As we prepare for Shabbos Parshas Netzavim the final Shabbos of Taf Shin Pei Aleph, as we prepare for a much better year of Taf Shin Pei Beis. The Parsha, of course, begins with 29:9 (אַתֶּם נִצָּבִים הַיּוֹם כֻּלְּכֶם) and Rashi says in 29:12 because Klal Yisrael heard the Tochacha and they were frightened (הוריקו פניהם) they were frightened by what happened and they said (מי יוכל לעמוד באלו) who could withstand all these Klalos. Therefore, (התחיל משה לפייסם) Moshe Rabbeinu calmed them down and he said (אַתֶּם נִצָּבִים הַיּוֹם). (הרבה הכעסתם למקום). Look, you have done much in the Midbar that was misbehavior (ולא עשה אתכם כלייה). He was Me’fayeis them. Does it need an explanation as to what kind of Nechama is this?
In the Midbar it is true that they sinned to HKB”H but they paid a price, they paid a very steep price. A whole generation was lost. A whole generation died in the Midbar and did not make it into Eretz Yisrael. What exactly is the Nechama of the experience of the Dor Hamidbar. The experience of the Dor Hamidbar seems to have been a terrible experience. It is true that Klal Yisrael survived as a nation, but many people were punished. This needs some type of a calling into account exactly what HKB’H was Me’fayeis them with.
The Michtav Eliyahu in the second volume in a Maimar from page 33 – 35 makes the following point. He says in life there are times that a person does well because of His’arusa D’l’aila, because HKB”H gives him a spark of inspiration, HKB”H gives him a moment where it goes well. You know the feeling every once in a while you Daven a Shemoneh Esrei and it just goes well not because you put extra effort into it but it is called His’arusa D’l’aila, HKB”H sometimes gives you a spark of inspiration. At other times, most of the time, you have to work on it. Where it comes from a lot of effort that a person puts his mind to it, sets his mind to it. Sometimes there is a need and he sets himself to Daven or to have a Seder to learn, to push himself to learn properly.
The rule says the Michtav Eliyahu, is that even though that His’arusa D’l’aila, even when from heaven you have a gift and things go well, it is much more fulfilling, it makes a person feel good, it goes in a much smoother way, it is not a struggle, nevertheless, he says that when it comes from a His’arusa D’l’sata Yeish La Kiyum. Then it has permanence, then it sticks, then it is something that stays. The rule in life is easy to come easy go. If you get to something in an easy way so then easy come easy go. Then it doesn’t necessarily stay with you. Something you struggle to achieve, something you work hard to achieve that has more of a permanence.
We find that throughout the history of Klal Yisrael. (The Mechilta on the Shiras Hayam says) (ראתה שפחה על הים מה שלא ראה יחזקאל בן בוזי). At Kriyas Yam Suf all of the Jews that went through the Yam Suf saw visions that were even greater than the visions of Yechezkel. Yet those who went through the Yam and saw these visions didn’t become Yechezkels, they didn’t become Neviim L’doros. Why? Because it was a gift. When Klal Yisrael crossed the Kriyas Yam Suf it was a gift, it was His’arusa D’l’aila. G-d gifted something. Yechezkel on the other hand lived during the terrible period of the Churban. Whatever he achieved he achieved through his hard work. It is true that the Shifcha saw more (ראתה שפחה על הים מה שלא ראה יחזקאל בן בוזי) than Yechezkel, but that doesn’t matter. That which is easy come as a gift, it is what you do with it, try to do something with it, but it is easy to lose. Something that comes through hard work has permanence.
The same thing we find by the Luchos. Luchos Rishonos they were a gift. HKB”H said Klal Yisrael are the children of Avraham, Yitzchok and Yaakov you are getting the Torah. For that generation they came and it was a gift. The physical Luchos, the stone of the Luchos was a gift. HKB”H presented it to Moshe Rabbeinu in heaven. The whole Kabbalas Hatorah was a gift to that generation. The second Luchos on the other hand, they came through hard work. Not only that Klal Yisrael after sitting at the Eigel had to accomplish in 40 days of Teshuva and then have a second Kabbalas Hatorah, but even the Luchos themselves, the stones themselves Hashem said no more gifts. Moshe Rabbeinu take a chisel and chisel out the Luchos. It wasn’t an easy job it was a very hard job. The Torah says in Shemos 34:1 (פְּסָל-לְךָ) and we make a fuss over it. Why? Because the Torah wants to teach us that which comes to you in an easy way is easily lost. Something that you struggle for, that you work for, that you work hard for, that comes with more of a permanence and that has a Kiyum.
That is a Klal in general says the Michtav M’eliyahu in life it is that way. That which comes to you easily, easy come easy go. That which comes to you with hard work that has a permanence. Mimeila if we understand that, we understand the Nechama to Klal Yisrael. Klal Yisrael there was the Dor that left Mitzrayim. Why did they leave Mitzrayim? For the most part it was Zechus Avos, they had Zechusim too, but HKB”H (וַיִּזְכֹּר אֱלֹקִים אֶת-בְּרִיתוֹ, אֶת-אַבְרָהָם אֶת-יִצְחָק וְאֶת-יַעֲקֹב). HKB”H did it because of the Avos. A tremendous part of it was His’arusa D’l’aila. Klal Yisrael in the Mem Tes Sharei Tumah still went out. That was the Dor that went into the Midbar. The Dor in the Midbar, that grew up in the Midbar, they grew up in a generation that was facing a time of Onesh, a time of punishment, and they still made it? That is His’arusa D’l’sata, that has a permanence. It is not as if HKB”H tried once and it didn’t work and He said try with the next generation and it worked. If that was true then the (אַתֶּם נִצָּבִים הַיּוֹם) is not really a Nechama, it is not really a consolation, they are not condolences. However, Moshe Rabbeinu told them (הוריקו פניהם) they got frightened by the Tochacha and they said what is going to be with us. Moshe Rabbeinu said you know what? When HKB”H punishes it is for a reason, it is because afterwards you will struggle, you will strive and look you will be a somebody.
That is a message for the Yomim Noraim. As we come to the end of Taf Shin Pei Aleph and many of us have in these turbulent times struggled in Ruchnios and struggled sometimes just in Gashmios, in Parnasa or health Inyanim. You should know, (אַתֶּם נִצָּבִים הַיּוֹם כֻּלְּכֶם) it is the struggle, it is the struggle that makes it permanent, it is the struggle that makes it a part of you, it is the struggle that says that it came from you, even if it is less than the Shifcha saw at the Yam, but that is the Nechama of Moshe Rabbeinu (אַתֶּם נִצָּבִים הַיּוֹם כֻּלְּכֶם).
2 – Topic – A Thought on the Upcoming Yomim Noraim
I would like to share with you a thought as we try to have a focus as we go towards Rosh Hashana. We live for many of us in the most turbulent period of our lives. We are post Holocaust people and we are living through certainly the most turbulent year and a half that we have ever lived through. I would like to tell you something that I saw from Rav Yaakov. This is in the Emes L’yaakov on Nach Cheilek Beis, (so far only Cheilek Beis has been published before Cheilek Aleph) and there on page Kuf Pei Bais Rav Yaakov records the Hesped that he said in 1934 after the passing of the Chofetz Chaim. He says the following.
We know that the Chofetz Chaim did a lot with an eye towards Moshiach. Many of his Seforim focused on Moshiach, the Kolel Kodshim was on Moshiach, he menrtions the Sefer Likutai Halachos which deal with Halachos when Moshiach comes, even the Sefer Shemiras Halashon he speaks constantly about how Shemira from Lashon Hora brings Moshiach closer. That that the Chofetz Chaim focused about Moshiach Poshut Pshat the simple idea is because we want Moshiach to come. We want to have Zechusim so that Moshiach should come. That is certainly true.
Rav Yaakov in his Hesped added something to that. He said something else. He said the Chofetz Chaim cared about the Jewish people and wanted them to be Zoche to be righteous to behave correctly in the demand of Hashem. Tzipisa L’yeshua. That you should live a life hoping for the Yeshua. Whether Moshiach comes now or doesn’t come now, whether he comes soon or he doesn’t come soon I don’t know, but one thing I know, that every Yid is supposed to be Metzapeh, is supposed to have a strong desire for Moshiach coming. Then Rav Yaakov in recording his Hesped said that the purpose of the Chofetz Chaim was to show that everything about Moshiach is L’mayseh. He commanded them to learn Kodshim. Why? Because he wanted by Klal Yisrael that Klal Yisrael should be a people that are Metzapeh L’yeshua, that want Moshiach to come.
Interesting, he adds that he writes my good friend Rav Dovid Leibowitz (1887 - 1941) who was a nephew of the Chofetz Chaim, he went to the Kollel Kovno. The Kollel Kovno was the premier Kollel in Klal Yisrael. The Kollel Kovno, Rav Yaakov was there. It was a Kollel where you went for 5 years and then you had to go out and find a Shteller. That was the way the Kollel worked in Kovno.
Rav Dovid Leibowitz took leave of his uncle the Chofetz Chaim and left Radin to go to Lithuania to go to Kollel Kovno. Radin of course was in Poland. The Chofetz Chaim said to Rav Dovid Leibowitz you are a Kohen, you have to stay here to learn Kodshim. To that, Rav Dovid Leibowitz replied I have to learn Hilchos Shabbos. When Moshiach comes you have to know how to bring a Chatos so you have to know Kodshim. But you have to know is this Chillul Shabbos Mechayeiv a Korban Chatas. Is this type of Chillul Shabbos obligate a person in bringing a Chatas. I am also preparing for Moshiach because I am going to learn Dinai Shabbos. To that the Chofetz Chaim replied as Rav Yaakov quotes it Al Zeh Yeish K’var Mishna Brura. On that I already wrote a Mishna Brura. Fascinating. Rav Yaakov says that the Chofetz Chaim in Mishna Brura very often and in the Emes L’yaakov there is a long list, very often Paskens if something is D’oraissa or it is D’rabbanan. What is the difference? Nowadays we keep D’rabbanans and we keep D’oraissas. The Chofetz Chaim wanted to put into the Mishna Brura already the Halachos to know if you are Chayuv to bring a Chatas, only on an Issur D’oraissa do you bring a Chatas.
At any rate, the point that Rav Yaakov makes here that was a Chiddush to me, I understood that the Chofetz Chaim was teaching Kodshim and talking about Moshiach in order to make Zechusim that Moshiach should come and that is true, but the Chofetz Chaim had another desire, that people should be Metzapeh L’yeshua, that people should desire that Moshiach should come.
Rav Yaakov writes that the Chofetz Chaim felt that the Emunah in Moshiach was weakened, and therefore, he wanted to show Klal Yisrael. As we go in these turbulent times towards Tefillos which focus primarily on Malchus Shamayim, we should have this Tafkid, this idea, this purpose that we should be Metzapeh L’yeshua. As the Rambam says for Kevod Shamayim and that is something to focus on in our Davening.
I would add to you that the second paragraph of Aleinu (וְעַל כֵּן נְקַוֶּה לְּךָ) if you are Askenaz it is (עַל כֵּן נְקַוֶּה לְּךָ) without the Vav. (ּ וְעַל כֵּן נְקַוֶּה לְּךָ ר' אֱלקינו לִרְאות מְהֵרָה בְּתִפְאֶרֶת עֻזֶּךָ). It is a beautiful paragraph. Guess what? It talks about Moshiach’s coming. (נְקַוֶּה לְּךָ) we hope for Bi’as Moshiach. Say the second paragraph of Aleinu a bit slower. Say it with the old Yeshiva chant that you used to say it with in grade school. Of course you are not going to have enough time because in Shul they don’t say Aleinu with enough time to actually say (וְעַל כֵּן נְקַוֶּה לְּךָ) properly. Okay, you will have to take an extra couple of minutes. Say it and be Metzapeh L’yeshua. We should be Zoche that if not Taf Shin Pei Aleph at least Taf Shin Pei Beis should be a Shana of the Geulah Sh’leima. A Gutten Shabbos, a Kesiva V’chasima Tovah to one and all and I ask you Mechila for the weeks that I was not prompt or I was not at all on the phone at this hour. I B’li Neder will try not to miss in the future. Kol Tuv! A Gutten Shabbos and a Gut Yar!