Wednesday, February 7, 2018

[DRASHOS] mishpatim

We pierce the ear of an eved ivri who wishes to remain a slave with a claim against the ear. However the language of the claim seems a bit strange.  "Ozen sheshama" not to steal or be an eved solely to Hashem… The wording  makes it seem like the EAR did its job! The ear HEARD! So why are we punishing the ear?!
A horse that runs before its rider is settled and ready is an untrained horse. Literally, a 'vildeh ferd'. Idealistically, (& perhaps by matan torah shepaskah zuhama like adam bef. Cheit) the human ear too, should not really hear when the nefesh is not ready to be mekabel!   
There is a story about R' Akivah Eiger that he did not SEE the light at a family simcha & complained about the darkness, when the room was actually well lit, with many candles that were lit on shabbos by a goy on behalf of the Jews. The Chofetz Chaim didn't HEAR a talmid's 'white lie' and asked him numerous times to speak louder….  

R' Yeruchom Levovitz, in da'as torah in the ma'amar on b'shalach states that truthfully any limb of the body should ideally not function w/o its 'trainer'.  Although this may be an overly - lofty level for ourselves, there can be a practical application of this lesson.  Often our ears fool ourselves to feel as if we are actually doing something by hearing news, music, or even a shiur in the background when really our minds are tuned out. Perhaps we can start a practice of not physically doing things when our inner selves are not ready & attentive. Whether eating, looking around, hearing etc. When our body functions absentmindedly, our horse is running without its trainer.

Posted By Dovi milstein to DRASHOS at 2/07/2018 09:32:00 PM

[DRASHOS] beshalach

The central focus in Parshas bishalach is "az yashir". Rashi explains this to mean "az alah b'libo sheyoshir"- Then it arose in his heart (the will) to sing. The Ramban disagrees and says it just is a manner or "style" of writing. The author often places himself in a certain point in time regardless of when he is actually writing..
Both agree that the timing of this passuk is targeting the bull's eye point between the past and future, of Moshe Rabeinu about to sing. It seems to be a strange dot to focus on, on the timeline, but it is quite loudly noted, and it must be for us to glean something from it.
The Maharal - write in a few places that while a person has a cheshek for something he is in some way even "closer" to his goal than once it is achieved.
We all need to have an "alah b'libo" - a sh'ifah and desire (for the "a tefach hecher") for the next step in development and kurvah to Hashem. That heartfelt cheshek creates an attachment that doesn't exist by just performing the exercises of mitzvos and growth. The aspiration itself is a great achievement in avodas Hashem!
Perhaps the key to gaining that is also hinted in the same word -  "AZ" - look back - sh'al avicha v'yagedcha. Look at your father and grandfathers and see their greatness of character and Avodah!
In the haftorah for parshas zachor we read that Shmuel criticized Shaul, that although he was chosen for his humility and for shying away from the malchus, he was chastised for קטן אתה בעיניך  - Shaul saw himself as small.

The Bar Mitzvah boy's father has that humility about himself but he also has a tremendous dream for the future which comes from his awareness of his illustrious yichus in the past. His only hinderance is that he thinks of himself as being a kattan! Asher today you are a GADOL, and  you are truly blessed and enriched - as your name claims - to have such a father and mother and grandparents. ASHREI YOSHVEI baisecha! Look at them and let that push you ever forward.

Posted By Dovi milstein to DRASHOS at 2/07/2018 09:13:00 PM

[DRASHOS] b'shalach

Be'er moshe brings a two interesting medrashim. Immediately preceding the attack of Amalek, the Passuk states that the place where klall yisroel complained about the water was called massah u'merivah because they "argued" with Hashem. The Mechilta explains their argument was that "if Hashem gives takes care of all our needs we will serve him, if not, not. Rashi relates the mashal of a person carrying his son on his shoulders while giving his child his every fancy. After a while the child asked a stranger where his father is whereupon the father threw his son down allowing him to be attacked by a dog.
The medrash relates that when Amalek initialized their attack, they first called out to the shevatim of  Reuvain Shimon and Levi to do "business" with them.
The b'er Moshe explains That when Amalek sensed that klall yisrael's relationship with Hashem was brought down to a level of a "business relationship", Amalek tried to seize the moment and to teach klall yisroel the ways of a business relationship with G-d. To remove the warmth and passion of  "father and son relationship" and to serve Hashem with a distant coldness - al m'nas l'kabel pras -  Instead of relating like a ben and Av, klall yisrael would speak "business" with Hashem. That is the mashal Rashi uses with the son being carried by his father only to then ask a stranger if he knows where his father is…  Their tikkun as well was when in battle they raised their eyes and committed their hearts לאביהם שבשמים .

We see here  the importance of not working al minas l'kabel pras… some mitzvos come with a bit of pras, like we spoke about at Chap, there are some mitzvos that grant peiros b'olam hazeh. But interestingly enough, shabbos is not in the list! The pleasures we enjoy on shabbos are the actual mitzvah itself of Oneg Shabbos! So on shabbos we have the opportunity reap the benefits similar to "pras" but to really serve Hashem with warmth, enjoyment, passion and love to our Avinu Shebashamayim. So now on shabbos shirah let's express that warm relationship & let us join and sing shirah tonight l'avinu shebashamyim!

Posted By Dovi milstein to DRASHOS at 2/07/2018 08:50:00 PM

[DRASHOS] yisro 78

Yisro 78 R' Shimon Schwabb understands that the "davar gadol" (18.22) was brought to Moshe in order for klal yisroel to realize its great importance. And what was the davar gadol? R' Scwabb explains it is referring to what is noted in the passuk earlier - 18.20 - chukim toros, derech yeilchu bah etc. which the gemara bm 30a expounds on to mean a livelihood, bikur cholim, levayas hameis, & l'fnim mishuras hadin. Mostly "simple" morals and acts of chessed, which, if not for it coming directly from Moshe - and Hashem - people would not give them their full  respect.
Along these lines is what the commentaries tell us regarding the opening statement of Avos. "Moshe kibel torah…" is to remind us that the "morals" stated herein are from Hashem no less important and great than any other part of Torah.

I would like to add, that just as we said Na'aseh v'nishma to Hashem's Torah - there is a similar aspect we must incorporate when it comes to chessed and bein adam l'chaveiro. - Telling someone "call me if you need anything" is a polite way of avoiding chessed.  - Nishma v'na'aseh perhaps would have been ok for Hashem, but it just doesn't work in regards to chessed. In order to help others we must just DO and afterwards we can "hear" if it was really necessary etc. First we must be Na'aseh and then we can be nishma. Similarly by Matan Torah we were "Ro'in es hakolos" you don't have to wait to hear the kol of someone asking for help - we have to SEE even the unspoken words and take action.

Just as by matan Torah the women were spoken to , for them to then encourage and ensure its fulfillment in the men of their homes, so too I ask now in reverse, let the men hear this and please pass it on to the women. We have a new sister in klall yisrael and it's not often we get to wish our Av, Avraham avinu, a Mazel Tov on his daughter becoming a kallah, but that is what we are doing today as His newest daughter, became a kallah. However she needs a "sisters" to help, guide, advise, and talk to. Please encourage the n'shei chayil to jump in and be Na'aseh before Nishmah don't wait for a call, see what can be done and be there for her.  

Posted By Dovi milstein to DRASHOS at 2/07/2018 08:25:00 PM

[DRASHOS] yisro 78

Yisro 78 we all say by davening, yismach moshe b'matnas chelko that although Moshe could have kept the Torah for himself, he was happy to give it as a gift to klall yisroel. Similarly the pninei mishulachan haGra brings the gemara brachos 5a that says that unlike when a human gives something away he is a bit saddened, Hashem is happy when giving the Torah to us. This is seen all the more so when we take into account the gemara which says it's not good to give away your first acquisition. The Torah was Hashem's first as it says Hashem kanani reishis darko, and yet still Hashem was happy to give it away.
All this seems a bit strange as we've once mentioned the reason Torah is 'The best s'chora'- "lekach tov", is because even when "peddling" it to another, the original "owner" never loses it! So what exactly is so great about Hashem or Moshe being happy, no one loses anything when giving away Torah! Perhaps it's something special aout Torah, or wisdom in general, but it's certainly nothing specifically special about Hashem or Moshe?

I believe we can answer with the well-known fact that the angels were upset that Hashem was giving away the Torah. What upset them was that we became the "balabus", the authorities on the psak halacha and halacha decisions would now be "lav bashamayim he". We became the deciding factor and not the heavenly courts. This is perhaps also what happened when Moshe listened to Yisro and gave the authority of psak away to the yidden. A simple group of 3 men can now form a court and render decisions which until then were only in the hands of Moshe.

Let's appreciate the tremendous gift of the   Nosein HaTorah!

Posted By Dovi milstein to DRASHOS at 2/07/2018 08:16:00 PM