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Parshiot Mattot -Massei – What does it mean to love Eretz Yisrael?

July 21, 2019

 

 

In this week’s blog:

 

We look at journeys , our journey in life , and the journey of the children of Israel to Eretz Yisrael.

 

This Parsha brings up a very important matter. How should we actually relate to the Land of Eretz Yisrael? What does it mean to love Eretz Yisrael.

 

 

Journey prayers.

 

Every day every hour we’re beginning new journeys. The fact of the matter is that we are all on journeys where we go, where we camp, where we settle down,when we start the next journey, that is all in Hashem’s hands,it’s all by His decisions. We need to learn how to journey. We need [to learn how] to daaven sincerely.

We are about to enter Eretz Yisrael and we look back at the forty-two journeys it took us to get from Mitzrayim to the Promised Land. These journeys are our journeys, both personal and national throughout our history. Presently we are still in the "wilderness of the nations" [Yechezkel 20:35] and we must not and cannot stop daavening.

 

How do I begin my daily journey, my weekly journey, my Shabbos journey? My family journey, my career journey, how do I do all these things without sidetracking and delaying my arrival at my destination?

We all have a purpose and destination in this world, we want to get there. We are in a relationship with the Ribono shel Olam – the Master of the World. The question is how long is it going to take, how many times will I be diverted, how many journeys, spirals and loops, turn-arounds, ups and downs, and up again, will I have to go through before I get to my destination?

 

How many more life journeys, how many more steps forward and backwards and forwards before I get to my life destination, before I manage to be and manifest the beautiful person that Hashem dreamt of, when He dreamt of me before creating the world?

 

Joy and Tshuvah Without a doubt joy is a major factor, a major player in getting to our destination, successfully, as is Tshuvah.

Tshuvah, real tshuvah is so so important. It is a divine gift, that Hashem gives us the possibility of doing tshuvah. It is absolutely the most important and most needed gift for achieving our destinies as individuals, and as a people.

 

It is so very important not to see ourselves as victims of circumstances. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks relates that when he met the Lubavitcher Rebbe the first time, the Rebbe asked him what he was planning to do on campus for the benefit of the Jewish student body. He began his answer with the words “if circumstances will allow …” but before he could continue, the Rebbe corrected him saying, “you create your circumstances.” We create our circumstances, good or ‘chas v’shalom’ the opposite, within those imposed upon us in life.

 

As long as we’re breathing, as long as we’re alive, Hashem is giving us the opportunity to begin the next step of our next journey; the opportunity to go deeper within, to discover our true essence. That’s what each journey is all about. We travel with learning Torah and doing mitzvot, and we try to do so no matter how difficult the circumstances. The context of each challenge, creates the opportunity for us to go deeper and higher, to do the mitzvot from within ever deeper depths. Each time we have a chance to do a mitzvah, is another opportunity for our souls to truly manifest.

 

So I need to do tshuvah to remove all the barriers that have piled up. Basically, I am responsible for all these, even though I can give many excuses that will explain how these barriers came to be. I can ‘excuse’ myself, so to speak, but ultimately it is my decision if I want to let these barriers stay where they are or if I want to try to get rid of them.

 

Whichever way I decide is important, because it is really me who is responsible.

 

So it is me who really needs to learn to be in touch with my neshamah. It is me who needs to learn and know that no matter how far away my soul seems to be from its source and root, it is never disconnected from its root.

 

It is for me to say “Ribomo shel Olam, I admit that I have all these barriers, I admit that I am responsible for many of them because I myself brought them on. And I admit that I want to, at least want to want to get rid of them. I admit there are times when it seems like I don’t have any control over them, that I don’t have the strength to do the work. I also admit that You Hashem, do have the power and the compassion to keep me connected, to keep on giving me courage. I admit that I’m not always having an easy time saying sincerely, “Hashem, I am sorry, I regret.” I would like to, but I’m still, to a certain degree trapped in victim consciousness; a victim of jealousy, lust and pursuit of honor, the three biggest obstacles that prevent us from reaching our destiny and manifesting our purpose, our true selves in this world. [Rabbi Elazar

Hakapor in Pirkei Avot 4:21]

 

So I turn to You, Ribono shel Olam, I want to turn to You and ask of You to compassionately open my heart and eyes, to see, to realize and know that I am still connected. To know that I can still serve You with joy, that I can still learn Torah and do a mitzvah with joy. To trust that all these heavy days will soon turn into holidays. I need Your compassion to help me gather my strengths and keep them focused to use my time well, to learn Torah b’simcha, because it’s Your Torah and You want me to learn it, because You gave it to me to learn, because that is how You have given Yourself to us.

 

I still want to do a mitzvah with joy. I want to be connected in a real way. I really don’t want these barriers and klipos to stop me from being a real Yid, from being a real good father, husband, a real good friend, a real good teacher. Therefore, I ask for Your רחמים מרובים –abundant compassion… This is my journey prayer, I want to be the real Shulim ben Sara Rivkah and Yosef Yekusiel Zusha. Amen

 

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.

 

 

 

VOWS, LIVING IN THE LAND AND LOVING THE LAND

 

Our parsha this week begins with the laws of nedarim – vows. It is amazing that Hashem has given us the power to infuse and transform space, time and people, with ‘kedusha’ – holiness. Breath, voice and words are very holy and powerful, it is with these that Hashem created us and all worlds. Because we are created in the image of G-d and because it is a mitzvah given to us in the Torah, we too can bring holiness into the world and most importantly, live and be holy.

Vows and Living in Eretz Yisrael – The Holiness and Power of Speech

The commentators ask why are the laws of vows found here at this particular juncture in the Torah – at the end of Bamidbar, just before entering into the Land of Eretz Yisrael? As we have learned and seen, much of 'Sefer' Bamidbar contains stories, mostly about very tragic mistakes and events – and as we have learned, the Ishbitzer Rebbe refers to 'sefer' Bamidbar as the 'Torah' of mistakes and what we learn from them. It would seem therefore, that this section of Torah would belong elsewhere, possibly in 'sefer' Vayikra. Various answers to this question can be found in the commentaries on the Torah. One answer may be as follows.

 

Life conditions were going to change drastically as soon as we would enter Eretz Yisrael. Most particularly, we would be moving from a rather spiritual and miraculous way life in the desert, to a much more physical 'this world' way of life in Eretz Yisrael. Instead of eating 'manna' – bread from heaven, we would now have to get involved with planting, sowing and reaping, and all other sorts of involvement with the mundane world.

When we get very involved with the mundane world, we have the tendency to forget what is of utmost importance, and what is only of secondary importance. Too often the physical and material aspects of life become all important and matters of spiritual importance get very little attention.

 

Empowerment. When service of Hashem takes a back-seat to pursuit of wealth and power, when we find ourselves losing our faith in actually achieving true connection between our ‘supernal point’ and our ‘lower [mundane] point’, we need to empower ourselves. One can derive much benefit and strength by taking on a vow, be it a vow of abstinence or a vow to do something particular or special. Making such vows can help the individual refocus on what is really important.

 

In this context of the final preparations before entering Eretz Yisrael, the laws of vows are actually very appropriate here; they teach us how deal with being involved in the mundane aspects of life – how to live in the land and to do so in holiness.

Learn the power of speech; learn the holiness of speech. Especially when feeling like you’re being swallowed up in the 'earthliness' of life, by its demands and its attractions, learn to respect the power of voice and the holiness of speech; learn to speak holy speech.

 

Our grandson Shlomo, entered the Israeli army this week. May Hashem protect him and all our sodiers from any and all harm. May we all be blessed to live in peace. Our friends hosted a little gathering of family and friends in his honor. At one point Lee asked all of us to shout energetically TODA HASHEM – THANK YOU HASHEM! We did so a couple of times. doing this helps us realize that we don't have live in 'victim consciousness'! Even in the midst of hardships, with sincere holy voice and speech we are empowered to move forward in practical holiness

 

Loving Eretz Yisrael (5765 – 2005)

This parsha brings up a very important matter. How should we actually relate to the Land of Eretz Yisrael? What does it mean to love Eretz Yisrael? These questions are particularly important now! – not only because we are in the midst of the Three Weeks [of mourning and fasting over the destruction of both the First and Second Temples] but also because of what is happening right now in Eretz Yisrael, and I'm not talking politics.

 

It was ten years ago when received the sad phone call in the middle of the night, informing us that Reb Shlomo zt"l passed away and that the funeral was to take place in Yerushalayim. A number of the 'chevre' got together at Yakkar, to plan and organize for the 'levayah' – the funeral. The question of who should deliver the eulogy arose. Various suggestions were made and discussed. I was hoping that someone would come up with a name that would be both a great honor for Reb Shlomo and would also be a satisfactory choice as everyone was concerned. Suddenly I was inspired to suggest that Rav Yisrael Lau, who was the Chief Rabbi of Israel at the time, should be the one invited to eulogize our Rebbe Reb Shlomo zt"l.

 

I had met Rav Lau in Auschwitz of all places, during the March of the Living in 1994. Rav Lau spoke at the memorial assembly in that death camp, and all were very moved by his words. When the memorial service was over everyone was leaving the grounds slowly. As I was walking with some friends, I mentioned to them that my Rebbe, Reb Shlomo thought very highly and was very fond of Rav Lau. My friends continued ahead as I was walking slowly absorbing what was happening. A minute or two later, Rav Lau was coming from behind me. I quickly went up to him and said Shalom Aleichem and I told him that my Rebbe really loves him very much. "Who is your Rebbe?' Rav Lau asked. "My Rebbe is Reb Shloime Carlebach," I said. Lifting his hand skyward and with a big warm and full of love smile Rav Lau exclaimed "Ah Reb Shloimele, Reb Shloimele!"

 

I recalled that moment and shared it with the 'chevre'. B"H everyone quickly agreed that this was a good suggestion and I went to the phone to call Rav Lau. He wasn't home and I left a message with his Rebbetzin that we wished him to deliver the 'hesped' – eulogy. She asked me to call back soon for an answer. We were all pleased that accepted to do so.

Rav Lau spoke beautifully and said many beautiful things about Reb Shlomo zt"l. One of the striking things that he mentioned was Reb Shlomo's great love for Eretz Yisrael, how he loved every bit of the Land, every stone, every pebble. Here are some of Rav Lau's words:

"…. And now, this day, we follow Shlomo as he experiences this day, a day that is altogether Shabbos and rest eternal. What a great soul you were, Shlomo, what a quintessential soul... Perhaps once in a generation does such a soul turn up—who knows the Source from Whence it was hewn—from the Roots or from the Higher Worlds?

Shloimele, I can only say one thing to you. The Torah talks of four species" Etrog (citrus), Lulav (palm)Hadas (myrtle) and Arava (willow). Their initials spell אעלה "A'aleh" (I shall arise). Shlomole, today is the day that you will arise!

 

The Hadas is called a branch of interlaced foliage. What is special about the Hadas about which we have been commanded? It’s leaves emerge in three’s, and on a ‘beautiful hadas’ the 3 leaves are in a straight row. These leaves represent three loves. First and foremost, "V'ahavta et HaShem Elokekha" (You shall love G-d")-- this is the first leaf. Secondly "V'ahavta l'reakha komokha" (Love your neighbor as yourself) -- this is the second leaf. And the third is "Uverakhta et Hashem Elokekha al ha'aretz ha tova asher notan lach" (Bless G-d for the good land He has given you) - - the love of our holy land, of Israel.

 

It is not the case of all of us that these three leaves line up. For one person, love of Torah might be stronger than his love of the Jewish people. Another person's love of the Jewish people might be stronger than his love of G-d. And then there are those whose love of the land of Israel may be stronger than both of these other loves. The Rambam (Maimonides) calls a Hadas of this type—one whose leaves are not equal—"hadas shoteh"—a fool's myrtle.

 

Shlomole, you were a wise Hadas, whose sweet fragrance was diffused to the furthest reaches. The hadas of these three loves were within you, and every leaf of this hadas suckled from that same inner point within all Isael, hewn from the Rock of Israel: an awesome love for the Divine, boundless love of Torah, and total unconditional love for all of Isael, people, land—every clump of earth of it. I might say he was connected to every letter of the Torah, every soul of the nation, every clump of earth of the holy land. … "

 

Taken from EULOGY FOR REB SHLOMO CARLEBACH, ZY"A BY THE CHIEF RABBI OF ISRAEL, HARAV YISROEL MEIR LAU, HAR-HAMENUCHOT, 19 ROM-CHESHVON 5755

 

What inspired Reb Shlomo to love Eretz Yisrael so much? Was it the land itself or was it because this is the Land that Hashem gave to His People as a Divine gift? Here are some of Reb Shlomo's words on Eretz Yisrael, taken from "ERETZ YISRAEL: THIS IS OUR LAND" – A Transcription of Rav Shlomo zt"l's words, sung and spoken at "A Celebration of Life and Peace", a concert given in Phoenix, AZ in the last year of our Rebbe's brief time in this world, 1994. [From the Spirit of the Desert production, 2/5/94].

 

A CELEBRATION OF LIFE AND PEACE Phoenix, AZ 5 Feb 1994

You know, we're living in a time when people have no right to get together without praying for peace. You have to. The first thing and the last thing. This is a passage from the psalms...it says, (singing) 
Because of my brothers and friends...Because of my sisters and friends...Please let me ask please let me sing..... Peace to you. Join me, with all of your hearts ...This is the house, the house of the Lord, I wish the best for you...(more singing, fade out)

You know my beautiful friends Rebbe Nachman says, how do you know who is the owner of the house? You know I'm walking into a house and I'm sitting there by the table and you come to the door and you think maybe I'm the owner of the house because I'm sitting at the table. No. Sitting at the table does not show that I am the owner. You know who the owner is? The one who is inviting you in. He is the owner.

I want you to know friends, until Yerushalyim was in our hands there was not this big invitation to the world to come to Yerushalyim. Nobody came. Ahhh, we are back in Yerushalyim. We are sending out messages to the whole world, please come to Yerushalyim. And I want to, you know my beautiful friends, one of the paramount prayers on Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur it says, "let them all come to Yerushalyim". Master of the World...if any of you ever doubted...we want the whole world to be in Yerushalyim. You think we're stingy? We're not...we want the whole world to be in Yerushalyim. The whole world.

 

Let it be clear to you, without getting into politics. EVERY JEW IN ISRAEL NEEDS OUR PRAYERS. AND ABOVE ALL--THE WHOLE WORLD NEEDS OUR PRAYERS. YOU KNOW WHY? HOW WOULD THE WORLD LOOK LIKE IN ONE HUNDRED YEARS FROM NOW IF US YIDDEN AFTER AUSHWITZ AND AFTER MAIDANEK WE BUILT A LITTLE LAND AND THEN THE WORLD HAS THE CHUTZPAH TO TAKE HALF OF IT AWAY AGAIN. WHAT A CHUTZPAH. 
WHAT A CHUTZPAH. (YELLING) WHAT A CHUTZPAH! OUTRAGEOUS!

 

Our cousins have millions of miles. Nothing. Empty. We have a little land--we built it with tears. With blood. With prayers. Want to take it away from us? What are you gonna do with it? 
And I want you to know--our cousins--really, I don't hate them. I love them with all my heart. ..there's only one place that they live like mentchen--and that's in Israel. (And since my concert is over and I can say what I want to...) You know friends, I was one of the first people who walked into the Old City-in '67- and there was so much love in the air if the politicians wouldn't have mingled in we could have mamesh made peace on that very day. But I want you to know I kissed every Arab--every boy every girl--it was a gevalt. One little Arab cousin ran after me and said, you forgot to kiss one of my babies. Anyway, I see a girl of 16 standing in a corner and I asked her, how are you feeling? She spoke English. I said tell me the truth. Are you glad Israel took over the Old City or are you sad? She looked around and she said, you know something? Israel saved my life because my father sold me to an old man of 80 for one hundred dollars. Do you know what's going on in the world? Do you know what's really going on? We don't need to learn civilization from the rest of the world.

And I want you to know. We are not doing any favors when we're giving back half of our land. We want them to live with us. Happily. Peacefully. When Israel moved into the Old City only 9% of those kids went to school. The rest were roaming the streets. And now every child goes to school, every child learns a trade. I don't mind them living next door. If it would make peace they could live in my--dining room--I don't mind. But let it be peaceful with love, with sweetness.

 

Friends, you know the world thinks peace means that you don't kill officially--only from your back--that's called peace!? Peace is that you love each other. And that kind of peace and love doesn't come from Washington...not from anywhere. It comes only from Heaven. You know what we say..."Oseh Shalom Bimromov," Master of the world. Peace is only in Heaven because the most heavenly feeling is--Peace. Really--you walk into a house and the husband and wife are fighting--how does it feel? Heavenly? The lowest hell! You walk into a house, people love each other for real--it's paradise. We want the whole world to be paradise, the whole world--really the whole world...... (singing) "Borchenu Avinu kulano ki echad ....kulano ki echad v'or panecha..." Bless us, our Father, all of us as one, in [with] the light of Your countenance.

 

There's still a little bit...the smoke of Aushwitz sometimes... especially in the Holy Land, friends, there are some people who like to blow the smoke of Aushwitz toward the Holy Land. Don't kid yourself. We have to be STRONG. Strong on our feet. Friends I want you to yell: "Am Yisrael Chai!" Israel is Living! The land is living! The land is our land. Jerusalem is our city! (cheers, whistles, applause breaking out).......I want you to know my beautiful friends. And I'm not talking now political peace. I'm talking about a Jew should know where it's at. I want you to know when G!d gave the land to Avraham, when G!d says to Avraham walk around in the land, this is the land I'm giving you. It's our land. It is our land. Gevalt! It is our land.

 

Do you know every inch of the land is full of blood of our holy soldiers. Think they gave their lives that we should spit at them and say we'll trade it in for a few million rubles that Brother Clinton will give us? No. 100% not! Friends I want us to stand on our feet and say Am Yisroel Chai! (Shouting) Israel is living forever! The land is ours forever! And it's the land of our children. Of our grandchildren. And nobody can take it away from us......

Amen 
***********************************************************************Fr the video release by Spirit of the Desert, www.ruach.org .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HASSwv2u9YA
 

Transcription by David Miller, originally penned 9 Tevet 5761/ 3 Jan 200 1and prepared for this list on 17-18 Nissan 5761, the 2nd and moving into the next day of the counting of the Omer/ 10 April 2001. May we all become Masters at counting our days.

 

 

We love Eretz Yisrael because this Land is Hashem's gift to us. The importance of a gift lies in the love that the giver of the gift puts into it. That's what makes it special! Once my son Netzach'l, when he was still a little boy in kindergarten, came home crying and upset. I asked him why

he was so upset, and he told me that the other children were making fun of his whole-wheat bread sandwiches. I spent a few minutes explaining to him that the other children didn't know why whole wheat was healthier etc. etc... All this talk didn't really help him much. Finally he said, "Tatty, I'm not crying because they made fun of my bread, I'm crying because they made fun of something that my mommy did for me."

The Lubavitcher Rebbe zt"l emphasized again and again, that we have to declare the truth to the world – that we are not in Eretz Yisrael, nor is it ours because of the UN or the US or the Europeans – it is ours only because Hashem, the Creator of the World and all therein, gave this Land to Avraham Avinu and Sara Immeinu and to their descendants after them. The Rebbe said further, that we need not be afraid to say all this openly, because it is the truth and the world knows that it is the truth. In fact when we will finally say this sincerely the world will say Mazal Tov! What took you so long? The world wants us to be what we are meant to be – Jewish people, living Torah and mitzvot, in Eretz Yisrael b'simcha. And then all together we will dance with Moshiach; all together we will joyously serve Hashem Echad, in real peace.

 

May we all be blessed to truly love Eretz Yisrael and to know how live in it. Amen.

 

The Power of Speech

 

these lessons are from previous years- always worth learning again...

enjoy

"Moshe spoke to the heads of the tribes of the Bnei Yisrael, saying: This is the 'word' that Hashem commanded: A man who vows a vow to Hashem…. He is not to desecrate his word …." So begins the parsha of נדרים – the laws vows, at the beginning of Parshat Matos. 
Our parsha is dealing with vows of abstinence, and vows to do something particular at a given time. 
We learn in this week's parsha that not only are we permitted to take vows, but also that once the vow is made, it is a mitzvah – we are commanded to scrupulously honor the vow: 
"If a man vow a vow to Hashem, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; HE SHALL NOT PROFANE HIS WORD, HE SHALL DO ACCORDING TO ALL THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF HIS MOUTH." (Bamidbar 30:3)

Worldly pleasures can bring us closer to Hashem. However, the Ishbitzer Rebbe explains, that there are times when an individual feels that he/she absolutely must take on a particular practice of abstinance for the sake of gaining self control, or self improvement and coming closer to Hashem. {It is advisable to discuss these things beforehand with a good and trusted friend.} The sanctity of the vow can provide you with the strength to overcome a bad habit [but be very careful]. In such circumstances, even a vow of abstention becomes a mitzvah.

The mitzvah [laws] of vows teaches us that Hashem trusts us to make [some] personal decisions about our spiritual paths. By giving us the mitzvah of vows, Hashem is so to speak providing us with a blank mitzvah card, which we personally fill in. It should be noted that such vows may not contradict any of the Torah's mitzvot. For example a vow to eat a forbidden food, has no validity.

Vows may also be nullified, though this may not be done too easily; after all, the vow was made for the sake of coming closer to Hashem! However, if and when the individual finds that he no longer needs the vow because he has already 'changed' or because his life circumstances have changed, the vow may be nullified by a 'beit din' [a court] of three people, or by one big scholar.

The Ma'or v'Shemesh points out that in this parsha we also learn of the great power and importance of speech. It is by speech that vows are made and it is by the speech of the 'chacham' or by the beit din – a court of three, that vows are annulled. 
This further underlines the great importance of being extra careful not to speak any 'lashon hara' at any time and especially now during the 'three weeks' of mourning over the destruction of our holy Beit Hamikdash. May it be rebuilt quickly in our days.

To Appreciate The Giver and the Gift of Eretz Yisrael

Our son Netzach started to go to nursery school when he was about four or five years old. Judy would always send him off with a 'healthy' lunch which meant that his sandwiches were usually prepared on dark whole wheat bread. It would happen sometimes that Netzach would come home crying because his friends would make fun of his whole wheat bread that was so different from their white bread. I would sit with Netzach and try to comfort him, explaining that not everyone understood the importance of health food as his mother did and that it was only because she loved him so much and cared about his health that she gave him only the best foods. And even if his food looks different and other children would make fun of it, he needn't get upset over that.

Netzach stopped crying, looked at me and said, "Tatty, I'm not crying because they made fun of my sandwhich, I'm crying because they made fun of something that my mother did for me." I'll never forget that moment of enlightenment. I was stunned by the depth of his words.

After completing our forty years of journeying through the wilderness we finally were at the doorstep of the Promised Land. At this point we received some very specific and pointed instructions about how we were to enter and conquer the land, how we were to deal with the Cannanites who had been living there and how we were to divide the land among the tribes. The paradoxical instruction to divide the land proportionate to the size of each tribe and at the same time to divide it by lottery was already stated last week in Parshat Pinchas and is repeated again in this week's parsha: 
Bamidabar 26:52: Ad-noy spoke to Moshe saying. 
26:53: "The land shall be apportioned among these, as an inheritance according to the number of names. 
26:54: To the large [tribe], increase their inheritance, and to the small, diminish their inheritance; each person, according to his number, shall be given his inheritance. 
26:55: Only by lot should the land be divided, according to the names of their fathers' tribes should they inherit it. 
26:56: By word of the lottery should their inheritance be divided, with regard to whether they are many or few." 
…. 
Bamidbar 33:54 : You shall give the land as an inheritance to your families by means of a lottery; to the large [family] you shall increase its portion, to the small [family] you shall decrease its portion. To whomever the lottery [system] ordains, it shall be his; according to your paternal tribes shall you inherit.

Rashi on 26:54 brings us an amazing teaching from the Talmud: 
Verse 54: To the large [tribe], increase their inheritance. 
To the tribe with the greater populace, they gave a larger portion. Although the portions were unequal, as everything was assigned according to the size of the tribe, they implemented the apportioning solely by lots, and the lottery was inspired by the Sacred Spirit, as stated explicitly in Bava Basra. Elozor the kohein was clothed in the Urim veTumim, and said, with the Sacred Spirit, "If tribe so-and-so is drawn, then border so-and-so will be drawn with it." The [names of the] tribes were written on twelve notes, and the twelve boundaries on twelve notes. They were mixed into a container, and the leader placed his hand into it and removed two notes. There appeared, in his hand, the note with the name of his tribe, and the note with the boundary specified for it. The lot itself would cry out, exclaiming, "I am the lot drawn for the so-and-so boundary, belonging to tribe so-and-so," as it is said, "by word of the lottery."

The question is an obvious one! If the land was to be divided by means of a 'prophetic' lottery, why does the Torah also say "to the large [family] you shall increase its portion, to the small [family] you shall decrease its portion"? And if on the other hand, the land was to be distributed in proportion to the population numbers of each tribe, why would we need a lottery?

The Lubavitcher Rebbe zt"l provides a wonderful and deep explanation. The Rebbe compares the distribution of Eretz Yisrael by lottery to three distinct aspects in our relationship to Torah. Concerning the Torah we find that on one level it ours as an "inheritance"; on another it ours as something that was "sold" to us, i.e. we have ownership, and thirdly, it ours because it was given to us as a "gift".

To receive something as an "inheritance" or via a "sale", it is necessary to fulfill the basic requirements of eligibility, and one acquires in proportion to degree of eligibility. However, one does not have to be 'eligible' to receive a "gift". Thus when Hashem gave us the "gift of Torah" we got much more than anything we were eligible for. This is because He gave us "His" Torah- as a gift, independent of our limitations. There is something very deep about the Torah being "our Torah" that is beyond the Torah we acquired via inheritance or sale. We have an infinitely deep relationship with the Torah that no one can take away from us, and that is because it was given to us by the Holy One blessed be He, as a "gift".

The same is true concerning our connection with the Holy Land of Eretz Yisrael. The quantity and quality of land that each tribe received was proportionate to the size of each tribe. However the depth of our relationship and connection to the land is beyond proportion. The distribution of the land by a lottery indicates the infinitely deep connection we have with Eretz Yisrael- a connection which two thousand years of horrific exile could not wipe out! The lottery indicates that Hashem gave us this land and that is the one and only reason why Eretz Yisrael is the eternal land of the Jewish People. Even while in exile we never lost our relationship with this holy land.

As eternal receivers of the eternal "gift" we nevertheless need to arouse Hashem's desire to allow us to 'relate' to its infinite depths. This requires us to prepare and purify our vessels as best as we can. For this gift is a 'holy' gift, it is Kadosh, and Kedusha – holiness does not dwell in an unholy space. But ultimately, the depth of our relationship with Eretz Yisrael- Eretz HaKodesh- the Holy Land is that this is the land that Hashem gave us as a gift.

To this day we still mourn over the destruction of both the first and second Beit Hamikash, on the the 9th of Menachem Av, for it was on this day that they were destroyed. The 9th of Menachem Av, is the day that the spies had come back and spoke badly about Eretz Yisrael and caused an entire generation to wander for forty years and perish in the wilderness. What they didn't see was that Eretz Yisrael was special, because it is Hashem's gift to us, just as the Torah is a unique and eternal gift. In giving us "His" Torah, Hashem gave Himself to us. In giving us Eretz Yisrael Hashem gave us His most special and beloved place on earth.

Whether or not Netzach liked his whole wheat sandwiches, they were precious to him because his mother made them for him with love.

 

Massei - Relationships and Teshuva

 

Relationships

B”H I was blessed to learn many wonderful things this week and with Hashem’s help, I will try to weave some of them together. What is the essence of tshuvah? What is the essence of the new month “menachem-Av”? What is the significance of the Torah telling us specifically that Aharon haKohen passed away on Rosh chodesh Av? What is the essence of being here now, of our journeys, of our relationships? What is the essence of mourning over the destruction of the ‘Beit Hamikdash’?

Reb Shlomo explained that the difference between Yom Kippur and Tisha b’Av, is that on Yom Kippur I am apologizing to Hashem for the sins that I committed, whereas on Tisha b’Av, I’m just sitting on the ground and crying “How could I have done all this to the One who loves us the most? How could I have treated my brothers and sisters so badly?”

Rebbe Nachman says that the supernal Beit Hamikdash surely continues to exist. It is only in our mundane world that the physical Beit Hamikdash is destroyed. In its destruction Hashem is showing us how broken we are. The Talmud teaches that all who truly mourn over its destruction will merit to see its rebuilding. Truth be told, it is so easy to get trapped into thinking ‘all is okay’, ‘nothing is new’, ‘it is what it is’, etc.. After so many years of exile it is truly a miracle that we are still here and that we still believe in the coming of Moshaich and living in a world of true peace and love. Every Jew believes in the coming of Moshiach, and at the very least, wants to want to believe in the ultimate redemption and see the rebuilding of the Beit Hamikdash.

Do ‘good’; Feel ‘good’; Think ‘good’; Be ‘good’! 
The Alter Rebbe (Iggeres Hatshuvah, Chap. 7) teaches that there are two main aspects in doing tshuvah today. First we need to sincerely arouse supernal compassion on our souls and on the holy source of our souls. Our souls have come from a very high place and descended into the lowest place in the world. Meditate on this. [Just this week I was reading the story of a Holocaust survivor, who had to hide in cesspools to escape being caught by the Nazis.] The more you can imagine yourself being in the highest of worlds, and even higher, being in the Source of All Life, the more you will seek to arouse Hashem’s supernal compassion on your soul. Further, be mindful that Hashem’s life energy is within you at every moment, with every breath you take. Your soul is a part of Him, above. He too is with us in our distress. Arouse your compassion on the King of all Kings of Kings, whom we have dragged along with us into very dark and evil places.

The second aspect of Tshuvah is to make a serious reckoning about our relationships with Hashem, with ourselves and with one another. Yes, I did this and I did that. Yes I have made excuses for myself and I have even apologized for some of my wrongdoings. But am I ‘at one’ with Hashem? Am I ‘at one’ with you? Am I ‘at one’ with my soul? We bring animal sacrifices to “Hashem”- to His attribute of compassion. The Zohar teaches that we also have bring sacrifices to “Elokim”- to Hashem’s attribute of judgement. King David says “zivchei Elokim, ruach nishbara, lev nishbar … (Ps. 51:19) – The sacrifices to Elokim are a broken spirit and a broken heart… To bring sacrifices to Elokim is to break the ‘klippah’-shell that keeps me separated from Hashem, from you and from my true self. This of course is much harder to do than to bring an animal sacrifice. This sacrifice is about fixing our relationships, it is much more than just apologizing for wrongdoings. Remember the words of the holy Kotzker Rebbe, “there is nothing more whole than a broken heart.”

The is a very interesting halacha in the Rambam, along the same lines. In Chap.5:2 in the Laws of Causing Pain and Damage, the Rambam states “It is even forbidden to raise your hand against your fellow,- and anyone who does so, even if he did not strike him, is a ‘rasha’ (an evil person).” There is discussion about whether this person is actually a ‘rasha’ or is he just considered a ‘rasha’. The Rambam takes the stricter view.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains that Hashem gave us hands to do acts of kindness, as the Talmud says “the hand that distributes tzedakkah-charity”. One who raises his hand against his fellow, is doing the opposite of what hands were intended for. And so, even if he did not strike his friend, this is a sin against Hashem; it is a sin in our ‘relationships’, with Hashem, with our ‘selves’ with our bodies and with one another.

As Reb Shlomo would say, “holy brothers and sisters” let us bless one another and strengthen one another, to break out of our ‘klippot-shells’ and really be aware of our higher soul realities and live in in that awareness . Let us be blessed to Do ‘good’, Feel ‘good’, Think ‘good’ and Be ‘good’!

It is so very significant and important for us to know that Aharon haKohen passed away on Rosh Chodesh menachem-Av, because when he left this world we realized how much we now have to be “among the students of Aharon,” to love ‘shalom’, to purse ‘shalom’, to love all the people Hashem created and to bring them closer to the Torah. This is our role in bringing about and participating in the ultimate redemption.

These are our journeys from Mitzrayim until the coming of Moshiach. Let us journey ahead with joy! Amen, may our journeys be acceptable to Hashem, now!

 

Mattot -Massei 2

 

Is taking vows positive or negative?

At the opening of parshat Matot we learn laws concerning taking vows and how they can be annulled. As we shall see there are very different opinions about taking vows. The gift of speech is very powerful and holy. As it says in Bamidbar 30:3 -

When a man voweth a vow unto the LORD, or sweareth an oath to bind his soul with a bond, he shall not break his word; he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.

The following teaching is taken from the Ohr Gedalyahu on Parshat Matot:

It has been taught in the name of Rav Tzadok Hacohen of Lublin, zt'l, that the first time something is mentioned in the Torah is the headquarters, which explains the essence of that thing. The first time that the Torah speaks about vows is with Yaakov Avinu, where it says "Yaakov took a vow saying … and this rock that I erected over here shall be the house of G-d" (Bereshit 28:20). On this verse the Midrash teaches that Yaakov was the first one to take a vow (Bereishit Raba 71) and that the vow is related to building a home for Hashem.

Rebbe Avahu taught that we see this connection between Yaakov Avinu, vows and building Hashem’s house in the Psalms: "A song of Ascents, Oh, Lord, remember unto David all his renunciation. How he swore to the Lord, to the Elevating Power of Yaakov. I will not enter into the tent of my house, I will not go up into the bed that is spread for me, I will not give sleep to my eyes, nor slumber to my eyelids, until I shall have found the place Hashem, dwelling places for the Elevating Power of Yaakov"(Psalms 132:1-5).

From all this we understand that most important aspect of a vow is to make a space for kedusha and to build a house for the dwelling of the Shechina.

The Ramban and Rabbeinu Bachaya teach that a vow is taken "b'chayei haMelech - on the life of the king". Rabbeinu Bachaya further teaches a deeper meaning of the word - "neder" is related to the word "dira l'Hashem - a dwelling place for G-d" The spelling of neder is “nun” “daled” “reish” and “nun” represents the 50 gates of Binah, and “daled” and “reish” together spell out "dar” which means “dwelling”. You can look further in his sefer for more kabbalistic teachings on this concept.

Even though we don't really understand the depths of these teachings, we still see from their holy words that the foundational aspect of the vow is all about bringing ourselves closer to the King of all Kings of Kings, Hakadosh Baruch Hu. This is why Yaakov Avinu vowed to build a place for the Shechina. Because in the place of the Mikdash, there is where the utmost closeness to Hakodesh Baruch Hu that can be achieved in this world. And so, it would seem that taking a vow is a holy thing to do.

In the Talmud, we find the following opinion about making vows: "Rebbe Natan says, 'One who takes a vow, it is as if he built a ‘bamah’ [a personal altar] and if one fulfills his vow, it is as if a sacrificed a korban on the bamah-altar. (Masechet Nedarim 22:a)

This allusion of vows to the ‘bamah’ could be either positive or negative, for if the Mishkan or Temple isn't built, it's not a negative thing to build a bamah or offer up a korbon on the bamah. However once the Mishkan was established in Shilo personal altars that were prohibited and it was strictly forbidden to offer sacrifices outside the Temple.

Generally, the mention of bamah-altars alludes to the biblical accounts of the sinfulness of the people who hadn’t gotten rid of their personal altars after the establishment of the Sanctuary in Shilo. And thus the Ra"N (Rabbeinu Nissim) explains Reb Natan's teaching as being very much against taking vows.

And so we need to resolve, is taking vows positive or negative? The Ohr Gedalyahu explains. Making vows can either be a positive or negative thing depending on the intention behind the vow. If we make a vow out of anger, such as, "I swear I will never step foot in his house again!" or even if we make a holy vow for reasons of self or spiritual aggrandizement, then this is a very negative thing. It is as if we are building a bamah during the time the Beit Mikdash was standing - and if we don't nullify the vow it is as if we offered a korbon on that forbidden bamah.

So we see, we can only make vows if they are l'shem shemayim - for the sake of heaven and for the sake of coming closer to G-d.

Since the essence of a vow that is made with the proper intentions is to keep moving closer to Hashem until the Beit Hamikdash is built, this gives one explanation as to why we always read Parshat Nedarim during the "3 Weeks" where we mourn the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash. For as we explained, the main essence of a vow is to come closer to G-d. The ultimate purpose of coming closer to Hashem is achieved in the building of the Beit Hamikdash.

Now, it is during this 3 Weeks that it is particularly incumbent upon us to arouse ourselves to establish a holy place for kedusha.

Even though it is not in our hands, at the moment, to build the Beit Hamikdash, nevertheless, it is in the power of each individual to fix and establish his own time and space, such that the essence of his time and space should be "panuy" - dedicated to being open to connecting with and receiving from Hashem. This is especially true in the service of prayer, where each individual should focus his heart towards the Holy of Holies, as the author of Sefer Charedim, Reb Elezar Hazkari said, "In the depths of my heart I shall build a sanctuary."

By gathering together everybody’s individual efforts to dedicate their own personal space and time to holiness, we will all merit to come close to Hashem as a complete community, and merit the rebuilding of the Temple – may it be quickly in our days. Amen!

in honor of Aharon haKohen

Today, Rosh Chodesh menachem-Av is the 'yahrtzeit' of Aharon haKohen, Aron the High Priest. Aharon haKohen is the only one whose date of leaving this world, is stated explicitly in the Torah.

לג:לח וַיַּעַל אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֵן אֶל-הֹר הָהָר, עַל-פִּי יְ' -וַיָּמָת שָׁם 
בִּשְׁנַת הָאַרְבָּעִים, לְצֵאת בְּנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם, בַּחֹדֶשׁ הַחֲמִישִׁי, בְּאֶחָד לַחֹדֶשׁ 
33:38 And Aaron the priest went up into mount Hor at the commandment of the LORD, and died there, in the fortieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fifth month, on the first day of the month. – that is Rosh Chodesh Menachem Av

לט וְאַהֲרֹן, בֶּן-שָׁלֹשׁ וְעֶשְׂרִים וּמְאַת שָׁנָה, בְּמֹתוֹ, בְּהֹר הָהָר. 
39 And Aaron was a hundred and twenty and three years old when he died in mount Hor.

Aharon haKohen was the only one concerning whom it says that "all of Israel cried over him, for thirty days." In honor of his 'yahrtzeit' I selected a number of teachings of our Rebbes, including Reb Shlomo zt"l, who so emulated Aharon haKohen, pertaining to Aharon haKohen, to the Beit Hamikdash, to the Three Weeks, as well as a few teachings pertaining to our parsha.

Reb Shlomo zt"l taught: 
What does it mean on a daily basis, that Aharon haKohen pronounced Hashem's Holy Name in the Holy of Holies? What did it mean to Aharon and what does it mean to us on a daily basis? What does it mean to us today?

Reb Shlomo explains that these very same lips that uttered Hashem's Name, were making peace between people! The Mishnah in Pirkei Avot [Chap. 1] instructs us to be among the students of Aharon, loving peace and pursuing peace, loving the people and bringing them close to the Torah. It is explained that Aharon did not merely give lip service to peace. Instead of spending most of his time isolated in the protected holiness of the Sanctuary, he was among the people, talking with them, listening to them and actively helping them live in peace. He would make peace between husband and wife, between business partners, between parents and children, between friends, etc. The holiness of Hashem's Name was on Aharon's lips every single day. A holy person speaks holy; a holy person speaks healing words of comfort, reconciliation and peace. Because he was so holy, the Oneness of G-d was so very real to him.

Because he was so close to Hashem he was so he could not tolerate people hurting one another. His holiness would not allow him to do the services in the Sanctuary, unless he gave it full expression in the street.

When Aharon would meet someone who was 'off' in his religious practice, he did not tell him "Listen brother, you're off, you are a mess and you better change." Aharon haKohen saw with 'Moshiach eyes'. He saw the depths of each person. He saw that people are truly holy on the inside. He actively loved them by being with them, seeing and focusing on their good points and their inner holiness, and by speaking with them lovingly. By helping them get along in peace, their Divine souls were aroused and strengthened. Then these people come to realize how holy they were and how connected they were. In his presence, they became aware of the 'natural' holy fire that is aflame in their hearts.

Aharon haKohen did not try to make the other person change, says Reb Shlomo. This was the greatness of Aharon haKohen. Aharon actively loved everyone. When you see someone who is 'off', you need Moshiach eyes to love him and help him. You don't learn to love from 'outside', it is a matter of the 'inside'. As Aharon would light the Menorah, he connected all of Israel with the 'or ganuz', and thus inspired all of us to do intimate Tshuvah.

A few more teachings from past years:

Massei – journeys.

"These are the journeys of the Children of Israel." There were forty two of them, and they represent the journeys that we go through in our personal and communal lives, from the moment of birth, our physical exit from the 'narrows' until we reach Eretz Yisrael, the promised Land. Along the way we need to stop and get our bearings, refocus our vision and try to understand why we are where we are.

Did you ever find yourself somewhere, not knowing why you are there? Is getting off at the wrong exit and travelling through towns you did not plan on being in part of your life journey? Really, why were you there?

Reb Levi Yitzchak teaches that wherever you happen to be, there are holy sparks there waiting to be elevated by you. "Dirah b'tactonim" – Hashem desired to have a dwelling place in this world, the very lowest of all worlds. We are here to transform this 'lowest' of all worlds into Hashem's dwelling place. What does this mean? Do we not believe that Hashem is everywhere – that there is no 'above' or 'below' as far as Hashem is concerned?

'Upper' worlds and 'lower' worlds are terms used to describe the 'worlds' from our perspective; don’t think of them spatially. There are worlds in which the Light of the Infinite One, blessed be He, is simply, more revealed than in others. 'Upper' and 'lower' worlds indicate different levels of revelation and concealment of Hashem's light. Hashem's light is most concealed in this world “olam hazeh”- this world which we are living in. However, there are sparks of holiness embedded in all that exists. If this were not so, then no phyiscal object/creature would exist. When we look at a blue glass, for example, we see a blue glass and nothing more. However there are holy sparks embedded and concealed within it. When the work of transforming this world into a dwelling place for Hashem will be completed, this same glass that now looks like nothing more than a blue glass will also reveal the presence of Hashem. Everything in the world will reflect the light of the Infinite One, baruch Hu. What is our role and how are to accomplish it?

By making good use of every object permissible to us, and by making use of every moment, opportunity, and emotion in the service of Hashem, we are elevating the holy sparks. Even if you got lost or sidetracked somewhere on your journey, it was not accidental that this happened. Take a moment and think about Hashem, take a glass of water and make a blessing; you are elevating the holy sparks that are there, they have been waiting for you to show up and elevate them. If you find yourself in a place of intense love, but it is a 'fallen love' – in that the object of your love is not good or is forbidden, raise that love towards that which your Divine soul loves and use the experience of it to serve Hashem b'ahavah – with love. So too with other emotions. This is the concept of "ha-ala-at ha-nitzotzot" – elevating the sparks.

As long as we are breathing, as long as the candle is burning, Hashem has confidence in us and is encouraging us to go on. The important thing is to remember that we are on a journey AND have a destination to reach. We may stop to rest, get our bearings and see how we are doing, but we must always continue to move forward to the Promised Land. Along the way, we learn to maximize and actualize our talents in serving Hashem. We learn how and when to walk, how and when to dance - always b'simcha.

Cities of Refuge

"And Hashem spoke to Moshe saying: Speak to the B'nai Yisrael and say to them, When you come over the Yarden into the land of Canaan, then shall appoint for yourselves cities that will be cities of refuge for you; that the slayer who kills an person unintentionally shall flee thereto. And they shall be to you cities for refuge from the avenger..." (Bamidbar 35:9-12.)

Reb Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev taught in the name of the Baal Shem Tov, that the three cities of refuge (there were three cities of refuge on each side of the Jordan) represent the three garments of the soul: thought, speech and action.

Each person must escape from the 'avenger', that is the 'yetzer harah' who seeks to prevent us from serving the Creator. We need to strengthen ourselves to have holy thoughts, speak holy words and do good deeds.

Even though we may not have yet perfected any of these, and indeed they may be far from perfection, nevertheless it is far better that we attempt to think holy and speak holy and do good deeds than to sit back and do nothing; for in so doing we are doing acts of friendship for our Master and thus we will merit to be messengers of Hashem's loving-kindness and be protected from causing harm to anyone.

Originally there were six cities of refuge, three on either side of the Jordan. Accidental manslaughter was a rare occurrence. But as time went on and there was more corruption and the need for additional cities of refuge grew. Finally, another 42 cities- the cities of the Levites, were classified as 'cities of refuge', bringing the total to 48. If I remember correctly, the Oheiv Yisrael says that the original 'six' correspond to the first 'six' words of the Shema – 1/Shema, 2/Yisrael, 3/Hashem, 4/Elokeinu, 5/Hashem, 6/Echad. The additional 42 cities correspond to the 42 words in the rest of the Shema Yisrael, from 1/V'ahavtah through, 42/uvi'sh'arecha. Is this correspondence merely a coincidence, or does it mean something?

The Oheiv Yisrael explains [this is how I understood his teaching] that in a certain sense, reciting the Shema is like entering a city of refuge. As we saw above, Reb Levi Yitzchak compares the 'avenger' to the 'yetzer hara', and 'outside' the city of refuge, is his territory. In his territory, we are more likely to get caught and seduced by him. The 'inside' of the city of refuge represents the safe domain in which we can avoid getting caught by the 'yetzer hara'. Of course, in this discussion 'outside' and 'inside' are not to be understood geographically.

The 'outside', the domain of the 'yetzer hara', is within. But then there is the 'inside of the inside' as Reb Shlomo zt"l used to say, and to be 'inside' the city of refuge, is to be in the 'inside of the inside' – inside the words of the Shema Yisrael.

What does it mean to fully enter into the words of the Shema? Shema Yisrael Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echad – Hear O Yisrael, Hashem is our G-d, Hashem is One! What does it mean to say these words and to whom are we saying them? B'ezras Hashem there is much to learn about this.One widely known thought is that saying the Shema is a proclamation of your complete faith in Hashem, in total readiness for "messirut nefesh"- ready to live your life and even to give your life for Kiddush Hashem- for the sanctification of Hashem in this world. You are making this proclamation to the world, to your family, to your friends and to your 'self' – that Hashem is One. In doing so we enter into the "inside of the inside'- the city of refuge, the safe haven where the evil inclination has no power over us. Thus when you feel as if you are being pursued by the avenger, as if your yetzer hara is about to get the better of you- run to the 48 cities of refuge: say the Shema Yisrael with deep concentration, enter deep within, to the 'inside of the inside', into the domain of pure holiness where the source of your Neshama is always connected with its source, Hakadosh Baruch Hu- the Holy One blessed is He.

"Avinu Malkeinu, asseih 'immanu' - we pray that You use us to do - tzedakkah and loving-kindness, for the sake of Your great Name, and grant us salvation. Amen.

The Month of menachem – Av

"Mishenichnas Av m'ma-atin b'simcha." – As the month of Av arrives we reduce in those things that give us pleasure.

Chassidim say "Mishenichnas Av m'ma-atin - b'simcha." – As the month of Av arrives we reduce the length of the galut exile [by serving Hashem] with joy.

Kol Yisrael - All Of Israel

In the Shabbos Amiddah prayer we read:

"Our G-d and G-d of our ancestors, may You be pleased with our rest. Sanctify us with Your commandments and grant us our share in Your Torah. Satiate us from Your goodness and cause us to rejoice with Your salvation and purify our heart to serve You with sincerity. Grant us Hashem our G-d, with love and desire Your holy Shabbos as our heritage, and may all of Israel, the sanctifiers of Your Name, rest in her. Blessed You are Hashem, Who sanctifies the Shabbos."

I learned many times from my Rebbes and teachers that "all of Israel" – 'kol Yisrael' are the sanctifiers of Hashem's Name. All of Israel! Even Jews who may not [yet] be practicing and observing the mitzvot are the sanctifiers of Hashem's Name. After the Holocaust, when Jews were murdered just because they were Jews, every Jew is sanctifying Hashem's Name just by being a Jew. It is amazing that even the Yidden who had lost their faith [for many this was only a temporary loss of faith] did not stop identifying themselves as Jews. This alone is a sanctification of Hashem's Name. Every Jew, every one of us, must realize that we belong to 'kol Yisrael', 'all of Israel'; let us not succumb to the forces of division. May we always stand united and let the world know that we are all together. We must not allow anyone to divide us. May we always look at one another with good eyes and see the positive and the potential. Rebbe Nachman zt"l taught that we must remember the future.

True Ahavas Yisrael

The Gemara says that the Second Beit Hamikdash was destroyed because of 'sinat chinam', baseless hatred. Many great Rabbis have taught that in order to merit the building of the Third Beit Hamikdash, we must strive for 'ahavat chinam', baseless love, i.e., loving one another for no reason, just like we love ourselves for no reason. Our current 'matzav' makes it imperative we build bridges of communication and understanding amongst ourselves. When the Lubavitcher Rebbe ztz"l was alive, he never stopped stressing the unity of 'Am Yisrael' and demanding that every one of us ingest this truth and live by it with true Ahavas Yisrael. Reb Shlomo Carlebach ztz"l gave his life to Am Yisrael, as he attempted to bring all Jews together through joy and song.

Let there be a window in your home where you can see Yerushalayim

Ttranscript of Reb Shlomo’s teachings, from 2 tape/CD album called “Nachmu Nachmu”. [you can order it on the web]

(singing) Yehi Shalom b’cheylech shalva b’armenotayich.... 
let there be peace in your chamber ... tranquility in your palaces

Shalom Shalom Shalom 
peace in Yerushalayim peace in the holy city peace in the Holy Land 
let there be peace 
peace in every land peace on every street peace on every corner 
let there be peace 
just one more tear just one more prayer just one more song 
let there be peace 
just one more sunset just more night just one more dawn 
let there be peace 
Shalom...Shalom.... 
just for my children just for your children just for G-d’s children 
let there be peace 
Shalom ..... Shalom .... Shalom .... Shalom

give me harmony .... one Friday night 
one holy special exalted Friday night ‘in heiligen Shabbos’ 
let there be peace...... 
by the holy Radoshitzer by the Rebbe Reb Ber after the ‘table’ 
he called his biggest chosid Reb Chaim Meirel 
and he took him to the window 
let there be peace

and he said to him 
“look out of the window” 
and both were standing there looking out of the window 
and their tears were flowing 
tears from Yerushalayim until Mashiach is coming 
until they couldn’t bear it anymore........ 
let there be peace....

the heilige Radoshitzer went back to his room 
and the chassidim said “Chaim Meirle what did the Rebbe show you?”

and this is what he said: 
“ohr chadash al Tziyon tair v’nizkeh chulanu – let there be peace 
the new light! the great light ! 
the light we are waiting for 
the one, which will shine in the Holy City 
this is what the Rebbe showed me tonight - let there be peace”

“but why were you crying so much?” 
and this is what he said : 
“not only did he show me the light 
he also showed me all the tears

he also showed me all the pain 
the holy people of Israel have to go through

until there will be peace 
Shalom.....Shalom....Shalom 
Shalom.....Shalom....Shalom

so my dearest most beautiful friends and all of Israel 
I bless you.......let there be one window in your little house 
I bless you with a window where you can see Yerushalayim 
whenever your children are crying or when you meet someone 
who is filled with pain take them to that window 
and show them the great light “ohr chadash al Tziyon tair 
and give them strength to hold out, not ever to give up 
until there will be peace 
Shalom.....Shalom....Shalom 
Shalom.....Shalom....Shalom

 

With thanks to Reb Shlomo Brodt z"l

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