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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Tazria-Metzorah. Vol 25.

Insight on life: One should fulfill the mitzvot of Hashem with fervent, joyous delight!

The Rambam writes, "The joy of he who rejoices in performing the mitzvot and loving the Almighty, who commanded them - this joy is a great service! All who neglect to serve Hashem with this joy, they sin, like it says, 'since you didn't serve Hashem with joy and a happy heart.' All who have course minds, and serve God to gain honor, they are foolish sinners. The Torah warns against them, saying, 'Don't be proud before the King.' All who make themselves low and humble, they merit honor, and serve Hashem from love, like King David, who was 'small in his own eyes.' For there is no real greatness and honor in serving Hashem other than rejoicing in the mitzvot, like it says, 'King David would dance and make sounds before Hashem, etc.'"

The Arizal comments further, teaching that the joy of a mitzvah must exceed the joy of experiencing anything else in the world, whether physical or spiritual pleasures. It is not enough that man fulfills the mitzvot, as he should, but he must utterly rejoice in his service! Indeed, the Arizal revealed to his students how he attained such lofty spiritual heights - through rejoicing in the mitzvot!

The Baal HaTanya, in Likkutei Torah, writes, "'Among mankind, even among the Tzaddikim, perfection does not exist, so some sin is inevitable' - no one is perfect, who only does good and completely avoids sin. Thus, man always draws some punishment upon himself. Nevertheless, through rejoicing in the mitzvot, one arouses joy 'Above,' so to speak, and mitigates any harsh judgments... All the more, he who does not rejoice in the mitzvot, he draws punishment on himself for his sins, for after all, 'perfection does not exist among mankind'."

The Source in the Parsha : "On the eighth day, circumcise the [child's] foreskin."

The Talmud teaches, "The students of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai asked him: Why is the foreskin removed on the eighth day? He answered: So the community will not rejoice, eating and drinking at the feast (Rashi), while the father and mother are still recovering." This teaches us the importance of rejoicing in the mitzvot, for the foreskin is detestable, and should actually be removed from the child immediately upon birth, but since the father and mother must rejoice in this mitzvah, the foreskin is not removed until the eighth day [after the mother has recovered]. (The holy Ohr HaChiam explains that the reason the foreskin is not removed until the eight day is based on the verses, 'the woman is impure eight days, after giving birth to a child' and 'on the eighth day, remove the flesh of the foreskin')

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

The Joy of the Holy Shabbat.

To delight in the pleasure of Shabbat, one must completely disregard his occupation and livelihood. Although one rarely finishes all the work necessary for his livelihood each week by Friday, nevertheless, he should consider all his work as complete. "Six days you shall labor, and do all your work," and if you don't quite finish all your work, just view your work as finished and complete, regardless! None of the pleasures of Shabbat are greater than this! (Rabeinu Yona, Iggeret Teshuva, name of Mechilta; Shulchan Aruch HaRav, Baal HaTanya).

Thus, in welcoming the Shabbat, Friday Night, we bless Hashem, "Who sanctifies the Shabbat, and blesses the seventh day, and brings rest, with holiness, to a people satiated with delight, commemorating the work of creation." So, with the advent of the Shabbat, all Jews must ignore their business, their occupations and material livelihood, and rejoice in receiving the Shabbat. Then, we are "satiated with delight," a delight which is unique to the Jews, from among all the nations of the world!

Secrets of the Torah:

"When a woman conceives, and gives birth to a boy" (12:2).

This week's Parsha directly follows Parshat Shemini, which speaks of forbidden foods, because a woman who eats impure foods during her pregnancy can potentially harm the child, especially blemishing the child's innate belief in Hashem and Torah. (Siftay Cohen, from Arizal)

The Siftay Cohen is based on Rashi' s commentary, "Rav Samloui says, just as the creation of man occurred after the birds and animals, so, too, the laws [of man] are explained after laws of animals and birds."

"Do not defile yourselves... for it will make you spiritually insensitive. For I am God your Lord, and since I am holy, you must [likewise] make yourselves holy, and remain sanctified!"

Surrounded by his Chassidim, Reb Chiam of Sanz sat at his table, passing out Sherai'im, leftovers from his food, as is the custom among the Chassidim. One particular Jew, who had abandoned the faith of his fathers, sat among his Chassidim. Reb Chiam passed out Sherai'im to everyone, including this non-religious Jew.

He accepted the leftovers politely. In his heart, flooded with disbelief and cynicism, he scorned this Chassidim custom, but ate the Sherai'im anyway. Afterwards, he returned home.

The next day, he sat down, hungry, ready to eat. To his amazement, he simply could not eat. He strived to eat, with all his might, but he simply could not swallow any food. All day, against his will, he could not eat!

This same problem plagued him the next day, as he just couldn't eat, no matter how hard he tried! Starving and weak, he summoned his doctor. His doctor, unfortunately, could not diagnose his problem. "But doctor, why can't I eat? I simply can't, but why?"

Utterly distraught, he sought the help of other medical experts, all to no avail. So he thought, "When did this problem begin... Hmm - Ah, after I ate the Rebbe's leftovers. Surely, the cause of my sickness is the Rebbe's leftovers... it must have been tainted."

After informing his wife, they went immediately to Reb Chiam of Sanz, complaining of the problem. Smiling, the Rebbe heard their complaints, and responded, "No, no. You are not sick." The Rebbe turned to his Chassidim, and asked for refreshments.

The Chassidim promptly brought refreshments, from the kitchen, and presented them to the Rebbe, who said, "Here, eat!" The starving, non-religous Jew devoured the refreshments after starving for nearly two days. He didn't even leave a crumb.

He realized, later, that his "sickness" entailed a sanctification of his inner organs, casued by eating the Rebbe's leftovers, the Sherai'im. Thus, his body would simply not accept forbidden, impure food. When he returned to his house, he koshered all the utensils, eradicated all impure, forbidden food from his house, and, from that day on, only ate food strictly kosher from kosher vessels and utensils. Not only that, but he returned to his heritage, the faith of his fathers, and became an enthusiastic, devoted Chassid of Reb Chiam of Sanz.

"Who will rise upon God's mountain, and stand on His holy place? He that has clean hands, and a pure heart."

The esteemed Jewish Sage, Rashi, fasted countless days, striving to know with whom he would dwell in Gan Eden. He had hidden reasons for knowing this, while still alive in this world. After striving with all his might, after many fasts and mortifications, Hashem answered Rashi. Avraham ben Gershon, from Barcelona, Spain, would dwell with Rashi, in Gan Eden, the World to Come.

Rashi, although weak and old, resolved to travel from France to Barcelona. He began the long, treacherous journey to find Avraham ben Gershon, his neighbor in Gan Eden. Rashi desired to learn of the greatness, the Torah insights, the kindness and manners of Avraham ben Gershon. When Rashi reached Barcelona, the community welcomed him with warmth and honor. Exhausted from his journey, Rashi nevertheless diligently inquired about the health of Avraham ben Gershon.

"Don Avraham! Well actually, Master Rashi, you are his guest, in his house, while you remain in Barcelona. He is rich, inhabiting a glamorous palace, with many servants..." Rashi queried further, concerning his knowledge of Torah. Hesitating, the citizens of Barcelona responded, "Don Avraham! Well, he certainly fears Hashem, being a righteous man, and is quite wise, but... well, he isn't quite a great scholar, no more than anyone else."

After the warm welcome, the townsmen escorted Rashi to the exquisite palace of Don Avraham. Servants surrounded Rashi, overlooking all his needs, as he entered the luxurious guest room in Don Avraham's place. Rashi observed that every day, the poor would gather in the palace hall, where Don Avraham would graciously distribute charity.

One day, Rashi overheard Don Avraham instructing his servants to prepare double the normal amount, to distribute to the poor, in honor of the successful Shiduch (engagement) of his daughter. Rashi asked Don Avraham, before he distributed the charity, "The groom, who will marry your daughter, is he also from a fine, distinguished family of means, like yourself?"

"Actually," replied Don Avraham, "No, not necessarily. Still, he is a fine scholar, an exemplary young man, the epitome of virtue, a fine fellow, indeed." Rashi watched as Don Avraham gave to the poor, beaming with kindness and joy, with a pleasant countenance and a soothing voice.

One woman remained, after the charity had been distributed. "Sir, Master, I didn't come here for charity. Rather, I wish to speak with you, please." "Please do. Have a seat, Madam."

The sad lady poured out her heart before Don Avraham. "Sir, I am a widow, with four children. My oldest daughter, a lovely girl, is ready to marry. In fact, we made a Shiduch for her, with a fine, distinguished student. We make this Shiduch while my husband was still alive. After my husbands death, the groom promised to care for our family. I anticipated his support, eagerly, but the Shiduch fell apart. He left my daughter..." Crying, she added, "he left my daughter... to marry the daughter of a rich woman, as he needed the money..."

"But what can I do," asked Don Avraham. "Sir," she shrieked, hysterically, "you can help, surely.... because the rich girl, who he will marry - she is your daughter..." She wept, deeply hurt.

Don Avraham was astonished. "Please, dear lady, don't despair. I will look into this issue immediately, and will certainly compensate, as best as I can." When she left, Rashi advised Don Avraham, "It would certainly be proper to appease her, and her daughter, with sufficient financial compensation." Don Avraham nodded. Then he said, "The feast for the Shiduch will occur tomorrow evening. I hereby invite the whole public, to come and rejoice, in celebration of the Shiduch!"

The next day, before the feast, Don Avraham instructed his servants to go to the widow's house, and invite her entire family to the feast. "What?" wondered Rashi, "This is quite peculiar. Why cause pain to the widow and her family. Is this necessary?" But Rashi waited, patiently, anticipating the feast.

In the evening, as the community gathered in the glorious palace hall, Don Avraham himself stood at the door, welcoming his guests. Rashi stood next to him, observing. When the widow and her four children arrived, he personally greeted them, and then instructed the band to start playing. His wife, too, received the widow and her family with joy, welcoming them, smiling, proclaiming "Mazel Tov!"

Still, the widow and her children were shocked, nervous and uncertain. Don Avraham told her, "Please, come, this is all in your honor." But this humiliated the widow even more, as she feigned smiling, while on the verge of tears. Don Avraham continued, "Please, listen to me. Your daughter was engaged to this fine young man first, not my daughter..."

"So, let it be known," Don Avraham continued, raising his voice, "the original Shiduch is hereby reestablished, and everything I promised to give to my daughter, I shall give to your daughter!" Cries of joy erupted from crowd. Rashi himself nearly fainted, from disbelief. Rashi embraced Don Avraham, kissing him, thinking, "Now I know why you will dwell with me in Gan Eden..."


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