Today we prepare for Parshas Bamidbar and Mattan Torah. I would like to share with you a Vort related to the Parsha, related to the Yom Tov, and a Vort that combines them.
1. First the Vort on the Parsha. As you know, Eretz Yisrael was Nischaleik to the Yotzei Mitzrayim and that is the counting of the Parsha this week. We find in the Torah that there are two things that are given as a Yerusha to Klal Yisrael. As it says in Devarim 33:4 (תּוֹרָה צִוָּה-לָנוּ, מֹשֶׁה: מוֹרָשָׁה, קְהִלַּת יַעֲקֹב). Torah is described as a Yerusha to Klal Yisrael. Eretz Yisrael is repeatedly described as a Yerusha to Klal Yisrael as is found in Vayikra 25:46 (וְהִתְנַחַלְתֶּם אֹתָם לִבְנֵיכֶם אַחֲרֵיכֶם), as a Yerusha. Yet in the history of Klal Yisrael there is a very big difference, the Yerusha of Torah applies to every generation. To all those who want, we raise our children, Torah is the fundamental of our lives. The other Yerusha, Eretz Yisrael, is something which very few Jews over the history of Klal Yisrael have had access to. Very few Yidden in a Mi’ut of the years of the existence of Klal Yisrael have been in Eretz Yisrael.
What is the difference between the two? I saw a Vort I believe from Rav Meir Shapiro and he says the following. He says everything depends on how you are Mekabeil something. When Klal Yisrael got the Torah, we said Naaseh V’nishmah and we didn’t Shmek it to see if it is good or it is not good, we were Mekabeil.
When it came to Eretz Yisrael, Klal Yisrael sent Miraglim, we went to see as it says in Bamidbar 14:7 (טוֹבָה הָאָרֶץ, מְאֹד מְאֹד). But that is already a Psul. It is a Psul when you Shmek something out to find out if it is good or if it is not good, and there it has no Kiyum.
Torah is a true Yerusha, you take what you get. You Yarshun whatever you Yarshun from your Avos. On the other hand, Eretz Yisrael we didn’t accept as a Yerusha. We went to decide if it is good enough for us. So Eretz Yisrael said ok, I will decide if you are good enough for me as well. A basic difference.
The Mussar Shebo is that it is this way with Shidduchim too. When it comes to Shidduchim that is the way it is. You look into a Shidduch when it is proposed, you Shmek it if it is good enough. Some people have very strict standards. They are very into Shemkking Ois if a Shidduch is good enough for them. When that happens it is like Eretz Yisrael. It seems out of balance. It is not a real Kabbalah. By the time someone walks to the Chuppah it has to be a Yerusha, it has to be like Torah. It has to be sort of a Naaseh V’nishma. It is a different Kabbalah. How you are Mekabeil something, if you Shmek it out then the Kabbalah is a different Kabbalah. If you are Mekabeil it B’saiver Panim Yafos then it is also a different Kabbalah. Then it is Kabbalah that has a Kiyum. A beautiful insight.
2. The next topic is a Yom Tov topic. I had seen in the name of the Steipler I believe in the Orchos Rabbeinu where he said that Yom Tov Sheini Shel Galus has a Mayla over Yom Tov Rishon. It is not more Kadosh as Yom Rishon is D’oraissa but Yom Tov Sheini has a Mayla. What is the Mayla? On Yom Tov Rishon Yeshayahu Hanavi writes in the Perek Chazon Yeshayahu in the first Perek of Yeshaya 1:14 (חָדְשֵׁיכֶם וּמוֹעֲדֵיכֶם שָׂנְאָה נַפְשִׁי). At some point the Borei Olam said that I am fed up with the way you treat the Yom Tov. The Steipler said that is true about Yom Tov Rishon which existed in the time of the Bais Hamikdash but about Yom Tov Sheini the Ribbono Shel Olam never said (חָדְשֵׁיכֶם וּמוֹעֲדֵיכֶם שָׂנְאָה נַפְשִׁי). So Yom Tov Sheini has a Mayla. When I heard this it sounded like a very strange Vort. A very strange thought that Yom Tov Sheini has a Mayla? Then I saw that it is actually a Gemara.
The Gemara in Maseches Shabbos 145b (22 lines from the top) says that (ויתיב רבי יוחנן וקא מנמנם). Rav Yochanan took a nap and he overheard his Talmidim talking. Rav Yochanan lived in Eretz Yisrael. The Talmidim said (מפני מה מועדים שבבבל שמחים). Why do the Jews in Bavel celebrate Yom Tov better? Rav Yochanan woke up and answered them Mamesh these words, this idea. He said because Yom Tov Rishon the Ribbono Shel Olam said (חדשיכם ומועדיכם שנאה נפשי). So there is a Mekor for it. But still, it needs a Hesber, how can Yom Tov Sheini have a Mayla over Yom Tov Rishon?
There is an old Klal that I mentioned many places in Chumash, that to show Ahavah it is not enough to do what you have to do. When someone does what he has to do that just shows that he is Ehrlich, that he is a Frum person. He does what he has to do. Ahavah comes when you do something extra, do something more, something you are not obligated to do.
There are many times when there is a Shidduch that a Kallah is more excited about a card she got or a trinket she got then a diamond ring that costs so much. A diamond ring you have to do, the other thing that you don’t have to do that shows Ahavah. When someone comes out of his way and does, that really shows Ahavah.
Think about Yom Tov Sheini, how did it start? The Yidden went to Galus and it came to Yom Tov and the Yidden had to decide what to do. They really could have relied on Rov Shanim (most years) that Adar is Choser and Elul is Choser. The Gemara says that in most years these months from the time of Ezra and onward, we haven’t found that those months are a day longer.
Klal Yisrael Klered what should they do, should we rely on a Heter and have one day Yom Tov? They were Mekabeil to do two days Yom Tov. It was a Kabbalah Mai’ahavah Mitoch Galus. So Farkert that is the idea. A Yom Tov Sheini that has an extra Mayla that it came B’ahava, that has an extra Mayla. (מועדים שבבבל שמחים). There is an extra dimension when someone does something extra.
Somebody once added to this, we find that the Torah tells us that Leah was a (שְׂנוּאָה) to Yaakov. We know that Yaakov Avinu B’madreigaso, it is not talking about (שְׂנוּאָה) like ordinary people talk. But still why does the Torah talk that way, it must be a lesson. The lesson is this Nikuda. When a person develops Ahavah it is what he chooses. When he chooses to do something and he is not forced on it, he doesn’t have to do, that shows Ahavah.
Yaakov Avinu chose Rachel, there was an Ahavah. By Leah he didn’t choose Leah, Leah was forced on him. The lesson from the Torah is that when a person wants to show Ahavah it comes from using his Tam Bechirah. To do something extra to do something more that is what we care about. Think for a minute, do something extra, do something more, show them appreciation, that develops Ahavah.
3. My third Vort for the day is one of my favorites. Every Rav needs a Vort for emergencies. The Vort that I am going to share with you is a good Vort to have up your sleeve. It is good for weddings, it is good for Bar Mitzvahs, and it is good for Parshas Bamidbar.
In this week’s Haftorah we have the Posuk as is found in Hoshea 2:21 (וְאֵרַשְׂתִּיךְ לִי, לְעוֹלָם). It talks about marriage so it is good for marriage, it is a Posuk that we say when we put on our Tefillin so it is good for Bar Mitzvahs. It is a beautiful Sfas Emes.
(וְאֵרַשְׂתִּיךְ לִי, לְעוֹלָם) Freigt the Sfas Emes, Eirusin is the equivalent of being engaged. It is the first step in marriage. After Eirusin a Kallah still lives in her father’s house. Nisuin is when she moves into her husband’s house. So what is (וְאֵרַשְׂתִּיךְ לִי, לְעוֹלָם)? The engagement should be forever? No plans for marriage? It is a very strange Shidduch. The Chosson says let’s just be engaged forever. (וְאֵרַשְׂתִּיךְ לִי, לְעוֹלָם), what is Pshat?
Zagt the Sfas Emes, Geshmak. When a person gets engaged there is a newness, there is a certain excitement. There is a certain care in the way you talk to each other. Thinking into how you deal with each other. There is something special and the newness of an engagement. (וְאֵרַשְׂתִּיךְ לִי, לְעוֹלָם) Zagt the Sfas Emes, it doesn’t mean that forever will be an Eirusin, we will get to Nisuin. But the Hergish of Eirusin, the feeling of Eirusin, that should stay forever. The same thing is true for every Bar Mitzvah boy that starts putting on Tefillin that is excited or a married couple, always so.
There is a similar Vort like this in the Sfas Emes too but I am not sure. On the Posuk in Tehillim Kapittal 27 (לְדָוִד: יְדוָד, אוֹרִי וְיִשְׁעִי). In it we ask the Ribbono Shel Olam that we should be Zoche always (שִׁבְתִּי בְּבֵית-יְהוָה, כָּל-יְמֵי חַיַּי) to sit in Hashem’s house (וּלְבַקֵּר בְּהֵיכָלוֹ). (לְבַקֵּר) is to visit like Bikur Cholim. There are some people like that (ּלְבַקֵּר בְּהֵיכָלוֹ), they visit a Shul once in a while. (שִׁבְתִּי בְּבֵית-יְהוָה, כָּל-יְמֵי חַיַּי) and then (לְבַקֵּר) to visit?
Zagt the Sfas Emes the same Vort. (לְבַקֵּר) when someone comes the first time, there is a certain excitement, a joy. Someone who is a tourist and he is visiting the city, he is (לְבַקֵּר) he looks with eyes wide open in awe. (לְבַקֵּר בְּהֵיכָלוֹ) we hope that we should always be able to have that sense of coming there with excitement like the first time (לְבַקֵּר בְּהֵיכָלוֹ).
Every year when it comes to Shavuos we try once again to have the original excitement of Mattan Torah. The whole idea of staying up Shavuos by night is really to have that sense of excitement which Klal Yisrael should have had at the first Mattan Torah. A sense of excitement of what is coming and what is going to be. It is hard to stay up, some people question if it is Kedai. It is Kedai to make the statement of excitement of what is coming. You don’t have to stay up, it is something people do because they want to. They want to show the Ahavah to the Borei Olam. They want to show the sense of looking forward and excitement to Mattan Torah.
I come to Shul Shavuos afternoon. Who is in Shul? Those who stayed up they are in Shul Shavuos afternoon. Those who slept Shavuos by night because it is not worth it, they are not in Shul Shavuos by day. The excitement towards Mattan Torah is what makes it very special.
Last year, Shabbos was Erev Shavuos and Shabbos afternoon people take a nap. It makes it easy to stay up Shavuos by night. When people run home from work it is difficult. Last year, when Shabbos was Erev Shavuos there was something extra about the Shavuos by night staying up, the learning, the listening to Shiurim. Since it was so Geshmak we arranged for it again this year where Shabbos is Erev Shavuos and the Menucha of Shabbos has its own Oneg Shabbos but Mimeila it is a Hachana.
Don’t be fooled by laziness. Put in your effort to prepare, set up Chavrusos. Set up a schedule. Don’t learn with one Chavrusa for 4 hours. Don’t even go to my Shiur for 4 and a half hours. Who can listen to me for 4 and a half hours straight. Listen to a Shiur for an hour, learn with a Chavrusa for an hour. Learn something else.
I encourage people to learn Chaggai. Chaggai if you don’t know is one of the Trei Asar. The Hakhel Shiurim I am giving this year will be on Chaggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. Some people accepted that they would learn Chaggai as Chaggai is a very short Navi. It is in Trei Asar.
Wouldn’t it be nice if L’achar Meah V’esrim you would be Zoche to meet Chaggai and Chaggai would ask you, “Did you read my book?” People will say no I didn’t have time. You didn’t have time, but it is so short? You will say of course I did. I got the Mussar Shebo.
I encourage you to read the Malbim’s Hakdamah to Chaggai, Zechariah, and Malachi which sets the tone for the whole Sefer. Chaggai with the Malbim, what could be a better preparation for Mattan Torah. With this I wish everybody a Good Shabbos, A Good Yom, a meaningful Kabbalas Hatorah IY”H as we prepare for the coming summer.