Parsha Vayikra - we are calling Hashem
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Reb Shlomo Carlebach
on Parshat Vayikra
The Essence Of Hashem
The Medrash says that when G-d spoke to Avraham, G-d’s voice sounded like his own voice. But when G-d spoke to Yitzchak, it was the voice of Avraham, and when He spoke to Ya’akov, it was the voice of Yitzchak. When He spoke to Moshe, it was the voice of Amram his father. But here, in Vayikra, something changes. Vayikra el Moshe – he heard G-d’s voice but this time it didn’t sound like his father. Moshe began to hear his own voice as well.
Why suddenly here, now in the beginning of Vayikra? Open your hearts to the deepest depths.
Everybody knows that Bereishis is the book of creation. G-d created the world, He created it hidden. In Shmos G-d took us out of Egypt and gave us the Torah. Vayikra is something else. Vayikra is Sefer Avoda, it’s about reaching beyond yourself through the service of G-d.
What does Avodas Hashem ( Service of G-d) mean? It is possible to know every word of the Torah. It is possible to do everything right, but you are still not a servant of G-d. You’re a fine person, you do everything right, but a servant of G-d is something else. Who is a servant of G-d? Service of G-d is being close to G-d. There are husbands and wives, Nebach.They are very correct to each other, they are always good to each other, treat each other with respect but they are not close to each other. There are parents who do everything for their children, sweet and cute, but they are not close.
Vayikra always comes between Purim and Pesach. The Gemarah says that we go from redemption (Purim) to redemption (Pesach). We need redemption on two levels. First, knowing that Jews are here forever and G-d is here forever and everything holy is here forever and loving people are forever and the Torah is here forever and ever.
Then there is one more level, just knowing that no one is master without G-d.
So on Purim, as I celebrate my eternity it will give me the strength to celebrate Pesach with the utmost freedom, without any master over me. I shall be only a servant of G-d. On Purim, I am redeemed from the slavery of time, I celebrate that we yiddelach are here forever. On Pesach, I am redeemed from the slavery of civilization, of ideas. Freed from the people’s ideas of me, even of my own ideas.
On Purim – what is shining into me is that I’m a Jew. Pesach- what is shining into me is that I’m a servant to G-d.
When these two concepts are mamesh alive in me, I begin to taste the freedom of being a Servant of G-d!
Original Reb Shlomonrecording on Yayikra
We dedicate our learning today for all who need quick refuah, parnassah- successful livelihood and ‘Yiddishe nachas’. May Hashem answer all our prayers l’tovah! May we all come closer to Hashem b’ahavah ub’simcha. Amen.
We humbly ask everyone- please continue to daaven for the unity of Am Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael. (and all those suffering from the Corana Virus)
We pray that this month of Nissan - be a month of joy and unity and great miracles for all of Israel and may we be blessed with the ultimate redemption, bimheira b'yameinu. In these insane times, May we all return to the holy sanity of the Torah Amen.
Love and blessings to you all from Yerushalayim Have a wonderful Shabbos and a very joyous Nissan b'ahavah ubivracha
Reb Sholom Brodt z"l
הוא is calling
ויקרא Hashem is calling us and we are calling Him
When we learn Torah, Hashem is calling to us through Moshe Rabbeinu our teacher. But not only is Hashem calling to us, we are also calling Him.
The Alter Rebbe explains this in the Tanya ch. 37: "This illumination which one draws through his Torah study is referred to as “calling” [as in the Talmudic expression] (concerning a Torah student) קורא בתורה (usually translated as “One who reads (studies) the Torah,” but reinterpreted here as ) “One who calls [G d] through the Torah”. Just as calling in its usual sense means that the caller causes the person being called to come to him, to turn to him with his entire being, similarly in the context of “calling through Torah”: This [phrase] means that in Torah study one calls G-d to come to him, so to speak, as a man calls to his friend to come to him, or as a child will call his father to come and join him and not to part from him, leaving him alone, G-d forbid."
מקרא קודש - A Holy Calling
The Torah calls our holy festivals מקראי קודש - 'mikraei kodesh', usually translated as 'holy convocations'. Shabbat, as we say in Kiddush, is תחילה למקראי קודש- the first of the holy festivals.
'mikraei kodesh' also translates as "holy callings" - i.e. pronouncements of "קודש Kodesh-Holy", and also as "callings to holiness".
Reb Shlomo taught in the name of Rebbe Nachman, (לב השמיםפ - פסח 143-144) that the holy festival is standing on the corner announcing in a great voice "קודש Holy!" - the festival is proclaiming "Know that Hashem is One. The Holy One blessed is He conducts the world. There is no weekday. There is no nature. There is someone who can make all sorts of miracles for you."
And being that the festival is calling 'Kodesh - Holy', we have to listen and hear the calling.
Says Rebbe Nachman, You need to bend forward your ear and open your heart to hear the calling. Your entire "simchat Yom Tov" - Yom tov joy is dependent on this. The more you merit to hear clearly- Yom Tov announcing that Hashem that Hashem conducts the world, the more you will feel the joy of Yom Tov
And if G-d forbid, one is not 'b'simcha' on Yom Tov, that is a sign that he didn't hear the מקרא קודש 'mikra Kodesh' - the calling of and to holiness.
So Rebbe Nachman asks: How is one able to get the ears to hear the festival calling "יום טוב Yom tov"? You have to give a lot of tzedakkah to the poor, especially before Pessach. You mammash have to give a lot of tzedakkah to the poor.
Says Reb Shlomo, 'do you understand how deep this is? when you give tzedakkah with all your heart, you are training your ears to hear the hidden cries of another person. This is how your ears become sharper and more sensitive. And then on Yom Tov you will merit to hear the voice of Hashem informing you ה' אחד Hashem is One
But if your ears are not open to hearing the cries of the poor one, then you will remain deaf and you will not hear the calling of Hakadosh Baruch Hu.
Everyone asks, what is the meaning of blessing one another "Good Yom Tov"? Is there any possibility that it would not be good? And the answer is, I'm blessing you that you should merit to hear the "tov" - the good in the Yom Tov festival. I am blessing you that you should be good enough, to hear the 'voice' of the מקרא קודש 'mikra Kodesh' - the calling of and to holiness.
When I am blessing you with a "chag sameyach"- a joyous festival, I am blessing you to merit to hear well this voice that is proclaiming קודש KODESH, because to hear this voice- this is the greatest joy!!!
May we all be blessed to remember, to hear and to know that הוא He is calling. May we merit to have good sensitive ears and open hearts to the poor and to His calling. May we be blessed to be careful to look and see with good eyes, healing eyes, joyous eyes. May we we be blessed with the quick arrivalk of Moshiach NOW!
Reb Shlomo's Torah Vayikra - The Secret Behind the Korbanot Everyone knows that one of the key parts of bringing a sacrifice is regret. When I bring a sacrifice I am basically saying to the Ribbono Shel Olam "I did wrong, and I regret what I did." Let me point something out to you. What does it mean that you stand before G-d and you regret something? To regret something means "Ribbono Shel Olam, this is really not the way I am." Imagine I somebody very much and I hurt their feeling. When I say "I'm sorry I hurt you feeling," What do I really mean to say? I am basically saying "I'm not capable of consciously hurting you because I love you so much. Some stupid spirit came over me, and I used words which I don't mean." What I'm saying to this person is that it didn't come from the depths of my heart.
When you come to the Holy Temple and bring a sacrifice, something very important becomes come clear to you, "I really did not was t to sin."
Sometimes we can live as something or as somebody for years and years, thinking this is what we really want and one day we wake up and say, "I'm so stupid, this is not what I want, this is not where I belong."
As a way out tragic example, I heard this story about a Chassidishe yid, a Radomsker chassid. He came to Berlin and thought to himself, "The Radomsker Rebbe is great but what does he know? Germany is a different story, here I make money." The greatest thing happened to him, his daughter was going out with a German army officer, which was so to speak the greatest honor in the world. When Hitler took over he thought, 'The Polish Jews can still hold on to their Rebbe for help Not me, I have a future son-in-law who is a big officer.' One night this Nazi walks in and he starts beating up the girl because they claimed that someone from Jewish blood is trying to seduce an Aryan. This yidel work up and starting asking himself who am I, what am I.
Besides beating, what else did he experience that night?
The Ba'al Shem Tov says that sometimes we look at ourselves and while regretting what we did we become sad. Let me ask you, can you imagine living your life under the illusion thinking that you did something right when really, it was the worst thing in the world? On the one hand I'm sad that I made a mistake, but thank G-d - He let me know of it. I should be jumping for joy when that which I did wrong was revealed to me.
So when Yidele came to the Holy Temple and brought a sacrifice, he might have been walking in with a broken-heart, but at a certain point of understanding the depths of regret, he would end up telling G-d, "Master of the Universe, it is clear to me that this is what I want." Now let's go even deeper. Sometimes we only know what we don't want, but what about what we really do want? The deepest translation of G-d is when it is clear to you what you really want. Not only what your kishkes want, nor what your ear wants. The deepest question is what does you neshama want, what does you inside want? So you see what the Levi'im would do? The holiness of their playing was that they opened all gates of everyone's hearts and everyone's soul to find out what they mamesh want.
Parshiot Vayikra: Teachings From Previous Years
▪ Parshat Vayikra: The Book of Holiness ▪ Three levels in approaching Hashem: Meditation, Action and broken heart filled with Awe. ▪ Moshe Rabbeinu and Adam haRishon ▪ VAYIKRa – Learn and Teach Torah with LOVE ▪ The Sweet Learning Of The 'Aleph-Bet' ▪ The Korban Mincha – The Meal Offering ▪ One who comes to purify himself -- הבא לטהר מסייעין אותו
Parshat Vayikra: The Book of Holiness
1. Welcome to Sefer Va'yikra
Welcome to Sefer Vayikra, also known as Sefer Torat Kohanim- the book of the laws pertaining (mostly) to the priests. In English Vayikra is known as 'the book of Leviticus'- having to do with the Kohanim who were from the tribe of Levi. In Sefer Shmot- Exodus we learned about our enslavement in and liberation from Mitzrayim; about the Covenant and the giving of the Torah; the downfall with the sin of the 'golden calf'; the "build unto Me a Sanctuary" laws and the appointment of the Kohanim and the Levites. Now in Sefer Vayikra we learn about the service of the Sanctuary- how we were to serve Hashem inside the Mishkan and how we are to serve Hashem in our inner sanctum. From the stories and events we can relate to in Sefer Shmot, we move to 'Chukim' laws in Sefer Vayikra, laws that we do not comprehend with our rational minds.
"Shivim panim la'Torah." Like an extraordinarily beautiful gem the Torah has 'seventy faces', seventy levels of depth. With Hashem's blessings, we get to go deeper and deeper each time we learn these holy words and letters of His Wisdom.
The holy Piaseczner Rebbe ztz"l teaches in his sefer Eish Kodesh (Holy Fire) that Hashem is close to the Jewish person; even when he or she are not deserving of such closeness, Hashem desires us to be close to Him. In Mitzrayim, when we were spiritually naked and bare, Hashem gave us the mitzvot of circumcision and Korban Pessach. These mitzvot are considered to be "Chukim". (We have learned about Chukim and Mishpatim [rationally understood laws] on a number of occasions.)
One wonders how can mitzvot which we do not understand bring us closer to Hashem? This seems to be paradoxical. The Piaseczner Rebbe explains that it is only things that are strange to us that we have 'a need' to understand with reason. But when we come closer to Hashem then even the Chukim are understood. We understand that the Chukim laws are as they should be- you don't need human intellect or particular reasons to understand them and to do them. Those things which pertain to your essential self, you understand simply, just like you understand yourself from being close to yourself.
When you love someone very much, you don't need any reason to explain why. If you can explain why you love someone that means that there is a reason why you shouldn't love them, but because of a greater reason you feel compelled to get past the barrier. However, when you are really close there is no barrier. When we are really close to Hashem we understand that the Chukim are so natural for us, and we realize that it was only our distance from Him that created the barrier in the first place.
There are many aspects that directly affect the quality of our service in Hashem's Sanctuary. Lying to your self imposes a different kind of barrier, and a very dangerous one at that. In the