Monthly Archives: 19 Adar A 5774

Parshas Vayakhal

The Importance and Significance of Keeping Shabbos

(Taken from Zera Shimshon Parshas Vayakhal “aleph” page 489)

And Moshe gathered the whole assembly of Bnei Yisroel and said to them these are the words that Hashem commanded you to do. Six days you should work and the seventh day will be holy, a complete rest-day for the sake of Hashem. Whoever does work will killed (by Bais Din). ( Shemos 35/1-2)

Rashi explains that Moshe gathered Bnei Yisroel the day right after he came down from Har Sinai.

The Meforshim ask why were the laws of Shabbos the first mitzvo that Moshe taught Bnei Yisroal and not some other mitzvo? Seemingly he should have immediately taught them the mitzvo to build the Mishkan since it was on that day that he started to take contributions to build it.

Zera Shimshon begins his answer by quoting four Gemorros that show us the importance and significance of keeping Shabbos.

1)Rav Yehuda said in the name of Rav, “If Yisroel would have kept the first Shabbos no nation would have been able to rule over them.” (Shabbos 118/B)

2) Rebbi Chiya bar Aba said in the name of Rebbi Yochanan, “Whoever observes Shabbos properly, even if he worships idols like they did in the generation of Enosh, Hashem will forgive him” (ibid).

3) Rebbi Yochanan said in the name of Rebbi Shimon ben Yochai, “If Yisroel would keep two Shabossos properly, they would immediately be redeemed.” (ibid)

4) If Bnei Yisroel didn’t worship the Golden Calf no nation could rule over them. (Avodah Zora 5A)

In light of these four Gemorros, Zera Shimshon explains that after Bnei Yisroel sinned by worshiping the Golden Calf, Moshe put in tremendous effort to davven that Hashem will forgive them.

Therefore the first thing that he told Bnei Yisroel when he came down from the mountain was that if they would have kept Shabbos properly all of this would have been avoided. This is in light of the Gemorro, quoted above, that the proper observance of Shabbos atones even for the avairo of Avodah Zorro.

Another reason that he immediately taught them the halachos of Shabbos is that to observe Shabbos properly is even more effective than Moshe’s prayers!

Rashi in last week’s parsha writes that Moshe’s prayers didn’t bring about full atonement. Even today, a part of our suffering under the nations of the world is in order to completely cleanse us from the avairo of the Golden Calf.

On the other hand, to properly observe Shabbos saves us completely from other nations!

Zera Shimson concludes and explains why he taught the importance of keeping Shabbos before the commandment of building he Mishkan is because the Mishkan is collateral and security that we will keep the mitzvos.

If we don’t keep the Mitzvos like we should then Hashem takes it away from us (mashkon” in Hebrew means collateral.)

Therefore, Moshe taught the people that in order that their work to build the Mishkan will last forever, they should observe Shabbos properly to bring the final geulo.

This d’var Torah is dedicated to Beracha Bas Menucha Shaina. In the merit of  the  learning Zera Shimshon’s divrai Torah, Hashem should answer her prayers and she should find her proper match soon.
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Parshas Ki Sissa

I have also given him (Betzalel) Oholiav son of Achisamakh of the tribe of Dan (as an assistant). (Besides this), I have placed wisdom in the heart of the wise. (Shemos 31/6)

Rebbi Yochanon said, “HaKodesh Baruch Hue only gives wisdom to the wise… as it is written “I have placed wisdom in the heart of the wise.” (Berachos 55/A)

The meforshim ask what is the purpose of giving wisdom to wise people? By definition, wise people have wisdom! Why then does Hashem give them something that they already have? It would be more beneficial to give wisdom to ignorant people!

Zera Shimshon answers by first quoting the gemorro in Niddah (69/b-70/a) that the citizens of Alexandria asked 12 questions to Rebbi Yehoshua ben Chinnana.

One of the questions was, “What should a person do to become wise?”

He answered them, “Increase the time that you learn and mimimize the time that you work.”

They argued, “Many people have done that but they were not successful?”

(He answered back) “Pray for mercy from Hashem“.

(The Gemorro concludes), “(Both are needed.) It is not enough one without the other”

From this Gemorro we learn that one who learns with great hasmodo (long hours and diligently) doesn’t necessarily become wise! He could still forget what he learns, not understand things correctly, or not conclude properly.

We also learn that just a burning desire to become a talmid chochom and to davven to Hashem to “make it happen” isn’t enough.

To become a chochom both are needed; to put in the effort to learn long hours and also to davven to Hashem to succeed.

This, concludes Zera Shimshon, is what Rebbi Yochanon means that “HaKodesh Baruch Hue only gives wisdom to the wise”.

Hashem only gives wisdom to one who “gave it his best” and worked very hard to be wise. Hashem answers such a person’s prayers and grants him true long-lasting wisdom.
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