Shabbos Parshas קרח
Tiere Reb Pinchas, Askonim, Family & Friends Sheyichyu
שלום וברכה 😊
Boruch Hashem, this past Wednesday our dear friend and Askon Reb Yoiel Shwartz Sheyichye made a Chasunah for his daughter in Kiryas Yoiel and we were Zoicheh to join him and his family in his great celebration. The Simcha was grand and above all limits! :) With praise and thanks to Hashem Yisboraich not just for being able to dance with him, his father, and the chosson, but also for all the Nissim Hashem Yisboraich made for me to arrive at this point, to be able to dance with him by his first daughter’s wedding. :)
Story - The Unseen Roadblock, Part 2
During the dancing, a bochur asked if he could join us for the ride back to Monsey. Of course, I said “yes!” :) and after the Chasunah the Bochur got into the car with us to head home. Waze was consulted and it decided that our trip should take Highway 6, as it was the fastest route to our home. However, to my surprise, we drove right by the junction for Highway 6 and instead turned onto Highway 87.
As we discussed last week, usually a large degree of Kabolas Oil is shown to these devices, so I asked why Waze was being ignored. My wife explained that she had realized that the Bochur lives in a different area in Monsey and that Highway 87 was a better choice. Even though we would be lengthening our trip by 10 minutes or so, it was an insignificant price to pay for the Zechus to do the Mitzvoh of Gemilas Chessed.
A moment later, my daughter, who was driving in a different car (and had left well before us) called to say that we should not take Highway 6, because it is blocked at a certain point, which forced them to turn around and go back to take Highway 87! She was relieved to hear that we were already on the 87 because we were doing a Mitzvoh. :)
This was very exciting! The Baal Shem Toiv says “from everything a Yid sees and hears he needs to take a lesson in his Avoidas HASHEM” :) and here was a great lesson! :)
I turned to the Bochur and said “Wow! Look what Hashem Yisboraich is teaching us. :) The reason we decided to ignore the directions from Waze to use Highway 6 was because we were in the midst of doing a Gemilas Chessed to you by taking you home - now we see that you actually saved us a half hour or more of driving because we were doing a favor to our fellow Yid. :)
Before our very eyes we saw that by doing a holy Mitzvoh in the physical realm, we connect the physical with the Kedusha intrinsic to the Mitzvoh so that we are blessed not only with Brocho in Oilom Haboh, but with Brocho and Hatzlocho in the very physical existence which we have made part of the Mitzvoh. :)
This is one of the times that Hashem Yisboraich showed us this lesson in a very clear way. :) Had we not been doing the Mitzvoh to help this fellow Yid with what he needed at that moment, we would have followed the directions from Waze, which was not aware that Highway 6 blocked at a certain point and we would have had to turn around, as our daughter did, which would have made our trip much longer!
We need to take the lesson from the times we can this clearly and physically to strengthen the times we can’t physically see it and need to see it instead with our mind’s eye, reminding ourselves of the truth that’s beneath the surface. :)
We all know that Hashem wants us to make a Keili by doing Hishtadlus in obtaining our needs - the food and drink we eat and drink, the clothes we wear, the house we live in etc. but did you ever wonder why? Why doesn’t Hashem just give it to us directly?
רבנו בחיי discusses this in שער הבטחון. One of the answers he gives is that Hashem set it up this way as a test.
We usually think of a test as just a way of establishing the facts about the strength or quality of something by seeing if it can withstand strain or difficulty. Of course, Hashem doesn’t need a test to know the facts, but when it comes to people, there is another aspect to a test. To pass a test of character or relationship, the person has to express strength, depth, or quality, and often that aspect was there in potential, but it wasn’t an active part of their personality or relationship before.
Going through the test actually helps the person become the best person they can be, finding and manifesting aspects of themselves they never would have otherwise.
So why work? It’s not because that’s how you’ll earn your Parnossoh.
You will receive or achieve what Hashem has decreed that you will receive or achieve (usually through the appropriate natural means), and you will not receive or achieve what He has decreed that you will not: sometimes He withholds the means, and sometimes just the ends, the success.
You don’t do Hishtadlus to get the paycheck - you need the paycheck so that you will do the Hishtadlus, reaping the benefits to your connection to Hashem that only come from finding Him in the dark.
By the rules of this world, we succeed or fail to obtain our physical needs (nourishment, shelter, etc) by learning how the world works and employing natural means. This is, of course, not true, and you would think we should not have any part in it.
Instead, Hashem commands us to engage in these activities, and even channels his Brocho through these activities, which can substantiate this foreign and false reality in our minds. It is a test, a set of circumstances we need to dig deep to overcome. With each interaction or temptation, we need to decide: Will we embrace the natural view and take actions that violate Hashem’s will in an effort to succeed, or will we be guided and restricted by Toiroh and Halocho in the actions we are considering?
To make the correct decisions and engage with the world only on Hashem’s terms requires us (and in this way brings us) to find within our Neshomoh the strength and clarity to recognize and live by truth even in a world of Sheker.
It’s not really the “means” that bring us to the “ends.” That reality is a lie. The true reality is Hashem and serving Him through Toiroh and Mitzvois. When the Neshomo sees that while surrounded by a world that screams the opposite, it connects to Hashem in a much deeper way than if it received everything it needs without recognizing the world and doing Hishtadlus.
In this way, as we reach every conclusion we are also passing our test and reaching for Hashem, growing closer to Him and bringing Kedusha into every facet of our lives.
Full Coverage Service
So we see that in addition to the 613 Mitzvois with which we serve Hashem, which are inherently and completely holy, we also serve Hashem in the worldly aspects of our lives that are not inherently holy since we are not explicitly commanded to do them (or forbidden from doing)!
As it says "כל מעשך יהיה לשם שמים" - “all your actions should be for the sake of Heaven” and even more, it says "בכל דרכך דעהו" - “in all your ways, know Him” because our serving Hashem is in every moment and in every action!
This is unique to Yiddishkeit. The nations around us may dedicate some time or space to religion, but that is clearly separate from other aspects of their lives, which have nothing to do with religion. There’s the house of worship, but also the House of Bob - he might come to visit the house of worship, but when he is done he goes back to his own house and his own life.
This is not so by Yidden - we need to constantly serve Hashem. That is our whole life. We are told in the Shulchan Aruch how we need to wake up in the morning with every detail, including how we need to put on our shoes and which shoe tie first, etc, etc, etc. :) :) :)
The reason for this level of detail in the instructions of the Torah is that Yidden are called חיים, alive, through our connection with Hashem by doing Mitzvois. It is what makes us חיים, alive.
A person cannot be occasionally alive. If life stops, even for a moment, the person is no longer alive and needs to have תחיית המתים. The same applies to the life which comes to us through Toirah and Mitzvois: it needs to be constant, without any interruption, and if there is even a moment in which we are not connected to Hashem, in that moment the life is completely missing.
This is why all things are connected with Toirah and Kedusha! Not only the person’s higher faculties, such as his mind and heart, but also his physical activities, such as eating and sleeping, which seemingly have no connection with Toirah, are connected and directed by Toirah, because this is what keeps us alive, both physically and spiritually :), 24-7, with no interruption Chas ViSholom!
The Levi’im Get Gifts Too?!
We see this very clearly in our Parsha. It begins with the מחלוקת that קרח instigated against אהרון and Moishe. The end of the Parsha discusses the gifts which Hashem commands Yidden to give to the כהנים and לויים.
The Medrash explains the connection: Since Koirach challenged the כהונה, Hashem says he is inscribing and sealing in law the כהונה of אהרון through the מתנות כהונה, the gifts which the Yidden have to give to the כהן throughout all generations.
This explains the connection of the מחלוקת of קרח to the gifts to the Koihen very well, but what about the gifts to the Levi’im?! It is especially puzzling when you consider that the מחלוקת was led by a Levi who wanted to attain the status of the כהונה!
We must look deeper into the challenge קרח presented in order to understand why not only the gifts to the כהן are the eternal response, but gifts to the לויים are also needed to teach all generations to reject the arguments קרח made!
Koirach demanded the כהונה. The Koihen represents total immersion in purity and holiness. While he is fulfilling his duties, he must stay in the Mikdash and focus exclusively on his Avoidoh. Even external thoughts can invalidate a Korbon. Koirach maintained that this was the approach that every Yid must take. The physical realm as it exists in apparent independence from holiness cannot be a vessel for G-dliness. Therefore, the physical needs to yearn to leave its physical existence by being completely consumed in its desire to rise to the holiness above!
This explains a seeming contradiction: Koirach and those who supported him demanded to become Koihanim and Koihanim Gedoilim, seemingly looking for higher status, while at the same time claiming that all Yidden are holy, so why is someone, in this case Aharoin, above them in status?
Koirach wasn’t trying to get into or abolish an upper class. He saw the world of Kedusha as fundamentally separate from and incompatible with the physical world. He saw the Koihain’s single-minded devotion to Kedusha as the only way to really connect to Kedusha. To become holy you need to become a Koihain - divest yourself from the physical realm and become completely devoted to holiness, like the Koihain Godoil who is in the Bais HaMikdosh all day!
The Korbonois, which were a large part of the Avoidoh of the Koihanim only reinforces the idea that the path to Kedusha for physical beings is by being consumed by Kedusha - the Korbon was sanctifed on the מזבח, leaving the realm of the physical and becoming holy, no longer a part of the regular world.
A Yid Pursues Holiness, Not Spirituality
At first glance, the gifts to the Koihain counter this idea.
Many of the gifts were not required to be treated as sanctified or holy - they were required to be given to the Koihain, but he could treat them like a regular piece of meat or fruit. This shows that even non-sanctified physical objects can have a connection with the Koihain in his capacity as a Koihain, fully devoted to G-dliness. :)
On second glance, though, it doesn’t emphasize totally and completely that physical things below as they remain in the physical realm are connected with G-dliness, because:
Aleph: Most gifts, like Challah or Bikurim, to the Koihain must be treated as as holy by the Yid, and only after that it become the Koihain’s personal possession.
Beis: These gifts are not quite aspects of the physical world that are then given to the Koihain in a way that shows that other things can also be elevated. They are distinguishable and identifiable before they are given, and by virtue of Hashem’s gift they technically belong to the Koihain even before the Yisroel gives it to him!
For this reason, the gifts to the Levi’im are needed to really teach the lesson. Unlike the gifts to the Koihanim, מעשר which is given to the לויים remain non-sanctified and mundane both after it’s given to the Leivi and can be treated that way before and it is also not a specific part which we can say already belongs to Leivi before it’s given to him - it is any randomly selected bunch of fruit which meets the percentage Hashem commanded.
This clearly emphasizes that an existence which is completely a part of the physical world is also connected with Hashem through giving it to the Leivi because Hashem is the Leivi’s Inheritance!
This is also seen in the fact that a Yid is not supposed to give all that he owns to the Koihain and Leivi! There is a specific, limited amount which he has to give, and by giving it and expressing the potential of the mundane to be connected to Hashem, he is now able to use all the rest in way that expresses Kedusha.
This is how the desire to make this world a dwelling place for Hashem is fulfilled: not in the limited amount which a person needs to give as gifts to the Koihain and Leivi, but in using the rest, now revealed to be capable of connecting to Hashem, expressing Hashem’s presence in the most distant place. It is because of this tremendous potential that we are told that “the Torah is protective of the money of Yidden.” The money you spend on your everyday expenses has the power to bring Hashem into this world more than anything else.
The Gemoroh tells the story about the daughter of Nechuniah Choifer Shichin, which means “Nechuniah the well-digger,” a name given to him for his painstaking efforts to dig water wells so the Yidden who came to Yerusholayim would have water.
One day his daughter fell into a well her father had dug and was in danger of drowning R” L! They rushed to tell the Tzaddik Rabi Chaninoh ben Doisoh about the danger, beseeching him to save the girl. Rabi Chaninoh ben Doisoh said “Sholom” - [She is at] peace [and unharmed]. Time passed with no sign of the girl, and again they came to him for a Brocho. Again, he simply he said “Sholom.” They came a third time and this time He Said “Olsoh” - she is out of the well!
When the daughter finally showed up, she told everyone the amazing Nes that saved her. When she fell to the bottom of the well, beneath the water, she was greeted by a Zokain with a ram who told her to hold onto the ram. She obeyed and held onto the ram, who ran up the well to safety, :) just as Rabi Chaninoh had told them. :)
Hearing this, the Yidden said to Rabi Chaninoh ben Doisoh “You are a Novi!” He said “I am not a Novi nor the son of a Novi. I knew that she would survive unharmed because I knew that the well was dug by her father who had taken the great pain to dig the wells to help his fellow Yidden. It is impossible for his own daughter to be hurt by the well with which he had fulfilled such a great Mitzvah!
This Shabbos is Gimmel Tammuz. Gimmel is for “Geuloh.” :) In the past, great miracles occurred on Gimmel Tammuz.
1. When Yehoishua was in the midst of winning a great battle to conquer Eretz Kinaan, the enemy was on the run, but the daylight was fading. If night fell before the enemy was eradicated, they would escape to fight another day. To lengthen the day, Yehoishua commanded the sun and the moon to stop their movement across the sky! The sun and the moon obeyed and stopped, enabling Yehoishua to complete their victory. :)
2. The Rebbe Rayatz was imprisoned by the Soviets for helping Yidden keep Toiroh and Mitzvois in Communisit Russia. On Gimmel Tammuz he was sent from the prison to exile in a distant city called Kastrama. At first, people were not sure if this exile was a positive development or a negative development? However, when he was later completely freed on Yud-Bais/Yud-Gimmel Tammuz it became clear that this had been the beginning of his release (particularly when it was learned that the initial sentence was capital punishment R” L) making Gimmel Tammuz a day of Geuloh!
Years later, the Rebbe went to daven in the Oihel as he so often did, to beseech Hashem on behalf of all of Klal Yisroel and particularly on behalf of the many Yidden who had requested a Brocho. The events that day at the Ohel lead to Gimmel Tammuz.
We need to remember the story of Rabi Chaninoh Ben Doisoh. Just as it was impossible for Nechunia’s daughter to be hurt by the very place and thing which he had painstakingly created in order to help his fellow Yidden, so too we need to have Emunah that it’s impossible that in the very place where the Rebbe Davened painstakingly and tirelessly to be Poiel Yeshuois for millions of Yidden, bringing down revealed Yeshuois in “Bonai”, Revealed Yeshuois in Chayai and Revealed Yeshuois in Mzoinai Reveechai to so many Yidden, that he should be hurt there, interfering with his role as the Rebbe and Manhig Yisroel.
Although it is impossible to understand, we have complete Emunah and Bitachoin that the Rebbe’s Teffilois will be answered with the revealed good we trust Hashem Yisboraich to give us. This gives us the Chizuk we need to continue our mission of making the world a dwelling place for Hashem and it gives us the certainty that we will see the long-awaited day of our Geuloh Shelaimoh now with Moshiach Tzidkainu :)
YEHEE ROTZOIN FROM HASHEM YISBORAICH TO GIVE EVERY YID HIS AND HER GEULOH PROTI WITH OUR GEULOH KLOLI NOW WITH MOSHIACH TZIKAINU :)
A GUTEN UN FRAILICHEN SHABBOS UN GANTZEN CHOIDESH :)
PODOH BESHOLOM NAFSHI :) BESUROIS TOIVOIS :) DIDAN NOTZACH :)
UZI AILECHO AZAMAIROH, KEE ELOIKIM MISGABI, ELOIKAI CHASDI :)
Sholom Mordechai Ben Avrohom Aharoin HaLevi Sheyichye:)