Rabbi Reisman - Parshas Pekudei 5782
1 - Topic - A Thought on Why There Were No Aleph-Bais in the Mishkan
Shalom Aleichem one and all. As we prepare for Shabbos Parshas Pekudei - a Chazak Shabbos - which is also Bais, Adar Sheini, as we get ready for the upcoming Chag HaPurim, all the while concerned about Acheinu Kol Bais Yisroel in the Ukraine, there’s a lot on our mind.
Let us begin with a thought on the parshah, a thought on Purim, a thought on Rosh Chodesh. Let’s try in that order.
A thought on the Parshah. In this week’s Parshah, of course, we come to the conclusion of the building of the Mishkan. This week I was learning Mishnayos Shekalim with my grandson, in the third Perek in Mishnah Bais it talks about the fact that they took a Terumah of all the Shekalim that were donated, and they labeled them - Aleph, Bais, Gimmel. Reb Yishmael says they didn’t label it Aleph, Bais, Gimmel, (יְוָנִית כָּתוּב בָּהֶן), they were labeled in Greek, alpha, beta, gamma. Strange! My grandson asked me why did they use Greek in the Bais Hamikdash?
What does this have to do this weeks Parshah? I’ll tell you.
Rav Schwab, back in Parshas Ki Sisa (31:2) has a beautiful Yesod about the Mishkan, the Bais Hamikdash, the place that we call the Bais Hashem. He says about the Bais Hamikdash as follows. He says that, generally speaking, we live in a world that has an order, Aleph, Bais, Gimmel, and Daled - the Aleph-Bais - is basically the Seder Hasichli of Olam Hazeh. In other words, in order to understand things you have words, you have to be able to express yourself, and that is a certain limitation we have in this world, you can’t just convey ideas without words, it’s a Davar Sichli, and, that’s why the Aleph-Bais is generally used as a sign of the seder of this world. Ashrei is special. The Gemara says in Masechta Brachos (4b), right in the beginning of Shas, that, what’s so special about Ashrei, that anybody who says it every day three times (מוּבְטָח לוֹ שֶׁהוּא בֶּן הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא)? It has a seder Aleph-Bais. What’s so special about a Seder Aleph-Bais, anybody can do a Seder Aleph-Bais? The answer is that it sets up the Seder Habriah, there is Aleph-Bais, and Poseiach Es Yadecha, the order of the Parnasah in this world, it tells us about it - Biseder. The idea of Seder, the Aleph-Bais Seder, is very much part of Torahseinu Hakedosha, as Rav Schwab brings numerous examples, the Gedolim of previous generations were called Sofrim because they used to count the letters. In Olam Hazeh, letters, words, are the method by which we express our ideas, we learn Torahseinu Hakedosha, and the Aleph-Bais has a special Kedushah to us. The Mishkan, the Bais Hamikdash, was a place that was above those limitations. After all, Aleph-Bais is limited. Aleph-Bais is a certain order, the Bais Hamikdash was above that. To understand what took place in the Bais Hamikdash, you didn’t have to express in words, your Neshamah felt it, it was Hasagas Haneshamah. A person had a feeling, a sense, of being in a place that’s Kadosh, that’s special, that’s unique. And therefore, the Aleph-Bais did not really belong in the Bais Hamikdash. Reb Yosi says, in a Mishnah in Shabbos, that the Kerashim weren’t labeled with Aleph-Bais. When you label boards, you do “Aleph-Bais”, “Gimmel-Daled” - in the Bais Hamikdosh they made a Rosham, they didn’t use Aleph-Bais. Why not use the Aleph-Bais? Because Aleph-Bais is a sign of Olam Hazeh where there are limitations. The Bais Hamikdosh, the Mishkan, the place where the Shechinah resides, is a sense of the Borai Olam. On Yom Kippur we say, and this is true all year round, we say that in the Bais Hamikdosh they didn’t say Amen to Brachos, they say Baruch Sheim Kavod Malchuso Leolam Vaed. Why? Why not say Amen? Because Amen is a statement of Emunah, of faith, in the Bais Hamikdosh there was such a sense of Borei Olam, that it was inappropriate to call it an expression of faith. Faith? You sensed the Borei Olam. Hakohanim Veha’am Haomdim BaAzarah, Keshayahu Shomeim - those who were standing in the Bais Hamikdosh, when they heard the Shem Hashem coming out of the Kahon Gadol, bowed down and said Baruch Sheim. But the Gemara says the Kohen Gadol’s voice was heard way out of the Bais Hamikdash, his voice carried well distant from the Bais Hamikdash, but people out of the Bais Hamikdash said Amen. Those Haomdim BaAzarah, the Bais Hamikdosh is special sense of connection. While we don’t have the Bais Hamikdosh today, people go to the Kosel, and have the good sense to close their eyes and think of the Borei Olam and connect to Him, will find that while you’re not in the Bais Hamikdash, just like radio waves travel beyond, the waves of the Presence of the Shechinah, Shechinah Lo Zazah Me’al Kosel Hamaaravi, can be felt there as well. And that is the reason that there was no Aleph-Bais. Alpha, Betta, Gamma are just indication of an order - Aleph, Bais Gimmel show a limitation, and that limitation did not apply in the Bais Hamikdosh. This is my thought regarding the Parshah, this series of Parshas regarding the Mishkan has come to an end.
2 - Topic - A Thought on Why Esther Hamalkah Referred to Achashveirosh As A Dog
A Purim thought. Let’s see if you like this one. When Esther goes in to Achashveirosh, she Davens (הַצִּילָה וכו' מִיַּד כֶּלֶב יְחִידָתִי), save me this dog. The Shechinah leaves her, HKB”H says, you call him a dog? So, she repented, she called him an Ari. I would like to understand Esther. That’s not a fine thing to do - can you imagine a Gadol BiYisroel using the expression - not a Rasha - but using the expression dog?! That’s not even a nice expression to use. Why did she use that expression?
So I’d like to share with you a Dvar Torah I told you about Pesach. I don’t know when I told it to you, I imagine Reb Yehuda will find which year, which month, but maybe I said it in Parshas Bo. Rav Hutner in Maamei Pachad Yitzchok Maamar Samech says the following. Chazal say about a dog, in Beitzah (25b), (שְׁלֹשָׁה עַזִּין הֵן) there are three that have Chutzpah. And who are the three that have Chutzpah? One of them is (כֶּלֶב בַּחַיּוֹת), the Kelev among the wild animals of the world. What is the Chutpah of the Kelev, what is the Azus of the Kelev? So I guess the Pashut Pshat is the sense of a Kalev, of a rabid wild dog, that has Azus. Rav Hutner though says, no, the Azus of a Kelev is that he’s mans best friend. Why is that Azus? The Chutzpah, he could look at a human being, and look at a human being as being on the same level as a Kelev?! The Azus of a Kelev is not when he’s a wild and rabid dog, the Azus of a Kelev is when he’s a warm and friendly dog! The fact that, a dog sees man as his best friend, Oy Vey! The special uniqueness of (וּלְכֹל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֹא יֶחֱרַץ כֶּלֶב לְשֹׁנוֹ) is not that dogs didn’t attack the Jews, why would a dog attack the Jews, they didn’t bother the dog. It’s that the dogs didn’t even have a friendly bark for the Jews. When Klal Yisroel, Kenesses Yisroel, left Mitzrayim on the morning of Pesach, they were so uplifted, Derhoiben, that even a dog that looked at a member of Knesses Yisroel saw that, that’s not my friend! G-D forbid! A friend - it’s Le’eyla Ule’eyla! A man doesn’t say that a Malach is his friend, and a dog doesn’t say that a person is his friend. Somebody who has no boundaries, inappropriate relationships, fails to see himself, where he is, that’s the Mashal of a Kelev. Ad Kan Divrei Pachad Yitzchok.
Now we come to Purim. Esther says Achashveirosh is a Kelev. So we think, like a truck driver calls someone a dog. What!? Esther is one of the seven Nevios! If she said Kelev, she had depth to what she said, a lot of depth. She didn’t call him a dog, like a bum in the street calls people a dog. She said the Midah of a dog, because he has relationships that crosses a boundary, where it’s inappropriate. Achashveirosh thinks that he’s a Shidduch for me!? Achashveirosh thinks that Esther Hamalkah - even if he didn’t know that she’s Jewish, but he saw her fine Middos, he saw her extraordinary personality, he saw her Yiras Shamayim, he saw her Ahavas Habriyos, and he thinks that he’s a Shidduch for me? HKB”H, save me Miyad Kelev - what’s Kelev? Kelev is, the danger to me is that he’s acting like a Kelev, he sees me as someone on his level. Oy, Hatzilah. Rav Hutner’s incredible insight explains this as well.
3 - Topic - Shaving on Rosh Chodesh Erev Shabbos - Rav Yaakov’s Amazing Chiddush
And so we did two of the three things we promised, we spoke about the Parshah, we spoke about Adar and Purim, and finally, Rosh Chodesh. So let me to tell you a Dvar Halachah.
Rosh Chodesh Adar Hasheini (5782) is Thursday and Friday. Many of us have a Minhag, Rav Yehuda HaChossid, not to shave on Rosh Chodesh, and this is brought in the Mishnah Berurah - the Mishnah Berurah is not in Hilchos Rosh Chodesh, it’s in Hilchos Shabbos - there the Mishnah Berurah says not to take a haircut or shave on Rosh Chodesh, even when it comes out on Erev Shabbos, and according to what the Mishnah Berurah says, tomorrow Friday we should not be shaving. When I was in the Bais Medrash in Torah V’daas, I had heard Bisheim Rav Yaakov, that when Rosh Chodesh is Thursday-Friday, you’re allowed to shave on Friday. Subsequently, the Emes L’Yaakov on Shulchan Aruch came out, and there, in the Emes L’Yaakov (Siman 260) where it talks about Erev Shabbos, Rav Yaakov’s proof to that is brought, a Geonisdik proof. In Siman 493, that’s Sefiras Haomer, it talks about when Rosh Chodesh Iyar comes out on Shabbos, the Mishnah Berurah says you’re allowed to take a haircut or shave on Erev Shabbos; on this Shabbos that is Shabbos Rosh Chodesh, you’re allowed to take it on Erev Rosh Chodesh. Zugt Reb Yaakov, hold on a minute. Rosh Chodesh Iyar is always two days, and when it’s Chal on Shabbos it’s never Shabbos-Sunday, the calendar is that it’s always Friday-Shabbos, so here the Mishnah Berurah is telling you that if Rosh Chodesh is Friday-Shabbos you’re allowed to take a haircut on Friday, it’s not a Sefirah prohibition. Forget about Sefirah for a minute, excuse me, it’s a Reb Yehuda HaChossid prohibition, why are we Matir taking a haircut or shave on that Friday? Enfert Reb Yaakov, well, that Thursday was Sefirah and you weren’t allowed to take a haircut, so Friday you’re allowed to. When do we say, if Rosh Chodesh is Erev Shabbos, you’re not allowed to take a haircut, if you can take it Thursday, not Geferlach, it’ll be a day off. But if you couldn’t take it Thursday either, it had to be two days away, then you’re allowed to take it Friday. As the Mishnah Berurah says, Rosh Chodesh Iyar is Friday-Shabbos, you can take a haircut, or shave, on Friday. Why? Because you couldn’t take it yesterday. Im Kein, Hu Hadin, when Rosh Chodesh is Thursday-Friday, if you can’t take a haircut or shave Thursday, because after all Thursday is Rosh Chodesh, so then you take it on Friday. This is Reb Yaakov’s Vort, yesterday Chof-Tes Adar Rishon is Reb Yaakov’s Yohrtzeit, Im Yirtzeh Hashem, we should be Zoche to go in his ways, what an Adam Hashaleim, in all areas of Torah and Avodah and Yiras Shamayim, and his being Meurav Im Habriyos, Gevaldig.
May we be Zoche to have a true Simchas Purim, may Acheinu Bnei Yisroel in Ukraine be Zoche to Simcha, as this terrible Gezeirah, the war that’s going on, comes to an end Bikarov Mamash, we Daven for Yeshuos for all of Klal Yisroel. Kisheim Sheasisah Nissim Bayamim Haheim, Bazman Hazeh.
A Gutten Shabbos to one and all.