Shabbos Parshas Naso

June 11, 2022

Rabbi Yair and Tanya Halevi Eisenstock – Scholars in Residence

This past Wednesday, June 8th, we drove to Toronto.  We dropped Chani off at Midway airport at 3:30 PM and left to Toronto.  We got to Toronto at 3:00 AM Thursday morning. Tough drive.  Serka drove the last two hours.

Friday June 10, 2022 – BAYT’s Shabbos booklet:

I read in the above Shabbos Booklet  that this week at the BAYT they have scholars in residence, Rabbi Yair and Tanya Halevi (Eisenstock).  I was very excited and planned to attend the Tisch Friday night.   

Rav Yair Halevi (Eisenshock)  Bio:

Rav Yair is a Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshiva Torah Vavodah.  http://www.tvaisrael.org/meet-our-staff1.html

Rav Yair received his rabibnic ordination from the Rabbinate of Israel and Yehsivat Hamivtar, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yeshivat_HaMivtar, as well as a B. Ed and a M. Ed Degree in Talmud and Tanach form the Herzog College.  Rav Yair was a director of the overseas Program at Yeshivat Hesder Otniel where he also served as Ram to both Israeli and overseas first year students.  Rav Yair went to work at Yeshivat Orayta where he served as Director of Informal Education, a Ram and Rosh Kollel in the Yeshiva.  During the summers Rav Yair has been involved in Bnei Akiva programs and worked with the Kol HaNearim program.  He also served in the Infantry Corps in the IDF.:

Tanya Halevi Bio:

Tanya is the director of the Kol Hanearim organization that works with Emunah Children’s homes in Israel.  Prior to this, Tanya worked at Midreshet HaROva, as well as Ulpanat Orot whirle she and her husband were here on Shlichut in Toronto.   Tanya has a B. Sc and a B. Opt and has done numerous educational seminars.   Her and her family have recently moved to the Dagan in Efrat. Maiden name is Glassman.

Shabbos Friday night:

Davened at the BAYT.  Ate and went to the Tisch at 9:30 PM, by Steven and Alina Mayers, 49 Michael Crt..  I was surprised.  I thought the tisch would be crowded and it was relatively full, but not standing-room only.    There were a few middle aged people and quite a few kids in their late teens and early 20s, which made sense.  Rav Yair was a teacher at Orach Chaim, the Bnei Akiva Yeshiva in Toronto when he and his wife were Shiluchim.   I looked around and looked at myself.   There is alway a question on IQ tests in which you are shown 4 things and you have to answer which does not belong.  It was a Beni Akiva crowd, a lot of Kippah Seruga’s.   I was wearing a black hat, and older than everyone else.  When you looked around the room, I was clearly the one who did not belong.  However, I wanted to speak and as the night went on, I looked at Rav Yai and said, I bet you are wondering who I am.  I asked to speak and spoke for about 15 minutes discussing the original Chassidic masters.  The next day Tanya Halevi thanked dme for speaking.  It was Leibadic with lots of singing.  Tanya Halevi spoke at the Tisch and she told a great story about her husband.    

The evening was inspirational.

Shabbos Morning, June 12, 2022:

Davened in the building’s minyan.  Minyan was outside and it was beautiful.  After Davening went to the BAYT to hear Rabbi Yair.  Spoke about Birchas Kohanim.  There was an Auf Ruf in Shul. Noah Zionce ismarring Eliana Grunbaum.    Went to the Kiddush and had some good Potato Kugel.  Tanya HaLevi told me she enjoyed my speech.  On the way home I  spoke to Rabbi Chaim Metzger about the Aleppo Codex.  He was familiar with it  and we had a spirited discussion.  He is the Rabbinic intern at the BAYT and is moving to Israel at the end of the summer.  He is applying for jobs but has nothing yet.  

Had the Shabbos meal.  Then went to Alesha and Mordy Rothman for a second meal.  They had good Spanish rice and Chinese chicken.  Afterwards Alesha Rothman  came to visit Bubi.  Overall a great Sahabbos.

Torah from Shabbos: I learned the first Kli Yakar on the Parsha.   

נשא את ראש בני גרשון. היה לו למנות תחילה את בני גרשון הבכור, ומה שרצו לתקן זה במדרש הרבתי (ו א) לומר שלפי שנמסר משא הארון אל קהת ע”כ מנאו תחילה לכבוד הארון היא גופא קשיא למה לא מסר משא הארון אל הבכור לכבדו ביתר שאת ועוז התורה אשר לה משפט הבכורה.

והקרוב אלי לומר בזה, שרצה הקב”ה להראות שכבוד חכמים ינחלו    the wise will inherit honor-  כדי ללמד דעת את העם שיכבדו את לומדי התורה ולקרא לקדוש ה’ מכובד לקדשו בכל דבר שבקדושה, כדרך שמנה את קהת תחילה בעבור משא דבר ה’ אשר אתו ואילו היה נותן הארון לגרשון הבכור הייתי אומר שבעבור הבכורה מנאו תחילה ולא הייתי תולה החשיבות במשא הארון ע”כ מסר הארון אל קהת ומנאו תחילה וידעו הכל ליתן כבוד לתורה וללומדיה. אך מדסמך בעל המדרש ענין זה לפסוק יקרה היא מפנינים (משלי ג טו) she is more precious than rubies – כדאיתא ברבתי ודאי כוונתו להורות שכתר תורה הפקר לכל וע”כ לא ניתן הארון אל הבכור שלא יהיה תפארתו לומר אני ראוי לכתר תורה יתר מזולתי אלא הכל שוין בה לכך נאמר יקרה היא מפנינים. היינו מכ”ג שנכנס לפני ולפנים כי לכתר כהונה אין זוכה כ”א מי שהוא מזרע אהרן אבל כתר תורה הפקר לכל והכל זוכין אליו, ויקרה היא מפנינים, מכתר מלכות שיש לו זהב ורב פנינים ואין זוכה בו כ”א מי שהוא מזרע דוד אבל לכתר תורה הכל זוכין ומטעם זה דרש ברבתי יקרה היא מפנינים מן הבכורה כד”א וזאת לפנים בישראל, (רות ד ז) כי אל הבכורה אין זוכה כ”א מי שנולד ראשונה אבל לתורה הכל זוכין. ד”א לכן לא ניתן משא הארון אל הבכור שלא תזוח דעתו עליו ביותר. וי”א הטעם לפי שמן קהת יצאו משה ואהרן מקבלי התורה.

Take the count. The likely explanation for this is that the Holy One wanted to show that “the wise shall inherit honor.” The nation needed to be taught that they should honor those that study Torah, and that “the holy of Hashem should be honored,” to give them precedence in every matter of holiness. Thus, Kehos was counted first because they carried the Aron with the word of Hashem. If the Aron had been given to Gershon, the firstborn, and his family was counted first, we might have thought he was counted first because he was the firstborn and we would not have attached the importance to being the bearers of the Aron. Therefore, the Aron was given to Kehos and he was counted first. Thus, all would know to give honor to the Torah and those who study it. Another explanation: The task of carrying the Aron was not given to the firstborn so that he would not become haughty. Some say the reason Kehos was counted first is because of Moshe and Aharon, who received the Torah, and were descended from Kehos.

I asked from the Mishna in Pirkei Avos that says:

רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר, הֱוֵי זָהִיר בַּתַּלְמוּד, שֶׁשִּׁגְגַת תַּלְמוּד עוֹלָה זָדוֹן. רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן אוֹמֵר, שְׁלשָׁה כְתָרִים הֵם, כֶּתֶר תּוֹרָה וְכֶתֶר כְּהֻנָּה וְכֶתֶר מַלְכוּת, וְכֶתֶר שֵׁם טוֹב עוֹלֶה עַל גַּבֵּיהֶן: 

Rabbi Judah said: be careful in study, for an error in study counts as deliberate sin. Rabbi Shimon said: There are three crowns: the crown of torah, the crown of priesthood, and the crown of royalty, but the crown of a good name supersedes them 

What does it mean that the crown of a good name supersedes them?  Is the crown of a good name a fourth crown.  Most people are naturally nice and there is nothing special that he or she does, so what does it mean that the crown of a good name supersedes them. I agree that perhaps in the time of Chazal most people were nasty because life was tough.  The Kli Yakur and the Medresh in Nasso does not talk about the crown of a good name?   The Miforshim say that the Crown of a good name is not a separate crown,  The Mishna means that the above three crowns mean nothing unless the king, Cohen, and Talmud Chachom are good people and do good deeds.  

Can the Mishna be understood that a good name exceeds that of the crown of Torah or is it only good for speeches, “he is a good guy”?  I do not know.  I have to look up the Kotzker.

Shabbos Parshas Bechukosai

May 28, 2022

I davened by Bnei Ruvain.  The Benjamins were making a Seudas Hodah for the recovery of their son (Refael) Mechail Benjamin, who last Rosh Hashanah suffered burns over 55% of his body.  Michail looks good.   Aryah Benjamin, the father, spoke for 45 minutes adn talked about the ordeal the family went through, the community support, the time the hospital doctors said,all is lost, and  the miracles.  Aryah said that Michael always does things right.  When he burnt himself over 55% of his body, it was the right 55%.  The doctor was Dr. Schwartz who decided to put in Michael’s neck a third PICC line.  .  A PICC line is a thin, soft, long catheter (tube) that is inserted into a vein in your child’s arm, leg or neck. The tip of the catheter is positioned in a large vein that carries blood into the heart. The PICC line is used for long-term intravenous (IV) antibiotics, nutrition or medications, and for blood draws.  Oxygen was not getting into Michael”s body and his organs started shutting down.  Dr. Schwartz decided to put in a second oxygenator through the third PICC line.  Dr. Schwartz said that in all of his 30 years of his burn ward practice he never put ina third PICC line or a second oxygenator.   An oxygenator is a medical device that is capable of exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood of a human patient during surgical procedures that may necessitate the interruption or cessation of blood flow in the body, a critical organ or great blood vessel.  

Cheryl Steiner came in from Toronto to be with the family.

Torah:

I saw the beautiful Kotzker below.  The Kotzker is self explanatory.   The Kotzker speaks to the human condition.  The Yeshiva world explains this Medresh that Dovid would always end up in the Bais Medrash and not do the work he had to do.  The Kotzker asks, cannot be.  If King David wanted to go to look at the defenses of Yerushalim or look at the waterworks, that is where he went.

Notice in the answer, the Kotzker says that when Dovid went to do his physical labor בּעסקים הגשמיים- with a  חשבּון-, he had an increased desire to learn and delve into the Torah.  The Kotzker does not define   בּחשבּון and we are free to interpret.  Most of us would interpret with the understanding that Dovid was working on behalf of the nation of Israel and therefore was doing Hashem’s work.  You could say with a little twist that once we do work that helps ourselves, our people, and humanity, we connect to Hashem and to his Torah.

I also worked on the first Pasuk of the Parsha. Verse 26:3 says:

 אִם־בְּחֻקֹּתַ֖י תֵּלֵ֑כוּ וְאֶת־מִצְוֺתַ֣י תִּשְׁמְר֔וּ וַעֲשִׂיתֶ֖ם אֹתָֽם׃ 

If you follow My laws and faithfully observe My commandments,

Rashi says:

אם בחקתי תלכו. יָכוֹל זֶה קִיּוּם הַמִּצְווֹת, כְּשֶׁהוּא אוֹמֵר וְאֶת מִצְוֹתַי תִּשְׁמְרוּ וַעֲשִיתֶם אֹתָם הֲרֵי קִיּוּם הַמִּצְווֹת אָמוּר, הָא מָה אֲנִי מְקַיֵּם אִם בְּחֻקֹּתַי תֵּלֵכוּ? שֶׁתִּהְיוּ עֲמֵלִים בַּתּוֹרָה (ספרא):

ואת מצותי תשמרו. הֱווּ עֲמֵלִים בַּתּוֹרָה עַל מְנָת לִשְׁמֹר וּלְקַיֵּם, כְּמוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר “וּלְמַדְתֶּם אֹתָם וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם לַעֲשֹׂתָם” (דברים ה’):

I never realized that both ideas in the Pasuk according to Rashi talk about studying Torah diligently.  I looked at the Mizrachi and Sefisei Chacomin who talk about this.

Mizrachi:

אם בחקותי תלכו יכול זה קיום מצות כשהוא אומר ועשיתם אותם הרי קיום מצות אמר הא מה אני מקיים אם בחקותי תלכו שיהו עמלים בתורה. בתורת כהנים פי’ אם בחקותי תלכו וכן ואת מצותי תשמרו א”א לפרש לא זה ולא זה בקיום המצות שהרי כתוב אחריהם ועשיתם אותם שמורה על קיום המצות א”כ עכ”ל דאם בחקותי תלכו ואת מצותי תשמרו תרויהו ביהו עמלים בתורה קמיירי אלא דחד מנייהו בסתם עמלין וחד מינייהו בעמלין על מנת לשמור ולקיים:

כמו שנאמר ולמדתם אותם ושמרתם לעשותם. דשמירה בלב משמע שישמרו בלבם בעת שהם עמלים בה לעשות כל האמור בה וזהו ששנו בתורת כהנים וכה”א זכור את יום השבת לקדשו יכול בלבך כשהוא אומר שמור הרי שמירת הלב אמורה הא מה אני מקיים זכור שתהא שונה בפיך:

Sefsai Chocomin:

הרי קיום מצות. ה”ג כשהוא אומר ועשיתם אותם הרי קיום מצות אמור וכו’ ואם כן פירוש ואם בחקותי תלכו בעמלים סתם ואת מצותי תשמרו בעמליים ע”מ לשמור ולקיים: 

שתהיו עמלים בתורה. מדכתיב תלכו ולא כתיב תלמדו אלא ללמד שתלכו אחר דרש חכמים: [נח”י] דייק מדכתיב תלכו דכיוצא בזה מצינו לשון הליכה בירמיה על עזבם את תורתי ולא הלכו בה. וכמו הוי כל צמא לכו למים שמורה על התעסקות בתורה:

ע”מ לשמור. רצונו בזה דהא אחרי כן כתיב ונתתי גשמיכם וגו’ והוי משמע שיתעסקו בתורה ע”מ שיקבלו שכר והלא אמרו רז”ל אל תהיו כעבדים המשמשין את הרב ע”מ לקבל פרס ל”פ ע”מ לקיים כמו שנ’ ולמדתם אותם ושמרתם לעשותם דמשמע שישמרו בלב בעת שעמלים בה לעשות כל האמור בה:

Additional Torah form the new Emes Vemunah:

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Rabbi Revah’s Shiur

The Kotzker Rebbe on the 

Tzidkus of Chanoch

Chovos Halevavos and the Kotzker

Rabbi Revah is learning Chovos Halevavos in Shiur.  The portion we are learning today deals with the reasons why the Torah does not describe the reward for doing Mitzvos are in the next world.    The Chovos Halevavos says that certain great Tzadikiem who are already attached to the next world are shown their reward in the next world.  He brings down a Pasuk in Zechariah that says that Yehoshua Cohen Gadol was shown his reward in the next world because he understood what the next world is all about. The Chovos Halevavos writes:

אחד הטעמים הוא: מפּני שׁאין אנו משׂיגים איזה צורה ישׁ לנפשׁ כּשׁהיא בּלי גוף, ומכּל שׁאין בּכחנו להשׂיג איזה דברים גורמים לה תענוג וצער כּשׁהיא בּמצב זה, וה׳ פּרשׁ את הדברים הללו רק למי שׁמבין את הענין הזה, כמו שׁאמר ה׳ ליהושׁע הכּהן הגדול (זכריה ג ז): ונתתי לך מהלכים בּין העמדים האלה  (עג)          

עג. בּין העמדים האלה, בין השׂרפים ומלאכי השׁרת העומדים פּה. (רשׁי ומצודת דוד)

We see that the reward for great people, great Tzadikim in the next world, is to be an angel on a higher level than angels who were created by God. Angels created by God are called עומדים.  They are stationary, they cannot go up in levels of spirituality.  People are called מהלכים because humans can go up and up in levels of Holiness, by doing MItzvos, learning Torah and connecting to God.  Yehoshua Cohen Gadal will be better than an angel.  He will be an angel directory connected to God with the ability to continue to grow.

 When I heard this piece from the Chovovs Haelaovos,  I told Rabbi Revah that this is the source of the Kotzker on Chanoch. The Kotzker learned the Chovos Halevavos, refer to Page 4..  

The Chumash says in Bereshis 5:24 –  וַיִּתְהַלֵּ֥ךְ חֲנ֖וֹךְ אֶת־הָֽאֱלֹהִ֑ים וְאֵינֶ֕נּוּ כִּֽי־לָקַ֥ח אֹת֖וֹ אֱלֹהִֽים׃.  

Rashi says:

ויתהלך חנוך. צַדִּיק הָיָה וְקַל בְּדַעְתּוֹ לָשׁוּב לְהַרְשִׁיעַ, לְפִיכָךְ מִהֵר הַקָּבָּ”ה וְסִלְּקוֹ וֶהֱמִיתוֹ קֹדֶם זְמַנּוֹ, וְזֶהוּ שֶׁשִּׁנָּה הַכָּתוּב בְּמִיתָתוֹ לִכְתֹּב וְאֵינֶנּוּ בָּעוֹלָם – לְמַלְּאוֹת שְׁנוֹתָיו ‏(בראשית רבה):

The Kotzker Rebbe asks on Rashi, how can you say that Chanoch was Kal Bidato, when Chanoch became the angel מט״ט?  Since Chanoch became the angel Mitat, it must be that Chanoch was a great Tzadick in this world.  How do we understand Rashi who seems to diminish Chanoch?   We see from the Chovos Halevavos and the Pasuk in Zechariah  that great Tzaddikim become high level angels.  This I believe is the source of Kotzker’s question.  If Chanoch became the high level Metat, Chanoch must have been a great Tzaddik.

In my Shabbos October 26, 2019 Blog Post on this Kotzker I explained the Kotzker Vort on Chanoch and I added an addendum about Rabbi Shlomo Carlbach.  

Much Earlier Blog Post:

Chanoch walked with God then he was no more, for God took him.  Rashi explains that Chanoch was a righteous man, but his mind was easily induced to turn from his righteous ways and to become wicked, God therefore took him away quickly and made him die before his full time.

It appears to be very difficult to anyone who reads this Rashi.   Is it possible to say about Chanoch who was the angel “Mitat”, the official angel of the inner sanctum of God, was heaven forbid easily influenced to do  evil.

The Kotzker continues that it seems that the explanation is just the opposite – it  was easy for Chanoch to speak to the heart of a sinner to leave his path of wickedness.  God was therefore afraid through Chanoch that free choice (in the world) would be gone;  therefore He hastened to remove Chanoch from this world before his time.  Meaning Chanoch was a super Lubavitcher Rebbe.  (Source Lekutai Magadim, Volume 1 (Page 11A).

Wow.  The Kotzker turns Rashi 180 degrees and says that Rashi is talking in praise of Chanoch.

A few years ago Rabbi Pilchik told  me the above Vort  and said the below follow-up in the name of an anonymous Rebi.  Rabbi Ephraim Twerski confirmed the Vort and told me that it was his  Zedi, the Dizikor Rebbe.

  • The followup by Rabbi Pilchik  – The night after saying the Vort the Dzikov Rebbe had a dream where Rashi appeared to the Dizikor Rebbe and thanked him for the explanation. Rashi told him that when Rashi saw Chanoch in the next world, they did not look at each other because Rashi disparaged Chanoch.  Now that you explained what I said regarding Chanoch that he was a complete Tzadik, we are friendly.   After Rabbi Pilchik and Rabbi Twerski  told me this Vort, I found the Vort in this Sefer and also in the name of the Kotzker’s son, Admor Dovid Morgenstern TZL (1809-1873), and was ecstatic.  The Kotzker lived from 1787-1859.

2019 addition:

 Perhaps both interpretations in Rashi can be true at the same time.  The more a Tzadik and people are out in the world interacting with people, the more he can be susceptible to be negatively influenced by the people and society he is trying to help, especially if they are speaking to the inner Neshmah of that person.  Perhaps you can say something similar to what  happened to Rabbi Shlomo Carlbach and this is why Reb Shlomo Carlebach’s music is greater than ever, because it came from a holy place.

This Maamer lends an important insight into the Kotzker.  He was always looking to find the positive and good in everyone and everything.  I have found that this mindset influences the writings, ideas, and thoughts of his descendants.

The following is from the Sefer Amud Haemes, page 248:  Rabinu is the Kotzker.

Pasuk from Zecharia Pasuk 7:3:

כֹּה־אָמַ֞ר יְהֹוָ֣ה צְבָא֗וֹת אִם־בִּדְרָכַ֤י תֵּלֵךְ֙ וְאִ֣ם אֶת־מִשְׁמַרְתִּ֣י תִשְׁמֹ֔ר וְגַם־אַתָּה֙ תָּדִ֣ין אֶת־בֵּיתִ֔י וְגַ֖ם תִּשְׁמֹ֣ר אֶת־חֲצֵרָ֑י וְנָתַתִּ֤י לְךָ֙ מַהְלְכִ֔ים בֵּ֥ין הָעֹמְדִ֖ים הָאֵֽלֶּה׃

 So said the God of the Hosts.  If you walk in My paths and keep My charge, and you in turn will rule over my house, and guard My courts; then after your death and you go up to the heavens, I will make you a  מהלך   among the   עומדין – the עומדין refers to the Seraphim and administering angels whose level is fixed.  However, Yehoshua Cohen Gadol will be a מהלך, able to go on higher and higher levels of holiness.    

The PIschai Lev, a Perush on the Chovos Halevavos, says that בֵּ֥ין הָעֹמְדִ֖ים הָאֵֽלֶּה׃ refer to the Se to the Seraphim and the administering angel.  Actual words of Rashi and Metzudas Dovid –

  The Metzudas Dovid says –

 ונתתי לך מהלכים. ר״ל ומלבד זאת לא יקופח שכרם בעולם הנשמות כי אתן  להם מהלכים וטיולים בין המלאכים  האלה העומדים פה כמ״ש למעלה ויאמר אל העומדים לפניו   :

העומדים. שרפים ומלאכי השרת שאין להם ישיבה:   Rashi