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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One needs to be joyful while performing a mitzvah.

Insight on life: One needs to be joyful while doing a mitzvah. All who avert themselves from the joy of doing a mitzvah deserve to part from Him. "For there is no greatness nor honor but to be joyful before Hashem". As one performs a mitzvah, he will become joyful in his heart having merited to be a servant to the Supernal King of which the higher beings bow unto. King David, peace to him said: "I rejoice over Your commandments as one who obtains great spoil" (Psalms 119:162). All who perform a mitzvah with joy receive one thousand times more than one who's mitzvah is burden and troublesome. Moreover, The Holy One blessed be He rests the Spirit of Holiness in his midst gladdening his heart and filling it with love of the Creator. Likewise his soul is bound in joy, thereby meriting both hidden mystical and profound insights from above... Praise worthy is the soul that attains this joy, as our Sages of blessed memory said "The Shechina, the Divine Presence, only rests where there is joy" (Brochot 31a). This is in accordance with what the Arizal revealed to his disciple, that all the levels which come to a man are in the merit of joy from a mitzvah.

"For through joy and an open heart one will come to zeal"(Tanya chapter 26).

There are two divisions of Zeal: one relating to the period before, and the other to the period after the beginning of the deed. The concern of the former is that a man not permit a mitzvah to grow stale, that when the time for its performance arrives, or when it happens to present itself to him, or when the thought of performing it enters his mind, he make haste to take hold of the mitzvah and perform it, and not allow much time to elapse in the interim. Our Sages of blessed memory say , "A man should always advance himself towards a mitzvah" likewise, "The zealous advance themselves towards mitzvoth" (Pesachim 4a), and "A man should always run to perform a mitzvah, even on the Sabbath."

The Concern of "Zeal after the beginning of the deed" is that a man, after taking hold of a mitzvah, make haste to complete it. This is shown in the Midrash on the verse "and she (Rivkah) hastened and emptied her pitcher..." and in the Midrash (Bamidbar Rabbah 10.17), "'And the woman made haste' (Judges 13:10)-which teaches us that all of the deeds of the righteous are done quickly," that they do not permit time to elapse before beginning them, or in completing them.

The source in the Parsha: "This day, Hashem, your G-d, commands you to perform..." (26:16). Rashi says, "Every day one is to think of the mitzvahs as fresh and exciting, as if they had been commanded today." Immediately afterwards is the verse, "Be attentive and hear, O Israel-this day you have become a people to Hashem, your G-d"(27:9). Rashi says, "One is to think daily that he made the covenant this very day."

"There is an important principle in Torah and Mitzvahs: One is to perform the mitzvahs as if they had been commanded today, thereby contemplating as if he made the Covenant with Hashem this very day."

When one will perform mitzvahs with zeal and great joy then they will not be like "commandments stale and old."

The Arizal explains the verse "because you did not serve Hashem, your G-d, amid gladness and goodness of heart," that one needs to be joyful in the performance and fulfillment of a mitzvah more than anything else that causes him joy in this world, and in the world to come, which are reserved for him from Hashem Blessed be He. Above this simcha, one needs to be joyful in a mitzvah that presents itself to him. Hence, the meaning of the verse, "because you did not serve" is that although you served Hashem by fulfilling the mitzvah, however, because you did not serve amid gladness and goodness of heart-therefore this is deserving to you.

Regarding the zeal to fulfill a mitzvah the Sages of blessed memory said, "A man should always advance himself towards a mitzvah."

It is written: "It is the zeal of our father Abraham, peace to him, that stands by us and our children forever. For the Akedah [binding of Isaac] itself is not really regarded as so great a test in relation to the level of our father Abraham, peace to him, especially as Hashem said to him, 'please take your son...' (Genesis 22:2). After all, there are numerous saints who gave their lives for the sanctification of the Lord.... However, our father Abraham, peace to him, did this [bound Isaac on the alter, etc.] with a wondrous zealousness to show his joy and desire to fulfill the will of his Master and to cause gratification to his Maker" (Igeret HaKodesh, Chapter 21 in Tanya).

The Ways Of The World ("Halichot") Are His. Do not Read "Halichot" But "Halachot," Torah Laws

Recitation of the Rabbi's Kaddish /Kaddish D'Rabbanan after learning.

A custom of all Israel: One recites Kaddish only when he concludes with a verse from the Written Torah or Agada which is a sermon of a verse. However one does not recite Kaddish when concluding with a verse from the Oral Torah for it is not a sermon of a verse. Therefore it is customary after reciting Pirke Avot to say the Agada, "Rabbi Chananyah ben Akashya said..." and also after Pitum HaKetores and UbeMah Madlikin one recites the Agada, "Rabbi Elazar said in the name of Rabbi Chanina: Torah Scholars ...." Accordingly, at the conclusion of Mishnayot one recites Agada afterwards in order to recite Kaddish. (With the exception of when one learns Aizehu Mekoman, Where were the places...etc.) (Shulchan Aruch HaRav sim. 54)

Secrets of the Torah

"It will be that when you enter the Land that Hashem, Your G-d, gives you as an inheritance, and you possess it, and dwell in it, that you shall take of the first of every fruit" (26:1-2).

"I glanced in this Parsha (KiTavo) which also alludes to the entering of the Supernal Land, and it says, 'It will be that when you enter'--that truly a man is only deserving to be joyful when he enters the Supernal Land as is written, 'She looks to the future cheerfully' (Proverbs 31:25), for the joy of this world in truth is futility. The Torah continues explaining upon which Land the verse speaks of : 'Land that Hashem, Your G-d, gives you as an inheritance,' for the Supernal Land is called an everlasting inheritance.

The verse emphasizes, 'gives you' for all that a man will accomplish in favor of him will not amount to even one thousandth of a thousandth of what the Supernal World is worth. Therefore it is written 'gives you' as a gift. Nevertheless, a man needs to work in this world to fulfill Torah and mitzvahs as it is written, further in the verse, 'and you possess it, and dwell in it:'

The verse continues, 'that you shall take...' the Holy Zohar elucidates; all the mitzvahs and good deeds a man accomplishes while he is still alive accumulate until the day of his journey to the world to come. Then with these mitzvahs he embraces the King, as it is written, 'Your Righteous shall march before you'(Isaiah 58:8). The verse then further states 'you shall take of the first of every fruit' suggesting that when receiving the King one is to take in his hand only those deeds which are chosen for him to do in this world." (Ohr HaChaim)

From "The Epistle": "On Rosh Hashanah 5507, I elevated my soul... Step by Step I ascended, until I entered the chamber of the Messiah. There, he studies Torah with all the sages and saints, as well as with the Seven Shepards. I saw great joy there... I spoke to the Messiah himself, and asked, When is your majesty coming? The King Messiah replied, This shall be your sign: it will be a time when your teachings become widespread in the world, and 'your springs overflow abroad.'"

In Elul 5458 in Okop, the Baal Shem Tov came into the world, to the delight of his parents, Rabbi Eliezer and Sarah. A prodigy from birth, he strived to hide his brilliance, his innate gifts and spiritual greatness. In his childhood, he would meditate alone, in the fields and woods, often missing his lessons, to the rage of his teachers. According to tradition, the Secret Society of Kaballists started teaching him, in the path of the Mystics, at the age of fourteen. When eighteen years of age, the Baal Shem Tov already attained a significant role in the Secret Society, though outwardly, he remained the simple caretaker of the local synagogue. He moved from Okap to Brody, where he lived as a teacher of young children. There, the Baal Shem Tov married the daughter of Rabbi Ephriam of Brody, though to the dismay of Rabbi Ephriam's son, Gershon of Kitov, who considered the Tzaddik an ignorant boor, as he might have appeared, on the surface.

The Baal Shem Tov lived with his wife near Kitov, where day and night he would seclude himself in the mountains and caves, where he would pray, meditate or study, coming home only on the Shabbat; he did so for seven years, mastering both the revealed and the innermost, hidden aspects of the Torah. He then worked as a shochet in Koslowitz, on the surface, until he revealed himself to the world in 1734, as he assumed leadership of the Secret Society of Kaballists.

Until his passing in 1760, the Baal Shem Tov founded the Chassidic movement, changing the face of Judaism; and, indeed, the fate of the universe (see "The Epistle," above). Since the close of the Talmudic period, the Kaballah, the inner essence of all Jewish thought and ritual, had formerly resided in the province of only the foremost scholars and Kaballists, unaccessible to the common or simple Jew. Yet through the Chassidic movement, the general principles of mystical thought, as well as basic methods of meditation and worship, became available to all, scholar and layman alike. The Oneness of God, the nature of reality, this purpose of creation -- through the study of Chassidus, the hidden, esotaric wisdom of the Torah, so essential to understanding the essence thereof, became knowable to all, for the first time since the days of the Talmud; and the ways of Shimon bar Yochai, the Arizal, the Tzaddikim of Israel, became now an integral aspect in the life of each Chassid. Through prayer, joy, hisbodedus (meditation), and study of Chassidus (the inner meaning of Torah), all Jews, taught the Baal Shem Tov, could attain substantial spiritual heights and fulfillment, each playing his significant, unique role in Hashem's world, lovingly serving the Creator, Master of the Universe.

The Challah, and Feast of David: Part I

"You push man down, until the crushing point, and say: Return, children of man!" (Psalms 90).

In a town near Mezivoz lived a simple, G-d fearing merchant. A Chassid of the sacred Tzaddik, the Baal Shem Tov (may his merit rest upon us!), the merchant would eat every Shabbat meal with his Rebbe. One Saturday night, after Shabbat, the Baal Shem Tov asked him for a favor. "This is a major, significant task, so, you must guarantee that you will carry it out. Please, assure me you will fulfill my request." "Okay," replied the merchant, "I assure you, with G-d's help, to the best of my ability, I will fulfill your request, Rebbe."

Nervous, the merchant anticipated the task. He waited, as the Rebbe instructed his Shamash to place the leftover Challah from the Shabbat meal in a sac. The Baal Shem Tov took the sac, handed it to the merchant, and instructed him as follows: "When you return home, tonight, go to the priest's house. Ask him if you might spend the night at his home. He will look at you, in wonderment, but he will not turn you away. He will welcome you, in fact. So, accept his hospitality, and you will know what must be done..."

On the verge of fainting, the color drained from the merchants face, leaving it pallid, ghostly pale. "Imagine, to go to the priests house... ooohh...," he thought to himself, "such a terrible, dark, gruesome place, such evil. And more, I should sleep there! Hashem, Master of the Universe, save me!" The merchant, however, possessed such utter simple and unquestioning belief in the sacred Tzaddik, the miracle worker, the awesome Baal Shem Tov. He nodded his head in agreement, overcoming the initial shock.

* * *

He returned home, his heart pounding. Slowly, he approached the dark entrance to the priests house. Reluctantly, he lifted his hand, knocking on the door. "Unbelievable," he mused, "that all my life, I avoided this street, even, out of such deep disgust. And now, here I am, standing at his house, knocking..." A servant opened the door, greeting the merchant with suspicion, "Yes, do you want something?" "Well, I'd like to speak to the priest, if I may," the merchant replied.

"Why so, might I inquire," demanded the servant, sneering. The merchant, brazen and bold, responded, "I'd like to spend the night." The servant shut the door, and summoned the priest. "Sir, another Jew has appeared at your door, asking to spend the night." Dumbfounded, the priest anxiously approached the door, thinking, "How perplexing! Since beginning of my service, I have endeavored to bring the Jews under the wings of ---, but never have I had success. But today - two Jews come to me, on their own accord? Two Jews, on one single day?" He scratched his head, baffled. He ruminated further, concluding, "This is quite a rare occasion. I will have to contact higher authorities. Until then, certainly this Jew should spend the night." He opened the door, inviting the merchant into his house. "Please, follow me," said the priest, smiling. "You can stay with your fellow Jew, tonight. He also reached the same conclusion as you, and desires to abandon his heritage, the faith of his fathers, the Torah of Moses - and convert to our side," said the priest, viciously scowling. He continued, "Tomorrow, after consulting the Bishop, I will inform you of the details of your conversion..."

Needless to say, the merchant was shocked. Who said anything about conversion? But another Jew? Another Jew is here, who wants to convert, G-d forbid? Nonsense! The merchant followed the priest to the room. He entered the room, and virtually fainted. His blood froze, his breath left, and chills pierced his body; trembling, he nearly collapsed. For the merchant had expected to see an abnormal or hurt person - who else would convert?

But when he saw a respectable, decent looking Chassidic Rabbi, he simply refused to believe his senses. Is this possible? Nevertheless, he managed to maintain a calm appearance, to deceive the priest. The priest left, sneering, leaving the two Jews to discuss their new destiny - or so he thought. The respectable Jew asked, "Have you any food, for I am so hungry?" "No," replied the merchant, still startled, "I'm sorry, I don't. Didn't the priest feed you?"

"My stomach is screaming! Oh, sorry. When I came, I expected the priest to sprinkle his water on me right away, and I would abandon my faith immediately. But, still, I'm Jewish. Until I convert, I guess I can't really eat his meat, bread or wine, 'cause it's treif. He did offer me, though. It's a confusing period, in my life..." Confounded, the merchant could simply not fathom the whole scenario. The merchant stared ahead, blankly, utterly lost in his thoughts... and he remembered the Challah. "Wait! I do have some food, quite kosher, as well! Please, have some Challah."

Gasping, the confused Jew eagerly reached out his hands, to accept the bread. "Wait just one moment," the merchant suddenly remarked, holding back the bread, "If you are still Jewish, you have to wash, and recite the blessing on your hands, and on the bread." Laughing, he replied, "Why, you're right! Not bad! I will do as you say." He washed, recited the blessing over his hands, and recited Hamotze, over the bread. Passionately, he lifted the bread, took a large bite, and swallowed it... upon which he fell over, landing flat on his face, void of all consciousness... and sign of life.

The merchant jumped to his feet. He massaged the poor Jew, slapped his face, and poured water on him. The merchant tried to revive him, awaken him. The poor but respectable-looking Jew, sprawled on the ground, regained consciousness. He opened his eyes, and stared screaming.

To be continued...

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