Friday, September 4, 2009

Rav Itchie Mayer Morgenstern on Parshas Ki Savo - Text & Translation

A selection from Rav Itchie Mayer Morgenstern's Torah this week on Parshas Ki Savo:

“You Have Avouched Hashem This Day to be Your G-d”

"אֶת ה' הֶאֱמַרְתָּ הַיּוֹם לִהְיוֹת לְךָ לֵאלֹקִים וְלָלֶכֶת בִּדְרָכָיו, וְלִשְׁמֹר חֻקָּיו וּמִצְו‍ֹתָיו וּמִשְׁפָּטָיו וְלִשְׁמֹעַ בְּקֹלוֹ. וַה' הֶאֱמִירְךָ הַיּוֹם לִהְיוֹת לוֹ לְעַם סְגֻלָּה כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר-לָךְ; וְלִשְׁמֹר כָּל-מִצְו‍ֹתָיו."—“You have avouched Hashem this day to be your G-d, and that you would walk in His ways, and keep His statutes, and His commandments, and His ordinances, and hearken to His voice. And Hashem has avouched you this day to be His own treasure, as He has promised you, and that you should keep all His commandments.”[1] In Likutei Moharan, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov explains this concept of “avouching” or separating and designating Hashem for our G-d and ourselves as His people in a very inspiring manner. [The word has the Hebrew root of אמר, whose main meaning is speech.]

When a person pours out his heart before Hashem, telling all of his pain to the Creator, and when he confesses and regrets his many sins, the Shechinah stands opposite him. She also speaks out her pain and comforts this person who pours out his heart, since every sin also blemishes the Shechinah. The Shechinah encourages him to seek out effective stratagems to rectify what he has blemished, and in this manner he is comforted.

But this seems difficult, since of what value can these words of comfort be to us if we cannot hear them? We can understand the answer through a teaching of the Baal Shem Tov on the verse we say immediately before the Amidah: "ה' שְׂפָתַי תִּפְתָּח"—“Hashem, open my lips...”[2] The Baal Shem Tov explains that the moment one intones even these preliminary words of prayer, the Shechinah enclothes herself within him and speaks from his throat. This means that all prayer is really an influx of prophecy through which the Shechinah communicates. [This means that one who prays in a way that is heartfelt and truly directed to the Creator will find the encouragement to truly change his sins from within. Of course, as with every other spiritual level, this takes time and effort.]

[1] Devarim 26:17-18 [2] Tehillim 51:17

Click on the following links to get Reb Itchie Mayer Morgenstern's Torah on Parshas Ki Savo:

Toras Chochom on Parshas Ki Savo
Toras Chochom on Parshas Ki Savo in English

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1 comment:

Bob Miller said...

There is a word in English, "bespoken", that ties into the meaning of הֶאֱמַרְתָּ

"Bespoken" can be a synonym for "betrothed".

This is consistent with the explanation in Likutei Moharan. Betrothal creates an exclusive relationship.