Wednesday, October 11, 2017

How We Succeed

This Dvar Torah is Dedicated
By Irving Bauman, in memory of his father Horav Moshe Aron Bauman ZL 
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The Haftora for parshas V'zos Habracha, which is read on Shemini Atzeres in Israel and Simchas Torah (which is the second day of Shemini Atzeres) in the Diaspora, is the beginning of the book of Yehoshua, which is the continuation of the events in our parsha. As it begins, "And it was after Moshe died..."

When you delve deeper into the Haftora, you begin to see how it connects with Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah, keeping and studying Torah, and doing good deeds, loyalty and brotherhood.

The Haftora records the first communication from Hashem to Yehoshua and the preparation before crossing the Jordan into the promised land.

Hashem tells Yehoshua that they would be crossing the Jordan and that "everywhere that the soles of (the Jewish people's) feet will tread, I will give to you (the Jewish people)." He continues to tell Yehoshua the borders of Israel, that no man will ever stand up against him and that He will be with him just as He was with Moshe.

Now comes a statement that is repeated over and over again to Yehoshua, "Chazak v'ematz," be strong and have courage. He is told this by Hashem three times. First with regards to leading the Jewish people, then about keeping the Torah, and finally about going to war.

About keeping the Torah, Hashem says, "Just be strong and very courageous to observe and do in accordance with all of the Torah that Moshe My servant has commanded you. Do not stray therefrom right or left, in order that you succeed wherever you go. This book of the Torah shall not leave your mouth; you shall meditate therein day and night, in order that you observe to do all that is written in it, for then will you succeed in all your ways and then will you prosper."

This message said to Yehoshua, is a lesson to each of us, and connects to Simchas Torah, when we conclude the last parsha of the Torah and start reading once again from the beginning.

The Midrash tells us, that from the words, "This book of the Torah shall not leave your mouth," we learn that Yehoshua had a Sefer Torah with him. Rashi tells us that it was the book of Devarim. When he completed the last words, Hashem said, "Chazak v'ematz." From here we have the rule, that when someone completes the Torah, we say Chazak.

The Talmud tells us, "four need strengthening, (meaning, that a person has to constantly strengthen himself with all his might to do them, Rashi) and these are they, Torah, good deeds... As it says, 'Just be strong and very courageous to observe and do in accordance with all of the Torah,' be strong in Torah and courageous in doing good deeds..."

"Do not stray therefrom right or left, in order that you succeed wherever you go." Being that Torah is truth and G-dly knowledge, the closer you align yourself to it and the more accurately you follow it, the more you will succeed and find happiness and meaning.

It is not enough to learn and understand it. But, "you shall meditate therein day and night." In other words, you have to take it to a whole new level, each according to his ability, to make it part of who you are, to have a deeper understanding of what Hashem wants, and to know the inner workings of the Torah. "In order that you observe to do all that is written in it," because you will find pleasure in doing it, now that you see the purpose in it.

Hashem continues, "for then will you succeed in all your ways and then will you prosper." A Torah life, is a successful and prosperous life. It is a life of truth and values, it is real and fulfilling. Therefore you will find satisfaction and you won't feel empty.

Now, Yehoshua sends word to prepare to cross the Jordan and he calls on the tribes of Reuvain, Gad and Menashe to keep their promise to join their brothers in battle, although they were already settled on the other side of the Jordan. They wholeheartedly consented and told Yehoshua that they would do whatever he requests of them.

Keeping their promise was an act of brotherhood and unity. And that is the idea of Shemini Atzeres, while on the seven days of Sukkos there were 70 bulls brought as sacrifices for the nations of the world, on Shemini Atzeres only one bull was brought for the Jewish people. It is a time of unity among the Jewish people and between Hashem and the Jewish people. This idea is seen in Simchas Torah as well, as we all dance with the Torah, irrespective of level of scholarship, we dance together as equals, because the Torah is our inheritance, it is equally ours.

Being the last day of our holiday season, it is meant to set the tone for the whole year. That is why we have these themes stressed at this time, because these ideas of keeping and studying Torah, delving deeply into it, doing good deeds, unity, brotherhood, and loyalty to our Tzadikim, is what fortifies us and enables us to do our mission.

Just as in the Haftora, they prepare to cross the Jordan into the promised land, we will soon complete our mission, go together to our Holy Land, with the coming of Moshiach. May he come soon.

Monday, October 2, 2017

We Are A Paradox

This Dvar Torah is Dedicated
By Irving Bauman, in memory of his father Horav Moshe Aron Bauman ZL 
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This Haftora is read twice during the year. First, on the second day of Sukkos in the Diaspora, and with parshas Pekudei. Only that with parshas Pekudei, we add the two verses that precede the Sukkos Haftora.

The Haftora tells us that the Temple that King Shlomo built was completed, how the Ark was brought and placed in it, and that the Ark housed the tablets of the Ten Commandments. Then it tells us that the Presence of Hashem filled the Temple in the form of a cloud, and Shlomo blessed the Jewish people. This mirrors the events in parshas Pekudei, when the Jewish people completed all the work building the Mishkan, Moshe blessed them. And when the Mishkan was erected, and the Ark and the vessels were brought in, Hashem's Presence descended on it, in the form of a cloud. It also mentions that the tablets of the Ten Commandments were placed in the Ark. Even the two extra verses speak about the completion of the Temple and the bringing of vessels into it, just as Pekudei does with regards to the Mishkan.

But why was this Haftora chosen for the second day of Sukkos?

The simple answer is that Sukkos is mentioned in the first verse, because the events happened on Sukkos. But if that was the only reason, then we would only need to read that one verse. Why do we read about the Temple, the Ark, the tablets of the Ten Commandments, and the cloud of Hashem's Presence on the second day of Sukkos? Answering this question, will give us a deeper understanding of parshas Pekudei as well.

On Sukkos, in the Grace After Meals, we add the words, "May the Compassionate One erect the Sukka of David which fell (literally, is falling)." This refers to the Temple in Jerusalem. So the holiday of Sukkos is on some level about the Temple.

In the Haftora it says that the Ark and all the vessels were brought to the Temple, and when the Kohanim left, "The cloud filled the House of Hashem... For the Glory of Hashem had filled the House of Hashem."

We have to ask: How can the infinite Glory of Hashem be contained in a finite building? It seems impossible, and in fact, it is impossible, but Hashem Who can do anything, brings these two opposites together.

At the core of the Temple was the Ark, which housed the tablets of the Ten Commandments. The Ark was the main thing in the Temple, and it was also a paradox. The Talmud tells us, "The space of the Ark was not (bound to) measurements." On one hand it was measurable, and on the other hand it didn't take up space.

We are also a paradox, we each are a soul, which is a part of Hashem, and is infinite, in a body that is finite. We are able to mesh opposites because we are a part of Hashem. Therefore we can draw G-dliness, which is infinite, into the physical world, which is finite. And that is our mission, to make this finite world, into a home for Hashem, infinite.

Our way of life is a paradox as well. On one hand, we are meant to put our total trust in Hashem. But at the same time, He wants us to do our best to work in this world, and accomplish to the best of our ability. It is through this meshing of opposites that we accomplish our mission.

The second day of Sukkos is a only celebrated as a holiday outside of Israel. It is a mundane day that we make holy, we draw the infinite into the finite. It is therefore apropos that we read this Haftora on the second day of Sukkos.

Just as the Temple was infinite in finite, so too the Mishkan was infinite in finite. And this is hinted in the word Pekudei. Pekudei means the count. The fact that you can total the sum of something, shows that it is finite. Pekudei also means to connect and unite, as in the Talmudic expression, "A man is obligated (lifkod) to be intimate with his wife." This translation of Pekudei refers to the ultimate essential bond, where two become one.

Because we are talking about the Mishkan, this refers to the unity of Hashem's Presence that fills the worlds, both physical and spiritual and His Presence that surrounds the worlds. This bond is the essential infinite expression of G-dliness.

The idea of the Mishkan, and by extension, the Temple, is not just that they be filled with Hashem's Presence, but that the actual physical finite construct, becomes one with the infinite Presence of Hashem.

May we soon merit to see the Third Temple, the Sukka of David filled and united with Hashem's Glory, with the coming of Moshiach. The time has come.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

I Chose To Live, So Should You

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It is now over 5 years since Hashem gifted me with ALS. But this week we celebrated a milestone, it is 3 years since I had a tracheostomy.

It was the day after Rosh Hashanah, I had been using a machine called a bipap to help me breathe, still I seemed to be fading. My wife Dina took me to the hospital, where I was diagnosed with pneumonia, and my oxygen level was dangerously low.

It was at that point, that I was given the choice to have the tracheostomy and live, or not and put an end to the suffering and difficulties. Legally and halachically it was my choice, with Dina's support, I chose to live.

The simple fact is, that if I would not have had it then, I wouldn't be here today and possibly wouldn't have lived through the week.

Another fact is, that the true sacrifice in this story, is my wife's, she is the one who has the brunt of the hardships, taking care of me and the family with love and tears. She has to be mother, father, wife, caretaker, sometimes nurse and a multitude of other titles. I can't begin to imagine how much she suffers, not having a normal husband, to do what husbands do for their wives.

All I am able to do is listen and write to her, but she has given me a life and the ability to watch my children grow up. With her support and womanly cleverness, she pushes me to be a better father, to study Torah more and more, and to write. I owe it all to her.

Being able to see my children grow is one of the greatest pleasures. It is incredible that with all the hardships, they found a way to function as normal and healthy kids should. And I get to see them, talk to them, and experience their personalities and talents.

Over the past five years, we were blessed to see amazing kindness from all over the world. And especially the Los Angeles community. But no one more than the five exceptional people who have taken on the responsibility of taking care of me and my family. We call them the fantastic five, they started the Hurwitz Family Fund, and in over five years, they haven't wavered. They are truly amazing.

After having the tracheostomy, I lost the use of my right hand, and with that went my ability to communicate. Before that I would type on an iPhone for communication and writing blog posts. For those 9 days in the hospital, I couldn't communicate and I just let go and put my trust in Hashem, and my wife made sure I was taken care of.

I was in recovery in the ICU, when I began to understand the importance of bikur cholim, visiting the sick. Even though I wasn't able to communicate, I felt uplifted with every visit, whether it was a rabbi or lay person, man or woman.

My children being too young to enter the ICU, to my pleasure, snuck in, I can't begin to tell you how much I enjoyed seeing them.

As Yom Kippur was approaching, we wondered what kind of holiday we would have in the hospital. The thought sounded grim, but we were in for a surprise.

Just before Yom Kippur, a woman was ushered into the room right next to mine. Her children were with her and when it came time for davening, they came to my room and with the most melodic voices they sang the davening, it was truly uplifting.

Over Yom Kippur, we had several visitors that walked to the hospital to see us. All and all, that Yom Kippur was one of our most memorable ones.

I am blessed to live at a time when there are technologies that keep me alive such as the ventilator that breathes for me, and the incredible computer that reads my eye movements, so I can communicate.

While life is full of difficulties, pain and suffering, there is so much to be grateful for. While I understand the hardships, I choose to focus on the positive parts of my life and that keeps me going. There is my wife, my children, family, friends and you. I have the opportunity to learn and teach Torah. There is the hope that in the future a cure will be found or perhaps a miracle even sooner.

Each of us has so much good in our lives, even within the suffering and difficulties there is so much good to be found. Focus on the positive in your life now, see all the love that is around you, there is so much you can do, and so much more you can give.

May you have a good and sweet year, and may Moshiach come and put an end to all the suffering. The time has come.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Close To Hashem One With Hashem

 This Dvar Torah is Dedicated
By Irving Bauman, in memory of his father Horav Moshe Aron Bauman ZL 
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This article is a long one, it is divided into 4 sections. Each section is a lesson on its own. Enjoy! 

On Yom Kippur morning we read a Haftora from the book of Isaiah, which tells us what a meaningful fast is, and what it can accomplish. There are also other messages which connect to the theme of Yom Kippur.

If I were to sum up the Haftora in one sentence it would be: Hashem wants us to be good and real, and when we are, He does amazing things for us, including sending Moshiach. There are also messages of healing, Hashem being with us always and the great reward for keeping Shabbos with pleasure.

The Haftora begins with, "Make a path, make a path, clear the way, remove obstacles from My people's way." In other words, Moshiach is coming and soon we will be on the path of the redemption. The rest of the Haftora tells us how we get there.

1 Teshuva And Humility

First, through teshuva, as Hashem says, "I dwell on high in holiness, yet I am with the broken hearted, and humble of spirit..." This is the Baal teshuva, who realized how far he was from Hashem. Now as he is going through the process of teshuva, he is broken hearted and humble of spirit.

Hashem being with the broken hearted and humble of spirit, shows us that Hashem too is humble. This is difficult to understand, because how could Hashem be humble when He is all powerful?

There are two kinds of humility. The common kind of humility comes as an intellectual decision. Like Moshe, of whom the Torah says, "And the man, Moshe, was humblest of any person on the face of the earth." Moshe, who spoke face to face with Hashem, lead the Jewish people for forty years, did amazing miracles and wonders and transmitted the Torah, how was he to be humble? Didn't he know who he was? Rather he felt that if someone else would have been given his qualities, perhaps he would have achieved more. Intellectually he felt that he wasn't greater than the next person, just that he was given gifts, and perhaps if someone else would have these gifts, he would have used them better.

Then there is an essential instinctive humility, when the humility is a part of the person's essence, a natural part of who he is and not based on an intellectual decision. As our sages said about Hashem, "In the place where you find the greatness of the Holy One Blessed Be He, there you will find His humility." We see this in our verse, "I dwell on high in holiness, yet I am with the broken hearted and humble of spirit..." Moshe's thinking, that someone else would achieve more, can't possibly apply to Hashem.

Yet Moshe had both of these qualities, intellectual humility and essential instinctive humility, that is why he felt humble before any person.

The Haftora continues to say that when Hashem sees that we repent, he makes everything good and right for us.

2 Those Who Are Far And Those Who Are Near

Then the Haftora says, "I will create utterance of the lips, peace peace to those who are far and to those who are near, said Hashem, and I will heal him." What is this new utterance of the lips that Hashem will create? When you say, utterance of the lips, it sounds like it comes automatically, without thought, how does this happen? Who do far and near refer to?

The Radak gives us two explanations on who are the far and the near. First He says that they refer to those who are far or near to Yerushalayim. Then he brings the teaching of our sages, that far refers to Baal Teshuvas, and near refers to Tzadikim.

If far refers to Baal Teshuvas, then utterance of the lips refers to his confession, which comes automatically from the depth of his heart, because he feels so broken and distant.

If far refers to those who are far from Yerushalayim, that means that they lack fear of Heaven, as one of the explanations of the word Yerushalayim, is yiras shamayim (fear of Heaven). The utterance of the lips then refers to Torah study, because the way to combat the lack of fear of Heaven is through Torah study. It is automatic, because he puts himself into Torah study, so much so, that it becomes engraved in him, it becomes a part of him, to the extent that even when he doesn't think about it, he says Torah. This is hinted in the last words of the verse, "said Hashem, and I will heal him." Through what will he be healed? Through what Hashem said, which is the Torah.

You may ask, if those who are far refers to Baal Teshuvas, why are they mentioned before those who are near, the Tzadikim? It would seem that being that they were always near, Tzadikim should be mentioned first.

Our sages learn from this verse, that "In the place where Baal Teshuvas stand, complete Tzadikim don't stand, as it says, 'peace peace to the far and to the near.'" Meaning, that there is something about a Baal Teshuva, that is greater than a complete Tzadik. What about a Baal Teshuva is greater?

This is hinted in the last word of the verse, u'refuasiv (and I will heal him), it teaches us that teshuva is like healing. When a doctor prescribes medicine, a tiny amount, a small pill, is all that is needed to have the desired, and sometimes an amazing effect. The same is true about the Baal Teshuva, in one moment and with one thought of repentance, he is transformed and reaches the highest levels that a Tzadik worked his whole life to achieve and even higher. Because while a Tzadik is always close to Hashem, his service is limited to his abilities. However, a Baal Teshuva's act of repentance is not limited, because he is coming from a place of feeling distant, he is broken. Therefore, the moment is so powerful, that he breaks all limitations and reaches higher than a complete Tzadik can.

Now you may ask, if Hashem says, "peace peace to the far and the near," it would seem that the Baal Teshuva has already come near. So why does He say after that, "and I will heal him," isn't he already healed?

The answer is, that though he has come near, he still has a lot of healing to do. And that healing comes through what "Hashem said," Torah study.

Here we see the common link between the two interpretations that the Radak cites, ultimately it is the Torah that heals. Even going to a doctor for a physical ailment, is what the Torah wants you to do, so it to, is through Torah.

3 The Kind Of Fast Hashem Wants

Hashem now sends Yeshayahu to rebuke the Jewish people for their insincere fasting, for going through the motions, while remaining wicked. You even feel Hashem's hurt, as he says, "Is this the kind of fast I desire?!"

He continues, rather, "This is the fast I desire, loosen the bonds of wickedness, unlock the fetters of injustice, set the oppressed free, and break every yoke. You should divide your bread to the hungry, and bring the moaning poor into your house, when you see a naked person, you should clothe him, and don't ignore your own kin."

He continues, that if we do this we will be successful and when we call out to Him, He will answer. And if we stop the oppression of the poor, the pointing finger and the corrupt speech. If we open our hearts to the hungry and satiate the afflicted, our light will shine in the darkness, and the deepest darkness will be as bright as the morning. Hashem will always guide you, satisfy your needs in times of drought, and strengthen your bones. You will become like a well watered garden, like a spring whose water never ceases. Our ruins will be rebuilt, and our foundations reestablished.

4 Keeping, Enjoying and Honoring Shabbos

The Haftora now tells us about keeping Shabbos. "If you will restrain your foot because it is Shabbos, from doing your desires on My holy day, and you will declare Shabbos as a (time of) pleasure, a holy day of honor for Hashem, and you will honor it by not carrying out your (regular) activities, not pursuing your desired (labors), and not speaking about (financial) things. Then you will find pleasure with Hashem, and I will raise you on the high places of the earth, and you will enjoy the heritage of Yaakov your father, for the mouth of Hashem has spoken."

The Rambam says, "Anyone who keeps Shabbos according to its laws, and honors it and finds pleasure in it to the best of his ability, it has been clearly handed down, that his reward will be in this world, in addition to what is hidden away for him in the world to come, as it says, 'Then you will find pleasure with Hashem...'"

The Rambam is explaining the simple meaning of the verses. "If you will restrain your foot because it is Shabbos, from doing your desires on My holy day," means keeping the laws of Shabbos. "And you will declare Shabbos as a (time of) pleasure..." this is finding pleasure in Shabbos. "And you will honor it by not carrying out your (regular) activities..." This refers to honoring the Shabbos.

"Then you will find pleasure with Hashem, and I will raise you on the high places of the earth, and you will enjoy the heritage of Yaakov your father." The Rambam explains that his reward will be in this world, in addition to what is hidden away for him in the world to come. In other words, Shabbos is special, in that its reward is threefold.

First, the regular reward, which the Rambam explains elsewhere, that the reward for mitzvahs is in the world to come, which is basking in the light of Hashem. This is "enjoying the heritage of Yaakov." On top of that, we will enjoy the light of Hashem in this world as well, that is why he says, "in addition to what is hidden away for him in the world to come," because it is the same kind of reward, but in this world. This reward is unique to keeping Shabbos, and is learned from the words, "Then you will find pleasure with Hashem."

Then there is a physical reward, this reward is different from the other rewards in two ways. First, it is not "the reward," it is just that because you are doing the mitzvahs, Hashem gives you your needs, so you can continue to do what Hashem wants without difficulty. Second, it is a limited reward, while the others are unlimited.

Being limited, there could be various levels of comfort rewarded. So the verse says, "I will raise you on the high places of the earth." That the reward will be the best of the earth.

Why does Shabbos have such a great reward, greater than any other mitzvah?

Just before the Rambam says the reward for keeping Shabbos, he says, "Both Shabbos and idol worship are equal to all the other mitzvahs of the Torah, and Shabbos is the sign between us and the Holy One Blessed Be He..."

Idol worship is a denial of the essential underpinnings and sanctity of the Jewish people. By comparing Shabbos to idol worship, he is saying that Shabbos is different than the other mitzvahs. While all the other mitzvahs add to our holiness, not doing them does not constitute a denial of the essential underpinnings and sanctity of the Jewish people. Shabbos, on the other hand, is an essential part of who we are, keeping Shabbos is therefore, upholding the essential underpinnings and sanctity of the Jewish people.

Shabbos is the time when our unity with Hashem shines bright, it is therefore a taste of the world to come, when we will experience Hashem's essence which we are one with. This is the pleasure of Shabbos, a taste of Hashem's essence.

Now we can understand why we read about this on Yom Kippur. The Torah calls Yom Kippur, "Shabbos Shabboson," the ultimate Shabbos, the essence of our essence. When our unity with Hashem shines brightest, it is the ultimate expression of our Jewishness.

May we soon merit to experience the time that is called, "The day that is entirely Shabbos," the time of Moshiach, with the coming of Moshiach. The time has come.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

We Have The Power

This Dvar Torah is Dedicated
By Irving Bauman, in memory of his father Horav Moshe Aron Bauman ZL. 
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At the end of parshas Haazinu, Hashem commanded Moshe to go up onto Mount Nevo, and told him that he would pass away there.

The passage begins, "And Hashem spoke to Moshe in the essence of this day (b'etzem hayom hazeh), saying. Ascend the mountain..."

Rashi explains that the words b'etzem hayom hazeh, are used two other times earlier. First, when Noach was to enter the ark, the wicked people of the generation attempted to stop him from entering the ark. The second time was in Egypt, the Egyptians attempted to stop the Jewish people from leaving Egypt. In both cases Hashem took them right in middle of the day, and no one was able to stop them.

Rashi continues to explain, that here too, the Jewish people attempted to stop Moshe from dying, but Hashem did not allow it.

In the stories of Noach and the Jewish people leaving Egypt, they had practical plans to accomplish their objectives.

The generation of the flood realized that Hashem wanted to save Noach and his family. So if they could somehow stop him from entering the ark, the flood wouldn't happen.

When the Jewish people were leaving Egypt, they also had a clear plan to accomplish their objective. The Egyptians were planning to kill all of the Jewish people, thereby not allowing them to escape.

How were the Jewish people planning to stop Hashem from taking Moshe? Why would they think that they have any power to do anything to stop him from dying, when life and death is in Hashem's hands? Moshe had a clear command from Hashem, why did the Jewish people, who were righteous, try to stop him from fulfilling Hashem's command? And finally, what lesson could we learn from this story about the power of the Jewish people?

Just a few weeks ago, in parshas Ki Savo, Moshe taught us the laws of bikkurim. That when we settle the land of Israel, we are obligated to give our first fruits to Hashem. At the core of this mitzvah is the obligation to show thanks for the good Hashem does for you, especially while you are enjoying it. By extension, we learn that it is an obligation to show thanks to someone who does something for you, especially while you are benefiting from it, and not to be an ingrate.

Right at that moment, they were enjoying and benefiting from miracles that were done in Moshe's merit. There was the manna that fell from above, the water from the rock, after Miriam passed away, it was in Moshe's merit that it continued. There was the slav, which were birds that would come to the camp, and they would have them for dinner, and much more.

The Jewish people reasoned that if there was a way to show their gratefulness by somehow annulling the decree, they would be obligated to do so. 

It was Hashem Who provided an opening. First, the command to go up onto the mountain was to Moshe alone, not to them. Second, Hashem made Moshe's dying contingent on him going up the mountain, if they could hold him up from going up the mountain at the prescribed time, perhaps they could avert the decree.  But Hashem wouldn't hear of it, and of course, there was no stopping Moshe from going up the mountain and he passed away at the exact time he was supposed to.

On a deeper level, because we are talking about Moshe, the leader of the community, it is a communal affair. The rule is that when it comes to a communal decree, even if it is signed and sealed, it can be overturned through the Teshuva of the whole community. In other words, as Jews, we have the power to overcome a heavenly decree. Similar to the story in the Talmud regarding the strength of Torah below, when Hashem said, "You have bested Me my child, you have bested Me."

Now we have to ask, if they actually had the power to stop the decree, why didn't they?

That is why the verse says, "b'etzem hayom hazeh," in the essence of this day. Because the passing of Moshe on "this day," was necessary for the "essence" of the Jewish nation.

Everything that Moshe did was everlasting. If he would have lead the Jewish people into the land, and built the Temple, they too would have been everlasting. And later, when they would have sinned, there would be no exiling them from the land, and no destroying the Temple. The idea of "The Holy One Blessed be He poured out His anger on the wood and on the stones," wouldn't have been possible. Instead, it would have been on the Jewish people, Heaven forbid. So Moshe's passing was necessary for our survival and the completion of our mission in this world.

Each of us has a part of Moshe inside of us, in the depths of our souls. One might think, "If Hashem wants my Torah study and mitzvahs, why did He make the Moshe inside me hidden? All I seem to feel, are the desires of my animal soul.

The answer is, that Hashem did it for our benefit. Because to bring out essence, could only be done through effort and toil. And when you reveal and redeem the Moshe inside of you, you begin to see that what you thought were hardships, were actually what made it possible for your personal redemption.

Your personal redemption, will then lead to the ultimate redemption, the coming of Moshiach. May he come soon.

A Cry From The Depths Of Our Souls

This article is dedicated
Lizechus Avionam Ben Varda Faiga Bluma for a Shnas Brocho Vihatzlocho Bigashmiyus Veruchniyus.
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About Rosh Hashanah, the Mishnah says, "The mitzvah of the day is with the shofar."

The Baal Shem Tov explains shofar with a parable. It is like a child that cries out, "father father save me."

The Rebbes of Chabad made it known that the main thing is not the content of the cry, "father father save me," but rather the cry itself.

Being that we are all different, the content of our cries are different, but each of us cry out to Hashem. For one the cry from the depths of his soul is audible, for another it is silent. But it is from the depths of his soul that he cries.

This is what the sounds of the shofar are all about, a cry from the depths of our souls. And that is what breaks through the gates of heaven and reaches Hashem, our father.

Then there is the parable of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev. There was a boy that wanted an apple, but his father didn't want to give it to him. The clever boy quickly said the blessing over fruits and his father had to give it to him.

Sometimes a father doesn't want to give. Then there are times that the father does want to give, and the only reason he is denying his child what he wants, is because he wants to bring out something more from the child, to see how clever he is. Will he figure out a way to get it?

In our case, Hashem wants to give. As the expression found in the Talmud goes, "more than the calf wants to suckle, the cow wants to nurse." The same idea is said regarding the One above, the verse says, "for the work of your hands, He longs." In other words, Hashem wants us to serve Him. He therefore wants to give us what we need to serve Him.

This is why in the Rosh Hashanah Mussaf prayer, at the culmination of the verses of shofar, we conclude with the blessing, "Blessed are You Hashem our G-d, Who hears the sound of the terua (the sound of the shofar) of Your nation Israel with compassion."

When it comes to saying a blessing with Hashem's name, the rule is that if there is any doubt, we don't say the blessing, because we do not want to say His Name in vain. Yet here we say, "Who hears the sound of the terua of Your nation Israel," and not only that, but He hears it "with compassion." Why are we so certain?

The Men of the Great Assembly, at the beginning of the Second Temple era, were the ones who authored our prayers. They were comprised of 120 Tzadikim of which many were prophets. So they were in the position to know, they were not in doubt. They therefore ruled that we should say this blessing with Hashem's name, because it is absolutely certain that Hashem hears our terua, the cry from the depths of our souls, and that He hears it with compassion. Meaning, that He will grant us all our needs, especially nachas, health and sustenance.

The central theme of Rosh Hashanah is twofold. First we reach up to Hashem, accepting Him as our King, accepting the yoke of His dominion. And then He in turn, so to speak, accepts upon Himself all the blessings he said He would give us in parshas Bechukosai, "And I will give your rain in their time..."

This year, when we sound the shofar, the cry from the depths of our souls, Hashem will surely grant us what we need, including nachas from our children, good health and abundant sustenance. Which is all included in the traditional Rosh Hashanah blessing, that we wish everyone with "a good and sweet year." May he also grant us the coming of Moshiach. The time has come.