Sunday, September 23, 2018

tzeila d'heimnusah

כְּתַפּ֨וּחַ֙ בַּֽעֲצֵ֣י הַיַּ֔עַר כֵּ֥ן דּוֹדִ֖י בֵּ֣ין הַבָּנִ֑ים בְּצִלּוֹ֙ חִמַּ֣דְתִּי וְיָשַׁ֔בְתִּי וּפִרְי֖וֹ מָת֥וֹק לְחִכִּֽי

Shir haShirim (3:3) compares the beloved one, dodi, an allusion to G-d, to an apple tree in the forest.  It's beautiful shade is desirous to sit under; it's fruit is so sweet.

Rashi quotes the Midrash: All flee from the apple tree because it has no shade. So did all the nations flee from G-d at the giving of the Torah, but I sat and delighted in his shade(see here).

Meaning, the apple tree signifies the unique and special bond between Klal Yisrael and Hashem.

The mashal used by the Midrash begs the question m'mah nafshach: if the apple tree has shade, then why did everyone flee from it and not want to sit there?  And if the apple tree has no shade, then what does the pasuk mean by "b'tzilo chamaditi?"

The simple pshat in the pasuk "Hashem tzilcha" (Tehillim 121) is that Hashem is like a protective shade over us.  The Besh"T, however, famously interpreted the pasuk to mean that Hashem's relationship to us is like a shadow.  When you stand in the sun and move, your shadow moves with you.  So too, what happens to us in our lives, what happens to our families, even what happens to the cosmos, is effected and is changed by Hashem in response to our behavior.  You want there to be more chessed in the universe?  Act with chessed.   You want there to be more justice in the world?  Act with justice.  Hashem will in turn react and respond by revealing more of these midos in the world.

Sefas Emes explains that all the nations of the world see the apple tree, but they don't see any shade, so they walk away.  They see a world without chessed, and so they think it's a cruel place; they see a world where there is suffering, and they think there is no justice.  What they don't get is that whatever they see is just a reflection of themselves and what they are willing to bring to the table --  Hashem tzilcha.  Klal Yisrael believes the shade is there even if we don't see it at first, and so we come with our emunah, we come with the tremendous desire to connect to Hashem.  When you bring that to the table, then Hashem responds and you will find the shade you were looking for.  

Sukkah is the "tzeila d'heimnusah," the shadow of emunah.  Hashem comes to Avaraham at the Bris bein haBesarim, "Va'yotzei oso ha'chutzah," (Braishis 15:5) he tells him to go outside and count the stars, and promises that his children will be that numerous and great.  "V'he'emin ba'Hashem," Avraham was filled with emunah when he heard the message.  On Sukkos we imitate Avraham Avinu.  Hashem tells us to go outside, leave your house and go sit under the stars that you see through the schach of your sukkah and count them.  Do you believe in the destiny and greatness of Klal Yisrael, or do you believe what you read in the NY Times?  Do you see the shade under the apple tree?  Because if you believe in it, you will find it there. 

1 comment:

  1. "his children will be that numerous and great"

    Avraham, commanded like all Noachides 'pru urvu', is shown its fulfillment in the constant plenitude of stars ("15:5"), while the stars that the nations see and revere (asher chalak Hashem...l'kol ha'amim, Dev. 4:19) convey changeable messages-- the horoscopes of their grandchildren (the "shadow" world ahead) will differ variously from their own horoscopes today*: thus did pru urvu pass silently from the Noachides to bnei Yisrael (San. 59a), as the apple tree blossoms in silence...

    *with "the giving of the Torah", Israel can faithfully plan and predict cosmic fulfillment thru children's children forever, Dev. 5:26 [grandchildren, inasmuch as pru urvu means one's children having children]

    Hashem's raising the heat on non-Jews in the sukkah (A.Z. 3a) is His show of the changeability of just a single star...