Sunday, April 30, 2006

More Kiddush Thoughts

קדש (הגדה של פסח ד"ה ענין)

Why do we make Kiddush on wine, specifically on Shabbos? On Shabbos, everyone must feel that everything in the world has occurred to bring us up to this point. The Jews, grapes, and Shabbos all are the end of a process. The world functions in a cycle of six days, and then it reaches its climax, of Shabbos. Grapes are squeezed and then the juice sits to ferment and become wine. The change in Bracha from Haetz to Hagafen demonstrates this as well. We know the Halacha is when you don’t have wine; you can use bread, for the same reason, the grain has been ground up, mixed, kneaded and then baked to become bread. The Jewish people were the last of the nations to achieve nationhood. This is because the entire concept of nationhood had to develop and finally blossom into completion with the development of the Jewish people.

One would think that that which existed earlier would be more important. In fact during Krias Yam Suf , the Yam Suf itself said to the Jews, I was created on the third day, and you were created on the sixth, why should I move?

The answer to the Yam Suf’s question is that the Jewish people are the end of the process and without the end, there was no purpose for the process. The Yam Suf’s role was only in the middle of the process, it would lose its relevance without the Jewish people who were the end. This is meaning of the phrase, Sof Maaseh, b’Machshava Techila.

We say during the Kiddush, that Hashem caused us to inherit Shabbos. Inherit it? He told us to keep it! Why do we say to inherit it? If Shabbos had existed before us, then it would not have been the end of the process, it would still be in the middle! Therefore Hashem wanted each one of us to receive the Shabbos, every Shabbos, and this reception is the end of the process and the climax of creation.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


תזריע מ"א

“There’s nothing better than Oneg and there’s nothing worse than Nega.”(Sefer Yetzira)

The translation of the word Nega (Blemish) is translated as “closed in.” It means that you feel your possibilities have been exhausted. You feel far from Hashem and you have given up on who you can be.

A Nega comes as a result of your actions. It demonstrates that it is not a coincidence that you are far away from Hashem. You have chosen to be far away.

Oneg refers to Shabbos. On Shabbos, you feel close to Hashem in the strongest way. The only thing you want is what Hashem wants. It is called the Day of the Neshama (and therefore we say the prayer Nishmas Kol Chay) because the desires of the body are totally negated. The desires of the soul, of who you really are, are felt in the strongest way. On Shabbos you aren’t far at all, you are so close.

But the word Oneg is the same letters as the word Nega. Why? To show us that in a moment Hashem can change everything. You can be at the bottom of the world and can suddenly be at the top. The same letters are Oneg and Nega to teach us that they are not so far from each other. Even though they seem to be worlds apart, the distance is not as great as you would think…

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Kiddush Thoughts

(קדש (הגדה

The Halacha states that one must look at the Kiddush cup during Kiddush. Why?

The way of people is to try and run away from Hashem, to ignore the presence of the creator. There are many things and worries in the world which cause a person to forget Hashem.The one most powerful vehicle to do this is wine.

However, Shabbos’ purpose is to remind oneself that there is a creator, and to use the world to come to this realization. Wine, being the chief most powerful agent of forgetfulness then must be used to remember Hashem.

This is why the Gemara says that when one takes steps that are too large (Pesia Gasa) they lose 1/500 of their eye sight, but one may regain it during Kiddush. Pesia Gasa means to find one’s self “over one’s head” in the physical world, and unable to see Hashem’s role in the world. Kiddush means to able to reorient one’s eyes in order to be able to see clearly.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Shivii shel Pesach

ד"ה ביום הראשון (שביעי של פסח)

The Jewish people were commanded not to do work on the first day of Pesach, and on the seventh day. What is the relationship between these two days?

There are three levels to a person, the surface, the middle and depths of person. The Pesach means that we skipped to be affected on the surface. The Matzah means to remove the Chametz which interposed between surface and depth. However, the depths were only revealed on the seventh day of Pesach.

Our Tefillos have two main parts: Shema and Shemonah esrei. When we say Shema means not to want anything except for Ratzon Hashem. When we say Shemonah Esreh we try to make His will our will.

Matzah is comparable to Kerias shema, it is a total nullification of the will from anything which is in opposition to Hashem’s will. Therefore the Zohar explains Matzah is mitzvah without a vav. It can be explained as going from understanding to doing without anything in between. This is the nullification of will found in matzah

Shir Hashirim says that “I will make for you pillars of gold with spots of silver.”

It is known that the spoils which were taken from Egypt were smaller than those taken at the Yam Suf. The Egyptian spoils were silver; the Yam Suf spoils were gold.

Hashem broke the salvation into two parts, the first day and the seventh day of Pesach, which are the silver and the gold, respectively.

The first part day was accomplished by the Jews by themselves by performing the Mitzvos of Pesach and Matzah to be able to leave Egypt. On the seventh day, Hashem showed how the salvation of leaving Egypt was step one of a two step plan. He demonstrated where it seemed that the Jews had done certain things to be free, infact tit was all according to Hashem’s plan. We can reread the Pasuk, “I will make you pillars of gold, from pieces of Silver”

Therefore we don’t make a Shehechiyanu Bracha on the 7th day of pesach like we do on Sukkos. This is because the salvation of the seventh day isn’t anything new, it is merely the unfolding of something which already existed.

In the same way, everything which ever existed is formed from Divrei Torah. When you look at the world in one way, you can’t tell. But when you look at them a second way, you see it is all Divrei Torah.

Sometimes a person needs to endure a little bit before they notice this. This is why the Gemara (Shabbos 120b) says that a person cannot stand in words of Torah until they stumble upon them.

The world then split to reveal that the whole world really exists for the words of Torah, just like Yarden split for the Aron, and the Yam Suf split for Moshe, who received the Torah.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Another Omer piece in hebrew.

ד"ה ליל שמורים דף לז ענין עומר

הרבי מפרש את הפסוק של ליל שמורים. כידוע לילה שני של פסח כהן אחד יצא לקצר את השאר בשביל הקרבן עומר. הרבי מסביר שקצירה הוא מושרש במושג של מציאת אבידה . כי אבידת הזרע הוא משעת שזרע בארץ. רעיון זה לא רק נאמר באופן של טבע. גם בעם היהודי רואים את זה. שהשם זרע אותנו בתוך כל האומות ועם היהודי צמח ויצמח שוב פעם.

לילה זאת של פסח הוא הלילה שהשם מחזיר לנו את מה שנאבד ממנו. בחיים השם מחזיר אותנו דברים שחשבנו שהם אבודים ואין תקוה להם. אבל השם מחזיר לנו מה שנאבד באופן חיצוני. כי באמת לא נאבד ממנו כלשהו, באמת הכל שמור אצלו ולכן לילה זאת נקראית ליל שמורים. ההלכה אומר שהקצירת העומר דוחה את השבת. למה? כי שבת הוא מהדברים הנקראים מעשה ידי אדם והם מן הדברים הבאים במבט חצוני שיכול לחשוב שיש דבר שיכול לאבד.

העומר הוא דבר שבא מאליו בלי השגת ידי אדם שזה מורה לנו איך השם לא נותן לנו את הכח לקלקל את עצמנו. הוא נפרד מכח הבחירה שלנו .כמו כן המזל שהוא נפרד מהשתדלות האדם לגמרי. אבל יש צד שעבודת האדם מצטרף בו. האדם מתחיל בעבודה שלו אחר כך כל מה שבא הוא לא מכיר שהוא הוצאה של עבודתו.

ומאותו ענין בהתגשמותו של מושג נעלה זה הוא ירושלים. עליו נאמר על חומותיך ירושלים הפקדתי שומרים תמיד, זאת אומרת שהשמירה הוא דבר שלא מפסיק לא נסתלק.

One on Sefiras Haomer

Rabbi Weinberger said this one over at Shalosh Seudos:

ענין עומר סוף הספר א

ד"ה וספרתם לכם

Hashem himself revealed himself on the night of the Exodus from Egypt, and with such shefa also created all of the future Geulos which a person will experience. This is why the Siddur says that the Jews left from Egypt to “Cherus Olam” as all of the future Geulos are bound up with the Geula from Egypt. However, the Jews couldn’t understand what it was that they had received. Therefore, Hashem said, “count these days to order to come to appreciate them, once you get to the fiftieth day, you will understand the value of what I have given you.”

This can be explained by a Mashal. A man and his son were walking along the road. His son found a treasure trove of jewels. His son didn’t know what they were, nor their worth. He asked his father, what are these? His father said, “Grab as many as you can, when we get where we are going, I will explain to you their value, we will count each one, and you will realize their worth.”

In the same way, each day of Sefira is one of these coins, that in the end, we will realize its value.

Kitzurim on Chametz from Izbitz Hagadah

These are some summaries of the shticklach from the Izbitzer Hagadah on Chametz

I will be posting in a longer format after Yom Tov Im Yirtzeh Hashem

ד"ה ענין

Chametz is when the dough moves by itself. The less a person does, the less chametz there is. Chametz can only infect where a person’s effort can reach, therefore, they only need to check as far as their hand reaches.

ד"ה מדאורייתא

Really, in Halacha, Bitul is enough, but from Miderabanan, we require that you search out the Chametz and burn it.

A person needs to “nullify” himself, and accept upon themselves to do only what Hashem wants. This is called acceptance is called Bitul. However, this blanket acceptance is not enough. A person must search after each detail to repair it and make sure there is no Chametz there.

אמר ר יהודא

Why shouldn’t we rely upon the Bitul? Maybe a person will find a nice pastry and their bitul will no longer exist.

There are averos which a person knows they have, that a person needs to do teshuva for, and then one must pray that Hashem save them from the Aveiros that he doesn’t know about.

However sometimes a person will have a Taiva for something which they never perfected themselves and remove that Taiva. At that point, they are Onus, while in the grips of the Aveira as they can’t see their way out of the Taiva nor daven to be saved from the Yetzer Hara; therefore they are considered Onus.

The Gemara says that there are two things that may not be in ones possession that the Torah considers to be in someone’s possession even though they are not physically in someone’s possession: a pit and chametz after 6 hours on Erev Pesach.

This means that an Aveira which a person will suddenly fall into and could not perfect themselves in that inyan isn’t in a person’s hands- they are Onus. But, it is considered in a person’shands because they should have davenned to be saved from it before hand. So too Chametz needed to be searched out, and whatcouldn’t be found should be nullified.

ד"ה בשני

There are two places that the Torah prohibited Chametz, on the Mizbeach and on Pesach. A person has to pass themselves totally in Hashem’s hands on Pesach. When brining a Korban, they must totally nullify themselves before Hashem.

The Shtei Halechem are an exception, they are a Korban, yet they are Chametz, when the fire from above consumes them, they are nullified as well.

Another Korban related concept is Semicha- the leaning on an animal. When a person rests all of their strength on a Korban, then their “kochi votzem yadi’ness” is absorbed into the Korban. The Korban is burned, and when it ascends above, Hashem shows how the Chet was really not a chet.

Saturday, April 15, 2006