If you would like to sponsor our site please go to our sponsor page

Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Limud HaTorah’

Torah, Will You Marry Me? – Shavuos 5770

Share/Save
Posted by Rabbi Dovid Boruch Kopel
May 14th, 2010
Show/Add Comments (0) Views (135)
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (3 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...

Many things in this world exist as pairs. There is Man and Woman; there are the Heavens and the land, and so on. Our world is built upon a foundation of these relationships. There is only one true existence which is without a pair, which is Hashem. Everything else not only has a pair but must have a pair. Torah is also two, Torah ShBichsav and Torah ShBaal Peh. With all of these pairs there are parallels in which one pair will personify the other as well. Man and Woman are parallel to Torah ShBichsav and Torah ShBaal Peh. This is because the nature of Man is to transmit and nourish, whereas Woman is to take in and develop. The Torah ShBichsav is composed of pasukim. Torah ShBaal Peh conveys the meaning of the pasukim.

I recently heard an incredible explanation of a cryptic statement of the Chazal (T.Z 21) from my great Rebbi, Rav Nochum Lansky Shlita. He explained that when Moshe hit the rock instead of speaking with it, serious repercussions followed. The relationship between Torah ShBaal Peh and Torah ShBichsav was deeply disturbed. The level of understanding of Torah ShBaal Peh was hindered; no longer would there be clarity among all. Now there will be questions, difficulties, and even disagreements. The concept of a Rebbi or teacher of Torah became essential. This is hinted by the word מריבה , since it contains the letters רבי .

While my Rebbi didn’t explain why this punishment was a consequence of this particular sin, I would like to suggest a possibility. It is specifically through dibur that Moshe Rabbeinu was instructed. It is well known that the both speech and hearing were used in the chayte of the Etz HaDaas. The Nachash spoke lashon harah about Hashem and gave an aitzah raah as well. Speech is known to be one of the main differences between animals and man. We have bechirah and speech; they have neither. Speech is so special because of its refinement. Through careful adjustments of our mouth and tongue, we are able to make precise sounds that communicate specific messages. A person who is angry, instead of speaking may bang his hand on the table to convey his point, when he really is just trying to get your attention.

It is well beyond me to convict Moshe Rabbeinu of any wrong doing. Rather I am simply trying to understand the reason as to why Moshe Rabbeinu deserved punishment. I would like to clarify that it may not have been as much as a punishment as it was an affect. Meaning that Moshe Rabbeinu was the one who transmitted the Torah from Hashem to Bnei Yisroel. It could be that due to his favoring his staff over his words, he created a shift in the World that made the Torah that he said over more unclear. That means that his ability to teach Torah to

Bnei Yisroel is the same as the ability to cause water to flow. When he was unable to utilize this strength properly it weakened it entirely.

The other understanding could have been that due to the fact that Moshe Rabbeinu used his staff instead of his words, Hashem punished Bnei Yisroel by making it that they would need to work harder to understand what they are being told.

The damage that was done by the hitting of the rock has been instilled in our relationship to the Torah. In reality the Torah was never created as one, but rather as a pair that functioned in unison. The perfect model of a relationship is where one gives and the other takes in and utilizes. Where one side takes or gives too much, there is a lack of balance.

It is well known that there are several parables associated with the relationship of Torah ShBichsav and Torah ShBaal Peh. The bond between Man and Woman is by far the most recognized. It is the Man who represents the Torah ShBichsav and the Woman who represents the Torah ShBaal Peh. The Man is the one who gives and provides whereas the Woman receives and utilizes.

Torah ShBichsav is the source of Torah ShBaal Peh as Torah ShBichsav is the basis of what Torah ShBaal Peh explains. Torah ShBaal Peh interprets Torah ShBichsav and gives meaning to the text that would have been unable to be comprehended otherwise.

Chazal teach us that there is a dispute in regards to the berachos for a new married couple, whether two berachos are made in regards to the forming of Man or just one. First the gemara (Kesubos 8a) questions if there were two formations. The gemara rejects the possibility that there were more than one formation and suggests that the question is if the berachos are determined by the thought or the action that was carried out. There is one pasuk that suggests that there was a thought to create two, but the action that was carried out was only one.

The Maharsha says on that gemara, that just as there was a thought to create the World with the attribute of din and saw that the World would not stand, similarly, there was a thought to create Man and Woman separately like all the other creatures. It was apparent that Man would

be unbalanced and saddened so Man was created as one with the potential to bring themselves together as one body.

Man was created as one and not as two. The Torah states shortly after the creation of Man:

“ויאמר ה’ אלקים לא טוב היות האדם לבדו אעשה לו עזר כנגדו” (בראשית ב, יח)

Even within the creation of Man as one, there was a need for Woman. The World could not stand if they were created separately. However once they were created as one, it was described as “לא טוב “, not good for Man to be by himself.

It is without a question that this was the intention. There was no mistake or that Hashem changed his mind, chas v’shalom. It was essential that Man and Woman be created as one. It is my understanding that Man and Woman had to be created in a single formation to the extent that they were one body, as that would truly bind them as one.

Through the parallel of Torah ShBichsav and Torah ShBaal Peh being Man and Woman respectively, there must be continuity to this thought. Torah ShBichsav and Torah ShBaal Peh were to be created as two. It was understood that the World could not stand that way, and so the Torah in its entirety was created through one.

Torah ShBichsav was created just as Man was created, and then Hashem said, it was not good by himself. Man personifies the concept of one who gives. Without the ability to give, Man is unable to exercise his will. Similarly, Torah ShBichsav is to be interpreted by Torah ShBaal Peh.

The separation of Man and Woman as well as Torah ShBichsav and Torah ShBaal Peh is a state to enable unity in a way that closest resembles the only true one, Hashem. While nothing can be one as Hashem, it is evidently clear that Torah and Man were created in a way that they should mimic closely.

Through the hitting of the rock Moshe Rabbeinu further separated the relationship between Torah ShBichsav and Torah ShBaal Peh. A major role in our lives is to unite the two, Man and Woman which is the two parts of Torah.

There is a wonderful Dvar Torah in the Tashbetz Katan (465) that explains many connections between the receiving of the Torah and marriage. To name a few:

  • · Just as Bnei Yisroel fasted before Matan Torah so too the Chassan and Kallah fast
  • · There are ten times that Bnei Yisroel is called Kallah, (seven times in  שה”ש and three times in other seforim. There must be a connection between the seven and three)
  • · Those ten times are keneged the Aseres HaDibros
  • · As well as the ten people needed to make the shevah berachos which we learn from Boaz.
  • · Just as the even of the Aseres HaDibros were handed over, so too a Chassan gives his Kallah her kesubah
  • · “חתן על כלה” בגימטריא “התורה”
  • · “חתן על כלה” בגימטריא “תרי”ג” וגימטריא “משה רבינו”

The marriage between Man and Woman is to bring these two separate individuals together. To unify themselves, to be as close to one body as possible. On the chag of Shavuos, there is also a marriage between Torah Sh’Bichsav and Torah Sh’Baal Peh, just as there is by Man and Woman.

We saw from the Tashbetz and originally from Chazal, that we learn the law that the Shevah Berachos must be with ten men from Boaz. Boaz became the husband of Rus who was the great grandfather of Dovid HaMelech. On Shavuos we read Sefer Rus because she was m’gayer just as Bnei Yisroel did. We know that Mashiach is called Mashiach Ben Dovid. Rus represents the potential to bring the geulah. There is an obvious connection between the Shevah Berachos and Boaz. As we saw the Tashbetz notes that seven of the ten times that Bnei Yisroel are called Kallah are in Shir HaShirrim. He is making a connection between the number seven which personifies the attribute of Malchus which is Shlomo HaMelech, who wrote Shir HaShirrim. The Tashbetz is directly making a connection between the ten people needed for the Shevah Berachos and the Asres HaDibros.

Rebbi Akiva is called the Av of Torah ShBaal Peh, he was the son of a ger. Dovid HaMelech comes from Rus who was a geuris and from Yehuda and Tamar. Rus was a Moavis who came from the Lot and his daughter. Dovid HaMelech had Shlomo HaMelech through Bat Shevah. We see a theme that Torah ShBaal Peh comes from outside of the norm of Bnei Yisroel. Coming from gerim and from prohibited relations. This is because Torah ShBaal Peh is the choshech and that which is lacking and imperfect. This is how Torah Sh’Baal Peh binds with Torah Sh’Bichsav.

I want to suggest that the Shevah Berachos are the Torah Sh’Baal Peh as they are learned from Boaz, and the Aseres HaDibros is the essence of Torah Sh’Bichsav. In this relationship we see how they can become one. Therefore it is understood that the geulah will come through the yichud of Torah Sh’Bichsav and Torah Sh’Baal Peh.

The whole world stands on these principles. The bond between Man and Woman is connected to the bond between Torah Sh’Bichsav and Torah Sh’Baal Peh. This model extends to Klal Yisroel as well. In this relationship, Hashem is the Chassan giving to Bnei Yisroel. If we are lacking unity, we are not a vessel that is capable of receiving the Torah. That is why at the time of Matan Torah, all of Bnei Yisroel were m’gayer. They all became new people…without any blemish…nothing between them.

In the other relationship between Torah Sh’Bichsav and Torah Sh’Baal Peh, if the Torah Sh’Baal Peh doesn’t properly interpret the Torah and complete the relationship, there will be a lacking, a distancing. The sfaykos that came from the hitting of the rock caused more difficulty in understanding Torah Sh’Baal Peh. There is a great need to understand it and then apply it to the Torah Sh’Bichsav. Without this, the balance of giving and receiving is off.

On Shavuos we are in a way “renewing our vows”. We accept the Torah as we did the first time. Had we accepted the Torah fully and did everything we could do, in regards to unity as Klal Yisroel and in our learning of Torah, making it shalaim, we would have had the geulah. This year we should go and m’gayer ourselves! Remove the sinas chinum and truly embrace all of Bnei Yisroel. Make Klal Yisroel a kli kibbul that can properly accept the Torah HaKedoshah. Then take the beautiful Torah, the holy of holies. Learn it and treasure it. Unite the Torah Sh’Bichsav with the Torah Sh’Baal Peh. Let the true will of Hashem Yisborach be “מלא הארץ דעה “, and the World will see clearly the Torah for what it is.

A Personal Message – Parshas Vayikra 5770

Share/Save
Posted by Rabbi Yosef Tropper
March 18th, 2010
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...

ויקרא אל משה וידבר ה’ אליו… (א:א)

“Hashem called to Moshe and spoke with him…” (1:1).

The best student in the world (Moshe), learning from the best Teacher in the world (Hashem), has a great lesson for us.

Rashi states that the Moshe was not taught everything all at once. Hashem would teach him Torah lessons in specific segments. After a break in between, Hashem would then call him back later for further learning. This was done in order to give Moshe the time to digest and contemplate the material.

This is a fundamental lesson for us. It takes time and much review in order to properly absorb material. The question which has always intrigued me is: why here? This is not the first time that we find Hashem teaching Moshe the Torah laws. Throughout Sefer Shemos Hashem gave over many laws to Moshe. Why then is the lesson of contemplation and digestion of material specifically found here?!

I suggest that it is an intrinsic part of Vayikra, Leviticus. The Jews were saved from Egypt and Hashem brought them to the desert where He gave them the Torah and then commanded them to build a Mishkan for Him. The Mishkan is the place where Hashem would dwell among them. The home of Hashem is very special. More importantly though is the actual service of Hashem, the Karbonos brought before him!

Karbonos represent an ultimate dedication to Hashem. One was to watch the animal slaughtered, blood sprinkled and then body burnt upon the Altar. This animal could have been him, had Hashem not accepted his repentance and sacrifice substitute for himself. This exercise is only effective and moving if one contemplates it!

One can be exposed to the greatness and miracles of Hashem, but that does not mean that he truly saw. Only when one contemplates what he beheld is there effect! This is true with all of Torah. Learning the beauty of Torah is not complete without accompanied action brought on by the learning.

The most relevant place to stress the importance of contemplation is in the Sefer of Vayikra which discusses the service of Hashem!

Indeed, the Ramban writes that the Karban Olah is brought for transgressions and is totally burn. This is to show the sinner that Hashem expects from him total dedication towards Him!

We merited to have the Karban Tamid of the morning and evening through Yitzchok Aveinu being brought up upon the Altar before Hashem at the Akeida. Avraham asked that his children should have the ability to fully connect with Hashem and he was granted this through Karbonos.

Nowadays, we unfortunately we don’t have the Beis HaMikdash. Thus, our area of service and dedication is in Tefillah which have replaced Karbonos until Moshiach’s arrival. When we pour out our hearts before Hashem, we are contemplating… we are recognizing in the deepest way that only Hashem can answer us and fill our needs. This is the ultimate level of contemplation.

I believe this is the reason that the lesson of contemplation is taught specifically as we embark upon the laws of Karbonos, Sefer Vayikra.

Categories: Parshas Vayikra Tags:

Shabbos – Obtaining Kedushah – Parshas Vayakhel 5770

Share/Save
Posted by Rabbi Dovid Boruch Kopel
March 12th, 2010
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (3 votes, average: 4.33 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...

ששת ימים תעשה מלאכה וביום השביעי יהיה לכם קדש שבת שבתון לה’ כל העשה בו מלאכה יומת – Kodesh is given to you. How do you get kedushah only by working six days and the seventh day shall be for you kodesh. It isn’t kodesh just by being sanctified itself, rather through the work of the week can you create the kedushah of Shabbos. Shabbos is not an absence of work but an active state of not working. There is a difference between not working and taking a break. Not working is when you are supposed to work and you choose not to. Taking a break is a time set aside for rejuvenation. Can you have a break if you don’t work? It isn’t only that you cannot have a break without working but the contrast between the two gives more meaning to each. That is kedushah. Kedushah is taking the mere mundane and elevating it by using it for a purpose beyond the ordinary. While we may seem to exist primarily in the mundane world, we are really well beyond a realm of constriction and boundaries. The vast plains of toil in the physical world comprise the corridor to a great existence. The usage of this world is in order that we may be able to do the will of the Almighty in its glory. The greater purpose of our lives is revealed through the lens of Shabbos. Shabbos is the gift that makes everything have a purpose. It is a glimpse to the future which had been the past.

Why is it that the desecration of Shabbos is punishable by death? Perhaps an understanding of this idea is because the purpose of the weekdays are to bring out the Shabbos. Their whole purpose is to create Shabbos. By desecrating the Shabbos you are undoing the reason for the week all together therefore you have taken away your life in that world. That is of course true in the positive as well. When you keep Shabbos it is as though you have given purpose to life once again.

Why is Shabbos the first aspect of this parshah which is specifically directed at the congregation of the Jewish people? The Rokaiach gives a very fundamental answer to this question which seems to be based on the midrash brought in the Yalkut Shimoni. He says for six days we work and are involved in our work, but on Shabbos we must only be involved in the learning of Torah. Shabbos is the time given to be fully immersed in the learning of Torah which will enable the overall observance of mitzvos. It seems from the yalkut that the role of the learning on Shabbos is in order to ensure that the people will keep the mitzvos.

The major subject of this parshah is the tabernacle therefore there must be a reason why the parshah begins with Shabbos. It is well known that the laws of Shabbos are derived from the building of the tabernacle. That means that there is an inherit connection between the building of the tabernacle and the sanctity of Shabbos. The Sages learn from the pasuk אלה הדברים the thirty-nine different labors prohibited on Shabbos. אלה is gematriah thirty-six, דברים which is plural adds another two and the ה adds another one resulting in thirty-nine. Therefore the prohibited acts on Shabbos are enumerated from the pasuk that begins our parshah.

Shabbos is an אות and a ברית. An ose means it is a sign, a bris means a binding relationship. Ose which also literally means a letter is the formation of the thought that is represented in that letter. There are twenty-two different ways of expressing thought in the Torah and each one of those letters contain every single thought. Shabbos is one of the few sets of laws that are learned from gematriah. Perhaps an explanation is because the idea of gematriah is that each letter contains a numerical value. That numerical value is not arbitrary rather it is an expression of the thought behind the letter itself. That is Shabbos. Shabbos represents the completion of the world. Shabbos is one of the things that binds us through a bris to Hashem that makes us unique from the nations. Shabbos contains the deep fundamental ideas that define the Jewish people which qualify to be called an ose. It is an ose because it goes back to the source of the world which is the six days of creation and the day of rest, Shabbos. The gematriah for Shabbos teaches us the amount of the activities done in the building of the tabernacle which also are the prohibitions on Shabbos. The actions that create a place for the divine presence to rest in this world are the same actions which also create a time that is special to Yisroel. Shabbos is the relationship with Hashem through time just as the Land of Yisroel is through place. The Land of Yisroel is of course given its kedushah due to the holy temple. The tabernacle is the first initiative for a place for such a relationship. The kedushah found in the tabernacle is like that which is found on Shabbos. The ose which is the letters of the Torah are what binds the Torah together. The letters of the Torah are the names of the Almighty. The divine presence rests upon anyone who mentions His name, this is through Torah. The Shabbos is the inner thought of the Torah, just as the Torah is just for Yisroel so is Shabbos. Torah is that which transcends time and place. It binds us to Hashem both in the evening and the morning.

Chanukah – Now, Then, and Forever – 5770

Share/Save
Posted by Rabbi Dovid Boruch Kopel
December 11th, 2009
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...

The great Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Ner Yisroel in Baltimore Rav Shmuel Yaakov Weinberg zt”l said on several occasions that the Moadim that we experience annually are not anniversaries. They are reliving that initial experience once again. I heard from the Rosh Yeshiva of the Telshe Yeshvia in Cleveland Rav Mordechai Gifter zt”l that Moed comes from the word vaad, a meeting or commencement. That means that every Moed that we have is a chance to have a meeting with the Ribono Shel Olam in a way that we cannot have the rest of the year. That means that through a Moed we come to embrace something that we cannot gain the rest of the year. We then take that newly found treasure and incorporate it in to our lives. Just as we must breath constantly so too we must go through the year with these breaths of closeness constantly. We are both physical and very much spiritual. That means that just as we need physical nourishment so too we need spiritual nourishment. That nourishment is found through the toil of Mitzvos and the learning of Torah. The Mitzvos exist in several manifestations, i.e. in a location, in a time or through a physical action. Those are the three different natures of Mitzvos that we find. Some are capable of being observed throughout the year, while some are limited to certain time periods. On the other hand, some are all year long but are only in certain locations. The last group being to only certain people and certain aspects of the person. The Moadim incorporate these three natures of Mitzvos and utilize all of them in combination with the Holy Shabbos to give sustenance to Man and allow him to do his duties of this World.

These meetings with us and the Almighty are our opportunity to grasp the essential nutrients that we need for the year and this moment itself. That means that each Moed of the year has its own special aspects to give us. Therefore, it is logical to say that each one of these aspects must come in a certain order. As we said in the previous article the revelation of the aspects of each Moed are very particular and unique to each one. Therefore each Moed must come the same time every year to allow us to grab those nutrients at the right time.

The Rabbinical Moadim are slightly different. The Biblical Moadim were commanded at the same time. That means that they were all essential to us at the time of their commandment. The Rabbinical Moadim (Purim and Chanukah) were enacted after each other with due time in between them. If that is the case then the aspect that we need to grab by the later one must have not been necessary by the first one. In fact the Moed of Purim occurred several hunded of years prior to Chanukah. That being true whatever had been needed for the Moed of Chanukah to occur it was not needed at the time of Purim. With that said we have a deeper question. Within the order of the Moadim the Moed of Chanukah comes prior to the Moed of Purim. As per what we said before that whatever aspect we needed to grab by Chanukah it was not needed by the time of Purim. If that is true why is it needed for us to relive the experience of Chanukah prior to Purim!?

I believe that this question can become much clearer by looking at another question. It is clear that Yitzchak Avinu is written of the least out of the three Avos. Why is that? Perhaps we can suggest the following reality for this question. Generally speaking, Mankind has a desire to see his accomplishments immediately. Waiting to see the results of your hard work is a very difficult task for many as it requires great belief that you are doing that which is necessary to produce the result you want. When you see the results immediately you get the satisfaction of knowing your work paid off. To our dismay, this shortcoming is something every one of us deals with daily. This is found both in our physical and spiritual lives.[1] It is the Mesiras Nefesh that we put in to all of our lives that defines who we are. Such emphasis on one point for one’s entire existence is a great deal. That is as I have said in the past the act of giving up your chance to continue to do that task that is greater than all of them. The greatest possible benefit we can have is through the observance of Mitzvos. Those Mitzvos provide us with Life and purpose. To give up that benefit by giving up your Life for its greater cause is surely greater than all that you could have been granted in this world. You are cutting yourself off from further benefit by performing the greatest act of glorification of the name of the Almighty possible. You are giving up your chance to exist for yourself, to rise to an existence past Life itself! That is the reason why Yitzchak Avinu need not be written in the Torah at length. His Life personifies the midah of Din. The ultimate din is through purging your existence from this world. The other Avos represent much more complex midos that require a greater precedent. Giving up your life for Kiddush Hashem is the top of the levels that you have reach in your observance.

Now we can take this understanding and apply it to our question about Chanukah and Purim. The chag of Purim deals with the genocide of the entire people of Yisroel, regardless of there beliefs. The chag of Chanukah has nothing to do with a nation, rather it is purely against the culture of Yisroel. The Greeks wanted to assimilate the People of Yisroel not destroy them. Thus killing the definition of the Jewish People, as we are a chosen nation that is not among the other nations. Purim came prior to Chanukah because there lives at stake were first put into question. It is much easier to be willing to give up your lives for the sake of something as great as Torah but its even easier when it is for yourself. The Jewish people were given the miracle of Purim to appreciate the lives that they have for being a separate nation from the rest of the world. That led to a new acceptance of the yolk of the Torah and its Mitzvos on the chag of Purim. The chag of Chanukah is the miracle that we withstood the force of the nations to assimilate to be one people. We won the battles against the Greeks, but above all the kedushah of the Holy Temple remained. That pure oil started the flame of Torah that exists on Chanukah. It is much easier to give up your life by Purim than keep your standards of living by Chanukah. Though it was below the People of Yisroel as the time of Purim to assimilate among the nations as they only needed inspiration in the mitzvos. The People of Yisroel at the time of Chanukah were battling the pressures of the Greek Culture which was much more difficult to keep, as they are more deeply rooted in minus.

On this Chanukah may we all take in the bright lights that lay before us. May we grasp the great ohr that is revealed to us that had been reserved for the righteous. May we internalize that light and allow it to shine through our actions from this year to the next. Through this Chanukah we can light the dark path that lay before us, the path that is so evident. Let that light direct us to the new mikdash, to fill it with a new light of Torah and Avodah.

  1. I really don’t like to split that as the goal is to make them one. Though whenever I mention physical and spiritual it doesn’t mean that everything should be done for the sake of the spiritual. I am emphasizing that the activities that we do in there raw form exist in both platforms. []

Backwards Fish – Parshas Beha’aloscha 5769

Share/Save
Posted by Rabbi Yosef Tropper
June 11th, 2009
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading ... Loading ...

 ויהי בנסע הארון… (י:לה).

“And in was when the Aron departed…” (10:35).

Written in the Sefer Torah, this verse and the following verse are surrounded by the famous Nunim Hafuchim, backwards Nunim (נ). Let us find the significance and highly practical lesson which can be gleaned from this.

Rashi tells us that these backwards Nunim show an interruption in the narrative between two negative events (sins) which occurred before and after these two verses. It must be noted that when we talk about the sins of the Jews of that great generation, we do not ever think that we can comprehend their true actions and intentions. On their lofty level, Hashem saw these actions as a sin. We strive to learn the lesson that the Torah is providing us with by recording Hashem’s disappointment in their actions. We must take out the lesson available for us.

The catastrophic event following the verse is obvious. The Mis’oninim and Asafsuf incident transpired as the Jews complained that the spiritual Manna that they were eating was not good enough for them, they wanted real meat! Hashem granted their demand and many of them perished as a punishment. What though is the negative sin proceeding these two verses? Tosafos (Shabbos 116a) informs us. The proceeding verse states that the Jews left from their encampment at Sinai. They had remained there after receiving the Torah and now it was time to depart. Instead of leaving heavy-heartily from that great place of inspiration and growth, in deference to their achievements they had gained there, they left with terrible disrespect! They ran away like a child bursts out of school at the end of class. Hashem was not happy with their disrespectful display. Hence, we have discovered the negative events that occurred, however, what do they have to do with a backward Nun?!

The Kli Yakar fills us in on this mystery. The word Nun, means fish in Aramaic. Fish live and thrive only in water. Once a fish leaves the water, it is only a matter of time before it will perish. Thus, fish keep themselves under water! A backwards fish is one that is acting the opposite of how it should, i.e. it is trying to leave the water. A fish that gets out of the water is unattached from its life source and is in danger of perishing.

The two sins which the Jews committed stemmed from this exact point. They were not living up to the standard expected of them as people connected to and pursuing closeness with Hashem. If they would have appreciated how vital Hashem and His Torah were to their lives, they never would have committed either of these sins.

They complained about the food showing that the very kindness which Hashem was delivering to their doorsteps was totally unappreciated by them! They ran away from Sinai in a way that told Hashem that they did not value His closeness as they should have. This is exactly akin to a backwards fish. Klal Yisrael were guilty of swimming away from their life-source!

I would like to suggest that the two verses in between the two sins are the antidote to the terrible sins and show us the correct perspective. The first verse acknowledges how Hashem protected the Jews from all harm, thus appreciating what He did for them and teaching us to see His eternal kindness. The second verse is a request that Hashem should dwell with them in the desert. This is the perspective of a correct fish, recognizing its life source and striving to live that way!

Say Cheese! Shavuos 5769

Share/Save
Posted by Rabbi Yosef Tropper
May 25th, 2009
Show/Add Comments (0) Views (120)
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading ... Loading ...

From where does the custom emerge for us to eat dairy products on Shavuos? In general, the entire Yom Tov seems preoccupied with food! “Everyone agrees that on Shavuos one needs to have physical enjoyment as well” (Pesachim 68b). The Karbon, sacrifice, of the Shney HaLechem, two breads, was brought as well, another hint to edibles. The Yom Tov is called “Chag HaKatzir”, the holiday of the harvest (of the grain in the field). It is most surprising that a Yom Tov celebrating our holy and spiritual Torah should have such a physical stress?! Shouldn’t we rather fast the entire day and separate from earthly drives? What does this all mean?

A fundamental and inspiring lesson lies behind all this! Chazal (Eruvin 54a) tell us that “this temporal world is like a wedding, one must grab and eat while the food is available”. The simple meaning of this dictum is that one must accomplish as much Torah and Mitzvos as he can while he is alive. There is another depth here as well. Why is this world like a wedding? Imagine that one attends the most exquisite and fancy Jewish wedding ever held. The hall and its ambience are breathtaking, the food is unbelievable, the fifty-piece band is heavenly and the guests are most distinguished! Interestingly, there is one short phrase that determines whether this event has any worth or not. The Groom must say the marriage pronouncement of “Harey Att Mikudeshes Li…, You are sanctified to me (as my wife)…” That is the most important element, worth more than any of the fanfare present. With it, we have experienced a breathtaking wedding. Without it, the entire event would be almost worthless! So too, this world is a beautiful party filled with all kinds of exciting delicacies, foods, music and enjoyment. Our job is to be “Mikadesh it”, to dedicate ourselves to sanctify and elevate it, by using it for the service of Hashem. We do not shun the world. We strive to use it as a conduit to thank Hashem. Hence, just as “you are holy to me” makes the wedding, so too, when we bring Hashem into the picture by elevating the mundane, we make the world!

When one partakes of a delicious meal, his body feels it very strongly and his emotions are stirred. He can take this elevation and use it to thank Hashem ever so passionately. Whereas, without this physical stimulation, he never would have risen to these grateful feelings. Thank You Hashem for giving me such delicious food and for creating such a graceful world. Thank You Hashem for my beautiful spouse and family and for all of the good which You bestow upon me to enjoy and savor. I recognize what You do for me and I wish to serve you better now! The world is a wedding and we are the Groom who sanctifies her!

With every one of the ten commandments that Hashem uttered, the world filled with a varied fragrant scent (Shabbos 88b). Why was this necessary? I suggest that this was precisely to show the significance of physical sensations and their importance to Torah observance. Hashem does not want us to negate our bodies and their feelings. He wanted to keep our nerve endings stimulated in order to show us that a Torah Jew knows how to use this world to draw inspiration and closeness to Him through his pleasurable experiences.

The Angels in Heaven wanted the Torah, but Moshe fought for us to get it. Moshe said that only physical can properly keep the Torah. We have the opportunity to elevate our physicality. humans

It is well understood now why the Tashbaitz states that we learn many laws regarding a wedding specifically from Matan Torah. Indeed this was the wedding between Hashem and us in a very deep way!

Shavuos is the Holiday that Hashem states that He wishes for us to eat and enjoy pleasures for ourselves. This is to teach us that the entire foundation of our service of Hashem does not focus on self-denial or torture. Rather, it revolves around taking enjoyments and using them to grow closer to Hashem. To grow in our gratitude and appreciate of what He has given to us.

Milk represents a mother’s care for her baby. It is the most nourishing and delicious substance that a mother can offer her child. It is a vehicle of love and closeness from which a mother and child form a close bond. We are enjoined to partake in milk products as a reminder that Shavuos is a time to feel Hashem’s love for us. It is a time to partake of earth’s delights and to thereby elevate and be Mikadesh, sanctify, them by letting them bring out our warm appreciation and feelings towards Hashem.

The lesson is vital and relevant. Our bodies have feelings and through them we can draw close to Hashem. It is specifically for this Holiday that we find food stressed repeatedly. For it is in this Shavuos celebration of our accepting the Torah that we acknowledge the importance of our bodies. May we be inspired this Shavuos as we take in all of the enjoyment that Hashem brings us. May we recognize how much He cares for us. The dairy products hint to the ultimate nourishment and care that one has for their children. We are Hashem’s people and we will smile when we say “cheese” at our fantastic wedding with Hashem!

Derech HaLimud – The Way to Learn and Analyze

Share/Save
Posted by Rabbi Yosef Tropper
May 24th, 2009
Show/Add Comments (0) Views (168)
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading ... Loading ...
This entry is part 12 of 14 in the series Living Purim Every Day

 …ויאמר לאסתר המלכה מי הוא זה ואי זה הוא אשר מלאו לבו לעשות כן. (אסתר ז,ה)

“Achashveyrosh asked Esther, who is the villain who desires to destroy you and what is his motivation?” (Esther 7,5).

How To Learn

The Megillah is the Sefer that shows how the Jews reconnected to Hashem. Their hearts were so full of love and gratitude from witnessing their miraculous salvation that they were brought to reaccept the Torah willingly, once and for all! It comes as no surprise then that the Megillah contains the formula for how to succeed in learning. When Achashveyrosh wanted to figure out who had plotted to destroy the Jews, he asked Esther two questions. Tell me the facts, what was the plot, who was involved? Next, he questioned, why did he want to do this?

What then Why

This one Passuk, states the Gra (Pshat, see also Sod), contains the secret to how to properly investigate any issue. First ask: what and then ask: why! It sounds quite simple, but many people try to skip steps and in the end wind up confused. This is especially true in learning Torah.

We first seek to make the Gemara into a simple and complete algebraic formula. We define and isolate specific words as: question, answer, proof and rebuttal, etc. The Gemara says this fact and the Mishna states an opposing view, etc. We build the framework and separate the stages. Next, we work to fill in the details of each previously not known or understood variable. Why is this a valid question; why does the Gemara think this is the way to read it, etc.? We bring the Gemara to life in a systematic and thorough way. This is the way to achieve understanding and success.

Talmudic Proofs

The Gemara Berachos (63b, see Rashi as well) states that in learning one should: “first gather information, and after that, grind it and question it”. (See also Berachos (18a) and Kiddushin (30a), and Rashi in both places.)

Additionally, the Gemara (Berachos 64) asks, who is to be appointed as the Jewish leader? One who is a “Sinai”, a scholar who specializes in knowing all Torah sources and information, or an “Okair Harim”, one who is an expert in sharp and critical analysis? The Gemara concludes that the one with the knowledge is more qualified. We see the importance of first establishing the facts. Once we have established the hard facts, we are then able to build from there to delve deeper and further to grasp where the great Rishonim and Achronim were coming from. We will see how they read and developed the Gemara’s structure and conclusions.

Taanis (7b) states if one sees a student who is not succeeding in his Torah studies, attribute this to the fact that he does not know the basic principles contained in the Mishna. Rashi explains that he cannot go on to achieve deeper understanding that emerges from the Gemara’s debates, because of his deficiency in the basics. The Gemara concludes that indeed Reish Lakish only rose to greatness on account that he would review the Mishnayos facts forty times before attending Rebbe Yochanon’s lecture on extrapolation. Also, Rav Addah Bar Ahava would review his Mishniyos twenty-four times before attending shiur from his Rebbe, Rava.

Achashveyrosh’s Lesson

This was the exact way that the Achashveyrosh questioned Esther. First, he asked for the raw facts, what was the plot and who was involved? Only after that did he ask to understand the motivations and reason behind it. The Megillah shares this verse with us because we can learn a great lesson from his analytical approach.  

 The Best Derech

When dictating the proper Derech HaLimud, Rav Mordechai Gifter zt”l stated that when one learns, he must first “define what and then understand why“. I have been trained in this by my dear Rebbe, ybl”c, Rav Asher Zelig Rubenstein shlit”a as well. We must first strive to understand what the words are stating and then we move on to understand them. He frequently quotes Reb Nachum Parchovitz zt”l of Mir, regarding how to understand a Rashi. We first read what he is saying and then we strive to understand the logic behind it.

 Iyun and B’kiyus

The Gra in Mishley (6:8) gives a most relevant explanation of the maxim of Chazal (Avos 3:17), “If there is no flour, there is no Torah; if there is no Torah, there is no flour”. The simple understanding is that Hashem only provides us with food when we learn His Torah and serve Him properly, and we also can’t learn properly without food and health. The Gra adds a beautiful depth and life to these words. There are two elements to learning Torah. They are acquiring factual knowledge and delving into the facts to plumb their depths, achieving deeper and more enlightened understanding. He states that both are vital and one cannot succeed in Torah without them. The word “Torah” in the Mishna can be seen to refer to the first aspect of gathering all the facts of the entire Torah. The word “Kemach, flour”, refers to ground and well pounded grain, this represents the elucidation and delving into the depths of Torah, by rigorous effort. The Mishna is thus stating that, “if there is no flour…”, meaning, if one does not grind and contemplate his Torah facts, then “…he has no Torah”, the large facts are not very useful as they are not being understood by deep cross-examination. Also, “if there is no Torah…”, meaning, if one does not possess a large mental library of Torah facts and information, then “…there is no flour”,  he is not able to grind, for he lacks the raw ingredients necessary. His depth is well intended, but his machine is lacking grinding material! Beautiful words!

The Focus

What is left to be understood from all of this is the proper perspective of raw knowledge versus grinding. One simple question must be asked on the Gra’s interpretation. Why is the importance of grinding stressed first before broad knowledge (“If there is no flour”, i.e. grounding and analyzing Torah)? Is not the first and most vital task the acquirement of information (“If there is no Torah”, i.e. facts)? The answer puts everything in perspective. Certainly, one must have knowledge of as many branches and facts of Torah as possible, this will give him what to chew and develop upon. However, the development and deepening of understanding and connecting to the Logic of Hashem is the primary goal. Our job is to be a Lamdan (animated scholar), not a bland encyclopedia! It’s just that the only way this is carried out is by strict adherence to the text and gaining clarity in the facts first.

Just as when a judge issues his verdict, the most important aspect was his deliberation and deep understanding of what is fair and just, so too, the Torah contemplation and understanding is the primary goal. However, this could not have been reached without the scrupulous listening to the exact words of the plaintiff, defendant and their respective witnesses, who brought the case to life. So too, in Torah, the details are of utmost significance. After that is heard, one can begin to plumb the depths, which is the true goal. This is why the importance of development is stressed first and over the actual fact-finding initiative. Only secondarily does the Mishna state that without general knowledge, one is unable to process and delve properly.

Great Story!

A man once came to the Chazon Ish and cried over his worry that his son would not study Iyun, in depth, and rather was studying diligently only B’kiyus, general and broad Torah facts. How will he ever become a Talmid Chacham?! The Chazon Ish assured him not to worry, “one can become a Gadol through B’kiyus as well!” His words proved true and his illustrious nephew, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky shlit”a, raised to greatness. He specializes in all fields of Torah knowledge, while certainly maintaining a deep and sharp analytical understanding of Talmud and law. 

When we learn and wish to develop our minds, the Megillah tells us just how to do this every day. We first strive to establish the facts and then we develop them further.

Always Time For Torah – Parshas Emor 5769

Share/Save
Posted by Rabbi Yosef Tropper
May 7th, 2009
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading ... Loading ...

וספרתם לכם ממחרת השבת… שבע שבתות תמימות תהינה (כג:טו).

“You shall count starting after the holiday (of Pesach)… seven complete weeks (until Shavuos)” (23:15).

 

Reb Moshe Feinstein zt”l points out that when it comes to all of the Jewish holidays the Torah states the exact date upon which they are to be celebrated. Pesach is the fifteenth of Nissan; Rosh Hashana is the first day of Tishrey, etc. Why then does the Torah not specify the date for Shavuos, the sixth of Sivan, rather, we must figure it out based on the verses informing us that it occurs fifty days after Pesach, why is this holiday different?

He explains how this Yom Tov differs from the others. This day is not an anniversary that commemorates a past event. Pesach is celebrated to remember the day which we were brought out of Egypt by Hashem; Succos remembers the Clouds of Glory by which Hashem sheltered the Jews in the desert. However, the giving of the Torah took place at Sinai but it continues to be offered to us everyday and every moment! Chazal even instruct us to view the Torah as if it were just given to us, this is literal! Torah is not an old instruction book from antiquity, rather it is as vibrant and relevant as ever!

The Torah did not want to ascribe a specific date to Shavuos, as this may erroneously mislead someone to think that Torah is old history and that it is only available at specific times. Rather, we must know that Hashem teaches us constantly, His voice is eternal; our job is to give Him our ears and hearts!

Reb Moshe adds two more hints to this idea. Firstly, Chazal teach us that the Aron in the Mishkan, which contained the Sefer Torah inside of it, took up no physical space. What is the lesson? This is to signify that Torah is not earthbound or limited to a certain place! The Torah applies everywhere!

Secondly, we do not know in which limb our Neshamah, soul, is contained, rather the entire body is imbued with its holiness. Man must bring Hashem into every time and place that he finds himself.

This is the lesson of Shavuos, Torah is eternal and always prevalent and available!

After I wrote this beautiful idea, I decided that it would be most appropriate to save it for Shavuos and instead I would write something relevant for Parshas Emor. Then I stopped in my tracks and laughed at my silliness! The whole point of the Dvar Torah is that Kabbalas HaTorah is applicable at any time! Thus I hope you benefited from this thought as I did!

Categories: Parshas Emor Tags: ,

The Heart of Sefirah – Lag BaOmer 5769

Share/Save
Posted by Rabbi Yosef Tropper
May 6th, 2009
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...

The joy and celebration of Lag BaOmer is well known and generously carried out. The question worth pondering is what exactly is this party for? What are we so happy about? The explanation I hope will shed much light on Lag BaOmer and the entire theme of Sefiras HaOmer as well.

Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai was the author of the holy Zohar. His words contain the keys to the Pnimiyus HaTorah, wellsprings of secrets and depth of the entire Torah. There is no true Torah scholar who has not studied and gleaned insight from his esoteric works. How was one man able to accomplish his great self-development and perfection which enabled him to merit to be the one to bring out all of this greatness?

In order to understand this we must discuss the Mabul, the Great Flood, from the  time of Noach, which destroyed the entire world. This is very relevant for two reasons. Firstly, because Lag BaOmer is the eighteenth day of Iyar and it was the first day of the Mabul in which Noach and his family were saved by being inside the Taivah, Ark (see Beraishis 7:11). Also, Chazal tell us that when Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai ran away to escape death from the government, he hid inside a cave. This was equivalent to Noach inside of his Ark. What does it all mean?

Why did Hashem bring the Flood and why did he spare Noach from death? Chazal explain that the people in his generation were terrible sinners; they rebelled against Hashem. However, their final decree of annihilation came because of their sins to humanity, against each other. Their stealing and selfish outlook destroyed their society and Hashem, after warning them for one hundred and twenty years, had no choice but to destroy them. Hashem was willing to bear their sins against Him, however, people that mistreated others and were totally self-centered, had no merit to live any longer. Hashem provides life to us in order that we can serve Him and work towards breaking our egos. Our job is to develop our sensitivity and care for others. We strive to be the biggest performers of Chessed, kindness, for mankind. It was only in this merit that Noach was saved. The Torah calls him a “Tzaddik”, someone who gives generously and cares for others. In fact, even in the Ark itself Noach and his family had to dedicate themselves to tend to every animal’s individual need in order to continue their acts of Chessed and thereby merit to live. This was what kept them alive. The one time that Noach delayed in feeding a lion he was maimed by it and limped the rest of his life. It was clear to all of them that their purpose and directive was to perform limitless Chessed.

After surviving the flood, Cham castrated his father in hope of preventing him from having more children whom he feared would diminish his lot of the inheritance. Noach was in a compromised position and his grandson Canaan, son of Cham, took the opportunity to spread this fact to the others. Shem then went to cover his father and protected his dignity. Noach realized what had transpired and so he cursed Cham and his descendants with the terrible punishment of servitude. The reason for this harsh decree was that their selfish acts had showed that they had failed to learn anything regarding respecting and caring for others. Shem on the other hand was rewarded and commended for his sensitivity. He became the grandfather of Avraham and our nation. The formula is simple and clear, those who care for and help others are successful in life and develop a closeness with Hashem.

This brings us to Sefiras HaOmer. We are now counting from Pesach towards Shavuos. Hashem chose us to be His Nation and we want to accept His glorious Torah. The way that we succeed in doing this is by showing Him how much we love and care for our brothers. “VaYichan Sham Yisrael” as one person with one united heart (Shemos 19:2 and Rashi there). The experience of Har Sinai only happens when we join in unity with one another. This is why the students of Rebbe Akiva died in this time period. When Hashem was picking who would continue to spread His Torah, He needed to see mutual love in the candidates. Anyone who disrespected and mistreated his friends was deemed unworthy and unfit to perform the great job and thus perished.

Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai embodied the trait of Tzidkus, righteousness. He was from the five students of Rebbe Akiva who developed love and respect for others. He learned from his Rebbe how to love and care for his fellow people. Thus, just as Noach merited to be saved by entering his Ark and doing Chessed, so too Rashbi merited to be saved from his pursuers in his Ark/cave, where he perfected himself and authored the Zohar. He then emerged to dedicate his life to the full-time service and teaching of the beauty and secrets of Torah to his dear people.

On Lag BaOmer, the students of Rebbe Akiva stopped dying. Why then? Because there are forty-eight keys listed in Avos (6:6) for how to acquire Torah. Each day of the Sefirah we work on one of them and on the last day (forty-nine) we review them all. The thirty-second one is “love people” and the thirty-third (ל”ג) one is: “love tziddakos, righteousness”. The remaining students took these traits to heart and perfected their ability to be caring for others and to be a Tzaddik like Noach. They would think about others just as he did and thus they gained the privilege to live.

Rashbi himself died many years later, according to some, precisely on Lag BaOmer. This hints to the fact that he had perfected his trait of caring for others. The Sefirah, kabbalistic trait,  of Lag BaOmer is “Hod SheB’Hod, splendor of splendor”. What does this mean? Aharon HaCohen was the embodiment of Hod, beauty, he opened up his heart and loved and cared for every Jew; he only desired that there be true peace between the people. Suffice it to say that this day is the epitome of that dream. And thus it is the exact day that the Ark began protecting Noach and the exact day that Rashbi merited to reveal the greatest secrets of the entire Torah. All of this was in the merit of their love for others. This is what grants Torah and life!

There are thirty-two days of Sefiras HaOmer before Lag BaOmer and seventeen days from Lag BaOmer until Shavuos. Thirty-two in Hebrew is Lamed Bais (לב); seventeen in Hebrew is Tov (טוב). Thus, Lag BaOmer is the day which joins and develops the virtue of having a good and positive heart (לב טוב). It represents the bringing together and focus of this entire time period. We are working to love and embrace our fellow man!

As we open our hearts to love and care for others, we are filled with the happiness and joy of fulfilling our purpose. Let us rejoice together as we work on accepting the Torah by taking in the beautiful lesson of Lag BaOmer. This is what the celebration is all about!

Our True Colors – Purim 5769

Share/Save
Posted by Rabbi Yosef Tropper
March 8th, 2009
Show/Add Comments (0) Views (178)
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading ... Loading ...

בשלשה דברים אדם ניכר: בכוסו, ובכיסו, ובכעסו. ואמרי ליה אף בשחקו. (עירובין סה:)

“One’s true personality is measured through three things: how he deals with:

1-wine,

2-money,

3-anger.

Some add a forth item: laughter” (Eruvin 65b).

 

This Gemara is well known and quite cryptic. What is it trying to teach us? Much has been said on the matter. Let us illustrate the beauty of how this adage relates and defines the goal of our Purim celebration.

The Mishnah in Avos (4:21) tells us that there are three root destructive behaviors which prevent a person from enjoying this world. They are:

1- Ta’avah, lustful pursuit of pleasures,

2- Kinah, jealousy,

3- Kavod, desire for honor.

One who dedicates his life to these pursuits will never find happiness or fulfillment. On the flip side, one who is balanced and content in these three departments will live productively and happily. The real servant of Hashem trains himself to control his evil urges and to pursue truth and spirituality. The Torah teaches one how to do this.

There are three aspects of one’s life. They are:

1- His relationship with himself,

2- his relationship with others,

3- his relationship with Hashem.

Each has its own importance and specific dynamics.

The three destructive behaviors (pleasure, jealousy, honor) enumerated in Avos and the three personality yardsticks (wine, money, anger) quoted above, are tied together by the three departments of our relationships (self, others, God) in the following way:

1- One who drinks wine, very quickly loses himself. Thus, this corresponds to man’s intrapersonal relationship with himself, showing how he deals with his personal desires.

2- One’s wallet represents his business dealings. Thus, how honest he is in business shows where he is holding regarding his interpersonal relationships with others. Subsequently, if he is honest, he has controlled his jealousy.

3- One who is easily angered lacks proper belief in Hashem. The proof  is that he thinks that his actions are determining factors in his success and cannot bear to see anyone violate his plans! He demands honor and recognition for his own greatness. Hence, this anger corresponds to and gauges one’s relationship and connection to Hashem.  

These are the three departments, the full picture of a person’s life.

How do we then explain the opinion which adds a fourth component in sizing up a person (wine, wallet, anger, laughter) based upon his “laughter”? What does that signify, have we not already covered all of the categories?! The answer is that this is what brings everything together! Laughter represents enjoyment and fulfillment in what one does. Only one who lives life and develops himself in these three departments can truly find happiness. Only one who lives with Hashem and His Torah will achieve bliss and enjoyment.

In the time of Purim, the Jews were not serving Hashem properly, this prompted Hashem to send Haman to threaten to annihilate them. By repenting and coming back to Hashem this meant that they committed themselves to act properly in all three departments of their service. The result was their salvation and achievement of an exalted state of happiness in their Torah observance. They developed and honed their three relationship groups and even more so they achieved the fourth level of bliss and laughter from their application and commitment to Torah study. Thus, we see how these four elements (wine, wallet, anger, laughter) directly relate to Purim. Let’s examine this further.

We have four Mitzvos on Purim relating to these four things as well:

1- To overcome our lusts and desires, we have a party L’shem Shamayim, using food and drinks for the service of Hashem. In our minds we train ourselves to have self-control.

2- To overcome our selfish ego and jealousy, we open our wallets and perform Mishloach Manos, gifts to other people. This helps us articulate that the world does not revolve around us, rather we strive to relate and care for others as well.

3- Our pursuit of honor makes us reluctant to give charity to others, as we wish to remain rich and powerful ourselves. However, Hashem desires that we emulate His kindness and acknowledge that He runs the world. An angry person only gets enraged because he feels that he is the boss, and gets upset when someone violated his wishes. However, our job is to follow Hashem and realize that He makes the rules. To develop a deeper connection to Hashem, we emulate His kindness by giving Matanos La’Evyonim, donations to those in need of money!

4- The last and most important aspect of the day is the one which brings everything to life and provides the greatest laughter, happiness and fulfillment. This is learning and applying of Torah! Thus, hearing and internalizing the words of the holy Megillas Esther is the savoring of inspirational and joyous words of Torah! Now we have a complete understanding of our service on Purim and also our daily Avodas Hashem.

R’ Yissachar Rothschild zt”l explains that we eat Hamentashin to show what destroyed Haman. The translation of their unique name (Hamentashin) is: “Haman tash, the weakening of Haman.” They are three-sided to show that when the Jews regained control and fulfilled their roles in their three aspects of their service of Hashem (self, others, God), this destroyed their enemy!

Purim is a special day when Hashem answers our prayers. This is because when we totally dedicate ourselves to Him, this produces strong feelings of closeness and love. Who would not do anything for someone that they adored? May our true colors shine forth and help us utilize this amazing day to achieve closeness with Hashem and may He answer all of our requests speedily, for the best!