The Psalm of Redemption XII: A Change is as Good as a Rest by Rav Moshe Stepansky

Dec 24th, 2010 by developer in Holidays, Portion of the Week, Prayer

Singing Psalms

“A righteous man will flourish like a date palm, like a cedar in the Lebanon he will grow tall.” (Verse 13)

Everybody is familiar with the talmudic saying “B’makom she’ba’alei t’shuva omdim shom, ein tzaddikim g’murim omdim shom” where Ba’alei T’shuva stand-even total tzaddikim don’t stand.

The Holy Ba’al Shem Tov explained this saying as referring to the verse mentioned above.

The verse actually compares two types of righteous men:

1.He who will flourish like a date-palm, and,

2.He who like a cedar in Lebanon will grow tall.

The BeSH”T explains the Ba’al T’shuva is literally The Master/Owner of T’shuva, who shares his Avodat HaShem and inspires others to return and come closer to G-d. 

The Master of T’shuva is the righteous man who flourishes like a date-palm whose branches spread out far and wide and bear fruit.

The totally righteous person, the Tzaddik Gamoor, as per the BeSH”T’s explanation, may be very holy by himself, but he stands tall like a cedar in Lebanon while bearing no fruit as he does not bring others closer to G-d.

The BeSH”T says, in light of this explanation of the pasuk, we can understand the saying that where Ba’alei T’shuva stand – even total Tzaddikim don’t stand.

So, what does this have to do with Shabbat and Redemption?


R’ Leibele Eiger mentions that SHaBat is rooted in the super-root SH B which is also the super-root of t’SHuVa.

During the Six Days of Activity, we are always in forward, physical motion and perhaps not always in forward spiritual motion.

Comes along Shabbat and we have the opportunity to return to our former higher spiritual level we experienced last shabbat.

The vehicle to attain this is changing gears from the physical maelstrom of the week to the spiritual focus of Shabbat.

Of course, if we are lucky enough we can take the spiritual highs with us into the week and imbue our physical endeavors with them.

The yidn in Egypt were in a state of despair (at least the men were).They were being so drudged into the ground with their physical tasks, they were beginning to doubt the possibility that one of their own had been viceroy of Egypt.  Par’o “asher lo yoda et Yosef” had written a revision of history, by effectively removing any trace of Yoseif. [Had it not been for Serakh bat Asher, Moshe Rabbeinu would not have located Yoseif’s casket buried in the Nile, to fulfill the promise of burying him in Eretz Yisrael].

They were losing any hope they’d ever be anything but slaves.

Moshe brought the message of Shabbat to them – You can change !! You will return to being the children of Kings!!! Although you may be downtrodden and mired in the physical -you will have the opportunity to rise to the highest spiritual  levels. (Moshe was the Master of T’shuva )

The ‘Redemption Code’ Yoseif shared (B’Reishit 50;24) “v’Eilokim pakode yifkode etchem , v’He’eloh etchem min ha’aretz ha’zote el Ha’Aretz asher nishba l’Avraham, l’Yitzkhak ul’Ya’akov” is usually translated ‘and G-d will surely remember you and will bring you from this land to the Land He promised to Avraham Yitzkhak and Ya’akov.’ 

I’d like to suggest an alternate translation -pakode yifkode can also mean command i.e.Mitzvah===>

Yoseif is sharing the following message “Redemption will be at hand when G-d will give you commandments.Rather than be a slave to some human king, you will become Servants of G-d,King of all Kings. And He will raise you up from all this physicality (min ha’aretz hazote) and bring you to the Land He promised to Avraham Yitzkhak and Ya’akov.”.

And Moshe came and reminded the yidn of Yoseif’s message.