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PART 2 - Parashat Tzav - Interesting Thoughts on the Parasha - Rabbi Elimlech Biderman, Shlita


Knowing that Hashem is One means knowing that everything that happens to us and to the entire world is from Hashem, and nothing happens by chance.

We ate matzah as slaves and then we ate matzah as free men. What does this teach us? It tells us that Hashem is in charge, and we can't do anything if it isn't His will. The Jews in Egypt were probably looking forward to when they would be free and they could eat wholesome bread. But when they left Egypt, they were eating matzah again! This showed them that they aren't in charge even as free men. They can't do anything if it isn't Hashem’s will.

“A person doesn’t hurt his finger below, unless it was first decreed in heaven.” Everything, down to the smallest detail, is from Hashem. Knowing this is to know that Hashem is One.

The Baal HaTanya zt'l explained that the ד of אחד looks like a large hammer, because one has to hammer into his head the emunah that ה" אחד. One accomplishes this by constantly reviewing emunah, until it becomes his reality.

Reb Avraham Genichovsky told his students that one's emunah needs to be strong, so that even when one falls, or when goes through hard times, his emunah won't fail. If the emunah is weak, every small struggle may cause him to fail."

At the end of the Seder we sing אחד מי יודע... The song is written in question and answer form: "Who knows one? I know one. One is Hashem in the heaven and the earth. Who knows two?...Two are the luchos…" and so on. The Sheim Mishmuel zt'l asks, why does it need to be with questions and answers? It could have simply stated, "One is Hashem, two are the tablets, three are the avos," etc. The Sheim MiShmuel explains that this song is a test. At the end of the Seder, we want to see whether we've acquired the lessons that the Seder teaches us. We ask, "When I say one, what’s the first thought that comes to your mind? Is it 'one hundred dollars'? Is it some other materialistic factor, or is your first thought Hashem is one?" We go through the numbers from one to thirteen and ask the family, what’s your first association when you hear these numbers? If we acquired the lessons of the Seder correctly, we should be able to answer: One is Hashem. Two are the tablets. Three are the avos, because we realize that only these matters are important, everything pales in comparison.

Tzaddikim of Slonim zt'l said, "The distance between the mind and the heart is further than heaven and earth." His mind knew that there was no reason to get angry, but his heart didn’t know, and his heart was angry.

One can know emunah intellectually, but if the heart isn't aware of it, the concepts of emunah will not change the way he perceives life, and the way he reacts to its challenges.

We hear people say, "I know that כל דעביד רחמנא לטב עביד, that everything is for the good, but I still have a serious problem. It doesn’t help me to know that everything is for the good?" Similarly, people are worried about the future, often in relation to financial matters, and when we tell them about emunah and bitachon, they reply that they know all about that, but they’re still worried.

We find people who aren't happy with the mitzvos. We ask, "Don’t you realize that serving Hashem is the greatest joy and privilege imaginable?" They reply, they know that, but it doesn’t bring them joy. The explanation is because the emunah hasn't reached their heart. They know intellectually that everything is for the good, that Hashem is helping them and they can place their trust in Him, and they know about the privilege of serving Hashem, but this emunah hasn't reached their heart, and without the heart, emunah doesn’t affect them.

In particular we strive to acquire that emunah on the Seder night and throughout the entire yom tov of Pesach. Rebbe Mendel of Riminov zt’l said in the name of Rebbe Elimelech of Lizensk zt’l that the time that is most suited for attaining perfection in emunah is the night of the 7th day of Pesach.

In Pirkei Avos (5:20) "Reb Yehudah ben Teima says, 'Be brazen like a leopard, swift like an eagle, run like a deer, and be strong like a lion to do the will of your Father in heaven." Reb Shimon Sofer zt’l asks, (1) after stating one should be swift like an eagle, why does it go over to a slower pace, "run like a deer"? (2) Where in Tanach do we find that a deer runs quickly, that the Mishnah uses it as an example? Chazal tell us (based on the final passuk of Shir HaShirim) that a deer keeps looking back when it flees. It keeps turning its head to look behind. Reb Shimon Sofer said that the Mishnah is telling us to be swift in avodas Hashem like an eagle, but one should also adapt the trait of the deer who keeps looking back. This means that even when one is growing in his avodas Hashem, he shouldn’t forget to look back and see others who may need his assistance. His spiritual growth shouldn’t cause him to ignore the needs of others. This lesson is particularly applicable for this time of year when people are growing spiritually. Grow swiftly like an eagle, but run like the deer that always looks back to see if others need your help. Your righteousness shouldn’t cause you to lose sight of other people and their needs.

Someone asked Rebbe Shlomke of Zvhil zt'l if he could eat machine matzos, because his family will be insulted if he doesn’t. The Rebbe replied, "Do you really think that in heaven they will ask you whether you ate hand matzah or machine matzah? In heaven, you will only be asked two questions: (1) Did you guard your eyes? (2) Did you watch your mouth from causing harm to another Jew?"

Kiddush Levanah is a special time. Chazal say (and we mention it in the tefillah of Kiddush Levanah) that saying Kiddush Levanah is like welcoming the face of the Shechinah. It’s also a protection. The magid (angel) told the Beis Yosef, "After you say Kiddush Levanah, you will surely live out the month."

The Tur (430) writes, "The Shabbos before Pesach is called שבת הגדול Shabbat HaGadol, because a נס גדול, a great miracle, happened on this day. The korban Pesach that was sacrificed in Egypt had to be purchased on the tenth day of Nisan (which was Shabbos)… Everyone took a korban Pesach and bound it to their bedpost. The Egyptians asked them, 'What’s this all about?' "They answered, 'By Hashem's command, we will slaughter them for a korban Pesach.' The teeth of the Egyptians hurt because the Jewish people would be slaughtering their god, but they didn’t have permission to say anything. For this miracle the Shabbos is called שבת הגדול Shabbat HaGadol."

The Chidushei HaRim zt’l taught that just as the 10th of Tishrei atones for all sins (it’s Yom Kippur) similarly, Shabbos HaGadol (which commemorates the miracles of the 10th of Nisan) also atones for all one's sins. It is called Shabbos HaGadol, the great Shabbos, just as Yom Kippur is called Yoma Rabba, the great day.

To express the specialness of this Shabbos, the Ohev Yisrael zt'l (Likutei Na'ch, Shabbos HaGadol) writes, "The origin and the fountain of all Shabbosim of the year comes from two Shabbosim of the year: from Shabbos HaGadol and Shabbos Teshuvah. They are the heads of all Shabbosim of the year."

To express the specialness of this Shabbos, the Ohev Yisrael zt'l (Likutei Na'ch, Shabbos HaGadol) writes, "The origin and the fountain of all Shabbosim of the year comes from two Shabbosim of the year: from Shabbos HaGadol and Shabbos Teshuvah. They are the heads of all Shabbosim of the year."

All the Torah on this page and part 1 came from Rabbi Elimelech Biderman, shlita. All credit goes to him.


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