Friday, July 24, 2009

Kol Brisk on Parshas Devarim


לעלוי נשמת הגאון הר"ר אהרן בן הר"ר משה הלוי סאלאווייציק זצ"ל

פרשת דברים
Erev Shabbos Chazon

למנצח מזמור לדוד.  בבוא אליו נתן הנביא כאשר בא אל בת שבע
"To the conductor, a song of David when Nasan Hanavi came to him after he had been with Bas Sheva."

Perek 51 of Tehillim is a chapter of song composed by David HaMelech after Nasan Hanavi had rebuked him and informed him of the impending punishment for his sin with Bas Sheva.

Why did David HaMelech compose a מזמור, a song?  Should he not have become saddened and depressed when he found out how Hashem viewed his behavior??  Would it not have been more appropriate for him to cry out in agony and sorrow?  He had just heard that he was about to be punished!!

The Shaim MiShmuel quotes the Alshich, who says:
Human nature is such that a person always looks to rationalize and justify his behavior. Thus, he becomes desensitized to the implications of his wrong-doing, and never gets around to correcting it.  In the case of David HaMelech, he knew that Bas Sheva was his pre-destined soul mate, plus, she was already divorced.  Until the Navi came and informed David of Hashem's attitude to his deed, how was David ever to figure out that he had made a mistake?  When Nasan came to David and reproached him, David had great cause to rejoice.  Now that he knew where he truly stood, and what he had done, he could begin to repent, he could begin to repair the damage he had done through his misdeed, and continue unimpeded in his quest for
קרבת אלקים This was very good reason to compose a jubilant song.

YEDIAS HACHET, clear awareness of error is a most important clause for correction of our mistakes in order to upgrade our Avodas Hashem.  Our readiness to acknowledge and to confront our weaknesses is most vital for תיקון המעוות, for commencing an authentic teshuvah process.

What are the obstacles???

Like we heard in the name of the Alshich, no one naturally relishes the notion of admitting their weaknesses and their mistakes to themselves.  The yetzer harah is most resourceful in finding any and every way to distract a person from Yedias Hachet.

In this vein, it is related that the חורבן הבית was made possible by the נביאי השקר, the false prophets.  They were notorious for covering over the decadence of the society by saying that everything the people were doing was fine, and therefore everything was fine, שלום שלום ואין שלום They obstructed the possibility of yedias hachet, and thus prevented the nation from repenting.  These false prophets were actually the leaders in the time of the חורבן.  They occupied positions of power and prestige.  What they accomplished is that they distracted the people from the real focal points of problem, that is their behavior.

What of the נביאי האמת?  Where were they?  Why were they not visible at the forefront?  Why was their message of warning not audible?

The Baal Shem Tov teaches that there are three categories of galus, ascending in severity:
1. Yisrael in exile by the nations of the world.  We are ridiculed and derided as being cast off by G-d.
2. The Bnai Torah exiled and ridiculed by the Amai Ha'aretz.
3. The authentic and sincere Talmidai Chachamim ridiculed and shamed by the insincere, disingenuous talmidai chachamim.

The three categories are all linked.

One of the most terrible and tragic occurrences in the time of Churban Bayis Rishon was the murder of Zechariah HaNavi.  When Nevuzaradon saw the blood of the Navi frothing, he killed eighty thousand young Kohanim.  Zechariah had been murdered on Shabbos, on Yom Kippur in the courtyard of the Bais Hamikdash.  The murderers were Amai ha'aretz and resha'im gemurim, thoroughly evil characters.

However, the one who gave the first SLAP to Zecharyah Hanavi was a ROSH SANHEDRIN.  He approached the Navi, exclaiming, "You are an ignoramus who prophesies!"

He poisoned the atmosphere.
Only when he was through, did the amai ha'aretz come and finish off the job.
Afterwards, the goy, Nevuzaradon stepped in, and did his part.

But why??
Why was there a concerted effort to muffle the words of the
נביא האמת?

As the Alshich says, people are afraid of confronting themselves and their weaknesses.

We look to escape.  We are afraid of true, authentic leadership, because if the leaders are truly our representatives, then they will be there to help us face ourselves.  It might hurt.  We would rather escape than confront.

And what about the נביאי השקר ?  Where are they?

Given the nature of the present galus, in which "אור וחושך משמשים בערבוביה", this is a complicated question.  Today, the boundaries between good and evil are very blurred.  You can find good where you would expect only evil , and painful to say, vice-versa.  Let us say that the נביאי השקר represent the very strong and unavoidable pressure in the communities and within ourselves to maintain the surface calm, status quo, not to make waves that would shake up major structures and institutions, not to draw attention to problematic issues. I say surface calm, because below the surface, there is much turbulence.  This pressure to maintain these man-made structures collides head-on with deep values of the Torah HaKedosha.  It is such a very confusing scenario because these pressures even take on a "religious" face and rationale = the Rosh Sanhedrin slapping the Navi HaEmes.  (History is a living reality – "כל דור שלא נבנה בית המקדש בימיו כאלו נחרבה")

What it comes down to is that the biggest obstacle to תקון המעוות is our addiction to power.  This is what galus Edom is all about.  We're not going to notice it on ourselves, because of its subtlety.  The issue is the "communal power structures" that everyone so much feels the need to be connected and attached to.  We are talking about mosdos chinuch, yeshiva empires and shidduchim highways and the kehilla make-up in general that a frum person needs to function within.  However, these very same structures have adopted for themselves certain anti-Torah behavior.  The message is "Go with the Flow" or "Don't rock the Boat".  But what's going on?? Since when is a life of Torah compatible with money-grubbing behavior?  A Torah shidduchim system contingent on financial blackmail?  Torah education with bigotry??  Family relationships with roles steered so far off-course??

Who has the courage to break away from dependency and addiction to these brute power connections, and is ready to step out on these very same routes of parnassah, of chinnuch , shidduchim, shlom bayis with eyes only on Hashem as The Power??

The Rosh Sanhedrin who gave Zecharyah Hanavi the initial slap across the face could not have done it unless he felt confident that he had the public behind him, and that he was carrying out their job.

We all make mistakes.
We all have egos.
The only difference between a tzaddik and a non-tzaddik is that a tzaddik is open with himself about his weaknesses.  He is perpetually ready to put aside his feelings of pride, to recognize his limitations and to start again.  And the primary figure whom the tzaddik seeks to improve and to upgrade is HIMSELF, instead of focusing on and blaming all kinds of other people and groups and things.  (Chava said it was the fault of the serpent.  Adam said it was the fault of Chava..)  The tzaddik is perpetually ready to stand up to the test of
אין עוד מלבדו (There is none beside Him) – and wean himself more and more from mortal power structures, not to succumb to the fantasies of quest for recognition and connections and membership in the so well-camouflaged כוחי ועוצם ידי  (my strength and the might of my hand has brought about my success) club..

Only when we are ready to truly acknowledge our weaknesses and mistakes, do we prepare to be receptive to and deserving of leadership who will help us with Yedias Hachet, the key to Teshuvah and Tikun hameuvas and Geulah..

ואשיבה שפטיך כראשנה ויעציך כבתחילה

And I will restore your judges as at the first time and your counselors as at the beginning..(הפטרה)


A gutten Erev Shabbos from Yerushalayim Ir HaKodesh.

No comments: