Tisha B'Av 5775

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Midrash Rabbah compares the sin of Adam to the exile from Jerusalem based on a posuk from Hoshea. Hashem had brought Adam into Gan Eden and gave him an order to follow (not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge). Adam transgressed the command, causing Hashem to banish him the garden and send him out into the world. Hashem also lamented over Adam as seen from the word “Ayeka” (“where are you”), which is spelled the same as “Eichah” (“alas”).
This pattern can be seen with Bnei Yisroel. Hashed brought them into Eretz Yisroel and gave them the mitzvos to follow. They committed sins and Hashem banished them from His temple and sent them out into exile. Hashem lamented over them with “Eichah”.
Why does the Midrash compare these two entities? What connection is there between them?
The Rambam explains that before Adam ate from the Tree of Knowledge, he saw everything in the world as Truth and Falsehood. There was clear indication of what was the right thing to do. After the sin, Adam saw his choices as Good and Bad, a more subjective perception of things.
When the Beis Hamikdash was around, we witnessed miracles upon miracles. We saw kivyachol the Hand of G-d on a daily basis. It was as if we saw everything on a level of Truth and Falsehood. Unfortunately, we were not able to sustain that sense of choice and we resorted back to choosing between Good and Bad.
This is what we pray for everyday, that we once again reach a level of Adam before he sinned. If we can reach and maintain a level of choosing between Truth and Falsehood, we can bring back the Temple bimheirah biyomeinu.

Devarim 5775

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Ramban starts off his introduction to Sefer Devarim with stating how it is called the "Mishna Torah" because Moshe goes through many mitzvos with Bnei Yisroel. These are to warn them to follow Hashem's commandments. And Moshe doesn't just do this once or twice, he constantly warns them because they need to be. This is how both learning and mussar work; a person must always be learning and receiving mussar. A person can't just read through things and think his job is done. He must continue to review what he has learned and continue to keep himself from sinning. When we do so, we show Hashem that we want the Beis Hamikdash rebuilt bimheirah biyomeinu.

Balak 5775

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Throughout the Torah scroll, there are many paragraph breaks called "pesuchas" and "stumahs". Rashi in Vayikra explains that these breaks were to give Moshe a chance to understand and internalize the prophecy he just received. But in the story of Bilaam, there are no breaks at all; it continues without any interruption. The Chofetz Chaim understands this as a reflection of Rashi's explanation. Bilaam never understood the prophecy and never allowed it to have an influence on his life. He was merely a "megaphone" for Hashem who could not think on his own. The lesson we can learn is to not robotically serve Hashem; we are to internalize His mitzvos and bring their meaning into our lives.

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