Posts Tagged ‘Kabbalah’

31
Jul

Kavanot: Rosh Chodesh Av

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

Destruction of Temple

The Kabbalists use different verses to focus on the Name of God during the Mussaf – Additional prayer – on Rosh Chodesh – The New Month. They use the following verse on Rosh Chodesh Menachem Av:  ”Moses and the Cohanim, the Levites, spoke to all Israel, saying, Be Attentive and Hear O Israel.” (Deuteronomy 27:9)

The Ibn Ezra explains that there are two steps, “be attentive”, and “hear”. He applies the steps of this verse to Shema: One must be attentive to what one hears in Shema.

How does this reflect God’s attributes? How do we use this to concentrate on God’s Name in our Rosh Chodesh prayer?

God speaks to us in layers. We must listen, as the people of Israel did not to the warning of the prophets before the destruction of Jerusalem. We must listen to and hear the messages God sends, even during a month of tragedy; the month of Av.

Once we listen and hear, we must learn to pay attention to what we hear and apply the lessons we learn.

God’s layered speech is a gift, especially during a time when we experience God as distant. This Name empowers us to discover the layers of God’s messages.

II. The Hebrew of “Pay Attention” is “Haskeit”, which shares the same root as Succot.

This Name indicates God as Cover of Protection even when all seems terrible.

The roof of the Succah allows us to see through the small open spaces, as in Yiskah – To see with the Divine Spirit. This derivation of God’s Name allows us to “see” God’s Presence in small points of light even when most of the world occludes His light, as the S’chach of the Succah.

III. Haskeit is also related to “Sucatim” in Chronicles I, Chapter: They were skilled at understanding others.

Sinat Chinam – Hatred without a Reason – caused the destruction of the Second Temple. This derivation of God’s Name empowers us to hear others with greater sensitivity and awareness, so that we can repair the Sinat Chinam with Ahavat Chinam.

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Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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11
Jul

Rabbi David Lapin of I-Awaken on Pinchas: What Are You willing To Sacrifice?

by admin in Spiritual Growth

The opening passage of the Parsha holds the key to understanding courage. Zimri desecrated G-d’s name by publicly flaunting his illicit relationship with the Midianite Princess, Kozbi bat Tzor. Pinchas reacts passionately and in accordance with the Halachah of that time, assassinates Zimri and kills Kozbi. Hashem responds by rewarding Pinchas with an everlasting Brit Shalom (Covenant of Peace) manifesting in the hereditary rights of Kehuna. From now on Pinchas and his male descendants would be Kohanim. Rashi and others ask if Pinchas was already a Kohen, the grandson of Aharon the Kohen Gadol, what was new in this “gift” of Kehuna that G-d now gave him? Rashi answers that Kehuna had only been given to Aharon and to Aharon’s sons (and their descendants) who were anointed at that time with Aharon. But since Pinchas was already born but was not anointed, he in fact did not become a Kohen until this moment.The Zohar however says that a Kohen who murders, loses his status and rights of Kehuna. The Sefat Emet[1] points out accordingly that Pinchas had lost his Kehuna when he killed Zimri, and G-d returned it to him as a reward for his intervention in the Zimri affair. Pinchas sacrificed his life (Zimri would have been fully entitled to kill Pinchas in self defense – that was a risk Pinchas took) and his Kehuna. He had no idea that Hashem would return it to him; he assumed it would be lost forever. He was willing to lose his Kehuna to do what was right. His reward lay exactly in the things he sacrificed: He was given eternal life (Pinchas is Eliyahu Hanavi who never died), and he and his descendants are given back the Kehuna they lost.

The fear of loss precludes courage: Herein lies the foundation of courage: So long as people fear loss they will lack courage. We have courage when we are willing to surrender our attachments to everything except our own souls. People who are inextricably attached to their physical lives, will not risk their lives for anything. People who are attached to relationships in ways they could never sever, will never risk them. People attached to power, will compromise their values to retain their power, and people attached to material belongings will never act in ways that could risk the loss of those belongings. The capacity to detach is the condition for courage. The idea in Mussar that best expresses detachment, is Perishut.

Detachment does not mean disengagement: Perishut does not mean disengagement, it means surrendering dependency. A person can be deeply engaged in a relationship, but not be attached to it in a needy or addictive manner. While the relationship exists he or she is fully committed to it and engaged in it. But should the need arise to take a stand on a matter of principle bigger even than the relationship itself, they will not hesitate to put that cause before the relationship. That is courage. The military hero, who has left a loving family at home as he goes into battle to protect his land and his nation, will sacrifice his relationship if that is what is needed for the safety of his land. That does not mean that he does not love his family, nor that he is not entirely committed to them. It simply means he is not attached to them in a way that would make it impossible for him to detach if need be, to do what is right.People who risk their status and influence to make a moral stand, have courage. People who sacrifice their popularity to talk the truth, have courage. People who sacrifice their wealth for the education of their children or to go on Aliyah, have courage. People who fight or whose children fight on our behalf in the Israeli army have courage: they risk, and sometimes sadly give, their lives for us. That does not mean that those people do not value their status, popularity, wealth or children’s lives. It just means they are not inextricably attached to those things, and if absolutely necessary would sacrifice them for a higher purpose.

The reward for sacrifice

The outcome of acting with courage is so interesting and counter-intuitive. We learn from the story of Pinchas that courageous people gain exactly what they sacrificed, but in a higher dimension. People that sacrifice status for a higher purpose, ultimately gain honor: sometimes honor in the eyes of others, sometimes they experience that honor only in their own eyes. The wealth gained from educated children exceeds the wealth of the money invested in that education. Even heroic soldiers who die al Kiddush Hashem (for the sanctification of G-d’s name[2]) and their parents who have sacrificed their sons, achieve an eternity in this world and the next to which no one else can aspire.

Growth manifests in diminishing attachments

As we evolve spiritually, increasing our connection with our own Ruchniut (spirituality), we decrease our dependence on all other attachments. It is a little like a child who grows out of his intense attachment to his childhood toys as he grows older. If we are as attached now to the same things we were some years ago, we have failed to grow. Ultimately, as we loosen our attachments (but not our engagement) with more and more of the things around us, we prepare ourselves for the ultimate evolution. An evolution to a state of detachment from everything we knew except our souls and Hashem. If we die before we detach, the pain of separation is severe.

The Three Weeks and Tisha Be’Av

Sometimes we detach from the things we are meant never to be detached from. Sometimes we feel detached from our own souls, sometimes even from Hashem. Many people wonder why they do not genuinely feel pain and sorrow during the Three Weeks or even on Tisha Be’Av. It is because they are detached from the idea of the Beit Hamikdash, and so do not feel its loss. That is misplaced courage! During these weeks we try to gain a deeper feeling of the glamour and majesty of life with the Temple and the tragedy of Jewish life without it. Then we feel the loss. Then we experience the pain.This is a time to experience loss for more than the Beit Hamikdash. During these hard Three Weeks we are all too aware of the millions of courageous people who sacrificed their lives for Hashem, the Torah and the Jewish people. Some had no choice but others willingly chose to sacrifice their lives rather than lose their souls. They are the heroes of this period. They valued their lives but were not so attached to life that they could not sacrifice it for something bigger: the eternity of the Torah and the Jewish people. Those men and women, like Pinchas, teach us courage.

Notes:

[1] Pinchas, 5641

[2] The Torah allows us to risk our lives (even for G-d) only in vary rare circumstances. In the case of military activity we may only do so only to defend our religion, our people or our land when their survival is threatened. This is a very opposite philosophy from that which drives the actions of Islamic Fundamentalist extremists.

Author Info:

Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with
Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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1
Jun

Rosh Chodesh Sivan Kavanot

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

We derive the appellation for God’s Name, used in the Rosh Chodesh Mussaf – Additional Prayer – for Rosh Chodesh Sivan from the combination of letters and vowels of the following verses: ”You shall make forty silver sockets under the twenty planks; two sockets under one plank for its two tenons, and two sockets under the next plank for its two Tenons. For the second wall of the Tabernacle on the north side – twenty planks.” (Exodus 26:19-20) “Yidotav. U’litzela Hamishkan Hasheinit.”

Connection:

The first thing we notice about the Torah text the Ari Hakodesh used to derive the Divine Appelation for Sivan is that it begins with the final word of one verse and connects with the first three words of the following verse. This a a Name of connection: Two verse are connected, just as the planks described in the verses were connected one to the other. Sivan is a month of connections. God connects with us through Revelation, experienced by us through His Torah. We connect with God, as they did at Sinai, by responding to Torah as the Book of Covenant, not Robert’s Rules of Order, but a Book of Relationship.

Just as Torah connects us with God, so too, it connect to all of life, and nurtures our connection to life. Torah adds meaning to every aspect of existence.

When we recite God’s Name in the Mussaf blessing, we must have in mind to access the Divine Influence of Connection: Revelation, Covenant, Torah, and all of life. We pray here for the gift of being able to experience Revelation through Torah, to use the Torah to strengthen our connection with God, and to be able to apply the Torah’s wisdom to every part of our lives.

Heaven and Earth

The Sages teach (Yoma 72) that the planks were placed standing up the way they grew. This is rooted in the word “Kerashim,” or planks, in its similarity to “Kesharim,” or connections. By means of these boards the celestial forces and the terrestrial forces were to unite. (Ohr HaChaim Hakodesh – Exodus 26:15)

The Ohr Hachaim is teaching us that the connections we described above wil allow us to connect heaven and earth. When we are ready to Revelation and to respond with a loving desire for relationship, we begin to connect heaven and earth. This month of connection, symbolized by its constellation, Twins, is our opportunity to connect the Upper and Lower worlds, and live a life of eternal meaning.

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Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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31
Aug

Elul: Love Songs: Stepping Toward

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Spiritual Growth

“I am to my beloved and my beloved is to me.” (Song of Songs 6:4)

Rabbi Eliezer of Worms, the Rokeach, explains this verse as describing the Teshuva process: With each step we take back toward our Beloved, God, He takes a step back toward us.

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Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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27
Aug

Missing From Eden

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in 613 Concepts, Portion of the Week, Spiritual Growth

I was stopped in front of the hospital by a representative of the Kabbalah Center. She wanted me to sign up for “An Introduction to Kabbalah.” “You look kind of religious; did you ever study Kabbalah?”

“I know nothing about the Kabbalah you teach.”

“Well, aren’t you at least curious?”

“No.”

“Do you believe in Kabbalah?”

“What do you mean?”

“Are you willing to buy a red Kabbalah string that can protect you and bring good luck?”

“No! I do not believe in that kind of Kabbalah.”

At that moment I realized what was missing from the Garden in Eden that would have protected Adam from sinning: A red string,

Not a Kabbalah Center string; the other kind, similar to the red string associated with this week’s portion: How do we separate Bikkurim? A man goes down into his field and sees a fig that has begun to ripen, a cluster of grapes that has begun to ripen, a pomegranate that has begun to ripen; he ties a blade of reed-grass around it and says, “Behold these are Bikkurim.” – Bikkurim 3:1

The man has worked for months to grow his fruit, and sees the first fruits beginning ti ripen. He sees, literally, “The fruit of his labor.” He wants to taste that first fruit and enjoy the first tangible expression of work, faith, and worry. The fruit is right there, possessing the beauty that only his labor’s product can express. It is “pleasing to the sight, and good for food,” (Compare to the trees of Eden – Genesis 2:9) The first fruit is a powerful temptation.

He has a choice at that moment, whether to tie a symbol around the fruit to remember that it is Bikkurim; his first fruits are not his, but God’s, or, he can snatch the same budding fruit and savor the first taste of his labor and love.

That blade of reed-grass is the red string people tie around their finger in order to remember something important. It is a powerful reminder that even though he worked so long and hard, the first fruits are God’s.

Rabbi Shimon argues with the first Tanna of the Mishnah: Rabbi Shimon says, ‘Nevertheless, he must again declare them Bikkurim after they are plucked from the ground.” The challenge reappears when the farmer holds those first fruits in his hands. He looks at the string and remembers that they are not his to eat.

Perhaps if Adam had a red string to remind him that the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was God’s, he would not have sinned.

Even after Eve handed the fruit to Adam, he would have seen the string and remembered.

Perhaps this is the meaning of the Midrash (Bereishit Rabbah 1:4) that the world was created – ‘Bereishit’ – in the merit of Bikkurim – Reishit – the first fruits. Bikkurim’s red string would have been a powerful prophylactic for Adam and Eve. They don’t get more magical than that.

Some people find the Kabbalah string far more attractive, and expensive, than the “Remember String,” of Bikkurim, but I’ll stick with the far more powerful plain piece of grass that was unfortunately missing from Eden, and could have saved the day.

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Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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22
Aug

Spiritual Sustenance

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Spiritual Growth

“Teshuva, Tzedaka, and Prayer, remove the worst part of the decree.”

Rabbi Shimon said, “Come and see: All foods of the inhabitants of the world derive from above. The food that comes from heaven and earth is food for the whole world; it is coarse and dense. (This refers to ordinary food of a material nature, which grows from the ground and is watered by rain.) Food coming from higher above is food that comes in Judgment (as a direct reflection of the spiritual achievements of the person), from a place where Judgment prevails (a place where everything is exactly as it should be); it is finer food. (For example: Matzah, deriving from the Divine Presence, who executes Divine Judgment.) The food that appeared for Israel at that time – from a high place called Heaven – Tiferet – is finer food, (Manna) entering the soul most deeply, dissociated ever more from the body, called Ethereal Bread (Numbers 21:5)

The highest food of all is food of the Companions, those engaging in Torah, who eat food of spirit and soul-breath – not eating food of the body at all – namely, from a high place, precious beyond all, called Wisdom – the primal Will to create a world in which we must master ourselves).

The first food is food of the whole world, that which derives from heaven and earth, food for all.

Food that is higher – that which is finer, deriving from a place where Judgment prevails, called Tzedek. This is food of the poor. Mystery of the matter: One who fulfills a poor person (Table Talk: Restoring a Lost Object) adds one letter to Tzedek, transforming it into Tzedaka. This is: “The man of kindness benefits his soul.” (Proverbs 11:17) Implying rendering kindness, for it dwells in Judgment and is fulfilled through Life Force, becoming Compassion.

Food higher than these is a supernal, precious food, from a place called Heaven. It is the food of the sick, as it is written: “God will sustain him on the bed of illness.” (Psalms 41:4) The sick are nourished only by the actual food of the Holy One, Blessed is He. (Just as the fat and limbs of offerings is presented to God, so a sick person is sustained by the fat and blood of his own body.)

Supernal, holy, precious food – food of spirit and soul-breath – is food from a supernal distant place. This is food of the Companions engaging (in the battle of) Torah, food coming from supernal Wisdom. Torah issues from supernal Wisdom, and those who engage in Torah enter the essence of her roots; so their food derives from that supernal holy place.

(Zohar, Volume 2:61b – 62a, Translation & Commentary by Daniel C. Matt – The Pritzker Edition 2007)

I would like to suggest that this Zohar is the secret to the mechanic’s of “Teshuva, Tzedaka, and Prayer, remove the worst part of the decree.” We can choose to eat the lowest form of food, meaning, to live a purely physical life, and to limit our vision to coarse things and thoughts. However, we will be vulnerable to the “worst parts of the decree” as we are attached to the natural occurrences of this world.

Tzedaka

However, we can rise and transform Tzedek – Justice – into Tzedaka – by completing others, and nourishing their bodies and souls. We can transform Matzah into Manna

And eat food that will elevate our bodies and souls beyond the limitations of this world, allowing us to escape the worst parts of the decree.

Teshuva

The Kabbalists often describe sin – or more accurately, mistaken directions – as illness. These mistakes are a symptom of a soul that is ill. When we acknowledge our mistakes but focus on the disease rather than symptoms, we transform Soul Sickness into Love Sickness – “My soul is love sick for You.” (Yedid Nefesh) We attach in that love and eat the food of the place called Heaven. We will be nourished and strengthened and able to transcend the ‘worst parts of the decree”.

Tefillah

The Companions who connect to the primal moment of creation are directly nourished by the Highest Source and can exist on food that derives from that supernal holy place. They live on Spiritual Sustenance and are not bound by physical limitations, the worst part of the decree.

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Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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19
Aug

Sound Bites: Purposeful Breath

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer, Spiritual Growth

Rabbi Yose taught: Every action in which a person engages that is not in the service of the Holy One, Blessed is He, turns into a breath that goes drifting through the world. And when the person’s soul departs, that breath whirls it through the world like a stone in the sling (David and Goliath), as it is written, “The soul of your enemies He will sling from the hollow of a sling.” (Samuel I 25:29) Who will sling? That breath conducting it through the world. So, everything done under the sun that is not in the service of the Holy One, Blessed is He, turns into a breath – but it is breaking of spirit, for it breaks the spirit, rising and falling in the world, as it is written, Breath (ur’ut ruach), and shattering of spirit.” (Ecclesiastes 1:14)

But whatever is service of his Lord is called ‘above the sun’ and becomes a holy breath. This is seed sown by a person in that world. What is its name? Righteousness, as it is written, “Sow for yourselves righteousness.” (Hosea 10:12) This conducts a person when his soul departs from him, raising him to a place where supernal glory is found, to be bound in the bundle of eternal life, as it is written, “Your righteousness will march before you.” (Isaiah 58:8) – leading you, raising you. To where? To the place of which it is written, “The glory of God will gather you in.” (ibid.)

All those souls conducted by that holy breath are gathered in by the one called “Glory of God”, enwrapped within it, as it is written: “The glory of God will gather you in.” This is called “Tranquility of Spirit”.

Happy are the righteous for all their actions make them worthy of the World to Come.

(Zohar, Volume 2:59a-b, Translation & Commentary by Daniel C. Matt – The Pritzker Edition 2007)

Breath is used to describe the effect of non-purpose driven action as we breathe without thinking. We take it for granted and forget that God used His breath, so to speak, to blow a soul into Adam.

The breath that is used to sound the shofar is directed upward, to ‘above the sun’ to remind us that we must live with a sense of great purpose, and that all for which we ask on Rosh Hashana must be to help us achieve our purpose, master ourselves and cleave to God.

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Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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30
Jun

Rabbi David Lapin of I-Awaken on Pinchas

by admin in Spiritual Growth

The Imperfection of Knowledge

Wisdom is mysterious and human knowledge is not absolute. There is a dimension of wisdom that eludes even the wisest of men. “Fifty pathways to wisdom were created in the Universe” says the Gemarra,[1] “and all were given to Moshe except one.” Human knowledge will always lack at least one dimension of understanding, and therein lies its mystery.

Wisdom is like an onion. Each time that new insights peels away another layer of ignorance or confusion, we find yet another layer of questions and mysteries. At its core, this “onion” of knowledge carries a secret, a secret known to no one but G-d Himself: the fiftieth gateway to wisdom.

This applies even when man must make halachik decisions or decide in a matter of justice between two litigants in a court of law. “Ki Hamishpat Leilokim hu”, says Moshe,[2] “for the decisions of Justice are ultimately in G-d’s domain.”

If this is so, how are we meant to make halachik decisions? Even if a judge, Poseik or Rav is inherently competent and qualified, how is he to decide on matters of justice if his knowledge is always incomplete, never absolute?

Intellectual Fearlessness

Moshe gives guidance on that matter in the same verse: “Lo Taguru mipnei Ish,” he says, “show no cowardice before any human.” This implies two character requirements in addition to academic competence and practical qualification. The first is a fearless intellectual independence; the second is an implied fear of G-d (do not fear any human, fear only Hashem). In addition to knowledge and wisdom, courage and Yir’at Shamayim are the requirements of a Poseik.

But if no Rav or Poseik can have perfect knowledge, and every person is missing at least one element of understanding and knowledge since even Moshe only grasped 49 of the 50 pathways to wisdom, how can he ever make a valid halachik determination? Moshe himself provides the guidelines: “Anything too difficult for you, bring to me and I shall hear it.” In this statement of advice Moshe erred;[3] an error that caused him severe and eternal embarrassment later on. This is the story:

Tzlofchad’s Daughters

Oddly, the Torah appears to originally have “omitted” a straightforward but necessary Halachah. We are told the detailed laws of inheritance barring what happens to a deceased man who leaves no sons but does leave daughters. The daughters of Tzlofchad are such a case in our Parsha. They reason that although nowhere does the Torah specify their rights to inheritance, this certainly ought to be the law. They put their argument before the lower courts of the nation[4] who, although they agree with the women, refer the case to a higher court out of respect for a Law that as yet had no precedent or code and would need to be innovated. The higher court in turn referred it up for the same reason, until it was referred to Moshe himself. Astonishingly, Moshe’s mind blanked and although the case should have been “cut-and-dried” he needed to refer it to Hashem. Hashem affirms the logic of the Tzlofchad girls, and records Moshe’s intellectual “lapse” for posterity.[5]

What was so wrong in Moshe advising the judges to bring difficult matters to him? Interestingly, Moshe did not say “if you encounter difficulty, bring it to me.” He assumed they would encounter difficulty and instructed them to bring those inevitable difficulties to him. Moshe assumed that other judges who did not have the privilege of studying the Torah from Hashem Himself, would surely not have the same level of knowledge needed to make halachik decisions. And herein lay his error: No one has absolute halachik knowledge, not even he. Absolute knowledge cannot therefore be a precondition for competent halachik decision-making. It is this latitude that gives a Rav the right to pasken (make halachik decisions) provided he has an authentic semichah (Rabbinic ordination) authorizing him to pasken and holds a recognized position[6] as a Poseik. This is so even if there are other rabbis whose knowledge exceeds his. Perfect knowledge is not a requirement. Competence is; Yirat shamayim (G-d fearing) is; and intellectual courage is.

Often as individuals we need to make decisions regarding our own lives, and we feel humbled and overwhelmed by the enormity of the decisions and their implications. In these situations it helps to be mindful that we cannot have perfect knowledge. We will err as even Moshe sometimes did. We will not be accountable for what we did not and could not have known. All we can do is be our best. Make decisions with as much information as we can and with a great deal of Yiras Shamayim and personal courage. We can also follow Moshe’s advice and avoid all intellectual cowardice and fear of public opinion, as we do what we know is right and follow it to the best of our abilities.

The Prominent “Nun”

This is the reason why the Nun (14th letter of the Hebrew alphabet) at the end of the word “mishpattan,” is enlarged.[7] Nun is numerically 50. It reminds us that no one but G-d could truly know all fifty dimensions of the law that applied to the daughters of Tzlofchad, nor any other law for that matter. Still, had Moshe not claimed superior knowledge, he would have made the decision. In effect the daughters of Tzlofchad themselves were able (though not technically qualified) to make the decision; the lower courts certainly could have made the decision. Perfect knowledge is not a requirement for halachik decision-making; nobility of character is.

Notes:

[1] Rosh Hashanah 21a

[2] Devarim 1:17

[3] Of course were it not that Chazal themselves (Rashi Bamidbar 27:5)make this comment we never could, as no human being can grasp Moshe’s greatness, nevermind identify his errors.

[4] Tanchuma 9

[5] Sanhedrin 8a

[6] Whether formal or informal.

[7] Rabbeinu Bechiye Bamidbar 27:5

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Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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20
May

Pythagoras, Cholent, and Tznius (Modesty)

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Spiritual Growth

Pythagorus had a lot of influence for a man who probably never existed. The Pythagoreans invented their founder, including the manner of his death. Pyhthagoras had a strong revulsion to beans. He would definitely never have eaten Shabbat afternoon Cholent, and not because of its natural effects on the stomach, but because beans are not Tznius – not appropriate for a modest person: (Please do not read on if you are sensitive.) Bean may have been an Egyptian slang word for testicle. The Christian Bishop Hippolytus, in his Refutation of All Heresies (especially thefoundationstone.org) wrote that if beans are chewed and then left in the sun, they emit the smell of semen. Very not Tznius! There’s more! If one takes the bean in flower and buries it in the earth and, in a few days, digs it up: “It will have the appearance of something immodest.”

It seems that Pythagoras was very strict about Tznius: When running from the Syracusans during the war with Arigentum, he escaped because his followers formed a bridge over a fire with their bodies, only to be caught because he would not escape through a field of beans: not tznius! That’s commitment.

Even the great philosophers, if they truly existed, had their foibles.

Lately, I have been wondering if the manner in which we teach Tznius has become one of the foibles of certain religious communities.

I repeat: “The manner in which we teach the laws of Tznius.” I do not mean the laws of personal dignity.

If a teacher publicly humiliates a young girl for wearing a school uniform that is too tight; is she not stuck at Pythagoras’ field of beans? Is it Tznius – modesty to most – dignity to me – to humiliate someone? Did the “laws” of Tznius not just override the biblical commandments to love others, to rebuke in an effective manner, to not embarrass someone, to copy the ways of God in personal attributes, to avoid arrogance and numerous others? Is that public rebuke not a tergiversation (I wanted to use a word I learned today – not too modest, but hopefully dignified,) of all the lessons of Jewish law and thought?

I open this “blog” to you: How do you suggest we teach the concept of Tznius and its laws?

Please allow me one more reflection on this topic: I met a non-observant man this week who commented that he never understood the concept of Kedusha – Holiness – until he met a group of Satmar women. He used to laugh at their hats and dress. After one conversation he understood the concept of Holiness at least he sensed it. These were women who were untouchable simply by virtue of who they are as human beings. I can picture Reb Yoelish zt”l smiling with great pride.

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Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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2
Jul

Notes of Daat Tevunot Class July 7, 09

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Spiritual Growth

There is a special gift of satisfaction, which we request as part of the Shabbat and Holy Day Prayers: V’sabeinu MiTuvecha – Satisfy us from Your Best – Our souls are desperate to reconnect with their source and cannot find satisfaction without that connection. This is why the generation of the desert, despite all their gifts, could not find satisfaction. Our Souls must integrate with our Sechel to be whole.

We discuss Creation from God’s perspective: Yecholet – Ability and Chuko – His Nature, and we then discuss Creation from the perspective of the Nivrah – The Created Being. Chochma is used when discussing the needs of the creations.

The Divine Ratzon – Will was for a creation that could master itself and achieve perfection. That Will can only be perfectly satisfied with a creation that lacks Shleimut/Perfection and has an opportunity to achieve it for itself.

Therefore, the Creation is PERFECTLY matched to the Ratzon/Will processed through Machashava/Thought.

God’s Yecholet?Ability and Chuko/Nature are part of the Creation, therefore it expanded, bit Olamo – The world as we know it, and Shamayim – The System as governed by through the Transcendental Forces and Angels in Heaven, expanded until stopped. Their nature is to expand.

Whenever we limit ourselves we are experiencing the “Stop!” of Shadai.

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