Chassidism

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Lech Lecho II

In this week’s Torah Portion, Lech Lecho, the Torah tells us how Avrom went into battle in order to save Lot, his nephew. He was vastly outnumbered. The Torah tells us that “Avrom heard that his relative (Lot) had been taken captive. He armed the three hundred and eighteen trained men who were born in his house, and he chased them until Dan[1]”. Rashi cites the words “three-hundred and eighteen,” and tells us that “our Sages said it was Eliezer alone, and 318 is the numerical value of his name.”

Immediately after this, Hashem told Avrohom[2], “After these events, Hashem appeared to Avrom saying, ‘Do not be afraid. I am your Shield, and your reward is exceedingly great.’”

Rashi cites the words “after these events” and explains that “After this miracle, that he slew the kings, he was worried. He said, “Perhaps I have received reward for all my righteous deeds.” Therefore, Hashem said to him, “’Do not be afraid Avrom, I am your Shield’ from retribution. I will not punish you for all those you have slain. As far as your being worried about receiving reward, your reward is exceedingly great.”

This means that Avrom was concerned that after benefiting from such a great miracle, he had used up all of his merits and would not receive reward.

This is difficult to understand. The Rambam writes that[3] “one who learns Torah and performs Mitzvos out of love for Hashem, does not do so for the sake of a reward. Rather he does so because it is the true path. This lofty level characterizes that of Avrohom Avinu.” This being the case, why was Avrom worried that he might not receive his reward?

One explanation is, that he did not want reward for his benefit. Rather, he wanted it in order to sanctify Hashem’s name in the world. He wanted to demonstrate to everyone that Hashem repays whomever fulfills His will with the greatest reward imaginable. In that manner Hashem’s name would be made great and sanctified in this world.

            We should all take this lesson to heart. In this merit, we will surely merit the ultimate redemption through our righteous Moshiach.

Have a wonderful Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 20, p. 45 ff.


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE
מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE COMPLETE AND SPEEDY RECOVERY OF MURIEL BAS CHANA שת’ STITT
לרפואה שלימה וקרובה עבור מרת מינדל רבקה בת חנה שת’ סתית


IN HONOR OF
The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris


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, Bereishis 14:14.

[2]. Ibid, ibid, 15:1.

[3]. Laws of Teshuvah, Chapter 10, 2.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Lech Lecho

Click here for a printable PDF.

Besides Lot, Avrom also brought others[3]. He also traveled with “…Sorai, his wife, and Lot, his brother’s son. He brought all of the possessions that they had acquired. Additionally, he brought the souls (people) they had acquired in Choron, etc. Rashi seems to be bothered by the phrase “the people they had acquired.” How can one acquire a person? He explains that it refers to those “whom he had brought under the wings of the Shechinah. Avrom would convert the men, and Sarahi would convert the women. This teaches us that the Torah considers it as if they had made them.”

In other words, Rashi is explaining that even when they were still in Choron before they ascended to Israel, they were involved in converting those around them. Furthermore, the Torah is telling us that bringing one close to Hashem is considered if they acquired them.

We need to understand Rashi’s use of the word “converting.” Hashem would not give the Torah to the Jews for another ten generations. Until that time, the obligation was to perform only the seven Mitzvos, which Hashem gave to all of humankind[4]. It would seem that the idea of conversion did not exist yet.

To explain this, Rashi writes that Avrom and Sorai brought them “under the wings of the Shechinah.” They brought these “converts” to believe in Hashem and to worship Him alone.

Each of us must follow Avrom’s example by leaving our environment and going to “the land which I (Hashem) will show you. We must also strive to bring those around us closer to Hashem. Then, just as Avrom went to the Promised Land, so too will we go to Eretz Yisroel together with our righteous redeemer.

Have a wonderful Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel MendelsohnAdapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 5, p. 142   ff.


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE
מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש
DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE COMPLETE AND SPEEDY RECOVERY OF MURIEL BAS CHANA שת’ STITT
לרפואה שלימה וקרובה עבור מרת מינדל רבקה בת חנה שת’ סתית

IN HONOR OF
The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris

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, 12:1.

[2]. Ibid, ibid, 4.

[3]. Ibid, ibid, 5.

[4]. There are several Mitzvos which the Jews also fulfilled before the giving of the Torah. These are mentioned explicitly in the Torah. One such example is circumcision.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Noach II

Click here for a printable PDF.

In Parshas Noach, we learn of the great flood with which Hashem destroyed most of the world’s population. The deluge was punishment for the misbehavior of the majority of the world. Because Noach and his family alone were righteous, Hashem commanded him to build a huge ship, which saved him and his family.

From the creation until after the flood, humankind subsisted on a vegan diet. People could only eat fruits and vegetables. After the flood, Hashem granted permission to eat meat, as the Torah states,[1] “Every moving thing that lives shall be yours to eat; like the green vegetation, I have given you everything.”

However, Hashem did restrict this. There was a prohibition again eating the blood of an animal. This is as the Torah says[2], “Flesh with its soul, its blood, you shall not eat. Your blood, of your souls, I will demand [an account]; from the hand of every beast, I will demand it. From the hand of man, from the hand of each man, his brother, I will demand the soul of man.”

Rashi cites the words from the verse “your blood,” and writes, “Even though I permitted you to take the life of animals, your blood I will demand of one who sheds his blood.” 

We know that Rashi is very precise about the words he uses. It seems odd that Rashi uses the term “sheds blood,” rather than a phrase such as “murders.” From this, we see that, according to Peshat, one is liable for “shedding his blood,” even if it does not cause sickness or death.

This answers a very famous question, which many of the commentaries ask. We know that Avrohom fulfilled all of the Mitzvos before Hashem commanded us to do so[3]. However, there is one commandment, which he did not perform until Hashem expressly told him to fulfill, the Mitzvah of circumcision, Bris Milah.

Now we understand why Avrohom Avinu waited. This that he kept all Mitzvos before the giving of the Torah was due to his great piety. He was going beyond his obligations. However, because he was a descendant of Noach, G-d prohibited him from “shedding his blood,” which would be the natural result of circumcision. His righteousness could not override an actual obligation. Therefore, he had to wait until Hashem expressly commanded him to perform this Mitzvah.

Have a wonderful Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 10, p.138 ff.


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE
מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE COMPLETE AND SPEEDY RECOVERY OF MURIEL BAS CHANA שת’ STITT
לרפואה שלימה וקרובה עבור מרת מינדל רבקה בת חנה שת’ סתית


IN HONOR OF
The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris


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, Bereishis 9:3.

[2]. Ibid, ibid. 9:4-5.

[3]. Talmud Yoma 28b.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Noach

Click here for a printable PDF.

In this week’s Parshah, Noach, the Torah tells us of the great flood which Hashem brought upon the world. The only people Hashem saved were Noach and his family.

At the very beginning of our Torah portion, the Torah explains why Hashem chose to save Noach. “These are the generations of Noach. Noach was a righteous man. He was perfect in his generations; Noach walked with G-d.[1]” Rashi explains why the Torah specifies that Noach was perfect in his generation[2]. “Some of our Sages interpret it (the words ‘in his generation’) favorably: How much more so if he had lived in a generation of righteous people, he would have been even more pious. Others interpret it derogatorily: In comparison with the time in which he lived, he was considered righteous, but if he had been in Avrohom’s generation, he would not have been considered of any importance.”

We need to understand why some interpret the Torah’s words as a negative description. We find that the Torah refrains from speaking in a derogatory manner of a non-kosher animal[3]. How much more so is this true of Noach, who the Torah describes as being both righteous and perfect? This must be to teach an essential lesson in our service of Hashem[4].

The Alter Rebbe explains[5] that the words[6] “Come into the Ark (Taivah in Hebrew, which also means a word)” teach us how to escape a flood. This flood refers to the worries of “making a living” in this physical world. One may become obsessed, drown in these concerns. The Torah advises us to take refuge in the words of the Torah and prayer.

One may feel that this suggestion will only help one who is already righteous, like Noach. Therefore, Rashi teaches us that some of the Sages interpret the word righteous in a less than flattering manner. Each one of us can save ourselves from becoming entangled in this world by surrounding ourselves with the Torah’s holy words.

We should all take this lesson to heart. In this merit, we will surely merit the ultimate redemption through our righteous Moshiach.

Have a wonderful Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 5, Page 2

DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE
מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש
DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE COMPLETE AND SPEEDY RECOVERY OF MURIEL BAS CHANA שת’ STITT
לרפואה שלימה וקרובה עבור מרת מינדל רבקה בת חנה שת’ סתית


IN HONOR OF
The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris


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, Bereishis 6:9.

[2]. Rashi’s comments ibid.

[3]. See Talmud Bava Basra 123, a.

[4]. The word Torah is related to the word Hora’ah, meaning a lesson, or a teaching.

[5]. See Torah Ohr on our Parshah.

[6]. Our Parshah, Bereishis 7:1.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Bereishis II

Click here for a printable PDF.

This week we read Parshas Bereishis, which is the first portion in the Torah. This portion tells us how Hashem created the world during the first six days of Creation and rested on Shabbos, the seventh day. 

On the fifth day of Creation, Hashem created all fish and fowl, as the Torah writes[1], “G-d created the great sea monsters, and every living creature that crawls, with which the waters swarmed … according to their kind, and every winged fowl, according to its kind. And Hashem saw that it was good.” 

Rashi cites the words “the … sea monsters,” and teaches us that this refers to “the great fish in the sea. In the words of Aggadah[2], this refers to the ‘Livyoson’ (Leviathan) and its mate, for He created them male and female …” 

What is the deeper meaning of these “sea monsters?” What lesson can we learn from them in our service of Hashem? 

The Alter Rebbe explains[3] that the word “Livyoson” is related to the word “Levi,” which means connection[4]. Hence, the spiritual level of “Livyoson,” is a righteous person who is completely connected to Hashem.  

One might think, that for most of us it is beneficial to have a study-partner, and a partner with whom to fulfill Mitzvos. After all, the Mishnah explicitly states that[5] one must “acquire a friend for oneself.” In order to succeed in serving Hashem, one must have the perspective and advice of a friend. One cannot be objective himself in evaluating his own personal plan of action to serve Hashem. 

However, perhaps this should not apply to one of “the great fish in the sea.” He may be able to trust his own decisions in terms of how he should serve G-d. The fact is, that he is totally connected! 

That is why Rashi lets us know that even the great fish also needs a “mate.” Each of us needs help in deciding how to focus on our service of Hashem. 

In the merit of beginning the Torah yet again, immediately after concluding it, we should have a year which is blessed beyond all measure.  This should certainly include the ultimate blessing of Moshiach Now! 

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn 

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 5, Page 16 


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE
מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

IN HONOR OF
The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris


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, Bereishis 1:21.

[2]. See Tractate Bava Basra 74b. 

[3]. Likkutei Torah Parshas Shemini 18b.

[4]. Parshas Vayeitzei, Bereishis 29:34. 

[5]. Pirkei Avos, 1, 6.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Bereishis

Click here for a printable PDF.

In this week’s Parshah we begin reading and studying the Torah once again. It begins with the famous words[1] “In the beginning of G-d’s creation of the heavens and the earth.” Rashi cites the words “In the beginning,” and writes the following. “Rabbi Yitzchok said, “(it would seem that) the Torah should have begun from[2] ‘This month is to you the first month,’ which is the first commandment that the Jews were commanded. Why did the Torah begin with ‘In the beginning?’ Because of (the verse)[3] ‘The strength of His works He told His people, to give them the inheritance of the nations.’ If the nations of the world tell the Jews that ‘you are robbers, for you conquered by force the lands of the seven nations (of Canaan),’ they will reply, ‘The entire earth belongs to the Holy One, blessed be He; He created it and gave it to whomever He saw fit. When He wished, He gave it to them, and when He wished, He took it away from them and gave it to us.’”

We need to understand what sort of claim this is. Why should the conquest of the Land of Canaan be considered robbery? Granted, stealing is prohibited to all of the nations of the world. Nevertheless, we do not find any nation being punished for conquering land from another. The claim seems to lack any validity.

The explanation is that transferring an object from one person (or nation) to another does not change the essence of the object. This is true in whatever manner the transfer took place; whether it was sold, inherited, given as a gift, conquered, etc. The original owners can always take it back.

The one exception to this is the conquest of the Land of Israel. Once the Nation of Israel conquered this land, there was a change in its essence. It became the Holy Land, the land of Israel for the Nation of Israel. This is true even during the exile; when “we were exiled from our land[4].” It still remains “our land,” which can never truly be taken from us. We prevented them from ever being able to take the land back. This is the rationale behind the claim of the nations of the world.

Our commencing the Torah should mark the beginning of a blessed year. May we merit being in our land with Moshiach Now!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn


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

IN HONOR OF
The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE
מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש


[1]. Parshas Bereishis, Bereishis 1:1.

[2]. Parshas Bo, Shemos 12:2.

[3]. Tehillim 111:6.

[4]. Liturgy for Pilgrimage Festivals.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Tavo II

Click here for a printable version.

This week’s Torah portion, Ki Savo, tells us that the Jewish people are Hashem’s treasured Nation; as it states 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 says[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 equates the Jew’s status as a treasure with a royal treasure of precious stones. However, everything in the Torah has an even deeper meaning. The same applies here.

There are various categories of precious, royal stones. The monarch holds these in trust for his successors and the Nation. Some gems 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, some gems serve no use whatsoever. They are a part of the king’s treasury, but he makes no use of them. Their only purpose is to bring pleasure to the ruler.

The same is true of Hashem, the true king, and His precious stones, the Jewish people. The service of the Jews here in this world indeed 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 more significant than this. Every Jew, without exception, is Hashem’s precious gem. This is so because 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


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE
מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

IN HONOR OF
The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris


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

Click here for a printable PDF.

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 took seven years to conquer the land and an additional seven years to divide the land. Rashi explains that these verses teach us that the Mitzvah of bringing first–fruits did not take effect until after these fourteen 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 immediately upon entering the land[2]. The second opinion, Rashi here, is that the Mitzvah would not apply until the land was conquered and divided[3].

We know that even when there is a disagreement about what the existing law requires, both opinions are valid[4]. Therefore, we can learn a lesson from each of them 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 exists 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 who we stand before to the best of our ability. At that point, our gratitude is with a great depth of recognition.

May we all appreciate the incredible miracles Hashem performs for each of us and express the appropriate thanks. May we all merit a good, sweet year. I wish one and all a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 34, Page 150-152


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE
מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

IN HONOR OF 

The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris 

DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS 

Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris

*** 

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: Shoftim II

Click here for a printable version.

This week’s Parshah tells us that[1] “A prophet from among you, from your brothers, (who is) like me, will Hashem set up for you. You shall listen to him.” Rashi cites the words from this verse “from among you, from your brothers, like me.” He explains that “this means that just as I am among you, from your brothers, so too will Hashem set up for you (another prophet) in my place. (This will continue) so on, from one prophet to (the next) prophet.” In other words, just as we had Moshe Rabbeinu to communicate with Hashem on our behalf, so too will we have other prophets through whom Hashem will speak with us.

However, the Sages told us that[2] “From the time of the passing of the later prophets, Chaggai, Zechariah and Malachi, prophecy departed from the world.”

In other words, there would come a time that we would not have a prophet “from among you, from your brothers, like me.”  However, that cannot be true. We know from many words of the Sages[3] that Ruach Hakodesh, a spirit akin to prophecy (although not quite at the same level[4]), existed during the time of the Talmud. Furthermore, it seems that prophecy existed even during the Middle Ages. The Baalei Tosfos were medieval scholars who wrote a commentary to the Talmud that appears in (nearly) every edition of the Talmud. Among their ranks was included Rabbi Ezra the Prophet[5].

Based on this, we can explain that the words of our Sages that “prophecy departed from the world” means that it is no longer prevalent as it was during the era of the Prophets. It is uncommon for there to be a person worthy of reaching this level. The Rambam writes[6] that there are many lofty levels that one must attain before prophecy can rest upon him.

This also explains why the Talmud used the words that “prophecy departed from the world.” It does not say that prophecy ceased to exist.

We are not, G-d forbid, widowed. Hashem is always with us, standing by our side (as so to speak). Furthermore, the Talmud teaches that[7] “we may believe someone who says that he has applied the proper effort and reached his goal.” If we exert ourselves, there is nothing that is beyond our reach. That certainly includes the goal of bringing Moshiach now!

Have a good Shabbos. May we all merit a good, sweet year!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 14, Pages 72-73


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE
מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

IN HONOR OF
The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris


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 18:15.

[2] See Talmud Yoma 9, b and Sotah 48, b. See also Tosefta Sotah Chapter 13, d, and Tosefta Sanhedrin Chapter 11, a.

[3]. See for example, Sanhedrin 11, a.

[4]. See Igerres Hakodesh Chapter 22.

[5]. See Tosfos’ comments to Talmud Gittin 88, a and Shavuos 25, a.

[6]. See the Laws of the Fundamental Principles of Torah, Chapter 7.

[7]. See Talmud Megillah 6, a.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Shoftim

Click here for a printable PDF.

In this week’s Parshah, the Torah commands to establish judges and officers in all of the cities of the land that we are about to enter (Israel). The Torah tells us that[1] “You shall set up judges and law enforcement officials for yourself in all your cities that the Hashem is giving you for your tribes. They shall judge the people with righteous judgment.” What is the difference between judges (שופטים) and officers (שוטרים)? Rashi explains that judges are those “who decide the verdict.” Officers are those “who chastise the people in compliance with their order. They strike and bind with rods and straps until the guilty party accepts the verdict.” In modern parlance, “officers” are the police.

The prophet Yeshayahu (Isaiah) tells of a prophecy that will take place in the days of Moshiach. He writes that[2] “I will restore your judges as at first and your counselors as in the beginning. Afterward, you will be called the City of Righteousness, the Faithful City.” In other words, just as Hashem commands us to establish judges at all of the gates of the Holy Land, so too will we have judges at the time of the future Redemption. However, something seems to be missing. The Torah commanded us to have “police” to enforce the judge’s verdicts. This part of the command is missing from Yeshayahu’s prophecy. His prophecy only added “counselors” to the judges. Why will there be no officers in the ultimate Redemption?

The explanation is quite simple, based on Rashi’s interpretation of our verse. The judges will decide the verdict. However, there will be instances that people will not wish to accept the judges’ ruling. That is why we will still need officers. Even after entering Israel, we will yet have a “Yetzer Hora – an Evil Inclination.”

However, at the time of the future Redemption, the Yetzer Hora will be gone. The prophet Zechariah tells us that[3] “… also the (false) prophets and the spirit of contamination I will remove from the earth.” With no Evil Inclination, we will not need one to enforce Hashem’s law. All we will need is an advisor to teach us how important it is to follow the proper path. We can undoubtedly bring Redemption closer by behaving now as if we are already living in the time of Redemption!

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

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Sefer Hasichos 5751 Volume 2, 780-795


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE
מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

IN HONOR OF
The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris


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 16:18.

[2]. Yeshayahu 1:26.

[3]. Zechariah 13:2.