Shabbos Aikev

Shabbos Mevrochim Choidesh Elul
The Month when the King is in the Field

Tiere Reb Pinchas, Askonim, Family & Friends Sheyichyu

שלום וברכה 😊


Boruch Hashem we are in the Seven Weeks of Consolation, the time when we read the Haftoirois where Hashem comforts the Yidden. :) Do you know how the Yidden can be comforted? By giving us our Geuloh Shlaimoh with Moshiach Tzidkainu! :) Only then will we be able to see all the Infinite Light we brought into the world with our Avoidas Hashem by learning Toiroh and doing Mitzvois! We do our part to hasten that Nechomo through our Aleph = Emunah and Beis = Bitachoin which brings the Gimmel = Geuloh! :)

Find the Cure by Finding the Illness

Being stuck in this Golus is like being sick. Some who are sick don't recognize that they are sick, so they don't seek a cure, Nebach. Others who are sick know they have an illness that needs to be cured. This gives them the motivation to go to the doctor and describe the illness with which he is afflicted and the doctor will know what medicine to give and he will be cured! :)

This is the meaning of the famous Pisgam “Yedias HaMachaloh, Chatzi HoRefuoh” - knowledge of the illness is half of the cure. Just the knowledge that he is sick is already a half of the cure, because it brings him to the doctor who, once he knows the illness, provides the other half of the Refuoh, and the patient can become totally healthy! :)

Our Golus is very painful and difficult, but it is not the first time Klal Yisroel was put through this kind of experience. Our travels through the difficult desert of Golus before we triumphantly enter Eretz Yisroel with Moshiach echoes the experience of our forefathers. When they first came into Eretz Yisroel, they also had to first travel through the Desert of the Nations.

Since finding the “cure” starts by understanding the “illness” and our illness echoes theirs, it is clear that we need to understand what dangers and challenges our forefathers faced in order to better understand the challenges of the desert that we are going through and learn to overcome them.

This will enable us to heal ourselves from today's Golus, both our personal, individual Golus and our national Golus - by freeing ourselves from our own personal Golus, we bring the Geuloh Kloli for all Yidden :)

What is the Cause, What are the Symptoms?

Perek Ches, Posuk Tes Vov in our Parsha describes our forefather’s experience: "HaMoilichicho Bamidbor Hagodoil..." - [Hashem] led you through the large and terrible desert, where there were snakes, serpents and scorpions and thirst where there is no water.

There are alot of “symptoms” described here, descriptive details - the desert is large, it is terrible, it has snakes, serpents, scorpions, and no water - but to understand why the desert has these characteristic we need to add in another Possuk, where the desert is described as a place "Asher Loi Yoshav Odom Shom" - a place where Odom has not dwelt.

The label Odom usually refers to mankind, since we are all descended from Odom HoRishoin. Why was Odom himself called Odom? The Shaloh HaKodoish explains one of the reasons: Odom is derived from the word “Adameh,” as in  "Adameh LoElyoin" - having similarity to the One Above.

This is why specifically Yidden are referred to as “Odom.” Yidden have a Neshomoh which is a Chelek Eloikah MeMaal Mamosh - a part of the One Above - which is what is referred to as having a similarity to the One Above.

With this in mind, when it says a desert is “a place where Odom has not dwelt”  it is pointing to  the absence of revealed holiness, the lack of similarity to the One Above, as the defining characteristic of a desert - a place where Yidden don’t dwell.

Starting from the source of the problem, we can better follow the symptoms and steps our Parsha describes.

How Golus Begins

Although in physical terms, Yidden are smaller in number than the nations around them (i.e. the Desert of the Nations), the first symptom of Golus appear when we think of ourselves as actually smaller, and the nations as larger. This is described in the Possuk as  "HaMidbar HaGodoil" - The Large Desert. The moment the Yid’s personal Golus (and likewise our national Golus) begins is the moment the Yid considers the world around him to be bigger than him.

When the Yid considers the place in which he dwells, his life of holiness and Yiddishkeit, a small place, something less than the world around him which he sees as a big place, a place of greater power or importance, he has entered not only the desert, but the Great Desert. For example, when he seeks the acknowledgement or approval of the world, or worse, thinks there is more value to the secular way of thinking than the Jewish way of thinking, the Torah way of thinking, this is the beginning of his personal exile!

This exile leads him away from where he should be, grounded in the truth! There is nothing in the world that is able to have any power over Yidden. The whole world is created for the Toiroh,  for the Yidden! It is fundamentally and absolutely impossible for creation to truly oppose a Yid who desires to serve Hashem Yisboraich! That would contradict and undermine its very reason for existing.

Hashem chose us Yidden from among all the other Nations, and He gave us His Mitzvois and raised us above the limitations that nature or any opponent could impose! Remembering this and living it with full Emunoh lifts the Yid above anything or anyone that might intimidate him, limit him, or exile him. For example, his Emunoh and Bitochoin that Hashem Yisboraich is the source of his livelihood, will ensure he will not adopt business practices forbidden by the Toiroh, such as working on Shabbos, out of fear or greed, and he will not be consumed by his work at the expense of time for learning Toiroh or doing Mitzvois!

The trouble begins when a Yid makes the mistake of assessing his surroundings based on natural appearances and human intelligence. From that perspective the world is big and he is small, filling him with questions and doubts. “How can I stand up to the world?!” The question itself is self-fulfilling. By attributing power and importance to the world which it does not in fact have on its own, results in an exile for the Yid - this perspective itself hides the truth and the purpose of creation and creates challenges and turbulence for the Yid.

The first mistake, seeing the world as big, opens the door for the second mistake.

Not Only Big - Scary, Too

Seeing the world as a big desert, he is now susceptible to seeing the Desert of Exile as "Noiroh" - awesome and terrible. Seeing something as big doesn’t necessarily mean you see yourself as small to the point of fear and deference.

At the start, even the Yid in Golus, might see himself as a being of some importance, albeit a smaller one in comparison to the (nations of the) world, which he views as bigger. The symptom of the second stage has him seeing the desert as not only big but as scary. He sees the desert as dominant over him and is fearful of its power!

Another difference between “big” and “scary:” When a person sees the world around him as big, bigger than him, it affects him mainly when he is in contact with it, when he is actively intimidated by his mistaken perception of its greatness and importance. When he finds himself in his own space, however, he will have the strength to remain strong.

However, when a Yid thinks the desert is big and scary, that means to say he is frightened and intimidated by what the world thinks even when he is in his own place, in his own home, Shul, or Yeshivoh, and he is afraid to fulfill the Toiroh and Mitzvois openly, properly and whole-heartedly, trembling about what will happen if the world will find out about it and what they will say!

First Hot, Then Cold

The symptoms of the next (deeper) stages of the Yid’s exile are described in the Possuk as snakes, serpents and scorpions, which are common in the desert. Having defined a dangerously wrong view of the world, the Yid can then be poisoned by the world’s inhabitants and influences. Snake’s and serpent’s venom is described by Chazal as “hot.” Their venom overheats the person, a metaphor for the influence of the world resulting in passion and excitement for those things that have value from the world’s perspective.

This foreign fire is poison to a Yid and leads to the next stage, the “cold” venom of the scorpion. The Yid’s excitement and passion for worldly things reduce, and can even totally incinerate, the warmth and excitement the Yid naturally has and needs to have towards holiness, leading to the sting of the scorpion - coldness and disinterest in Toiroh and Mitzvois.

Reaching this stage of cold indifference is worse than the snake’s venom on its own, because when a person has passion and excitement in worldly things, that can be changed and redirected towards Toiroh and MItzvois, but coldness and indifference is a characteristic of “the opposite of life,” and there is no passion to redirect and transform into a holy life!

Thirsty for... Something

In the last stage described in the Possuk, the desert is said to be a place of “thirst where there is no water.”

Water refers to Toiroh. Someone who is thirsty means that he feels his distance from Toiroh,and will seek to quench his thirst.

There are, of course, those that actively try to awaken a thirst for Hashem, but even for those that do not, Hashem Yisboraich plants this thirst in their hearts, awakening them to do Teshuvah. Hashem Yisboraich reveals His Kedusho to the Yid’s Neshomoh and suddenly the Yid feels a thirst for Kedushoh and wants to come closer to Hashem Yisboraich!

(This is what happens in Choidesh Ellul, as described in the well-known Moshol of the King who comes to the field, causing the people to want to come close to the King.) 

Our Possuk is describes such a depth of Golus that the Yid experiences thirst, but there is no water. This describes a person who is so far from Kedusho that although he feels the discomfort and pain of thirst, he doesn’t even recognize what he should do to still his pain and emptiness, and doesn't even attempt to take in something holy to connect with his Source, the Source of all life which is Hashem Yisboraich!

He is so immersed in the world, that he no longer knows how to diagnose the source of his thirst and spiritual discomfort and pain. He’s in a place of thirst with no apparent remedy.

Let’s Not Play Golus Dominoes

All of this began from HaMidbar HaGodoil, by attributing importance and significance to the world around us and the “reality” it presents. It is from that starting point that the Yid stumbles and descends further R” L ultimately to experiencing a thirst he no longer recognizes and cannot slake!

The way to protect ourselves from all of these problems is to avoid the first one! Through Emunoh we know only Hashem is the true existence and the world has absolutely no existence. With Bitochoin in Hashem we are never afraid or intimidated by anyone or anything as we go forward to do our mission and serve Hashem by learning Toirah and doing Mitzvois! :) Then we have the strength to remember that Hashem chooses the Yidden from all the nations to be His nation, and Hashem raised us up high above all nations!  In this way we are rid of Golus and we have Geulah Proti and a Geulah Kloli, now with Moshiach Tzidkainu!







Sholom Mordechai ben Avrohom Aharoin Halevi