Monday, January 07, 2008

Koidenover Rebbe's visit to the 5T - seudah shlishis Torah

The 5T had the zechus this past Shabbos of hosting the Koidenover Rebbe (thanks to the tireless efforts of R’ Shlomo Slatikin). Dixie Yid has already posted someone’s summary of the Friday night tisch which I unfortunately lived too far away from to attend. My son and I were able to attend seudah shlishis with the Rebbe, summary below. Of course, I alone am responsible for errors, and no summary can capture the hislahavus which the Rebbe radiated.

The Rebbe began by praising the community for utilizing this time of seudah shlishis, which is known in Zohar as “rava d’ravin”, the time of deepest ratzon, for Torah and zmiros.

The Rebbe posed the question of the Degel Machne Ephraim: why should “v’yad’u Mitzrayim ki ani Hashem” have been a motivation for makkos? The Mitzrim were culpable for their evil and deserved punishment; whether they ultimately chose to acknowledge G-d’s hand or not seems entirely irrelevant. The Degel answers that “v’yadu Mitzrayim” does not refer to the Egyptians, but to the Jewish people, who through their many years of galus had become like the Egyptians themselves. The goal of the makkos was for each Jew to recognize “ki ani Hashem”.

The Rebbe cited the Igra d’Kallah on the pasuk of “va’yotzei Pharoah hamayma”: the word “hamayma” is a composed of the Hebrew letters that form the words “mi” and “mah”, who and what. The world as we see it, teva, which has the same gematriya as Elokim, is a veil for Hashem’s infinite presence, which is the root of all creation. “Havaya hu Elokim” means that behind teva=Elokim is the infinite light of G-d, Havaya. How does one arrive at that recognition? The letters of Elokim can be read as a contraction for two questions: “Mi Eileh” and “K-eli Mah”. A person must first ask himself “Mi Eileh” – what is around me? Who am I and what is the true nature of reality? When a person can answer the “mi”, recognizing that he has a neshoma and the world contains Elokus, a person must then ask, “K-eli mah”, what must I do to be a faithful eved Hashem? Pharoah was “yotzei hamayma”, he ran away from these questions of “mi” and “mah” and looked only at the veil of teva. But Moshe was “min hamayim m’shi’sihu”, his entire essence was dedicated to revealing the true “mi” and “mah” within Creation.

The Rebbe quoted R’ Shlomo m’Karlin as saying that worse than all the avieros in the world is for a Jew to forget that he is a “ben melech”, that there is a “mi” and a “mah” and everything is rooted in Elokus.

This revelation is possible in all doros, as the Tiferes Shlomo teaches that the neshoma of Moshe exists in each dor, and especially on Shabbos. The Rebbe explained that the two crowns given to Bnei Yisrael at kabbalas hatorah were these revelations of “mi” and “mah”. Even though the crowns were taken after the cheit ha-eigel, on Shabbos the crowns can be restored by Moshe to each one of us. The Rebbe ended with a bracha for the tzibur to realize these aspirations.

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