Illuminations #112, Adar 5777, Parshat Ki Sisa

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Illuminations #112, Adar 5777, Parshat Ki Sisa

Torah Gems

When Moshe Rabeinu went up to Har Sinai, Yehoshua waited atop the mountain the whole time, even though he knew Moshe would not come back for forty days. He simply wanted to stay as close to his mentor as possible. 

A person can be compared to a tall building in which every story contains more treasures than the one beneath it. A person who lives on the bottom has no idea of the fortune above his head. Similarly, a person might live in the “basement” of his own strengths and attributes without having a clue of the wealth of possibilities within his reach. Having a Rav is the key to unlocking these hidden talents. Through the Rav’s actions and guidance, an entirely new world opens before the student: a world of insight and spiritual elevation, a world that is internal instead of external. This is the “world of Torah” that is opened by the “key” of shimush talmidei chachomim.

Parsha Pearls

Hashem said to Moshe, “Take for yourself fragrances-myrrh, catarrh, galbanum…make it into incense (Shemos30).

The fragrance of the incense represented the Jewish nation’s responsibility and desire to serve Hashem in a manner pleasing to Him. One of the spices listed here, galbanum, had a foul aroma, from which the Sages (Kereisos 6b) derive that sinners should be included with the community in its prayers. Thus the incense expresses the idea of Jewish unity, that everyone- the righteous and the sinner has a share in the service of Hashem. Rabbeinu Nissim explains that although the galbanum has a foul smell, when it is combined with the other fragrances, it enhances their fine aroma. In the same way when the sinners participate in serving Hashem with us, this does not detract from our service, rather, on the contrary, it compliments it and makes it more complete. Let us explain this phenomenon.Every Jew, even if he does not observe all the mitzvos, has many good qualities. However, these qualities are hidden and masked by many negative traits that were developed while he was not under the Torah’s influence. The power of being part of a congregation of Jews brings out a sinner’s inner qualities and has a positive effect on the entire group, including the righteous among them.

Glimpses of Greatness

At one point, Rav Elyashiv agreed to add another short public reception before mincha. The topic of chessed arose, and Rav Elyashiv remarked, “Torah goes hand in hand with chessed! Whoever does not perform chessed, his pillar of Torah is broken and incomplete!” 

The question was raised, “When does Rav Elyashiv perform chessed? After all, he does not run a gemach or something similar.”

Rav Elyashiv allowed a tiny glimpse into the workings of his holy mind and replied, “To close the gemara and receive people twice a day- this is chessed. Public reception is very difficult for me, as I must remove myself from my learning to focus on the questions and issues raised.” For him, this was the ultimate chessed!

Halacha Weekly

Q. Can a Jewish child play with a doll? (I -5 – 186)

A. Rambam Hil. Avodah Zarah (3:1—11) says that it is prohibited to make a form for the sake of beauty even though it is not Avodah Zarah, as it says, ‘Do not make Me,’ as if to include the forms of silver and gold that are for no reason other than enjoyment, in order that one does nocome to err through them and make them in the form of Avodah Zarah. Therefore, one may not paint, not with wood or with lime, nor with a stone, the form of a man, if it is a form which is projecting outwards …, but if the form is hollowed out or the form is  in the form of a pattern like on a tablet, or the form of weavers that is woven, this is permitted. 

Maharit (2- Yoreh Deah 35) Rambam Z”L  says it is prohibited to make the figure of a person (in three dimensions) for the sake of beauty. This is with something which is fixed in place, lest a person err and say it is the actual person. This is not the case with figures made for temporary use for the sake of education or to play with, which are permitted. There is no suspicion that maybe one will come to err concerning them. And according to our practice, we learn that those figures which are made for children to play with …, one is permitted to make them. 

This week’s Illuminations is sponsored 

In loving memory of

Ribihai d’mikrei Robert Ben Roza Zargarov ז”ל

By Zalunov Family, שליט”א