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Parshat Pinchas - Seeing the good in others

July 18, 2019

בס"ד

 

   In this weeks learning which are based are Reb Sholom Brodt z”l culled from teachings of Reb Shlomo , Rebbe Nachman and the Lubavitcher Rebbe,  There are insights :

 

  • Why do we criticize others when they do something good

  • Learning how to learn

  • Seeing the good in others

 

With the 3 weeks starting , this is an opportunity to work on seeing the good others,

 

The Featured video shared is by Rabbi Dr. Reb Mimi Feigelson - "Walking The Streets With Reb Shlomo's Eyes

 

 

At the very opening of our parsha Rashi explains that instead of being appreciative of Pinchas stopping the plague, the people actually ridiculed Pinchas for his zealous act.

 

Why do we criticize others when they do something good? Why do we look for some ulterior motive? To be sure there are many reasons. Sometimes it's because we are dissatisfied with ourselves, and we project our own flaws onto them. Instead of taking inspiration from them we put them down, saying that they are not all that good- implying that we would do a good only for pure reasons, that we are so good that we wouldn't do anything for some ulterior motive. So to make ourselves feel better for not doing what we should be doing, we ridicule those who are doing what should be done.

 

Sometimes we think we doing the right thing , the good thing and we met with opposition. And we are surprised. Is it me or them? So, we need to rephrase , think over our actions.

 

The Rabbis teach that since the Beit Hamikdash was destroyed because of 'sinat chinam', it will be rebuilt out of 'ahavat chinam' -- baseless love.

May we all be blessed to truly renew and deepen our 'achdut', oneness and unification with each other and with Hashem, and may we merit to see the reestablishment and return of the Beit Hamikdash, [which is already complete, it only needs to be brought down from heaven to earth] quickly in our days, together with the speedy arrival of Mashiach Tzidkeinu. Amen, kein yehi ratzon.

 

Have a wonderful Shabbos!!, B'Ahavah U'Bivracha 
Sholom

 

 

 

Reb Shlomo taught in the name of Rebbe Nachaman:

 

You need to learn three lessons to be an Eved Hashem (a servant of G-d):

First, you must learn 
how to walk 
how to stand 
you stand before Hashem in prayer 
you walk before Hashem in doing the mitzvot 
only one who knows how to stand can walk 
only one who knows how to walk knows how to stand

The second lesson is 
a man needs to learn 
how to fall 
and how to get up 
this is very hard 
but if you are b’simcha (joyous) 
when you fall 
Hashem teaches you 
how to get up 
even when you fall 
you have to be full 
with simcha (joy) 
say “Ribbono Shel Olam – Master of the Universe!” 
I know you are wanting to teach me something 
you are telling me “learn how to fall, learn how to get up”

The third lesson 
what to do when you have fallen 
so low that you can’t get up 
when you have crashed 
and no one is there to help 
you get up 
what do you do 
when you are at the end? 
in the meantime 
keep on singing 
keep on walking 
keep on standing 
in the meantime 
keep on loving 
keep on hoping 
and yearning 
until suddenly 
you realize that actually 
“I never fell”

who could you possibly have fallen when the Echad 
אחד יחיד ומיוחד 
is holding you so very tight?

do you not know 
Hashem is always 
with you 
always always

when you walk 
when you stand 
even when you fall.

 

Learning how to learn!

 

R’ Nachman says that Moshe Rabeinu gave us Torah twice. He gave us the whole luchot (tablets) that he brought down from the mountain, and he gave us the broken luchot (tablets) that is Torah Sh’baal peh (Oral Torah). You can’t have one without the other. This is an example of how things grew and developed as a result of being broken.

I want you to know, my friends, to learn Gemara doesn’t mean you sit and learn and you understand what is written. If you think you understand it, that is a sure sign that you didn’t understand. You first have to go through the broken tablets. Every time, you have to sit with the Gemara and be broken over it. Only then will you understand a little. You have to learn at night - you have to go through the night, because the Gemara is so much deeper.

R’ Nachman says that Moshe Rabeinu gave us Torah twice. He gave us the whole luchot (tablets) that he brought down from the mountain, and he gave us the broken luchot (tablets) that is Torah Sh’baal peh (Oral Torah). You can’t have one without the other. This is an example of how things grew and developed as a result of being broken.

I want you to know, my friends, to learn Gemara doesn’t mean you sit and learn and you understand what is written. If you think you understand it, that is a sure sign that you didn’t understand. You first have to go through the broken tablets. Every time, you have to sit with the Gemara and be broken over it. Only then will you understand a little. You have to learn at night - you have to go through the night, because the Gemara is so much deeper.

 

A Quick Lesson from our Holy Mothers – To Love and Yearn for Eretz Yisrael

 

In this week's parsha we learn of the last census that was taken by Moshe Rabbeinu. At the end of the chapter the Torah tells us: 
"Among this (census) לא היה איש there was no man who had been included in the census of Moshe and Aharon the kohein, who had counted Bnei Yisroel in the wilderness of Sinai" (Pinchas26:64)

Hashem had decreed that all the men who were 20 and over would not be allowed to enter Eretz Yisrael, because, together with the spies they rebelled against going into Eretz Yisrael. When this last census was taken (Pinchas 26), with the exception of Yehoshua and Calev, all the men of the generation of the spies had died. All who were counted in this census, were the ones who would be entering the land with Joshua.

Rashi, who always reads the text very carefully notes: "However, against the women, the decree of the spies was not issued, (the decree that the spies שמגand) since they cherished the land. The men said, "let's choose a leader and return to Egypt!' while the women said, "give us possession [in the land]!" This is why the chapter of the daughters of Tzelofchad is adjacent here.'" (Rashi 26:64)

 

Criticizing the Good Deeds of Others

 

 

The Rebbe giving tzedakah

In this week's Parsha, Pinchas, we learn that Kozbi bat Tzur - the most beautiful of the Midianite women - the princess of Midian, was sent by the elders of Midian and by her father, Tzur, the leader of the Midianite people, to lead their women in sexually seducing the Jewish people with the intention of getting them to worship their idol, Peor.

Then we read in 25:6: And behold, a man came from among Bnei Yisroel, and brought the Midianite woman to his brethren, before the eyes of Moshe and before the eyes of the entire congregation of Yisroel, who were weeping at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. 
Pinchas, upon seeing this, zealously and passionately stepped forward and killed Zimri and Kozbi. Twenty four thousand people died in the plague. As a result of his action the plague stopped. But there were many who thought that he did not act out of pure holy interests and many accused him of having an inherited sadistic streak. And here is where our parsha begins:

Verse 10: Ad-noy spoke to Moshe saying. 
Verse 11: "Pinchas, the son of Elozor, [and grand] son of Aharon the kohein, has turned My anger away from Bnei Yisroel by his vengeance for Me among them, so that I did not destroy Bnei Yisroel in My vengeance. 
Verse 12: Therefore tell [him], that I give him My covenant [of] peace. 
Verse 13: It shall be for him and his descendants after him a covenant of eternal kehunah because he was zealous for his G-d and made atonement for Bnei Yisroel."

Have you ever noticed that sometimes people do something good and still they are criticized? Sometimes people contribute large sums to tzedakkah and someone says they only did because they wanted their names to go on a plaque. Sometimes people study Torah and someone says they did for their own honor, etc...

At the very opening of our parsha Rashi explains that instead of being appreciative of Pinchas stopping the plague, the people actually ridiculed Pinchas for his zealous act.

25:11: Pinchas the son of Elazar, the son of Aharon the Kohen. [Rashi seeks to explain why Pinchas' lineage is stated once again when just three verses earlier it already said the same thing?]

Because the tribes disparaged him, [saying] 'Have you seen that son of "Puti," whose mother's father fattened calves for idol worship, and who murdered the chieftain of a tribe of Israel?' Therefore, Scripture traces his lineage to Aharon.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe zt"l explains that the tribes were claiming that Pinchas had inherited a streak of cruelty from his mother's father, Yisro, who used to fattened calves and then kill them for idol worship. They did not ridicule him about the fact that his grandfather used to worship idols, because as everyone knows, Yisro had done tshuvah and left idolatry completely. But they did claim that Pinchas had inherited his grandfather's cruelty. And therefore, though Pinchas had turned back Hashem's anger and saved the Jewish people, they continued to ridicule him saying that it was really his cruelty that flared up and that is why he acted so zealously.

Why do we criticize others when they do something good? Why do we look for some ulterior motive? To be sure there are many reasons. Sometimes it's because we are dissatisfied with ourselves, and we project our own flaws onto them. Instead of taking inspiration from them we put them down, saying that they are not all that good- implying that we would do a good only for pure reasons, that we are so good that we wouldn't do anything for some ulterior motive. So to make ourselves feel better for not doing what we should be doing, we ridicule those who are doing what should be done.

Should we do a mitzvah, if we have ulterior motives? What does the Torah teach us? In the Talmud we learn: Said Rav Yehuda in the name of Rav: "One should always be involved in the study of Torah and Mitzvot even if not for the sake of heaven, because eventually he will come to doing it for the sake of heaven." (P'sachim 50b) If I wouldn't learn until I have the highest intentions, I might never learn. If I wouldn't do someone a favor unless I had no personal gain from it, I might end up never doing a favor, chas v'shalom!

The Rebbe continues with the following lesson:

"Furthermore, even if somebody's mitzvah observance does have overtones of haughtiness, the critic's pride is nevertheless more distasteful. For, ultimately, the person who "showed off" with his mitzvah was at least honest about his pride, and did not attempt to conceal it. The critic, however, cannot tolerate the truth that he is proud, and he thus stoops to dishonesty, veiling his pride in a "cloak" of humility and righteous indignation.

The lesson is obvious: It is much wiser to be an activist than a critic. For a little pride can make criticism destructive, rather than constructive, but a good deed always remains good, regardless of the intention." (Bamidbar – Parshas Pinchas, The Gutnik Edition, p.209)

 

To See The Good In Others

 

Stories of Seeing the Good in Others

It is told of Rebbe Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev that when he saw a wagon driver wearing tallis and tefillin, greasing the axles of his wagon wheels as he was reciting the morning prayers, he lifted his eyes to Hashem and exclaimed: "Master of the Universe, see how good Your children are – even in the middle of working, he is praying."

Once I heard this anecdote from Reb Shlomo ztz"l. The students of the Baal Shem Tov once asked to show them someone from whom they can learn how to daaven [pray] and how to serve Hashem. The Baal shem Tov sent them to the market and told them to observe the apple vendor, especially as he daavens the Mincha prayer [afternoon service]. They found the apple vendor and watched him closely from a distance. It was early afternoon and the market was very quiet. All afternoon, he sat patiently at his stall waiting for some customers to come and buy his apples, but no one came. As the sun was beginning to set and it was already time to daaven Mincha, the customers suddenly began to show up and kept the vendor busy non-stop. Before one left, another came, and they so liked his apples. They talked with him, they bargained with him and they bought his apples. B"H he sold all his apples. It was well after sunset by the time that the last customer left- too late for Mincha. He looked up to the sky and realizing that he missed the Mincha prayer, he said, "Ribbono shel Olam, all afternoon I was waiting to daaven, I so much wanted to daaven, I feel so bad that I didn't get to daaven Mincha and all I can offer You now is how broken I feel. I hope that tomorrow You will give me the opportunity to daaven properly." The vendor then left the market and the Baal Shem Tov's students returned to their holy Rebbe.

Reb Shlomo explained many times, "What do you see when you see a yid who isn't daavening? Do you see him not daavening or do you see how much he really wants to daaven? Do you see how broken he is over not daavening? Do you see how much he really wants to connect with Hashem, but cannot or just doesn't know how? Do you realize that whatever you see that is wrong in him, is also your problem? Are you able to speak lovingly with him, even though you have seen his faults?" What did the Baal Shem Tov want his students to learn from our apple vendor? He wanted them to see how a real yid feels when he didn't daaven. He wanted them to realize that sometimes it may even be that such feelings are even higher than their daavening.

My father z"l every so often would recount something to us about his father 'alav hashalom'. Being children of Holocaust survivors, most of the kids I went to school with never had the pleasure of having or knowing any of their grandparents. At least we would hear some stories from time to time. My father told us often about how poor my grandfather was. He was a real scholar in a city of scholars. At the end of every day he would give a class in Talmud for a couple of hours in their shul. Due to the poverty in the house, my father was obliged to start working at the age of fifteen. He would often get up very early in the morning to catch a train, even as early as 4:00 am, and sometimes even earlier. Yet, he told us that no matter how early he got up, he always found his father well awake, sitting and learning. On one occasion it happened that my grandfather had to finish his morning prayers quickly in order to receive a wagon-load of coal at the train station as it arrived, otherwise much of would be stolen. As he was folding his tallis, he let out a big sigh. It really hurt him that he could not finish his prayers with the proper kavvanah- [attentiveness]. The Rebbe heard his sigh and said to him, "Reb Abish, know that Hashem very well might have a lot more pleasure from your sigh than from your prayers."

The Three Weeks and Seeing the Good in Others

During this period of mourning over the destruction of both the 1st and 2nd Beit Hamikdash every one of us is asked to make greater efforts to be better, to try harder and make everything a lot better; especially in all aspects of ‘ahavat Yisrael’- to love every single fellow Jew as you love yourself.

The Tzemmach Tzeddek explains: when it comes to yourself, though you are quite aware of your imperfections and transgressions, your self-love covers over these. Mostly, we don’t focus on our imperfections; our self-love, allows us to still think that we are pretty good, and hopefully maintain some hope that we will seriously attend to improving ourselves.

Now, should someone come along and focus on your imperfections, you would be quite upset. In highlighting them, your imperfections are as if declared as your defining ‘reality’- this is who you are, period. There is no recognition of your higher soul here, ‘chas v’shalom’! That is very painful.

Likewise, just as you hate this being done to you, when you see another with their imperfections, love them in the same way as you love yourself- find and focus on your love for them until you don’t arrest them into the narrowness of your eyes. Believe in their inner goodness and potential as you do (should) in your own. Believe that they can turn around and reconnect with their souls and fix their lives. Love them so much and you will help them. Affirm their higher self, bring them joy.

As Hillel said, “this is the entire Torah, the rest is commentary, go and study.” The entire Torah is about bringing Hashem’s Presence into this world- when you see your brother or sister with their faults, do as Hashem does for them, and for you. Hashem loves us and overlooks our faults- He doesn’t write us off, He desires and waits for our return. This is how you make Hashem's Presence real in this world.

“And you shall love your fellow as yourself- you have to love yourself! If you don’t you will not be able to fulfill this mitzvah! How do you love yourself? You overlook your faults; you don't stop believing that you are inherently good. But if you overlook only your own faults and focus on the faults of others- it’s a good idea to examine your self-love. Do you really love yourself? Which self are you in love with: your animal self or your Divine self? Which is your real self?

Reb Mendel Futterfass zt”l related a lesson he learned among his prison mates, in Siberia. Before you accuse someone else of foul smell, consider that it is likely your own stench that you are smelling. You are out touch with the beautiful fragrance of your soul.

Chevre, dearest souls, as Reb Shlomo would say, bless me please and I bless you back, please let’s be in touch with our souls, let’s get back in touch with each other and with Hashem. We are waiting for Moshiach; we want him now. Hashem help us love ourselves and one another.

We are blessing each one of you with a good Shabbos.... with a joyous Shabbos.... A Shabbos of peace, love and blessings. Shalom al Yisrael. 
Sh'yiboneh Beit Hamikdash bimheirah b'yameinu v'tein chelkeinu b'Toratecha... NOW quickly in our days... Amen.

Sholom

 

Parshat Pinchas - Do you love yourself?

 

 

 

Soul struggles!

We all have them, on many different levels, touching every emotion and aspect of our lives. 
Our deepest and hardest struggle is to be truly connected, to be one within One.

It’s not enough to know that we have a neshamah, both individual and collective neshamot. It’s not enough to just know of the source of our neshamot.

Pinchas, makes me ask, as does Zimri, “do you love yourself?”Pinchas and Zimri confront us to know ourselves, to love ourselves, to love Hashem, to love all our brothers and sisters, all of creation.

do you love yourself 
your real deepest self 
your נקודה פנימית 
your innermost deepest point 
do you love yourself enough 
to take the time 
to make the effort 
to be in touch 
to be connected with your neshamah

do you try to listen 
to hear it 
to find and follow 
its sounds and cries 
do you love it enough to embrace it 
to care for it to nourish it

do you love yourself enough to be b'simcha 
do you love yourself enough 
to freely love Hashem 
to be free

do you love yourself enough to do tshuvah 
to draw life from 
the 'holy chambers of קדושה - kedusha' 
to receive holy thoughts 
good thoughts

do you love your neshama enough 
to rise up 
like a warrior in battle 
to live joyously with your deepest truth 
do you love yourself enough 
to enter into union with Hashem 
to live and be in union 
with all your brothers and sisters 
love yourself

love your deepest self 
embark on the journey joyously 
there you will find true joy and bliss 
there you will be one with One

from the Ma'or v'Shemesh ……

“All the worlds Hashem created, He created only to do good to His creations, so that they will deeply know and bond with, the pleasantness and sweetness of His Divine friendship, baruch Hu. The essence of 'avodat Hashem' - service of Hashem, is to find and gather back together all the scattered holy sparks of your soul and raise them higher and higher, back to the place from where your soul is hewn.”

where are the holy sparks to be found? literally everywhere in every aspect of our lives! In everything we do, mitzvoth, learning Torah, daavening, especially in saying the Shma twice a day, in eating, sleeping, working, in all mundane matters- our holy sparks are there, waiting to be redeemed. לית אתר פנוי מיני' – for there is nothing that is void of Him. The struggle to find the holy sparks in every aspect of life is a great one. The issue is not so much about me getting to the ultimate goal. It’s really about what am I connecting with right now, at this moment?

Says the Alter Rebbe in Iggeres HaTshuvah Chap. 6: 
“The choice is man’s — whether to derive his nurture from the chambers of the sitra achra, or from the chambers of holiness from which flow all good and holy thoughts, and so on.” 
When one’s thoughts, words and deeds are wholesome and holy, this indicates that he is receiving his nurture from holiness; when his thoughts, words and deeds are evil, he derives his nurture from the chambers of the sitra achra.

 

For “one opposite the other did G d make….”

 

Every manifestation of holiness has a counterpart in the kelipah and sitra achra. The chambers of the sitra achra derive their vitality from the issue of the Ten Sefirot of nogah that is embodied within them and that descends into them by stages, and [this kelipah of nogah] is comprised of good and evil, as in “the Tree of Knowledge [of good and evil],” as is known to those who are knowledgeable in the Kabbalah.

Am I yearning to be connected to the Tree of Life? Do I love my soul enough to absolutely yearn for this? Pinchas wants nothing less than that. He achieves living in the Tree of Life right here in the midst of a world that live with the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. 
Every time we extend ourselves beyond our customary limits to be closer with Hashem, especially when we do so with much warrior like effort, we are closer to our yechida - to the deepest point of our souls, the point at which we are completely one with One.

Have a wonderful Shabbos Kodesh לחיים טובים ולשלום 
b'ahavah ubivracha 
Sholom

 

 

 

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