Hear and Your Soul Shall Live
Insights on life from the weekly Parsha.

By: Rav Moshe Weber, Shlita, Editor: Rabbi I. Ido Weber Erlich, Shlita
Eng. Translation: Emanuel Behar, Ari Chester

Portions of the following are included in the collection of tapes: "Shemu ViTachi Nafshechem". To obtain them, call: 02-828284, or e-mail: weber@shemayisrael.co.il

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Acharei Mos - Kedoshim Vol 26.

Half-Year Anniversary Issue!!!

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One must carefully avoid hurting his friend.

Fulfill the mitzvot of Hashem in an honorable manner.

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Insights on life: One must carefully avoid hurting his friend, for "Yom Kippur does not atone for the sins between man and his friend, until his friend forgives him" (Talmud, Yoma).

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Source in the Parsha: "From all your sins before Hashem, shall you be cleansed" (16:30).

The Rif comments, "R. Eliezer ben Azriah explains the above statement of the Talmud ['Yom Kippur does not atone for the sins between man and his friend...'] as follows: Yom Kippur only atones the the sins of man against Hashem, his Creator. If, however, one fails to first obtain forgiveness from his fellow man, then Yom Kippur won't even atone even for such sins -- against Hashem, his Creator."

Thus, we understand why the Shulchan Aruch instructs us to obtain forgiveness from our friends on the Eve of Yom Kippur. For, if so, when Yom Kippur commences, and one has obtained forgiveness from his friends, then "The beginning of the day atones."

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Insights on life: Fulfill the mitzvot of Hashem in an honorable manner.

The Midrash Tanchamah tells us, "R. Shimon bar Yochai said: Hashem said to Israel, 'Honor My mitzvot, for they are My messengers, and a messenger is like the sender. So, by honoring My mitzvot, you honor Me! But if you despise the mitzvot, it is as if you despise Me."

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The Source in the Parsha: "He shall pour out it's blood and cover it with earth" (17:13). "He pours [with his hand], so he must cover it [with his hand], and not with his foot," comments the Talmud, Chullin, "so that he does not use his legs or feet, thereby despising the mitzvah."

Whereas the Midrash (above) refers to the mitzvot as "messengers" of Hashem, the Holy Zohar refers to them as the "limbs" of Hashem, blessed be He. Why? The soul rejoices when the limbs of the body are healthy, whole, and perform the will of Hashem. Therefore, Hashem says to Israel: "When I speak, and you perform My will, this pleases Me" (Rashi).

The Baal HaTanya writes in Likutey Torah, "Because Israel, the 'close nation' of Hashem, causes this satisfaction to His spirit (so to speak), King Solomon peace to him, refers to Israel as 'My darling, my faultless dove' (Song of Songs). Hashem, blessed be He, is the groom ("Chatan"); Israel, she is the bride ("Kallah"). In this phrase, 'faultless' suggests 'completion.' Because Israel is the completion of Hashem, so to speak, she is called 'faultless' and 'complete.' Were it not for Israel, true 'completion,' so to speak, would not exist [like the groom and bride lack completion, if not united in marriage]."

Secrets of the Torah:

"You shall be holy!" (19:2)

The Holy Zohar says, "R. Abba taught: This Parsha, Kedoshim, sums up the whole Torah, and is the Seal of Truth. This section contains profound mysteries of the Torah, concerning the Ten Commandments, the Divine Decrees, the penalties, and precepts. Indeed, when the Companions [Rabbeim of the Zohar] came to this Parsha, they would rejoice!"

The Zohar continues, "R. Abba stated the verse, 'Who is like Thy people, Israel, one nation in the earth' (I Samuel 7:23). He elucidated: Hashem chose Israel, alone of all nations. He made them one unique nation in the world, calling them 'one nation,' after His own name. He gave them many precepts to crown themselves with, including the Tefillin of the head and arm, whereby man becomes one and complete... When the Jew wraps Tefillin, and dons his Tallit, he is crowned with holy crowns, after the Supernal Pattern...."

The above corresponds to the words of the Arizal: "Hashem, blessed be He, puts on Tefillin, like it says, 'Then all of the people of the earth will see that the Name of Hashem is proclaimed over you, and they will revere you.' R'Eliazer the Great taught that these are the Tefillin of the head."

Themes in the Parsha.

"You shall not take revenge, nor bear a grudge" (19:2).

The Sefer HaChinuch comments, "This mitzvah makes man aware that all which befalls him, for the better or the worse, Hashem caused, even if it is 'from the hand of man, from the hand of a man's own brother' (Genesis 9:5). Nothing occurs which is not the will of Hashem, blessed be He!

"Therefore," continues the Sefer HaChinuch, "when experiencing misfortune or suffering, one must realize the cause -- his sins. So, when oppressed or attacked, one must avoid revenge or grudges. For one's own sins, not one's opressor, cause his misfortune! Thus said King David, peace to him, when harassed by Shimei ben Gera, "Let him go on hurling abuse, for the Lord has told him to!" King David did not attribute the ultimate cause of the harassment to Shimei ben Gara, but to his own sins. Further, this commandment, by removing the grudges among men, results in harmony among mankind - then, Hashem will make peace for us!

STORY.

"They return toward evening, they howl like the dog, and go around the city. Behold, they bark with their mouth... saying 'Who hears it?' But You, Hashem, You laugh at them... and they will be caught in their pride. Consume them in wrath... and then will they know that God rules in Jacob!" (Psalm 59)

Not long ago, Rabbi Sholom Yerushalmi would walk the streets of Jerusalem, every day, before dawn, to awaken the Jews, so that they could serve Hashem, the Creator.

Previously, Rabbi Baerel Vikar, "The Awaker," had engaged in this task for twenty years, yet passed the task on to his friend, Rabbi Sholom. So, Rabbi Sholom inherited the profession of the "Awaker," waking the Jews of Jerusalem from slumber, each morning, to serve the Creator.

So, night to night, Rabbi Sholom would arise at midnight, recite Tikkun Chatzot, recite the daily chapter of Tehillim, then, with his flashlight, wander the streets of Jerusalem, sweetly singing, "Arise, Awake, now, not later. Dawn approaches, we must serve the Creator!"

First, he would stroll through the old city. Exiting through Jaffo Gate, Rabbi Sholom would continue through the streets of the new city, of Meah Shearim, Nachlat Shevuah, and Yemin Moshe, and even more! Shortly before dawn, he would return to synagogue, praying Shachrit with the rising sun. Many people would, time to time, accompany Rabbi Sholom, even singing along with him. Indeed, nothing would stop him. Freezing rain, the bitter cold, or even the heat - Rabbi Sholom trekked through the streets and alleys of Jerusalem, every day, without fail, singing, "Arise, awake, now, not later. Dawn approaches, we must serve the Creator!"

One morning, while strolling the streets, singing his song, as usual, "Arise, awake, now, not later. Dawn approaches, we must serve the Creator," Rabbi Sholom encountered a secular Jew, aimlessly loafing on the steps of his house. This Jew had been educated in the secular schools of the government, which the Rabbeim of Jerusalem deem "forbidden." As Rabbi Sholom passed by, singing with all his heart, with innocence, with joy and gentleness, the secular Jew, annoyed by the song, poured a bucket of filthy water in his face...

Rabbi Sholom continued on his way, as if nothing occurred. He informed no one, save the thug's family. The next day, the thug, who had ruthlessly attacked Rabbi Sholom, passed away, leaving life in this world. The cause of his passing was uncertain. His family did not connect his untimely passing with the ambush of Rabbi Sholom.

Two days later, Rabbi Sholom strolled the streets of Jerusalem, as usual, singing, "Arise, awake, now, not later. Dawn approaches, we must serve the Creator!" Yet, unlike ever before, he encountered a monstrous black dog, gruesome and vicious. This dog sat by the steps of the secular Jew's house, who had recently passed away - the steps where, three nights ago, the secular Jew ambushed Rabbi Sholom. As he passed the steps, the dog growled ferociously, and leaped towards Rabbi Sholom....

The dog landed on his feet... the dog sat down, sadly, moaning and crying. Rabbi Sholom, strong and courageous, did not fear this beast. He continued on his way, fulfilling his duties. The dog followed behind. "So what..." Rabbi Sholom pondered, "this is just some typical dog, nothing unusual, nothing to fear."

The next day, Rabbi Sholom roamed the streets of Jerusalem, singing, "Arise, awake, now, not later. Dawn approaches, we must serve the Creator!" When he reached the steps, the house of the secular Jew, the dog appeared, again! The dog growled, displaying razor-sharp teeth. It raced towards Rabbi Sholom... it leaped, high into the air, bellowing a piercing growl...

It landed by his feet, sat down, and cried. Rabbi Sholom did not think much of this, and continued on his way, singing, arousing the Jews of Jerusalem from their sleep. Only after the dog returned, day after day, did Rabbi Sholom wonder, "This dog must have some significance. In fact, it probably..." He resolved to go to the Beit Din, informing them of this peculiar, recurrent occurrence, of this mysterious dog. .

The Beit Din were concerned, upon hearing the story. Perhaps Rabbi Sholom didn't quite see a dog... perhaps it was an illusion of some sort. Rabbi Sholom had foreseen the skepticism, quite justified, of the Beit Din. So, previously, he had asked two respectable scholars to accompany him. Indeed, they witnessed the dog, and testified accordingly. "Yes," they said, "Rabbi Sholom, undoubtably, relates the accurate truth."

The Beit Din, though skeptical, questioned the family of the secular Jew, who had passed away. For the dog would appear, each night, at the steps of their house. Perhaps the mysterious dog is related to their father, who had passed away... The family laughed at such notions, such "absurdity."

That night, while sitting by the window of his house, one of the sons noticed the black dog. Mockingly, out of spite, he called out his father's name... He fell over, shocked, as the mysterious dog vaulted towards the window, barking madly, growling viciously. Frightened, the family immediately returned to the Beit Din, the following day, relating this event.

"Seemingly," resolved the Beit Din, "this dog is related to the deceased, somehow. We shall develop a 'plan of repentance'; they family must accept this, rectifying the sin of their father."

The head of Beit Din, Rav Mordechai Leib, sought the advice of the esteemed Rav Chiam. Rav Chiam, weak and sick, rarely appeared to take part in the judgments of the Beit-Din. But Rav Mordechai Leib personally went to his house, requesting his advice and assistance in this peculiar, perplexing case. Rav Mordechai Leib related the facts about Rabbi Sholom and the mysterious dog. Rav Chiam personally knew Rabbi Sholom, as they had dined together, on many occasions, on the Shabbat and festivals. "Certainly," Rav Chiam thought, "Rabbi Sholom, my friend, conveys an accurate picture of the events, without exaggeration. He is a man of upright character, indeed."

Rav Chiam entered the Beit Din, as the court greeted him with awe. The Rav sent messengers to immediately summon the family in question, who appeared an hour later, though somewhat grudgingly. The Rav addressed the family, "Your father, by attacking Rabbi Sholom, committed an unbearably evil transgression. He might have silenced the voice of Rabbi Sholom, who awakens the Jews of Jerusalem to serve the Creator, before dawn. Thus, Hashem reincarnated his soul, it seems to me, into this dog. Just like your father, this dog also disturbs the efforts of Rabbi Sholom, who awakens the Jews to study Torah and prepare to pray, before dawn."

"Therefore," commanded the Rav, sternly, "We have prepared a 'plan of repentance,' to rectify this situation. This shall free the soul of your father from the dog. Now, listen - since Jerusalem is full of houses of prayer and study, thank G-d, which your ather endeavored to interrupt, your repentance will entail (1) asking the forgiveness of Rabbi Sholom, (2) providing warm drinks for the scholars who study in the houses of prayer and study, each night, and (3) in the winter, you must also provide the synagogues and houses of study with food, to provide heat. Thus, you will rectify the sins of your father."

The family immediately accepted the verdict, the 'plan of repentance.' Indeed, even now, in recent years, this family would provide warm tea and coffee to the synagogues and houses of study, providing for the scholars of Jerusalem, immersed in Torah, as well as wood, for heating, in the winter.

The Beit-Din, after addressing the family, addressed Rabbi Sholom. "Now, Rabbi Sholom, we command you as follows: When you encounter this poor soul, trapped in the dog, say: in the name of the Rav of Jerusalem and the Beit-Din, you have already fulfilled your Tikkun... and I, Rav Sholom, forgive you!"

The next night, Rabbi Sholom encountered the beast, while strolling through the streets of Jerusalem, singing, "Arise, awake, now, not later. Dawn approaches, we must serve the Creator!" He called towards the dog, loudly, "In the name of the Beit-Din of Jerusalem and Rav Chiam, you have completed the Tikkun, rectification, of your soul, and... I forgive you, completely!" The dog instantly disappeared, never to return again...

Corrections: A woman is impure for seven days after giving birth, not eight.

"Exult, righteous ones, and sing for joy!" Mazel Tov, Mazel Tov to Emanuel Behar, our Translator! Emanuel is engaged to Hadassah Shankel. Hashem should bless them, completely and entirely, with all the bountiful blessings in the world, every day of their lives! Mazel Tov!!


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