Shabbos Parshas Bamidbor
Shabbos, Erev Shavuos :)
Tiere Reb Pinchas, Askonim, Family & Friends Sheyichyu
Sholom Uvrocho 😊
Boruch Hashem this year Shabbos Bamidbor is also Erev Shvuois and we are ready for Kabolas HaToirah. :) Our Parsha begins with Hashem’s command to count the Yidden. Rashi explains that it is because of Hashem’s great love for Yidden that he counts them all the time. :)
Although counting a group doesn’t emphasize the inherent qualities of each individual (since each one only adds one to the count) the Halacha is that something which is counted is conferred a special importance. It has a new identity as a separate group, one which makes it stand apart and not be absorbed as a part of other groups around it.
When Hashem counts Yidden it gives us the significance and the strength we need to not lose our identity by being mixed in with the nations around us! At Matan Toirah, Hashem made us His holy nation and empowered us to go out into the world and change it from its natural state of concealing G-dliness into a world in which Hashem presence is felt and seen, a dwelling place. :) It doesn’t make a difference that we’re the minority - together with our mission we receive from Hashem all the strength we need to fulfill it and overcome all obstacles that are placed in our way to test us! We need to know that this is our mission and do it with Simcha. :)
A TEFILLAH BEFORE TEACHING
Before teaching, I daven to Hashem to give me the right words to say, words that will have a positive effect and strengthen our Emunah and Bitachoin. :)
This week, I was in a Yeshivah in Boro Park, teaching “Aleph = Emunah, Beis = Bitachoin, and Gimmel = Geulah,” first with the younger children and then later with the older Talmidim. :) They listened intently to stories, learning how Emunah and Bitachoin bring the Geuloh we need. :)
By Hashgocho Protis one of the stories was the lesson from the postal mail (explained in the Parshas Vayikra 78 Dvar Toirah). Boruch Hashem the Talmidim were attentive and were visibly excited to hear how Emunah and Bitachoin actually makes a difference in our lives and it bring the Yeshuas Hashem we all need. :)
Afterwards, I sat down with some of Rabayim to share some thoughts and one Rebbi introduced himself as a nephew of HoRav HaGo’oin HaChosid Reb Elimelech Tzvibel O”H who was my Mashpiya in Yeshivah. :) We talked a bit, and he warmed up enough to tell me what had happened with one of the Talmidim that day!
That morning, a young Talmid had approached him, seeking advice about a challenge he was struggling with. He was bothered that his friends were able to Daven at a quicker pace and with ease, while he was much slower, and it took more effort on his part. His struggle was “Why am I having it so hard while my friends have it so much easier?!”
The Rebbi described the exchange. “I answered him based on what is brought in Seforim that before the Neshomoh descends into this world it is shown all the challenges it will need to go through to fulfill its mission in this world. Knowing that Hashem wants it to fulfill this specific mission and that there is no greater joy than being able to fulfill the will of Hashem, the Neshomoh agrees and accepts all the Nisyoinois it will face.”
The Talmid didn’t take this answer well. “So, your response to my problems is that it’s my fault, because I agreed with it?” He still couldn’t understand why he needed to put in more effort than his friends!
“During the discussion about the mail,” the Rebbi continued, “we heard you describe the jealousy directed towards you because of the mail you were receiving. The other prisoners were jealous and felt like you were taking away their mail, and they wanted your mail, overlooking the fact that the mail was being sent specifically to you, and it would be meaningless to anyone else!”
“Then you explained the simple but powerful lesson of the story - Hashem gives each person his personal mail, his own individual mission in life and the strength and support to complete it, which only the recipient is able to do. It’s impossible but also pointless to intercept the “mail” which is sent to other people, who have a different mission in life.”
“Realizing this makes us always happy, even if things are harder for us than they are for others, because it helps us focus on our “mail” and we know Hashem is very happy when we fulfill the mission He gives us! :) There is nothing in the world that could make a person happier than knowing that he is making Hashem happy!” :)
The Rebbi concluded with a smile. :) “While you were saying this lesson, the young Talmid turned around to me and said “This is the answer to my question! Knowing that Hashem gives me the specific challenges I have in life, and Hashem also gives me the Koiach to overcome these challenges with effort, bringing Kedusha into the world in a way that only I am able to do, gives me the Koiach to work on fulfilling the mission Hashem gave me and do it B’Simcha.” :)
EMUNAH IS MORE THAN AN INSPIRATION! IT NEEDS TO AFFECT THE WAY WE THINK AND DO!
One thing is very clear: :) All Yidden, young and Oold, thirst to hear about Emunah and Bitachoin! This is not only because we all have areas in our lives in which we need a big Yeshuah from Hashem, but, also because we have a Neshomoh, the source of our Emunah and Bitachoin, and it yearns to express its complete connection with our Father in Heaven through Emunah and Bitachoin! :)
An important thing to remember when working to acquire Bitachon: Its possible for our Emunah to remain abstract, a powerful emotional inspiration in the moment, but one that doesn’t become a part of the way we look at the world, the process we use to make the decisions in our life! It is up to us to make Emunah an integral part of our thought process by clarifying the concepts of Emunah in a way that even our human mind is able to understand, or at least agree that there is something higher than intelligence! We need to see the reality our Emunah describes in a way which so clear, it is embraced not only by our rational intelligence, but also by the animal soul that animates us!
NAASEH V’NISHMAH = EMUNAH AND UNDERSTANDING
We see this very clearly on Shovuois:
We merited to receive the Toirah because we proclaimed “Naaseh V’Nishmah!” - we will do, and we will listen. The nations of the world were all offered the Toirah and they also said “Nishmah” - but backwards. They said “Nishmah V’Naaseh” - We will listen and only if we understand we will do. What this emphasizes is that there are actually three aspects to our declaration:
Aleph :) The Naaseh – We accept and will implement all aspects of Toirah and Mitzvois. :)
Beis :) The Nishmah – We will learn and understand all aspects of Toirah and Mitzvois.
Gimmel :) The Sequence - We will first accept and do and then we will learn and understand.
This order is very important. It is only through our Kabolas Ol and Emunah that we are on firm footing. Our intellect can’t lead us to the wrong actions because our actions and attitudes are based first on accepting Emes Hashem, not on what makes sense to us today.
Not only does the right order of Naaseh V’Nishma protect our Naaseh - it also protects our Nishma. When someone is willing to change their actions based on their understanding, they immediately become biased - their mind will twist into pretzels to justify the conclusion they want, but someone who does only what Hashem commands will be able to think clearly and understand correctly.
We celebrate the order, but one of the benefits of the order is that it allows to have both, and we need both. We promised to do both as part of a single blended approach. Our Emunah and Kabolas Ol (Naaseh) must infuse our understanding (Nishmah) so the way we think and make decisions is based on and permeated with the Emunah of Naaseh!
A LESSON FROM MATAN TOIRAH
The Possuk describes Matan Toirah, saying “and the whole nation saw the sounds…” Rashi spells this out: “Roi’in Es Hanishma,” the Yidden saw that which can normally only be heard! Of course, that is an amazing miracle, but why was it done? What did this miracle achieve or contribute to the Yidden receiving the Toirah?
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SEEING AND HEARING
Sight, as we discussed last week, reaches deep into a person’s soul. What is seen is accepted with more certainty than that which is heard.
Aleph :) When a person sees something one way there is no logical argument that can persuade the person otherwise. Sight establishes the truth of the matter a lot stronger than even logical arguments can challenge. This is not true of hearing something.
Beis :) Sight perceives the physical. Hearing cannot perceive the physical - it can only perceive the sound it makes, which is considered abstract and spiritual relative to the physical presence.
These two differences between seeing and hearing are interconnected and are caused by the fact that we are physical beings, therefore physical things perceived by sight are very close to us. In other words, because sight sees the physical, seeing something affects us profoundly.
A reality which is spiritual, cannot normally be perceived by sight. Instead we use our ability to hear and understand in order to perceive anything outside of our direct experience. Naturally, this means our perception of spirituality has much less certainty. Certainty
THE POWER OF SIGHT WE HAD AT MATAN TOIRAH
How tremendous was the moment of Matan Toirah! The Yidden saw that which is heard! The reality of spirituality and Kedushah, something so otherworldly that we can naturally only “hear” I.E. understand, was perceived with the absolute clarity and certainty of sight! The Yidden SAW G-DLINESSS!
(Chazal also relay, tellingly, that “Shoimin Es HaNireh” - they heard what is typically seen! The physical world which is usually perceived with the certainty of sight was instead experienced as a “sound” - a reality somewhat removed from the person, experienced with some uncertainty!)
Typically, our experience is closer to the physical reality than to the spiritual reality of holiness. In the moment of Matan Toirah we were elevated and refined to such an extent that Hashem’s existence and the spiritual reality of Kedusha was as real and natural as a physical item we can see!
It is our mission to relive this transformation and apply it to Emunah.
Emunah starts out as something that we “hear” about from our Neshomoh. It begins as a spiritual concept which we believe - but it remains aloof from us and is in its spiritual state, removed from the physical reality we experience. The problem is that this type of Emunah allows the person to simultaneously have Emunah and do something which is against his Emunah. The Gemoroh describes the thief who is digging a tunnel to dig into someone’s home in order to steal and prays to Hashem to help him!
He’s Davening, which means he believes in Hashem, yet he is doing something which Hashem doesn’t want him to do. Emunah is very powerful, but it is a force which can remain detached from the person’s way of thinking and living. Until the person internalizes it and merges the reality it reveals into his practical thoughts and feelings, it’s possible for their behavior to be in direct contradiction!
The miracle at Matan Toirah teaches us the proper form of Emunah! Emunah becomes a true force to help in our Avoidah when, with effort and application, we change our Emunah, which is initially only “heard,” into a something which is “seen!” The reality our Emunah describes needs to become as real to us as the physical world we see around us. :) When our reality is defined by our Emunah even the natural instinctive attitudes of our animal soul also see the world that way!
A LESSON IN CHINUCH :)
One may think that this is a level of Emunah which is not attainable by us simple people, but notice that Rashi brings only the first part of the Medrash, which is that the Yidden saw what is normally heard, and omits the second part of the Medrash which is “They heard what is normally seen”.
Rashi’s explanation is geared for the 5-year-old who learns Chumosh. This state is obviously not defined by the year on a person’s birth certificate - it refers to anyone who is a beginner in his service to Hashem.
Rashi says to every child (and beginner): You are able to reach a state where the spiritual reality is as real to you as the physical reality. Every Jewish child is able to reach a state where the spiritual reality of Kedusha, naturally only heard, is seen!
By contrast, the second level, where the physical, normally seen, is instead somewhat unreal and only “heard,” is something that not every child is able to achieve in his beginning. He therefore can’t easily relate to the idea, so Rashi doesn’t mention it and only mentions seeing that which is heard. :) WE ARE ALL ABLE TO SEE THE KEDUSHA FROM HASHEM IS REAL AND PALPABLE!
YEHEE ROTZOIN FROM HASHEM YISBORAICH TO GIVE EVERY YID HIS AND HER GEULOH PROTI TOGETHER WITH OUR GEULOH KLOLI NOW WITH MOSHIACH TZIDKAINU :)
A GUTEN UN A FRAILICHEN SHABBOS UN SHVUOIS AND YOU SHOULD ALL BE BLESSED WITH KABOLAS HATOIRAH BESIMCHA UBEPNIMIUS :)
PODOH BESHOLOM NAFSHI :)
BESUROIS TOIVOIS DIDAN NOTZACH :)
UZI AILECHO AZAMAIROH, KEE ELOIKIM MISGABI, ELOIKAI CHASDI :)
Sholom Mordechai Halevi Ben Avrohom Aharoin Sheyichye :)