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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Parshas Ki Sisa
Volume 19

When fulfilling a mitzvah, one should have the proper intentions.

"I shall make for Him a tabernacle."

Insights on life: When fulfilling a mitzvah, one should have the proper intentions ('kavanah' - mental meditation). In his mind, one has proper intentions by concentrating that: I am fulfilling this mitzvah as Hashem my G-d commanded me. If the reason of the mitzvah is explicitly stated in the Torah, then one should concentrate on this reason, while fulfilling the mitzvah. For instance, when donning tzitzit, concentrate as follows: I am fulfilling this mitzvah as Hashem my G-d commanded me, so that "you may remember and fulfill all My commandments" (Numbers 15:40). Likewise, when wrapping Tefillin, concentrate on the verse, "And it shall be a sign upon your arm, and an ornament between your eyes, for with a mighty hand, Hashem led us from Egypt" (Exodus 13:16). Another example is during the festival of Succot; concentrate on the verse: "So that your generations will know that I caused the children of Israel to dwell in booths, the Succot, when I took them from the land of Egypt" (Leviticus 23:43). If, when fulfilling the mitzvot, one does not have these intentions, which are specifically stated in the Torah, he does not fulfill the mitzvah properly.

Source in the Parsha: "You shall make vestments of sanctity for Aaron your brother, for glory, for splendor" (28:2). Specifically, regarding the breaches, we read: "You shall make the linen breaches, to cover the flesh of nakedness" (Exodus 28:42). This verse demonstrates that, while performing a mitzvah, one should concentrate on the reason for the mitzvah - in this case, "to cover the flesh of nakedness."

Insight on life: "I shall make for Him a tabernacle." Through learning Torah, one should cleave to Hashem, blessed be He. Develop for yourself a regular, daily schedule, day and night, of Torah study, according to the quantity which the laws of Torah study establish for any given person, depending on his occupation. The Baal-Tanya writes, "I shall make for Him a tabernacle and habitation by engaging in the study of the Torah... at appointed times by day and by night, in accordance with the law which was given to each individual in the 'Laws Concerning the Study of Torah' [and the Rabbis stated: Even one chapter in the morning and one chapter at night he fulfills the verse 'Let not this book of teachings cease from your lips, but recite it day and night'] and thus, his heart will be gladdened, and he will rejoice, and offer praise and thanks for his portion, with a joyous and happy heart, that he has merited to act as host to the Almighty twice daily, to the limit of his available time, and according to the capacity which God has generously bestowed upon him. And if God will lavish on him a fuller measure, then 'he who has clean hands will increase his effort' and 'a good intention.'" (Chapter 34, Likutei Amarim)

Source in the Parsha: "I shall rest My presence among the children of Israel, and I shall be their God" (Exodus 29:45).

We learn from the Midrash Rabbah: The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Israel: I sold to you my Torah, so to speak, and I sold to you Myself with her, so to speak, as it says, 'They shall take to me a portion' (Exodus). This corresponds to the parable of a king, who had but a single daughter. A second king took his daughter as a wife; this king desired to live with her in another land, in his land. So the first king said to the second king, 'My daughter, who you took, she is my only beloved daughter. To separate from her her, I can not. To demand that you return her, I cannot do either, for she is your wife. Thus, wherever you go, make for me a room, so that I may dwell near her, for I cannot depart from my daughter.'

Similarly, Hashem says to Israel, 'I gave you the Torah. To separate from her, I can not. To withhold it from you, I can not do, either. So, in every place you go, make for Me a room, that I shall dwell within it.'

The Rebbe of Lubavitch,the rebbe Rayahtz explains: The Torah is the Godly Chochmoh (wisdom), given to Israel, so the intellects of man would comprehend it; this [comprehension] is the mitzvah of Torah study. However, one mustn't negligently forget that this is Godly Chochmoh, divine wisdom! So, one constantly must 'engrave in his mind' the [fact that] the Torah is Hashem's wisdom, His divine will, His blessed will. Learn Torah for it's sake, that is, so that your soul should cleave to Hashem, blessed be He, through comprehending and engaging in Torah study, each man, according to his intellect. Such is the intention of the Midrash: One must make a room, so to speak, for Hashem, the giver of the Torah.

This insight corresponds to the teachings of the Maharal, in his introduction to Sefer Tiferet Yisrael: The Torah is precious and delightful to those who study her. But because of the love of learning Torah, the precious Torah, a scholar might, G-d forbid, neglect to love Hashem, blessed be He. Indeed, some Torah scholars pursue the Torah itself, but neglect to cleave to Hashem, blessed be He, who is the reason for the Torah. To what does this compare? To he who takes a tree, without the roots. Such a tree will never bear fruit.... However, when one recites the blessings of the Torah [and engages in Torah in order to cleave to Hashem], he consequently will have a wise son, a Torah scholar, and he certainly bears fruit; for he meditated how Hashem, blessed be He, gave us the Torah. Such a man - Hashem saves him from error, and enlightens his eyes with Torah.

Themes in the Parsha:

Why does the Torah fail to mention the name of our teacher, Moshe, in Tetzave?

"Originally, Moshe merited the priesthood, but since he neglected the words of Hashem in various instances, Hashem took away the priesthood from him, as it says, 'Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Leviite?' (Exodus 4:14). Aaron, although a Leviite, became the Cohen Gadol, the high priest.

Therefore, Hashem said to Moshe: "Instead of bringing a sacrifice of atonement, you should joyfully, lovingly make [the priestly garments] -- and this is the notion of: 'soul of the soul of the action' (Ohr HaChiam). Indeed, the Torah testifies to Moshe's humbleness, like it says, "Now the man, Moshe, was exceedingly humble" (Numbers 12:3). No envy arose in Moshe's heart, towards Aaron, because of his appointment as the high priest. Moshe did not even notice this, whatsoever. So, in this week's Torah portion, Tetzave, which speaks of the priestly garments, Moshe's name is not found. Why? Tetzave speaks of the priestly garments and the seven day period of inauguration, as above... Nevertheless, Moshe, who formed the priestly garments as an atonement (as above), performed his task with such joy and love, that the Torah does name him, indirectly.

The ways of the world ("halichot") are His. Do not read "halichot" but"halachot," Torah laws

The Chassidim ('saints') are accustomed to recite Kiddush on the night of Shabbat from the prayer book Why? When we recite Kiddush we read from the Torah: "And he made the Heavens..." Also, he who recites Kiddush helps his family fulfill their obligation. We learn that one mustn't recite wrtitten Torah by memory (Gittin, 28b). Even if one knows the words of Torah fluently, still, according to Halacha, he one mustn't say them by heart, while reciting Kiddush for other people, helping them to fulfill their obligation. (see the Bach, in the Tur, Ohr Chiam, sim. 49. It appears that this is also the opinion of the Magen Avraham, the Shulchan Aruch HaRav, as well as the Mishnah Berurah)

Secrets of the Torah:

The Choshen [breastplate] shall not be detached from upon the Ephod [apron]" (Exodus 28:28)

This is one of the 613 Mitzvot of the Torah, which are permanent and eternal. This verse hints that one's lips and heart should act in harmony. For the Choshen rested upon the heart of the priest, and the ephod (apron) is the gematria (numerical value) of Peh - of mouth. Just as the Torah commands us to not remove the Choshen from the Ephod, so must one never remove his heart from his mouth. There have been instances when the Jews did not obey this, like the prophet said, "the people have approached [Me] with their mouth, and honored me with their lips, but have kept their hearts far from me" (Isaiah 29:13).

"You need not fear the Terror by night, nor the arrow that flies by day"

***

"Observe them as days of merrymaking, of feasting... when the Jews enjoyed relief from their foes... these days of Purim shall never cease among the Jews..."

After the miracle of Purim in the days of Queen Esther, many miracles have occurred since... Many times, the congregation of Israel has been spared from annihilation and slaughter, from terror and persecution. Such days include the Purim of Tirpelee, the Purim of Kahir, the Purim of Istanbul...

***

In the court of the Sultan of Istanbul, Turkey, peculiar events occurred at night. The Sultan slept deeply, late in the night. All of Istanbul were soundly asleep, at this late hour. In the midst of his sleep, the Sultan heard someone call his name, "Sultan, Sultan." He was very frightened. He heard his name again: "Sulli-man, Silly-man - wake up, wake up! Why do you sleep? How can you lay in your bed, calmly, peacefully, while infidels dwell under your rulership. They dwell and practice their infidelity in tranquility, free from all wrath, all terror. I am a prophet, sent to you from Heaven, to save your soul... from falling into eternal punishment! Within three days, Sultan, you must expel all the Jews, the infidels, who don't believe in the truth, in our religion! Don't allow even one of these infidels remain in Turkey... alive. Get up, Sultan, awake, Sulli-mun. Fulfill my command, Sultan, if you value your life. Awake, Sultan, if..."

The Sultan sat up, suddenly. He was terrified, and dismayed. "Is this voice real, or was this a dream? What should I do?" He could not stop worrying about this mysterious voice, this message. "Oh! What shall I do?" He could not sleep for the rest of the night. He roamed his room like an angry lion locked in a cage. He roamed like this until the dawn of day...

The Sultan sought the advice of his doctor, his advisor - the Rav Moshe Ha-Amun. Although Jewish, the Sultan considered him wise. Certainly, he was wise, and possessed tremendous fear of God. Rav Moshe also held a position as a government official in Istanbul. Rav Moshe's personality and wisdom greatly impressed the Sultan. Not only did Rav Moshe serve as the Sultan's doctor - he was also his dear friend. Because of his position, the Rav had thwarted the many previous attempts to terrorize the Jews, the evil plots and schemes. Thus, for many years, the Jews of Turkey lived in tranquility and peace with their neighbors.

When the Rav came to the Sultan, he immediately sensed that something was abnormal. The Sultan's face exhibited his anxiety, his anguish. The Sultan explained to the Rav his terrible dream, and painfully concluded his story, saying, "My dear friend. I'm sorry, but I am frightened. Apparently, I must fulfill the words of the prophet..."

"No!" Shocked, the Rav hurled himself to the feet of the Sultan, and beseeched mercy for his brothers, the Jews of Turkey. "Dreams are of no worth," said he. "You needn't listen to such fancies, such whims - to dreams!" The Rav successfully convinced the Sultan to wait another day, before deciding what to do. "I hope the dream will not return, tonight," said the distressed Sultan, "for if it should return, if once again I hear the voice of the prophet, nothing can stand in my way... I will be left with no choice, but to listen..."

The Rav left the court, and gathered all the Jews of Istanbul, and declared a public fast. All of the Jewish men, woman, and children alike assembled to pray in the synagogue, to cry out to Hashem, blessed be He, to recite Psalms, to repent. The Jews cried to Hashem, fearing the sword of expulsion which lay upon their necks - or worse. Fortunately, as we shall see, their cries pierced the Heavens...

While walking home, at night, Rav Moshe suddenly encountered an old, bearded man. After greeting each other, the mysterious stranger asked to hear the decree against the Jews of Istanbul. The Rav related the decree, and the stranger responded, "The Holy One, blessed be He, watches Israel, and He doesn't slumber nor sleep! He will save the Jews from all their pains. My advice to you is: examine the secret door in the bedroom of the Sultan." The Rav clapped his hands, overjoyed, and spellbound by the mysterious stranger! Then, as he began to thank him, he was nowhere to be found! The bearded, mysterious stranger had vanished... Still, without delay, the Rav hurried to the palace of the Sultan.

"Praised to your kingship!" The Rav greeted the Sultan with great enthusiasm. "Master, upon my word, these dreams will not return! But tell me, are you aware of a secret door in your bedroom?" The Sultan thought about this, somewhat astonished. "Why, how did you know? Yes... I vaguely recall something like this... Yes! My father told me, as a child, of a secret passage adjacent to my room. Is this significant?"

"Sultan," replied Rav Moshe, "I do believe there is some connection. Perhaps I might remain in your room tonight, while you sleep. Also, perhaps some of your guards might also remain. Do chose some guards, trustworthy of course, and place them next to the secret door, the secret passageway."

Shortly after dusk, the Sultan fell asleep. The moon glowed in the night sky. While the Sultan, and the city of Istanbul, soundly slept, the Rav with the guards remained awake, listening, waiting. A couple hours past, and the night was silent. But suddenly, they heard a noise. As expected, this noise was from the secret door, the secret passageway. A malicious voice began to speak, "Sulli-man, Silly-man, Sultan, why do you sleep! I am the prophet, sent to save you! Why do you not listen to me? What are you waiting for? I am he who is sent..."

This time, however, the prophet did not quite finish his prophecy. As the guards broke the door, and grabbed the astonished prophet, the truth was revealed! The Sultan awoke, and to his great surprise, realized that the prophet was none other than his advisor. Outraged, the Sultan decreed his execution to publicly occur during the upcoming day, without delay.

The Jews and Rav Moshe were delighted! Just as their ancestors were spared, as their tormentor was hung, they, too, were spared, with the hanging of the 'prophet,' the Sultan's evil advisor. On this day another miracle transpired, once again.

Now, we offer: Two tapes on Purim, & Stories from the Zohar! Thank you very much, and remember, your monthly contributions are essential for our continued success - publishing, printing, and disseminating forthcoming editions!!


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