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48 Steps To Torah

Number 8: Simcha
Dovid HaMelech writes that one should serve Hashem with joy (Tehillim 100:2). The idea behind this is that one should not feel that learning Torah and keeping the Mitzvos are a burden upon him, but rather that they are a gift from Hashem to us. Therefore, to express our delight at this, we should rejoice when fulfilling the Torah. In the tochacha (curses) in Parshas Ki Savo (Devarim 28:47), the reason given for the curses befalling us is because we didnt serve Hashem with Simcha. This demonstrates the necessity and obligation for a deep, emotional relationship with Hashem filled with happiness, with a feeling of accomplishment. In Hilchos Teshuva, the Rambam writes that the relationship between us and Hashem should be like the love between a man and his wife. In fact, according to Rashi this is the meaning of the superficially mystifying love song Shir HaShirim. The powerful allegory provided to us by Shlomo HaMelech teaches that the ideal relationship between us and Hashem is just like that of a young bride (the Jewish people) and a groom (Hashem). Likewise, the Neviim (prophets) often invoke wedding imagery when relating the relationship between us and Hashem. In Hilchos Megillah, the Rambam explains that the highest form of serving G-d is with joy. This is the reason why immediately after the Yomim Noraim (the high holy days) comes Sukkos, Zman Simchaseinu, the ultimate festival of joy. After we have rededicated our service to Hashem, we immediately want to rejoice with Him to show our love and appreciation for the Mitzvos. Chazal write that one who has not seen a Simchas Beis HaShoeva (Joyous water drawing ceremony performed when the Beis Hamikdash stood) has never seen true simcha. The Gemara delineates how at the celebration Rabban Gamliel used to juggle eight torches, Levi would juggle eight knives and Shmuel would juggle eight glasses of wine, without spilling a drop! The ceremony continued throughout the night, illuminating the city so brightly that there wasnt a courtyard in Jerusalem which didn't reflect the light of the great candlesticks which illumined the Festival of the Water-Drawing. Though usually we would not expect such seemingly frivolous activity from the Gedolim (leaders of the generation), on Sukkos, this celebration is entirely justified. Emphasising this idea, the pesukim regarding Sukkos repeat the word Simcha three times. This is the source of the famous phrase Vesamachta bchagecha vhoysia ach someach. Similarly, we see the need for proper rejoicing over Torah, when the Aron (ark) was returned to the Bnei Yisrael after being captured by the Plishtim, and the people of Beis Shemesh were punished for not leaving their work in the fields to celebrate (Malbim on Shmuel Alef 6:13). Additionally, when David HaMelech finally managed to return the ark to the City of David, he celebrated extravagantly, leaping and dancing before Hashem (Shmuel Beis 6:16). Michal, his wife and Shauls daughter, despised his actions as she was used to the royal protocol in her fathers court and felt that David was disgracing himself in the eyes of his kingdom with his levity. Chazal explain that she failed to distinguish between the dignity required for flesh and blood compared to the honour one must have for Hashem, regardless of the effect on ones status in the eyes of others. For this, Michal was punished that until the day she died, she had no children. We see what great lengths one must be prepared to go to in order to honour and rejoice over the Torah, and be bSimcha.

The Hasmonean High School Weekly Sedra Sheet

17th November 2012
Dvar Torah

Living Torah
Issue No: Shabbos In: Shabbos Out:

413 3:55 5:00

Why did g-d relent to yitchak and rivkas prayers?

When it was clear that they would be unable to nations. Certainly, then, Yitzchak would have have children, Yitzchak and Rivka prayed, and the children, and Rivka would certainly be their mother Pasuk (21:25) says: as she was the one deemed worthy, as evidenced by the miracles Eliezer witnessed. And He relentAnd Yitzchak entreated the Lord for his wife, beed to him can be interpreted to mean that G-d did cause she was barren; and He relented to him. not want to give them children just yet, but simply A person once told R Yosef Chaim Zonnenfeld a wanted them to wait a bit longer so Avraham short Dvar Torah on this. Why does the Pasuk say would not live to see his grandson become a murand He relented to him? Does this not seem an derer. odd way of saying that G-d heard and heeded his When R Yosef Chaim heard this, he jumped up and prayers? exclaimed that this was certainly true, because the The person explained that there is a tradition that numerical value of and He relented to him is 748 all the Avos were meant to live until the age of 180. (686+36+26), the same Gematria as Chamesh ShaYet Avraham died aged 175 (25:2). We can work nim - five years, which represents G-d relenting to this out: Avraham was 99 when he circumcised their prayers to have children at the expense of himself, 100 at Yitzchaks birth, 137 at the Akeida, five years from Avraham Avinus life. at which point Yitzchak was obviously 37. Yitzchak R Yosef Chaim also said that we say He will fulfil was 40 at his marriage, and 60 at the birth of Yaathe desire of them that fear Him; He also will hear kov and Eisov (25:26), making Avraham 160 at their their cry, and will save them. Isnt this in the birth. Eisov first murdered someone when he was wrong order? Doesnt Hashem fulfil their desires to aged 15, making Avraham 175. There is a Rashi that placate their cries? R Yosef Chaim explains that Avraham would live to see Yishmael repent (25:9), the prayers of a devout person are able to change but die before Eisov killed someone for the first what is meant to happen to people, which explains time (25:30). If he died aged 175, where are the fulfilling their desires. However, people do not missing 5 years? know what is best for them, and sometimes suffer The person said to R Yosef Chaim Zonnenfeld that as a consequence of getting what they desire. The and He relented to him is the answer. There was Pasuk teaches that Hashem will even repair this never any doubt that Yitzchak would have children; later cry of suffering which is of their own doing. his father had been promised

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Dvar Torah

The bostoner rebbe

This Thursday, 8 Kislev, is the 66th Yartheit of Harav army, Rav Pinchos Dovid quickly came up with a plan to Pinchas Dovid Horowitz ZTL, 1st Bostoner Rebbe. escape back to Eretz Yisrael. The Bostoner Rebbe never wanted to live in America. His desire was to spend his whole life in Eretz Yisrael, where he was brought up. However, he was ultimately destined to play a major part in the formation of American Jewry. He went for his meeting with a Polish army officer, but before he could be assigned to any army unit, he spoke up. I know five different languages, and am in a weak physical state. I could be of more use as a spy than as a normal soldier. Using my knowledge of languages, I could break into enemy lines and prise key military The first time the idea of moving to America was put information from them. into his head was when his uncle, Rav Dovid of Lelov, suddenly suggested it to him one day, seemingly out of The officer was unconvinced, but, eventually, Rav the blue. Bewildered, Rav Pinchos Dovid simply put the Pinchos Dovid managed to persuade him. Soon after, suggestion to the back of his mind, and moved on. A Rav Pinchos Dovid left Poland, with all necessary papers while later, his Uncle repeated the suggestion again. and forged documents in his hand. He started off, However, Rav Pinchos Dovid simply was not interested heading deep into enemy lines. However, he did not in moving to treifah America. He wanted to live his life stop to spy; he headed straight to Turkey, to the port in the holiness and sanctity of Eretz Yisael. city of Constantinpole. Here, he intended to get on a ship back to Eretz Yisrael. However, as he arrived in the However, the Creator had other plans. Rav Pinchos city, the ports were closing; they were not to re-open Dovid, who was known as a massive Talmid Chacham until after the war. Now, Rav Pinchos Dovid was in a (Torah scholar) long before he became a Rebbe, was quandary- if he stayed in Turkey, he sent a request from Poland to come and would risk being caught as a spy. On the arbitrate a complicated halachic case other hand, there was one more ship there. Thinking that it would not be a leaving, but not to Eretz Yisrael. Ultilong case, Rav Pinchos Dovid agreed. mately, Rav Pinchos Dovid boarded the However, one thing led to the next, and ship. Where was it going? America. In his stay in Europe dragged on. Before he the end, Rav Pinchos Dovid settled in knew it, World War One had broken out, America, where he and his children and Rav Pinchos Dovid, who was a Polish would greatly influence the course of citizen, was drafted into the Polish army. the history of American Jewry. Knowing the difficulties inherent with keeping a Torah lifestyle in the Polish

Real emes
Chazal nicknamed Sefer Bereishis as Sefer Yesharim after the Avos who were yesharim- upright. This means that they kept the Torah even before matan torah as the pasuk says: That Hashem has made man yashar, i.e. that the way of life as dictated by the Torah was an intrinsic part of them, and therefore they are called yesharim. The obvious question, therefore, is that the way Yaakov acts to get the brachos seems to be far from upright. Rather, it seems to be sly and tactful, and, as a result, surely the term yashar should not apply anymore? Furthermore, why do the pesukim seem to present the way that Yaakov received the brachos as deceitful? Surely the Gemara at the end of Makkos says that Yaakov did not want to trick his father and it was only because his mother forced him to do so that he did it? Shimons door to ask if Reuven is hiding in his house and Shimon answers that he is because he doesnt want to lie, we would not call that emes. We see from here that there are some instances where it is acceptable to bend the truth, such as when it comes to getting out of a situation with a dangerous person like Esav (not just to get out of why you didnt do your homework). We see that Yaakov, although his midda was emes, had to bend the truth many times. One example is when he tells Esav to go on ahead and Ill meet you in Seir when he really had no intention of going there. However, although one is allowed to lie for the sake of peace, it is not recommended to just lie, as even when done for good reasons it can lead a person to make it his nature to lie. Therefore, having redefined emes as doing things for the right reasons, the presentation of the episode of Yaakov deceiving his brother no longer makes it sound as though Yaakov tricked Yitzchak but rather took action in order to follow the path of what is right.

Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky in Emes LYaakov answers that from this scenario we learn a great yesod in emes-truth. When, later, Yitzchak tells Esav that his brother came bemirmah, Targum Unkelas explains this as bechachmasawith wisdom. This teaches that even speaking May we all incorporate these principles into our the truth needs careful calculations. For exameveryday life and live a life of emes with no ple, if Reuven comes to Shimon to hide because deviation from the real truth. he is being chased, when the pursuer knocks on

- I am disgusted with my life (27:46) The letter of the word ,disgusted, is written small. Rivkah lived 100 years from the time she conceived Yaakov and Eisav until her death (see Rashi, 25:20). Soon after becoming pregnant with them, she was told prophetically that one of them would be wicked, a prophecy that came to fulfilliment through Eisav. The numerical value of the letter is 100. From the moment she received that prophecy until she died, Rivkah lived with the disgust mentioned in our verse.

What is the longest word in Tenach?
Last weeks riddle:

Which two great men in Nach died at the same age?

Shmuel and Shlomo. They were both aged 52