Posts By rebbeteachesrashi

Perlas de Rashi: Parshas Ha’azinu I

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Esta Parasha, Ha’azinu, dice que Moshe llamo a los cielos y a la tierra como testigos mientras les hablaba a los judíos acerca de las consecuencias de sus acciones. Después, la Torah nos dice que Moshe enseño a los judíos, mientras estaba acompañado de su preciado pupilo, Yehoshua[1]. “Y Moshe vino y hablo todas las palabras de este canto a los oidos del pueblo, el y Hoshea bin Nun.”

Lo sorprendente aquí es que la Torah se refiere a Yehoshua como Hoshea. Ese era su nombre muchos años atrás cuando fue enviado como uno de los doce espías. Cuando salían para su misión, se nos dice que[2] “… Moshe llamo a Hoshea bin Nun, Yehoshua.” ¿Por qué la Torah se refiere a su nombre anterior? Ya eran cuarenta años que no se lo llamaba así.

Rashi explica y dice: “… ¿por qué la Torah lo llama Hoshea aquí? Esto es para aludir al hecho que Yehoshua no se volvió orgulloso. Aun cuando se le había otorgado un muy elevado estatus (siendo nombrado el sucesor de Moshe), él era humilde, así como fue al principio (cuando era llamado Hoshea).

¿Por qué la Torah decide hablarnos de la humildad de Yehoshua aquí? Aquí Hashem lo escogió para tomar el lugar de Moshe como líder de la nacion judia después de su muerte. El había alcanzado genuinamente el nivel más alto, como el que guiaría a los judíos a la tierra prometida. No obstante, el permaneció humilde como siempre.

Aquella persona que obtiene una posición de liderazgo recibe asistencia Divina para ayudarlo a cumplir con su misión. Hashem nunca otorga a alguien un trabajo que no puede cumplir. Ser líder de los judíos es ciertamente un trabajo muy difícil, como pudimos observar de Moshe durante los cuarenta años en el desierto. Empero, junto con la posición, viene el poder Divino el cual nos ayuda a sobrellevarlo.

¿Qué lección Podemos derivar de esto? Como resultado de obtener una posición de liderazgo, y de recibir la ayuda Divina, uno puede llegar a creer que de verdad lo merece y esto puede crear un sentimiento de orgullo; empero, debemos aprender de Yehoshua, no importa cuál sea la posición o estatus, siempre debemos mantener el sentimiento de humildad.

Que todos podamos tener un ano dulce, en lo fisco y en lo espiritual, y que sea dulce en una marea revelada que podamos ser merecedores de la ¡más grande berajá, Mashiaj Ahora!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Rabbi Yochanan Salazar Loewe- traductor

Adaptado de Likutei Sijos Volumen 29, Pag. 201

מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש
לזכות
חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס
*
נדפס ע”י הוריהם
הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס


[1]. Esta Parshah, Devarim 32:44.

[2]. Parshas Shelaj, Bamidbar 13:16.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Ha’azinu II

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This week’s Torah portion, Ha’azinu, tells us that[1] When I call out Hashem’s name, ascribe greatness to our G-d.” Rashi explains that “… When I call out and make mention of Hashem’s name, you shall ascribe greatness to Him, and bless His name. From here, our Rabbis derived that (one who hears a blessing) should respond, ‘Blessed be the Name of His glorious Kingdom (forever and ever)!” in the Holy Temple[2].”

The Sifri, here, has a different take on this verse. “How do we know that one must respond ‘Omain’ to every Berochoh? Because our Parshah says, ‘ascribe greatness to our G-d.’”

As we have discussed many times, Rashi limits himself to explaining the simple meaning of each verse, i.e., Peshat. The Sifri, on the other hand, is a Midrash.

In this case, it seems to be the other way around. The Sifri explains that ascribing greatness to Hashem’s name is accomplished by answering “Omain” to a blessing, which appears to be the Torah’s simple meaning. For nearly two thousand years, we have not had a Temple. Each of us responds “Omain” upon hearing a Berochoh. Even during the time of the Bais Hamikdosh, we recited very few blessings in the Mikdash. This very clearly appears to be Peshat.

Contrast this with Rashi’s explanation. Rashi writes that “ascribing greatness to Him” refers to answering “Blessed be the Name of His glorious Kingdom (forever and ever)!” in the Holy Temple. These words seem to have no connection whatsoever to Peshat.

The explanation is that this verse is answering an important question. Throughout the years of wandering, Moshe mentioned Hashem’s name to the Jews countless times. Why did he wait forty years to tell them that they “need to ascribe greatness to Him” when mentioning His name?

Therefore, Rashi explains that this refers to mentioning Hashem’s name in a way that did not occur earlier. On Moshe’s last day, the Jews were on the threshold of entering Israel. There we would build the Temple, where we will pronounce the name of G-d. We will then need to ascribe greatness to it.

May we learn from Rashi and the Sifri, to ascribe greatness to Hashem’s name under all circumstances.

May we all have a good, sweet year both in all spiritual and physical matters. The new year which we just began, should be sweet in a revealed manner. We should merit the ultimate blessing of Moshiach Now!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Hisvadu’yos 5742 Volume 1, Page 106

מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

לזכות
חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס
*
נדפס ע”י הוריהם
הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס


[1]. Our Parshah, 32:3.

[2]. Outside of the Bais Hamikdosh, we respond “Omain” when hearing a Berochoh.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Ha’azinu I

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Our Parshah, Ha’azinu, tells us that Moshe called the heavens and the earth as witnesses while telling the Jews of the consequences for their actions. Afterward, the Torah tells us that Moshe taught the Jews, while accompanied by his prize pupil, Yehoshua[1]. “And Moshe came and spoke all the words of this song into the ears of the people, he and Hoshea bin Nun.”

The surprising thing here is that the Torah refers to Yehoshua as Hoshea. That was his name many years earlier when he was sent as one of the twelve spies. When they left on their mission, we are told that[2] “… Moshe called Hoshea bin Nun, Yehoshua.” Why does the Torah revert to his former name? It was already forty years that he was not called by this name.

Rashi explains this as follows. “… Why does the Torah call him Hoshea here? This is to imply that Yehoshua did not become haughty. Although he was given high status (having been appointed as Moshe’s successor), he humbled himself just as he was at the beginning (when he was still called Hoshea).

Why does the Torah choose to tell us of Yehoshua’s humility here? Here Hashem chose him take Moshe’s place as leader of the Jewish Nation after his teacher’s passing. He was genuinely attaining greatness, as the one who would lead the Jews into the promised land. Nevertheless, he remained as humble as ever.

Whoever merits a position of leadership receives Divine assistance to help him fulfill his mission. Hashem never gives one a job that he is incapable of handling. Leading Jews is certainly a most difficult task, as we saw throughout Moshe’s forty years of leadership in the wilderness. Together with the position, comes the Divine power which aids one in handling it.

What lesson can we derive from this? As a result of attaining a position of leadership, and receiving this Divine aid, one may believe that he truly deserves it. This may cause a feeling of haughtiness. Nonetheless, we must all learn from Yehoshua, that no matter what the position, we must always retain the necessary feeling of humility.

May we all have a good, sweet year both in spiritual and physical matters. The new year which we just began should be sweet in a revealed manner. We should merit the ultimate blessing of Moshiach Now!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 29, Page 201

מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

לזכות
חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס
*
נדפס ע”י הוריהם
הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס


[1]. Our Parshah, Devorim 32:44.

[2]. Parshas Shelach, Bamidbar 13:16.

Pearls of Rashi: Rosh Hashanah II

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In honor of Rosh Hashanah, this Shabbos we will read of Hashem’s command to Avrohom to offer his precious son Yitzchok as a sacrifice.

Hashem told Avrohom[1], “Please take your son, your only one, whom you love, Yitzchok, and go away to the land of Moriah and bring him up there for a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will tell you.” At the last moment he is told, “Do not stretch forth your hand to the lad, nor do the slightest thing to him. For now, I know that you are a G-d fearing man, as you did not withhold your son, your only one, from Me.”

Rashi cites the words “for now I know,” and says the following. “Said Rabbi Abba, Avrohom said to Him, ‘I will explain my discussion before You. Yesterday, You said to me[2] ‘for in Yitzchok will be called your seed.’ You seemingly retracted these words and said[3], ‘Take now your son.’ Now You say to me, ‘Do not stretch forth your hand to the lad.’ The Holy One, blessed be He, said to him, “’I shall not profane My covenant, neither shall I change the utterance of My lips.” When I said to you, ‘Take,’ I was not altering the utterance of My lips. I did not say to you, ‘Slaughter him,’ rather I told you to, ‘Bring him up.’ You have brought him up; (now) take him down.”

Rashi is not implying that Avrohom questioned Hashem. We see countless examples of Avrohom’s complete faith in Hashem’s words. It is impossible to say otherwise.

In Rashi’s earlier comments on the same verse, he cites the words “do not stretch forth,” and explains as follows. “To slaughter him. Avrohom said to Him, ‘If so, I have come here in vain. I will inflict a wound on him and extract a little blood.’ He said to him, ‘Do not do the slightest thing to him.’ Do not cause him any blemish.”

When Avrohom was told not to stretch forth his hand, he was concerned that perhaps he had not fulfilled Hashem’s command with a full heart. Furthermore, when he was told not to even make a blemish on the youth in order to carry out Hashem’s words, he was worried for the same reason. That is why G-d told him “now I know that you are a G-d fearing man, and you did not withhold your son, your only one, from Me.” Despite his concerns, he had actually passed the test.

May we learn from our forefather Avrohom to serve Hashem with a complete hear and total faith. In this merit, may Hashem grant all of us the best and sweetest year ever!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

לזכות
חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס
*
נדפס ע”י הוריהם
הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס


[1]. Bereishis 22:2.

[2]. Bereishis 21:12.

[3]. Bereishis 22:2.

Pearls of Rashi: Rosh Hashanah

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This coming Shabbos will be Rosh Hashanah, New Year’s (literally the head of the year). Because of the festival, we will push off the regular Torah Portion until the following week. The following is a pearl of a Rashi in the Parshah we will read.  

In the Torah reading of Rosh Hashanah, we read of Avrohom and Soroh miraculously having a baby, our forefather Yitzchak. This is even though Avrohom was already one-hundred years old, and his wife Soroh, our matriarch, was ninety years old, G-d’s promise that they would have children was fulfilled. They gave birth to a son who would continue the chain of Judaism.

This great miracle caused Soroh to declare[1], “Who would have said to Avrohom that Soroh would nurse children, for I have given birth to a son in his old age!” Rashi cites the words from the verse “Soroh would nurse children (in the plural) ” and explains as follows. “Why is the word ‘children’ in the plural? (This is because) on the day of the feast[2], the princesses brought their children with them, and she nursed them. (Why? Because) they were saying that’ Soroh did not give birth, but rather her baby was a foundling from the street.’” In other words, she demonstrated that despite her advanced age, she was capable of nursing babies, many babies. Hence, they knew that she had been pregnant.

It seems that Rashi’s comments are open to question. Granted, the fact that “Soroh would nurse children” proved that she was pregnant. However, it did nothing to dispel the claim that Avrohom was not the father. Further on, the Torah tells us that[3] “These are the generations of Yitzchok, the son of Avrohom; Avrohom begot Yitzchok.”  Rashi cites the words “Avrohom begot Yitzchok” and explains as follows; “the scoffers of the generation were saying that Soroh had conceived from Avimelech, for she had lived with Avrohom for many years and had not conceived from him.”

Here, in our verse, this does nothing to assuage this false claim. It only demonstrated that Soroh was pregnant; however, it did nothing to show that Avrohom was the child’s father!

The explanation is that the princesses of whom Rashi speaks did not question that Avrohom was the father. They knew that Avrohom was able to father Yishmoel at age eighty-six! The only ones who had a question were the “scoffers of the generation.” These were individuals whose primary occupation is to laugh at others. They are not looking for answers; they only seek questions, to be used as ammunition for mocking others.

May Hashem grant us the strength to stand up to these people. He should give all of us the best year ever! Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

לזכות
חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס
*
נדפס ע”י הוריהם
הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס


[1]. Parshas Vayeiro, Bereishis 21:7.

[2]. They made a feast when Yitzchok was weaned. See Parshas Toldos, Bereishis 21:8.

[3]. See the beginning of Parshas Toldos, Bereishis 25:19.

Pearls of Rashi: Nitzovim-Vayelech II

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In this week’s Torah portion, Nitzovim-Vayelech, Moshe Rabbeinu says,[1] “Assemble to me all the elders of your tribes and your officers, and I will speak these words to them. I will call upon heaven and earth as witnesses against them.”

Rashi cites the words “assemble to me,” and explains why “on this day they did not blow the trumpets to assemble the congregation (as was the regular procedure).” Hashem commanded Moshe to[2] “Make for yourself two trumpets of silver… and they will be for you to call the assembly.” In other words, Hashem commanded him to “make for yourself,” and “they will be for you.” These were written in the singular form because they were directed to Moshe Rabbeinu himself. However, Rashi continues that “these trumpets were hidden away (by Hashem) even during his lifetime, before the day of his passing. This was to affirm the words of the verse[3], “and there is no ruling on the day of death.” 

Rashi seems to be saying that on the day of a Tzaddik’s passing, he can no longer rule. However, how can we reconcile this with what is written in holy works[4], that a Tzaddik reaches an even higher after his passing than held previously? “When it comes about that, the Lord takes up and gathers unto Himself (the Tzaddik’s souland he ascends from one elevation to another— to the peak of levels.”

We see here that the righteous soar higher and higher after their passing; however, from Rashi, it appears that the Tzaddik can no longer be leading.

This can be explained by understanding the verse “there is no ruling on the day of death” from a deeper perspective. For one to rule over another, they must have a connection, a relationship. At the time of the passing of a Tzaddik, he soars to such great heights that he no longer has any connection to this world. That is why “there is no ruling” at that time.

Based on this, we may draw the false conclusion that Moshe, our leader, is no longer connected to us. Therefore, the Torah tells us that even on the day of his passing, Moshe commands us to “assemble to me” all of the Jews. However, high Moshe is, he never loses his connection to us. Rashi himself says this, that[5] “Moshe is Israel and Israel is Moshe.”

Have a wonderful Shabbos! May this year, 5781, be the best in all matters, both spiritual and physical.

Rabbi Shmuel Me1ndelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 24, Beginning with Page 220

מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

לזכות
חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס
*
נדפס ע”י הוריהם
הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס


[1]. Our Parshah, Devorim 31:28.

[2]. Parshas Beha’aloscho, Bamidbar 10:2-3.

[3]. Koheles 8:8.

[4]. Tanya, Igerres Hakodesh Chapter 27. See also the author’s explanation in Chapter 28.

[5]. Parshas Chukas, Bamidbar 21:21.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Nitzovim-Vayelech

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This week’s Torah portion, Nitzovim-Vayelech, begins by telling us that Moshe Rabbeinu gathered the entire Jewish nation into Hashem’s presence. He did so to bring them into His covenant[1]. The Torah specifies that this includes every Jew. “The leaders of your tribes, your elders, and your officers. Every Jewish man, (including) your young children, your women, and the convert who is within your camp, both your woodcutters and your water drawers[2].”

Rashi cites the words “both your woodcutters and your water drawers” and explains as follows. “This teaches us that Kena’anim (Canaanites) came to convert in the days of Moshe …and he made them woodcutters and water drawers for the Jews.”

The Alter Rebbe explains this on a deeper level[3], as it relates to our Divine service. Our verse specifies woodcutters. The Hebrew word for “wood” is “eitz – עץ,” which is related to the Hebrew for counsel, “eitzah – עצה.” He interpreted “woodcutters” to mean that one must cut, i.e., remove from his mind the “many thoughts (counsels) that are in the heart of man[4].” Furthermore, he explained that “water drawers” refers to draining the water that “causes all sorts of enjoyment to grow[5]” from ourselves.

The Alter Rebbe is teaching us that when serving Hashem, one may not look for “shortcuts.” After all, it is not easy to expend all of one’s energy on the study of the Torah and the performance of Mitzvos. Taking “the easy way out” is only the “counsel” of the Evil Inclination. Furthermore, one may be led astray by physical desires. Therefore, we must “drain” ourselves of these desires.

Rashi’s comments add a dimension to this teaching. It does not only apply to the time that one spends serving the Almighty while studying Torah or praying. It applies equally to the time one is involved in his business, including eating, drinking, and taking care of all of one’s physical needs. One may think that at such times it is acceptable to be concerned with the “many thoughts that are in the heart of man.”

This is why Rashi teaches us “that Kena’anim (Canaanites) came … in the days of Moshe.” We find throughout the Tanach that the word “Kena’anim – Canaanites” has the meaning of merchants[6]. Rashi is teaching us that even when one is performing his mundane tasks, he is engaged in his everyday needs, he must still beware of the “many thoughts that are in the heart of man.” He must never give in to the urge to follow his desires.

May we all have a good, sweet year both in spiritual and physical matters. Have a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 14, Page 117

מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

לזכות
חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס
*
נדפס ע”י הוריהם
הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס


[1]. See Rashi at the beginning of our Parshah, Devorim 29:9.

[2]. Our Parshah, Devorim 29:9-10.

[3]. See Hayom Yom, Page 89.

[4]. Mishlei (Proverbs) 19:21.

[5] See Tanya Chapter 1.

[6]. See Hoshea 12:8, among other sources.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Tavo II

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This week’s Torah portion, Ki Savo, tells us that the Jewish people are Hashem’s treasured Nation; as it is written in our Parshah[1], “Hashem has selected you today to be His treasured people as He spoke to you …” Where do we find that the Almighty said this? Rashi answers this question. He cites the words, “He spoke to you,” and goes on to tell us that He said this to the Jewish people at the time of the giving of the Torah. He said that[2] “you shall be to Me a treasure out of all peoples.”

There Rashi explains what is meant by “a treasure[3].” He writes that the word “treasure” means “a beloved treasure, as it is written[4] “and the treasures of the kings.” This refers to costly vessels and precious stones, which kings store away. So too will you be more of a treasure to Me than the other nations.”

It is clear enough that Rashi is equating the Jew’s status as a treasure with that of a royal treasure of precious stones. However, just as is the case with everything else in the Torah, there is an even deeper meaning contained within these words.

There are various categories of precious, royal stones. The monarch holds these in trust for his/her successors and the Nation. There are gems that are affixed to the royal crown to add to its beauty. There is another category of glory which the king uses purely for the benefit of the Nation. Finally, there are gems that serve no use whatsoever. They are placed within the king’s treasury, and he makes no use of them. The only purpose which they serve is to bring pleasure to the ruler.

The same is true of Hashem, the true king, and His precious stones, the Jewish people. It is true that the service of the Jews here in this world serves a great purpose. Through learning Torah and performing Mitzvos Jews reveal G-dliness in the world!

However, there is an aspect of Jewish service which is greater than this. Each and every Jew, without exception, is Hashem’s precious gem. This is so by virtue of the fact that he is an actual part of Hashem above! G-d derives pleasure from the existence of every single Jew, even without his performance of Torah and Mitzvos. He does not need an excuse or a reason to enjoy His treasured Nation. Every single member of the Jewish Nation must be aware of his exalted status and realize the potential this gives him.

I wish one and all a good Shabbos. May we all be inscribed and sealed for a good, sweet year!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 24, Pages 161-164

מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

לזכות
חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס
*
נדפס ע”י הוריהם
הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס


[1]. Our Parshah, Devorim 26:18.

[2]. Parshas Yisro, Shemos 19:5.

[3]. See ibid., Rashi’s comments.

[4]. Koheles (Ecclesiastes) 2:8.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Tavo

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This week’s Torah portion, Tavo, begins with the commandment to give our first-fruits to Hashem[1]; “And it will be when you come to the land which Hashem gives you for an inheritance, and you possess it and settle in it, (then) you shall take of the first of all the fruit of the ground which you will bring from your land … You shall put them in a basket and go to the place which G-d will choose to have His Name dwell there (meaning the Bais Hamikdosh in Jerusalem).”

Rashi cites the words, “And it will be … and you possess it and settle in it.” He says that “This teaches us that they were not obligated to bring first-fruits until they conquered the Land and divided it.”

After forty years of wandering in the desert, the Jews finally entered Israel. It then took seven years to conquer the land, and an additional seven years to divide the land. Rashi is explaining that these verses teach us that the Mitzvah of bringing first–fruits did not take effect until the end of these 14 years.

This is a matter of debate between the Sages. One opinion is that the expression “and it will be” always implies that which occurs immediately. Hence, there was a requirement to bring first-fruits directly upon entering the land[2]. The second opinion that of Rashi, that the Mitzvah would not apply until the land was conquered and divided[3].

We know that even when there is a disagreement as to what the existing law requires, both opinions are valid[4]. Therefore, we can learn a lesson from each opinion in our service of Hashem.

By bringing first-fruits, we thank Hashem for His kindness. We give Him the first, the choicest of our fruits. Additionally, we verbally declare our gratitude for all of the kindness which He has performed for us.

We thank Hashem, as the words “it shall be” imply, immediately. Immediately upon arising from sleep, one thanks G-d for restoring his soul. These thanks do not stem from intellectual contemplation; instead, it is a result of the natural love of Hashem, which is implanted within each Jew.

We must also thank Hashem by bringing the first-fruits after the land is conquered and divided. This is the gratitude that we express to G-d during the morning prayers. We first contemplate His greatness and intellectually understand before Whom we stand to the best of our ability. At that point, our gratitude is with a great depth of recognition.

May we all appreciate the great miracles which Hashem performs for each of us, and express the appropriate thanks.

 I wish one and all a good Shabbos and a sweet new year!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 34, Page 150-152

מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

לזכות
חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס

נדפס ע”י הוריהם
הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס


[1]. Our Parshah, Devorim 26:1-2.

[2]. See the Midrash Sifri on this verse.

[3]. See Talmud Kiddushin 37, b.

[4]. See Talmud Eiruvin 13, b.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Teitzei II

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In this week’s Torah portion, Teitzei, the Torah tells us that[1] “You shall not withhold the wages of a poor or destitute hired worker … you shall pay him his wage on his day (the day that he works) and not let the sunset over it …” In other words, we may not withhold the wages of a hired worker; instead, we must pay him the same day.

Earlier in the Torah, we find that Hashem promised us that[2] “I will turn towards you …” Rashi explains this as follows. “I will turn away from all My affairs to pay for your reward.” To what may this be compared? To a king who hired some workers …” From this, it is clear that our service of Hashem in Torah and Mitzvos is comparable to that of a hired worker for his employer.

The Sages tell us that Hashem fulfills that which He tells the Jews to perform. Based on this, we need to understand how G-d delays our payment. The Sages teach us that[3] “today we must fulfill the Mitzvos, and tomorrow, meaning in the World to Come, we will receive our payment.” How can Hashem “transgress” His commandment? It would seem that He should pay us upon the completion of each Mitzvah. Why is it that He withholds our wages, and does not pay us on the same day?

This can be explained in the following manner. The Alter Rebbe cites[4] the teaching of the Sages[5], that “the purpose of creation is that Hashem desired a dwelling place down below.” The words “down below” refer to this low, physical world of ours. There is none lower than this world in terms of the concealment of    G-dly light. It is here specifically that Hashem desired to dwell, meaning that His presence is to be revealed here without any concealment whatsoever[6]. How is it possible to accomplish such a feat? This is done through[7] “our actions and Divine service throughout the duration of our exile.” Every act of serving Hashem, which is performed by each Jew, refines his body and his portion in this world. It is through the efforts of the entire Jewish nation, throughout all generations that we can “construct” this dwelling place for Hashem.

What this means to say is that our job is not complete until we reach the time of the total perfection of this world, which will take place in the World to Come. Therefore, Hashem is not delaying our payment; instead, He is paying us after our task.

May each of us work quickly to complete our job, thereby fulfilling Hashem’s desire. In this merit, may we all have a good, sweet year. I wish one and all a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 29, Page 138-144

מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

לזכות
חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס

נדפס ע”י הוריהם
הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס


[1]. Our Parshah, Devorim 24:14-15.

[2]. Parshas Bechukosai, Vayikra 26:9.

[3]. See Talmud Eiruvin 22, a, Avodah Zarah 3, a.

[4]. See Tanya at the beginning of Chapter 36.

[5]. See the Midrash Tanchumah to Parshas Naso, Section 16.

[6]. See Tanya ibid.

[7]. Tanya Chapter 37.