A Weekly Dvar Torah from Reb Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin

Rabbi Weissmandl, Reb Pinchas, all my brothers, askonim, and all my family sheyichyu; We are still in Chodesh Adar and the mitzvah is "Marbim Besimcha". Hashem gave us – the Yidden who are here – the extra ability to be "Marbeh Besimcha" with the arrival of Mordechai Ben Dovid and his Mitzvah Men on Yom Rishon, Chof-daled Adar. His Mitzvah Men sang, harmonized, vocalized, homogenized, danced and made frailach here for one hour and fifty minutes. Altogether they inspired extra simcha for all of us Yidden, joining with them in music, song and dancing, and we are so thankful to them, and all our dear devoted and caring Brothers. We started around 6:40 with davening Mincha with a minyan, then we enjoyed the powerful sweet voice and large Yiddisher hartz of Mordechai Ben Dovid, who had us all joining him with the singing and dancing, all together in a very Purimdiker simcha. He also sang some hartziker nigunim and told us the stories as an introduction to the songs, and here is one of the stories he told us before he sang the song of "Anim Zemirois": The Lubavitcher Rebbe had a custom for years to teach a new song in shul on Simchas Torah, and this lasted into the early hours of the morning. This story was in the year Tof-shin-chof-bais (which is 50 years ago). The Rebbe told a story before he taught the nigun. In a certain Shul in the country of Poland, on the night of Yom Kippur, it was after maariv and all the Yidden left to go home, that is all, except this one Yid who remained sitting in shul. When the returned in the morning, they saw the same Yid as they left there last night, still wrapped in his talis and kittel and singing a nigun over and over, that expressed the sweetness of Hashem and the yearning of his neshama to be in unity with Him and to understand His secrets; and this is the song he sang... "Anim zemirois...nafshi chomdoh btzail yodecho lodaas kol roz soidecho" with its soul pulling melody, that be’ezras Hashem we will sing together at our seudas hoido'oh today. After Simchas Torah, the Rebbe gave Yechidus, and a certain Chasid entered the room with the Rebbe for a private Yechidus, and he asked the Rebbe if that Yid in the story that sang that song was Rebbe himself? The Rebbe said no, and that it could not have been with him, because he was not in Poland. But since he is asking him, he will tell him the rest of the story. We know of those hard days in Poland when the very wicked wealthy "Poritzim" - landowners rented their land to Yidden who worked the land to support themselves and their families. When a Yid fell behind in his rent and being unable to pay his rent to the poritz, the wicked poritz would throw this poor Yid into his pit or dungeon. Either the Yid’s family and friends would pay the debt plus interest and surcharges, or the poor victim would die in the pit. Once, when this happened to a poor Yid in the city, immediately all the Yidden worked hard to collect the sum owed but were not able to collect the whole amount of money. So they approached this one Yid who they thought had that amount of money and begged him to give the money needed to ransom the poor Yid, and save his life. This Yid sold all that he owned to be able to accumulate the money and happily they gave the money to the poritz who released the Yid from his prison, but the next day this poor Yid passed away! The Yid who had given away all that he owned to save the poor Yid’s life from prison, now saw that he did not really save him because he passed away the next day. He felt Terrible. The Yid was broken and

‫מן המיצר‬
shattered thinking, how could this be? He did the mitzvah of pidyoin shevuyim, he was left without money, and the Yid he saved dies. That night this Yid had a dream. In his dream he is informed from above that he has a choice; either he could get all his money back as he had it before, or he would be allowed to feel and experience the pleasure and sweetness of olam haboh for one day! The Yid thought to himself, money is very temporary - here today gone tomorrow; so he asked that he be allowed to feel the pleasure and sweetness of olam haboh for one day. The day they he experienced this was that one day of Yom Kippur, and that is why he was unable to leave the shul, because he was feeling the pleasure and sweetness of olam haboh. So he stayed in shul and sang the song that expressed his feeling he had, and that is when the Yidden saw him and heard him singing when they came in the morning of Yom Kippur. With this story Mordechai Ben Dovid sang "Anim zemirois" and we all joined in with him and there were many wet eyes by those that sang the song. Then he sang "Oveenu Malkanu" and then broke into some really lively nigunim, and our neshomos infused our feet to dance like we did not dance before, that even those who do not exercise out-danced those that exercised and more! One of the guys said out loud as he danced, "This is exercise!" "Yes, of the neshama of course!" I thought :) Then we davened Maariv with the minyan and finished with a few more songs and marching out of prison to our homes :) and its our tefillah that as simcha poiretz geder, Hashem will take us all out of the confines and gedorim of prison and out of the confines of golus with Moshiach Tzidkainu. While we were "Marbim besimcha" we did not think much about why we were singing and dancing; but now that we are sharing our "Marbim besimcha" here, here is a thought: An answer to those that want to say that there is a contradiction to be dancing and besimcha in prison, a place of constraints and confinements, a place of extreme darkness that extinguishes the light of a soul, since being besimcha needs to come from a feeling of bright light that lightens the soul, es iz lichtik, and simcha which is poretz geder is freedom which is the polar opposite of Constraint and confinement, [which is exactly the point of needing to be Besimcha]… This is also tied with our parsha of Vayikra, and the extra parsha of Hachoidesh hazeh lochem. But first one more story on simcha so we get a little acquainted what simcha is: Boruch Hashem we had a Melava Malka every week and we invited everyone to join, and share stories of our great Tzadikim and sing the many different zemiros for the Melava Malka in all their tunes. Reb Yisroel Bloom of Vhishnitz told over this story of Reb Zushe of Anipoli, when he was in his younger years. Reb Zushe of Anipoli lived in dire poverty but never missed any earthly possessions and always felt that Hashem gives him everything he needs. He had the zechus of owning the pair of tefilin from the Baal Shem Tov, in which he davened every weekday. We can only imagine the intense kedusha felt by Reb Zusha as his holy tefillois were said wrapped in the tefilin worn by the Baal Shem Tov. In that same shul davened a wealthy Yid who sensed an opportunity to own the tefilin of the Baal Shem Tov. He approached Reb Zusha with his idea of exchanging a huge sum of money in return for him selling the tefilin of the Baal Shem Tov. The money he offered was large and would wipe out all his needs at home. Reb Zusha said no, and would not even hear of any idea that would separate him from the holy tefilin. This wealthy Yid had the chutzpah to approach to approach his Rebbitzin, and made her know of his most generous offer of money he would give in return of the Tefilin, and even slyly suggesting that maybe she should also help in convincing her holy husband to change his mind. The Rebbitzin asked her husband to sell the tefilin, pointing out that there was such great need in their home and which would be alleviated with the money the rich man would give. But Reb Zusha explained to her the greatness of the Tefilin of the

‫מן המיצר‬
Baal Shem Tov he owned and he would never sell them for any earthly belongings. Erev Sukkos there was a buzz in the shul with many Yidden gathered around in a circle. The wealthy Yid had bought a very special esrog that was a real hiddur mitzvah, and he was proudly showing off his great buy to all the Yidden in the shul. He noticed that in the circle of Yidden that gathered around to observe the esrog was Reb Zushe! He quickly had a idea. He approached Reb Zusha and said, "Yungerman, I see that you like the esrog!" He continued "You should know that you could have the esrog!" Reb Zusha smiled and said," I do not have enough money to pay him for such an esrog!" The wealthy man offered to take the tefilin for the esrog, and gave him some time to think! Reb Zusha thought about this, "It is Erev Sukkos, and for the next seven days the mitzvah to serve Hashem was not with the tefilin but with an esrog that was beautiful, and what a great mitzvah it would be to own such a great esrog," So Reb Zusha decided that he would exchange the tefilin for the esrog. The wealthy Yid happily gave up his esrog to Reb Zusha in exchange for the Tefilin of the Baal Shem Tov. The simcha of Reb Zusha knew no limit, he now owned such an esrog for Sukkos, and he entered his home the way he felt, he was dancing with the simcha of the Mitzvah! His wife looked at him and asked him "What is the reason for this Simcha?" He answered that he just acquired a most beautiful esrog for the mitzvah on Sukkos! She asked him to see the esrog and seeing the esrog she also agreed that it was the most beautiful esrog she ever saw, but "Where did you get the money to buy this esrog?" When she heard that he exchanged the precious tefilin for the esrog, and remembering the great amount of money that had been offered and he refused, she became so upset that she bit off the pitim and made the esrog posul for use! Reb Zushia saw how his esrog was destroyed but said not a word of complaint to his wife, he raised his eyes to Hashem and said, "Nu, so now I do not have the tefilin, and I do not have the esrog for Yom Tov, should that mean that I will not have simcha of the Yom Tov?! It’s "Zman Simchosainu", and with a dance of simcha he grabbed his towel and danced all the way to the Mikveh :) Stories that are given over to us from our Tzadikim is so that we should learn from them, and when we learn from these stories we will understand what is simcha and why is simcha in a place that is so devoid of humanity and human life, is still a place that we can and should be besimcha, and this what the parsha of "Hachoidesh hazeh lochem", which is the first mitzvah given to the Yidden from Hashem, teaches us. Rashi in the first posuk of the Torah explains that the Torah [which is given to the Yidden to learn and do its mitzvos] should only have started with the mitzvah of "Hachoidesh hazeh", and gives the reason that the Torah begins with "Braishis boroh" the story of the creation of the world, is in order that the Yidden will have an answer to the question of the nations of world, who will argue and say to the Yidden – “You are thieves that stole the land of the 7 nations!” Now, the Yidden will have the answer, that Hashem created the world and everything in it, and gave it to whom He wanted by His will, and by His will He took it away from "them" and gave to us Yidden. This answer brings another question, why does Torah need to change how it begins, for some argument that other nations will have? Torah is higher than the creation, so why modify what Torah should have done for reasons of creation? [Being that this email has constraints and is limited in the amount of characters it can carry, and that amount is about full, be’ezras Hashem the parsha will be continued with the next email, and meanwhile I hope you enjoyed the stories.] Sholom Mordechai halevi ben Rivka shetichye

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