Parshas Chayei Sarah

Rivka at the well- assume jealously guarded water rights- only member of most prominent family would have any right to allow a stranger to enjoy the water- Eliezer would know this, also that Laban's family was the most prominent. Therefore only a member of that family would dare\have the right to give him- also a test for chesed- complementary


Shmos 4- 3rd Av 5755

Inyan of Moshe being swallowed by snake.

There was interruption in Moshe's dvekus (Malbim) because he was so preoccupied with arranging lodgings-

Angel came in form of snake to get his attention- swallowed him head first up to his bris, then started again, tail first & up to his bris.

My idea is not that the snake came to kill Moshe but to demonstrate to Tzipora that the presence of Moshe Rabenu's bris gave him a measure of immunity from the effects of the nachash i.e. the yetzer hara. The snake was not able to pass that point and so was not able to consume him entirely. Tzipora would learn from this that a bris was essential for her son.


Parshas Chukas (1) yahrtzeit of Lubavitcher Rebbe-

Perek 19:2

asher lo ala aleha ol- three times same root- ayin lamed- to rise. The para had not been used for anything yet- unworked-This means that none of the nitzotzim in the para had been elevated. All in potential- therefore stress on ayin lamed loshon- elevate.

Similarly- three parts of the para used- skin, flesh and blood

three items used - erez, ezov and shnei tolaas.

Skin parallels erez- outer self- apparent- persona

tendency to gaiva- or greatness

Flesh parallels ezov- inner self- hidden- unconscious

tendency to taava- or tznius

Blood parallels shne tolaas- nefesh- conscious bechira- vitality

awareness- can choose chet or kedusha

Parshas Chukas (2)

21:5 - The people spoke against Elokim (din, teva) and against Moshe.

Complaints against man- Nafshenu katza

Out came serpents.

Both the man and the absence of serpents was a chesed from Hashem.

The people used the loshon of Elokim- teva-

Now Hashem would give them teva. Normally in the desert there are snakes.

Now they suffer.

Now they acknowledge the chesed retroactively:

"We have sinned because we have spoken against YKVK and against you. "

Here, now, they use name of rachmim instead of din and teva.

Parshas Chukas (3)

Hamin hasela? From this rock- loshon of doubt- betrays chisaron in emuna

Hashem replies- because you have not believed in me to sanctify me in the eyes of the people-

Belief is centre point here- possibly caused by Moshe's emotional response to the people's complaints- his emuna was not shalem.

For this Moshe forfeited his right to enter Eretz Israel.

According to another Rashi he forfeited this right in sefer Shmos- When people told to gather straw for bricks- Paro concluded they were idle because of Moshe's request- Moshe then complained- "why have you done ill to this people?" example of lack of complete emuna as result of emotional reaction to situation. Basically same thing.

Proof that loshon of doubt is ikar here- only two times in whole Torah is the word "Hamin" - with regard to sela and to the tree of knowledge.

Both were pivotal- both forfeited Geula for mankind

For Adam- failed test of not eating- no eternal Shabbos- galus, death.

For Moshe-failed Masa & Meriva -no eternal eretz Israel- galus, death.

Both also hint to Haman- Amalek- same gimatria as safek- doubt.

Haman played a part in causing Am Israel to sin at the banquet of Achashverosh- tref meat and wine of avoda zara.

The "hamin haetz" (fruit) is parallel to the tref meat- (Alshich) so- the "hamin hasela" (water) is parallel to the wine.

Why in Shmos Hashem could hit the rock and in Bamidbar should speak?

(Sarah Toybe- different time) appropriate for generation- ??

1st time- generation had seen many miracles done by mateh- respect.

2nd time- next gen. needed more subtle, gentler approach.


Based on Ohr HaChaim - - 11 July '95

(No "amal" in Am Israel.

"Amal is loshon of burden. Israel accepts obligations with love and

enthusiasm and does not perceive them as a burden. )

No comparison between someone who learns a Mishneh 101 times and 100 times.

101 times is out of love- you put something extra in the work from your heart and soul.

100 times is just being yotzai your obligation.

Therefore one would come to perceive 100 times as a burden to be done with.

100 is "kuf" - (significance of number itself?)

Amalek is amal- "ayin mem lamed - kuf" burden-100

Essence of Amalek- just be yotzi obligation- don't bother with kavanna, enthusiasm, G-dly awareness, extra spirital stuff which elevates every action. Just accomplish and acquire impressive habits, repertoire.



(Brought by Rav Perlman- Ohr Sameach) Gimatria of Veeschanan = 515 (also of Tefila and Cavanas HaLev- Hachida).

(No. hours from Rosh Hashana (coming in) to alos hashachar (?) of Shmini Atzeret (i.e. the end of Hoshana Raba) =516

How much can be accomplished in that period of davenning! Moshe Rabenu just fell short of this- at Hashem's command- or could have won.

(In prayer for Miriam 2 x "na" - in request for Israel only one "na" One more "na" would have done it! Source? I heard this...

My addition- that extra "na" was the extra davenning in the last hour of Hosha-"na" raba- same word very important in this final day of tshuva )

Essence of Shabbos

Integration of the person- the man and the woman are steered to the opposite of their usual roles and tendencies:

Woman- normally private and in the home-

Shabbos- giving tzedaka (and lighting candles)- hacnasas orchim- now she reaches out more to people from outside the home- hostess.

Man- normally outgoing, dealing with world at large

Shabbos- focus on the home- enjoying delights of nefesh for holy purpose- the seudah and menucha- forces him to be aware of "here and now" rather than projecting future plans. He greets Shabbos by "Lcha Dodi"- extra meaning, apart from usually understood Shabbos queen- Jungian sense of greeting his soul- the female- the anima- now an extra soul- leads him to more self integration. Tikunim.

We do so much spiritual work between Rosh Hashana and Chanukah- really feel we are making strides- tshuva, and many improvements. We feel a rise to a new madrega in that time period- in those years when this process goes well.

Then follow the dark winter months of Shovavim Tet- we feel a definite yerida. Where did all that work go?

The mishcan was built in those first three months- until Chanukah. Then it was put away till Rosh Chodesh Nissan. We build our spiritual mishcan- the yerida thereafter is actually illusion. The mishcan has been temporarily put away. We will feel the spiritual work return before Pesach- now whole, integrated- when we need it! Such chizuk! Do not despair!

Shmoneh Esreh-

Bracha of Hashivenu has "malkenu" and bracha of Slach Na also has malkenu, but this lashon not before or after for many brochos.

Melech- mo'ach, lev, kilayim. We were created betzelem elokim, goal to emulate Hashem's attributes.

Avodas Hashem in "Hashivenu" is from the top end- daven for that first.

Sins come from the bottom end, from the kilayim, the nefesh behemis.

THEN we daven for forgiveness, that we can rectify our sins.

Rachel's complaint

From the point of view of "Men are from Mars, women are from Venus"

Men assume responsibility- women want emotional support.

Rachel said- "give me a child, or I shall die-" really an expression of her emotional pain and lack. She wanted his affectionnate support and understanding. Yaakov did not understand this, in his anger- he took her words literally- good example of male versus female thinking- he felt he should be responsible but he felt frustrated in this because, as time had shown, he did not have a fertility problem. He was probably also angry at her apparent lack of rationality for not realising that it was not in his power, and that he himself was obviously fertile.

Just a speculation- that hashgacha pratis works via the yechida-divine influx from Hashem to the human soul- can be increased or decreased depending on our choices. When we make choices in accordance with divine will, then the divine light flowing down into us is greater- our neshamas shine with more spiritual light. Spiritual law- that this attracts mitzvos and brachos to us (like a charm as it were) and so we are zocheh to more mitzvos and to the fulfilment of our wordly needs- which really means provision of more celim for Avodas Hashem- attraction to more nitzotzim to be liberated.

"Lo ye'anesh shum adam besibasi" from kriyas shma al a mita mechila. A person is going to get an onesh for their bein adam lechavero anyway- if they did not ask mechila. Perhaps they will get an extra measure according to extra tzaar they cause us. If we can adjust our attitude so that the pain is "water off a duck's back"- we don't react so much, we don't cry out to Hashem in pain- not that we suppress the emotional reaction, but that we transcend the pain so that the emotions are simply not there- then that person does not get the extra measure. "Siba" means reason. It also alludes to turning around. sovev. Perhaps a relative of "shav". If we "turn around" we react emotionally to a situation. We turn our attention to the pain and insult. This does not have to be. We could save the perpetrator that extra measure of tzaar in the next world by our transcending the pain and dismissing it honestly in this world. We are davenning here for either syata dishmaya for adjustment of our attitude or else for Hashem to break the connection between our crying out in pain (above the reasonable) and the person's punishment.

Ci Tetze-

Forty lashes- do not add. Likutei Mehoran links the 39 lashes with the 39 malachot. If we cleave to Hashem we can merit the 39 divine lights. If not we become burdened with the 39 malachos- i.e. the cares and hishtadlus of this world, and become chayav for the lashes.

Now- loshon of halacha- 40 malachos of Shabbos minus one. Why? "Malacha" is mentioned 40 times in the Torah. In one place "malacha" is a euphemism - Yosef is going back to Potiphar's house to do his malacha- i.e. succumb to Mrs. Potiphar. This is the "minus one".

Reason usually given for maximum of 39 lashes rather than forty is that Hashem does not show all his wrath. Nobody really deserves full punishment.

My idea is that this is hinted at in the pasuk. It says- "lo yosif" - a hint to Yosef, and the subtraction of his malacha from the count of 40- so too do we have 39 lashes instead of 40.

VAYELECH- Devarim- 31-3

Moshe says to Bnei Israel- Hashem Elokecha- he will go over before thee Why "Your God?"

1) Moshe lived in the midbar- 40 years of nisim- would not be going into Eretz Israel- here Am Israel would relate to Hashem much more bederech hateva- which is elokim in gimatria. That mode would not apply to Moshe.

2)Moshe learned attributes of mercy directly from Hashem- also names revealed to Moshe- relate to the merciful compassionate side of Hashem- world of truth- could see the good in all His deeds, would perceive mercy even in din. Am Israel would perceive only din- elokim would apply much more to them.

2a)Moshe would soon be in world of truth where above would apply even more so.

3)In expelling the Canaanim Hashem would show his mida of din very clearly. (For Bnei Israel but not for Moshe)

Esav greeted Yaakov with 400 men- these were described according to the Midrash as "generals." I suddenly understood this when I learned that in one certain Palestinian refugee camp there were about two dozen terrorist cell LEADERS- and not one! This is a midos problem- gaiva- each one wanted to lead, each one had his own opinion and derech of fighting- splintered. When it came down to it, none of Esav's men were going to hang around and follow him, because they had no real respect of him. Similarly, the Palestinians have no firm leadership.

Cheshvan 5756

Lot's rescue from Sdom- Pesach time- (Leil haSeder?)- precedent- in hurry, not taking belongings- (he did not leave b'rchush gadol!) Flee from destruction- whole inyan of Petachim, doors, as on Pesach (blood on mezuza and mashkof-- citizens of Lot at the door)-Openings parallel orifices of body- esp. mouth- peh sach.

Lot's self esteem- minimal- in Sdom and Tzoar he could feel he's worth something by contrast. By Avraham he felt like a piece of dirt. He did not want to flee to the mountains- they would make him feel insignificant, and therefore depressed. Then the destruction might cleave to him as a result of this low state. He was aware of this danger. Hashem conceded. In the end he did flee to the mountains. His low self image made his immorality possible. In Sdom he thought so little of himself that he was ready to give over his daughters- extensions of himself

Cheshvan 5756

According to Rambam and Reb Nachman- essential to elevate simcha of sick person, simcha heals. Avraham Avinu was sad he didn't have guests- negative emotion. Angels came and gave good news which even made them laugh- Sarah laughed here, though in doubt- Avraham had laughed earlier, but the news was more specific regarding time, and certainly cheering. The fact of the REPEAT of the news reinforces the idea that it was not for the news itself- not new- but for the timing- which would in itself have an extra cheering effect- the healing effect was paramount.

Cheshvan 5756

Avraham changed his name- Hashem took him above the stars- he looked down at them- "hibit"- he rose above his mazal- (gezera of infertility) According to Reb Nachman this would be a progression of his ability to see the Torah in the Briah. He would understand things at their roots- just as Daniel could master the lions by understanding them at their spiritual roots. Therefore it would seem to me that he could get to the level that he could perceive the stars (and their effects) at their roots- and so "look down at them"- Of course he received Syata Dishmaya- mefurash- but only Avraham, with his level of sechel could receive that.


Miketz- At the end.. of Yosef's captivity- related to root Vayikatz- Paro awaking from his dream. The end of captivity and the end of galus are called Ketz- the reality is, they are not really the end- the sof, but an emergence into a new state of being- an awakening- yemos hamashiach, Yosef's new life as PM etc.

Elul 5756

According to Ramchal, Hashem wants to bestow on us the greatest good. We need to emulate Him- which means- to be a conduit for his compassion. We see in Bircas HaTorah in the morning Brochos- what extracts from Torah, Mishneh, Gemara?

Torah- Bircas Cohanim- direct bestowal of goodness- the ikar of Torah- passing on Hashem's blessing on three different levels- from the simplest and most basic- preservation of our body- to the highest- syata dishmaya in the development of our neshama.

From Mishneh and Gemara we have gemilus chasadim- practical bestowal of good in the world of action. And so we emulate G-d's midos, and this is reflected in the extracts after the Bircas HaTorah- the essence of Torah

Copyright © 1999 Gila Atwood

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