This shiur has been dedicated in honor of: Mr and Mrs. Yisroel Abromovitz of Baltimore, Maryland
by Menachem Kalwitz
I. Getting Prayer heard 1. ‘They ascended in the south and he arrived at Chevron.’ (Bamidbar* 13.22) Rashi* explains that only Caleb went [to Chevron] to pray at the graves of the Patriarchs. There is a tradition [related to this verse] from Rebbe* Shlomoh of Karlin ZT’L that Rav* Chaim Liberzon of Chernoble heard from his father Reb* Yeshaya. [This tradition is] that if a person goes to the grave site of his ancestors or to that of a great Tzaddik*. He should stand by the gate of the Beis HaChaim* and say: ‘If the soul of the Tzaddik for whom I am coming to visit is not now by his grave, then I will light a candle at the time of prayer because of the first soul that will relate (to my ancestors or) to the Tzaddik, that I, Ploni ben Ploni* have come to pray by his grave.’
Then all the souls will hurry [to relate this.] Each one of them will desire to be the first to tell the Tzaddik who is the person who has come to his grave to pray. (p. 71 sefer Shema Shlomoh teachings of Rebbe Shlomoh of Karlin HY’D a talmid* of Rebbe Aharon of Karlin.)
[There is a well known story where Rebbe Moshe of Ohel sent a messenger to the grave of the Rebbe Reb* Elimeilech of Lizensk to pray for his son who was sick. He instructed them that when they would arrive there they should make a similar statement as is here
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II. A Humble Land
2. ‘The land is very very good.’ (Bamidbar 14.7)
The midah* of humility has a strong relationship to the land of Israel. The verse says: ‘The land is very very good.’ [This can be understood] according to what Chazal* teach: ‘You should be very very humble.’ [The words ‘very very’ in both places show that there is a relationship.] The land of Israel has the quality that it brings one to the midah of ‘very very’ [i.e. humility] (p. 105 sefer Toras Avos teachings of the Rebbes of Lechovitz, Kobrin and Solonim. This is from Rebbe Mordechai of Lechovitz a talmid of Rebbe Aharon of Karlin.)
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III. Serving HaShem completely
3. ‘In this desert [Heb. bamidbar] shall they be ended and there they shall die.’ (Bamidbar 14.35) Whenever a person says any holy words of Torah or prayer, he needs to enflame himself [with a desire for holiness] until he will reach the level where his soul will desire to leave his body. [There is a remez* to this in this verse. He should serve HaShem with a greater and greater desire.] Until ‘they shall be ended and there they shall
die’ because of their mesiros nefesh* in their service of HaShem*. (p. 105 sefer Toras Avos teachings of the Rebbes of Lechovitz, Kobrin and Solonim. This is from Rebbe Mordechai of Lechovitz a talmid of Rebbe Aharon of Karlin.)
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IV. Freedom and the kingdom of heaven.
4. ‘You shall see them and remember…’ (Bamidbar 15.39)
The Talmud* says: See this mitzvah* and remember another mitzvah that depends on it. Which mitzvah is that? The mitzvah of Krias Shema*. As it is taught, From when is the time for the reciting of the Krias Shema? From when one can recognize the difference between the color of the blue wool and white wool [of the tzitzis*.] Another teaching: See this mitzvah and remember another mitzvah which appears near to
it. Which mitzvah is that? [The mitzvah prohibiting wearing] mixtures [of different types.] As it says, ‘Do not wear mixtures of wool and linen together. Strands you shall make [on the four corners of your garment. The two verses appear in the Torah next to each other. Right after the prohibition of ‘mixtures’ is the command to wear tzitzis. Chazal tell us this indicates that the Tzitzis can be made from ‘mixtures.’]
We can explain the simple meaning of this discussion. The main point of the mitzvah of krias shema is to completely accept upon yourself the yoke of the kingdom of heaven. This is not possible to do unless you have first accepted upon yourself all the four types of death sentences that a beis din* is able to hand down. This is the idea of “dinah d’malchusah dinah” [The laws of the kingdom are laws.] When one completely accepts upon himself the yoke of the kingdom of heaven he enters the ‘world of freedom.’ [By being willing to give up his life he is no longer tied to this physical world. He is no longer a slave to this physical world. ]
I heard from Mori*, the Holy Rebbe Shlomoh of Karlin on the verse, ‘My beloved sent forth his hand from the portal.’ The word ‘portal’ [Heb. HaChor] is similar to ‘freedom’ [Heb. cherus My beloved refers to HaShem who sends us ‘freedom.’] It is also called ‘blue wool’ [Heb. techeilus.] This is because the ‘blue wool’ is similar in color to the ocean, and the ocean is similar in color to the heavens and the heavens to the Throne of Glory [of HaShem. Through looking at the blue wool, we have in mind these things which leads to the acceptance of the kingdom of heaven.] That is the meaning of the verse, ‘To every purpose [Heb. techlah] there is an end.’
For all [of these ideas] there is a remez in the mitzvah of tzitzis. This is because the tzitzis are supposed to have two strands of blue wool. For this reason the time of saying krias shema is when you can distinguish between the blue wool and the white wool of the tzitzis. [All these things come about when one can distinguish the ‘blue
wool.’] Another teaching: See this mitzvah and remember another mitzvah which appears near to it. Which mitzvah is that? [The mitzvah prohibiting wearing] mixtures [of different types.] The reason for this teaching is that all things are prohibited to be made of mixtures, except the garments of the priests and tzitzis, which are allowed to be made of mixtures. This is represented by the second view in the Talmud. ‘When you can distinguish between blue wool and green wool.’ [Heb. karti. This word] ‘karti’ has the letters of the word ‘crown.’ [Heb. keser] For this reason it is allowed to have mixtures in the garments of the priests and the tzitzis. There is a remez to all of these ideas in the mitzvah of tzitzis. This is because when a person completely accepts upon himself the kingdom of heaven, as we have explained, then he can recognize the difference between blue wool and green wool. (p. 28 sefer Beis Aharon teachings of Rebbe Asher of Stolin and his son Rebbe Aharon (II) of
Karlin. This was from Rebbe Asher of Stolin the son of Rebbe Aharon of Karlin.)
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V. Difficult beginnings
5. ‘Make for yourself Tzitzis’ (Bamidbar 15.38)
The Midrash* says, ‘[The verse says] “His left hand is under my head.” This refers to [the mitzvah of] Tzitzis. “And his right hand embraces me.” This refers to [the mitzvah] of tephillin. Another view: “His left hand is under my head.” This refers to [the mitzvah of] Krias Shema. “And his right hand embraces me.” This refers to [the mitzvah] of tephilah.
We need to understand how it is that ‘his right hand’ is associated with tephilin. [The Midrash should have associated tephilin with the left hand because] the tephilin are placed on the left hand. The explanation is that it is the right hand which binds the tephilin to the left hand. [This teaches us that] in all things we should include the left side [the side of stern judgement] together with the right side [the side of chesed*.] Through this we turn the left side into the right side.
The Talmud tractate Brachos*, explains [the reason why when teaching about the mitzvah of Krias Shema the Talmud first teaches about the time for the evening and then the time for morning.] One Tanna* explains that it is because the verse says ‘When you lie down, and when you rise up.’ Another explanation is that it is compared to the creation of the world. There is says, ‘And it was evening and it was morning, one day.’
Every generation starts with evening and ends with the morning. [Evening is associated with the left side, the midah of judgement, and morning with the right side, the midah of chesed.] As the verse says, ‘I will call to G-d [Heb. elokim] and HaShem will help me.’ [The name ‘G-d’ usually refers to the midah of judgement and ‘HaShem’ to the midah of chesed.] It is also written right after this, ‘Evening , morning and afternoon I pray…’ [The verse] has evening first and then morning. The explanation [for the idea of evening coming before morning] is that the word ‘evening’ [Heb. erev] has three meanings. The first is ‘mixture.’ [Heb. taruvos] The second is that it is a language meaning ‘sweeten.’ And there is also a third meaning to ‘evening.’ It is the same with everything [in this world.] First comes ‘evening’; a thing which is not good. The beginning of everything is fear. [As the verse says, ‘The beginning of wisdom is the fear of HaShem.] It is the same with regards to the life of a person. When he is born there comes to him his Yetzer HaRah*. Later the ‘morning’ comes, when he is 13 [and he gets his Yetzer Tov*.] This is what the Midrash means: ‘”His left hand is under my head.” This refers to Tzitzis.’ The reason is that Tzitzis have blue wool, which is a thing that is not as good as white wool which has no color at all and is pure and completely good. Likewise with tephilin we first bind them to the left hand, then we come to the tephilin that are placed on the head, which is the level of ‘right.’ One needs to start [ones service of HaShem] with the level of fear. Then [progress to] the level of love, which joins the two together.
Even though in things of this world it is not possible to have two things together as one. The one who has fear [of something] cannot love it at the same time. The one loves something cannot have fear of it [at the same time.] However when it comes to things that are related to the Will of HaShem it is possible to have both at one time. (p. 233 sefer Beis Aharon teachings of Rebbe Asher of Stolin and his son Rebbe Aharon (II) of Karlin. This was from Rebbe Aharon (II) of Karlin the son of Rebbe Asher of Stolin.)
Copyright (c) 1997 by Moshe Shulman ([email protected]) All rights reserved.
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