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‫לפרשת ויחי‬

Torah Wellsprings



Parshas Vayechi ebbe Dovid of Lelov zt'l once traveled to his rebbe, Rebbe Elimelech of Lizhensk zt'l, for Shabbos but along the way he got lost in a forest. He wandered around and couldn’t find his way out. He sat down and cried copiously. Suddenly, he saw an old man who showed him the way out. When they took leave from each other, the elderly man said, "I will to teach you two lessons and I want you to remember them:


There's a parable that teaches us this lesson:

There was a deer that enjoyed running through the forest but its antlers were big and he was constantly getting entangled in the foliage. Sometimes, its antlers got entangled in a grapevine; other times he got caught in a thorn bush and so on. Each time, the deer had to struggle to free itself. The deer was mad with the foliage for disturbing him. "Why can't they keep their branches tame so they don’t disturb the public?" "When there's a protruding knob in a plank of wood, that plank can't be used One of the wise animals of the forest for construction, because it can't lay said to the deer, "I suggest that you cut evenly with the plank next to it. A off your antlers and then you can run carpenter can cut away the knob, and without any hindrance." then it can be used. But a more intelligent solution would be to carve an The nimshal is obvious. Instead of trying indent in the good plank so it can to fix others, fix yourself. People have accommodate the protruding knob. faults that bother us, but it's hard to fix "My second counsel is, focus on your them. The right thing to do is to become own faults rather than on the faults of a person who isn't angered by other other people." people's faults. Find it within your heart to forgive them, and then you won't be After relating the two lessons the old angered by their crudeness. man disappeared. It was then that Rebbe Dovid of Lelov realized that the old man Someone once bought himself a burial plot from the chevrah kadishah but later was Eliyahu Hanavi. discovered that his plot was between two Let's take a look at the first counsel: women and according to minhag, it isn't There are knobs in other people, they proper for a man to be buried between have their rough edges and bad middos. two women. He wanted to back out of Instead of trying to fix them, fix the purchase, so he brought the chevrah yourself. Make an indent in your heart to kadishah to a din Torah, to Reb Yisrael accept the imperfections of your fellow Yaakov Fisher zt'l. Reb Yisrael Yaakov man, and then you will live peacefully ruled that the purchase is valid because with everyone. he can be buried deeper into the ground TorahWellspring- Vaye chi


Torah Wellspring - Vayechi

and then it won't be considered between knocked at his door, banging with all their might: "Yid, open up and give us a two women. drink! We're thirsty!" Reb Avraham Genichovsky zt'l (Rosh Yeshiva Tchebin) repeated this episode The man opened his window and said, to his students, and said, "This man's "You're at the wrong address. This is no problem was resolved by burying him longer a tavern. Now this is a fabric deeper in the ground. So too, many store. You have nothing to seek here problems are resolved when we bury anymore." ourselves deeper in the ground. When The Maggid concluded, "When your bad people mistreat you, allow the injustices thoughts come, tell them, 'You've come and mistakes to pass over your head. to the wrong address. I am no longer Humbly bury yourself in the ground and the doctor you knew. I've done These thoughts aren't don’t answer back. This will save you teshuvah. appropriate for me anymore." from many disputes and problems." Pure Thoughts

Reb Ahron Gradiya was a famous doctor who did teshuvah under the influence of the Maggid of Mezritch zt'l. (The Maggid was also his patient. When the Maggid's feet were ill, Reb Ahron Gradiya would treat them.) Reb Ahron once told the Maggid that although he had done teshuvah and improved his ways, his thoughts were still not as they should be. At times, his thoughts were similar to the way he would think when he still wasn't religious. The Maggid answered with a mashal: There was once a man who owned a tavern, but the drunks, the fights, and the vomit took their toll on him and he decided to close shop. He turned the tavern into a clothing and fabric store. But the drunks kept coming back. They

Someone came to the Or HaMeir also complaining that he wasn't able to control his thoughts. The Or HaMeir advised him to go to the Magid of Mezritch zt'l. It was snowing and very cold when the man knocked on the Maggid's door, but the Maggid didn’t answer it. He knocked some more and he couldn’t understand why the Maggid wasn't opening the door for him. Finally, the Maggid answered the door and said, "In this house, I am baal habayis. Whoever I choose to let inside, can come inside. Whoever I don’t permit, can't." The man understood that he had received the answer to his question. How does one control his thoughts? He should tell himself, "I am the baal habayis. I choose which thoughts I want to think about and which thoughts I want to ignore. No one can force me to think about what I don’t desire." 1

1. The Rebbe of Husiaten zy'a was once walking with his chassidim in Vienna. A non-Jew

saw them and asked, "Who is that rabbi?"

Torah Wellspring - Vayechi


The sar hamashkim and the sar ha'ofim told their dreams to Yosef. Yosef told one of them that he would live and to the other one Yosef said he would die. How did Yosef know? Chazal say that it was because of the first word that they said to Yosef. The sar hamashkim began, éðôì ïôâ äðäå éîåìçá, "In my dream, there was a grapevine in front of me…" The first word he said to Yosef was éîåìçá, which also means healthy and strong. Since he began with a positive word, Yosef interpreted his dream for life. The sar ha'ofim began his dream with óà, as he said, éîåìçá éðà óà. óà can mean anger. He started with a negative word; Yosef therefore understood that the sar ha'ofim was not destined to live.


everything follows. We should always strive to make the beginnings good. The beginning of the day, the month, the year, the project, the mesichta etc. should start out on good footing because it will influence what happens afterwards in a very significant way. Hashem cursed the snake (which represents the yetzer hara), ùàø êôåùé àåä, "Man will crunch you on the head." We crush the yetzer hara by taking advantage of the ùàø, the beginnings.

Reb Chaim Volozhiner zt'l taught that upon awakening in the morning one should make a firm decision of what he wants to accomplish in Torah that day. For example, one should think, today I want to study this Gemara, this section of Chumash, etc. This thought, first The determining factor here was the first thing in the morning, will certainly help word because like in so many areas, the him attain his goals. Reb Chaim beginnings are significant. Volozhiner writes, "It is äñåðîå ÷åãá, tested and proven." The Baal Shem Tov zt'l taught that the first mitzvah one performs each day will The Gemara (Menachos 29) teaches that remain with him throughout the day. Hashem created this world with the letter Beginnings have a very strong influence; 'ä, and Olam HaBa was created with a 'é. it creates the imprint on which The Gemara says, "Why was this world

"He is a Wunder Rabiner" one of the gabaim replied. "What is a Wunder Rabbiner?" the man asked. (Literally, a Wunder Rabbiner is a rebbe that performs wonders.) The Rebbe heard the man's question, and chose to answer him himself. "There are different types of rebbes," the rebbe explained. "Some preside over an entire country, some a city, others only a community. A Wunder Rabbiner is someone who rules over himself." Regarding a nazir, it states, ‫( איש כי יפליא‬Bamidbar 6:2). The Ibn Ezra explains that ‫יפליא‬ means wonder. He writes, "He is doing something wondrous, because most people go after their temptation [and the nazir refrains from pleasures]." When a person controls his thoughts, he is also doing something wondrous, and like a Wunder Rabbiner, he will also be able to do wonders with his tefillos.


Torah Wellspring - Vayechi

created with a 'ä? Because [it is open on the bottom and] whoever wants to leave [to go on the path of sin] can do so. Why is its foot hanging? [Why is there an opening between the 'ä's foot and the top of the 'ä?] If someone does teshuvah, he can return through that opening. Why can't he return through the other opening [at the bottom of the 'ä]? He won't succeed to return from there…" What is the Gemara's answer? Why can't one return from the same exit he left? The Yosher Divrei Emes explains: A person tends to return to his old routine and when a person was accustomed to sinning, he is at high-risk of returning to those ways again. The solution therefore, is to change the entire setting. He has to change his lifestyle, his friends, and sometimes even where he lives, and then he can succeed with his teshuvah. Therefore, he cannot return through the same exit he left, because passing through that familiar route will lead him to sin again. He needs a brand new start,

with a new entrance and then he can succeed in his teshuvah. This also explains the specialness of a new day. A new day is a brand new start. It's not a continuation of yesterday; it's a new beginning. Now he can abandon his past ways and succeed in starting anew. 2 The Light of Moshiach

Did you ever wonder why Klal Yisrael are called íéãåäé? What is special about Yehudah that all Yidden are named for him? Even a cohen or a levi or anyone from any other tribe, is always called éãåäé and this needs explanation. (Yidden or Jews are variations of Yehudah or Judah.) Targum Yonoson in this week's parashah teaches that this is Yehudah's reward for admitting and saying éðîî ä÷ãö, regarding the story with Tamar. As it states, øëéå åðîî ä÷ãö øîàéå äãåäé, "Yehudah recognized [the signet ring and the staff] and said, '[Tamar] is correct. [She is with child] from me…" (Bereishis 38:26). He

2. In Tehillim (63) it states, ‫לי אתה אשחרך צמאה לך נפשי‬-‫אלקים א‬. Rebbe Yisrael of Ruzhin

explained: ‫אשחרך‬, I rise early in the morning, ‫צמאה לך נפשי‬, because by doing so, it is certain that his soul will thirst for Hashem (he will have a holy pining for Hashem). In the middle of the day, he may fall from this level, as the passuk states, ...‫בארץ ציה ועיף‬, but he will pick himself up again, as it says, ‫כן בקודש חזיתיך‬... The Gemara taught that this world was created with a heh. It is open at the bottom, to imply that if one desires to leave this world via sin, he is able to do so. Reb Chaim Kreiswirth zt'l asked, why is sinning called leaving this world? Isn't sin part and parcel of this world? It would make sense to say that he is leaving Olam HaBa, but how is he leaving Olam HaZeh? Reb Chaim Kreizwirth answered that sinners lose Olam HaZeh too, because happiness is the lot of those who keep the Torah and mitzvos. Those who choose the lifestyle of sin, are, in a sense leaving Olam HaZeh.

Torah Wellspring - Vayechi

confessed, even when it was embarrassing for him and as a reward, the entire Jewish nation are called Yehudim, for him. Targum Yonoson writes on the words, êéçà êåãåé äúà äãåäé (49:8) as follows: äãåäé êçà ïåãåäé êì êë ïéâá øîúã àãáåò ìò àúéãåà úðà êîù ìò ïéàãåäé ïåø÷úéå, "Yehudah, you admitted in regards to Tamar, and therefore your brothers praise you and are called íéãåäé for you…" The Sfas Emes elaborates. He explains that Yehudah's uniqueness was that he was able to elevate himself even after falling. He didn’t feel doomed forever after the story with Tamar. He was ready to start anew. The Jewish nation, who also exemplify this attitude, are therefore also called íéãåäé. The Midrash says, "Yaakov was busy mourning for Yosef, Reuven was occupied doing teshuvah. What was Yehudah doing? He was busy bringing the light of Moshiach into the world." How was Yehudah bringing the light of Moshiach in the world? Some explain because Yehudah married and begot children (as discussed in Bereishis chapter 38) and Moshiach will be from his descendants. Rebbe Bunim of Peshischa zt'l explains that Yehudah was bringing the light of Moshiach into the world because he picked himself up again even after he fell, and that is the light of Moshiach. The attitude of never allowing oneself to despair and to just continue serving Hashem despite his faults is the light of Moshiach.


Yaakov's blessing to Yehudah represents Yehudah's positive and persistent nature. For example, Yaakov Avinu said to Yehudah, êáéà óøòá êãé, "Your hand smites at the nape of your enemies." In war, the worst thing a soldier can do is to sit down to cry and mourn. There is no time for this in the midst of a war. He must go out and fight the next battle. This is the strength of Yehudah, êáéà óøòá êãé, he is always prepared to fight on, no matter what happened beforehand. Yaakov Avinu also said to Yehudah, òøë äéøàë õáø, "He kneels and crouches like a lion." This means even when Yehudah falls and kneels, he remains strong like a lion, ready to stand up again. Yehudah always views himself as a lion. He doesn’t consider himself weak and unable. He knows that he is a Yid, and he has immense potential. This is the reason he is always prepared to begin anew, even after falling down. When Nasan HaNavi rebuked David HaMelech for the story of Bas Sheva, Dovid HaMelech responded, 'äì éúàèç, "I sinned to Hashem (II Shmuel 12:13). He didn’t say more because Nassan HaNavi interrupted him and said, êúàèç øéáòä 'ä íâ úåîú àì, "Hashem has removed your sin. You shall not die." Hashem saw that Dovid HaMelech's repentance was sufficient, and therefore Hashem had Nassan HaNavi interrupt him. Hashem didn’t want him to dwell on his sin any longer. A person has to be able to repent and move on. Not remain in a dejected state forever.


Torah Wellspring - Vayechi

The Chidushei HaRim zt'l similarly taught that one shouldn’t prolong the viduy on Yom Kippur. There is a mitzvah of viduy; one must admit and regret his sins, but it isn't good to remain there for too long – especially when this causes one to feel sad. Regardless of what occurred, one must be able to move on. This is the greatness of Yehudah and the greatness of every single Yid. ‫ טוב מאד‬is the Yetzer Hara

Gvuras Ari) answered this question and he told his explanation to the Apter Rav zt'l, who praised it immensely. The Rebbe of Kishenov said the following: Four faces are engraved on the Kisei HaKavod (Hashem's holy throne): the face of an eagle, of an ox, of a person, and of a lion. The words àð àù are roshei teivos of these four species (,øùð ,äéøà ,øåù íãà). The ox represents Yosef, as it says, åì øãä åøåù øåëá (33:17). The brothers told Yosef, "You merited to be represented on the Kisei HaKavod because êåìîâ äòø éë, of all the bad and hardships that we gave you. If it weren't for all of the struggles you went through, you wouldn’t have reached this level."

Yosef told his brothers, øùà íëéçà óñåé éðà äîéøöî éúà íúøëî, "I am Yosef your brother, who you sold to Mitzrayim" (Bereishis 45:4). The Sfas Emes writes that øùà here is from the root of çë øùé. Yosef was saying, "Thank you for selling me to Mitzrayim. This helped me reach The passuk continues, òùôì àð àù äúòå my greatness," because one grows êéáà é÷ìà éãáò, "and now forgive the sins of the servants of the G-d of your through tests. father…" The Rebbe of Kishonov taught Tests are also risky because there is a that êéáà é÷ìà is roshei teivos for éàä åàì éà chance that a person will fail. Therefore à÷åùá àëéà óñåé äîë àîåé, "If it weren't for we pray that we shouldn’t be tested, ìàå this day, how many Yosefs would there ïåéñð éãéì àìå ...åðàéáú. However, when one be in the marketplace." Rav Yosef, of the passes tests, he rises to a far higher level, Gemara (Pesachim 68), said those words because one must garner all his inner in praise of Shavuous and Mattan Torah. strengths to succeed. This is how Yosef The Gemara says that Rav Yosef reached his great levels. requested special food to eat on The brothers told Yosef, òùô àð àù àðà Shavuous, and explained, "if it weren't êåìîâ äòø éë íúàèçå êéçà, "Please forgive the for this day, there are so many other sins of your brothers because they have Yosef's in the marketplace." Rashi treated you badly." (50:17). This passuk explains, "If it weren't that I studied is difficult to understand, because they Torah and became exalted, there are said that Yosef should forgive them äòø éë many other people in the market who are êåìîâ, because they treated him badly. named Yosef. What would be the Isn't that a reason for Yosef not to difference between me and them?" Rav Yosef's words are alluded here, because forgive them? the brothers were telling Yosef the same The Rebbe of Kishenov zt'l (author of message. They were saying, "Recognize

Torah Wellspring - Vayechi

the good side of what happened because of all your hardships. You became Yosef HaTzaddik! You reached great levels. This wouldn’t have happened had you remained home. Therefore, please forgive us for our wrong deeds." 3 In the introduction to Shev Shamatsa (6) it says: "People with straight minds aren't very sharp (óéøç). A genius mind is the result of some fault in the thinking process (àúùáù áâà àìà åðéà úåôéøçä). Being that there's something that disturbs the mind from thinking properly, when the mind overcomes the barrier, it is with ingenuity (ìåãâ úåôéøç). An example of this is fire. When one pours a few drops of water over a fire, the fire becomes larger. The same is with the mind; if a drop of foolishness disturbs it from thinking properly, one's intelligence will combat it


and overcome it, and through this process the mind becomes sharper. "We are now able to explain the Chazal on the passuk, ãåàî áåè äðäå (Bereishis 1). 'áåè is the yetzer tov. ãåàî áåè is the yetzer hara.' [How can we understand this? Why is the yetzer called ãàî áåè?] The answer is, the foolishness of the yetzer hara conflicts the wisdom of the yetzer tov, and the struggle elevates one to higher levels…" Let us therefore recognize the value of trials and tribulations. They are our opportunities to get to places that we couldn’t reach without them. 4

‫ויחי יעקב‬ Every parashah begins after a space that separates it from the preceding parashah.

3. All circumstances in life can cause a person to go up or to descend, depending on how

one reacts to them. If a person approaches the quest for parnassah with bitachon and emunah, the ordeal will elevate him. If he thinks that he earns money by his own skills, the pursuit will cause him to fall to low levels. The same is regarding all matters. They can elevate the person or lower him, depending on his intention and actions. This can be compared to a heavy package. If it's on the back, it causes the person to bend over, closer to the ground. But if he puts the package on the ground and stands on top of it, he becomes elevated. The same is with parnassah. If he thinks that he carries the yoke of parnassah alone, on his back, he will descend lower towards the ground. But if he elevates himself above the challenges, it will elevate him. This is also true concerning all worldly pleasures; a person's attitude determines whether he will go up or down. 4. Chazal tell us, "In the place where baalei teshuvah stand, the greatest tzaddikim can't stand." They had a great battle, and no one can compete with the high levels that they've reached through those struggles. The Rambam (Hilchos Teshuvah) writes, "The baal teshuvah's reward is even greater, because he knows what sin tastes like and left it. Therefore Chazal say, the place where baalei teshuvah stand, the greatest tzaddikim can't stand." The Tanya explains that it can be compared to a rope that tore and the two ends are tied together again. The rope is now firmer and stronger than it was before. Likewise, a baal teshuvah becomes better than before.


Torah Wellspring - Vayechi

(In the sefer Torah.) The exception is parashas Vayechi. Rashi, at the beginning of the parashah writes, äîì äîåúñ åæ äùøô, why is this parashah closed [without a separation]? Because when Yaakov died, the eyes and hearts of the Jewish people became closed because of the hardships of slavery…" The closed beginning of this week's parashah depicts suffering and galus, yet the first word of the parashah is éçéå, which means life and indicates vibrancy, joy and happiness. Reb Tzaddok HaCohen explains that this is because a Yid is always happy, no matter what happens to him. He can be in galus, he can be suffering, yet he believes that everything is for the good. éçéå, the Yid remains vigorous and joyous in all circumstances.

were equally good because Yaakov grew from each struggle and challenge. Victory

Every day, and even every moment, there are tests. We pray that we shouldn’t be tested – and this tefillah helps that we shouldn’t be confronted with severe and difficult tests but there are tests constantly. We cannot avoid them because they are the purpose of our existence and the purpose of life. And since we are always being tested, we must be prepared for battle.

Some people think that avodas Hashem is passive. They think it means to live a lifestyle of Torah and mitzvos – but that isn't sufficient. Avodas Hashem means to battle with the yetzer hara and to pass the tests that come our way. We are being tested – and some of the tests Reb Shamshon Refael Hirsh zt'l explains are hard to pass – and effort is needed that Yaakov Avinu lived a very hard life. to win. He suffered with Eisav and Lavan and was troubled because of what happened The Baal HaTanya once asked a soldier, to Yosef and Dinah. The last seventeen "Soldiers who go out to war know that years of his life in Mitzrayim were the there's a chance they won't return, so most tranquil years of his life. The why do they take the risk? An ill person parashah begins, òáù íéøöî õøàá á÷òé éçéå does everything he can to save his life, äðù äøùò, "Yaakov lived in Mitzrayim why do soldiers go to war willingly?" seventeen years…" and there is no The soldier replied, "The joy of ïåçöð, separator before it. We would assume victory, is greater than life itself." that there should be a separation because the last seventeen years of his life were The Baal HaTanya appreciated this reply so dissimilar to the preceding years. But because it's a lesson in avodas Hashem. there is no separation and that indicates We should put up a fight against the that in Yaakov Avinu's eyes, his entire yetzer hara, and our greatest joy should life was good and the same. The be each time we win because the joy of challenging years and the tranquil ones nitzachon is very great.

Torah Wellspring - Vayechi


Chazal say, ø'äöé ìò è"äöé íãà æéâøé íìåòì, "One should always goad the yetzer tov to battle with the yetzer hara." There's always a battle going on. Avodas Hashem is never passive. But each time we overcome the yetzer hara it's a moment to rejoice.

afterwards, Hashem will send a fire from heaven into his heart to increase his fervor and love to Hashem. Like in the Beis HaMikdash, a fire came down from heaven but that didn’t exempt the cohanim from bringing a man-made fire onto the mizbeiach.


The Gemara (Pesachim 54) tells us that Hakadosh Baruch Hu desired to create fire on erev Shabbos, but in the end it was created on motzei Shabbos. "Hakadosh Baruch Hu gave Adam HaRishon divine knowledge and he took two stones and rubbed them together and fire came forth." On motzei Shabbos we therefore say a brachah over fire, because that's when it was created, when Adam rubbed two stones together.

In the Mishkan, and afterwards in the first Beis HaMikdash, there was a constant fire on the mizbeiach, which was sent down from heaven. The Gemara (Yoma 21) writes, "Five things were said about this [heavenly] fire: (1) éøàë äöåáø, It sat like a crouched lion, (2) äîçë äøá, it shone like the sun, (3) ùîî äá ùé, the fire had substance [unlike fire that isn't tangible], (4) ïéùáéë ïéçì úìëåà, it consumed wet as dry [the fire could consume even The Pirkei d'Reb Eliezer (20) however wet wood, wet meat, etc.] (5) äìòî åðéà says that fire came about in a different ïùò, it didn’t create smoke. manner. It states, "On Shabbos, at around Yet, every day the cohanim would bring sunset, Adam was sitting and thinking, a regular fire to the mizbeiach, as it says, 'Woe to me! Perhaps the snake which çáæîä ìò ùà ïäëä ïøäà éðá åðúðå, "the children caused me to sin on erev Shabbos will of Ahron HaCohen should bring fire to [bring on my destruction]. Hashem sent the mizbeaich " (Vayikra 1:7). Rashi him a pillar of fire (ùàä ãåîò) to protect writes, ïî àéáäì äåöî íéîùä ïî úãøåé ùàù ô"òà him and to give him light. Adam saw the èåéãää, "Although fire came down from pillar of fire and he was happy. He said, heaven, there is a mitzvah to bring 'Now I know that Hashem is with me.' man-made fire [to the mizbeiach, to He put his hand to the fire and said the brachah, ùàä éøåàî àøåá." consume the korbanos]." The Toldos Yaakov Yosef explains this concept. Fire represents fervor, love, and passion to Hashem. This fervor is created by humans, and it also comes down from Heaven. The Yid makes the first overture. He must indulge in Torah, tefillah and mitzvos, until he feels in his heart love and passion for Hashem, and

These two versions can be reconciled. Adam created his own fire, and Hashem gave him a fire from heaven (similar to the two fires that burned on the mizbeiach). Figuratively, this reminds us we must develop our own fire and passion for Hashem, and then Hashem will send down a fire from heaven,


Torah Wellspring - Vayechi

which will help us rise to greater levels As I was thinking, the Sar Shalom opened his door and said, "Yungerman, of love and fear of Hashem. you must know that the yetzer hara works very hard to make people 'cold,' Today (uninspired) in their avodas Hashem. He It is written, øîàì àåää íåéá íëøáéå, does this by causing people to think "[Yaakov] blessed [Efraim and about the past.'" Menasheh] on that day…" (48:20). We can explain, Yaakov blessed them that The Binyan Dovid writes this story and they should always focus àåää íåéá, on that explains with it, æîø êøãá, the words of the day. They shouldn’t think about the past, Gemara, è'äöé éøáã êìéàå ïàëî ø'äöé éøáã ïàë ãò, nor about the future. "Up until here are the words of the yetzer hara. From here further are the words of It says, éîé úúð úåçôè (Tehillim 39). Rebbe the yetzer tov" (Shabbos 63). When we Bunim of Peshischa zt'l explained: A think about what happened until now, it's person can be holding a very long rope the yetzer hara, because it depresses us. that's seventy amos long, but in his hand We remain with morose thoughts of, I there's only one tefach. In life too, should have done more. I should have there's a long life ahead of us, be'ezras been better. When we focus on the Hashem, but keep your focus on that future, 'from here on,' it's the yetzer tov one tefach; on the day that's in your speaking. The past was and is gone, now hand today. Make today good. Focus on it's time to make the present good. each day individually and you will succeed in life. ‫שכל את ידיו‬ Reb Moshe Yosef Teitelbaum zt'l, the son of the Yeitev Leiv zt'l once traveled to the Divrei Yechezkel of Shinov zt'l for Shabbos. On motzei Shabbbos, Reb Moshe Yosef paced in front of the Rebbe's home, contemplating what he could take home with him from this inspirational Shabbos.

The Torah tells us, úùéå åðéîé úà ìàøùé çìùéå úà ìëù äùðî ùàø ìò åìàîù úàå ...íéøôà ùàø ìò åéãé, "Yaakov put his right hand on Efraim's head… and he put his left hand on Menashe's head. With wisdom, he crossed his hands…" (Bereishis 48:14). The meforshim ask, if Yaakov wanted to put his right hand on Efraim, why didn’t he simply rearrange them in the order As he was pacing, the Shinover Rav he desired? came out of his house, greeted him, "When I was a young man, I traveled to The Noam Elimelech answers, "The the Sar Shalom of Belz zt'l. After Torah is teaching us derech eretz, how Shabbos, I was pacing in front of the Sar to respect a person. Yaakov could have Shalom's house and I was wondering, rearranged Efraim and Menasheh to his 'What can I take back home with me?" right and left side as he desired, but

Torah Wellspring - Vayechi


he was careful not to embarrass without rousing a dispute and Menasheh [the older son, who received disagreement. the weaker brachah]…" 5 What are the two forms of avodas Reb Menachem Mendel Mendelson zt'l, Hashem that Efraim and Menasheh the Rav of Komimius, answered that represented? The Divrei Yechezkel of Yaakov didn’t want to rearrange them Shinov zt'l explained it in the because it would spur a disagreement following way: with Yosef. The holy sefarim explain that Menasheh represented one form of It states in Tehillim, øåñ ...íééç õôçä ùéàä éî avodas Hashem and Efraim a different áåè äùòå òøî, "Who is the person who form. Yaakov and Yosef were debating desires life? … remove bad and do which of the two was correct, and should good." These are the two steps for therefore receive the best brachah. improving one's ways. To leave bad and Yaakov understood that Efraim had the correct approach and therefore he placed his right hand on Efraim's head. He didn’t want to rearrange them because why should he rouse Yosef to a debate. Yaakov had his view; he understood that Efraim's path was correct so he gave him the preferred brachah, without raising the controversy. Reb Mendelson added that we should learn from this that it isn't always necessary to convince others of your opinion. Sometimes you can act yourself on your opinion without trying to convince others of your opinion, and

to do good. But where should one begin? Should one begin with òøî øåñ (repentance/leaving sin) or with áåè äùò, (doing more mitzvos)? One school of thought is that a person's first focus should be on òøî øåñ, to repent and leave sin, because it isn't proper for a person to do mitzvos when he is still sullied with sins. After he is pure, he can start doing good deeds. The other approach teaches that one should begin with doing good deeds because if he waits until he does teshuvah, he is at risk of falling back to his old, negative ways. He should do

5. Yaakov blessed them, ‫בך יברך ישראל לאמר ישימך אלקים כאפרים וכמנשה‬, "The Jewish nation

will bless their children and say, 'Hashem should make you like Efraim and like Menasheh" (48:20). What was special about Efraim and Menasheh that all parents will desire their children to be like them? The Bnei Yissaschar (in Igra d'Kalah) explains that although Menasheh was older, he didn’t feel ashamed, jealous, or slighted when Yaakov put his left hand on his head. And Efraim didn't become proud, when Yaakov put his right hand on his head. They had emunah that everything is exactly as Hashem desires it, and therefore there is no reason for pride or jealousy. Parents bless their children that they too should acquire this beautiful level of unity and achdus, without feeling jealousy or pride.


Torah Wellspring - Vayechi

good deeds, and gradually, the teshuvah faults and troubles and ignore their and the purity will occur. 6 fellow man's goodness and successes. The Divrei Yechezkel taught that this was the disagreement between Yosef and Yaakov. Menashah means to forget, and Efraim means to increase (see Bereishis 41:51). Menasheh, which means forgetting, indicates that one should forget and remove all his bad deeds. Efraim, which means to increase, implies that one should increase his good deeds. Yosef wanted Yaakov to place his right hand over Menasheh, because Yosef understood that one should purify himself first, and then do mitzvos. Yaakov however thought that Efraim, increasing good deeds, should come first because then the bad will automatically fall to the wayside. This is the reason Yaakov put his right hand on Efraim's head.

As we know, the right side represents strength, and the left side represents weakness. A person's right side is opposite his fellow man's left side, this means that his stronger focus is on his fellow man's faults. His left side faces his fellow man's rights side. This indicates that he isn't interested in seeing his fellow man's successes. He only looks at them weakly. Yaakov switched his hands, because he wanted his main focus to be on the successes and good and the weaker focus should be on the faults. Rebbe Moshe of Lelov zy'a

The thirteenth of Teves, is the yahrtzeit of Rebbe Moshe of Lelov zy'a, therefore, We conclude this section with a let's take a few moments to study the ways of this great tzaddik. wonderful lesson, taught in the name of Reb Chaim Volozhiner zt'l: Towards the end of his life, Rebbe When two people face one another, one's Moshe traveled to Eretz Yisrael with right side faces his fellow's left side, and mesirus nefesh. He said that if he his left side faces the other's right side. davens by the Kosel HaMaravi, it will hasten the kibutz galiyus and the coming What does this teach us? of Moshiach. Reb Chaim of Volozhin zt'l answered that it illustrates common, human Before he began his journey, he went to gezeigen (take leave) from several behavior: tzaddikim of his generation. When he People like to focus on their fellow man's came to Rebbe Yisrael of Rizhin zy'a, the

6. The disagreement is whether one should follow the order written in the passuk: first ‫סור‬

‫ מרע‬and then ‫עשה טוב‬. Or the passuk should be read like this: ‫סור מרע‬, go away from sin. But how can one do so? By ‫עשה טוב‬, by doing good deeds.

Torah Wellspring - Vayechi


Rebbe said, "Wait for me. I want to go Because when a child is born with a with you." miracle, he often doesn’t live long." Rebbe Moshe Lelover pointed to his (This doesn’t apply in our generation, white beard, implying that he was getting since Rav Wozner zt'l ruled that in our older and didn’t have time to wait. 7 generation no one is considered barren because of the medical treatments that Rebbe Moshe planned to travel with a are available today.) group of ten people. He put away money for this cause but whenever he had When she returned with the money, she enough money, he ended up giving it to stipulated her condition. Rebbe Moshe tzeddakah and then he would start saving Lelover replied, "The years of your up money for the trip again. child's life will be as many as the days I live in Eretz Yisrael." Once, a childless woman came to Rebbe Rebbe Moshe Lelover lived seventy-four Moshe, and asked for a brachah for days in Eretz Yisrael, and the child lived children. Rebbe Moshe told her that if for seventy-four years. she gives him a certain amount of money (the amount he needed for his When Reb Moshe Lelover was on the trip) she would have a child. She was boat, he kept repeating, "yom leshanah – ready to give the money, but Rebbe a day for a year." People didn’t know his Moshe Lelover told her that she must intention. It was later understood that he ask permission from her husband first. was praying to live one day for each year It was a large amount of money, and of his life. He was seventy-four years old she couldn’t give it without her then, and he lived in Eretz Yisrael a husband's consent. corresponding seventy-four days. He was niftar in the year 5614/1852. Her husband was a chassid of "The Gitte Yid" of Neistadt, and he asked his Rebbe Many wondrous stories are told about his whether to give the money. "The Gitte voyage to Eretz Yisrael. One is that there Yid" replied, "You should give the was a hole on the boat and water began money. However, since you need a to seep in! Rebbe Moshe placed a cloth miracle to bear a child, I recommend that over the hole, and this miraculously you tell Rebbe Moshe of Lelov that you stopped the influx of water. (This cloth will only give the money if the Rebbe is still extant, and is used as a deck tichel promises that the child will live long. [veil] by the kallahs of his descendants.)

7. The Rebbe of Ruzhin said that if the Yidden in Poland were wise, they wouldn’t permit

their great Rebbe to leave them. He found this alluded in the Mishnah in Shabbos ‫אין‬ ‫פולין לאור הנר‬, "the Polish Yidden aren't wise. They had one brilliant light, and they let him leave."


Torah Wellspring - Vayechi

Another problem was that the ship stopped at an island where everyone got off and when it was time to return to the ship, his gabai still hadn’t come back. The ship departed, leaving the gabai stranded on the island! That Friday night, before Kiddush, Rebbe Moshe announced, "I will not make Kiddush until the gabai is here." Immediately they heard a loud boom. The gabai arrived.

my grandfather from their hands. But the police arrested Reb Avraham Frankel! That Friday night, before making Kiddush, my grandfather, Reb Moshe Mordechai, related the story that happened to his grandfather, Rebbe Moshe of Lelov, how he said that he wouldn’t make Kiddush until his gabai returns, and miraculously the gabai returned. When my grandfather finished telling the story, Reb Avraham Frankel walked in. He was saved. He said that at the police headquarters an interrogator asked him what he did and why he was arrested. Reb Avraham answered that he didn’t do anything. He simply helped a Yid who was being beaten up and the police let him free. 8

The gabai told them, "I was captured by the other side (demons). I heard them say, 'The old tzaddik is saying that he won't make Kiddush until his gabai returns, but he can't do anything because the gabai is with us.' Afterwards, their chief came and said, 'This isn't a joke. If the old tzaddik said that he isn't saying Kiddush until the gabai is back, we must The ship docked in the north of Eretz listen.' And they sent me here." Yisrael. Rebbe Moshe visited the tzaddikim who lived in Tzfas and This story has a continuation. My Teveria and the holy kevarim in the area grandfather, Reb Moshe Mordechai of before going up to Yerushalayim because Lelov zy'a, lived in Germany before he said that after he gets to WWll. It was dangerous for a Yid to Yerushalayim, he will not want to leave. walk on the streets in those tense times, but on Friday afternoon my grandfather When he finally came to the Old-city of wanted to go to the mikvah. (Rebbe Yerushalayim, he was ill. His children Dovid, the first Rebbe of Lelov, said that debated whether they should bring him to a Yid must have mesirus nefesh to go to the Kosel HaMaaravi in this condition. mikvah.) Some Germans saw my They decided that since his primary grandfather and began to beat him. purpose for coming to Eretz Yisrael was Fortunately, just then, Reb Avraham to go to the Kosel to bring Moshiach, Frankel z'l passed by. He was a powerful they should. As they were bringing him man and without any trouble at all, saved towards the Kosel, Arabs began throwing

8. There is a concept, that when one repeats the story of a miracle, this causes that miracle

to occur again. Rebbe Moshe Lelover miraculously helped his gabai, and therefore his descendent, Rebbe Moshe Mordechai repeated this story to bring about a similar miracle.

Torah Wellspring - Vayechi

rocks at them and it was impossible to continue. The family returned. Unfortunately, he never reached the Kosel. On the seventy-fourth day of his arrival to Eretz Yisrael, on the thirteenth of Teves, he was niftar. He said great things about his yahrtzeit. He said that the day of his demise is mesugal for rain and therefore, it is unnecessary to proclaim a fast day for rains before his yahrtzeit passes. Reb Shmuel Salant, the Rav of Yerushalayim zt'l kept this counsel, and wouldn’t decree a fast day for rains until the thirteenth of Teves passed.


We conclude with the following story: Someone came to Rebbe Moshe of Lelov and said that his parnassah isn't stable. Sometimes he succeeds, and then a week or a month can pass, without any success at all. His parnassah has many ups and downs. Rebbe Moshe Lelover's response was based on the Gemara (Tanis 25.) which says, éì÷ù àì ì÷ùéî éáäé áäéîã éøéîâã, "we have a tradition that [Heaven] gives, and doesn’t take away."

Rebbe Moshe Lelover advised the man to have fixed times to study Gemara. He also said that those who will dedicate éøéîâ is similar to àøîâ. Rebbe Moshe a meal on his yahrtzeit in his honor (it Lelover explained, "Learn Gemara, and can be just cake and bronfen) will have then Heaven will give, and will not a salvation for whatever he needs. take away."

‫פרשת ויחי‬ ‫תשע"ז‬ Parshas Vayechi 5777 Year 6 • #288

The new design of Pardes Yehuda has been sponsored by David P. Rose ‫לעילוי נשמת אביו מרדבי בן ראובן ואמו שרה לאה בת אביגדור ע"ה‬

YAAKOV AND YOSEF: DIFFERENT PUBLIC ROLES )‫ (מ''ז כ''ח‬:‫ְׁשבַ ע עֶ ְׂש ֵרה ׁשָ נָה‬ ‫ַ ַוי ְִחי ַי ֲעקֹב ּבְ ֶא ֶרץ ִמצְ ַריִם‬ Jacob lived in the land of Egypt for seventeen years Yaakov Avinu and Yosef HaTzaddik were so tightly bound that if the Torah HaKedosha were a conventional history book, we might expect it to inform us of the length of Yosef 's residing in Mitzrayim, as well as that of Yaakov Avinu. But it does not. While both were tzaddikim, needless to say, Yaakov, in light of his venerated status, was in a position to conduct a righteous Jewish life openly and publicly, for all to see. Yosef, on the other hand, was still Viceroy of Egypt. His avoda was more concealed from the masses, with the Targum (on 49:24) describing this as ‫" דקיים אורייתא בסיתרא‬he fulfilled the Torah in secret.". Our posuk teaches that during his years in Mitzrayim, Yaakov was a visible tzaddik, with open and total Torah fulfillment. In other words, he led a publicly-visibleTorah life, proudly and fully, the only kind of life a Yid can lead. The posuk tells us how long that enviable state endured, in keeping with Hashem's plans. Yosef 's situation was different than his father's, owing to his public role. )‫ליסקא‬- ‫(אך פרי תבואה‬ THE FOCUS OF YAAKOV'S BROCHO TO HIS GRANDSONS



:֒‫ֶאת־הַ נְּעָ ִרים‬

‫יְבָ ֵר ְ֘ך‬

‫ָל־רע‬ ֗ ָ ‫ִמכּ‬

‫א ִֹ֜תי‬

‫הַ גּ ֨ ֵֹאל‬

֩‫המַּ ל ְָאְך‬

May the angel who redeemed me from all harm bless the youths, (48:16)

or Yaakov to apply the term "na'ar" is perhaps surprising, F since it is usually pejorative in tone and carries a tone of foolishness or childishness. Proof is from Rashi on 37:2 ‫והוא נער את‬ ‫ עושה מעשה נערות‬-- ‫" בני בלהה‬He behaved childishly". The truth is that Yaakov's intention was solely positive, and coming from his mouth, the impact is undiluted brocho. The intent is that even in their old age, Yosef 's sons should retain their youthful energy and strength. We see the same notion in the Gemara (Chulin 24b), ‫אמרו עליו על רבי חנינא שהיה בן שמונים שנה והיה עומד על רגלו‬: "Rav Chanina at age eighty retained the power of a man in his youth." The continuation of the brocho likens the lads to fish, and a Gemara in Avoda Zara (30b) conforms well:... ‫שלשה כל זמן שמזקינין גבורה‬ ‫" מתוספת בהן אלו הן דג‬Three creatures grow stronger as they age: fish [...]" Hence, the intention: "May the lads grow from strength to strength as they mature." )‫ יאסטמאן‬-‫(חיי יצחק‬

COULDN'T YOSEF SPEAK FOR HIMSELF? ‫אתי חֵ ן‬ ִ ָ‫ַויַּעַ בְ רוּ יְמֵ י בְ כִ יתוֹ ַויְדַ בֵּ ר יוֹסֵ ף ֶאל־בֵּ ית פּ ְַרעֹה לֵאמֹר ִאם־נָא מָ צ‬ )‫ (נ ד‬:‫בְּ עֵ ינֵיכֶם דַּ בְּ רוּ־נָא בְּ ָאזְ נֵי פ ְַרעֹה לֵאמֹר‬ hen the days of his weeping had passed, Joseph spoke to Pharaoh's household, saying, "If now I have found favor in your eyes, speak now in Pharaoh's ears,...(50:4) The Medrash Rabbah (100:4) wonders quite naturally why Yosef, who in the past never needed a go-between in his conversations with Paroh, now dispatched emissaries to deliver an important message. The Medrash replies that it was not respectful for a bereaved mourner, even after the bitterest weeping had


ceased, to personally petition the ruler. Rav Michoel Pressbuger, Rav of Papa, Hungary offers an insight from an earlier period of Yosef 's career: ‫ֹלתיו ַויּ ָ֖ב ֹא‬ ָ ֔ ‫ת־יוֹסף ַוי ְִריצֻ ֖הוּ ִמן־הַ ֑בּוֹר ַו ְי ַג ַלּ ֙ח ַויְחַ ֵלּ֣ף ִשׂ ְמ‬ ֵ֔ ‫ַויּ ְִשׁ ַל֤ח פּ ְַר ֹע ֙ה ַויּ ְִק ָר֣א ֶא‬ )‫ֶאל־פּ ְַרעֽ ֹה (מא יד‬ So Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they rushed him from the dungeon, and he shaved and changed his clothes, and he [then] came to Pharaoh.(41:14) Why did Yosef get personally groomed and respectably clothed? Rashi answers: ‫מפני כבוד המלכות‬, "out of respect for the monarchy." Long hair would have been totally out of place, and Yosef had a very long growth, since seventy days had elapsed after Yakkov's passing during which, as a mourner, he was forbidden to cut his hair. Yosef 's sackcloth garments would have also been problematic, according to the sefer ‫פַעַ נֵחַ ָרזָא‬, who recalls ֥ ַ ‫ֵ ֥אין ל ָ֛בֹוא ֶא‬ Mordechai HaTzaddik: (‫ל־שעַ ר הַ ֶ ֖מלְֶך בִ ל ְ֥בוּשׁ ָ ֽשק(אסתר ד ב‬ One may not enter the king's gate dressed in sackcloth." (Esther 4:2) So we see that Yosef had two aspects of his personal grooming and wardrobe which combined to compel him to send a messenger to Paroh, rather than go himself. )‫(בית ישראל השלם למוח''ז האדמו''ר ממאטטערסדארף זצוק''ל‬


THE BROTHERS FORESAW FUTURE TRAGEDY ‫ֹלקי‬ ֵ ֱ‫ֹאמרוּ לְיוֹסֵ ף ָאנָּא שָׂ א נָא פֶּשַׁ ע ַאחֶ יָך וגו' וְ עַ ָתּה שָׂ א נָא ְלפֶשַׁ ע עַ בְ דֵ י א‬ ְ ‫כֹּה־ת‬ )‫ (נ י''ז‬:‫ָאבִ יָך ַויֵּבְ ךְּ יוֹסֵ ף בְּ דַ בְּ ָרם ֵאלָיו‬ So shall you say to Yosef, "Please, forgive now your brothers' transgression .... Now please forgive the transgression of the servants of the G-d of your father." Yosef wept when they spoke to him.(50:17) We notice, and seek to explain, a shift in terminology: at first the Brothers reference their own sin, and then "the transgression of the servants of the G-d of your father." Indeed, does it not seem presumptuous of them to enwrap themselves in the mantle of "servants of Yaakov's G-d"? In truth, the shift in reference teaches a lesson which totally escapes simple logical analysis. The Brothers were well aware that they had committed a grievous sin by selling Yosef, from whose punishment it would be difficult to escape. What is more, they foresaw the gruesome martyrdom of the Ten "Harugei Malchus" in Roman times, speciously attributed to the Sale. But they hoped that the Tzaddik Yosef, through the power of his forgiveness and prayer could effect at the very least, a more lenient punishment for themselves. At first, they begged forgiveness in their personal capacity as brothers. Then they beseeched Yosef to cancel or at least soften the decree against the future Ten Martyrs, who were most certainly in the category of "the servants of the G-d of your father." But alas,Yosef wept,‫ַויֵּבְ ךְּ יוֹסֵ ף בְּ דַ בְּ ָרם‬ ‫אלָיו‬, ֵ seeing that there was forgiveness for the Brothers, but that the decree against the Martyrs could not be annulled. Tragically, the Piyut of Eleh Ezkerah of Yom Kippur Musaf reminds us what the judgement from Shomayim was, "You must accept this, my righteous, beloved ones..."‫ידים‬ ִ ‫יד‬ ִ ִ‫יקים ו‬ ִ ‫"קבְ לוּ ֲעלֵיכֶם צַ ִד‬ ַ (‫)אמרי יצחק מהגאון ר' שאול הלוי אב''ד קאברין‬

Please refrain from reading this Gilyon during davening and Krias Hatorah ("‫ (מ)ללמוד בעת חזרת הש"ץ‬...‫ "יש ליזהר‬:‫ ס"ק יז‬ ‫)ע' ש"ע א"ח קכד ס'ד מ"ב‬


or many years, the Holy Brothers Rav Elimelech of in learning. The tzaddik informed Zusya that immediLizhensk and Rav Zusya of Anipoli wandered from ately after Ma'ariv, they would be transported back to town to city "pravenen galus", that is, personally tasting his lowly hut, but warned Zusya not to reveal to a soul the bitter experience of exile and homelessness, as a re- what he had experienced, on pain of a stringent punishdemption for their self-defined "aveiros". They traveled in ment. And thus it was, that Zusya took his leave of his tandem, but when it came to Shabbos, they took different host, from his shack, with wishes for a "Gute Voch." The approaches. Rav Elimelech sought out a well-to-do host traveling brothers resumed their journeys together on so as to conduct the Shabbos meals comfortably and fully. Sunday morning, but Rav Elimelech noticed a change in Rav Zusya, on the other hand, preferred a pauper as his Rav Zusya. There was a palpable increase in holiness and Shabbos host. refinement -- intermixed with glowing simcha -- which ne Shabbos, their paths diverged, Zusya remaining called out for explanation. Zusya remembered in a certain village, while Elimelech the warning the Hidden Tzaddik had continued on to a different town where a delivered to him. Elimelech cajoled wealthy householder resided. Zusya's him repeatedly to share his reason for staying in the village was that EVEN A TZADDIK LEARNS A LESSON Shabbos experience, but Zusya he wanted to spend Shabbos there with demurred. Finally, he could no THE HARD WAY: one of the thirty-six hidden Lamed-Vav longer hide the story from his WHEN NOT TO SPEAK! Tzaddikim, whose collective merit closest confidante and told him sustains the world. Zusya knocked on the everything that he saw in the course Tzaddik's impoverished shack and asked the of that other-worldly Shalosh Seudos. lady of the house if he might lodge over Shabbos. She The Holy Pair continued their wanderings gladly consented, but stipulated that they had not a scrap and reached a kretschma/country inn where they could of extra food to share with him. Zusya assured her that spend the night. Their practice was to rise before dawn, he was carrying enough food in his pack to tide him over daven shacharis at the first permissible moment, and for Shabbos. Both agreed and Zusya took to preparing his continue on their way. On that particular night, the inn place and himself for the Holy Day. The ba'al ha bayis had a wealthy visitor -- a poritz/gentile landowner from returned home, disheveled and bedraggled, with torn a neighbouring province who was traveling with a pouch clothing, little better than rags. He took not the slightest of gold coins. Being a light sleeper, he heard the brothers notice of Zusya, not even glancing in his direction. After stirring early morning and how they left quickly on their davening that night, Zusya retuned to the hut, hoping to way. He rose and checked the hiding place where he had observe the tzaddik's exalted divine service at his Shabbos left the gold -- and found it empty. He raised a hue and table. Such was not to be. Not only did the host not so cry that the two brothers had departed stealthily because much as acknowledge his guest with a "Gut Shabbos!" they had absconded with his gold! He dispatched his greeting, but the meal passed without any special distinc- servants to chase down the brothers and return them tion. Zusya knew that the man was a tzaddik, but did not to the inn, forcibly if need be. The servants' horses were fathom the extreme degree of his concealment from the swift and well-rested, so they caught up with the two world. Matters took yet a more sobering turn at Shalosh brothers on the road without much difficulty. Back at the Seudos time. Zusya's head began swimming. He felt that inn, the poritz demanded that Rav Zusya return his pouch he had been transported to a large empty field, with no of gold. Of course, Zusya knew nothing of the matter. house or its master in sight, and also devoid of his food! His denial enraged the poritz, who had him bound and Zusya felt crushed, since he had come to witness the beaten in an attempt to extract a confession. Nothing but divine service of a tzaddik but was left with nothing but denials, each one more pitiable than the last, poured forth the clothes on his back. In fact, he knew not even where from Zusya -- and caused more and harder thrashing. he was. But with the firm belief -- no, knowledge -- that Suddenly, the door opened and in strode a second poritz, whatever the Borei Oilam sends his way is for his absolute even better-dressed and formidable than the first, with good, he took to strolling around the field and exploring it. a larger clump of servants. "What's going on here?" he He stumbled upon a hole in the ground which led to a thundered. When the first poritz told him in a nutshell subterranean cave. Peering inside, he was astounded to of his "certain" suspicions, the new poritz looked Zusya view a circle of all Thirty Six Lamed-Vav-niks, with his full in the face and shouted, "You fool! This man is no host at the head as Rosh Chabura, dressed in splendifer- thief. Untie him and send him on his way immediately!" ous white garments l'kovod shabbos, his face aglow with Sheepishly, the accusing poritz complied. On his way out, transcendent shine. One of the Lamed Vav gestured to the second poritz, Zusya's saviour, called him over to Zusya that he should wash and join their circle. The words whisper in his ear. "When they tell you not to reveal of Torah drawn from the deepest hidden wells, together something, you don't reveal it. Period!" Now Zusya with the elevated zmiros drove Zusya to spiritual heights understood well what had happened to him. Chastened, of which he had never dreamed. His simcha was inde- he and Elimelech resumed their travels. scribable. After Shalosh Seudos, the Rosh Chabura, his host, for the first time, greeted him and the two spoke



Parshas Vayigash5777, #288 Our editor, Mr. Rose ‫ תשואת חן חן לן‬is reachable at, and is available for Anglo-Judaica editorial assignments. A publication of Seforim World . 1000’s of seforim: new and old; 4403 16 Ave. Brooklyn N.Y. 11204 U.S.A. 718 438 8414 718 633 5500 or - hours 11-7:30 Subscriptions: - Gilyon is available by email or on, or or

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("‫ (מ)ללמוד בעת חזרת הש"ץ‬...‫ "יש ליזהר‬:‫יז‬ ‫)ע' ש"ע א"ח קכד ס'ד מ"ב ס"ק‬

Rabbi Pinches Friedman Parshas Vayechi 5777 Translation by Dr. Baruch Fox

“Zevulun shall dwell by seashores”

The Vital Lesson that Zevulun Must Learn from the Seashore in Order to Reliably Fulfill His Job of Supporting Torah Scholars In this week’s parsha, parshas Vayechi, we learn about the wonderful partnership that existed between Yissachar and Zevulun, whose merit sustains us to this very day, in the footsteps of Mashiach. For, all we have left is the Torah; and in the merit of dedicating ourselves to its study, we will realize the final, complete geulah. As the Ohr HaChaim hakadosh teaches us (Tetzaveh), the final geulah will come solely in the merit of Torah-study. Thus, it is fitting that we examine the berachah Yaakov Avinu bestowed upon Zevulun, the benefactor of Yissachar, the pillar of Torah (Bereishis 49, 13): ‫“זבולון לחוף‬ ”‫—ימים ישכון והוא לחוף אניות וירכתו על צידון‬Zevulun shall dwell by seashores; and he shall be at the ship’s harbor, and his end is at Sidon. Rashi explains: His land will be on seashores . . . “And he” will constantly be found at “the shore of ships,” at the harbor, where ships bring merchandise. For, Zevulun would engage in commerce, and provide food for the tribe of Yissachar, while they would engage in Torah-study. This is the meaning of Moshe’s statement: “Rejoice Zevulun in your going forth, and Yissachar in your tents.” Zevulun would go out to engage in commerce, and Yissachar would engage in Torah-study in tents. Seeing as it was Zevulun’s sacred task to provide for Yissachar, so that he could engage in Torah-study without interruption; why did Yaakov Avinu see fit to bestow upon him the blessing of: ”‫—“זבולון לחוף ימים ישכון‬that his livelihood should be at the seashore? This suggests that there is a connection between the two. After delving into the matter, I would like to explain in four ways the vital lesson that Zevulun was supposed to learn from the seashore, so that he could fulfill his sacred obligation to Yissachar, the pillar of Torah, in the fullest sense.

As a Reminder that Yisrael Are Compared to Fish To begin our enlightening journey, let us refer to the berachah Yaakov Avinu bestowed upon Ephraim and Menashe (Bereishis 48, 16): ”‫—“וידגו לרוב בקרב הארץ‬and may they reproduce abundantly like fish within the land. Rashi comments: Like these fish that proliferate and become numerous, and the evil eye has no effect on them. We can interpret Rashi’s comment based on the following Gemara (A.Z. 3b):

‫יד) ותעשה אדם כדגי‬-‫ מאי דכתיב (חבקוק א‬,‫“אמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל‬ ‫ לומר לך מה דגים שבים כיון שעולין ליבשה‬,‫ למה נמשלו בני אדם כדגי הים‬,‫הים‬ ”.‫ אף בני אדם כיון שפורשין מדברי תורה ומן המצוות מיד מתים‬,‫מיד מתים‬

Rav Yehudah said in the name of Shmuel: What is the meaning of that which is written: “You have made man like the fish of the sea”? Why are human beings compared to the fish of the sea? To teach you that just as the fish of the sea die immediately if they go up onto dry land, so, too, do people who separate themselves from the words of Torah and from the mitzvos die immediately. The message is clear, as we have learned elsewhere in the Gemara (Kiddushin 30b): ‫“ כך אמר הקב”ה לישראל בני בראתי יצר‬ ”‫ ואם אתם עוסקים בתורה אין אתם נמסרים בידו‬,‫הרע ובראתי לו תורה תבלין‬-so said HKB”H to Yisrael: My children, I have created the yetzer hara and I have created the Torah as its antidote; if you engage in Torah-study, you will not fall prey to it. They also teach us (ibid.): ”‫“יצרו של אדם מתגבר עליו בכל יום ומבקש המיתו‬-a person’s yetzer overwhelms him daily and attempts to kill him. This is why Yisrael are compared to fish. They can only survive in the water—namely, in a world of Torah. For, the Parshas Vayechi 5777 | 1

Gemara teaches us (B.K. 17a): )‫א‬-‫“אין מים אלא תורה שנאמר (ישעיה נה‬ ”‫—הוי כל צמא לכו למים‬there is no water other than Torah, as it says: “Ho! All that are thirsty, go to the water.” So, if they abandon the waters of Torah, they will die, because the yetzer hara will overwhelm them and will kill them spiritually.

This coincides amazingly with what we have learned in another Gemara (Berachos 61b):

‫ בא פפוס‬.‫ פעם אחת גזרה מלכות הרשעה שלא יעסקו ישראל בתורה‬,‫“תנו רבנן‬ ,‫ אמר ליה‬,‫בן יהודה ומצאו לרבי עקיבא שהיה מקהיל קהלות ברבים ועוסק בתורה‬ ,‫ אמשול לך משל למה הדבר דומה‬,‫ אמר לו‬.‫עקיבא אי אתה מתירא מפני מלכות‬ ‫ אמר‬,‫ וראה דגים שהיו מתקבצים ממקום למקום‬,‫לשועל שהיה מהלך על גב הנהר‬ .‫ אמרו לו מפני רשתות שמביאין עלינו בני אדם‬,‫להם מפני מה אתם בורחים‬ ‫ רצונכם שתעלו ליבשה ונדור אני ואתם כשם שדרו אבותי עם‬,‫אמר להם‬ ‫ לא פיקח אתה אלא‬,‫ אתה הוא שאומרים עליך פיקח שבחיות‬,‫ אמרו לו‬.‫אבותיכם‬ .‫ במקום מיתתנו על אחת כמה וכמה‬,‫ ומה במקום חיותנו אנו מתיראין‬,‫טיפש אתה‬ ‫כ) כי הוא‬-‫ שכתוב בה (דברים ל‬,‫אף אנחנו עכשיו שאנו יושבים ועוסקים בתורה‬ .”‫ אם אנו הולכים ומבטלים ממנה על אחת כמה וכמה‬,‫חייך ואורך ימיך כך‬ The Rabbis taught in a Baraisa: Once, the wicked regime, decreed that the Jewish people should not engage in Torah-study. Pappus ben Yehudah came and found Rabbi Akiva as he was convening public assemblies and engaging in Torah-study. He said to him, “Akiva, are you not afraid of the regime?” He replied to him, “I will provide you with a parable to which the situation is comparable. It is comparable to a fox who was walking alongside a river, and saw fish that were gathering from place to place. He said to them, “What are you fleeing from?” They said to him, “From the nets human beings are bringing to catch us.” He said to them, “Is it your wish to come up onto dry land, and we shall dwell together just as my ancestors dwelt with your ancestors?” They said to him, “Are you the one they describe as the cleverest of the animals? You are not a clever one but a fool! If in the place that sustains us, we are afraid, in the place that will cause us to die, all the more so.” The same applies to us. Now, as we sit and engage in Torah-study, about which it is written, “For it is your life and the length of your days,” we are in danger; if we go and neglect it, all the more so! From Rabbi Akiva’s words of wisdom, we learn a fundamental principle regarding Torah-study. The yetzer hara approaches a Jew and attempts to persuade him to abandon his Torah-studies. It lies to him and claims that if he indulges

in the nonsensical pursuits of Olam HaZeh, as all of the goyim do, he will enjoy a much better life. Know full-well that this is analogous to the fox’s statement to the fish: “Is it your wish to come up onto dry land, and we shall dwell together just as my ancestors dwelt with your ancestors?” We must resist this lie by applying the “kal-vachomer” employed by the fish: “If in the place that sustains us, we are afraid (and our lives are in danger), in the place that will cause us to die, all the more so.” This explains very nicely the berachah Yaakov Avinu bestowed upon Menasheh and Ephraim: ”‫—“וידגו לרוב‬they should proliferate like these fish and become numerous, and the evil eye should have no effect on them. He was teaching us that it is advisable for every Jew to adhere to the Torah, which is compared to water. We should be like the fish, who thrive in the water, and are not influenced by the evil eye and suggestions of the fox. For they know that the moment they abandon the water, they will die.

Zevulun Must Always Remember that without Torah He Cannot Survive

This begs the question. Without a doubt, those who are fortunate to be like Yissachar—to engage in Torah-study day in and day out—are protected from the assaults of the yetzer hara. But what about those whose destiny it is to engage in business and commerce out among the goyim? While they are out and about, they are analogous to fish out of water. So, how can they combat the yetzer hara, who awaits them in the marketplace and the outside world, intending to trap them in its net? The answer is quite clear. They must use the money they earn to act like Zevulun. They can support their children, enabling them to engage in Torah-study. Or else, they can give tzedakah generously, in order to support Torah-scholars, the counterparts of Yissachar—enabling them to dedicate themselves to Torah-study and the service of Hashem. Thus, while they are engaged in worldly endeavors, the counterparts of Yissachar will be studying in the halls of Torah, in their merit. Therefore, the kedushah of Yissachar’s Torah will extend to Zevulun, as well. As a result, while he is engaged in his business endeavors, he will still be able to overcome his yetzer. This also provides us with a very nice interpretation of the berachah conferred by Moshe Rabeinu (Devarim 33, 18): ”‫“ולזבולון אמר שמח זבולון בצאתך ויששכר באהליך‬. In other words,

Parshas Vayechi 5777 | 2

“Rejoice Zevulun in your going forth” to engage in commerce and worldly endeavors, seemingly without Torah, because you need not fear the yetzer hara who lies in wait for you in the marketplace. Why? “And Yissachar is in your tents”—because Yissachar is engaging in Torah-study “in your tents.” Seeing as you are supporting him, it is considered as if he is sitting and studying in your place. So, when he is studying Torah, it is as if you are studying Torah, and you are afforded protection from the yetzer.

We can now better appreciate why Yaakov chose to bless Zevulun: ”‫“זבולון לחוף ימים ישכון‬-- Zevulun shall dwell by seashores. As Rashi explained, this berachah implies that he will constantly be at the harbors, where the ships bring and unload their cargoes. This will serve as a constant reminder of the parable of the fish, who cannot survive outside of the water. Similarly, Yisrael cannot survive without Torah, which is compared to water. Thus, it will be clear to him that if he wishes to resist and overcome the yetzer while he engages in his commercial endeavors, it is imperative that he support Yissachar, the pillar of Torah, and designate set times for studying Torah. It will then be considered as if he was engaging in Torah even while he was occupied with his business transactions.

To Learn from the Sea that It Is Impossible to Transgress the Boundaries Set by HKB”H

It appears that Yaakov Avinu also intended to teach Zevulun another important lesson with the berachah: ‫“זבולון לחוף ימים‬ ”‫ישכון‬. Let us refer to the prophet’s rebuke of Yisrael (Yirmiyah 5, 22): ‫ אשר שמתי חול גבול לים‬,‫“האותי לא תיראו נאום ה’ אם מפני לא תחילו‬ ”.‫ והמו גליו ולא יעברנהו‬,‫ ויתגעשו ולא יוכלו‬,‫ חק עולם ולא יעברנהו‬Will you not fear Me—the word of Hashem; will you not tremble before Me? For I have set sand as boundary against the sea, as a permanent law that cannot be broken. Its waves rage forth but cannot succeed, they roar but cannot cross it. Rashi explains that the sea is not worried about being punished and does not expect to receive any reward. It merely fears and reveres the Almighty and does not trespass the boundary He set around it. In similar fashion, the Midrash Shochar Tov explains (Tehillim 2): ‫ וכיון‬,‫“הים הזה הגל שלו עולה ומתגבר כאילו מציף את העולם‬ ”‫—שמגיע לשפת הים הוא משתטח לפני החול‬this sea, its wave rises and intensifies as if it will flood the world; yet, when it reaches the seashore, it flattens out before the sand. This suggests that the sea wants to inundate the entire world; however, it is

afraid to trespass the boundary established by HKB”H, marked by the sand. It is incumbent upon a person to learn this lesson from the sea. He, too, should not transgress the boundaries of that which is prohibited and that which is permissible set by the Creator. Let us add a spicy tidbit to explain the matter further. Rabbi Chaim Vital, zy”a, writes in the name of his teacher, the Arizal, in Sha’arei Kedushah that a man’s being is composed of four basic elements: ‫ עפר‬,‫ מים‬,‫ רוח‬,‫—אש‬fire, wind, water and earth (dust). They are the source of all human, negative character traits. He explains one by one, how each of the elements is responsible for particular negative traits. Here is what he has to say about the element of water:

,‫ כי כן המים מצמיחין כל מיני תענוג‬,‫“יסוד המים ממנו תאות התענוגים‬ ,‫ החמדה לגזול ממון חבירו ואשתו וכל אשר לו להתענג בהם‬- ‫ותולדותיה שתים‬ .”‫והקנאה כי יקנא בחבירו אשר לו ממון רב וכיוצא בזה להתענג בו‬

The desire for pleasure stems from the element of water. Water gives rise to all sorts of pleasures. It has two derivative branches: (1) the tendency to covet and steal another person’s money, wife and everything else he owns for the sake of his own pleasure and enjoyment and (2) jealousy of his fellow man’s wealth and the like, which he would like to enjoy. Now, we are all familiar with Chazal’s statement (K.R. 1, 34): ‫ אית ליה מאה בעי למעבד יתהון‬,‫“אין אדם יוצא מן העולם וחצי תאותו בידו‬ ”‫—תרתי מאה‬a person does not leave the world with only half of his desire in hand; if he has one hundred, he yearns to make it into two hundred. Thus, it turns out that the element of water in a person, the source of his cravings, is just like the sea. Its waves rush to inundate the entire world; similarly, a human being is never satisfied with what he has; he always wants more. If he has one hundred, he wants two hundred; if he has two hundred, he wants four hundred. This then is the message conveyed by the prophet in his rebuke of Yisrael: “Will you not fear Me—the word of Hashem; will you not tremble before Me? For I have set sand as boundary against the sea, as a permanent law that cannot be broken. Its waves rage forth but cannot succeed, they roar but cannot cross it.” Observe how the sea rages and bursts forth as if it intends to inundate and wash away the entire world. Yet, when it reaches the seashore, it halts out of fear of Hashem and His majesty. That being the case, shouldn’t mankind also tremble in the presence of Hashem?! Man should

Parshas Vayechi 5777 | 3

learn from the sea that he must rein in the element of water within his being; so that he does not violate and trespass the boundaries Hashem has set for him in matters pertaining to Olam HaZeh. In the words of Chazal (Beitzah 16a): ‫“כל מזונותיו‬ ”‫—של אדם קצובים לו מראש השנה ועד יום הכיפורים‬all of a person’s meals are allotted for him between Rosh HaShanah and Yom HaKippurim. This enlightens us as to Yaakov Avinu’s deeper intent. When he realized via his “ruach hakodesh” that it was Zevulun’s role to engage in commercial transactions in order to support Yissachar; he foresaw that this would present spiritual perils for him. He might be submerged, chas v’shalom, by the waters of desire. Therefore, Yaakov blessed him as follows: ‫“זבולון לחוף‬ ”‫ימים ישכון‬-- Zevulun shall dwell by seashores. As a result, he will constantly observe how the waves yearn to inundate the world; nevertheless , they respect the boundaries set for them by HKB”H. This will teach him a valuable and crucial lesson. Although he must engage in commercial dealings, nevertheless, he must not violate the boundaries HKB”H has set for him. Furthermore, he should designate time to pray three times a day and to study Torah.

The Permit to Engage in Matters of Olam HaZeh Based on the Law of “Zuto shel Yam”

As it is the nature of Torah to be elucidated in seventy different ways, I would like to suggest an explanation for the berachah ”‫“זבולון לחוף ימים ישכון‬, based on the methodology of “drush.” The Bnei Yissaschar (Shabbas 7, 17) presents a powerful question in the name of the great Gaon Chida in Rosh David (Tetzaveh). According to the Midrash (Tanna D’Bei Eliyahu Zuta 19), Yaakov and Eisav divided up the two worlds between them. Eisav took Olam HaZeh as his portion, and Yaakov took Olam HaBa as his portion. That being the case, on what grounds are we entitled to benefit from the delights and pleasures of Olam HaZeh, even on Shabbasos and Yamim Tovim? Seemingly, Olam HaZeh belongs to Eisav, and we should not be permitted to take more than our basic needs. The Maharash Primo provides an answer based on the exposition in the Gemara (A.Z. 3a): )‫לא‬-‫“מאי דכתיב (בראשית א‬ ,‫ מלמד שהתנה הקב”ה עם מעשה בראשית ואמר‬,‫ויהי ערב ויהי בקר יום השישי‬ ”‫ ואם לאו אני אחזיר אתכם לתוהו ובוהו‬,‫—אם ישראל מקבלין את תורתי מוטב‬ what is the meaning of that which is written: “And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day? (Why is there an extra letter “hei,” meaning “the,” in the word ‫ ?״השישי״‬It

does not appear with regards to the other days of creation.) It teaches that HKB”H stipulated with the works of Creation, and He said to them, “If Yisrael accept My Torah, then all is well; but if they do not, I will return you to chaos and void. According to this exposition, the world cannot continue to exist without Torah. Now, we have an explicit passuk that says (Devarim 33, 2): ‫ הופיע מהר פארן ואתה‬,‫“ה’ מסיני בא וזרח משעיר למו‬ ”‫—מרבבות קודש‬Hashem came from Sinai and He shone forth to them from Seir, He appeared from Har Paran, and He came with some of the myriads of the holy. Rashi explains: He proposed to the children of Eisav that they accept the Torah, but they did not want to . . . He went there and proposed to the children of Yishmael that they accept it, but they did not want to. Thus, we learn that by accepting the Torah, Yisrael saved all of creation from returning to chaos and void. Now, we have learned an explicit halachah in the Gemara (B.M. 24a): ‫ מזוטו של‬. . . ‫“המציל‬ ”‫ הרי אלו שלו‬. . . ‫—ים ומשלוליתו של נהר‬a person who saves an object from the bottom of the sea (“zuto shel yam”) or from the surge of a river, it belongs to him. So, by accepting the Torah, Yisrael also acquired the portion of Olam HaZeh for themselves; because it was as if they saved the world from certain loss— like from the bottom of the sea. Consequently, not only are we entitled to Olam HaZeh but what the goyim are benefitting from and enjoying in Olam HaZeh is tantamount to theft.

Based on this understanding, the Bnei Yissaschar explains the following Gemara (Pesachim 68b): ‫“הכל מודים בעצרת דבעינן‬ ”‫ —נמי לכם מאי טעמא יום שניתנה בו תורה‬all authorities concede that on Atzeres (Shavuos), we also require the criterion of “for you” (“lachem”); what is the reason? It is the day on which the Torah was given. We can suggest that since Yisrael accepted the Torah on Shavuot on Har Sinai, and thereby saved the world from extermination, they acquired Olam HaZeh, Eisav’s portion, based on the law of “zuto shel yam.” For this reason, we celebrate on Shavuot by delighting in food and drink— “lachem”—the indulgences of Olam HaZeh; because “it is the day on which the Torah was given.” Yisrael came to the rescue of all of creation and deserve to also enjoy the delights of Olam HaZeh. This concludes his sacred remarks.

It is with great pleasure and satisfaction that we can now better appreciate Yaakov Avinu’s profound wisdom. He blessed Zevulun: ”‫“זבולון לחוף ימים ישכון‬, so that he would always recall the impact of the law of “zuto shel yam.” The reason Yisrael, the offspring of Yaakov, are permitted to engage in commerce Parshas Vayechi 5777 | 4

and dealings related to Olam HaZeh, is in the merit of the law learned from the sea: If a person saves an object from the bottom of the sea or from the surge of a river, it now belongs to him. This will reinforce his sacred commitment to Yissaschar, the pillar of Torah. For, it is only in the merit of accepting the Torah that he is permitted to engage in matters related to Olam HaZeh. Furthermore, in the merit of supporting Torah-study, he is rescuing the world from the bottom of the sea and, in that merit, HKB”H will ensure that he succeeds in all his endeavors.

The Upper Waters and the Lower Waters

I would like to present to our esteemed audience another idea regarding the berachah Yaakov bestowed upon Zevulun: ”‫“זבולון לחוף ימים ישכון‬. In parshas Vayikra it is written (Vayikra 2, 13): ”‫“ולא תשבית מלח ברית אלקיך מעל מנחתך‬-- you may not discontinue the salt of your G-d’s covenant from upon your minchah offering. Rashi comments: “For a covenant has been made with salt since the six days of creation; for the lower waters were promised to be offered on the mizbeiach in the form of salt and during the water libations on the festival (Succos). Rashi’s source is the Midrash brought down by Rabeinu Bachayei (Vayikra ibid.):

,‫ ולמה נקראו מים בוכים‬,‫“וכן אמרו במדרש מים התחתונים נקראו מים בוכים‬ ‫ התחילו מים‬,‫כי בשעה שחלק הקב”ה את המים נתן אלו למעלה ואלו למטה‬ ‫ אמר רבי אבא בבכי‬,‫יא) מבכי נהרות חבש‬-‫ וזהו שכתוב (איוב כח‬,‫התחתונים בוכים‬ ‫ אמרו אוי לנו שלא זכינו לעלות למעלה‬,‫נתפרשו המים התחתונים מן העליונים‬ ‫ אין להן‬,‫ אמר להם הקב”ה הואיל ולכבודי עשיתן כל כך‬...‫להיות קרובים ליוצרנו‬ ‫ ולא עוד אלא שעתידין‬...‫רשות למים העליונים לומר שירה עד שיטלו רשות מכם‬ .”‫אתם ליקרב על גבי המזבח במלח וניסוך המים‬ And this is what they said in the Midrash: The lower waters are referred to as “weeping waters.” Why are they called “weeping waters”? Because when HKB”H divided the waters, He placed these above and these below. The lower waters began to weep. They lamented the fact that they did not merit to remain above in close proximity to the Creator. In an attempt to appease them, HKB”H told them that: (a) since you acted out of respect for Me, the upper waters are not permitted to utter their song until they first obtain permission from you, and furthermore (b) you, the lower waters, are destined to be offered on the altar in the form of salt and in the form of water libations—affording you distinction and honor. This subject is also addressed by the Tikunei Zohar (Tikun 5, 19b), elucidating the passuk (Bereishis 1, 6): ‫“ויהי מבדיל בין מים‬

‫ אנן בעיין למהוי קדם מלכא עלת העלות‬,‫ בגין דמים תתאין אינון בוכין ואמרין‬...‫למים‬ ”‫ובען לסלקא לעילא‬. The passuk indicates that the Almighty created a separation between the two bodies of water. This caused the lower waters to cry and protest: “We want to ascend to the heavens to be in the presence of the King of Kings, HKB” H.” So, on the festival of Succot, when we pour water on the mizbeiach before Hashem, there is great joy. For, the earthly waters are appeased by being presented as libations before HKB”H.

Clearly, the weeping of the lower waters and their protest: “We want to be in the presence of the King”—requires further explanation. If HKB”H, Who created them, determined that they should remain down below on earth, who are they to complain and question His decision? Should He have altered the order of creation on account of their dissatisfaction? Furthermore, it is one of the principles of our faith, as expressed by the song of the heavenly seraphim (Yeshayah 6, 3): ’‫“קדוש קדוש קדוש ה‬ ”‫“ —צבאות מלוא כל הארץ כבודו‬Holy, holy, holy is Hashem, Master of Legions; the whole world is filled with His glory.” He is everywhere; so, even down in this world, the lower waters stand before the Glory of the King. Hence, their protest seems entirely invalid. To reconcile our sages’ enigmatic remarks, let us refer back to what Rabeinu Chaim Vital, zy”a, writes in Sha’arei Kedushah in the name of his teacher, the Arizal. He taught us that man’s being is made up of four basic elements: ‫ עפר‬,‫ מים‬,‫ רוח‬,‫—אש‬ fire, wind, water and earth (dust). They are the source of all human, negative character traits. Regarding the element of water, he writes that it is the source of all human desire: Because water gives rise to all sorts of pleasures. Accordingly, we can suggest a tremendous chiddush. The upper waters are the holy Torah, which HKB”H delighted in in the heavens for two thousand years before the creation of the world. As the Midrash explains (B.R. 8, 2): ‫“שני אלפים שנה קדמה‬ ‫ל) ואהיה אצלו אמון ואהיה‬-‫ הדא הוא דכתיב (משלי ח‬,‫התורה לברייתו של עולם‬ ‫ד) כי אלף‬-‫ דכתיב (תהלים צ‬,‫ ויומו של הקב”ה אלף שנים‬,’‫שעשועים יום יום וגו‬ .”‫ שנים בעיניך כיום אתמול כי יעבר‬The Torah preceded the creation of the world by two thousand years, as it is written: “I was a nursling beside Him, I was then His delight every day etc.” Now, one of HKB”H’s days is equal to one thousand years, as it is written: “For a thousand years in Your eyes are like yesterday. The lower waters, on the other hand, represent all the pleasures and delights of Olam HaZeh. Parshas Vayechi 5777 | 5

Thus, we have gained a better understanding regarding the subject of the weeping of the lower waters. They also long for mankind to utilize all matters pertaining to Olam HaZeh for the sake of Heaven—“l’shem shamayim.” This accords with the halachic ruling of the Shulchan Aruch (O.C. 231):

‫“בכל מה שיהנה בעולם הזה לא יכוין להנאתו אלא לעבודת הבורא יתברך‬ ‫ ואמרו חכמים (אבות פ”ב מי”ב) כל מעשיך‬,‫ו) בכל דרכיך דעהו‬-‫כדכתיב (משלי ג‬ ‫ שאפילו דברים של רשות כגון האכילה והשתיה וההליכה‬,‫יהיו לשם שמים‬ ‫ ומי‬...‫ יהיו כולם לעבודת בוראך או לדבר הגורם עבודתו‬,‫ וכל צרכי גופך‬...‫והישיבה‬ .”‫שנוהג כן עובד את בוראו תמיד‬ All pleasure and benefit a person enjoys in this world should not be intended for one’s own personal pleasure but rather should be for the purpose of serving the Almighty. This applies to all mundane and optional activities such as eating, drinking, walking, sitting, rising and satisfying all of a person’s bodily needs. A person who behaves in this manner is always serving his Creator.

He Shall Dwell by Seashores to Learn the Law of Immersion

In this manner, we can proceed to explain HKB”H’s response to the lower waters: “Since you acted solely out of respect for Me, the upper waters are not permitted to utter their song until they first obtain permission from you.” We have learned in the Mishnah (Avos 3, 17): ,‫“אם אין קמח אין תורה‬ ”‫אם אין תורה אין קמח‬-- if there is no “kemach” (literally flour; sustenance) there is no Torah; if there is no Torah, there is no “kemach (sustenance).” Note that in the Mishnah the word “kemach” appears before the word “Torah.” It is teaching us that sustenance must come first; it is a prerequisite for Torah. This is explained by the Kli Yakar on this week’s parsha. He explains that this is why Yaakov Avinu blessed Zevulun before blessing Yissachar—because if there is no “kemach”—sustenance-there is no Torah. Accordingly, Yissachar, the pillar of Torah, cannot engage in Torah-study unless he has been provided for by Zevulun beforehand.

Additionally, let us cite a halachic ruling from the Shulchan Aruch (Y.D. 201) regarding a body of water located near the seashore. If it is connected to the sea water, it has the same status as the sea water itself, and the law of “hashakah” applies. Thus, anyone who immerses in it will be purified, even if it lacks the required forty “se’ah.” If, however, the pool of water, is not connected to the sea, the law of “hashakah” does not apply. In this case, it has the status of a mikveh, and it only purifies if it contains the required forty “se’ah” of water. The same applies to drawn water—“mayim she’uvim”—which are not kosher for the sake of immersion. Yet, if they are connected to a kosher mikveh, the law of “hashakah” applies, and anyone who immerses in them is purified.

It is with great pleasure that we can now comprehend HKB”H’s response to the lower waters. He informed them that the upper, heavenly waters—the Torah—are not permitted to utter their song to HKB”H, celebrating the fact that Yisrael are studying Torah, until they first obtain permission from the lower waters. In other words, Yisrael must first engage in matters pertaining to Olam HaZeh, representing the lower waters, and support Yissachar, the pillar of Torah, by providing him sustenance, so that he can pursue his Torah studies. As a result of this support, Zevulun successfully connects the lower waters with the upper waters—worldly, material matters with the Torah. In return, he achieves his necessary tikun, and it is considered as if he engages in Torah-study all day long.

This enlightens us as to why Yaakov Avinu chose to bestow upon Zevulun the berachah: ”‫—“זבולון לחוף ימים ישכון‬that he dwells in the location of the lower waters. This will serve as a constant reminder that it is his duty to occupy himself with matters of Olam HaZeh, representing the weeping lower waters. He should have in mind the valuable lessons that we learn from the sea and seashore. For instance, we learn the law of “hashakah”: If a pool of water in close proximity to the seashore is connected to the sea water, it does not require the minimum volume of forty se’ah. In similar fashion, it is incumbent upon him to purify the lower waters—all earthly, mundane matters—by uniting them with the upper waters of Yissachar, the pillar of Torah.

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‫דברי תורה לפרשת ויחי‬ When One Connects To The Spiritual Aspects Of Every Situation, The Physical And Material Aspects Will Not Hinder Him! The verse states (47:28): “And Yaakov lived in the land of Egypt for seventeen years, and Yaakov's days, the years of his life, were a hundred and forty seven years.” The holy Ohr Hachaim asks why it is necessary for the verse to point out that Yaakov lived in Egypt. He further asks why it is necessary to state that he lived in Egypt for 17 years. It seemingly should only need to state that he lived a total of 147 years, as we know from the verse (ibid: 9) that says that he was 130 when he came to Egypt. Furthermore, why does the verse add the extra words “Yaakov’s days were”? The Medrash (Bereishis Rabbah 68:2) states that when Elifaz came on a mission from Esav to kill Yaakov, and ultimately took all of Yaakov’s money, which rendered him like a dead man, Yaakov prayed, “I lift my eyes unto the mountains, from where will my help come? When Eliezer went to bring Rivkah he took ten camels with him etc. And I don’t even have one nose ring or bracelet. He then admonished himself and said: Am I losing my trust in the Creator? Heaven forbid. My help shall come from Hashem, Creator of Heaven and earth.” The literal words of the Medrash seem to indicate that Yaakov was feeling doubt and might have lost faith, Heaven forbid. We certainly cannot say such a thing, and therefore must seek to explain the intent of this Medrash. The Gemara (Yoma 76A) states: Rebbe Shimon bar Yochai’s students asked him: Why did the Mann not fall only once for an entire year? He answered: I will tell you a parable. This is like a human king who has an only son. If he would give him food once for an entire year, he would only go to see his father once a year. He therefore gives him food every day, only enough for that day, so that he will come to see him every day. So too, the people of Yisroel were concerned that perhaps the mann would not fall the next day and their children would die of hunger. Therefore, they turned to Hashem in prayer every day. We see that Hashem sent Mann every day because He desires their closeness and wants them to pray to Him every day. Rav Dovid Haksher (in his Sefer Shiras Dovid, page 442) cites a Gemara that seems to contradict this.

The Gemara (Menachos 103B) quotes the verse (Devarim 28:66): “And your life will hang in suspense before you. You will be in fear night and day, and you will not believe in your life.” The Gemara explains that this curse refers to someone who does not have his own land to plant on, and is dependent on buying food from the marketplace or from a middleman. He therefore can never be sure that he will have food and is always apprehensive about his future. We thus see that not knowing where one’s food will come from for tomorrow is considered a terrible curse. How can it be said that this was the preferable way for the Mann to fall for the nation?  Hishtadlus Does Not Really Help At All! The Mesilas Yesharim (Perek 21) writes: A person can never be deprived of what has been set aside for him, as Chazal have said (Beitzah 16A), "A man's entire sustenance is determined for him on Rosh Hashana etc." and (Yoma 38B), "A man cannot touch even a hairsbreadth of what has been set aside for his neighbor." A man could sit idle and what was ordained for him would materialize, were it not for the penalty imposed upon all men: "With the sweat of your brow shall you eat bread" (Bereishis 3:19), because of which, by Divine decree, a man is required to exert himself somewhat for his sustenance. This is like a tax, which must be paid by every member of the human race and which cannot be evaded…The exertion is not what produces the results, but it is necessary. Once one has exerted himself, he has fulfilled his responsibilities and made room for the blessing of Heaven to rest upon him, and he need not consume his days in striving and exertion. The Chovos Halevavos adds that this is a test Hashem Yisborach sends to see if a person will do the hishtadlus, necessary exertions that are incumbent upon him, in the proper way. But it is certain that one will receive what was ordained for him and nothing more whether he does his hishtadlus or not. The Mishnah Berurah (Siman 1, S’if 13) states that the reason for reading the portion in the Torah of the Mann every day is to remind us that it is possible to receive one’s sustenance with no hishtadlus, as the nation received the Mann in the desert. He writes: This teaches us that added, unnecessary exertions do not help at all. This is an encouragement for us not to place our trust in our own exertions, but to rely only on Hashem.

From all of these sources, we see that hishtadlus is not the source of our sustenance. It is, rather, a separate responsibility we have that does not affect how much we receive from Heaven.  Tzadikim Are Exempt From The Obligation Of Hishtadlus The Chovos Halevavos (Shar Habitachon, Perek 10) states that righteous men are exempt from the obligation of hishtadlus and need exert no efforts of their own for their livelihood. He writes: If one is strong in his service of Hashem and chooses to fear Him and trusts in Him, His Torah and His world, and avoids improper things and turns towards good traits, he will not be turned away from serenity and peacefulness, and he will not be busy with the material or with making a livelihood. It will be taken off of him the burden of “the wheel” (of being forced to exert himself to make a living). The Chovos Halevavos explains that since hishtadlus is meant as a test to see if a person will act properly and have faith in Hashem, righteous men who have already chosen to follow His ways and have faith in Him do not need to be tested since they have already passed the challenge of trusting in Hashem. In this vein, the Rabenu Bechaya (end of Parshas Vayeshev) explains the complaint against Yosef for asking the Minister of the Drinks to remember him. He states that righteous men of Yosef’s caliber have no obligation of hishtadlus at all. They are expected to trust solely in Hashem, without exerting any efforts on their part. Therefore, for a man on Yosef’s lofty level, asking the Minister to remember him before Pharaoh was considered a sin.  The Tremendous Challenge Not To Take Personal Credit For One’s Successes The difference between a thoroughly righteous man and a regular person can be explained as follows: The verse states (Devarim 8:17): “And you will say in your heart, my strength and the might of my hand made for me this wealth.” The commentators note that just a few verses earlier (7:17) it stated: “And when you say in your heart, these nations are more numerous that I, how will be able to drive them out? Do not fear them.” The Torah is speaking about Klal Yisroel at a time when they are worried and unconfident in their abilities. They are afraid to enter the land of Yisroel, and need to be reassured that Hashem will be at their side. Yet, just a few verses later, the Torah finds it

necessary to caution them that once they enter the land and succeed in their work, they should not say that their might was the cause of their success. We see how quickly the evil inclination can seduce a person’s thoughts and fool him into falling into this mindset of taking personal credit for accomplishments. Even though the nation had just witness Hashem’s salvation with their own eyes, they still were in danger of forgetting Him and believing that their strength caused their success.  Belief That Hishtadlus Does Not Help Leads To Complete Serenity When one realizes that hishtadlus is simply a “tax”, and everything is really ordained from Hashem, he will feel calm and serene, and will know that nothing that he does can change Hashem’s will for him. It is stated explicitly in Chovos Halevavos (Shar Habitchaon, Perek 1) that the essence of bitachon, faith in Hashem, is the feeling of peace and serenity of the individual. This feeling of peace of mind is described in Tehilim (131:2): “I swear that I calmed and quieted my soul like a suckling on its mother; like a suckling was my soul with me.” This means that one who has bitachon has the same feeling as a baby resting in its mother’s arms, which has no worries and is completely secure in its trust that its mother will provide it with all of its needs. So too, such a person lives with the full security of knowing that Hashem will provide for him in every way. We can thus explain the difference between a completely righteous man and a regular person. A regular person needs to be tested to see if even after he is obligated to do hishtadlus if he remains calm and at peace, and aware that his hishtadlus has no real effect on his standing. If he passes the test, he will conclude that his hishtadlus has no bearing on his livelihood, and this will bring him closer to Hashem. But a complete tzadik who already has excelled in emunah and bitachon and has no worries about his livelihood does not need this test – for his heart is already strong with faith in Hashem and he is already close to Him. We can now explain the contradiction we asked previously about the Mann. When one is on a strong level of faith, the fact that the Mann fell every day was a sign from Hashem that he desired the closeness of the nation, and it was not a test or challenge for them since they believed fully and relied upon Him to send their sustenance. The

nation in the desert was on this lofty level, and therefore having the mann fall every day was considered a great benefit for them and a sign of the closeness they felt toward Hashem. However, at the time of the destruction and exile, the nation was not on this lofty level of bitachon. Therefore, not having a steady source of sustenance led them to feelings of fear and insecurity, and this was considered a terrible curse for them.  Understanding That Nothing Comes “Naturally”, But Everything Comes From Hashem Yisborach The Shem M’Shmuel (Taf Resh Ayin Ches) states: It is certain that a man who trusts in Hashem and depends on Him is following a very good path. But there is an even greater level than this. That is one who realizes that there is no “natural” means to succeed, that there are no human ways to help oneself. He accepts that there is no such thing as “nature”, and trusts in Hashem to help him “supernaturally”. One who trusts in Hashem is on a great level – but there is always a suspicion that he might fall prey to the mindset that he has a natural means to help himself. But one who understands that there is no such thing as “natural means” will never make that mistake and will always rely solely on Hashem. With this in mind, the Shem M’Shmuel explains the aforementioned Medrash about Yaakov Avinu: Yaakov made a correct reckoning about himself. He realized that there was no natural means of hope. He thus turned away from any thoughts of natural means of salvation and said, “My help is from Hashem.” This does not mean that he ever despaired, Heaven forbid. Rather, he reached the highest level of emunah by reaching the realization that allowed him to turn away from any thoughts of a natural salvation and to turn towards accepting that his only salvation could come from Hashem. The Zohar states (Vayakhel 198A) that this was the way of Yaakov Avinu: “Praiseworthy is he in whose help is the G-d of Yaakov. His hope is in Hashem, his G-d. (Tehilim 146)” Is He the G-d of Yaakov and not the G-d of Avrohom and Yitzchok? Rather, He is the G-d of Yaakov because Yaakov did not depend on his father or mother when he ran away from his brother and went by himself with no money, as is stated, “With my staff I crossed the Jordan.” He trusted in Hashem, as is stated, “If G-d will be with me and will protect me…” He asked for everything

from Hashem, and He gave it to him. This level is an extremely lofty one. It is the level of one who does not turn to any source of hishtadlus for salvation. It is the level of one who seeks no natural means of assistance. Rather, he flees from all natural sources, and runs to the lap of Hashem Yisborach, and relies on Him to provide him with what he needs. This is as is stated in the ensuing words of the Zohar: “His hope (shivru) is in Hashem, his G-d.” The word “shivru” is used to mean hope, rather than the more common “tikvaso” or “bitchono”. This is because the root of the word “shivru” means “to break.” This indicates that a righteous man “breaks himself” by removing every vestige of his personal reckonings and turning solely to Hashem. This is also seen in the verse (Tehilim 44): “For it is for Your sake that we are killed all the time, that we are considered as sheep for the slaughter.”  When one connects to the Spiritual Aspects can live even in Mitzriam. The Sefas Emes answers the Ohr Hachaim’s question that notes the verse’s wording “And Yaakov lived in the lands of Egypt”, and states that it seemingly could have said simply that Yaakov “was in the land of Egypt.” What is added by stating that he “lived” in Egypt? He answers that the word “lived” hints at the fact that Yaakov dwelled with the source of all life. Hashem Yisborach is the source of all life in all worlds, and the verse is telling us that even though Yaakov was physically in Egypt, this was merely the “external shell.” In truth, he was living his “inner life” with Hashem Yisborach as his source of sustenance. Yaakov lived this life of spirituality in all situations. He understood that every physical entity is, in truth, a part of the living world of Hashem, and their outer appearance is merely a shell. Therefore, he was unimpressed and unbothered by all of the impure shells he encountered in Egypt. He was living a life of spirituality that was rooted in the true source of life. Therefore, he was unaffected from living in the impurity of Egypt. Thus, the verse is teaching us that although Yaakov dwelled in Egypt for 17 years, he actually did not “live” in Egypt. In truth, he lived in the confines of the spiritual world of Hashem, and Egypt was merely the outer shell that he was physically dwelling in.

Vayechi 5777


And I will tell you – ‫ואגידה לכם‬ Did you know? Even you are worthy of receiving prophecy many times! So states the Vilna Gaon in his commentary on Mishlei, for when there were prophets, everyone would go to the prophet (navi) to ask and request of him the way to serve Hashem, and the navi would then tell him what he needed to do to correct his neshama. Today, however, when we have no prophet or seer (chozeh), then how does a person know the correct way to serve? How does he know how to correct himself to the root of his neshama? Therefore, the Gr”a ztvk”l responds with a deep novel approach that applies to every Jew, that he himself feels something missing in his heart, he knows that this is in the category of prophecy, according to the feelings in the heart of a person he knows what must be corrected in the world. Before his passing, Yaakov Avinu called his sons and said, '‫– 'האספו ואגידה לכם את אשר יקרא אתכם באחרית הימים‬ ‘Assemble yourselves and I will tell you what will befall you in the End of Days’. Rashi explains that ‘He wished to reveal the end to them but the Shechina departed from him, and he began to say other things’, a moment before we are troubled for the lost revelation, come let us consider what was revealed to us, and perhaps this is the very secret of the end that our forefather wanted to reveal to us: Sometimes a person feels as if the Shechina has left us and we are leaving in a time where Hashem is very hidden from us, and then what we must do is simply not do anything at all, however, Yaakov Avinu teaches us that even if a person feels that the Shechina has left us and at the present time he is not able to elevate to great levels in spirituality and to attain greatness in Torah and Fear of Heaven, even then a person should not feel broken from this, rather, he should begin with what he is able to, ‘and he began to say other things’, as Moreinu v’Rabeinu shlit”a states many times in the name of his Rav, HaGaon HaTzaddik Rebbe Binyamin Rabinovitch ztvk”l that a person is never exempt from learning Torah and if he finds himself in a place where it is difficult to study Gemara in depth, then he should learn Gemara in a cursory manner, and if this is also difficult for him, then he should study mishnayos, or else Midrash and Aggados (stories) of Chaza”l, and even if he cannot actually learn, then he should think about Torah topics. Then, when that feeling that the Shechina has left comes back, you should remember that at times like this you are worthy of actual prophecy, just think about the feelings that you are lacking, and that is all! Exactly this that is sent to you from Heaven, this sensation is your prophecy. Tiv HaTorah - Vayechi

"‫"ועתה כתבו לכם את השירה הזאת‬ “And now write for yourself this song” I hired a sofer, someone who fears Heaven, a man with a good reputation, to write a Torah for me, a beautiful one to fulfill the mitzvah of ‘now write for yourself’ (Devorim 31:19) that everyone write a sefer Torah for himself. I hired him without knowing where I would donate the sefer Torah when he finished writing it. When I visited my good friend, I asked him what is written around the wooden posts of the sefer and he turned me to his chavrusa [study partner] who was sitting in the room bent over his Gemara. The chavrusa asked a number of questions and prepared the writing as an expert and he returned to his Gemara. A week later I attended a chanukas habayis [dedication] for a large office and who was the Rav? That chavrusa!!! I asked my friend about the chavrusa and what he does, and my friend told me that he was a Rav and teacher and an important leader of a large congregation. Now, I marveled at his simplicity and how he answered every question pleasantly and he greeted everyone with a smile. Two weeks later I attended a bris and who was the mohel? That chavrusa!!! After the bris, I went to him for a bracha and he blessed me warmly. I could not restrain myself and I asked him what other roles he carries on his shoulders?! He smiled and he said he also reads the Torah in the Bais Midrash. My friend turned to me and asked if I found a place for the sefer Torah and he suggested that I donate it to the Bais Midrash of this Rav. The congregation is already large and they do not own a sefer Torah. I was amazed that the Rav himself did not ask for it and my friend said that this Rav never asks for anything. I was pleased with the idea that this Heaven-fearing man would read from my sefer but there was a small matter that needed clarification, that is of honoring it and not talking during the reading. He explained that there is no talking during the reading and if there is talking (usually by an outside guest) the Rav stops the reading and waits for patiently for silence and only then continues to read. Now I knew where I would bring the Torah despite having no connection to the congregation at all and there were plenty of places that I was connected to and could bring it but once HaKadosh Baruch Hu connected me repeatedly with this Rav I understood that Heaven was hinting to me to bring the Torah there. The congregation celebrated for two weeks since they did not have a Torah of their own and could not afford one and now they brought the Torah in with much splendor as hundreds of congregants sang and rejoiced with the joy of the Torah. .‫ד‬.‫ד‬

‫שוב יום אחד לפני מיתתך‬ Repent one day before your death ‫ויחי יעקב בארץ מצרים שבע עשרה שנה ויהי ימי שני חייו שבע שנים‬ )‫כט‬-‫כח‬:‫ (מז‬:'‫ ויקרבו ימי ישראל למות וגו‬:‫וארבעים ומאת שנה‬ Yaakov lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years, and the days of Yaakov, the years of his life, were one hundred and fortyseven years. The time approached for Israel to die… (47:28-29) We can say that with these posukim the Torah hints as to how Yaakov was able to remain righteous while in the land of Egypt which was a place of tumaah – impurity and was called ‘the abominable land’. The answer is ‘the time approached for Israel to die’ that all the years he spent there he kept in mind that the day of his death was drawing near, and in the merit of his constant reminder of the day of his death he was aroused with awe and he held himself back from the pleasures of Egypt. Even though this matter was not relevant at all to Yaakov who was the choicest of the Forefathers, and not that embedded in Egypt that he needed the day of his death to arouse him to awe, nevertheless, since the Torah is eternal, there are hints that apply to every generation and to every individual in particular, and we are well to say that since the Torah comes to teach every person, whatever his position, on this matter to arouse awe in a person at all times since the Inclination is always standing at the door to his heart and arouses him to sin chas v’chalilah, for then he will be reminded of the day of death and with this he will strengthen himself to stand with strength opposite it without stumbling before it. A person must constantly keep in mind that his end of days is drawing near, and this should be beneficial for him whether in the category of ‘turn from bad’ or in the category of ‘do good’. I remember that I was once with a group of boys and we were being addressed by the chairman of Hanhalas Ha’Eidah Hachareidis )‫ (הנהלת העדה החרדית‬, and he was stimulating us by discussing an amazing gift called ‘time’ and it is up to the person to be involved with mitzvos as long as Heaven has given him the merit. Then he told us that the world is mistaken by thinking that a person leaves the world in one day, rather, the truth of the matter is that a person begins to leave this world from the day of his birth and all through his life on earth, every moment that passes is considered as leaving, for this moment will never return to him, and we find that if a person does not utilize this moment for the service of Hashem Yisbarach we find that he has lost that moment forever, and only after the death is complete the person loses the neshama from his life. However, the reality is that every moment is an eternal world that is lost if the person does not utilize it as needed, and when a person remembers this then he will surely save every moment as ‘do good’. It is related regarding HaRav HaKadosh of Bluzhav zy”a, that on the day when one of his children entered the chuppah he would tell them a parable in order to arouse them and inform them that from now on they were preparing for the day of death. This was his parable: One citizen loved his king very much and he always yearned to do good for the king. One day he was told that the man who was in charge of heating the palace had died and the officers of the king were looking for someone to fill his position. Immediately, he offered his services for the job and he was accepted with honor, and since he very much wanted to benefit the king, he performed his job with trustworthiness and alacrity, and every day he was meticulous in supplying the right amount of

firewood needed to keep the palace comfortable on any given day so that it would not be hotter or colder than necessary. One day the king realized that the temperature in the palace was always perfect and he was curious to find out why this was so, and he asked for an explanation. His aides told him that the man who did this until now had died and they placed another man in his position who held the king in very high regard, and he very much wanted to benefit the king, therefore, he did his job faithfully. When the king heard this, he wanted to benefit the benefactor, and when the man was brought before him the king asked him how he could repay him for his service. The man replied, ‘I don’t need anything, however, there is something that I would request of the king, that he make a hole in the wall that separates my room and the palace and then anytime I want I will be able to look through and gaze at the glow of the face of the king.’ The king ordered that this be done, and they fulfilled his request. This man performed his job for several years, and when he realized that his strength was leaving him, and because he was afraid that he would not be able to carry out his task as previously, he began to look for someone who wanted to fill his position, in order to train him in how to arrange the firewood perfectly. To his dismay, he could not find an appropriate worker, for whomever he found for the position pushed him away with both hands saying that they were busy with their own affairs and they had no time to carry out this task. Upon seeing this, he realized that the public had no appreciation for the greatness of the king, and they did not appreciate at all the great opportunity that presented itself before them. However, because of his deep love for the king, he could not fathom that there was no one to take his place. When he saw that no one felt as he did, he realized that he had no choice but to marry a woman and have a son with her, and he would raise him and show him the many advantages there are to serve the king, and in this way he would arouse in the heart of the boy the strong desire to stand and serve before the king. With this HaRav HaKadosh of Bluzhav ended his parable, and he began to arouse the chassan with the parable by saying: Behold, we, the Children of Israel, know and recognize the great merit of standing and serving the King of the World and to give satisfaction before Him, and to increase the awareness in Israel until we do not even want to be paid, only to behold the sweetness of Hashem Yisbarach. However, we know that this world is like a stream of water, and the day will come and our neshama will rise to the Celestial storehouse. It is incumbent on us to look for a replacement for us who could fill our position after us, however, there is no nation or language that understands the great benefit of this service, therefore, every Jew is forced to marry a woman and bear children and impart them with understanding about the advantage of the service of Hashem Yisbarach, so that they fulfill his appointment after him. We find – HaRav HaKadosh concluded – that the purpose of marriage is only a preparation for the day of death. With these words HaRav HaKadosh wanted to arouse the heart of the young one, that he not think that life is still before him, and there is still a long way before him, for then he will forget about his last day, and the Inclination will find a path into his heart, rather, he should understand that his end of days is near, and already at this point he must prepare for that day, and when he remembers this the awe will always be aroused before his eyes, and he will be involved in the battle of the Inclination all his days.


PARASHAS VAYECHI IN THE PATHWAYS OF FAITH A Sick Person Just Has to Think About Repentance (‫ לא‬,‫”וישתחו ישראל על ראש המטה“ )מז‬ “From here they said (Shabbos 12b) that the Shechinah is above the head of a sick person.” (Rashi) Why does the Shechinah rest above a sick person’s head? Rabbeinu Yonasan Eibeshitz explains: A healthy person can do absolute teshuvah by bettering his actions and pledging not to sin in the future. But a sick person who is bedridden cannot do teshuvah with his actions. Therefore, the Shechinah rests above his bed, and the minute he even thinks about doing teshuvah, his repentance is immediately accepted by the Shechinah above his bed. Tiferes Yehonasan

Baruch Sheptarani on Ephraim and Menashe (‫ ח‬,‫”וירא ישראל את בני יוסף ויאמר מי אלה“ )מח‬ “And he said who are these – where did these two emerge from that they are not worthy of a brachah?” (Rashi) Harav Benzion Halberstam of Bobov, Hy”d, explained according to the Midrash (Bereishis Rabba, 63 10, and see Magen Avraham Orach Chaim 225 5) that on the day that a son turns thirteen years of age, the father needs to recite the brachah of “Baruch Sheptarani mei’onsho shel zeh.” That is because until the son reaches the age where he is obligated to do mitzvos, his father is punished for his sins, and from now on, the father is exempt from punishment for his son’s sins. According to this, we can explain that when Yaakov saw the piety of his grandsons, the sons of Yosef, he wondered, ‘Where did these two emerge from’, that because they had not sinned they were not worthy of the brachah of ‘Baruch Sheptarani,’ because their father did not need to be punished for them. Kedushas Tzion

Yehei Shemi Rabba in the Bais HaMikdash “‫”האספו ואגידה לכם את אשר יקרא אתכם באחרית הימים‬ (‫ א‬,‫)מט‬ In Maseches Pesachim (56a), Chazal describe the emotional moments that preceded Yaakov Avinu’s passing from this world: “Yaakov wanted to reveal to his sons the end of days, and the Shechinah left him. He said, ‘Perhaps there is a flaw in my bed [offspring]’

Divrei Torah About Amen and Tefillah in the Parashah

like Avraham, ham, from whom Yishmael emerged, and my father Yitzchak, h from whom Eisav emerged?’ His sons told him: ‘Shema Yisrael Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echad.’ They said: ‘Just like there is only One in your heart, there is only One in our heart.’ At that moment, Yaakov Avinu said, ‘Baruch Shem Kevod Malchuso l’olam va’ed.’” This sequence of events is also cited in the Targum Yerushalmi (Devarim 6:4) where the words ‘Baruch Shem Kevod Malchuso l’olam va’ed’ are translated to the praise we say several times each

The Geulah in the Merit of Amen (‫ כד‬,‫”ואלקים פקד יפקד אתכם והעלה אתכם מן הארץ“ )נ‬

The acronym of “pakod yifkod eschem” is numerically equivalent to amen. From here we allude to the words of Chazal (Yalkut Shimoni Shemos 240): “Our fathers in Egypt were only redeemed in the merit of the amanah that they believed in, as it says (Tehillim 31:24): ‘Emunim notzer Hashem’.” Vayaaminu B’Hashem, p. 38

Sefer Bereishis and the Secret of Amen Chumash Bereishis has 91 parshiyos (stumos and pesuchos), which is numerically equivalent to amen. This alludes to the connection between this Chumash, which contains the root of the faith, the emunah, of Am Yisrael to the end of days hidden in its parshiyos, and the mitzvah of replying amen, whose essence is emunah that HaKadosh Baruch Hu is “Kel Melech Ne’eman.” Shevet MiYehudah

day ‘Yehei Shemei Rabba mevarach l’olam.” Thus the Mashgiach of Slabodka, Harav Moshe Tikochinski, explains the Gemara in Brachos (3a): “When Yisrael enter the shuls and batei medrash and reply ‘Yehei Shemei Hagadol Mevorach,” HaKadosh Baruch Hu shakes His Head, and says, ‘Fortunate is the king Who is praised so much in His home.” Rashi there explains: ‘It was fortunate when this praise was offered in the Bais HaMikdash.” There is an obvious question: Where do we find that they replied ‘Yehei Shemei Rabba’ in the Bais HaMikdash?’ Knowing the explanation of the Targum Yerushalmi, we can now understand this: Chazal say (Taanis

16b) that in the Mikdash they would not reply amen after one who made a brachah, but rather ‘Baruch Shem Kevod Malchuso l’olam va’ed,’ which means, as stated, ‘Yehei Shemei Rabba…’ B’Ikvos Moshe

The Kohein Recited the Words of the Targum (‫ י‬,‫”לא יסור שבט מיהודה“ )מט‬ Maseches Taanis brings the nusach of the tefillah that the Kohein Gadol would say on Yom Kippur in the Kodesh HaKodashim, which concludes with the words of the Targum on this passuk: “Lo ya’adi avid sholtan mid’Beis Yehudah.” Why didn’t the Kohein say the words of the passuk itself, “Lo yassur shevet miYehudah”? The Yismach Moshe of Alexander offers an answer: When the Kohein Gadol entered the Kodesh HaKodashim he could not hold a sefer in his hand, because his hands were filled with the machtah and the ketores. Therefore, he did not say the words of the passuk itself, because Chazal said (Gittin 60b): “Things that are written one is not permitted to say them by heart.” Instead, he said the words of the Targum. Oros Rabboseinu Me’Alexander, p 104

This Is How We Thank Hashem for a Miracle (‫ טו‬,‫”ויראו אחי יוסף כי מת אביהם ויאמרו לו ישטמנו יוסף“ )נ‬ The Midrash (Tanchuma Vayechi 17) explains that Yosef’s brothers’ fears stemmed from the fact that when they returned from burying their father, and passed near the pit where they had thrown Yosef so many years earlier, Yosef stopped to make the brachah: “Baruch She’asah li ness bamakom hazeh.” From here, the brothers concluded that the incident was still alive in his heart. Harav Chaim Shmuelevitz, Rosh Yeshivas Mir, asked: Why did the brothers conclude from this fact that Yosef was still angry at his brothers? Wasn’t he obligated by halachah to make the brachah? He explained: The brothers knew how pious Yosef was, and were aware that before he went to make the brachah on the miracle, he probably had stood and replayed in his mind the trouble that he went through in those long ago days. He continued to do this until he could actually feel as though he was experiencing the pain right at that moment, so that he could offer praise from the depths of his heart. Therefore, their fears were justified that perhaps the feelings of animosity towards them would arise again. Mizmor Lesodah p. 187

The Custom of Holy Tzaddikim

It was told that Harav Aryeh Leibish Lipschitz, author of Aryeh Debei Ila’ i (passed away on 17 Teves, 5606/1846) did the following:

“Every day seven children came to his roo m Hashachar before him, and he replied amenand said Birchos after theem m..”” Ari Shebachaburah, Pesakim Uminhag

im, Tefillah

asurvahcceB rahccahsaaH sohhcriBB eticeer oslaa I

Prayer of Faith

A Glance at the Seder Hatefillah

Nishmass Kol Chai Ch Tevarech The Source of Nishmas In the next few articles, we will discuss the lofty tefillah we recite on Shabbos, Yom Tov and any other time one wishes: “Nishmas Kol Chai.” Rishonim and Acharonim have written prolifically about the holiness and special virtues of this tefillah, and we will cite an encapsulation of what they say. The song of Nishmas has very holy origins. In the Gemara (Pesachim 118a), Rabi Yochanan explains that this was the meaning of Birchas Hashir that is recited on Pesach at night, as the Mishnah says (ibid 117b). It is called Birchas Hashir because it is said on Shabbos after Pesukei Dezimrah (Tosafos ibid). Likewise, the Zohar (Terumah 138 1) expounds on its secrets. The Rishonim (“Mordechai” there, and others) explain that the Anshei Knesses Hagedolah composed this song, and in the explanation on the Siddur of the Rokeach, he explains that it was composed before Birchos Hashachar. That is why some of the praises that we say in Birchos Hashachar are included there, such as “Hashem lo yanum velo yishan,” which corresponds to the brachah of Elokai Neshamah; “Hame’orer yesheinim vehameikitz nirdamim etc” correspond to the other Birchos Hashachar. At the time, they recited Nishmas each day, instead of Birchos Hashachar.

‫ עיצובים‬shay

The Virtues of Nishmas We can learn about the lofty holiness of this tefillah from the enthusiastic words of the Rokeach in his Siddur: “Every person who is infused with the breath of life should concentrate on Nishmas with all his might, because it is the praise of Shir Hashirim, and praiseworthy is the one who concentrates on each and every word, reciting it aloud and pleasantly.” The Shelah Hakadosh wrote similar words, and also added: “The praise of Nishmas is very great, it speaks of the virtue of the soul, the spirit and the soul that illuminate inside us…and although we don’t have the power to praise and glorify even one tiny part out of hundreds of tens of thousands….for all this, our bones will say…Because the body is the case for the soul, and is sanctified by its holiness, therefore we need to sanctify all our limbs…That is the general concept of the praise in Nishmas.” (Siddur Hashelah) Lofty words in praise of this song were written by the Baal Yesod Veshoresh Ha’avodah (Shaar 8, Shaar Ha’elyon chapter 8): “This praise is very great, a person should peruse the holy Zohar (Terumah 138 1) where he lists all the words of this song of praise, and

calls them all by name corresponding to the number of Holy Names of the upper worlds. Here, your eyes see how the Anshei Knesses Hagedolah focused with this praise on the lofty virtues in the holy upper worlds… “It is certainly worthy to enthuse the soul of a person like a consuming fire, to speak the words with great strength and to infuse a person with joy when he recites these words, a tremendous joy in His G-d, may His Name be Blessed, so much so until it will overrun the physicality.”

Why Do We Recite Nishmas on Shabbos? As cited above in the name of the Tosafos in Maseches Pesachim (118a, Rabi Yochanan) already in the time of the Mishnah, the tefillah of Nishmas was recited on Shabbos. But from the words of Rabbeinu Yona (Brachos 34b) it appears that the source of this custom was established by the Gaonim. We found a few explanations for this. 1. In Teshuvos Hagaonim Hachadashos (36), it says that Nishmas is similar to Birchas Hallel, and it is recited as praise for the tremendous gift Hashem gave us, the gift of Shabbos. (See Shabbos 10b) 2. The Shittah Mekubetzes (Brachos 34b) writes that these are praises we add in honor of Shabbos. The Sefer Hatamid (by the rav of the Me’iri, Harav Toledano, p. 29) explains that this passage is said on Shabbos because it has a neshamah yeseirah, and most of the praises in Tefillas Nishmas refer to the neshamah, the soul. Furthermore, “it is worthy to add and subtract on this day from the tefillos and brachos so that they should be different from other days, and a person should notice that it is a different time, just like he becomes aware by the change in clothing and food.” The Siddur Hashelah writes: “The time to say it is Shabbos, because that is when there is a neshamah yeseirah.” The sefer Chessed L’Avraham (Maayan 2 Nahar 49) adds that when the chazzan says Nishmas Kol Chai at Shacharis of Shabbos, that is when the neshamah yeseirah enters the person. 3. Rabbeinu Chaim Vital (Shaar Hakavanos 1) writes that we recite it on Shabbos in place of the mitzvah of tefillin that we have all week. He added that one who recites Krias Shema on Shabbos without reciting Nishmas is like one who recites Shema without tefillin.

A Story of Faith

A Weekly Story About Amen and Tefillah

The Envelope that Waited Ten Years The Envelope that Waited Ten Years “Mr. Gershon Davidowitz, I regret to tell you that because of the devaluation of the shekel you will have to add NIS 80,000 to the total.” Reb Gershon, a machine engineer in a small factory, was not a wealthy man. For many years, he had saved up money until he was able to realize the dream of his life: to purchase a large apartment in the center of Jerusalem. But now, with this new amount, he felt his dream slipping away again. He woefully trudged back through the familiar streets of the Geulah neighborhood, to the Zichron Moshe shul, where he wanted to daven Minchah and Maariv. As he walked, thoughts began to flash through his mind… He remembered the first moments of his arrival in Eretz Yisrael, years ago, with a wife and two little kids, without knowing what the future held for them. After spending a few days in an absorption center, it was clear that this was no place for him…Even though his Jewish knowledge was meager, he knew that the way his neighbors were behaving did not go hand in hand with a Jewish lifestyle, and the latter was the reason he had come to Eretz Yisrael in the first place… With great effort, Gershon was able to find a small, one room apartment, near one of the frum neighborhoods in Jerusalem, where he hoped to rebuild his life. Even though in his native Soviet Union he had served in a senior position, when Gershon was offered to work as a caregiver for senior citizens, he did not refuse. Fortunately, right at the beginning of this new job, he was assigned to work with an older man named Reb Zalman Hershberg, who was suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s. His condition had deteriorated so much that it was hard to believe that in his prime, he had been a wealthy businessman. Reb Zalman’s children were very happy when Gershon became their father’s caregiver. In addition to his physical strength, they were impressed by his honesty, which was very important to them, because their father’s home was full of valuable items. Reb Zalman was not quite as pleased. He was a Holocaust survivor, and he saw Gershon as a figure that threatened to undermine the tranquility he had built in life, and to return him to times he’d prefer to forget. From time to time, he would express is concerns aloud, which created some very awkward situations for Gershon, to be sure. But there were also pleasurable moments for Gershon. During those rare moments when Reb Zalman’s mind was lucid, Gershon would lead him to the bench in the local park, and they would have deep discussions on weighty subjects. Gershon basked in these moments; his soul longed for spirituality, and these conversations were like watering a tiny shoot, which ultimately began to grow and thrive. Now, when Gershon saw the shul building from afar, he remembered the turnabout in his life. His thoughts carried him years back to the first time in his life that he stepped into a shul, accompanying Reb Zalman. Even though many years had passed since then, Reb Gershon still felt a chill go down his spine when he remembered the utter embarrassment he’d felt when he realized how different he was from the other mispallelim. At those moments, he simply wanted the earth to swallow him up. But then an older

man with kind eyes came over to him and asked, “Why are you not davening?” The friendly tone in which the question was asked touched Gershon’s heart and made him feel like he belonged. Suddenly, he didn’t just feel like the outsider, the caregiver, but rather as part of the eternal nation. His eyes were lowered when he answered the man: “I don’t know how to daven!” “No problem, we’ll teach you,” the friendly man replied, his smiling eyes growing serious. That is how Gershon’s journey to Yiddishkeit began. It was a slow, yet determined, journey during which he uncovered beautiful diamonds in his heart that had been hiding beneath a thick layer of distortion. His endless thirst for spirituality led him to devote more and more of his time to learning Torah and doing mitzvos. Even when Reb Zalman passed away and Gershon found a new job as a machine engineer in a newly opened factory, he continued to feel like part of the family of mispallelim in the shul. Due to the fact that he had first taken his steps towards Yiddishkiet in the shul, it was natural that tefillah was something extremely close to his heart. Whenever he needed a yeshuah, even in the smallest matter, he would bury his head between the pages of the Siddur and ask, with his plain words, that his Creator send him the help he needed. Before his request, however, he would first offer heartfelt thanks to Hashem for all the good he had merited to date. Now, too, before making any hishtadlus, Gershon lingered for a few long moments after davening. He offered a prayer from the depths of his heart: “Father in Heaven, I want very much to purchase this apartment, that will be a comfortable, suitable place to raise my children. Please, if it is Your will, help me succeed.” When he finished davening, Gershon felt a sense of utter calm spread through his body. He returned home in peace, confident that his tefillah would not be rejected. In the small kitchen, supper was waiting for him. The children were in their pajamas, waiting patiently for their father to finish his meal and put them to sleep. But even before he washed his hand, there was a knock at the door. One of the children came into the kitchen, “Abba, there’s someone at the door for you!” At the door was a courier with a brown envelope. “Sign here and here and here…” he said, and dashed back down the stairs, leaving Gershon holding the brown envelope. Only then did Gershon look at the sender. “Hershberg family,” it said in black letters on the back. Gershon’s hands trembled when he opened the envelope. A small slip of paper fell out, attached to a bank check for the sum of … eighty thousand shekel. The black letters shook in front of his eyes as he read the note: “Dear Gershon, The lawyer finally finished executing our father’s will. The will stated that he wanted to give you eighty thousand shekel as a token of appreciation for your dedicated work. We hope you enjoy the money in good health. In appreciation and gratitude, the Hershberg family.” The money had waited ten years for a fervent tefillah to realize its potential, and when that tefillah arrived, the delay was lifted and the money arrived at its destination. (Heard from the person this story happened to.)

Bnei Emunim POB 102 Bnei Brak FAX 08-9746102 | email: | This newletter is available weekly through email New Website with Huge Selection of Material on `Amen' :


PIRCHEI Agudas Yisroel of America

January 14, 2017 - ‫ תשע"ז‬,‫ ט"ז טבת‬- Vol: 4 Issue: 11 )‫יב‬-‫א‬:‫ (מלכים א ב‬...‫ויקרבו ימי דוד למות‬... :‫ הפטרה‬- ‫ ויחי‬:‫פרשה‬

‫ ותן טל ומטר‬- ‫משיב הרוח ומוריד הגשם‬

‫ בבא מציעא ק״י‬:‫דף יומי‬

!‫ ונתחזק‬,‫ חזק‬,‫חזק‬

TorahThoughts )‫כח‬:‫אשית מז‬ ִ ‫ַוי ְִחי ַי ֲעקֺב בְ ֶא ֶרץ ִמצְ ַריִם ְשבַ ע עֶ ְש ֵרה שָׁ נָׁה… (בְ ֵר‬ And ‫ ַי ֲעקֺב‬lived in the land of Egypt for 17 years … There is an interesting story told about the ‫( צֶ ַמח צֶ ֶדק‬1789— 1866) when he was a young boy in ‫ח ֶדר‬. ֵ His ‫ ֶרבִ י‬began teaching the young children in his class the opening ‫ פָׁסוּק‬in this week's ‫פ ָָׁׁר ָׁשה‬: ‫ַוי ְִחי‬ ‫ — ַי ֲעקֺב ְב ֶא ֶרץ ִמצְ ַריִם ְשבַ ע עֶ ְש ֵרה שָׁ נָׁה‬And Yaakov lived in the land of Egypt for 17 years. The ‫ ֶרבִ י‬then asked the underlying question of the ‫בַ עַ ל‬ ‫טוּרים‬ ִ ‫ה‬: ַ The word ‫ ַוי ְִחי‬is found in the ‫תּוֹרה‬ ָׁ only in reference to the essence of life, as in: ‫אַתּה ַוי ִֶחי‬ ָׁ ‫ — כַאֲ ֶשר ָׁש ַמעְ ָׁתּ‬as you heard and lived (‫לג‬:‫)דבָׁ ִרים ד‬, ְ or in reference to the years of a person’s life, as in ‫ — ַוי ְִחי יוֹסֵ ף מֵ אָה וָׁעֶ שֶ ר שָׁ נִים‬and Yosef lived 110 years (‫כב‬:‫אשית נ‬ ִ ‫)ב ֵר‬. ְ The way that the ‫תּוֹרה‬ ָׁ writes that someone is living in a place is usually with the root ‫שכן‬, to dwell, as in ‫שכֵן ְב ֵאֺלנֵי ַמ ְמ ֵרא‬ ֺ ‫ — וְ הוּא‬and he dwelled in the plains of ‫יג( מַ ְמ ֵרא‬:‫אשית יד‬ ִ ‫)ב ֵר‬. ְ The ‫ חֵ דֶ ר ֶרבִ י‬then continued with one of answers offered by the ‫טוּרים‬ ִ ַ‫בַ עַ ל ה‬. The word ‫ ַוי ְִחי‬hints at the 34 best years that ‫ ַי ֲעקֺב‬lived together with ‫יוֹסֵ ף‬. The ‫ גִ ימַ ְט ִריָׁה‬of ‫ ַוי ְִחי‬is 34. The first 17 years of ‫’יוֹסֵ ף‬s life, before he was sold, and the last 17 years of ‫’ ַי ֲעקֺב‬s life after he was reunited with ‫יוֹסֵ ף‬, were the content years of ‫’ ַי ֲעקֺב‬s life without any problems. The ‫ צֶ מַ ח צֶ דֶ ק‬was still very troubled. He had another gnawing question: “How was it possible that the best years of ‫’ ַי ֲעקֺב‬s life would be spent in a land that was as disgusting and impure as Egypt?” The ‫ צֶ מַ ח צֶ דֶ ק‬came home and asked his grandfather, the

Alter Rebbe (‫בַ עַ ל ַה ַתּ ְניָׁא‬, 1745—1812) his troubling question. The Alter Rebbe gave him an answer that he often repeated and which the ‫צֶ מַ ח‬ ‫ צֶ ֶדק‬lived with every day. “Do you remember the ‫ ַר ִש״י‬your ‫ ֶר ִבי‬taught you last week (‫כח‬:‫אשית מו‬ ִ ‫)ב ֵר‬, ְ that even before ‫ ַי ֲעקֺב‬went down to ‫מ ְצ ַריִם‬, ִ he sent ‫ְהוּדה‬ ָׁ ‫ י‬to establish a ‫ י ְִשיבָׁ ה‬to learn and teach ‫?תּוֹרה‬ ָׁ When one studies the ‫תּוֹרה‬, ָׁ then one comes closer to '‫ד‬. This closeness is the key to truly living in ‫גָׁלוּת‬. ‫ ַי ֲעקֺב‬lived with ‫תּוֹרה‬ ָׁ and taught ‫ כְ לַל י ְִש ָׁר ֵאל‬how to find true life even in the darkest of ‫גָׁלוּת‬, in Egypt.” The ‫ ִחנּוְּך‬explains that the reason we have a ‫ ִמצְ וָׁה‬to learn ‫תּוֹרה‬ ָׁ is so that we can understand the ways of '‫[ ד‬and thereby become close to Him]. Without ‫תּוֹרה‬ ָׁ our life would have no meaning and we would live aimlessly like the animals in the field. )‫תוֹרה‬ ָ ‫ ִמ ְצוַת ַתלְמווּד‬:‫ִמ ִדינֵי הַ ִמ ְצ ָוה (תיט‬ The ‫ ִחנּוְּך‬elaborates on the ‫תּוֹרה‬ ָׁ ‫ ִדינֵי ַתּלְמווּד‬and explains the importance of carving out time to learn ‫תּוֹרה‬ ָׁ daily. Every day comes with its difficulties and good excuses, but if one pushes himself to learn, '‫ ד‬will assist him from Heaven and will make his life easier, removing the normal stresses of life. He will thus live all his days joyfully in this world [in ‫]גָׁלוּת‬, and good fortune will be his in the World to Come. The ‫ ִחנּוְּך‬ends with a message that is especially applicable to those who learn ‫תּוֹרה‬: ָׁ ‫אזֶן שוֹמַ עַ ת‬ ֺ ‫אַש ֵרי הַ ְמדַ בֵ ר ְל‬ ְ ְ‫ — ו‬Fortunate is one who speak to a listening ear! Adapted from: ‫ספר החנוך על פרשת השבוע‬

Gedolim Glimpses

Yahrtzeits Gedolim of our

‫ט״ז טבת‬

R' Chaim Kreiswirth ‫ זַצַ ״ל‬was born in Wojnicz, Poland, to 5678 — 5762 ‫ אַבְ ָרהָ ם יוֹסֵ ף‬and ‫פּעֶ רלָה‬. He was known as "‫"העִ ילוּי ִמקראַקאָ‬ ַ 1918 — 2001 at the age of 15 in ‫י ְִשיבַ ת חַ כְ מֵ י לוּבְ לִין‬. He gave ‫עוּרים‬ ִ ‫ ִש‬in the ‫ י ְִשיבָ ה‬in Piaseczna on ‫ידים‬ ִ ‫ ֵספֶר חוֹבוֹת ַה ַתל ְִמ‬at age 18. His ‫ ֵספֶר‬on ‫זְ בָ ִחים‬ received ‫ הַ ְסכָמוֹת‬from ‫ ר׳ חַ יִים עוֹזֶר זַצַ ״ל‬and the ‫( מַ ְרחֶ שֶ ת‬the ‫ כְ ָתבִ ים‬were lost during WWII). In 1939, he fled to Lithuania, where he married ‫ש ָרה‬, ָ R' Avrohom Grodzinski’s daughter, escaping with her to ‫א ֶרץ י ְֶש ָר ֵאל‬. ֶ After WWII, he returned to Poland to rescue Jewish children sheltered by gentiles during the war. In 1947, he moved to the U.S. and was ‫ ר ֹאש י ְִשיבָ ה‬in Skokie, Ill. In 1953, he moved to Antwerp, serving as ‫ אַב בֵ ית ִדין‬/ ‫אַת ָרא‬ ְ ‫ ָמ ָרא ְד‬until his ‫ירה‬ ָ ‫פְּ ִט‬.

R' Chaim Kreiswirth ‫ זַצַ ״ל‬once said, “One must learn ‫תּוֹרה‬ ָ even when he has no desire to do so!” He added that he personally never had this particular problem. He then continued to elaborately describe his feelings while learning ‫תּוֹרה‬. ָ There was at least one person in the crowd who, having heard R' Chaim describe the sweetness & pleasure that he experienced, ran to get a ‫ גְּ מָ ָרא‬immediately after the ‫ד ָרשָ ה‬,ְּ and he sat down and learned for several hours.

Dedication opportunities are available. If you would like to sponsor or receive this publication via email, please send an email to

‫לע״נ ר׳ ישראל בן אברהם ז"ל‬ ‫לע״נ הב׳ ישעיהו דוב ע״ה בן יבלחט״א יצחק צבי נ״י‬

This week's Pirchei Weekly is sponsored

In honor of the bar mitzvah of Avrumi Zagelbaum

Living Torah

Of Prayers and Tears

.‫וַאֲ נִי ְּבב ִֺאי ִמפ ַָּדן ֵמ ָּתה עָּ לַי ָּר ֵחל … ו ֶָּא ְּק ְּב ֶר ָּה ָּשם ְּב ֶד ֶרְך ֶאפְּ ָּרת ִהוא בֵ ית לָּחֶ ם‬ But as for me – when I came from ‫פַדָּ ן‬, ‫ ָּרחֵ ל‬died on me … ִ ‫בְּ ֵר‬ and I buried her there on the road to ‫ ֶאפְּ ָּרת‬, which is ‫אשית ( בֵ ית לָּחֶ ם‬ ‫ז׳‬:‫)מ״ח‬. “And I buried her there – and I did not even take her to ‫בֵ ית‬ ‫ לָּחֶ ם‬to bring her into the land, and I know that there is hurt in your heart towards me. But you should know that by the word of ‫ ד׳‬I buried her there, so that she should be of aid to her children. When ‫נְּבוּז ְַּראֲ דָּ ן‬ would exile them and they would pass by ‫’ ָּרחֵ ל‬s tomb, she would go out to weep and seek mercy for them … and the Holy One would answer her, ‘There is reward for your act, says ‫ … ד׳‬and [your] ִ ‫) ְּב ֵר‬. children shall return to their boundaries’” (‫ ַר ִש״י‬from ‫אשית ַרבָּ ה‬ While our prayers and tears may not have the power of those of ‫רחֵ ל ִאמֵ ינוּ‬,ָּ nevertheless, we should not underestimate them. When praying on behalf of someone who is seriously ill, ‫ר״ל‬, and whose condition appears to be getting worse, there is a tendency to grow despondent and to be overcome by a feeling that one’s prayers are for naught. The Steipler Gaon ‫ זַצַ ״ל‬once enumerated five areas in which such ‫ ְּתפִ לּוֹת‬achieve significant accomplishment: a) The ‫ ְּתפִ לּוֹת‬may very well diminish the patient’s suffering to some degree. b) The ‫ ְּתפִ לּוֹת‬may extend the patient’s life by a few months, weeks, days, or even a few hours. Even a moment of life, said the Steipler, is of inestimable value and is more precious than gems. c) Our Sages teach, “Even if a sharp-edged sword is resting upon a person’s neck, he should not refrain from beseeching the Heavens for mercy” (.‫)ב ָּרכוֹת י‬. ְּ There have been many instances reported where, through the kindness of Heaven, someone who was gravely ill experienced a full recovery. d) Even if the ‫ ְּתפִ לּוֹת‬effect no change at all in the patient’s

Chofetz ChaimMoment ‫ספר ח״ח הלכות רכילות כלל א׳ סעיף ו׳‬

*When the teacher stepped out of the classroom to pick up some sheets from the office, Ari picked up a piece of chalk and wrote “the teacher’s feet smell” across the board. When the principal happened to pass the classroom and noticed the blackboard, he said the culprit would have to serve detention. He then asked Eli, who sat by the board, to name the boy or serve detention instead of him. Eli was an orphan, who worked as a waiter at night to bring home a few dollars. If he served detention, he might lose his job. Is Eli permitted to identify the guilty party in his difficult situation? *Stories adapted from Guard Your Tongue, A Daily Companion, A Lesson a Day and various real-life situations.

Answer: One cannot transgress the ‫ ִאסּוּר‬of ‫רכִ ילוּת‬,ְ even if the refusal to relate the ‫ ְרכִ ילוּת‬will cause serious financial harm. Eli may not reveal that Ari was the person who wrote the unflattering words across the blackboard in the classroom, even if this means that he will lose his job!



:‫יווֹמא‬ ָ ‫ִענְ יָנֵ י ְד‬ ‫ִה ְלכווֹת ׁ ְשנַ יִם ִמ ְק ָרא‬ ‫וְא ָחד וַּת ְר�וּ ווּם‬ ֶ

condition, they are still a source of merit for him, since all those who prayed aroused Heavenly compassion through their prayers, which were uttered because of him. These merits will stand by him in ‫עוֹלָּם‬ ‫ ַהבָּ א‬and may also protect his offspring in the future. e) These ‫ ְּתפִ לּוֹת‬can bring salvation to other individuals and to the community as a whole. At the End of Days, when all will be revealed, we will learn how each ‫ ְּתפִ לָּּה‬uttered by each individual brought about great goodness and salvation (‫ תוֹלְּדוֹת ַי ֲעקֺב‬p. 118-119). ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ R' Aryeh Levin, the legendary ‫ צַ ִדיק‬of ‫ְּרוּש ַליִם‬ ָּ ‫י‬, was a man of rare compassion. Once, a very distraught, recently widowed woman came to him and wept bitterly. R' Aryeh did his best to console the woman, but she continued to weep. After a long time, she said, “‫ר ִבי‬,ֶ I am prepared to accept your words of consolation, but there is something in particular that troubles me. Please tell me, what happened to all my tears? I prayed and prayed that my husband should get well. I recited chapter after chapter of ‫ ְּת ִהלִּים‬and shed countless tears. What happened to them?” R' Aryeh replied softly, “After 120 years, when your soul will return to Heaven, you will see how meaningful were all your prayers and tears. You will then see that ‫ ד׳‬Himself had gathered in and counted every teardrop that you shed and treasured them like priceless gems. You will then perceive that when harsh decrees hovered over the Jewish people, it was your tears that washed away the evil and saved our people from danger. Even one sincere tear can be a source of salvation!” When R' Aryeh finished, the woman began to shed tears anew – tears of gratitude and hope. Sometime later, she returned to the ‫ צַ ִדיק‬and said, “‫רבִ י‬,ֶ remember what you told me? Please, tell it to me again.” The gates of tears are always open! Adapted from: More Shabbos Stories (with kind permission from ArtScroll)

‫ רש"י‬Questions week of the

1. Why was ‫ עֵ שָׂ ו‬referred to with the unbecoming title of ‫ אֱ מ ִֹרי‬in the ‫ ָׂפסוּק‬: ‫( ?אֲ שֶׁ ר ל ַָק ְח ִּתי ִּמיַד הָ אֱ מ ִֹּרי‬2 reasons) 1. Why was ‫ עֵ שָׂ ו‬referred to with the unbecoming title of ‫ אֱ מ ִֹרי‬in 2. Which two brothers never carried the ‫ ָׂארוֹן‬of ‫ ? ַי ֲעקֹב‬Why? Who the ‫ ָׂפסוּק‬: ‫( ?אֲ שֶׁ ר ל ַָק ְח ִּתי ִּמיַד הָ אֱ מ ִֹּרי‬2 reasons) took their places? 2. Which two brothers never carried the ‫ ָׂארוֹן‬of ‫ ? ַי ֲעקֹב‬Why? Who took their places?

1. a) He acted despicably, like the Amorites (‫מוֹרי‬ ִ ֱ‫)מַ עֲשֵ ה א‬, the most sinful ‫כְּ ַנ ֲענִי‬ nation, and b) he would trap his father with the words of his mouth (‫)א ְּמ ֵרי פִ יו‬ ִ ( 1. ‫י‬a)‫מ ִֹּר‬He Amorites (‫מוֹרי‬ ִ ֱ‫)מַ עֲשֵ ה א‬, the most sinful ‫כְּ ַנ ֲענִי‬ ֱ‫ הָ א‬acted ‫ח ִּתי ִּמיַד‬despicably, ְ ‫ד״ה אֲ שֶׁ ר ל ַָק‬like — the 48:22). he would hisdestined father with the words of‫ ָׂא‬hisofmouth ‫)א ְּמ ֵרי‬ ִ ( 2. ‫ף‬nation, ‫יוֹס‬ ֵ wasand theb)king, and ‫י‬trap ִ‫ לֵו‬was to carry the ‫רוֹן‬ ‫הקב״ה‬.(‫’יוֹסֵפִ ףיו‬s two ‫ממניַשֶַּׁדההָ אֱ מ ִֹּרי‬ ִּ ְּ ‫י‬and ‫ם ַָק ְח ִּת‬ ‫אפְּשֶׁ ַררִי ל‬, 48:22). sons, ֲֶּׁ‫ד״ה א‬ took—their places (‫ — ד״ה וַ יִּ ְשאוּ אֹתוֹ בָ נָיו‬50:13). 2. ‫יוֹסף‬ ֵ was the king, and ‫ לֵוִ י‬was destined to carry the ‫ ָׂארוֹן‬of ‫הקב״ה‬. ‫’יוֹסֵ ף‬s two sons, ‫ ְּמנַשֶּׁ ה‬and ‫אפְּ ַר ִים‬, ֶּׁ took their places (‫ — ד״ה וַ יִּ ְשאוּ אֹתוֹ בָ נָיו‬50:13).

with the

 There is a ‫ ִחיּוּב‬for every individual to read the weekly  ‫ ְלכ ְַּת ִחלָּה‬, one should read the ‫ פ ָָּּרשָּ ה‬early and finish on ‫שַּ בָּ ת‬ morning before the ‫ שַּ בָּ ת‬day meal. ‫ פ ָָּּרשָּ ה‬twice and ‫ ַּת ְרגּוּם‬once (see ‫ַּר ְמבַּ ״ם ִהלְכוֹת ְתפִ לָּה פ ֶֶּּרק י״ג‬ ‫ שֻׁ לְחָּ ן עָּ רוְּך או״ח ס׳ רפ״ה‬,‫)הֲ ָּלכָּה כ״ה‬.  Some say one can’t fulfill this ‫ ִמצְ וָּה‬after ‫תפִ לַּת ִמנְחָּ ה בְ שַּ בָּ ת‬.ְ

*Since we only discuss 1-3 ‫הלָכוֹת‬, ֲ it is important to consider these ‫ ֲהלָכוֹת‬in the context of the bigger picture. Use them as a starting point for further in-depth study.

The 3nd International ‫עֶרֶ ב ׁשַ ּבָת‬ Learning Program

FocusonMiddos Dear Talmid, R' Chaim Kreiswirth ‫זַצַ ״ל‬ was a living ‫תּוֹרה‬ ָ ‫סֵ פֶר‬, filled with pages of ‫ בַ בְ לִ י‬and ‫לְמי‬ ִ ַ‫ — יְרוּש‬a master of the entire ‫תּלְמוּד‬. ַ As a child, he was tested on all of ‫יטין‬ ִ ִ‫ מַ סֶ כֶת ג‬by R' Meir Shapiro ‫זַ צַ ״ל‬. R' Meir took a liking to R' Chaim and seated him at the head of the table at a reception that was arranged for R' Meir in the city. The ‫ ָרב‬of Kovno, the ‫ְדבַ ר‬ ‫אַבְ ָרהָ ם זַ צַ ״ל‬, was especially fond of R' Chaim as well. When the latter was 22, the Kovner ‫ָרב‬ wrote him a glowing letter of ‫ הַ ְסכָ מָ ה‬in anticipation of his pending journey to either the United States or ‫ ֶא ֶרץ ִי ְש ָר ֵאל‬. Following is part of the letter: "Among the great ‫לְמידֵ י‬ ִ ‫ַתּ‬ ‫ חַ כָ ִמים‬who have been exiled among us from Poland, there is a young man, of approximately 22 years of age, who is an amazingly wondrous prodigy, literally an outstanding genius, who is actually fluent, by heart, in the whole of ‫שַ ״ס‬, with ‫ תּוֹסָ פוֹת‬and a majority of the ‫הֲ לָכוֹת‬, in the ‫ ַר ְמבַ ״ם‬and in other works of the ‫ ִראשוֹנִים‬and the ‫אַחֲ רוֹנִים‬. "He is extremely capable

and also comprehends and delves deeply, and produces wonderful ‫דּוּשים‬ ִ ‫ח‬. ִ He is also a pleasant and charming person, easygoing and well mannered. It is unusual to find a young ‫ בָ חוּר‬who is also a true ‫גָאוֹן‬. My esteemed friend knows that I am not given to exaggeration, and, in fact, I have not added anything extra but have actually removed much." In his letter, the Kovner ‫ ָרב‬went on to remark about R' Chaim’s fine ‫מדּוֹת‬. ִ When R' Avrohom Grodzinski (R' Chaim Kreiswirth’s father-in-law) was looking for a ‫ ִשדּוְּך‬for his daughter, he listened to the young man’s choice of words. He explained that good ‫ ִמדּוֹת‬and character can be spotted by listening to a ‫בָ חוּר‬ ‘talking in learning.’ My ‫לְמיד‬ ִ ‫תּ‬, ַ both the Kovno ‫ ָרב‬and R' Chaim’s future father-in-law assessed his sterling character by his words. It is important to realize that our choice of words in expressing our thoughts tells a wise listener everything about us. !‫יְ ִהי זִ כְ רוֹ בָ רוְּך‬ ‫יְדידוּת‬ ִ ְ‫ב‬, Your ‫ֶרבִ י‬ Story adapted from ‫שר התורה‬

Sage Sayings R' Chaim Kreiswirth ‫ זַצַ ״ל‬continuously stressed that the best method for achieving success in learning is simply to learn. He often added, “ ‫תּוֹרה ִאיז נִישׁט‬ ָ ‫חַ זַ״ל זאָגן אוּנז אַז‬ ‫ חַ זַ״ל — אַזוֹי ִװי אַנדעֶ רעֶ זאַכעֶ ן‬tell us that ‫תּוֹרה‬ ָ is unlike any other pursuit; ‫תּוֹרה אַ פוּלעֶ ֵּכלִי קעֶ ן האַלטעֶ ן אַ סאְַך מעֶ ר‬ ָ ַ‫— בּײ‬ with [regard to] ‫תּוֹרה‬, ָ a full vessel can hold much more — ‫ — אָבּעֶ ר אַ לײֵּ ִדיקעֶ ֵּכלִי קעֶ ן גאָרנִישׁט האַלטעֶ ן‬but an empty vessel cannot hold anything!” Source: ‫שר התורה‬

Do you remember last year’s ‫שׁוֹב ִבי״ם‬ ְ contest that had the participation of over 300 boys from many States within the US, Canada and UK? Next week’s ‫ פ ָָּּר ָּשׁה‬is ‫ — ְשׁמוֹת‬the first ‫ פ ָָּּר ָּשׁה‬of ‫שׁוֹב ִבי״ם‬. ְ Have you ever heard of this term? This is an acrostic of the ‫ פ ָָּּר ִשׁיּוֹת‬of ‫שמוֹת‬ ְׁ , ‫וְׁ ֵא ָּרא‬, ‫ ְׁבא‬, ‫בְׁ ַׁשׁלַׁח‬, ‫יְׁ ְתרוֹ‬, and ‫מ ְשׁ ָּפ ִטים‬ ְׁ . According to the ‫ ַׁא ִריזַׁ״ל‬these ‫ פ ָָּּר ִשׁיּוֹת‬are especially opportune for ‫ ְתשׁוּבָּה‬and for strengthening our resolve to do ‫מצְ וֹת‬. ִ This auspicious time is mentioned in the ‫בְ ֵאר הֵ יטֵ ב‬ ‫ימן ב׳‬ ָּ ‫או״ח תרפ״ה ִס‬. Throughout the world, many places have dedicated these weeks for ‫יעוּרים‬ ִ ‫ ִשׁ‬to strengthen ‫ ִמ ְצוֹת‬in the home. Pirchei Agudas Yisroel Newsletter will be dedicating the next eight weeks to strengthening the ‫ ִמצְ וָּה‬of ‫שׁ ַׁניִם ִמ ְק ָּרא וְ ֶא ָּחד ַׁת ְרגּוּם‬. ְ It is noteworthy that R’ Moshe Feinstein ‫ זַׁצַׁ ״ל‬writes that the ‫ִחיּוּב‬ of ‫ ְשׁ ַׁניִם ִמ ְק ָּרא וְ ֶא ָּחד ַׁת ְרגּוּם‬is equal in importance to all ‫מצְ וֹת ְד ַׁרבָּ נָּן‬. ִ R’ Moshe notes that the need had never been as great as in his times – and surely this applies even more to our times – to have a deeper understanding of ‫תוֹרה ֶשׁ ִבכְ ַׁתב‬, ָּ the written ‫תוֹרה‬ ָּ . The Pirchei Agudas Yisroel Newsletter ‫ ְשׁ ַׁניִם ִמ ְק ָּרא וְ ֶא ָּחד ַׁת ְרגּוּם‬program has been designed as follows: Boys from 1st and 2nd grade should complete the ‫ פ ָָּּר ָּשׁה‬until ‫שֵׁ נִי‬. 3rd grade until ‫ִישׁי‬ ִ ‫שׁל‬. ְ 4th grade until ‫ר ִביעִ י‬.ְ 5th grade until ‫ישׁי‬ ִ ‫חֲ ִמ‬. 6th grade until ‫שׁ ִשׁי‬. ִ 7th and 8th grades should complete the entire ‫פ ָָּּר ָּשׁה‬. If you are interested in joining this special ‫שׁוֹב ִבי״ם‬ ְ program this year and will ‫ אי״ה‬review the weekly ‫ פ ָָּּר ָּשׁה‬according to your grade level, please send a fax every week signed by a parent to 718 506 9633 – include your grade, name, school, city & state, and your contact number and fax number. Your name will be entered into a raffle to win a beautiful set of ‫מ ְק ָּראוֹת גְּ דוֹלוֹת חוּמָּ ִשׁים‬. ִ We would also like to receive feedback from elementary schools or individuals that are interested in promoting this extra-curricular activity in order to train ‫ בַׁ ר ִמ ְצוָּה‬boys to be fluent in this special ‫מצְ וָּה‬. ִ Please feel free to fax any comments or suggestions to 718 506 9633.

‫לע״נ ר׳ משה בן הר׳ טוביה הלוי זצ״ל‬

Learning from our Leaders Rebbetzin Grossman was walking home from the makolet (grocery store), carrying heavy packages. Giveret (“Mrs.”), that’s much too heavy! Can I help?

I’ll take it all. Please give me your handbag too...

Thank you so much! Every bit of assistance is appreciated. Oh, how thoughtful of you! Here…

The rebbetzin went out and found the boy and brought him to the Rav. I am really sorry...but what choice do I have? When my father passed away, he left my mother and me with no money in the house...

Rebbetzin, is it ok if Moshe and his mother eat the Shabbos seudos in our home this week? And Moshe, keep the money to buy food of course, for your home. If there is any Moshe and his extra, keep a shekel a week mother are welcome for spending money. anytime.


Pirchei Agudas Yisroel of America

When the rebbetzin started unpacking the bags she noticed that her handbag was open. I had a Rebbetzin, 100-shekel bill in maybe the my bag, and I believe pocketbook opened the poor boy might up and it fell out. You have taken it.. are probably right, but we must not judge the matter until we speak to the boy.

My precious son, from now on I am your father. What is your name?

?? Moshe.

A close relation developed between Moshe and R’ Yisroel Grossman. Moshe did not make any important decision without first discussing it with R’ Yisroel. What an honor for my daughter to marry what Reb Yisroel calls his “prize” talmid!

R’ Yisroel was the son of R’ Moshe Shneur Zalman and Freidel Shifra Grossman in ‫ירושלים‬. He was an ardent Karliner Chassid, in his youth he learned under R’ Tzvi Dushinsky. He also learned in Yeshivas Kamenitz under R’ Moshe Bernstein and was a ‫ תלמיד מובהק‬of both his ‫רביים‬. Before his marriage to Gitta Perel, the daughter of R’ Yosef Gutfarb, he was tested on all of Shas by R’ Zelig Reuven Bengis. His ‫ חברותה‬was R’ Shlomo of Zhvil. When he was 25, he was appointed rosh yeshiva of Karlin. In 1958 he became rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Tomchei T’mimim in Lud and five years later in ‫כפר חבד‬, where he worked for twenty years. He also was a leader in the efforts for “‫ ”ילדי טהראן‬and a founder of Yad L’Achim. He and his only son, R’ Yitzchok Dovid, founded the ‫ מגדל אור‬institutions in ‫מגדל העמק‬. He was also a member of the Beth Din of Agudath Israel in ‫ ירושלים‬and ‫ פתח תקוה‬and authored 13 ‫ספרים‬.

For any inquiries or comments please feel free to call 347-838-0869 • Illustrated by: Yishaya Suval

5683 - 5767 1922 - 2007 ‫כ“ג אדר‬

Please be careful to handle this sheet in the proper manner as required ‫על ִּפי ַה ָל ָכה‬. ַ Please do not read this publication during ‫ קריאת התורה‬,‫ קדיש‬or ‫חזרת הש״ץ‬.

Chasudim vaychi en @z9