lluminations #33, Sivan 5775, Parshat Nasso

KollelNerHamizrach__illumination logo

lluminations #33, Sivan 5775, Parshat Nasso

Torah Gems

This week’s Parasha discusses ברכת כהנים . This blessing is said every morning by the כהנים . However, there is an interesting thing about the way the Kohanim stand when giving the blessing: they face away from the ארון קודש… the question is, why? Usually when one is asking Hashem for blessing, they face towards the ארון קודש, but the Kohanim face away.

In order to understand this we need to focus on the pasuk, “דבר אל אהרן ואל בניו לאמר כה תברכו את בני ישראל אָמוֹר להם יברכך ה’ וישמרך”   The word אמור להם spelled as seen means, “You shall say to them,” “them” meaning the Jewish nation. The question is, why are the Kohanim saying the blessing to the nation instead, as though they are talking to them? Really, the blessing should be a request from Hashem to bless and watch over the Jewish nation like any other blessing is said, and the pasuk should read like this: “דבר אל אהרן ואל בניו לאמר כה תברכו את בני ישראל אֶמוֹר להם.” The pasuk would then mean that Moshe should tell the Kohanim that this is the prayer you shall say for the nation. In short, the question is, why are the Kohanim telling the blessing to us as a fact: G-d will bless you, etc., instead of turning to Hashem and asking to please bless the nation?

We can answer this with the following משל. A father had to send his son out of his house because his actions were not appropriate. One day, a friend of this man came pleading on behalf of the boy to be let back in to his home. He said, “It’s cold outside, have pity on your son.” The boy’s father said, “Of course I pity him, but I’m not the one you should be talking to. You should tell my son to change his ways and my door would be wide open, ready for his return.”

That is what Hashem told the Kohanim: don’t face the ארון קודש, face the Nation and remind them that all blessing is with me, but first they need to be keeping Torah and mitzvot and then they will receive all the blessing.

Parsha Pearls

This week’s Parasha talks about the סוטה , a married women who was found alone with another man after her husband has warned her from being alone with him again. The Torah tells the husband to take his wife to the Cohen and let her drink the holy water. If this woman was found to be innocent from punishment then she shall bear seed, if she already had children then she will give birth with no pain, etc.

The obvious question is: What did this woman do to deserve a reward? If someone would get pulled over speeding on the freeway and he would tell the officer, “Let me go and I should be rewarded for not drinking and driving,” he would be laughed at. How is this women who was so close to committing a sin now deserving of a reward?

The answer is since she was so close but refrained and controlled herself, she deserves a reward.

We can learn a great lesson that even though we may think we’ve gone too far from Hashem and cannot return, not only can we return to Hashem but we will get rewarded for controlling ourselves.

Glimpse of Greatness

Rav Reaven Sher, a great philanthropist, advised the Chida to travel to Worms, Germany, to meet the Gaon Rav Yaakov Yehoshua Falk, the author of the Penei Yehoshua. Rav Sher suggested that Rav Chida have Rav Falk sign some recommendations, to promote his success. Rav Chida agreed and traveled to Worms. The Penei Yehoshua received him graciously and provided him with the recommendations he sought. Before Rav Chida left Worms, he told his host about the warm reception the Rabbanim of Hevron had given to the first volume of the Penei Yehoshua, and asked if he could purchase the second. The Penei Yehoshua gladly gave Rav Chida the sefer. The day after Rav Chida left Worms, a jewish peddler arrived at Rav Falk’s home with a sack containing sefarim and notebooks written in Hebrew. The students who looked at the contents immediately recognized that they belonged to Rav Chida, who had left just the day before.

As they looked over the notebooks, they were amazed at how careful he was with community funds. Then they found the sefer of the Penei Yehoshua, the margins of the pages already covered with notes that showed just how vast the knowledge of the Chida was. They brought it to Rav Falk, who recognized it as the copy that he had given Rav Chida just the day before. He shared his utter amazement with his students. The young genius had learned the material in depth in just one night, and had succeeded in developing further thoughts on the subject matter and writing incisive annotations that testified to his greatness in Torah. The Penei Yehoshua regretted aloud that he had not had the chance to get to know the young Talmid Chacham better. He put in a new copy of his sefer and sent a messenger after the Chida to return his belongings to him.

Halacha Weekly

Q: Should one believe in ayin hara- the evil eye?
A: There are many different places in the Talmud where the Gemara deals with the issue of ayin hara. For instance, the Gemara in Berachot 55 says that when one enters a city and is afraid of an ayin hara, that person should do some segulot (virtuous actions that will protect him) to be saved from the affect of an ayin hara.
In another Gemara (Bava Batra 118), it says that a person should be cautious regarding ayin hara.  Still  another Gemara (Shabbat 57) talks about how a person is permitted to carry an amulet/charm on Shabbat for protection against ayin hara, and it says Chachamim (our Sages) permitted one to carry or move an amulet/charm on Shabbat.
Therefore, we can conclude from the above references in the Gemara that one should indeed be cautious regarding ayin hara.  However, one should not go overboard regarding ayin hara, either. There is a saying in the Gemara that if one cares about ayin hara then it can affect one, and if one does not care then the ayin hara has no effect on them.
Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt”l, writes that ayin hara does not apply to normal things, only to things and situations which are not normal.  For instance, it would be an abnormal situation if two sisters would get married to their fiances on the same night.

Sponsored by the New Toco Shul, in memory of our dear friend Gilbert Sherr a”h.

“Be from the students of Aharon, loving peace and pursuing peace, loving everyone and bringing them close to Torah.”