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by Daneal Weiner
Hello, can't wait, lets go.
This month of Tishrei is a time of the year that is ripe for the redemption. Accepting Hashem as King on Rosh Hashana and by way of tshuva and Yom Kippur, Sukkos- the time of the battle of Gog and Magog, the war to end all war, these all add up to make Tishrei a time special for redemption. When we see these days pass and the Mashiach has not yet come, it could be very disheartening.
Rav Tsaddok Hacohen writes in his sefer, Pri Tsaddik that
is read at the end of the Tishrei to say to us don't despair! Don’t give up hope! The Mashiach is hovering overhead and is just waiting to drop in!
Yes! In the second verse of Breishis it says, “v’ha’arets haisa tohu va’vohu v’choshech all pnei tehome v'ru'ach elokim mirachefes all pnei hamayim.”- and the land was desolate and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep and the spirit of G-d hovered over the surface of the waters. The four words tohu, vohu, choshech and tehome hint to the four nations which put Israel in exile. What follows next is the hovering spirit of G-d which the Midrash says is referring to the spirit of the Mashiach! There is still hope that this Shabbos Breishis will be the redemption. After all, it's still Tishrei and Shabbos itself is certainly a time for tshuva. The zodiac for Tishrei is the ma'aznayim- Balances of Judgement. Tshuva tilts the scales to the side of the Mashiach. Even though the ‘best’ days of Tishrei have past, not all have past. We should be hopeful that on these last days of Tishrei the Mashiach will yet arrive. He only needs one day on which to arrive. Maybe it’s this one? May it be this one. Amen, kain yehe ratsone.
It is also brought in the Pri Tsaddik that the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life were one in the same tree!!! If Adam had eaten of its fruit for the right reasons, without any physical desire then he would have been eating from the Tree of Life. Eat for the wrong reasons, it’s the Tree of Knowledge! We know it was the latter. He and Chava ate for the wrong reasons. [Let’s remember we’re talking about the first beings, created by Hashem, Himself. When I say they ate out of a physical desire you can’t start picturing Pavarotti at an all-you-can-eat buffet. We’re talking the finest of the subtlest of the finest of expressions of desire.] This is truly a remarkable insight from the Pri Tsaddik. He may not be alone!
A Midrash mentioned in many places, the Ohr Hachaim Hakodesh being one of them (on Parshas Vayichi) says that if Adam waited till Shabbos he then could have eaten from the tree permissibly! According to the opinion that the fruit of the tree was a grape, Adam would have squeezed the grapes into wine and made kiddush and been able to drink. Rav Moshe Wolfson wants to align the Pri Tsaddik with the Midrash. Had Adam waited till Shabbos he certainly would have partaken of the fruit permissibly because on Shabbos even physical pleasures are a mitsvah! Adam’s sin was that he did not wait!
We can now add that we read Parshas Breishis at the end of Tishrei because even as these days ripe for the Mashiach do pass, we learn from Adam that the reparation for his sin is to wait. We should not despair that the Mashiach hasn't come. We should wait with simcha knowing the waiting in and of itself merits his coming! Baruch Hashem!
We’ve learned time and again that the reason the Jews fell to the sin of the golden calf was the ‘delay’ in Moshe’s descent from Mt. Sinai. It really wasn't a delay, rather Bnei Yisrael counted wrong. More than this, however, Chazal- our Sages tell us the soton, a.k.a. the yetser horah showed all Israel a vision of Moshe’s lifeless body being carried up to the heavens. The Ramban emphasizes that the now leaderless Bnei Yisrael made the calf to be the intermediary between them and Hashem in place of Moshe. They did not make the calf for idolatrous purposes. So they think the 40 days are up, they see Moshe is dead, what are they to do? One thing for sure they didn’t do. They didn’t wait.
With the revelation of Hashem and having heard the 10 Commandments Bnei Yisrael had reached the spiritual state of Adam and Chava pre-sin! They were on the verge of returning the world back to its pristine state. But even in the Garden of Eden there was one test to pass. Now in Adam’s shoes, Bnei Yisrael had to pass Adam’s test. Had they succeeded the world would have fulfilled it’s purpose and I would be editing this on a pentium 4,000,000,000,000,000, from somewhere off cloud 9. But Bnei Yisrael didn't wait. BUT IT WASN’T THEIR FAULT!
When we intend on doing a mitsvah and something uncontrollable prevents us from doing it, it is the chesed- kindness of Hashem that He credits us as having done the mitsva anyway. Maybe more precisely is that He credits us for the desire as IF we did the mitsva. But in Jewish law, when it comes, let’s say, to fulfilling conditions, a condition is not fulfilled by intention alone. The example in the Gemorah is before a husband crosses a river to head out on a long business trip he gives his wife a get- divorce document, saying it doesn’t become a get until 30 days has passed and he has not returned to her side of the river. [The intention is that if something happens to him on the trip his wife shouldn’t become an agunah.] On day 30 the husband reaches the river bank and waits for the local ferry to bring him across. The ferry sinks. He's right there. He and his wife even see each other across the river. It's not his fault! Sorry. He did not fulfill the condition and the get became a get. They are now divorced.
So it wasn't Bnei Yisrael’s fault that they did not wait for Moshe. It doesn't matter. In the end the wait had not been waited. Or if you prefer. Restitution for waiting cannot be made without there being a wait. Bnei Yisrael didn't re-introduce death into the world by committing the same sin as Adam. We failed to remove the death Adam brought into the world by not introducing into the world the long awaited waiting that Adam should have waited but didn’t. It gets better. Just wait.
You’ve heard of ‘not the first time and not the last time’? In the 13th chapter of the book of Samuel is recorded the time when king Shaul was to lead Israel into battle against an immense Philistine army. The prophet Shmuel had previously told Saul to wait 7 days in Gilgal till he arrived to tell him what to do. At that time Shmuel would also offer up sacrifices to Hashem that He should help them defeat their enemy.
The people of Israel were fleeing in terror from the size of the Philistine army, increasing daily before their eyes. Shaul reached Gilgal and waited. Only the few hundreds of remaining Israelites made up Shaul’s army. On the 7th day there was no sign of Shmuel and Shaul’s army began to disband. King Shaul, under duress, ordered for the animals to be brought and he began to offer them himself. As you would guess, the moment he finished the first was the moment Shmuel arrived. Shmuel told Shaul that had he waited the throne of Israel would have been in his family forever. He now lost that. [After the episode with Amaleik Shaul himself lost the reign.)
A while later, when the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over Israel they gathered to do battle against him. David asked Hashem, "Shall I fight them and will You deliver then to me." Hashem said, "Yes. Yes." (paraphrasing.) Seeing the Philistines approach, David asked Hashem what he should do. Hashem said, "Wait till you hear the rustling of the tree tops and then command your men into battle." The Philistines approached and approached and approached some more. David waited. He did not give in to the pleas of his men to sound the charge. He waited till he heard the rustling of the leaves- which was the sound of the angels Hashem ahead of David's army defeat the Philistines. By waiting King David began the reparation of the sin of Adam and by waiting did he merit a descendant who would finish the job. But wait, there’s more.
It says in the book of Chabakuk (2:1-3), "I will stand upon my watch… and I will wait to see what He will speak to me... And Hashem answered me, '...For there is yet another vision about the appointed time; it will speak of the end and it will not deceive. Though it may tarry, await it, for it will surely come; it will not delay.” The Gemorah Sanhedrin asks, "Maybe we will wait but Hashem won't?" It answers from Isaiah (30:18), "And therefore Hashem will wait to show you [Israel] grace." There are worlds of waiting going on! Us for Hashem and Hashem for us. Each of us, as descendants of Adam, do our part to make expiation for the sin of Adam. “I believe with a complete faith in the coming of the Mashiach. And even though he tarries, never the less I wait every day for him to come.” A Jew waits. Even more then this, as Jews we separate ourselves from the nations of the world because before what ever we do, we wait. Before work we wait till we pray. Before eating or drinking, we wait till we make a blessing. We never shop retail, we wait till a sale. And we stop eating well before sunset erev Shabbos just so we can wait till Shabbos to make kiddush! We specifically go into Shabbos with a healthy appetite because on Shabbos even eating for pleasure is a mitsva! All the while adding merit to the balances of Judgement.
In the Gemorah Megillah it say that Memuchan was Haman. Memuchan was one of the advisors of Achashveirosh who foresaw that what Vashti did by not displaying her beauty was more than just an embarrassment to the king. It was the beginning of the end of social order! Word would hit the streets that the queen defied the king and next thing they’d know, all the women of Persia will be defying their husbands! Anarchy! A proclamation had to go out that in the home, the man is in charge and his word will be the language of the home! Of course Vashti would have to be killed to make the message stick. Haman’s first act paved the way for Esther who eventually would have Haman killed. Nice job, Haman!
There is a lesser known Tosefos on this Gemorah which says that Memuchan was not Haman but the Prophet Daniel!!! Tosefos bases his comment on a Midrash which says that Daniel had a wife who was higher up in the government than he was and she wouldn’t listen to a thing he said. Opportunity presented itself and Daniel remedied his situation. Needless to say, this requires explanation! Even more needless to say, the explanation requires background information.
Bnei Yisrael were redeemed from Egypt because even with the extent of their assimilation they kept their language, their clothing and their names. Wait. Didn’t Hashem promise Avraham his descendants would be strangers in a strange land for 400 years and then would be redeemed. That was a condition free promise! So what do Chazal mean that keeping their language, etc, etc. was the impetus of the redemption?
When Hashem said the redemption would be after 400 years, when was the 400 year count to begin? Obviously, when they became strangers in the strange land, no? That translates into 400 years in Egypt. But we were there only 210 years. Due to the aforementioned merits, Hashem began the count with the birth of Yitschak. 400 years later we were brought out of Egypt.
Hard to imagine, 210 years in a place and not wearing the clothing of a place or speaking the language of the place, isn’t it? Baruch Hashem we merit seeing examples of such fortitude in our Chassidic brothers and sisters. While the ignorant who spread contempt ask why Chassidim have to look like they're in a ghetto in Poland we know their dress and Yiddish tongues are a concrete wall between Judaism and western civilization which says "We will not be assimilated into oblivion!" Doesn’t sound like it fairs well for the Lithuanians! Wait and we’ll get back to this.
Still gathering in information in understanding Tosefos' "Memuchan is Daniel" we go back to the Gemorah Megillah which discusses the predicted 70 years of the Babylonian exile. King Belshattsar assumed the count began with the reign of his grandfather Nebuchadnetsar who destroyed the first holy Temple. On the 70th year anniversary of grandpa’s rise to the throne Belshattsar saw the second Temple was not being rebuilt and he concluded Hashem had abandoned the Jews. He made a feast and brought out the vessels of the Temple. He died.
Achashveirosh knew from the words of the Prophet Jeremiah that Israel would be exiled to Babylon for 70 years. The verse does not hang redemption on the Babylonian king but on the Jews being in Babylon! Belshattsar's mistake was counting from the start of Nebuchadnetsar's reign. The third year of Achashveirosh's reign was 70 years since Nebuchadnetsar first exile of Jews! Now the exile should have come to an end. No Temple? Now Hashem has abandoned the Jews. Achashveirosh made a feast and brought out the vessels of the Temple! Vashti died.
Remarkably, the Gemorah says that Daniel also made the same accountings as the above two kings! But when those dates passed and the redemption hadn't Daniel knew he made the mistake. The times of the redemption are beyond the grasp of anyone since Yaakov. When Yaakov wanted to reveal that information to his sons it was taken from him and it’s been down hill since. The Rambam in the Laws of Kings says that Rebbe Akivah felt Bar Kochbah was the Mashiach and he was wrong. What does that have to do with any law? The Rambam wants us to know that while we wait for the king Mashiach, even the great Rebbe Akivah erred in the time of the redemption. And so Daniel came to conclude his book with a vision of two men, one whom asked the other, when will be the end of time? The other responded in a way Daniel did not understand. Daniel asked Hashem when will be the end? Hashem said, "They are obscured and sealed." [‘They’ (plural) refers to the time in it’s time and the time before it’s time.]
We hear and speak of dates and times that are special and befitting for the final redemption to take place, as Daniel thought of Belshattsar's and Achashveirosh's dates. But for the redemption to happen, we have to merit it. Daniel knew by these two landmark times for redemption having passed that Israel was lacking merit and he sought to bring just that to the scales.
Daniel reflected on Torah and history and understood we merited an early redemption from Egypt because we retained our language, etc. He grabbed the opportunity to have Achashveirosh send out an edict that the language of the husband should be spoken in the house. There is a halachic discussion in the Gemorah Megillah as to the fulfillment of the obligation to hear the Megillah on Purim. It must be heard in Hebrew. But in Aramaic is ok, too! Where is that from? From the Aramaic in the Megillah!! Where is that? In the words of the edict, “All the wives shall show respect to their husbands”!!! The word for ‘respect’- yakar- is Aramaic.
Fortunately for us non Chassidics, the Bnei Yissaschar writes that although Yiddish is German in origin, it became so twisted out of shape by Biblical and Talmudic expression that it lost its connection to the original German. Which is good! The Jews of Egypt didn’t necessarily speak only Hebrew nor did the Jews of Persia have to. But as hinted to in Daniel’s edict in the name of the king, with enough mixture of Jewish vernacular the foreign language can be made into a Jewish one. Baruch Hashem, while many Jews are speaking Hebrew many other keep to Yiddish and many more are taking English and making it a holy language as well!
That’s the biggest news, I feel, because English represents a nation that is the antithesis of the Jewish nation. Western civilization is the antithesis of waiting! They are a consumer’s nation that must consume instantly. Fast food, fast cars, get rich quick, overnight express, fax, remote, wireless, 300Mhz, 500 Mhz, 700 Mhz, homosexuality, abortion, euthanasia, sex ed. for kids, drugs… it’s all got to do ‘right now’! Some holy writings say that when someone learns the language of a nation they take upon ththe evil inclinations of that nation. Baruch Hashem, the Torah velt has taken davka English and has been mehapech hu, l’shem shamayim, to a new zach with no dimyun to the shmuts it was. Some call it speaking Yeshivish. Some call it Yinglish. We can all call it a zchus to get the heck outta there! Hashem, NU?!
Rashi comments that when the Achashveirosh sent out the proclamations that every women respect her husband, all of his empire thought he was nuts. Absolutely crazy. This was more chesed of Hashem because when the second edict went out that in 11 months time they were to annihilate all the Jews, why on earth would they wait the 11 months? I don’t mean they would have tried genocide immediately but if an enemy of Israel saw a Jew with a nice looking watch, why not kill him and take it? Is he gonna get arrested by a government that plans to kill all the Jews anyway? But when they knew they had a crazy king who sends out crazy proclamations, they figured they’d better wait! In the merit of Daniel who waited for the redemption and waited without despair and waited with introspection over what was wrong, Hashem rewarded all Israel by keeping our enemies waiting.
The Gemorah Sanhedrin says Adam also spoke Aramaic, known from a verse in Psalms (139:17), “To me, how precious are Your thoughts, O G-d.” The word for precious is yakar. The same word in the Megillah. Adam himself set the stage for the atonement of his own sin by injecting into his praise of Hashem a word of Aramaic. The same word a future descendant would use to help save the nation destined to help save the world. A nation whose job is to wait.
The righteous women of Israel who have always been key players at every critical event in history, they continue to play a major role in the expiation for Chava who fed Adam the fruit and did not let him wait, since for the last 5700 years they have always kept the men waiting. For just a minute, of course.
And so the Torah ends with the words “before the eyes of all Israel” which Rashi says refers to the breaking of the 2 tablets. An action Moshe took because Bnei Yisrael did not wait. And since the Mashiach hasn’t yet come we now read Breishis and we are reminded that the spirit of the Mashiach is hovering overhead. He can arrive any day now. All we have to do is happily wait.
Wait, and have a pleasurable, full spirited Shabbot Shalom.
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
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