Illuminations #147, Shvat 5778, Parshat B’shalach

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Illuminations #147, Shvat 5778, Parshat B’shalach

Torah Gems

“Then Moshe and Bnei Yisrael chose to sing...this is my God and I will make a Beis HaMikdash for him” (15:1,2).

After experiencing a Divine revelation of remarkable proportions, where a simple Jew perceived 

Hashem with enormous clarity, Bnei Yisrael felt they needed a way to preserve their newfound spiritual level. Building a Beis HaMikdash, the ultimate house of Hashem, would help them maintain this momentum and integrate it into their daily lives. Therefore, their song revolved around the practical application of their miraculous experience. Rav Wolbe was frequently asked, “How can a person keep feelings of spiritual uplift from dying out?” He would answer that this “high” will inevitably die out by itself. These feelings are intangible and it’s impossible to hold on to them for extended periods. However, by transforming these feelings into action and giving them a practical expression, we can preserve these spiritual “highs.” In the Haggadah we proclaim, “Had Hashem brought us to Har Sinai and not given us the Torah, it would have been sufficient.” What would be the gain of standing at Har Sinai without receiving the Holy Torah? The answer is that at Har Sinai the Jewish people became intimately familiar with Hashem; this revelation constituted the pinnacle of spirituality for the Jewish people. What, then, was the purpose of receiving the Torah? The Torah was given to us to serve as a “thermos.” By studying the Torah, we are able to keep the revelation experienced at Har Sinai warm.

Parsha Pearls

Who is considered wealthy? Rabbi Meir says it refers to one who has attained contentment from his wealth (Shabbos 25b). Rashi explains that this refers to the type of individual who rejoices over what he has whether it’s large or small. This brings the famous Mishnah to mind: “Ben Zoma says: ‘Who is wealthy? One who rejoices in his lot.’” 

Rav Avigdor Miller explains that we should all realize that the bounty of the entire universe is at our disposal. The air, for example, is available to all of us. So are the rain, wind, sunshine, rivers, oceans, the moon and stars. By learning to enjoy these things, we become rich with treasures of inestimable value. We then go on to enjoy the ability to sleep, to use our teeth, arms, legs, stomach, two kidneys, bones, heart, memory, a sane mind, etc,etc.

Glimpses of Greatness

Even when Rabbi Yitzchok Blauser, one of the prominent disciples of Rabbi Yisrael Salanter, was very old, he would stand up on a table and dance before a bride and groom. Although he was seventy years old at the time, he even danced at the second wedding of his colleague Rabbi Naftoli Amsterdam. He said, “Since there is a Mitzvah to make a wedding a joyous occasion, it makes no difference whether someone is seventeen years old or seventy. Young and old have the same obligation.”

Halacha Weekly

Q. Is it permitted to eat kosher food in a non-kosher restaurant?[II-14-453]

A. Chashukei Chemed (pesachim 456, R. Yiztchok Ziblerstein) writes whether it is permitted for a steward that works in a restaurant  which serves non-Jews to eat there  from kosher permitted foods which belong to him. Would it be prohibited because of the suspicion that since he is eating in a non-Kosher establishment that he appears to be eating no-Kosher food?  He answers that there is a concern  regarding marit Ayin (the appearance of impropriety) and it is not permitted.

Igros Moshe (Orech Chaim 2-40,R. Moshe Feinstein Z”L) writes whether it is permitted to eat in a dairy restaurant owned by non-observant Jews. He writes that to enter there even to eat things which are unquestionably permitted is forbidden because of the suspicion of impropriety (Cheshed) and Marit Ayin (the appearance of impropriety).  If he is suffering  (e.g. from hunger), he is permitted to enter and eat in private because the Rabbis did not decree in the situation of suffering and loss (as we find in Ketuvot (60a)), and if anyone is there who knows him (outside or inside) he must explain to them his situation of need.