Rabbi Reisman – Parshas Vayeilech 5782
1 – Topic – A Thought on the Yemai Hadin
As we prepare for Shabbos Shuva – Shabbos Parshas Vayeilech and the upcoming Yom Hadin. Let me begin by sharing a message which is a Pshat in a Chazal but a very appropriate message for Shabbos Shuva. The Gemara says in a few places – in Bava Metzia 114b (6 lines from the top) among them, (אתם קרויין אדם) that Klal Yisrael is given the title of Adam. Adam literally means man. Adam Harishon was the first man. (אתם קרויין אדם). The Gemara in Yevamos 61a (2nd line from the top) that brings this says that it is a Posuk (ואתן צאני צאן מרעיתי אדם אתם). What does that mean that every human being is called Adam, is called a human being. We all are descendants of Adam Harishon. Every human being has a Tzelem Elokim. What does it mean that (אתם) the Jewish people (קרויין אדם), somehow the title (אדם) is more appropriate?
I saw a Yesod in the Pardes Yosef in the beginning of Sefer Vayikra in 1:2. The Pardes Yosef deals with the idea that we find numerous names for a human being. Adam, Ish, we find other names like Gever or Gavra but primarily Adam and Ish. He explains the difference between the two. Ish means a person, a human being, a man. Ish is a language of Adnus, of superiority, of master. (אישי כהן גדול) the Mishna says in Yoma 1:5. (אישי) my master, (כהן גדול). Or as Shlomo Hamelech said in Mishlei 22:7 (וְעֶבֶד לֹוֶה, לְאִישׁ מַלְוֶה). Someone who borrows money is something of a servant to (לְאִישׁ) the master, the (מַלְוֶה). So that Ish is a language of being a master, of being superior.
Adam on the other hand is not an Eved and not an Ish. Adam is somewhere in between. Adam stands on his own. Adam Harishon was alone, the only human being in the world when he was called Adam Harishon. He didn’t have any superiority or inferiority to any other human being. He was the only human being. Once Chava is created, as it says in Beraishis 3:16 (וְהוּא, יִמְשָׁל-בָּךְ) there are already two creatures in the human race, then we already find the expression Ish or Isha once there are more than one. The point being, that Adam is a sense of independence of a person who lives a life not based on everyone around him, not based on superiority to others or catching up to others, but Adam on being a man sort of free standing with his values as opposed to an Ish who depends on others.
In the physical world in Olam Hazeh all values, all goals, all of the Taivos and desires that people have are dependent on other people. There aren’t really objective levels of wealth or pleasure, they are very subjective. What is a big house? What is a nice house? It depends. Big like many rooms? It is relative. It comes a Yom Tov and people go to hotels and they squeeze themselves into a few rooms because somehow that is considered a level of superiority.
Shlomo Hamelech says in Koheles 4:4 (וְרָאִיתִי אֲנִי אֶת-כָּל-עָמָל, וְאֵת כָּל-כִּשְׁרוֹן הַמַּעֲשֶׂה). I see all the hard work and all the actions that people take, (כִּי הִיא קִנְאַת-אִישׁ, מֵרֵעֵהוּ) it is all based on jealousy. If not outright jealousy then at least by comparing. What does it mean that you are wealthy? How much money do you have to have in the bank? What does it mean that you have to have a car or two cars or a new car? It only depends on the people around you. Look around, if you live in a community where people don’t have cars you are fine. If you look around and people have cars then you need cars.
I know one young man who came from Eretz Yisrael. He said it is funny. In Eretz Yisrael we don’t need a car and when we come to visit the United States by the time we are on the Belt Parkway we need two. Because really the values that people have for the most part when it comes to the physical, when it comes to things, when it comes to style of living, when it comes to what you want to eat it is all relative. It all depends on the people around you, on the community on which you choose to live, the friends you choose to have and the goals that they have.
One young man told me I have to have a summer home. Everybody has a summer home. Well it depends who you choose to have as your friends. It depends on who you associate with. Then it becomes a necessity. That is the world of Eved and Ish. Ish the master and Eved the one who is chasing after him. The world of Adam (אתם קרויין אדם) the world of Torah, the world of Tefilla. We all know having a meaningful and Geshmake Davening has nothing to do with anybody else, it is a value in and of itself. We all know a good Seder, learning with a Geshmake, finishing a Masechta or a Perek of Tanach, that Geshmake has nothing to do with other people. (אתם קרויין אדם). Adam the independent man. A man who stands for something. That (אתם קרויין אדם) is all tied to Ruchnios.
Rav Yaakov once said it says in Beraishis 48:20 (בְּךָ יְבָרֵךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר, יְשִׂמְךָ אֱלֹקים כְּאֶפְרַיִם וְכִמְנַשֶּׁה). HKB”H said that Jewish people will bless their children that they should be like Ephraim and Menashe. But it doesn’t say what Middah of Ephraim and Menashe is it that singles them out. Do we know much about the Middos of Ephraim and Menashe? Rav Yaakov says yes we know one thing. We know that they grew up in Mitzrayim and they didn’t follow the people around them. To judge what is important, what matters in life didn’t depend on people around them. Had it depended on it they never would have become Ephraim and Menashe. The other Shevatim had other members of the family to give them Chizuk. Ephraim and Menashe stood on their own two feet. They proudly said this is what I need and this is not what I need. (אתם קרויין אדם). You are called a man. (אתם קרויין אדם). When you stand on your own, when you have your own values. Take a look in English in the secular world you say to someone, “Be a Man.” What does that mean, be a man? It means assert yourself. It is a sign of strength, of power, of arrogance. Be a man. That is an Ish.
By us we say to our children, be a Mentsch. What does it mean be a Mentsch? It means have kindness, humility, consideration for others. Be a Mentsch, that is an Adam. (ואתן צאני צאן מרעיתי) HKB”H says. You are my flock. (אדם אתם). Don’t look at the people around you. Strive for greatness, strive for value, based on Ruchnios.
Incidentally that may be why Adam is never found B’lashon Rabim. Ish becomes Anashim. Adam is always Adam, it never changes into a Lashon Rabim. No matter what it stays only Lashon Yachid. The power is the Yechidus of Adam. That is how we stand on the Yom Hadin in front of the Ribbono Shel Olam (כבני מרון) as individuals. As individuals we have to have our own values.
2 – Topic – A Thought on Parshas Vayeilech
It is a beautiful Parsha. The whole first portion of the Parsha Moshe Rabbeinu’s last days, extraordinary. Then we find that HKB”H tells Moshe Rabbeinu about what is to come. The Posuk says in 31:17 (וְחָרָה אַפִּי בוֹ בַיּוֹם-הַהוּא וַעֲזַבְתִּים) that Klal Yisrael will follow Avoda Zorah and Kavayochel G-d will show his anger and (וְהִסְתַּרְתִּי פָנַי מֵהֶם, וְהָיָה לֶאֱכֹל, וּמְצָאֻהוּ רָעוֹת רַבּוֹת, וְצָרוֹת). (וְאָמַר, בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא), it says when Klal Yisrael will come into these difficulties we will say (הֲלֹא עַל כִּי-אֵין אֱלֹקי בְּקִרְבִּי, מְצָאוּנִי הָרָעוֹת הָאֵלֶּה). The Yid will say this is because I have abandoned G-d. (כִּי-אֵין אֱלֹקי בְּקִרְבִּי). I haven’t kept G-d among me and that is why these Tzaros have come. But then the next Posuk says (וְאָנֹכִי, הַסְתֵּר אַסְתִּיר פָּנַי בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא, עַל כָּל-הָרָעָה, אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה: כִּי פָנָה, אֶל-אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים). The Tzaros continue. It needs a little bit of explanation. In middle of the Tzaros it says that the Jewish people will say (עַל כִּי-אֵין אֱלֹקי בְּקִרְבִּי, מְצָאוּנִי הָרָעוֹת הָאֵלֶּה) which is really good. So the Ramban explains on this Posuk and the Pesukim which follow. That Viduy the Ramban says we learn out from a different Posuk in Vayikra 5:5 (וְהִתְוַדָּה--אֲשֶׁר חָטָא) the idea of Viduy. But here we have a mini Viduy. The first Viduy is when a Yid says Chatasi, when a Yid says (עַל כִּי-אֵין אֱלֹקי בְּקִרְבִּי, מְצָאוּנִי הָרָעוֹת הָאֵלֶּה). He takes away the Aveira of Lo Chatasi.
Yirmiya complained to Klal Yisrael that you say Lo Chatasi. It is not true. So that, says the Ramban, this is not the full Viduy, but it is the first step in the Viduy. The first step in the Viduy is to stop saying Lo Chatasi. Take responsibility for what you have done. You got yourself in a mess take responsibility. Don’t blame others. Chatasi – that is why I am in this mess. There still is a lot left to do. You still have to roll up your sleeves and do (וְהִתְוַדָּה--אֲשֶׁר חָטָא), you still have to do Viduy. If the Tzaros continue says the Ramban then it is not a Viduy Shaleim, but it is the first step in Viduy.
Step 1 is to stop saying Lo Chatasi. Don’t blame things on other people. When there are difficulties and challenges in life don’t blame others. It is (עַל כִּי-אֵין אֱלֹקי בְּקִרְבִּי, מְצָאוּנִי הָרָעוֹת הָאֵלֶּה). Once you recognize that, hopefully you go on to say the proper Viduy, the Ashamnu the Bagadnu, the recognition of the mistakes we made. The Charata and the Kabbala Al Ha’asid. This is what it says in the Ramban.
Rav Hutner in the Pachad Yitzchok on Yom Hakkipurim in Maimar 22 Os 2 says that that is the Seder that we say every time we say Viduy. We start Viduy by saying (שֶׁאֵין אָנוּ עַזֵּי פָנִים וּקְשֵׁי ערֶף לומַר לְפָנֶיךָ וְלא חָטָאנוּ). We are about to say Chatanu with Ashamnu so why do we have to say we are not saying Lo Chatanu and then say Chatanu? Just say Chatanu.
The answer is the Ramban says there are two steps. The first thing is to make a conscious recognition, stop blaming other people for the difficulties. Stop blaming the boss, stop blaming the behavior of people that are close to you, your wife or others that are close to you. Stop blaming them. Stop saying it is their fault. (שֶׁאֵין אָנוּ עַזֵּי פָנִים וּקְשֵׁי ערֶף לומַר לְפָנֶיךָ וְלא חָטָאנוּ). Recognize that our problems come because of our misdeeds. That is the first step in Viduy. The second step in Viduy is (אָשַׁמְנוּ. בָּגַדְנוּ. גָּזַלְנוּ) is to go on and say a meaningful and proper Viduy. In (אָשַׁמְנוּ. בָּגַדְנוּ.) you are allowed to add your own Nuschaos. (אָשַׁמְנוּ. בָּגַדְנוּ. תִּעַבְנוּ. תָּעִינוּ. תִּעְתָּעְנוּ). Who shouldn’t add Bitalnu Zman M’limud HaTorah. It should be printed in our generation. Who cannot say Bitalnu Zman M’limud HaTorah.
It comes Shabbos Shuva which is on the way and Yom Kippur is on the way we need to be able (myself included), to steal away another 10 or 15 minute Seder somewhere in our schedule. Another 10 or 15 minutes to make it a meaningful time that we are changing, (אָשַׁמְנוּ. בָּגַדְנוּ). We should be able to say to the Ribbono Shel Olam (אָשַׁמְנוּ. בָּגַדְנוּ) okay, HKB”H don’t let the Tzaros Rachmana Litz’lon stay. IY”H we should be Zoche to a wonderful coming year in Taf Shin Pei Beis. IY”H I think a year ago our Viduyim were more heartfelt than usual and Boruch Hashem I know people who had Yeshuos this year. It seems to be in my circle Boruch Hashem more than the usual that had Yeshuos. I think that the reason is because we had a more meaningful middle of the pandemic Yomim Noraim a year ago. This year Boruch Hashem things are better but let’s make it meaningful. We should have a wonderful Taf Shin Pei Beis. A Gut Gebenched Yar to one and all and I will speak to you next time B’ezras Hashem on Thursday Chol Hamoed Sukkos. From now until then let’s make is a wonderful stretch of Avodas Hashem. A Gut Shaabos and A Gut Gebenched Yar!