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48 Steps To Torah

‫בס״ד‬

When you are feeling down and depressed has anyone ever slapped you on the back and said, “Come on mate, you’ve got everything to live for!” You would feel like slapping him back in anger. Of course he is just trying to help but he has no idea what you are going through. Way 38 is Nosay b'ol im chaveiro - literally "carry your friend's burden." In other words, be aware and share the pain of others. When someone is physically hurt we jump for the bandages, the emergency numbers, CPR or whatever it may be. However, when someone is spiritually hurt, we often don’t know what do or how to react, and we thereby tend to avoid the situation. However, this is the time when we must go beyond ourselves to give help to others. After all, a broken heart is worse than a broken arm.

We will now move on to Way 39. Imagine you are staying in a hotel and the guy in the next room climbs up onto the balcony ready to jump. What are you going to do? Are you going to step forward and help or are you going to join in with the excitement of the rest of the crowd screaming: “Jump, jump!” You know you care, so what are you going to do about it? It is not enough just to feel other’s problems. You've got to actually do something to help. Fight the tendency to stand back, criticizing and shaking your head at other's mistakes. Way 39 is mach'riyo l'kaf zechus – literally "judging favourably." We must help other people to change their lives and get back on track.

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‫ע '' ר‬ ‫ע ע על‬ ‫ע ע ענ‬ ‫ער‬ ‫עמ‬ ‫ע ע ע עא‬ ‫ע עע‬ ‫עד‬ ‫ער‬ ‫ע עא‬ ‫ער‬ ‫על‬ ‫על‬ ‫ע עא‬ ‫עע‬ ‫ע 'על‬ ‫ע ער‬ ‫ענ‬ ‫ע עמ‬ ‫עא‬ ‫ע ענ‬ ‫ע ''ר‬ ‫ע ע על‬ ‫ע ע ענ‬ ‫ער‬ ‫עמ‬ ‫ע ע ע עא‬ ‫ע עע‬ ‫עד‬ ‫ע ע עמ‬ ‫ע ער‬ ‫ענ‬ ‫ער‬ ‫עמ‬ ‫על‬ ‫ע 'עא‬ ‫ר‬ ‫ע ע ע ע עת עע‬ ‫עמ‬ ‫ענ‬ ‫על‬ ‫על‬ ‫ל‬

‫בלק‬ ‫תמוז תשע“ג‬ 22nd June 2013

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Dvar Torah

Issue No: 435 Shabbos In: 9:06 Shabbos Out: 10:38

As human beings we care and want to help, you'll do all you can to stop him. You'll never forgive yourself if you The first step to sharing one’s burden, to help out oth- just stand there. ers, is to see others as real people. Is this person happy In order to help others you must accept responsibility. or sad? Weak or strong? Afraid or confident? AppreciWe all live in this world together, and while it may be ate that others' problems, hopes, dreams, and aspiraeasier to help someone out when they are in physical tions are just as real as your own. Focus by asking yourdanger you are just as obliged when they are in spiriself: "What is their burden?" Use your imagination to tual danger. feel how it is weighing them down. Help your friend confront his problem. If he needs help, Despite the burden, people often cover up their true take action – even if your assistance might initially stir emotions. Don't always assume that what appears on up resentment. And even if you don't like the other the outside is a reflection of the inside. Someone may person, you can't excuse yourself by saying, "It serves look neat and orderly, yet inside he is in terrible turhim right." moil. Before you give up on anyone – be it an alcoholic, a lazy Put yourself in the other guy's shoes. How does it feel employee, or a friend who betrayed you – give him the to be elderly? Weak? Hard of hearing? Without teeth? benefit of the doubt. Make every feasible effort to To lose a parent? How is he feeling on his first day on restore him to sanity. Try at least 10 ways to help him the job? What's it like moving into a new neighbourbefore you write him off. Wouldn't you want others to hood? Ask yourself: If I was him, how would I feel? give you the same consideration?

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The climax of Pashas Balak is reached as Bilam, striving to curse the Bnei Yisrael, only succeeds in giving the tremendous Brachos that Hashem wished to convey. The Gemoro in Sanhedrin explains that from the Brachos that Bilam gave, one can infer the nature of his intended curses. Therefore, as Bilam’s Brachos detailed the intense, eternal love between Hashem and His people, it is obvious that Bilam’s intent was to curse the Bnei Yisrael in a manner that would create a separation between G-d and His nation. Rav Gedalyahu Schorr brings down a Gemoro in Maseches Brachos to demonstrate the power and potency of Bilam’s Brachos. The Gemoro writes that Chazal wanted to include the Parshah of Bilam’s Brachos in Kerias Shema because of the Pasuk which states that “he knelt and lay down like a lion, and like a lioness, who can arouse him?” (24:9) As the word ‘ari’, lion preceded the word ‘lavi’, lioness, the Baal Haturim deduces that this pasuk relates to the Teshuvah process. Bilam was praising the nature of the Bnei Yisrael that even if one were to err by performing an aveirah, the personality of a Jew is such that one would immediately strengthen himself like a lion to prevent the sin occurring twice. And even if it were to happen again, a Jew still finds it within himself to fortify his resistance with the strength of a lioness. However, writes Rav Gedalyahu Schorr, even after two repetitions of an aveirah one should never lose hope. The end of the pasuk writes ‘mi yakimenu – who can arouse him’; the word ‘mi’ has the gematria of fifty, pertaining to the ‘Fifty Gates of Wisdom’ associated with Teshuvah, hinting at the fact that there are always opportunities to do Teshuvah and rectify one’s sins. Consequently, Bilam’s blessing would have provided enormous Chizuk in the Krias Shema, emphasising the message that whatever one does, a Jew is always considered a Child of G-d. The Nesivos Shalom further expounds on this Pasuk, citing a Medrash which interprets it to be referring to the manner in which the Bnei Yisrael never sleep without reciting Krias Shema, just as a lion doesn’t lie down before consuming its

food. In this way, Klal Yisrael demonstrates their love to Hashem, by crowning Him as we arise in the morning and lie down at night. Following on from the Gemoro in Sanhedrin, the Nesivos Shalom discusses the pasuk ‘He does not see any sins in Yaakov, nor does He look at iniquity in Israel’. Surely this pasuk is a contradiction of the Gemoro that Hashem does not forego aveiros freely? In order to answer the contradiction, the Nesivos Shalom compares our relationship with Hashem to that of two friends. If one friend were to break an item belonging to the other, but immediately begged forgiveness and professed his love and admiration for his friend, his friend would surely be willing to focus on the positives of their relationship, albeit that the item would need replacing. So it is with our relationship with Hashem. Immediately after committing a sin, Bilam blessed the Bnei Yisrael that they would remember that ‘teruas melech bo – the friendship of the King is within him’. Thus, if one does an aveirah, yet he strengthens himself and resolves to rectify the aveirah, it is not that Hashem overlooks the aveirah, but the aveirah becomes almost inconsequential as Hashem turns His focus, so to speak, towards the positives. Now it is possible to understand the meaning behind Bilam’s intended curses. By creating a separation between man and Gd, Bilam would have prevented the Bnei Yisrael from recognising their special relationship with Hashem, which would have allowed depression and loss of hope to settle in after performing aveiros. As a result of Bilam’s Brachos, it is evident how strong and powerful our relationship with Hashem is. When a Jew is in touch with this relationship then Hashem will never ‘gaze at our sins’ because the desire to do Teshuvah will be immediate! It is only when we lose sight of this connection, chas veshalom, when we are cut off from our Source, that we expose ourselves to punishment.

Yartzheit Story

Dvar Torah

This Tuesday, Shiva Asar b’Tammuz, is the 14 th Yartzheit of way. Rav Shmuel Yaakov Weinberg zt’l, the founder and Rosh Over the years, whenever Rav Weinberg was in Atlanta, or Yeshiva of Yeshivas Ner Yisrael, Baltimore. she was in Baltimore, this woman always purchased pickled Rav Weinberg was known never to ask a favour from any- tomatoes for him. She assumed it was his favourite food, one. He was very careful not to impose himself upon any- and was meticulous to ensure that he always had it. Once, one, and did whatever he needed himself. she even went so far to send her son to the Rosh Yeshiva, as she herself could not make it. This was a big zchus for her, So what was going on with the pickled tomatoes? and she cherished it. Rav Weinberg was once visiting his daughter in Atlanta, Then, Rav Weinberg fell ill. This woman was very close to Georgia, for a simcha. On erev Shabbos, a woman who was a sending him some get-well cards, but she realised that friend of the Rosh Yeshiva’s daughter came would probably not been appropriate for over and asked if they required any help. one of the biggest Roshei Yeshiva in the world. However, she had to do something. “It’s so kind of you to offer,” replied the So she called a friend, and asked her to buy daughter, “but we have everything we need some pickled tomatoes to send to Rav already.” Weinberg. Although it was only a small gesThe friend went to another family member, ture, it showed that she cared about the and repeated her offer. Again, she was Rosh Yeshiva’s health. turned down. Shortly afterwards, the Rosh Yeshiva passed Rav Weinberg heard what was going on, and away. At the levaya, the point was menapproached the woman. “You can get sometioned that Rav Weinberg never asked for a thing for me,” he said. favour from anyone. Mulling this over, the woman realised that this was true. So why With excitement, the woman said “The Rosh did he want the pickled tomatoes? Yeshiva wants me to get him something? Of course! Anything the Rosh Yeshiva asks for!” “I would be really delighted if you could purchase some pickled tomatoes for me.” After ascertaining that pickled tomatoes was all that Rav Weinberg wanted, the woman hurried off to the supermarket. She especially bought two jars of the most expensive tomatoes. She presented them to Rav Weinberg with great excitement. Rav Weinberg thanked her, and she went on her Then she realised. She was not doing the Rosh Yeshiva a favour: He was doing her a favour. She had showed up on Erev Shabbos, desperate to help the family of the Rosh Yeshiva out. But they didn’t need anything. So the Rosh Yeshiva reached out to her, giving her a way in which to help. She wasn’t doing him a favour. He was doing one to her.

This week’s Parsha discusses the cursing of the Bnei Yisrael by Bilam, who was sent by the King of Moav, Balak. At first, Balak sends messengers to Bilam to request that he curse the Bnei Yisrael and, after being warned against it by Hashem, Bilam refuses. However, Balak persists, and eventually the Posuk tells us that Hashem tells Bilam “Kum Leich Itam” – “Arise and go with them”. However, four Pesukim later, the Posuk writes that Bilam went “And G-d’s wrath flared because he was going.” How could Hashem instruct Bilam to go, and then subsequently become angry with him for doing so? Did Hashem change his mind? An answer offered by the Abarbanel quotes the Gemara in Makkos, which states that “a man is led in the path he wishes to go”. From here, the Abarbanel writes that whilst initially Hashem told Bilam that he could not go to curse the Bnei Yisrael, when Hashem gave him apparent permission, what he was really saying was not contradictory at all. Really, what Hashem was telling Bilam was this: I have forbidden you from going and, as a result, if you still want to proceed, you do so of your own volition; you can go, but you must know that it is because of your choice that you go. Since Bilam acknowledged this and went nevertheless, it became apparent that he really did not value what Hashem had previously been telling him, as, when offered the opportunity, he proved that he wanted to curse the Bnei Yisrael. As a result, Hashem was angry with him for displaying his hatred of the Bnei Yisrael – not for following what Hashem had seemingly instructed him.

An alternative answer offered by the Ramban calls for a closer analysis of the Pesukim in which this supposed contradiction occurs. In the eyes of Ramban, the Posuk in which Hashem tells Bilam that he can go is not so simple. By including the juxtaposition “Arise and go with them, but the only thing I shall speak to you, it shall you do”, Hashem attaches a condition to Bilam going. This is that, should Bilam choose to go, he must tell the servants of Balak, with whom he will travel, that Hashem will cause him to bless, not curse, the Bnei Yisrael. However, Bilam neglected to adhere to this condition, causing the “flaring” of Hashem’s anger. The reason that Hashem wanted Bilam to include this message was because he wanted to make it clear that, from the very start of this episode, Hashem intended for Bilam to go and bless the Bnei Yisrael. The reason for this was in order to fulfil a prophetic Posuk in Devarim, which writes about the Bnei Yisrael that “You will be blessed by all the nations”. In fact, the Midrash Rabbah relays this concept through a quote from R’ Chiyah bar Abbah. “The praises that a woman receives from her family cannot compare to those she receives from her rivals”. Thus, this concept of the highest form of praise emanating from one’s enemies is mirrored in the Midrash Rabbah – giving credence to the understanding of the Ramban. Thus, we see that, despite the apparent contradiction in the Pesukim, it becomes evident that the contradiction never existed and that Bilam’s actions were actually not in tandem with Hashem’s explicit commands – provoking the anger that the Posuk describes.

Gematria:
"Come curse Yaakov for me, come bring anger upon Yisrael." "How can I curse? - Kel has not cursed. How can I anger? - Hashem is not angry. From the top of rocks I see it [the nation], and from hills do I see it." (23:7-9)The names "Yaakov" and "Yisrael" both allude to G-d. The gematria of "Yaakov" is a multiple of the gematria of Hashem's four- letter Name (7 x 26 = 182). The name "Yisrael" contains G-d's Name - Kel - within it. Balak said to Bilam, "Come curse Yaakov for me, come bring anger upon Yisrael." Just curs e them from where you are, using their name, and be done with it. However, that would require Bilam to curse Bnei Yisrael by name, and he did not wish to do that. After all, their names, Yaakov and Yisrael, both contain the name of G-d, and one who blasphemes Gd receives the death penalty. Therefore when Bilam said, "How can I curse? -- Kel has not cursed. How can I anger? -- Hashem is not angry." He meant: How can I curse? -- I would have to curse "Kel." How can I anger? -- I would have to anger "Hashem." What is the solution? If from the top of rocks I see the nation, and from hills do I see it. Then I can curse them without using their names.

Riddle: Where in Shas do we find a woman with the name ‘Shalom’? Last weeks riddle: Which two letters are not written next to each other in the whole of Tanach? Answer:
There are two answers to this. Firstly, the letters 'gimmel' and 'samech' never appear next to each other, because Hashem hates someone who is of ‫( גס רוח‬haughty). Secondly, the Vilna Gaon answers that the letters 'gimmel' and 'tes' never appear next to each other because they always divide. The word 'get', a divorce document, is comprised of these letters.