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Pearls of Rashi – Ki Siso

This week we read Parshas Ki Siso, which tells us of the Mitzvah of giving a half – Shekel. The Torah says that[1]this they shall give … a half shekel according to the holy Shekel.” The Parshah teaches us that this half-Shekel provides a Jew with[2] “an atonement for his soul.” Rashi cites the words “this they shall give,” and explains as follows. “He (Hashem) showed him (Moshe) a sort of coin of fire weighing half a shekel, and He said to him, ‘Like this one they shall give.’”

Why does Rashi find it necessary to explain that Hashem showed something to Moshe? The reason is because the Torah uses the word this; “this they shall give.” The word this always refers to that which one can point at.

However, this still is difficult to understand. Rashi primarily explains the simple meaning of the Torah. Why does he need to write that G-d showed Moshe a coin of fire? Why could He not have shown him a simple silver coin. This does not at all seem to fit with the simple meaning of the verse.

The explanation is, that Moshe was shocked when Hashem told him that by giving a half shekel one can attain “atonement for his soul.”

This can be explained with an analogy. A young man desired to become a goldsmith. He went to an experienced smith in order to learn the trade he wished to pursue. The teacher was very clear, and in a short time his student learned the trade. There was just one thing which the teacher did not mention. He left this out, because he assumed that the student would understand this on his own. In order for his work to have any affect, he must first light a fire under the silver or gold. When the student returned home to practice his trade, he did exactly as he was taught. The one thing which he did not do, was to light a fire under the raw material. It is understood that his work was in vain; it did not change the metal at all.

This is why Hashem showed Moshe a coin of fire. Merely giving a coin does not provide one with “atonement for his soul.” It is only when he “light a fire” under it that it has any affect. He must give it with the excitement which comes from the essence of his soul. Then, and only then, can it atone for him.

We must all learn from this, that every Mitzvah we fulfill, and all of the Torah which we learn, must come from the depths of our hearts. Then, we will bring Moshiach now!

Wishing one and all a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 3, Page 529

IN LOVING MEMORY OF OUR FATHER
Mr. Sholom Moshe ben Reb Shlomo Meir
Hacohen ע”ה Cohen
Passed away Shabbos Parshas Beshalach,
13 Shevat, 5779
May His Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
*
DEDICATED BY HIS FAMILY
* * *
לעילוי נשמת
ר’ שלום משה בן ר’ שלמה מאיר הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטר ש”ק פ’ בשלח, י”ג שבט, ה’תשע”ט
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
*
יו”ל ע”י בני משפחתו שיחיו

[1]. Our Parshah, Shemos 30:13.

[2]. Our Parshah, Shemos 30:12.

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Pearls of Rashi – Tetzaveh II

This week we read the Torah portion Tetzaveh. It tells us of the inauguration of the tribe of Levi as the aristocracy of the Jewish nation. It is known that after the giving of the Torah, a sin was committed with the golden calf. The entire tribe of Levi would have nothing to do with this. In that merit, Moshe’s brother Aharon, his children, and their descendants for all generations were chosen to perform the service in the Bais Hamikdosh. The remainder of the tribe would serve as their assistants.

This portion teaches us of the “Bigdai Kehunah,” the priestly vestments which were worn by the Kohanim at the time that they performed the service in the Mishkan, and later in the Bais Hamikdosh. It then tells us of the offerings which were brought as their inauguration into the Kehunah[1]; “this is the thing that you shall do for them to sanctify them to serve Me (as kohanim) …”

The Torah follows this by telling us the specific offerings which were to be brought. Among these were[2] “unleavened bread and unleavened loaves mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil …”

How were the unleavened wafers anointed? Rashi cites the words “anointed with oil,” and explains as follows. “After they were baked, Moshe would anoint them in the shape of the Greek letter ‘Kof – כ,’ (‘Chi,’ which was pronounced like the Hebrew ‘Kof’). Its shape resembles the Hebrew letter ‘Nun – נ.’”

Rashi is always frugal with his wording; he always uses as few words as possible. Why does he tell us that it was anointed in the shape of a Greek letter, which is shaped like a Hebrew letter? He could have simply written that it was shaped like the Hebrew letter “Nun.”

One explanation is that Rashi is emphasizing the letter “Kof – כ,” which is the beginning of the word “Kohen – כהן.“  This entire procedure is related to Kohanim, which is expressed in its every facet.

This may possibly be related to the fact that[3] “In the various studies that have been done with Jewish males in numerous parts of the world, both Ashkenazim and Sephardim, over 98 percent of those who claimed to be Kohanim were found to have the Y-chromosome Alu Polymorphism (YAP) marker. The is because the male Y-chromosome does not change from generation to generation. In other words, everything related to Kehunah screams out that it comes directly from Aharon the High Priest[4].

Wishing one and all a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 26, Page 239

IN LOVING MEMORY OF OUR FATHER
Mr. Sholom Moshe ben Reb Shlomo Meir
Hacohen ע”ה Cohen
Passed away Shabbos Parshas Beshalach,
13 Shevat, 5779
May His Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
*
DEDICATED BY HIS FAMILY
* * *
לעילוי נשמת
ר’ שלום משה בן ר’ שלמה מאיר הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטר ש”ק פ’ בשלח, י”ג שבט, ה’תשע”ט
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
*
יו”ל ע”י בני משפחתו שיחיו

[1]. Our Parshah, Shemos 29:1.

[2]. Our Parshah, Shemos 29:2.

[3].https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/762109/jewish/Raise-Your-Hand-If-Youre-A-Kohen.htm

[4]. This addition is the surmise of Rabbi Mendelsohn, who accepts total responsibility for its validity.

Pearls of Rashi – Tetzaveh

This week we read Parshas Tetzaveh. This portion tells of many things concerning the Kohanim and the Mishkan; however, it begins by telling us of the Mitzvah of lighting the Menorah every day in the Mishkan (and later in the Mikdash). In fact, the Parshah begins with the words[1], “And you (Moshe) shall command the children of Israel, and they shall take to you (Moshe) pure olive oil, crushed for lighting, to kindle the lamps continually.” Rashi cites the word “pure,” and explains that it means “without sediment.”

We need to understand what Rashi is adding to our understanding of this verse. Rashi teaches the beginning student how to understand every word of the Torah. The Hebrew word which the Torah uses for pure, “זך – Zach,” always means just that; free of any extraneous items, meaning pure, unadulterated. The beginning student knows this. Rashi does not seem to be adding anything that we do not already know!

The explanation is, that Rashi is telling us how the verse is to be read. The Torah’s words “pure olive oil” could also be translated “oil from pure olives.” Rashi is letting us know that the Torah is not commanding us regarding the purity of the olives, meaning that they must be clean and good looking. Rather it is telling us that the oil must be free of sediment; meaning pure olive oil.

How does Rashi know the correct reading of the verse? At the time that the Jews received this command, they were in the wilderness. There were no olive trees from which to select the best quality olives. However, they did have olive oil, which they had brought from Egypt. Hence, they were commanded to use only the very best quality oil with which to light the Menorah.

The Menorah illuminated the entire world, just as our Mitzvos do. While doing a Mitzvah, we must use only the very best we have. This includes both the best, purest items that we have, and our greatest strengths.

Wishing one and all a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 11, Page 127

IN LOVING MEMORY OF OUR FATHER
Mr. Sholom Moshe ben Reb Shlomo Meir
Hacohen ע”ה Cohen
Passed away Shabbos Parshas Beshalach,
13 Shevat, 5779
May His Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
*
DEDICATED BY HIS FAMILY
* * *
לעילוי נשמת
ר’ שלום משה בן ר’ שלמה מאיר הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטר ש”ק פ’ בשלח, י”ג שבט, ה’תשע”ט
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
*
יו”ל ע”י בני משפחתו שיחיו

[1]. Our Parshah, Shemos 27:20.

Pearls of Rashi – Terumah II

This week we read Parshas Terumah. It tells us of Hashem’s detailed commands to build the Mishkan – Tabernacle, and the manner in which it must be constructed. Similarly, it tells us of the construction of the vessels which were to be used in the Tabernacle as part of the daily service which was performed there.

Among these vessels was the Menorah. It was to stand within the Mishkan, and was lit every day. The Torah tells us that[1], “you shall make a menorah of pure gold. The Menorah shall be made of hammered work; its base and its stem, its goblets, its knobs, and its flowers shall be (one piece) with it.”

Why does the Torah use the passive voice (“the Menorah shall be made”), rather than the active voice (you shall make the Menorah)? As usual, Rashi explains this to us. He cites the words from our verse “the Menorah shall be made,” and explains as follows. “(It shall be made) by itself. Since Moshe found forming the Menorah difficult, Hashem said to him, ‘Cast the talent (about sixty-four pounds of gold) into the fire, and it will be made by itself.’ Therefore, it is not written, you shall make, but rather it shall be made.”

However, we need to understand Rashi’s words. G-d’s commands regarding the Tabernacle and its vessels were extremely intricate. Granted, the Menorah was extremely detailed. Nonetheless, we need to understand what specific detail Moshe found difficult with this particular item. We cannot say that the construction of the Menorah was more difficult than that of other items, which were all extremely detailed.

This can be explained as follows. The Sages tell us[2] that the Menorah served as “testimony to the entire world that Hashem’s presence rests among the Jews.” In other words, the Menorah served to illuminate the world, not just the Mishkan. That was Moshe’s difficulty. He understood the building of the Menorah with all of its details. However, he could not understand how a physical candelabra could illuminate the spiritual darkness of this world.

Hashem answered his question as follows. Granted, something of this nature cannot be accomplished by a human being. However, throw the piece of gold into the fire, and I will make it into a Menorah. I will give it the ability to bring light to the spiritual darkness.

Everything in Torah provides us with a lesson for all times. May the Menorah within each of us cause the world to shine, and bring Moshiach now!

Have a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

IN LOVING MEMORY OF OUR FATHER
Mr. Sholom Moshe ben Reb Shlomo Meir
Hacohen ע”ה Cohen
Passed away Shabbos Parshas Beshalach,
13 Shevat, 5779
May His Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
*
DEDICATED BY HIS FAMILY
* * *
לעילוי נשמת
ר’ שלום משה בן ר’ שלמה מאיר הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטר ש”ק פ’ בשלח, י”ג שבט, ה’תשע”ט
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
*
יו”ל ע”י בני משפחתו שיחיו

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 1, Page 174

[1]. Our Parshah, Shemos 25:31.

[2]. Talmud Shabbos, Page 22, b.

Pearls of Rashi – Terumah

This week we read Parshas Terumah. It tells of Hashem’s detailed commands to Israel to build the Mishkan – Tabernacle; this was the “portable” Temple which the Jews travelled with for the forty years during which they wandered in the wilderness.

The Mishkan was built from materials which the nation donated in the desert. Hashem told Moshe to[1] “speak to the Jewish Nation, and have them take for Me an offering…” Rashi cites the words “and have them take for Me,” and explains as follows. “for me, (in other words) dedicated to My name.”

There is a well-known question which many commentaries ask regarding this verse. Why were the Jews told to “take for Me an offering?” It would seem to have been more appropriate to command them to “give Me an offering!” They were not taking the donations for Hashem’s sake; they were giving them!

We can answer this question and understand our verse together with Rashi’s comments on a deeper level. We are all aware that we must give Tzedokoh for Hashem’s sake, i.e. for the sake of the Mitzvah. However, it seems counter-intuitive for one to take, to receive a donation for Hashem’s sake. After all, he accepts the donation with the intention of feeding himself and his family. The Torah is telling us here that we must also receive Tzedokoh for the sake of the Mitzvah.

It is written in holy books[2] the reason Hashem created the world in such a manner that the poor must receive from the wealthy. This is in order that Tzedokoh and kindness should exist in the world.

That is why one who is impoverished must receive money from he who is wealthy. This must be done for Hashem’s sake. Only in this manner is it assured that G-d’s purpose in creation will be carried out; there will be goodness and kindness in the world.

May we all share what we have with those around us. Then we can be sure that the redemption will come in the merit of Tzedokoh.

Wishing one and all a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 3, Beginning with Page 908

IN LOVING MEMORY OF OUR FATHER
Mr. Sholom Moshe ben Reb Shlomo Meir
Hacohen ע”ה Cohen
Passed away Shabbos Parshas Beshalach,
13 Shevat, 5779
May His Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
*
DEDICATED BY HIS FAMILY
* * *
לעילוי נשמת
ר’ שלום משה בן ר’ שלמה מאיר הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטר ש”ק פ’ בשלח, י”ג שבט, ה’תשע”ט
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
*
יו”ל ע”י בני משפחתו שיחיו

[1]. Our Parshah, Shemos 25:2.

[2]. See Sefer Hamaamorim 5628 (1868) the discourse beginning with the words “Tiku.” See also Shemos Rabbah Chapter 31, 5, and the Midrash Tanchumah, ibid.

Pearls of Rashi – Mishpotim II

This week’s Torah portion is Mishpotim. The Parshah begins by telling us that Hashem told Moshe[1] “these are the ordinances (Mishpotim) which you shall place before them (meaning the Jewish Nation).” We need to understand, why does the Torah say that Moshe shall “place the ordinances before” them? It would seem more appropriate for the Torah to have said that these are the ordinances which Moshe shall teach them?”

Rashi cites the words from this verse “that you shall place before them, and explains as follows. “Hashem said to Moshe, do not think of saying, ‘I will teach them the chapter or the law two or three times until they know it well, just as it was taught (to me). However, I will not trouble myself to enable them to understand the reasons for the matter and its explanation.’ That is why it is written, ‘you shall place before them.’ You shall set the Torah before them like a table, set and ready to eat from.”

Rashi is telling us how Hashem told Moshe Rabbeinu to teach the Jews. Moshe must care about his students, and not just fulfill the task assigned to him by Hashem. He must make sure that his students understand the Torah which he is teaching them. It is not enough for him to simply present the material two or three times, and assume that they understood what he taught them.

This itself presents us with a great lesson. There are unfortunately teachers who present Torah to their students, without concern whether the students actually understood the material. We must learn from Moshe to make sure that we are presenting the Torah in a manner that the students understand. Otherwise, we must explain it again and again; always looking for clearer manners of expressing the lesson, new allegories etc. with which the students can connect.

We are still left with a difficulty in Rashi’s words. Why does he write “two or three times?” We know that Rashi’s choice of words is extremely precise; he certainly did not choose these numbers randomly!

The explanation is based on what the Talmud says[2]; “one is obligated to teach his students a lesson four times.” In other words, generally speaking four times is enough for the student to comprehend and retain what he learned. However, according to the words of the Talmud, two or three times would not suffice. From this we can see just how precise Rashi’s words are.

Wishing one and all a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 9, Page 38

IN LOVING MEMORY OF OUR FATHER
Mr. Sholom Moshe ben Reb Shlomo Meir Hacohen ע”ה Cohen
Passed away Shabbos Parshas Beshalach, 13 Shevat, 5779
May His Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
*
DEDICATED BY HIS FAMILY
* * *
לעילוי נשמת
ר’ שלום משה בן ר’ שלמה מאיר הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטר ש”ק פ’ בשלח, י”ג שבט, ה’תשע”ט
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
*
יו”ל ע”י בני משפחתו שיחיו

[1]. Our Parshah, Shemos 21:1.

[2]. Talmud Erchin, 53, b.

Pearls of Rashi – Mishpotim

This week we read Parshas Mishpotim. Mishpotim are a certain type of Mitzvah; specifically, those commandments which make sense to us, i.e. we find them logical. Even without a command, we would have found them necessary. For the most part these are the Torah’s civil laws. Hence, most of this week’s Torah portion deals with civil law.

Among the other laws in our Parshah we are taught what happens when one’s property cause damage. We read what happens[1] “if a bull gores a man or a woman and they die …” Rashi cites the words from the verse “if a bull gores,” and explains that this law does not only apply to a bull. Rather it means “either a bull or any domestic animal, beast, or bird. However, the Torah spoke of what usually occurs[2].”

In our Torah portion, Rashi cites this rule a number of other times[3]. Rashi’s commentary, as he himself writes, explains the simple meaning of the Torah to a beginning student. However, he also alludes to deeper explanations of the Torah, including lessons for the practical service of Hashem. What is the deeper meaning behind this rule? What does it teach us in terms of our Divine service?

As we have seen in the Torah portions of the past few weeks, there are miracles that are totally beyond the laws of nature. We have learned of the exodus of the Jews, several million people, from Egypt. Egypt was a superpower from which not even one slave had ever escaped. We read of the splitting of a sea. We read of food raining down from heaven. These, and more, are events which can only be seen as miraculous. There is no possible way to look at them and to think that they were just random things that took place without Divine intervention.

However, more often than not, the world seems to follow the laws of nature. One can witness occurrences, and believe that they are merely following the natural way of the world. One can think that Hashem is not intervening.

Therefore, Rashi says, and emphasizes by repeating it more than once, that “the Torah spoke of what usually occurs.” Even when we are looking at “what usually occurs,” we must be aware that it is the Torah speaking. We must look at everything which takes place in our lives, and see beyond the veneer. Whatever takes place, is actually G-d “running the show” for our benefit. This is true even when we do not witness a sea splitting.

Wishing one and all a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 6, Beginning with Page 141

IN LOVING MEMORY OF OUR FATHER
Mr. Sholom Moshe ben Reb Shlomo Meir Hacohen ע”ה Cohen
Passed away Shabbos Parshas Beshalach, 13 Shevat, 5779
May His Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
*
DEDICATED BY HIS FAMILY
* * *
לעילוי נשמת
ר’ שלום משה בן ר’ שלמה מאיר הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטר ש”ק פ’ בשלח, י”ג שבט, ה’תשע”ט
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
*
יו”ל ע”י בני משפחתו שיחיו

[1]. Our Parshah, Shemos 21:28.

[2]. The literal translation of Rashi’s words is that “the Torah speaks in the present tense.” In other words, the Torah speaks of the most common case, and most often it is bulls, that gore.

[3]. In our Parshah, Shemos 22:17, ibid. 21, ibid. 30.

Pearls of Rashi – Yisro II

This week’s Parshah, is called by the name Yisro. The reason for this is because one of the main characters in our Torah portion is Yisro, who was Moshe’s father in law. He traveled from his home in Midian in order to visit his son-in-law and the Jewish nation.

Yisro objected to the way in which one procedure in the wilderness was carried out. The Torah tells us that[1] “it happened on the next day that Moshe sat down to judge the nation. The people stood before Moshe from the morning until the evening.” Yisro objected to the fact that Moshe alone judged the people.

He suggested that there be a hierarchy of judges from among the greatest people of the nation; only the most difficult cases should be brought before Moshe. In this manner, the people would not have to wait for judgment “from the morning until the evening.” Not only did Moshe agree to his father-in-law’s suggestion, but G-d Almighty himself was in agreement. In fact, this is the procedure which is followed throughout history.

The Torah is not a history book. The Torah only tells us when something happened, if there is a lesson which can be learned from it. Why does the Torah specify that Yisro’s suggestion was made on “the next day?” Furthermore, the Torah does not even tell us when “the next day” was. Which day did it follow?

Rashi cites the words from the verse “it happened on the next day,” and explains as follows. “This was the day after Yom Kippur … Now what is meant by “on the next day”? On the day after Moshe descended from the mountain.”

This teaches us a very important lesson in our Divine service. No matter how high we are, no matter how great a level we have reached, there is always room to improve. Yom Kippur had just passed and G-d forgave on the Jews. Our leader had just come down from Mount Sinai. Yet we were able to go even higher! Yisro brought about a (seemingly) new aspect of Torah. Even after Yom Kippur, it was possible to attain an even greater level.

This brings to mind the story with the Rebbe Rashab. He was asked what our service of Hashem must be after Yom Kippur. This follows ten days of Teshuvah, anointing Hashem as our King, and attaining forgiveness. The Rebbe answered that, “now we must first do Teshuvah.”

Wherever we are, whatever level we have reached, we must constantly strive to go even higher.

Wishing one and all a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Farbrengen of Tu Bishvat, 5742

IN LOVING MEMORY OF OUR FATHER
Mr. Sholom Moshe Hacohen
ben Reb Shlomo Meir Hacohen ע”ה Cohen
Passed away Shabbos Parshas Beshalach, 13 Shevat, 5779
May His Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
*
DEDICATED BY HIS FAMILY
* * *
לעילוי נשמת
ר’ שלום משה בן ר’ שלמה מאיר הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטר ש”ק פ’ בשלח, י”ג שבט, ה’תשע”ט
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
*
יו”ל ע”י בני משפחתו שיחיו

[1]. Our Parshah, Shemos 18:13.

Pearls of Rashi – Yisro

This week we read Parshas Yisro. It continues where the past few readings left off. First, we read of the Jew’s oppression in Egypt; the Torah then told of their deliverance through many miracles, including the splitting of the sea. Finally, in this week’s portion we read of the Jew’s receiving the Torah from Hashem. The entire nation heard the “Ten Commandments” directly from the Almighty Himself.

Originally, when Hashem commanded Moshe to take the Jews from Egypt, He told him[1] “… when you take the people out of Egypt, you will worship G-d on this mountain.” In other words, the entire purpose of the exodus from Egypt, was in order for the Jews to ultimately receive the Torah.

The Torah actually repeats the “Ten Commandments” twice. It is written in this week’s Torah portion, based on the order in which events took place[2]. It is repeated once again at the end of the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. There Moshe repeats these commandments to the Jews who are on the verge of entering the Holy Land[3].

There are a number of differences between both versions of these commandments. That most noticeable difference is regarding the commandment of keeping Shabbos. Here it says[4]Remember the day of Shabbos to sanctify it.” At the end of the 40 years[5], it says “Keep the day of Shabbos day to sanctify it…” How can we reconcile these two versions? Which word did Hashem say; remember or keep? Rashi explains that both words were spoken with one utterance.

This can be understood with a story of one of the Alter Rebbe’s Chassidim. This Chossid was extremely pious, nevertheless he was also unlearned. He would daven each of the three daily prayers at great length, reciting each word with great love and care. This was true, despite the fact that it was unclear whether or not he even understood the meaning of the prayers.

One of his fellow Chassidim asked him to explain this. Davening at length means that one prays with (while thinking about) a deep concept. What was he concentrating on?

He responded that he once heard his Rebbe say the following. “The words remember and keep were both said with one utterance (word). With each and every word we utter, we must both remember and keep the oneness of G-d.”

That was how he prayed. My we all learn from him, to fill the oneness of Hashem in every aspect of our lives.

Wishing one and all a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 14, Page 224

IN LOVING MEMORY OF OUR FATHER
Mr. Sholom Moshe Hacohen
ben Reb Shlomo Meir Hacohen ע”ה Cohen
Passed away Shabbos Parshas Beshalach, 13 Shevat, 5779
May His Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
*
DEDICATED BY HIS FAMILY
* * *
לעילוי נשמת
ר’ שלום משה הכהן בן ר’ שלמה מאיר הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטר ש”ק פ’ בשלח, י”ג שבט, ה’תשע”ט
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
*
יו”ל ע”י בני משפחתו שיחיו

[1]. Parshas Shemos, Shemos 3:12.

[2]. Our Parshah, Shemos 20:2-14.

[3]. Parshas Vo’eschanan, Devorim 5:6-18.

[4]. Our Parshah, Shemos 20:8.

[5]. Parshas Vo’eschanan, Devorim 5:12.

Pearls of Rashi – Beshalach II

This week we read Parshas Beshalach. It tells us, among other miracles, Manna – Mon. This was food from heaven, which sustained the Jewish nation for the 40 years in the desert.

Each day every Jew would find his allotted amount; neither more nor less. No one was allowed to “put away Mon for a rainy day.” Each day they received the exact amount needed what they needed.

The only exception to this was Shabbos. Every Friday the Jews received a double portion of Mon; enough for Friday and Shabbos[1]. The Torah describes this as follows. Moshe told the Jews that[2] “See that Hashem has given you the Shabbos. Therefore, on the sixth day (Friday), He gives you Mon for two days. Each person should remain in his place; let no man leave his place on the seventh day.” Rashi cites the words “let no man leave, etc.” He writes that “these are the 2,000 cubits of the Sabbath limits.” This means that on Shabbos one may not travel 2,000 cubits outside of his place, i.e. outside of his city. In modern units of measure that is the equivalent of approximately 3,000 feet.

There is a spiritual explanation to the prohibition of going outside of the Techum – the limit of 2,000 cubits.

The Torah commands us that[3] “Six days may you work and perform all your labor.” There is a period of time, namely the six weekdays, that one may be occupied with mundane activities. During this time, one may perform acts which are not related directly to Torah and Mitzvos. The only condition is, that[4] “if you eat the toil of your hands, you are praiseworthy, and it is good for you.”

This means that during the time that one may be occupied with mundane toil, he may only do so with his hands. His head and heart must be occupied with Torah and Mitzvos.

When may our hands be involved with matters involving this world? This is only true during the weekdays. However, on Shabbos, which is totally dedicated to Torah and Mitzvos, obviously one’s hands may not be used for mundane matters. However, even one’s feet one may not be used for mundane purposes! This means to say that all of one’s faculties may only be immersed in Torah and Mitzvos.

May we learn from this to use our entire being purely for Torah matters.  This certainly true of Shabbos, but even throughout the week, our heart and brain must be immersed in Torah. In this manner, we will certainly bring Moshiach now!

Wishing one and all a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 11, Page 71

IN OUR FATHER’S MERIT
Mr. Shalom Moshe Hacohen ben Tzivia Cohen
May he have a complete and speedy recovery
*
DEDICATED BY HIS FAMILY
* * *
לזכות אבינו
ר’ שלום משה הכהן בן מרת צבי’ שי’ כהן
לרפואה שלימה וקרובה
*
יוצא לאור ע”י בני משפחתו שיחיו

[1]. That is why we recite a blessing over two loaves of bread, called Challah, on Shabbos.

[2]. Our Parshah, Shemos 16:29.

[3]. Parshas Yisro, Shemos 20:9.

[4]. Tehillim 128:4.