hamikdash right now, and we're all in the Geder of Tameh L'Nefesh u B'Derech Rechoka. But Pesach Sheini is for always! So this is a thought from the Alexander Rebbe on how this applies to us today.
The passuk says (Bamidbar 9:7) "ויאמרו למה נגרע לבלתי הקריב את קרבן ה׳ במועדו בתוך בנ״י" (They said "why should we be diminished by not offering Hashem's offering in it's appointed time among the Children of Israel?"). Their concern is understandable. But didn't they know that they were Tameh Meis (impure through a corpse)? Maybe they asked according to what is written in the Gemara (Sukkah 25), that they were impure from a Meis Mitzvah (a corpse that no one else is available to take care of) (see Rashi there).

Why was this even a question? There was a clear problem preventing them from bringing the korban, and they knew that!

They asked this knowing full well that everything comes from the One that ordains everything. What was it that brought about their sin that they should be Tameh Meis on Erev Pesach and not be able to bring their Pesach offering?

They were asking trying to understand the root of their problem that required such a punishment.

But their question is double: "why should we be diminished by not offering Hashem's offering" and "among the Children of Israel?". The words of Chazal are known (as brought down by Rashi in parshas Bechukosai) "אינו דומה מועטים העושים את המיצוה, למרובים העושים את המיצוה" (It's not the same when a few perform a Mitzvah, to a multitude performing a Mitzvah). Their question was "if we had been pure, we would have been able to bring the Pesach offering with the rest of Bnei Yisoel. Then the mitzvah would have been of a superior kashrus, as a larger multitude would have performed it". They were distressed by having caused the collective mitzvah of Am Yisroel to be deficient. When Moshe Rabbeinu saw how greatly distressed they were over causing Klal Yisroel's Pesach offering to be lacking, he told them to wait  to hear what Hashem would command them to do.

Their intention was to find out from Moshe the cause of their sin. The answer came in the passuk "וידבר ה׳ וכו׳ איש איש כי יהיה טמא לנפש" (Hashem spoke etc., each and every man if he will become contaminated through a human corpse). Moshe Rabbeinu tells them that the cause is that had somehow separated themselves from the community of Bnei Yisroel. That they saw themselves as special individuals that should not be mixed up with the general public. "איש איש" means that "each one" thought of himself as an "איש", a separate individual.

There was a problem in their connection with other Jews.

As it's stated in the Zohar Hakadosh, they themselves felt their "greatness", that they deserved to be called "איש", from "שררות" (authority), from "אישי כוהן גדול" (My Lord Kohen Gadol).

This was the cause of their sin, and through Teshuvah M'Ahavah (Repentance out of love), they were able to come to Ahavas Yisroel (Love of other Jews), which is Ahavas Hakadosh Baruch Hu (Love of G'd). As it's written (Parshas Kedoshim) "ואהבת לרעך כמוך, אני ה׳" (And you will love your fellow Jew like yourself, I am your G'd). Through their longing to offer the Pesach sacrifice "Among the Children of Israel", their transgression became a Zchus (merit), and they deserved that this parsha be given over through them. Because a Zchus is brought about through one that deserves it.

If the agreement in the Gemara is that they were Tameh Meis Mitzvah, why did they deserve that this parsha be given through them and not through Moshe Rabbeinu? Maybe we can explain according to our words, that essence of the cause of their Tumah grew out of the sin of Gasus Haruach (Ego), this is what separated them from Klal Yisroel.

All Tumah comes from Gasus Haruach. Someone who holds of himself will inevitably have a problem in his connection to other Jews and to Hashem.  

The tikkun (rectification) for this is humility and unity. It would have been proper for this to be said through Moshe Rabbeinu, the most humble of men, the Faithful Sheppard of Yisroel. Coming from his holy mouth, these words would have been received without a doubt. Through the reading of the parsha, they would have awakened love and brotherhood in Yisroel, and a lowly spirit of humility. However it was them, through their Teshuvah M'Ahavah, that deserved this to be written in their name. This way these words were able to go directly to the heart of Bnei Yisroel, even the ones already bearing this blemish of haughtiness that separates them from others. When Hashem helps them, through the sanctification of time, and opens their eyes to see that this is not the way to go up Har Hashem (the Mountain of G'd), then they will be able submit their uncircumcised heart, and return in Teshuvah to Hashem. They will be able to lower themselves and to annul their egos to Klal Yisroel, to return and be healed. Thus they will merit to feel the light of Kedusha of the Holidays just like the pure ones in Klal Yisorel were able to feel it the first night of Pesach. 

The Ribbono Shel Olam should help us to remove the Tumah from ourselves, and to return us from the Derech Rechoka. We should be Zoche to "ותחזינה עינינו בשובך לציון ברחמים" (May our eyes behold Your return to Zion in compassion), so that we will be able to eat "מן הזבחים ומן הפסחים; מן הפסחים ומן הזבחים" (Of the offerings and Pesach sacrifices), with the Geulah HaSheleima VeHaamitis בב״א.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Rav Moshe Weinberger Shalosh Seudos Drasha Parashas Tazriah-Metzora 5752

Below is a write-up of Rav Weinberger's Shalosh Seudos drasha from this Shabbos, Parshas Tazriah-Metzora. This version reflects his review of the write-up. You can see past write-ups of Rav Weinberger's Shalosh Sheudos Torahs here and get thousands of his shiurim in mp3 format at

Rav Moshe Weinberger
Shalosh Seudos Drasha Parashas Tazriah-Metzora 5752
The Kedushas Levy: Giving Nachas to Hashem

(Original text of the Kedushas Levy (Parashas Tazriah) is in regular font. Rav Weinberger’s comments are in italics)

Let us explain the passuk "אשה כי תזריע" (When a woman shall conceive). It's written in the Holy Zohar (Chelek 3 42b) regarding this passuk  "it should have stated "כי תהר" (conceived). Rabbi Yossi explained that from the moment a woman becomes pregnant until the time of birth, she constantly has on her lips that it should be a boy" .

Obviously this is referring to something in Pnimius. We know that there plenty of ladies and even many men that are davening to have a girl! 

I heard from my master our teacher Reb Dov Ber (the Mezritcher Maggid) זי״ע regarding the statement of Chazal (Zohar Chelek 3 7b) "Yisroel gives Parnassah to their Father in Heaven". As it's written in Mishley (10:1) "בן חכם ישמח אב" (a smart son makes his father happy). This means that our performance of Mitzvos and Good Deeds brings pleasure to the Creator B"H. Through this Yisroel gives "Parnassah" to their Father in Heaven, as pleasure is a form of "Parnassah".

Parnasah is more then just money. It refers to a form of support and nourishment. 

But according to this, how are Jews worthy of performing Mitzvos and Good Deeds in order to give pleasure to the Creator B"H? Doesn't He have thousands of angels saying "Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh" (Holy) in awe and in fear? What are we that we should even be considered? Let's explain this through a parable. The aristocrats among the nations have a certain bird that they train to speak like a person, and the listener is amazed and tells his friends to come and hear such a novel thing. The meaning of this should be clear, and you should open your eyes and see the greatness of Mitzvos and Good Deeds. That all the Avodah of the Malachim above is but a shade when compared to that of men.

The fact that an angel can praise G'd is not a חידוש (novel). An angel is swimming in Elokus (Godliness). The greatest חידוש is that a being of flesh and blood living in the miserable, dark, physical world can serve Hashem and sing his praises. This is truly wondrous.

According to this we can explain the Mishna in Pirke Avos (2:1) "Rebbi said: Which is the proper path that a man should choose for himself? Whatever glorifies it's maker, and gives him glory through men". Rebbi is coming to teach us the correct way to serve Hashem. To hold on to the Middah of Tiferes (glory, splendor) and to elevate it. The essence of the intention of ones service should only be to glorify Hashem Yisborach. He is glorified through the Avodah of His children. We, so to speak, bring him praise and Nachas.  Even though  "dressed" in the thick physical body, we still exert ourselves to overcome our physical temptation and to cover ourselves with spirituality and the holiness of our Creator. Thus He is glorified with us, so to speak. This is the meaning of "Whatever glorifies its maker", that Hashem our maker is glorified through us. Rebbi revealed to us what this glory comes from saying "and gives Him glory through men". Through this the Creator b"h "receives" tremendous pleasure, and it can be said He is in the aspect of a "receiver".

Normally the father is the one giving to his children. In Pnimius HaTorah the concept of Zachar (male) refers to the role of "giver", while Nekevah (female) refers to the role of "receiver".  In this sense the father is in the "male" role, while the children are in the "female" role. But there are times when these roles can be reversed, as when the children "give" Nachas (satisfaction) to the father. In the same way, normally Hashem is THE giver, and we receive from him. But it's also possible for the Jewish People to "give" to Hashem, so to speak.

As I heard from my Master and teacher Reb Dov Ber of Mezritch זי״ע regarding the passuk (Tehillim 118:23) "מאת ה׳ היתה ׳זאת׳ היא נפלאת בעינינו" ("this" is from Hashem, it's a wonder in our eyes). The word "זאת" (this) refers to the feminine aspect, as is known (Zohar Chelek 2 37b). We stated above that since the essence of the Avodah should be the pleasure that the Creator b"h receives form it, we can say that Hashem can be considered to be in a "receiving" role, so to speak. This is the meaning of "מאת ה׳ היתה ׳זאת׳" ("this" is from Hashem), that He is in the "female" aspect, that of "זאת" (this). And this is truly "a wonder in our eyes".

This is the meaning of the Zohar when is says that "from the moment a woman becomes pregnant until the time of birth, she constantly has on her lips that it should be a boy". The "woman" refers to Kneses Yisroel. The "pregnancy" refers to the time a person starts his Avodah of the Creator. "The time of birth" is when a person completes a Mitzvah. "It's constantly in her lips that it should be a boy" means that the Avodah should be in the aspect of "masculine". Only then it brings forth Divine Flow to all the worlds. May we merit to serve Hashem Yisborach in such a way, Amen.

At this time, at the end of days, any Jew that can "squeeze in" a little Avodas Hashem, and all the more so if he does so with Kavanah (the right intention) it's an amazing thing that gives Hashem tremendous Nachas.

Chazal refers to the Galus as "pregnancy without a Leida (birth)". The Ribono shel Olam should help us that we should be zoche to see the Leida soon with the Geulah HaSheleima VeHaamitis בב״א.