Parashas Vizos Habracha
“Chaim, your face is glowing!”
“Avi, I have been dancing so much during these first three hakafos, that my heart is pumping a lot of blood to my face, making it look bright.”
“That may be true, but I was referring to a spiritual glow. You look so happy, inside and out. We can practically see the Shechina (Divine Presence) on your face.”
“Wow! I never realized that. Avi, you are correct in your observation that I am very happy today. Simchas Torah is a day of intense happiness.”
“Chaim, can you please explain why? I would like to be as happy as you are.”
“Look at this verse that we will read from the Torah today. ‘Fortunate are you Israel! Who is like you? A people delivered by Hashem’ (Devarim 33:29). This verse follows all of the blessings that Moshe Rabbeinu gave the Jewish people before he died. These blessings were very detailed in describing the qualities of Klal Yisrael. Rashi explains that after he finished the detailed blessings, Moshe gave them a general blessing, ‘Everything is yours!’”
“Yes, everything Avi.”
“What was Moshe Rabbeinu referring to?”
“Rav Yehuda Leib Chasman has a fascinating explanation. He begins with the prayer that we said today. ‘You chose us from among all the nations, You loved us, and You took pleasure in us. You exalted us above all tongues, and You sanctified us with your mitzvos. Our King, you brought us to Your service, and Your Great and Holy Name, You have pronounced upon us.’ (from the Amida for Yom Tov).”
“I always wondered about that prayer, Chaim. It sounds like we are bragging about our status, and putting down the other nations. Aren’t we supposed to be humble?”
“Excellent, Avi. Rav Chasman makes the same point. The answer goes back to the very beginning of creation, parashas Bereshis. Our sages darshen the word, ‘bereshis’ to mean: for the sake of Klal Yisrael, who are called ‘reishis’ (the leading nation), the world was created.”
“That still sounds self serving.”
“Yes, until you look into the reason why we were created. Hashem wants one nation to reveal the glory of His Kingship in this world. One nation will serve Him. One nation will honor Him. One nation will glow with the beauty of His Shechina. Through one nation, the world will be able to sense His Presence.”
“What a privilege!”
“Indeed! That is the source of our happiness, this Yom Tov, and every Yom Tov. You, Hashem, chose us to be Your special nation. This is what we proclaim in the tefillos (prayers) of the day. This is what the verse is referring to, ‘Fortunate are you Israel! Who is like you? A people delivered by Hashem’. ‘Everything is yours!’ Because you know and place all of your faith in Hashem. Not for your own good, rather for His Honor.”
“That is exhilarating, Chaim. Now I see why you are so happy.”
“Come, Avi. Let’s dance and be happy together.”
“Ashreinu! Mah tov chelkeinu! (How fortunate we are! How good our portion!)”
Kinderlach . . .
Simchas Torah is a day of intense happiness. Imagine a lowly poor person who lives on the verge of starvation. One day he inherits a great fortune. Can we comprehend his elation when he hears the news? Just knowing of his wealth makes him happy. Today we proclaim our great fortune. We are privileged to serve Hashem! We carry His Glory in this world! This news makes us ecstatic. Be happy on Simchas Torah, kinderlach, knowing that you are privileged to carry the banner of The Almighty. Write to “Kinder Torah” (POB 5338, Jerusalem, 91052) about how you personally glorify Hashem’s Holy Name. B’ezrat Hashem some of the responses will be published in upcoming issues. Ashrecha Yisrael!
“To Binyamin he (Moshe Rabbeinu) said, ‘Yedid Hashem...’” (Devarim 33:12). What is this blessing of Yedid Hashem that the tribe of Binyamin received? The spelling of the word “yedid”, yud-daled-yud-daled, reveals its meaning. The word “yad” (hand) is spelled yud-daled. “Yedid” is the word “hand” repeated twice. A handshake, one hand clasping the other, is a sign of closeness between two people. Hand clasping hand; that is the symbol of the closeness to Hashem that Binyamin was blessed with.
The Sifrei expounds on this idea. Binyamin was dear to Hashem. We see that he was called yedid. The King has many people that He cherishes, however the yedid is the most beloved of all. There are six who are called yedidim...Yisrael are called yedidim. We, the Jewish people, have this special status of being beloved to Hashem.
Does this sound familiar? It should. The month of Elul is spelled aleph-lamed-vuv-lamed. Those letters form an acronym of the words of the verse, “Ani li’dodi v’dodi li” [I am my Beloved’s, and my Beloved is mine] (Shir HaShirim 6:3). The word “dodi” has the same root as “yedid” - beloved. Our Beloved One is Hashem. We are beloved to Him, and He is Beloved to us. This has been the theme of our Avodas Hashem since the beginning of the month of Elul. We are His yedidim; therefore, we have the opportunity to become very close to Him. The door is open. We only need to walk in. He will receive us with open arms. For every small step that we take closer to Hashem, He takes giant steps closer to us. For we are limited physical beings, and our steps are small. He is the Almighty, who has unlimited power to give. We have worked on becoming closer to Hashem through teshuva, tefillah, mitzvos, and celebration of the Holy Days, our appointed times with Him. These are not merely external actions, but ways to bring Hashem deep into our hearts. That is the true avodah.
Kinderlach . . .
Today is the last day - Shemini Atzeres. Today is the culmination of our special time with Hashem, which began on Rosh Chodesh Elul. Today we dance, sing, and rejoice with the Torah, Hashem’s most precious gift to His most precious people. Today is our final chance to show our yedidus. The matter is identified by its ending. How will you “sign off” the Yemei Ratzon? Kinderlach, show Hashem how much you love Him, how you cannot bear to part with Him. End on a strong note today, and take the inspiration with you into the winter months ahead.
How was the Torah written on the luchos? (Rashi 33:2)
How does Klal Yisrael receive Hashem's laws? (Rashi 33:3)
When was the voice of Yehuda heard throughout the generations? (Rashi 33:7)
When did Moshe Rabbeinu speak with Hashem? (Rashi 34:10)
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