Thursday, May 21, 2020

kein ba'kodesh chazisicha

Trying to get back into the swing of things.  Yom Yerushalayim, erev Shabbos, Shabbos mevorchim -- a few thoughts that can maybe also carry through to Shavuos as well:

1) A had the privilege today of davening b'tzibur for the first time in a long time.  R' Yaakov Shapira, R"Y of Merkaz haRav, mentioned in speaking about Yom Yerushalayim a vort of the Besh"T.  "Tzamah lecha nafshi... b'eretz tziya v'ayeif b'li mayim."  (Teh 63) David haMelech speaks  about his thirst to come back to Hashem when he was in the desert.  Continues the next pasuk, "Kein ba'kodesh chazisicha..."  "Kein ba'kodesh" -- when we are zocheh to come back to kedusha, to Yerushalayim, to our mikdash me'at wherever it may be, we should retain that same thirst, that same longing, as we had before. 

2) "Eileh toldos Aharon u'Moshe..."  Rashi explains that the Torah lists the children of Aharon but refers to them as toldos Moshe as well because Moshe was there rebbe.  "Kol ha'melamed es ben chaveiro Torah, k'ilu yi'lado."  Simple pshat in Rashi is that if you teach someone's kid Torah, it is as if you brought them = that child into the world.  The Tiferes Shlomo takes a little liberty with the grammar and flips the saying on its head -- it is the child, the student, who brings his teacher into the world.  There are certain  neshamos, writes the T.S., that come into the world just to teach Torah to Klal Yisrael.  It's our need for their inspiration, their insight, that causes Hashem to gift us the gift of their presence.

Since the T.S. opens the door to this type of derush, let me continue in his footsteps.  RYBS gave a lecture that has been transcribed and appears in print in many places and is well worth reading/listening to in full if you haven't already, in which he describes the process of giving shiur: "Whenever I enter the classroom which is crowded with boys, who could be as far as age is concerned, my grandchildren, I enter the classroom as an old man. I am old- with a wrinkled face and eyes reflecting fatigue and the sadness of old age."  RYBS goes on to describe how the giants of the past enter the classroom and engage in the dialogue taking place -- R' Chaim, the Rambam, Rashi and Rabenu Tam, etc. The Rav contiunues: "Let me tell you that at the conclusion of three and sometimes four hours, I mean I have here a witness, I emerge young and elated, younger than my pupils. They are tired, exhausted, some of them yawn. I feel happy. I have defeated age; I have defeated oldness. I emerge young, less fatigued, less exhausted than my young pupils."

Ha'melamed es ben chaveiro Torah, if someone is involved in teaching Torah to others to the next generation, then "k'ilu yilado" = like the word "yeled"=child.  He will be rejuvenated; he will discover within himself the vigor and vitality of youth.  

3) Two pesukim just a few sentences apart (end of first perek) describe the Leviim's role and place in the camp:

וֹ֒ הֵ֜מָּה יִשְׂא֤וּ אֶת־הַמִּשְׁכָּן֙ וְאֶת־כׇּל־כֵּלָ֔יו וְהֵ֖ם יְשָׁרְתֻ֑הוּ וְסָבִ֥יב לַמִּשְׁכָּ֖ן יַחֲנֽוּ

וְהַלְוִיִּ֞ם יַחֲנ֤וּ סָבִיב֙ לְמִשְׁכַּ֣ן הָעֵדֻ֔ת ... וְשָׁמְרוּ֙ הַלְוִיִּ֔ם אֶת־מִשְׁמֶ֖רֶת מִשְׁכַּ֥ן הָעֵדֽוּת׃

The Netziv addresses the redundancy here by suggesting there were two roles the Levi'im played by camping around the Mishkan.  The first role was to keep folks who didn't belong there away -- "ha'zar ha'areiv yumas."  They were in effect a human fence.  But they played a second role as well: "V'shamru mishmeres Mishkan ha'Eidus."  He writes:

ויש לפרש עוד דהוא הוספת ביאור לדלקמיה, ד״משכן העדות״, היינו כח התורה, היה שומר את ישראל מנחשים ועקרבים במדבר, כידוע שהיו זיקוקין של אש יוצאין מן הארון ושורפים נחשים ועקרבים. ועתה צוה ה׳ שגם הלוים ישמרו אותה משמרת של משכן העדות, היינו שיתעסקו בתורה, ובזכותם יהיו ישראל נשמרים, כמו על ידי כח משמרת ״העדות״.

Meaning, Mishkan ha'Eidus is a place that gives testimony to Hashem's presence.  A building doesn't do that, no matter how beautiful the architecture , no matter how grandly it is furnished, no matter how many chandiliers you hang from the ceiling.  What makes a Mishkan in to a Mishkan ha'Eidus is it being a vibrant, functioning makon Torah, and for that you need the Levi'im.  Mishkan ha'Eidus as a living makom Torah is the "mishmeres" for Klal Yisrael -- it is our protection, keeping out whatever threats come our way.

With respect to the first role of the levi'im, "v'ha'zar ha'kareiv yumas," no other applicants are accepted.  But with respect to this second role, the The Rambam famously writes at the end of Hil Shemita that anyone who wants can choose to be like a levi and devote his life to Torah.  Anyone who wants can take up that role of being the "mishmeres Mishkan ha'Eidus." 

 Klal Yisrael could certainly use the extra zechuyus of shemira.

1 comment:

  1. "David haMelech", who had passed the Torah to Achiah ha'Levi of Shiloh*, was when old, cold (Melachim I, 1:1), of diminished "vigor and vitality", for he'd held Levi'im to be "[a]nyone" when instead he should have counted on their "human fence". he'd ordered Yoav to number them with the whole of Yisrael (Divrei ha'Yamim I, 21:6), though their context was then that of the mishkan/Mikdash (21:15 > ...22:19** > ...), mekomos Torah they would keep "vibrant" by singing (23:5) from songs of David.

    the communal plague was for the overall census, David's chills for his intending to include then the priestly assistants. to the extent that he taught Levi'im (and others), he was "rejuvenated"; when the king forgot their additional, exclusive service, to number them with soldiers, he was in some measure devitalized, just another "old man" with 18 wives***...

    *Mishneh Torah, opening words

    **Levi'im as exclusive carriers of kei'lim (until 23:26)

    ***and Batsheva among them, swinging from the "chandiliers"