Sunday, September 25, 2005



I just came back from a Selichos Drasha in our shul given by Rav Fischel Shachter a well known speaker and Magid Shiur in Torah Vedaas. Among his many topics he touched upon the proclamation that the farmer makes at the end of the 3 year cycle that he has fullfilled the commandments of Maaser Rishon and Maaser Sheni and Maaser Ani as Hashem has commanded. Rav Schachter then brings the question why is this proclamation called Vidui Maaser? The Farmer talks about all the Mitzvos that he has fulfilled. Not his Aveiros. He answered that question by talking about the nose. He mentioned that Titus demise was through his nose. Why his nose? Apparently Titus, came into the Kodesh Kedashim and pierced the Paroches and blood spilled out. Titus then said, Now I am dead. Why did the blood spill out. Rav Schachter said that the blood is the lifeline of the human being. When a vein is cut and blood starts to leave the body externally then the person expires if the outflow of blood is not checked. As long as the blood stays within the body this is still a chance of life. When blood spilled out from the Paroches it was a sign that the Jews themselves were split by not caring for one another and not showing respect for one another. When Titus entered the Holy of Holies and performed this desecration he was demonstrating that there was no G-d in the picture. Up till that point he was simply a messenger of G-d doing G-d's will and perhaps there was still value to his life. Once he disengaged from G-d and put G-d out of the picture and took all the power to himself that was the beginning of his downfall. So why the nose. Rav Shachter says that the nose did not have any part in the Chait of the Aitz Haddaas. All the other senses did. The eyes, the ears, touch, the mouth all were part of the chait. Not the nose. This gives the nose extra spirituality and the power to be the one to act as the medium for Titus' downfall. What happened to Titus? He went by sea back to his country and there was a terrible storm. He was told by his crewmen that there was no chance of survival. He concluded that G-d of the Jews only had power over the water since the water was the medium that defeated Pharoh. Hashem then let him get to dry land. The smallest of insects went into his nose and that ultimately resulted in his death. His Gaava, conceit, which is reflected in the nose (the expression stuck up nose etc) was his downfall. Coming back to Vidui (Confession) Maaser we still have the question so what is the confession. Rav Shachter answers that the confession is that perhaps the farmer had a stuck up nose, a feeling of arrogance about his generosity for all his gifts to the Kohanim the Leviim and to the poor. In this declaration he proclaims his recognition that his wealth comes only from Hashem. The tables could turn on him in an instant and his success is because he kept these commandments carefully and not because of his own strength and power.

Tonight, I wore the T shirt Yehudi Lo Megaresh Yehudi. Is it still appropriate to wear it after the fact. I believe it is. Because as believing Jews we have to believe that the Sharon's gov't were messengers of G-d. G-d allowed it to happen. Yehudi lo Megaresh Yehudi Aval Hashem ken Megaresh Yehudi. But why did G-d disengage us? This is the question I am struggling with. I watched the video crying of the young girls and boys crying so bitterly "Al na Tastir Panecha, Beyom Tzar Li...". These young girls and boys for sure were not guilty of anything. Adam Yefashfesh Bemaasav.

Did we bring Bikurim, as a communal act, with rejoicing and with Simcha? Did we do Maaser Rishon and Maaser Sheni and Maaser Ani not only symbolically but as close as possible to the actual Mitzva given the reality that we have Richmana Litzlan no Beith Hamikdash. And did we say Vidui Maaser with the proper intent and with Simcha.

The Brachoth and the Kelaloth are contingent with the performance of Mitzvoth.

This concept is repeated in Parsha Kisavo again and again, Devarim Perek 26 Pesukim 16-19 and again Perek 28 Pasukim 45-47, again Pasuk 58, again Pasuk 62 and again Perek 29 Pasuk 8. Hashem must know how hard it would be for us to get the message.

In this weeks Parsha, Parshath Nitzavim Hashem says Devarim 29 Pasuk 13 "Not with you alone do I seal this covenant and this curse, but with whoever is here standing with us today before Hashem, our G-d , and with whoever is not here with us today. " (that means us)

Tonight in Selichos we said Vayikra 26 Pasuk (42) "Vezacharti as Brisi Yaakov, Veaf as Brisi Yitzchok, Veaf es Brisi Avraham Ezkor, Vehaaretz Ezkor". I will remember My Covenant with Jacob and also My covenant with Isaac, and also My covenant with Abraham will I remember, and I will remember the Land. (43)The Land will be bereft of them; and it will be appeased for its sabbaticals having become desolate of them; and they must gain appeasement for their iniquity, because they were revolted by My ordinances and because their spirit rejected My decrees.

What was the covenant promised individually to each of our Forefathers? The Covenant of Yaakov is in Breishis Perek 28 Pasukim 13-16. The Covenant to Yitzchok is Breishis Perek 26 Pesukim 2-6. The Covenant with Avraham is Breishis Perek 15 Pesukim 18-21. The Covenants and promises to the forefathers share three points. 1. Land is promised to them and to their children afterwards 2. The Nations of the world are blessed through them and 3. the children must keep the commandments in order to be worthy of the Land.

The Torah in Nitzavim Perek 29 Pasuk 23 says And all the nations will say, "For what reason did Hashem do so to this Land; why this wrathfulness of great anger?" (24)And they will say, "Because they forsook the Covenant of Hashem, the G-d of their forefathers, that He sealed with them when He took them out of the Land of Egypt, and they went and served the gods of others and prostrated themselves to them, gods that they knew not and He did not apportion to them. So G-d's anger flared against that Land to bring upon the entire curse that is written in this Book; and Hashem removed them from upon their soil with anger, with wrath, and with fury and He cast them to another land as this very day! The hidden[sins] are for Hashem, our G-d but the revealed [sins] are for us and our children forever, to carry out all the words of this Torah.

B"h we were expelled in Gush Katif by our loving brothers. (Tears were flowing on both sides) We are not yet expelled out of our entire Land. We still have a chance of Teshuva. A chance to reclaim our Land. Let us delve into studying the Mitzvoth and may Hashem do as He promises at the end of this Parsha Perek 30 Pasukim 7-10

"Hashem, your G-d will place all these imprecations upon your enemies and those who hate you, who pursued you. You shall return and listen to the voice of Hashem, and perform all His commandments that I command you today. Hashem will make you abundant in all your handiwork - in the fruit of your womb, the fruit of your animals, and the fruit of your Land - for good, when Hashem will return to rejoice over you for good as He rejoiced over your forefathers, when you listen to the voice of Hashem your G-d, to observe His commandments and His decrees, that are written in this Book of the Torah, when you shall return to Hashem your G-d, with all your heart and all your soul.

May that day be eminant and may we all be zocheh to Moshiach speedily in our days.

Shavua Tov!
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