Sunday, February 28, 2016

Improve Your Tefilla:-)!

Rabbi Reisman – Parshas Ki Sisa 5776

A Parsha that is really loaded with a lot that a person could sit and Darshun and learn. I would like to stop at two points in the Parsha. The first is a topic that is dear to my heart.

1. Right after Sheini in 31:18 (וַיִּתֵּן אֶל-מֹשֶׁה, כְּכַלֹּתוֹ לְדַבֵּר אִתּוֹ בְּהַר סִינַי, שְׁנֵי, לֻחֹת הָעֵדֻת--לֻחֹת אֶבֶן, כְּתֻבִים בְּאֶצְבַּע אֱלֹרים). Before the sin of the Eigel, already the Ribbono Shel Olam gives Moshe (שְׁנֵי, לֻחֹת הָעֵדֻת). Brings Rashi (כְּכַלֹּתוֹ לְדַבֵּר אִתּוֹ). When Hashem finished speaking to Moshe, (כְּכַלֹּתוֹ) is spelled missing a Vav as if it was referring to Kaloso, his Kallah. Says Rashi (ככלתו כתיב, חסר, מה כלה מתקשטת בכ"ד קשוטין). Just like a Kallah comes to her wedding bedecked in her 24 items of adornment (הן האמורים בספר ישעי'). We find in the third Perek of Yeshaya (Posuk 18-24) that Kallas used to go out with 24 items, (אף תלמיד חכם צריך להיות בקי בכ"ד ספרים). So too a Talmid Chochom has to be an expert in the 24 books. The 5 books of Chumash, 4 Neviim Rishonim and the 4 Neviim Achronim, 5 Megillos, 6 books of Kesuvim besides for the Megillos. I am sure at the Shabbos table everyone will be able to figure out the 24 books of Nach which is basic to Yiddishkeit.

There is a question which is disturbing. That is that the Rambam says at the end of Hilchos Megillah (Sefer Zemanim, Hilchos Megillah, 2:18) (כל ספרי הנביאים וכל הכתובים עתידין ליבטל לימות המשיח חוץ ממגילת אסתר והרי היא קיימת כחמשה חומשי תורה וכהלכות של תורה שבעל פה שאינן בטלין לעולם. ואע"פ שכל זכרון הצרות יבטל שנאמר כי נשכחו הצרות הראשונות וכי נסתרו מעיני. ימי הפורים לא יבטלו שנאמר וימי הפורים האלה לא יעברו מתוך היהודים וזכרם לא יסוף מזרעם). The Gemara in Nedarim 22b (9 lines from the top) says (אמר רב אדא ברבי חנינא אלמלא (לא ) חטאו ישראל לא ניתן להם אלא חמשה חומשי תורה וספר יהושע בלבד) that had Klal Yisrael not sinned at the Eigel it would have been the 5 books of Torah and Sefer Yehoshua alone. It seems to say that the other books of Nach were not in the original plan and are not in the future plans, and somehow are only temporary. How could it be? Could it be that a Cheilek of Torah is going to be Bateil. Here we have B’feirush that (כְּכַלֹּתוֹ לְדַבֵּר אִתּוֹ) that a Talmid Chochom had to be (צריך להיות בקי בכ"ד ספרים). This is even before the Cheit Ha’eigel.

Recently I gave a Shiur on Eicha on how the book of Eicha will be learned when Mashiach comes. Someone said what do you mean, we are not going to learn Eicha when Moshiach comes. That is a mistake. No part of Torah is Batul. Yet it does say that only (כחמשה חומשי תורה) and (מגילת אסתר) will be during the times of Moshiach. 
This is a confusing topic.

I would like to suggest my answer and tell you where it comes from. It is true that the other books of Nach are Torah Shebichsav now because they were written. Kol Nevuos Shelitz’richa L’doros Nichtava. A lot of Nevuos were given. What is written in the books of Neviim and Kesuvim are needed L’doros. We have 24 books of Nach. L’asid Lavoi these parts of Torah which are now Torah Shebichsav will no longer be Torah Shebichsav. There will still be Torah She’baal Peh. Even what a Talmid Chochom says today as a Chiddush in Torah is part of Torah. Certainly something said by Yeshaya, Yirmiya, or Yechezkel is forever part of Torah. The point here is this, the Torah Shebichsav aspect will be Bateil. The Torah She’baal Peh aspect will remain.

I would like to explain. There are three Gedolim of the previous generation who Klered the following Chakira. Are the books of Nach part of Torah Shebichsav in their essence that they have the Dinnim of Torah Shebichsav or no, Torah Shebichsav is the Chamishei Chumshei Torah and everything else was permitted to be written but it is Nevua, it is something which a human being on this world heard from the Ribbono Shel Olam and maybe it is part of Torah She’baal Peh, it is not part of Mikra.
The three Gedolim who deal with this are 1) Rav Yaakov Kamenetzky in his introduction to Emes L’yaakov and he understands that Mikra is only Chamisha Chumshei Torah. 2) Rav Zelig Epstein in a piece printed in one of the Yeshurun journals takes issue with it and disagrees. He holds that it is all essentially Torah Shebichsav. 3) Rav Hutner in the Pachad Yitzchok on Pesach Maimar 37 takes the middle ground. That all of these Pesukim are Torah She’baal Peh which was permitted to be written, Torah Shebichsav which was written down and therefore, it is both Torah Shebichsav and Torah She’baal Peh.

Let me explain a Nafka Mina so that this entire discussion makes sense. We have a rule that Devraim Shebichsav E Ata Rashai L’omer Baal Peh, that written Torah Shebichsav is not allowed to be said by heart. Does this apply only to Chumash or even to Nach?
Tosafos in Temurah 14b Dibbur Hamaschil (דברים שבכתב אי אתה רשאי לאומרם בעל פה) Klers this question and actually has two opinions. What is the question? The question is whether Nach is Torah Shebichsav or Torah She’baal Peh which was given permission to be written.

A second Nafka Mina that Rav Yaakov brings. The Halacha is that a person is obligated to spend money to make sure his children learn Torah Shebichsav. Mishna and Gemara there is no obligation. He has to teach them but he is not obligated to spend money. What about Nach, where does Nach fit in? The Bach says it depends if Nach is part of Mikra and it has the same rule as Chumash. If Nach is not part of Mikra then it does not have the same rule as Chumash. These are two examples of Nafka Minas. I hope someday to expand on this topic in a longer Shiur, most probably on a Motzoei Shabbos.

But what is Nogea to us. Nach is certainly Torah She’baal Peh, it is only essential Torah. How can someone not be embarrassed to come to the Olam Ha’emes never having learned the parts of Nach which are at least easy and interesting? It is part of Torah always. Torah Shebichsav, that is a Shaila.
(כְּכַלֹּתוֹ לְדַבֵּר אִתּוֹ) A Talmid Chochom has to be a Baki in the 24 books, whether it is Torah Shebichsav or Torah She’bal Peh. Asidim Libateil Chutz Mai’chamisha Chumshei Torah U’mikra Megillah. Yes, L’asid Lavo they will not be considered Torah Shebichsav. Because only Nevuos Shenitzricha Nichtiva and Nevuos that call for Teshuva are not needed as a direct message L’doros. With this, I hope that I have opened to you a whole new school of thought. We will return someday to this topic.

2. Let me move on to a Ramban. 32:21. The Ramban says regarding Aharon Hakohen’s making of an Eigel (החטא הזה) the sin of Aharon (מן החטאים שייהרג עליהם ולא יעבור). That what Aharon was Over he should have been Yehareig V’al Yaavor. Aharon had his calculations for not doing it as many of you know. But I am talking about the Yesod that the sin of making the Eigel, now Aharon wasn’t Oved Avodah Zorah, he made the Eigel for people who wanted to be. In that it is Yehareig V’al Yaavor.
Says Rav Shteinman in the Ayeles Hashacar, that this Ramban is taking sides in an old Chakira. Aharon Hakohen was Over on Lifnei Iver Lo Sitain Michshal. He did not serve Avodah Zora. He was Over Lifnei Iver. Lifnei Iver is not Yehareig V’al Yaavor but the Kler if Lifnei Iver is a separate Averia or if the Aveira of Lifnei Iver is that when a person gives someone else an Aveira to do he has a part in that Cheit. Lifnei Iver is sort of a subset of every single Aveira. Lifnei Iver of Avodah Zora is Avodah Zora. Lifnei Iver of Genaiva is Genaiva. Lifnei Iver of Lashon Hora is Lashon Hora. Therefore, Lifnei Iver of Avodah Zora is Yehareig V’al Yaavor. Clearly the Ramban holds that Lifnei Iver of Avodah Zora is a Snif, a Cheilek of the Aveira of Avodah Zora and therefore, it is Yehareig V’al Yaavor. A big Yesod.
Kasha. Why was it Yehareig V’al Yaavor. The only time it is Yehareig V’al Yaavor is when if you don’t do it they can’t do it on their own. There was no other Jew in the 600,000 Jews who could have made the Eigel if Aharon would not have made it? If someone else could have made it then we know that it is not Lifnei Iver Lo Sitain Michshol. If someone else can do it and you do it that is called Misayai’a D’ovrei Aveira and it is a D’rabbanan. How is that Lifnei Iver?
This would seem to be a Raya to the Yesod brought in the Pischei Teshuva in Yore Dai’a Siman 156 or 157 and quoted by the Chofetz Chaim in his Hakdama to Sefer Chofetz Chaim, a beautiful Yesod. He says regarding Trei Ivra D’nara the following. Let’s say Reuvain does something to give Shimon an Aveira, if Reuvain would not have done it someone else would have done it. Says the Piskei Teshuva in the name of the Mishna L’melech, if that other person would have done it he would also be Over Lifnei Iver. If somebody had to be Over Lifnei Iver the fact that others could do it does not undue the Lifnei Iver of the person who did do it.
If there is a cup of wine the Nazir can take it himself then no one is Over Lifnei Iver, then the one who gives it to him is considered Chaivei D’nara which means he is not Over the Aveira. But when somebody else would have done the Aveira would have been Over. If someone else would have built the Eigel would have been Over Lifnei Iver then even the one who does it is Over Lifnei Iver as well. That is the Yesod in the rules of Lifnei Iver. In Lifnei Iver there is room to be Mefalpeil but this setting is a short setting and there is no time to go into it at the moment.
3. The question of the week is: In this week’s Parsha we have the Cheit Ha’eigel. In the Gemara in Maseches Rosh Hashono on 26a we learn that on Yom Kippur the Kohen Gadol went Lifnai V’lifnim in Bigdei Lavan. We know that the Kohen Gadol had separate clothing on Yom Kippur. When he went into the Kodesh Kodashim he would not wear the golden Begadim. Why?
The reason was Ain Kateigar Naaseh Saneigar. Once gold was used for the Eigel it could not be used to defend Klal Yisrael by going into the Kodesh HaKodashim. Ain Kateigar Naaseh Saneigar.
You will ask, we find that in Parshas Shemini they were Makriv an Eigel, Yavo Eigel Umechapeir Al Ha’eigel, the Maharsha asks it. The Gemara says. Anything that is Chutz, it is outside the Kodesh Hakadoshim the rule of Ain Kateigar Naaseh Saneigar doesn’t apply. It is only in the Kodesh Hakadoshim Lifnim that Ain Kateigar Naaseh Saneigar.  
I have a Kasha with which I would like to challenge you. The Kasha is that I have a Stira. In Parshas Ki Sisa we have the Eigel and in Rosh Hashono this rule of Ain Kateigar Naaseh Saneigar. But in the Medrash in Parshas Pikudai it says that the gold of the building of the Mishkan was Dafka gold. Guess what the Medrash says. The Medrash says Amar HKB”H Yavo Hazav Bamishkan V’yichapeir Al Hazav Ha’eigel. Let the gold of the Mishkan forgive for the gold of the Eigel. This was Lifnim, the Aron, the Kapores, the Keruvim were made of gold. A Stira. The Gemara says that gold can’t go inside because Ain Kateigar Naaseh Saneigar and the Medrash in Parshas Pikudai says that the gold of the building of the Mishkan is Mechapeir on the Cheit of the Eigel. Sounds like a big Kasha. Geshmak! Good talk for the Shabbos table.
You should have an absolutely wonderful Shabbos. We should be Zoche to serve Hashem under all circumstances that come our way, L’chol Eis Asher Tachas Hashomesh. Life has many different aspects, many different things that cross our path. We have to learn to serve Hashem whatever crosses our path. There is a Cheit Ha’eigel Parsha there is a Binyan Hamishkan Parsha. So much that transpires in the life of a person. Whatever comes your way, use it to serve HKB”H B’simcha. A Gutten Shabbos to one and all. 

The Light On A Person's Face

.... דהנה כתיב [קהלת ח'] "חכמת אדם תאיר פניו", והיינו שתחילת בריאתו של אדה"ר היתה כתנות אור ותפוח עקבו הי' מכהה גלגל חמה ואח"כ מפאת החטא נמשך להם כתנות עור. ומ"מ לפי ערך הזדככות החומר כן יתראה בו כח האור שבפנימיותו שפולש ובוקע דרך החומר וכמו אור הנראה מעבר לזכוכית, וע"כ מרע"ה קרן עור פניו והיו יראים להסתכל בו באשר נזדכך חומרו תכלית הזיכוך.

[שם משמואל האזינו תרע"ב] 

The Pasuk says "The wisdom of a person makes his face shine". The explanation is that Adam at the time of his creation was filled with divine light. After he sinned he lost it and the כתנות אור  - garments of light, turned into כתנות עור - garments of skin. [The medrash teaches that in the sefer Torah of Rebbi Meir it said כתנות אור.] 

To the extent that we purify our physicality, we merit this light. That is why Moshe Rabbeinu's face shone [to the point that people were afraid to look]. כי קרן אור פניו. 

לרפואת נעמי בת טובה

Friday, February 26, 2016

Ki Tisa: Our Special Gift [Updated To Correct An Error]

Shallooommmm sweetest friends!!!!

A huuuuuge mazel toooov to my most beloved friends R' Yoni and Leiba Pollack on the birth of Baila Esther!! May she give her special parents limitless nachas for many years to come!!!

A special mazel tov to the proud grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins on both sides. Such special families deserve nachas!!

This dvar Torah is dedicated to the extended Pollack and Rauch families to whom I feel so close for so long.

R' Yoni and I learn Sfas Emes every Erev Shabbos so in his honor we will learn a shtickel Sfas Emes on this weeks parsha on the pasuk אות היא ביני ובין בני ישראל.

The gemara says [Beitzah 16a]: Every commandment which the Holy One, blessed be He, gave unto Israel, He gave to them publicly, except the Shabbos which He bestowed upon them in secret, for it is said: ‘It is a sign between Me and the children, of Israel forever’ אות היא ביני ובין בני ישראל [Shmos 31/17].

Asks the gemara: If so, idolators should not be punished on its account!

The gemara answers: The Shabbos He indeed made known to them [the idolators] but its reward He did not make known to them. Or you can say [another answer]: Its reward too He made known to them [but] the enlarged soul [neshama yeseira] He did not make known to them; for R. Shimon b. Lakish said: On Erev Shabbos the Holy One, blessed be He, gives to man a neshama yeseira and at the close of Shabbos He withdraws it from him, for it says: He ceased from work and rested וינפש once it [the Sabbath] has ceased woe that the [additional] soul is lost ווי אבדה נפש.

There are at least two difficuties with this gemara:

1] The gemara asks why the idolators are punished for not accepting Shabbos if they didn't know about it and answers that they knew about Shabbos but didn't know its reward or about the neshama yeseira. If this is the case then the question is reinstated - the idolators still don't know about Shabbos in all of its glory so why are they guilty?

2] If the word וינפש means ווי אבדה נפש - woe unto my lost soul, then why does וינפש refer to Friday night and the rest of Shabbos and not to the time when Shabbos ends??

To answer these questions we first have to understand what the neshama yeseira is all about [on a simple level].

What is the neshama yeseira? Every human being is involved in a constant battle of good vs. evil. We are composed of both a holy side and an animalistic side. On Shabbos which is called by the Zohar יומא דנשמתין we have extra powers to be victorious in this battle because our spiritual side is dominant.

Now we understand: The idolators could not have been informed of the neshama yeseira before they accepted Shabbos because to understand what it means one first has to accept and experience Shabbos. By refusing to accept Shabbos they precluded themselves from having any connection to Shabbos and its attendent neshama yeseira.

We can also understand why we say ווי אבדה נפש about the onset of Shabbos. When Shabbos enters and we feel the powerful pull of our spiritual side, we then feel what we were missing all week long.

Since we know how much spirituality we will miss during the week - we will feel compelled to do teshuva for our deficiencies. In this way Shabbos shines its light upon the rest of the week. So it makes sense that about the time when Shabbos leaves, we say ווי אבדה נפש. It is an expression of regret that will catapult us to increased spirituality during the week as well. So the וינפש - ווי אבדה נפש applies both at the onset of Shabbos [when we say it] to show that we now realize what we were missing, and to the end of Shabbos [to which the word וינפש refers] so that we spend the week doing teshuva.

The Holy Baal Shem Tov explained that we say ווי אבדה נפש at the onset of Shabbos in order to ensure that we will take full advantage of the opportunities offered by Shabbos.
[ע"פ השפת אמת תרל"א ד"ה וכתבו]

BELOVED FRIENDSSSSS!!! Shabbos is sooooo hollly and yet so many squander these 25 hours of bliss on nonsense, excessive sleep, idle talk etc. etc. when it could be used to climb the heights of holiness on the road to bliss.

Let us make this Shabbos [and all of those that follow] count!

Bi-ahava rabba,



    Am Yisrael were commanded to bringמחצית השקל . Many meforshim elaborate why the Torah only demanded a half shekel for the rectification of their sin of making the Aigel. We would like to suggest the following. The sin of the Aigel happened during midday at twelve o’clock. In reality had they have waited another six hours the new day would have started and Moshe would have come down Har Sinai with the Luchos. The emphasis of the half shekel is to focus on the demerit that already at half time they became so weakened with the overwhelming feeling of doom to the point that they lacked emunah that they could retreat and salvage from their falling whatever they could.

     The word מחצית contains the word מת orתם  surrounding the word חצי. These are one’s two choices when he is half through the averiah. Either one can gird himself with kedusha and stop as if he was מת or he can continue and finish the desire which is the combination of letters תם to complete. This indicates that one is not doomed until he finishes the act for he has the power of bechirah up until the very end. For instance when one involuntarily is suddenly faced with seeing an inappropriate sight he still has the bechirah not to look a second time. His responsibility is to control himself and refrain from a second look. He has to fight his yetzer harah not to persuade him into thinking he is already doomed because he saw the picture. He can make this undesirable scene “dead” מת, instead of “completing” it for the second time. The entire episode is a test whether he would allow a “second” glance to take place or not.

    A similar episode with different results, occurred with Yosef went to Potifar’s house with the intentions to commit adultery according to one opinion in Chazal. The wife of Potifar grabbed him by his בגד  which the sefarim translate asבגידה  which means traitor or rebel. In essence they explain than when Yosef felt remorse over his intention and thereby refused to actualize his thoughts, she tried to seduce him into fulfilling his passions because he is already doomed and condemned due to his sensuous thoughts and desires alone. The passuk says וירץ ויצא החוצה that he ran and went out to the outside. He managed to escape the lure of the wife of Potifar by saying to himself החוצה  which finds its roots in the word חצי . The actual aveirah was not yet completed and we are holding only at the halfway point. Yosef therefore chose to run and save himself self and not complete the other half.

    By the Makkah of Barad (Hail) the Torah tells us that the plague stopped in midair as if the force of gravity ceased. Why couldn’t it just end like the rain that it stops when no more falls from heaven? We could answer that Hashem wanted to show Am Yisrael that even though there is a force of gravity; one can stop in the middle of the fall. So too Am Yisrael can be spiraling down to a bottomless pit of fifty levels of tumah, it too can be stopped even at the end of the fall.

    We see from this that midway does not determine whether one’s arrival will be at the port of departure or by the destination. Interesting to note is that the root of the word חצי is the letters צח which symbolize the 98 curses found in the Tochacha (Ki Sivo). Halfway could lead to the end which one will encounter curses. Taking the letter yud, which symbolizes chachmah, out of חצי, one is left with חץ an arrow. By removing wisdom from one’s head he will find himself that his passion will drive him swiftly like an arrow towards the end and the attainment of his lust. Or it could lead towards the beginning which would bring to him light and radiance (צח).

    The Aigel that they formed and worshipped was a calf even though in Tanach the Aigel is described as an oxשור  (Tehillim 106,20). An Aigel is halfway in its development into becoming a full grown ox. Klal Yisrael were locked into the avodah zarah and tumah of the halfway mark in that “half way” is considered already a done deal and finished. The tikkun is to realize that half is still only a half, and the choice on whether we will continue to free fall forwards or to retreat backwards is still in our hands.

    This concept found in Torah has found its way even into baseball. Baseball giant Yogi Berra, beyond his legacy as a Hall of Famer, left behind a number of
Yogi-isms that long ago seeped into the cultural lexicon. One of them, "It ain't over till it's over," was an offhanded remark made during the 1973 season when the Mets were in last place during the pennant race. Against all odds, Berra helped manage the team back to the top, and the Mets won that year's division title. The never-say-never optimism of Berra's words resonated, and the phrase was—to put it in baseball terms—a home run.

 Gut Shabbos,
Rav Brazil

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Forged With Love

Rav Zweig

"Hashem passed before him and proclaimed..."(34:6)

After shattering the Tablets in reaction to witnessing Bnei Yisroel worshipping the Golden Calf, Moshe prayed on their behalf and saved them from destruction. Hashem then agreed to give Bnei Yisroel a second set of Tablets. When Moshe ascended the mountain to receive these Tablets, Hashem taught Moshe the text of the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy, a prayer which invokes Hashem's mercy and reassures us that repentance is always possible. The Talmud comments that this is a prayer to which there will always be a response. The notion of reciting some magic formula and receiving expiation appears uncharacteristic to the Jewish faith. Generally, atonement is achieved by displaying remorse and fundamental change, not lip service. How does the recitation of the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy function?

The Midrash states that Hashem offered the Torah to the nations of the world prior to offering it to Bnei Yisroel.3 This implies that the Patriarchal relationship which Bnei Yisroel enjoy is not a prerequisite to receiving the Torah. Why then is it necessary to begin the Torah with Sefer Bereishis which details the Patriarchal relationship, rather than with the Sinaitic revelation?

The verse states that Hashem passed before Moshe and proclaimed the Thirteen Attributes. From this the Talmud derives that He wrapped Himself in a tallis, like one who leads the congregation, and showed Moshe the order of the prayers.1 Moshe was able to perceive the deepest mysteries of the Torah without visual aids. Why was it necessary for Hashem to wrap Himself in a tallis and go through all the motions of the prayer in order to teach Moshe the text of the prayer?

The attributes conclude with the expression "nakei lo yenakeh". The Midrashic interpretation offered by Rashi explains that the word "nakei" - "absolves" is the last attribute, while "lo yenakeh" - "does not absolve" is not a part of the Thirteen Attributes, but refers to those who do not repent. The literal interpretation, states Rashi, is that "lo yenakeh" is part of the last attribute, referring to the fact that Hashem does not absolve a person from sin without any recourse; rather, He punishes in small increments until the punishment is complete. Why would referencing Hashem's mode of punishment be included in the Attributes of Mercy?

The Talmud states that the merits of a son can assist his father, but the merits of a father do not assist his son; since the son is a product of his father, he shares in his son's merits, whereas the father's actions do not reflect upon his son in any way. Hence, the son does not share in his father's merits. Why then did Moshe call upon Hashem to remember the Avos, so as to protect Bnei Yisroel from annihilation?

The Mishna states that a love relationship which is dependent upon a particular need will dissipate when the need ceases to exist, while relationships which are independent of a particular need will endure. As an example of a relationship which is independent of needs, the Mishna offers the relationship between Dovid and Yonason. How can a person love another for no reason? If no specific qualities were necessary to inspire Dovid's love for Yonason, what made the relationship unique? Why did Dovid not exhibit this love for everyone?

At its inception, the formation of every relationship is dependent upon a need. Whether it is physical or emotional, this need allows the relationship to flourish. What the Mishna is describing as a relationship which is independent of needs is one which continues to develop until it transcends into a union no longer requiring the initial need. A man might be initially attracted to a woman because of her beauty, but if, after they are married, she becomes disfigured, assuming the relationship has transformed and transcended into a oneness which is no longer based upon the initial attraction, his love for her will not diminish. Once forged into a new entity the couple are inextricably bound; no force can separate them.

The entire Sefer Bereishis is a record of how our forefathers, who were chosen by Hashem for their exemplary qualities, were able to transform their relationship with Him into one that would endure even when they would no longer exhibit these qualities. This enabled the Sinaitic covenant to be forged as a relationship which would endure eternally, even at times when Bnei Yisroel would not adhere to the precepts contained within the Torah. The obligations that a father and son have to each other are not the basis for their relationship, rather what binds the son to his father is the fact that he is his son. Similarly, what binds Bnei Yisroel to Hashem is that through the efforts of the Patriarchs we were elevated to the status of His children. This became evident after the sin of the Golden Calf when Moshe called upon Hashem to remember the efforts of the Patriarchs; their efforts served as the underpinnings of Bnei Yisroel's relationship with Hashem.5 Had the nations of the world accepted the Torah, their relationship with Hashem would have been one based upon the mutual exchange of promises and commitments, which would be subject to revocation in the case of either party reneging upon those commitments.

Hashem sent Moshe a message that this prayer will never go unanswered. The reason for this phenomenon is that it recalls the love and commitment which Hashem has invested into His relationship with us. Hashem has bound Himself to the Jewish people in a manner that cannot be revoked. Chazal strengthen this notion by observing that the numeric value of the Hebrew word "echad" - "one", is thirteen, the same as the number of Attributes. When Bnei Yisroel understand that this is a relationship which has developed into an inseparable entity, they too will channel all their energy into making it function.

Hashem appeared before Moshe wrapped in a tallis to emphasize His love for Bnei Yisroel. Much the same way as a father's concern for his child's welfare surpasses the child's concern for his own well-being, Hashem revealed to Moshe that His concern for Bnei Yisroel transcends their own. He too, figuratively prays for their well-being.

Accountability and culpability are integral components of every relationship. If Hashem's love for us were only predicated upon His benevolence and had nothing to do with our reciprocation and behavior, we would be non-entities in this relationship. Hashem could maintain this relationship with any of His creations. It is therefore imperative that we be punished for our transgressions, for this shows us that we are accountable and that our actions have meaning within then relationship. Therefore, "nakei lo yenakeh" is the last attribute.

1. Rosh Hashana 17b 
2.Sifri 343 
3.Rosh Hashana 17b 
5.Sanhedrin 104a 
6.Avos 5:19

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


Rabbi Reisman – Parshas Tetzaveh 5776

1. The Parsha of the Bigdei Kehunah. For this week I would like to share with you a couple of stories. The story itself may be well-known but I would like to tell you the rest of the story. Let me begin with story # 1. The story of Dama Ben Nesina is well-known. Dama Ben Nesina is the example of Kibbud Av V’aim. Chazal came to him and wanted to purchase a valuable stone for the Ephod, the keys to the lockbox were under his father’s pillow. He refused to awaken him and later was rewarded with a Parah Adumah. Very often this is discussed on Shabbos Parshas Chukas when you talk about the Parah Adumah. Very often it is discussed on a Shabbos that talks about Kibbud Av V’aim. Today I would like to discuss it from a new angle.

The Chachamim came to Dama Ben Nesina to purchase a stone for the Ephod. Why were they buying this stone for the Ephod? Moshe Rabbeinu made an Ephod and that remained. He made Bigdei Kohen Gadol and that remained. Why in the world would they be looking to buy a single stone for the Ephod? How did it get lost? It is possible to lose anything but a stone from the Ephod, maybe it fell off and it fell off and it was lost. Halo Davar Hu! Isn’t that strange?
You need to know the rest of the story. To get to that let me tell you a Shver Rambam. The Rambam in Hilchos Klei Hamikdash 9:7 says ומפתח על האבנים שמות השבטים כתולדותם ונמצא כותב על האודם ראובן ועל ישפה בנימין. וכותב בתחלה למעלה מראובן אברהם יצחק ויעקב וכותב למטה מבנימין שבטי קה כדי שיהיו כל האותיות מצויות שם that on the stones of the Ephod the 12 stones each had engraved the names of the 12 Shevatim, Reuvain through Binyamin. On Binyamin’s stone, the last stone, it was engraved additionally the two words Shivtei Ka, the Shevatim of G-d. All of the Meforshai Harambam struggle with this. This is because the Gemara in Maseches Yoma says no, it says the words Shivtei Yeshurun. Why does the Rambam write something that is not what it says in the Gemara?

Recently the Chiddushei Chasam Sofer on Maseches Yoma was printed and in the back they have the Chasam Sofer’s notes on Yerushalmi of Yoma and there the Chasam Sofer writes something absolutely extraordinary. Mitzva L’farseim.

He writes first of all that the name Yeshurun which is the name for the Jewish people is a very special name. The name for Klal Yisrael changes based on what Madreiga, what level Klal Yisrael is on. We don’t find the name Yeshurun until Parshas Ha’azinu once and V’zos Habracha twice. The name Yeshurun is not even applicable to the Dor Hamidbar as the Dor Hamidbar sinned. But only to those born in the Dor Hamidbar who entered Eretz Yisrael are on a higher level. Says the Chasam Sofer, the name for Klal Yisrael changes according to their level. So first, with this he answers the Rambam. 
He says just as the name Yeshurun came to the second generation of Jews, so too, it did not stay forever. It may be true that originally the name Shivtei Yeshurun was engraved on the stone, but with the Yeridos Hadoros (with the generations going down) it was changed. Klal Yisrael didn’t deserve Shivtei Yeshurun. The name became Shivtei Ka.  When did this change take place? How did this change take place? What exactly happened?

Well I told you that the Chasam Sofer is going on a Yerushalmi. Yes the Yerushalmi says that the stone that was lost in the time of Dama Ben Nesina was the Yoshfei stone? Yoshfei is the 12th stone. Probably what was called in English the Jasper stone. The Yashfei stone was the stone of Binyamin. On it, it said Shivtei Yeshurun. The Chasam Sofer said that that stone was lost Min Hashamayim because in the Bayis Sheini there was Sinas Chinom. The Ramban says that the name Bnei Yeshurun is connected to the Posuk in Devarim 12:28 (כִּי תַעֲשֶׂה הַטּוֹב וְהַיָּשָׁר, בְּעֵינֵי יְקוָק אֱלֹקיךָ).

In the Bayis Sheini it was Min Hashamayim that the Yashfei stone was lost and when the new one was found and purchased, Chazal (the Anshei K’neses Hagedolah) understood with their Ruach Hakodesh to put on Shiftei Kah. There is the rest of the story of Dama Ben Nesina. The lost stone and the special uniqueness to the name Yeshurun.

Of course there is a Gevaldige Mussar here as well. On the Yomim Noraim we say Ki Ata Salchan L’yisrael U’machalan L’shiftei Yeshurun. Hashem forgives Klal Yisrael when they are the Shiftei Yeshurun, when they deal B’yashar one with the other. When there is no Sin’as Chinam. Sin’as Chinam is not just an Aveira it changes the name, the essence of Klal Yisrael. What a beautiful message, what an incredible thought. A stone of the Ephod was lost.
I would add that this answers another Kasha. Many Meforshim wonder, the Gemara says in Maseches Kiddushin 31a (18 lines from the bottom) (עד היכן כיבוד אב ואם) Ad Heichan Kibbud Av V’aim? We learn the degree of Kibbud Av V’aim from Dama Ben Nesina a non-Jew. Is there no Jewish example for Kibbud Av V’aim?

The answer is the whole story of Dama Ben Nesina and the lost stone is a story of losing the Madreiga, the Darga, the greatness of Shiftei Yeshurun. When the Yashar was lost that is exactly when the lessons, the Mussar of Bein Adam L’chaveiro had to be given over to another people, to learn it form someone who is not even Jewish. And so, we have a lesson within a lesson and a completion of a story. That is a story that has to do with the Choshen, the Avnei Ha’eiphod.

2. A second story and the rest of the story. The second story is not as well-known. Dama Ben Nesina’s story is in Gemara so it is known. This story is in Kesuvim so it is not well-known. So let me tell you the story and the rest of the story. In Daniel, we read that Nevuchadnetzar built an extraordinary statue. It is a Machlokes if it was an Avodah Zorah Mamash or if it was an image of him. It is a Machlokes Baalei Tosafos in Pesachim on 53b (Dibbur Hamaschil מה ראו חנניה מישאל ועזריה). He decreed that everyone is to bow down to it. Many Jews did. Chanania Mishael and Azarya refused and we have the story that they were thrown into the Kivshan Ha’aish. The only reason that is known is because it is in Selichos. But at any rate, this is the story of this great image which many Jews bowed down to. It is hard to understand that in such a generation only three people would be Moser Nefesh.

The rest of the story. Chazal tell us that Nevuchadnetzar who had the Keilim of the Bais Hamikdash took the Heilige Tzitz and put it in the mouth of this Avodah Zorah. Miraculously through Kochos Hatumah, the Tzitz caused the image to say Anochi Hashem Elokeichem Asher Hotzaisi Eschem Mai’eretz Mitzrayim. This image spoke the words of Hashem at Har Sinai. Because of that, many Jews were susceptible to the influence to bow down to it. The Gemara says that Daniel came and Daniel was not persecuted even though he refused to bow down. So Chazal say, Daniel Heichan Hoisa. The Gemara tells us that Daniel was not prosecuted because he had found favor in the eyes of Nevuchadnetzar earlier. Anyone who learned the first and second Perek of Daniel would know that. At any rate, Daniel came and he went over to this image and said to the people there that I want to kiss the image. They allowed him to. He didn’t kiss it. He put his mouth to the mouth and sucked out the Tzitz. Then the Tzelem no longer spoke. That is the rest of the story of the Tzitz. There is a message here too.

The Bigdei Kehunah were not just Begadim, not just clothing. Not just things that clothed. They were Kodesh. They had a tremendous holiness. The Kochos Hatumah could have them say Anochi Hashem Elokecha, what a Davar Pele. It had tremendous level of Kedusha. I don’t know if when it says Kodesh Lashem on the Tzitz, did it mean the Tzitz said Kodesh Lashem on it or did it mean that the Kohen Gadol who wore it was Kodesh Lashem. I don’t know Pshat. I don’t know Teitch. Be that as it may, one way or the other it is a lesson into the Kochos of the Bigdei Kehunah.

3. One last story. After the Holocaust, my father came to this country with three siblings and three first cousins. They together built a family, were part of building Klal Yisrael in our family here. Today, my uncle, the last of the seven passed away. Today I am going to a Levaya at 2:30. That is the rest of the story. Many of you may be wondering why my words today to you are not as clear as usual. That is because I am sitting in a car outside a place where the Levaya will take place. I am Malei Hakaros Hatov to my father, to my uncle, to a generation that built that which we have here.
With that thought worthy of discussion at the Shabbos table as much as any Dvar Torah, I leave you to give a Kavod Acharon and I hope that this generation leaves as HKB”H takes them, we should get the lesson from what they built and look to become builders ourselves. A Gutten Shabbos to one and all!

A Musical Refuah


Someone I know is looking for a three to five room apartment in the Ramat Eshkol - Sanhedria - Bar Ilan area. If you know of anything or even know of a family that will be vacating at the end of the year, please contact


The Koach Of An Aveirah

Shalom sweet friends!! 

Unfortunately, I have had precious little time to devote to the blog recently. I have also not uploaded any shiurim in quite a while. The reason is simply that I am more busy now than I have been ever with many different things that have happened all at once. I will not go into details.....

Here is a shiur I was able to record today. Super-geshmak. Heavy lomdus with a super mussar yesod. Kodshim, Brisk, Avodas Hashem all together....

Monday, February 22, 2016

Getting Bored

"Sometimes the thoughts in my head get bored and go for a stroll through my mouth. This is never a good thing."

The Secret

"The secret to happiness is a good sense of humor and a short memory."

Hugs 5.jpg?attredirects=0

Friday, February 19, 2016

Rabbi Frand On The Parsha


Parshas Tetzaveh - פרשת תצוה 

זיכוי הרבים לעילוי נשמת יהודית נחמה בת ר' מנחם ע"ה

Do It Right The First Time!

Towards the end of Parshas Titzaveh, the Torah discusses the concept of "Chanukas HaBayis" -- the annointing of the Mishkan and the various keylim [vessels] and furniture used within the Mishkan. In general, we have a principle concerning the keylim of the Mishkan that "Avodasam m'chanchasam" -- their usage consecrates them.

The Torah explains the ceremony of consecrating the Mizbayach [altar] [Shmos 29:38- 39] -- "And this is what you must do for the altar: (Offer) two yearling sheep each day consistently." Every single day that the Beis HaMikdash was in existence -- including Shabbos and Yom Kippur -- a sheep was brought each morning and each afternoon.

This parsha of the Korban Tamid [Constant Offering (offered twice daily in the Beis HaMikdash], which we say everyday in davening, is repeated one other place in the Torah -- in Parshas Pinchas. There, [Bamidbar 28:1-4] the Torah uses virtually the same instructions verbatim as the Torah uses in our parsha, with one slight difference. In our parsha, which refers to the first time the Korban Tamid was brought, it says "es hakeves HAechad" [The one sheep] and in Parshas Pinchas, which refers to the ongoing mitzvah to bring these offerings, it merely says "es hakeves echad" [one sheep]. In Pinchas, the pasuk is missing what is known in Hebrew as the "Hay Hayediya" [the letter Hay as a prefix which calls attention to the following word]. Why the difference?

The Brisker Rav, zt"l, said that the Torah is hinting at something here. Throughout the history of the Beis HaMikdash, the morning Korban Tamid and the evening Korban Tamid were totally independent. If, for some reason, one of them could not be brought, the other one was still brought. It was analogous to Tefillin shel Yad and Tefillin shel Rosh. If for some reason a person cannot wear one of them, he still must put on the other one.

However, there was one exception to this rule -- the first time the Korban was brought. The very first Korban Tamid, which "dedicated" the Mizbayach had to be brought as part of a pair. If they failed to bring the morning offering, they could not bring the afternoon offering. That is why in our parsha, which deals with dedicating the korbon, the pasuk uses the Hay Hayediya -- The sheep.

The Shemen HaTov [Rabbi Dov Weinberger] explains the ethical lesson to be learned from this law. We see from here that whenever a person starts doing something, it must be done right. Beginnings are extremely important. In order to set the tone for something that is going to last for years and years, it must be done correctly and not "half-baked." Therefore, even though, throughout the generations, the two korbonos were not mutually indispensable (ainam m'akvim zeh es zeh), when the institution of the Korban Tamid was started it had to be started right.

That is why we have a Hebrew expression: "all beginnings are difficult" (kol hascholos kashos). The initial effort has to be done in the most perfect manner, because it sets the tone.

It is said over in the name of the Vilna Gaon that if a community is so meticulous when they build a synagogue, that the ax handles are only crafted by G-d fearing individuals, then there is a guarantee that all prayers offered in that synagogue will be recited with the utmost concentration and dedication [kavanah]. If every act, from the onset of the construction, is done 100% right, it is an entirely different synagogue.

I remember when the present Beis Hamedrash [Torah Study Hall] in Ner Israel was built. The Rosh Yeshiva -- Rav Ruderman -- zt"l, said that we should not speak idle words (devarim beteilim) in that Beis Hamedrash -- at least for the first week. The reason is the same. How we would act that first week would set the tone for that Beis Medrash for generations and generations of students who would come through those doors.

Beginnings are crucial. How one starts a child off; how one begins to learn with his child; how one starts off a marriage; how one starts any endeavor should be good and right and correct... because beginnings set the tone.

There is a fascinating Gemara in Tractate Sanhedrin [44b]:

When the Jews came into Eretz Yisroel [the Land of Israel] for the first time, they conquered the city of Yericho. Yehoshua placed a Cherem [ban or excommunication] that no article from that city should be used. The booty was to remain Holy to G-d. There was one individual named Achan who stole something for his own personal use. As a result of that, when the Jews went on to conquer their second city, the city of HaAi, soldiers fell in battle. G-d was angry with the Jewish people. They needed to find out who was responsible and punish him. The pasuk relates that after Achan was stoned, "G-d's Anger subsided" [Yehoshua 7:26].

The Gemara says that, technically, because of that sin of Achan, the Jewish people should have been destroyed! The only reason that they were not destroyed was that when Avraham Avinu came into Eretz Yisroel for the first time, he built a mizbayach between Beis El and HaAi and he davened there. This prayer of Avraham was an antidote for the subsequent sin of Achan.

What was so terrible about what Achan did? Yes, he was not supposed to touch the spoils of Yericho, but what was so bad that the Jewish people should have been destroyed had it not been for Avraham Avinu's prayer?

The answer is because that was the first battle. This was their initial entry into Eretz Yisroel. This first battle had to be done right. Yehoshua wanted to make the first entry into the land perfect -- the city was to be conquered and everything in it was to be holy.

One man ruined it. One man ruined the beginning and the Jewish people should have been destroyed. The only thing that saved them was that there was a 'beginning before the beginning.' When Avrohom Avinu came into Eretz Yisroel hundreds of years earlier, he made the beginning right -- he davened between Beis El and HaAi.

So many of our beginnings happen inadvertently. We do not remember the first time we read Aleph-Beis; we do not remember the first time we learned a pasuk in Chumash; we do not remember the first amud of Gemarah we learned; we do not remember our first experiences of marriage.

For some of us, our first beginnings are gone, and there is nothing we can do about them. However, there are still beginnings left in our lives. If they are not our beginnings, they are our children's beginnings. If they are not our children's beginnings, then they are our grandchildren's beginnings. Let us not forget the importance of a beginning and how we can set the tone for generations by doing it right the first time…



    The passuk requires that the oil to light the menorah must be שמן זית זך כתית למאור . The Olive should be crushed and the first drop of oil that comes out should be used for the lighting of the menorah. Rashi comments that this stringency applies only for the lighting and not for the מנחות  which are the meal offerings which included flour and oil. This comment of Rashi has far reaching applications esoterically as we shall now explain.

    When one hears mussar and rebuke, it can be followed by three types of reactions. The most undesirable one is when the listener goes into complete denial. He is likened to the congregant in shul who hears the Rav’s admonition and is one hundred percent sure that the Rav is addressing everyone else except him. For type one there is little hope of self change. The only silver lining in his condition is that he will avoid sadness and be in a state of external happiness by not realizing his deteriorating religious status.

    The second type is one whose response is that of melancholy and depression. Realization of failure and shortcoming can paralyze present and future conduct. It can bring about feelings of inadequacy and low self esteem to the point where it causes the stunting of growth. One becomes overwhelmed with feelings of unworthiness, deflated ego and the loss of resolve to continue to ascend the ladder of ruchniyus and life.

    The third response is of a more positive nature. After the initial encounter with brokenness, one girds the strength of purpose and says to himself, true I realize a setback in my ascent, a flaw in my character, but through self introspection and commitment I will rectify the wrong and continue my ascent in spirituality. Baruch Hashem this flaw has been pointed out to me so now I can return on my journey to attain shelaimus. Concerning this reaction of rededication, a tsaddik once remarked that the greatest shelaimus and wholesomeness is a broken heart. At first this seems like a contradiction; whole versus broken, how can they both exists simultaneously? The answer is that if the brokenness of heart is only momentarily and does not paralyze one’s growth, then it transforms to be a positive drive in one’s ascent to Hashem  better known as a
ירידה לצורך עלייה.

    This concept can be seen from the Sotah who was warned by her husband not to seclude herself with another man. When she continued to seclude herself she is asked to drink the Sotah Potion in order to determine whether she committed adultery. If the waters prove her innocence then she is blessed with children; if she did not have any until now she will merit to give birth, if she gave birth previously she will merit to give birth to twins etc. These berachos are difficult to understand. After all, this lady is surely no Rebbetzin or tzadekes after secluding herself with another man on the back of her husband’s reprimanding her concerning her brazen actions. The answer is that being secluded with another man she was very tempted to have relations with him and nevertheless as proven by the Sotah Waters she controlled herself and committed herself to become more righteous. The scenario of seclusion was destined by nature to have ended with an adulterous act, but it didn’t. The wife did not lose her sight of spiritual growth even after realizing the lowliness of her act of secluding herself with the intention of committing adultery. She did not fall into despair and the feelings of worthlessness which would have implemented her to commit consummate the act anyway as most people would have done in her situation. For this victory of not allowing herself to fall into yiush embracing her stark realization of her unwholesomeness, the Torah rewards her with these berachos.

    Dovid Hamelech says in Tehillim
הרופא לשבורי לב ומחבש לעצבותם  (147 3) Hashem heals the broken hearted and bandages their melancholy. Dovid is really describing the two types of reactions to the discovery of faultiness within oneself. The broken hearted are only momentarily stunned but not stunted, for right away they use the debit found in their character to turn it into a credit and serve as a booster to reach newer heights with renewed vigor and safeguards. For such a positive reaction, Hashem brings an immediate refuah. In contrast is the individual who allows the immediate feelings of a blown out ego and worthlessness to take control over his life by paralyzing his present and future ascent. For such a response of sadness עצב Hashem gives him bandages so at least he won’t deteriorate any further.

    It is here where the Torah is alluding to us that the third type of reaction after one’s realizing of his shortcoming is the most favorable and desired; to strengthen and pick himself up, shake off the dirt, and go further with renewed dedication.
שבע יפול צדיק וקם. The message of the Torah is to continue lighting the lights and not to fall into immobility. כתית למאור ולא למנחות when one’s ego gets smashed, he should strengthen himself to continue למאור to create more lights by increasing his avodas Hashem which is in contrast למנחות  that he chooses to lament and fall into self pity and spiritual paralyzation.

    The seforim tell us concerning the first and second Bais Hamikdash that their destruction was in preparation for the third. An analogy to this is the scenario when one imports from a distant land a plant in order to grow in his climate. Even after the planting, it grows only a little and then it eventually dies. Nevertheless, the accomplishment was that the earth was prepared a little to accept another planting of the same. The second planting lasts longer than the first even though it eventually dies. In the third attempt the plant does not die. The earth has been prepared by the first two planting to be able to sustain the plant even though the climate and earth in the new geographic area were not initially accepting and embracing this foreign entity.

    So too, the third Bais Hamikdash’s light is so other worldly that it would not be able to exist in this world. Hashem therefore planted a first Bais Hamikdash in order to prepare the world for its third coming. After its destruction Hashem prepared the world with a second Bais Hamikdash. That too was destroyed. Both destructions were in preparation of the Third Bais Hamikdash’s light that will herald in the era of Hashem Echad. This is hinted in the word
כתית למאור. The years of the first and second Bais Hamikdashos’s existences were כת 420 years and ית 410 years. They were both smashed and destroyed. However, the churban of both were for למאור to bring in the light of the Third Bais Hamikdash במהרה בימנו.

    Even our own spiritual churban should have the reaction of renewed inspiration with the fortitude and courage to build a better edifice of avodah and bring about a brighter light for Hashem.

    Immediately following the commandment of the type of oil required for the menorah, the Torah elaborates on the clothing of the Kohen necessary to be worn during his avodah in the Bais Hamikdash. The connection between the two is the theme of turning one’s setback into an even stronger comeback. The eight attires that the Kohen Gadol must wear originate in the chait of the Aitz Hadaas. The Baal Haturim writes on the passuk (Berishis 3,21) that Hashem made for Adam eight clothings parallel to the Kohen Gadol which is hinted in the eight words of that passuk
ויעש ה' אלקים לאדם ולאשתו כתנות אור וילבשם. The question arises that before Hashem’s clothing, Adam already made for himself fig coverings for his nakedness. Chazal say that the Aitz Hadaas was a fig tree. Adam sought a constant reminder of his sin. Why did Hashem make other clothing the attire of the Kohen Gadol for Adam?

    Even though Adam failed in his mission of restraining from eating fruit of the Aitz Hadaas, Hashem did not want Adam to fall into melancholy and depression. Hashem was unhappy with such an approach of a constant reminder of one’s sin for it might cause Adam to fall into depression. Hashem wanted Adam to renew his dedication of avodas Hashem with the feelings of inspiration with honor and glory,
לכבוד ולתפארת  which describes the eight attires of Kohen Gadol (Shmos 28,2). Hashem therefore made for Adam these clothing that would promote such a self image to serve Hashem.

    The juxtaposition of the oil of the menorah and the Bigdei Kehunah both teach the desirable reaction to spiritual falling. Take the setback and turn it into a comeback.

 Gut Shabbos,
                                       Rav Brazil