Parshas Naso: 13 – 14 Sivan – June 5 – 6, 2020

Date:     13 – 14 Sivan  – June 5 – 6, 2020

    Parshas Naso

From:    Avrohom Meir Morgenstern

In the book עמוד האמת, page 185 the Sefer brings down sayings of the Kotzker.  On the subject matter of love of a fellow Jew the following is brought down: 

אמר על עצמו: אני מסתכל רק בּמידות הטובות שׁיש בכל אדם, וכך אניבּא לאהבה אותו.

A foundation stone of understanding the Kotzker Rebbe is  אהבת ישראל.   When you read a Vort of the Kotzker you have to put in the Kotzker’s   אהבת ישראל and his great Torah scholarship. 

In November 2019 I was in Toronto and with Siattah Dishmaya I found and re-connected with Rabbi Shmuel Bowman.  In fact he was visiting his father at the Conservatory, the same building where my mother-in-law lives.   I had heard him in 2013 when he was a scholar in residence at Boca Raton Synagogue.  I hugged him and told  him what he said in 2013.  I was able to give true Jewish Nachus to his  father as I spoke in praise of his son.   As we were departing, I asked Rabbi Bowman, what is your impression of the Kotzker Rebbe.  He responded   אהבת ישראל.   I stopped in my tracks and asked, I , who is a descendant of the Kotzker, did not understand this until I spent years studying Kotzk, how do you know this about the Kotzker?    Rabbi Shmuel Bowman responded that he heard it from Rabbi Shllomo Carlbach. 

On Thursday June 4, 2020  I was at my doctor’s office listening to Rabbi Sugerman’s  Daf Yomi Shiur on YUtorah.org.   Rabbi Sugerman said  . . . דָּרֵשׁ רָבָא, מַאי דִּכְתִיב:    I immediately was filled with joy as I felt  that this Gemora is the source of the Kotzker Rebbe’s Vort on the Medresh, on the second  Pasuk of Va’era.  I paused the Shiur with my mind racing.   I called my Chavrusa immediately and told him that I believe I found the source of a difficult Kotzker Vort.  

In Parshas  וארא the following Vort is brought down:  

וָאֵרָא אֶל אַבְרָהָם  ,וגו׳ (ו ג) 

ובמדרש:   אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְמשֶׁה חֲבָל עַל דְּאָבְדִין וְלָא מִשְׁתַּכְּחִין,

יש לפרש חבל שהאבות אבדו  תקיפות דעתם בּשעה שהזהרתי אותם על גלות בניהם כּשאמרתי לאברהם כי גר יהיה זרעך ותרדמה נפלה על אברם, כּי אילו היה עומד בּתוקף שׁלא יהיה גלות כמוך אפשר לא היו משתעבּדים כלל.

Gevalt!  The Kotzker is saying that Avrohom lost his presence of mind, Avrohom lost his strength.  Had Avrohom prayed to Hashem perhaps there would not have been Golus.  

The Kotzker is telling us the power of the Tefillah of a Tzaddik, the Tefilah of Avrohom..   The Kotzker uses the first line of the Medresh as being supportive of Moshe.  There is no question that the full Medresh and Rashi  does seem to be “critical”  of Moshe.   The Kotzker is defending Moshe.   What I have to work on is reconciling the Kotzker with Rashi and the Medresh.  (I printed the entire medresh at the end of this Torah and the cases the Medresh cites that the 3 Avos did not question Hashem in no way compares to 400 years of millions of Jews of brutal suffering. )  

When I read this Kotzker in 2004, I wondered.  How can the Kotzker say a Pshat that was different from the traditional reading and understanding of the Medresh.

However, Boruch Hashem I believe that I found the source of the Kotzker while listening to Rabbi Sugeman.  

The Gemoro in Daf Yomi 89B mentions the following Memra from Rabbah:

דָּרֵשׁ רָבָא, מַאי דִּכְתִיב: ״לְכוּ נָא וְנִוָּכְחָה יֹאמַר ה׳״ — ״לְכוּ נָא״? ״בּוֹאוּ נָא״ מִיבְּעֵי לֵיהּ! ״יֹאמַר 

ה׳״? ״אָמַר ה׳״ מִיבְּעֵי לֵיהּ! 

לֶעָתִיד לָבֹא יֹאמַר לָהֶם הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְיִשְׂרָאֵל: לְכוּ נָא אֵצֶל אֲבוֹתֵיכֶם וְיוֹכִיחוּ אֶתְכֶם. וְיֹאמְרוּ לְפָנָיו: רִבּוֹנוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם אֵצֶל מִי נֵלֵךְ? אֵצֶל אַבְרָהָם שֶׁאָמַרְתָּ לוֹ ״יָדֹעַ תֵּדַע״ וְלֹא בִּקֵּשׁ רַחֲמִים עָלֵינוּ?! 

Rava taught: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Go please and let us reason together, the Lord will say” (Isaiah 1:18)? Why does the verse say: Go please? It should have said: Come please. And why does the verse say: The Lord will say? The prophet’s message is based on something that God already said. Therefore, the verse should have said: God said. 

Rather, the explanation of this verse is that in the future that will surely come, the Holy One, Blessed be He, will say to the Jewish people: Go please to your Patriarchs, and they will rebuke you. the Jewish people will say before Him: Master of the Universe, to whom shall we go? Shall we go to Abraham, to whom You said: “Know certainly that your seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years” (Genesis 15:13), and he did not ask for mercy on our behalf? 

Wow.  Rava clearly seems to be the source of the Kotzker.

How and why and what motivated the Kotzker to say his Pshat.  I believe it is influenced by the Kotzker’s    אהבת ישראל.   Moshe was standing up and defending the Jewish people.  How can we criticize Moshe for this?  After all, Moshe killed the Egyptian due to Ahavas Yisroel.  Moshe could have gone back to the palace and had the Egyptian killed in secret, yet he reacted, Moshe told Hashem that his brother, Aaron, should be the one to take out the Jews from Egypt, and  refused to accept the mission for seven days  

I looked closely at the below Medresh and saw something fascinating that appears to back up Rava and the Kotzker.  Verse 6:9 says:

לָכֵ֞ן אֱמֹ֥ר לִבְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֘ל אֲנִ֣י יְהוָה֒ וְהוֹצֵאתִ֣י אֶתְכֶ֗ם מִתַּ֙חַת֙ סִבְלֹ֣ת מִצְרַ֔יִם וְהִצַּלְתִּ֥י אֶתְכֶ֖ם מֵעֲבֹדָתָ֑ם וְגָאַלְתִּ֤י אֶתְכֶם֙ בִּזְר֣וֹעַ נְטוּיָ֔ה וּבִשְׁפָטִ֖ים גְּדֹלִֽים׃

Say, therefore, to the Israelite people: I am the LORD. I will free you from the labors of the Egyptians and deliver you from their bondage. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and through extraordinary chastisements.

Rashi on   לָכֵ֞ן explains:

  לכן. עַל פִּי אוֹתָהּ הַשְּׁבוּעָה:

לכן THEREFORE, i. e. in accordance with the tenor of that oath (cf. Exodus Rabbah 6).  Meaning because of the oath Hashem made to the   אבות, Hashem is redeeming the Jewish people from Egypt. 

However,  Rashi did not explain it like the Merdresh.    The Medresh explains the  שְּׁבוּעָה as a new oath to the Jewish people, as follows:

 וְאַתָּה תְּחִלַּת שְׁלִיחוּתִי אָמַרְתָּ לִי מַה שְּׁמִי, וּלְבַסּוֹף אָמַרְתָּ (שמות ה, כג): וּמֵאָז בָּאתִי אֶל פַּרְעֹה. וְעַל זֶה נֶאֱמַר: וְגַם הֲקִמֹתִי אֶת בְּרִיתִי, שֶׁנִּתְּנָה לָהֶם כְּמוֹ שֶׁאָמַרְתִּי לָהֶם שֶׁאֶתֵּן לָהֶם אֶת הָאָרֶץ וְלֹא הִרְהֲרוּ אַחֲרָי. וְגַם אֲנִי שָׁמַעְתִּי אֶת נַאֲקַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, לְפִי שֶׁהֵן לֹא הִרְהֲרוּ אַחֲרָי, וְגַם אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיִּשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁבְּאוֹתוֹ הַדּוֹר לֹא הָיוּ נוֹהֲגִין כַּשּׁוּרָה, שָׁמַעְתִּי נַאֲקָתָם בַּעֲבוּר הַבְּרִית שֶׁכָּרַתִּי עִם אֲבוֹתֵיהֶם, הֲדָא הוּא דִכְתִיב (שמות ו, ה): וָאֶזְכֹּר אֶת בְּרִיתִי. לָכֵן אֱמֹר לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, אֵין לָכֵן אֶלָּא לְשׁוֹן שְׁבוּעָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמואל א ג, יד): וְלָכֵן נִשְׁבַּעְתִּי לְבֵית עֵלִי, נִשְׁבַּע הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שֶׁיִּגְאָלֵם, שֶׁלֹא יִירָא משֶׁה שֶׁמָּא מִדַּת הַדִּין יְעַכֵּב גְּאֻלָּתָן. 

The Merdesh is saying because of the previous oath and bvecuase of the prayers of the Jews, even though the Jews are not acting properly, I am taking a new   שְּׁבוּעָה that I will redeem the Jews, that Moshe should not be afraid the the attribute of jusitnce will delay the redemption,  (Afterall Avrohom was told that the slavery will last 400 years, my note).  Amazing.   The Medresh seems to be saying that Hashem was responding to Moshe, when Moshe questioned Hashem.  

Either Rava and perhaps this Medresh argues on the Gemoro in Sanhedrin 111A or you figure out a way to reconcile the two.  Clearly, the Kotzker took a view based on Rava and this new understanding in the Medresh that Moshe’s  Prayer – וַיָּ֧שָׁב מֹשֶׁ֛ה אֶל־יְהוָ֖ה וַיֹּאמַ֑ר אֲדֹנָ֗י לָמָ֤ה הֲרֵעֹ֙תָה֙ לָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֔ה לָ֥מָּה זֶּ֖ה שְׁלַחְתָּֽנִי׃ and  וּמֵאָ֞ז בָּ֤אתִי אֶל־פַּרְעֹה֙ לְדַבֵּ֣ר בִּשְׁמֶ֔ךָ הֵרַ֖ע לָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֑ה וְהַצֵּ֥ל לֹא־הִצַּ֖לְתָּ אֶת־עַמֶּֽךָ׃  was a legitimate prayer and Hashem listened to Moshe.

I agree that the Medresh is not 100% either way but maybe Psat is that both prayers or lack of prayer are legitimate.  You need both.

Other thoughts: 

Thes Pshat of the Kotzker appealed to me as I felt that this more closely aligns with how I read Passek 6:1  right after Moshe questioned hashem that says:

וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהוָה֙ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה עַתָּ֣ה תִרְאֶ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר אֶֽעֱשֶׂ֖ה לְפַרְעֹ֑ה כִּ֣י בְיָ֤ד חֲזָקָה֙ יְשַׁלְּחֵ֔ם וּבְיָ֣ד חֲזָקָ֔ה יְגָרְשֵׁ֖ם מֵאַרְצֽוֹ׃ 

When I read this Passuk years ago, I felt that עַתָּ֣ה תִרְאֶ֔ה almost seems that Hashem is defending himself, Hashem feels the needs to respond to Moshe.     They are justification words, you’ll see.that things will turn out well. 

Perhaps what the Kotzker is saying is that Klal Yisroel needs a Moshe Rabbinu person, not an Avrohom Avinu person.

When Hashem told Shmual HaNavi that the monarchy is being taken away from Shaul, Shmuel begs and prays to Hashem all night.  He did not accept it quietly.  

In Veschanan, I asked the question.  Moshe prayed for a gift from Hashem.  I asked the question, can a Tzadick – leader pray to Hashem to save another person or to save his Chassidim or to save Klal Yisroel with a Matnas Chenom or must  the Tzaddik go in with fulls guns blazing saying, Klal Yisroel is owed, look at the Chesed, the sacrifices of your people..  , 

I first saw this Kotzker in January 2004 and in my mind I understood it slightly differently.  I understood the Kotzker said that  It would be natural for Avrohom to cry out – what do you mean that my children will be enslaved for four hundred years of slavery.  The Kotzker is saying even more.  

What does the Medresh and the Gemora here in Shabbos 89B mean and they are both difficult for many reasons.  The Medresh itself is difficult because of course Moshe knew that Hashem  will redeem Klal Yisrael.  My understanding is that Moshe lamented the fact that the  burden of Klal Yisroel increased significantly because of himself.  .  No one wants to be the person to have bad things happen because of them.

Full Medrash:

וָאֵרָא אֶל אַבְרָהָם, אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְמשֶׁה חֲבָל עַל דְּאָבְדִין וְלָא מִשְׁתַּכְּחִין, הַרְבֵּה פְּעָמִים 

נִגְלֵיתִי עַל אַבְרָהָם יִצְחָק וְיַעֲקֹב בְּאֵל שַׁדַּי וְלֹא הוֹדַעְתִּי לָהֶם כִּי שְׁמִי ה’ כְּשֵׁם שֶׁאָמַרְתִּי לְךָ וְלֹא הִרְהֲרוּ אַחַר מִדּוֹתָי, אָמַרְתִּי לְאַבְרָהָם (בראשית יג, יז): קוּם הִתְהַלֵּךְ בָּאָרֶץ לְאָרְכָּהּ וּלְרָחְבָּהּ וגו’, בִּקֵּשׁ לִקְבֹּר שָׂרָה וְלֹא מָצָא עַד שֶׁקָּנָה בְּדָמִים וְלֹא הִרְהֵר אַחַר מִדּוֹתָי, אָמַרְתִּי לְיִצְחָק (בראשית כו, ג): גּוּר בָּאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת כִּי לְךָ וּלְזַרְעֲךָ וגו’, בִּקֵּשׁ לִשְׁתּוֹת מַיִם וְלֹא מָצָא אֶלָּא (בראשית כו, כ): וַיָּרִיבוּ רֹעֵי גְרָר עִם רֹעֵי יִצְחָק, וְלֹא הִרְהֵר אַחַר מִדּוֹתָי. אָמַרְתִּי לְיַעֲקֹב (בראשית כח, יג): הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אַתָּה שֹׁכֵב עָלֶיהָ וגו’, בִּקֵּשׁ מָקוֹם לִנְטוֹת אָהֳלוֹ וְלֹא מָצָא עַד שֶׁקָּנָה בְּמֵאָה קְשִׂיטָה, וְלֹא הִרְהֵר אַחַר מִדּוֹתַי וְלֹא שְׁאָלַנִי מַה שְּׁמִי כְּשֵׁם שֶׁשָּׁאַלְתָּ אַתָּה, וְאַתָּה תְּחִלַּת שְׁלִיחוּתִי אָמַרְתָּ לִי מַה שְּׁמִי, וּלְבַסּוֹף אָמַרְתָּ (שמות ה, כג): וּמֵאָז בָּאתִי אֶל פַּרְעֹה. וְעַל זֶה נֶאֱמַר: וְגַם הֲקִמֹתִי אֶת בְּרִיתִי, שֶׁנִּתְּנָה לָהֶם כְּמוֹ שֶׁאָמַרְתִּי לָהֶם שֶׁאֶתֵּן לָהֶם אֶת הָאָרֶץ וְלֹא הִרְהֲרוּ אַחֲרָי. וְגַם אֲנִי שָׁמַעְתִּי אֶת נַאֲקַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, לְפִי שֶׁהֵן לֹא הִרְהֲרוּ אַחֲרָי, וְגַם אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיִּשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁבְּאוֹתוֹ הַדּוֹר לֹא הָיוּ נוֹהֲגִין כַּשּׁוּרָה, שָׁמַעְתִּי נַאֲקָתָם בַּעֲבוּר הַבְּרִית שֶׁכָּרַתִּי עִם אֲבוֹתֵיהֶם, הֲדָא הוּא דִכְתִיב (שמות ו, ה): וָאֶזְכֹּר אֶת בְּרִיתִי. לָכֵן אֱמֹר לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, אֵין לָכֵן אֶלָּא לְשׁוֹן שְׁבוּעָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמואל א ג, יד): וְלָכֵן נִשְׁבַּעְתִּי לְבֵית עֵלִי, נִשְׁבַּע הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שֶׁיִּגְאָלֵם, שֶׁלֹא יִירָא משֶׁה שֶׁמָּא מִדַּת הַדִּין יְעַכֵּב גְּאֻלָּתָן. וְהוֹצֵאתִי אֶתְכֶם מִתַּחַת סִבְלֹת מִצְרַיִם, אַרְבַּע גְּאֻלּוֹת יֵשׁ כָּאן, וְהוֹצֵאתִי, וְהִצַּלְתִּי, וְגָאַלְתִּי, וְלָקַחְתִּי. כְּנֶגֶד אַרְבַּע גְּזֵרוֹת שֶׁגָּזַר עֲלֵיהֶן פַּרְעֹה. וּכְנֶגְדָּן תִּקְּנוּ חֲכָמִים אַרְבַּע כּוֹסוֹת בְּלֵיל הַפֶּסַח, לְקַיֵּם מַה שֶּׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהלים קטז, יג): כּוֹס יְשׁוּעוֹת אֶשָֹּׂא וּבְשֵׁם ה’ אֶקְרָא, וְהֵבֵאתִי אֶתְכֶם אֶל הָאָרֶץ 

אֲשֶׁר נָשָׂאתִי אֶת יָדִי, אֶעֱשֶׂה לָהֶן מַה שֶּׁאָמַרְתִּי לַאֲבוֹתֵיהֶן שֶׁאֶתֵּן לָהֶם אֶת הָאָרֶץ וְיִהְיוּ יוֹרְשִׁין אוֹתָהּ בִּזְכוּתָן.

Postscript:

I spoke this Torah at the Glennner’s Minyan outdoor Minyan this past Shabbos.  My nephew, Naftali Glenner, one the the most recognized faces in the Frum world today, walked over after I finished speaking and held out his hand, and gave me a Yasher Koach.  Naftali is special needs and still listens to everything going on around him.  

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