1. This week’s Shabbos is significant because although most people don’t realize it, it contains the Posuk which is used according to the Ramban as the source for Davening for Bakashas Tzerachim. Most people are aware that the Rambam holds in Sefer Hamitzvos Mitzvah Hei and elsewhere, that the source for the Mitzvah of Davening is (וּלְעָבְדוֹ, בְּכָל-לְבַבְכֶם) which is of course in Kriyas Shema in Parshas Eikev 11:13. The Rambam says (אֵיזוֹ הִיא עֲבוֹדָה שֶׁבַּלֵּב, זוֹ הִיא תְּפִלָּה). That is the source for the Mitzvah of Davening according to the Rambam.
However, the Ramban has a Posuk in this week’s Parsha 10:9. The Posuk says (וְכִי-תָבֹאוּ מִלְחָמָה בְּאַרְצְכֶם) if someone goes out to battle and you see a big army against you, the Posuk says (וַהֲרֵעֹתֶם, בַּחֲצֹצְרֹת). You should call out a blowing of the trumpets. The Ramban understands that this is the source for the Mitzvah of Davening Bish’as Tzarah. When you go out to battle and you see a Tzarah or if you see Lo Aleinu any type of Tzarah, the response to the Tzarah should be (וַהֲרֵעֹתֶם, בַּחֲצֹצְרֹת) with a call to the Ribbono Shel Olam. According to the Ramban this is the source for the Mitzvah of Davening.
We spoke about this on other occasions, probably in the summer Parshios, however, today I would like to make the impression upon you first of all that there is a very basic difference in the Mitzvah itself, of the Lomdus of the Mitzvah. According to the Ramban it is a Mitzvah to Daven Bish’as Tzarah. (כִּי-תֵצֵא לַמִּלְחָמָה) when someone goes out to battle. According to the Rambam it has nothing to do with a Shas Tzarah, it has to do with a daily obligation. Just like the Korban Tamid is every day, so too there is a Mitzvah to Daven every single day. So it is really a fundamental Machlokes in the Mitzvah D’oraissa of Davening. The Drabanan of Davening – according to everyone there is a Mitzvah to Daven three times a day. But the D’oraissa of Davening, that there is a fundamental difference between the two.
Here, it comes out to be a Machlokes why we ask for everything every single day. Why in every Shemoneh Esrei do we ask for everything. I would think that if you go to a king and you have to be Mevakeish Tzerachav, you have to ask for something, you don’t pile on all the Tzerachim. The normal way to ask for things is to ask for things in a very sensible way by taking what you need the most and asking for that. Halo Davar Hu, isn’t it a strange thing that Chazal were Mechayeiv us to Daven a Shemoneh Esrei which includes requests Mamash for every single thing.
Well, according to the Ramban this is a good Kasha. Bakashas Tzerachim, Davening and asking for stuff you shouldn’t ask for everything. According to the Rambam though, that it is an Avodah it is understood that we ask for everything. This is because (וּלְעָבְדוֹ, בְּכָל-לְבַבְכֶם) is not asking for stuff. It is recognizing that it comes from HKB”H. What about according to the Ramban? According to the Ramban it is a Bakashas Tzerachav, so if the whole thing is that we are asking for stuff why do we ask for everything?
I saw an incredible Vort in the Divrei Yoel from the Satmar Rebbe. I think that it is in Parshas Chayah Sarah perhaps (I don’t remember). He says something absolutely beautiful. The Gemara says in the beginning of Maseches Megillah that the order of Davening of the 12 middle Berachos is something that had been forgotten. Chazal came and set it up again. An obvious question is how could it be that Klal Yisrael forgot the order of the middle Berachos of Shemoneh Esrei and we Daven Shemoneh Esrei every single day. One person can forget it, two people, but how can it be forgotten?
The Satmar Rebbe said beautifully, Shemoneh Esrei which is Bakashas Tzerachav doesn’t require that you say everything, you don’t have to say all of the Berachos. Why do we say all of it? Because after the Churban Bais Hamikdash we don’t have Avodah in the Bais Hamikdash and therefore, we turn to Avodah as part of Shemoneh Esrei and Shemoneh Esrei is the Amud Ho’avodah. As far as Avodah is concerned we have to ask for everything.
So the Satmar Rebbe said during the time of the Binyan Bayis Sheini when the Bais Hamikdash stood it reverted back to the Ramban’s version of the Mitzvah D’oraissa which is just Bakashas Tzerachav and in that Tekufah people did not say the whole middle of Shemoneh Esrei. The middle of Shemoneh Esrei is 13 Berachos but V’lamalshinim was added later. It was then 12 Berachos, 6 Berachos for personal needs and 6 Berachos for Klal Yisrael needs. So that when the Bais Hamikdash stood you chose which of the middle 12 Berachos you wanted to say. Therefore, it was forgotten. If someone wants to say all 12 what is the order. Since people didn’t do it it was forgotten. Dafka after the Churban Bayis Sheini when the Avodah was no longer in the Bais Hamikdash and therefore, Avodah was pushed back into Shemoneh Esrei like the Rambam Min Hatorah and the Ramban M’drabanan. At that time they had to set up again the order of the middle Berachos.
What we are saying essentially is this, the reason we Daven all of the middle Berachos is a form of Avodah not just asking for things. It is our nature that we have the most Kavana in the one of the middle Berachos that we need the most. Parnasa, Bareich Aleinu, people have Kavana. Lo Aleinu if someone has a Choleh he has Kavana in Refaeinu. That is Bakashas Tzerachim. But the element of Shemoneh Esrei which is the Avodah is just the opposite. It is what you have that you have to recognize that it comes from HKB”H. It is what you feel certain that you have, there you turn to HKB”H and say all of it comes from you. A beautiful thought, a beautiful understanding of the two aspects of Shemoneh Esrei. Something we have to remind ourselves on a very regular basis to be able to have Kavana in Shemoneh Esrei is something elusive. You get it, you lose it. It is something that you have to be Mechazeik yourself again.
2. In Derech Sicha the first volume, on this week’s Parsha, there is a beautiful thought from Rav Chaim Kanievsky and it has to be understood properly. When Klal Yisrael complains to the Ribbono Shel Olam there is a thought that when someone is a complainer he really has no connection to the reality when he finds things to complain about. He brings an explanation of a Posuk in Tehillim 106:16 (וַיְקַנְאוּ לְמֹשֶׁה, בַּמַּחֲנֶה; לְאַהֲרֹן, קְדוֹשׁ יְדוָד). It talks about Klal Yisrael complaining to Moshe and Aharon. B’derech Drush, Rav Chaim Kanievsky says (וַיְקַנְאוּ לְמֹשֶׁה, בַּמַּחֲנֶה) when you want to complain you find a complaint. Moshe Rabbeinu, what is he doing going off to Shamayim? Why are you busy in the Ohel Moed? (וַיְקַנְאוּ לְמֹשֶׁה, בַּמַּחֲנֶה) you are a leader of Klal Yisrael, we need you among the people. Why are you busy going to Shamayim, going to the Mishkan? (לְאַהֲרֹן, קְדוֹשׁ יְדוָד) Aharon was a leader of Klal Yisrael who dealt with Shalom among people amongst other things. Aharon was B’machaneh. To Aharon they complained why aren’t you going up to Shamayim, why aren’t you busy with holy things. The point that is being made is the point that when a person wants to complain he will find complaints. You have to be smart enough to know when to filter it out.
Rav Chaim Kanievsky there brings a beautiful Mashal. He says a father and son were traveling and they had a donkey. The father was sitting on the donkey and the son was walking. A complainer said to them look at them, the father has no Rachmanus on the son, the father rides on the donkey and the son has to walk. The father heard it so he reversed. The son was on the donkey and the father was walking.
A little while later the complainer says look at them, no Kibbud Av V’aim. The son rides on the donkey and lets his father walk. They heard that so the two of them got on the donkey. So now they are both riding the donkey. The complainer looks at them and says they have no Rachmanus on the donkey, two people on the donkey. So they listened again and they get down. So now, the donkey, father, and the son are all walking.
The complainer looks at them and says look at that 3 donkeys walking on the road, why doesn’t one ride on the other. Sof Davar, the father and son picked up the donkey and carried the donkey. Says Rav Chaim this is the ending for somebody who is all worried about complainers who complain with no reason.
The person has to take this Mussar from the Torah, from his Rabbeim, not from the society around him. In society we have plenty people carrying and burdened by their donkeys. Plenty of people who see the needs of society around them, the fanciness, the expenses and the extraordinary needs. They are busy carrying donkeys. Why? Because the people around them make fun, if not verbally but by attitude of people who live simpler lives. Stop carrying the donkeys. Put them down. Live a life where you are comfortable with yourselves, where you don’t have to go out and do things because of people around you. Vayislonenu, when they want to find something to complain about they will find something to complain about. And so, these are two thoughts on the Parsha, one a more involved Halachik thought and one a Mussar which I hope people will be smart enough to take.
3. Now turning to the challenges of the upcoming summer. The summer is a challenging time particularly for Bnei Torah because suddenly we have more time. There is more time on your hands, you are not doing homework. Many people take off Fridays in the summer. You have to look at the summer as a time of opportunity. For those of you who are driving up on Thursday nights, every Thursday night when you drive up say to the Ribbono Shel Olam, I see I can stay up on Thursday night so when I get back to the city I will stay up for Mishmar. Much more comfortable than sitting in a car for hours. Say it every week from this Thursday to the Thursday before Labor Day and IY”H you will be Mekayeim it. You will turn your ride up to the country into a Mussar Seder. Something from which you will take Mussar for the time to come.
Friday morning for those of you who up in the country there should be a time where you go to Shul and stay there until noon at least. It should be a Friday first Seder. A time where you undertake a Limud which you don’t always have. Certainly if you are in the city there are so many Yetzer Horas here. Ways to waste your time. I am not talking Chas V’shalom to people who go to bars, they are not listening to phone calls in middle of work. If you are listening here, you are someone who has a She’ifa to learning. Plan, without planning, zero, nothing at all happens. Find a Chavrusa here in the city. Not someone who goes to the country like you because he is going to end up going there for a week and you will end up going there for a week and you are going to end up losing your Chavrusa. Find someone who is in the city, someone who will be here, someone who will available to you. Get a Chavrusa, undertake learning, undertake Limud. Do what you have to do. As a Ben Torah when situations change you have to use them for Torah, Avodah, and Yiras Shamayim.
A new season is beginning, every beginning is a time for an opportunity or Chas V’shalom a time of Yeridah. It is what you make of it. Make something of it. With that I wish one and all an absolutely wonderful, delightful, meaningful summer of growth and IY”H I hope you continue to join us here on our Thursday Seder. A Gutten Shabbos to one and all!