Filed under: Charity-Sadakah, CHUCHMAH-CREATIVITY, Mount Sinia, righteousness, Shabot, social justice
Our parsha begins “and Yhv”h spoke to moshe in Mount Sinai”. Then there follows instruction from God concerning the smittah (7th) year, laws concerning slaves, laws concerning protecting and providing for the poor. To begin with we must ask why does this part of the Torah begin with the words “In Mount Sinai”?. Wasn’t all the Torah given at Sinai ?. There is a very important lesson to learn here. We could say that all these laws in a sense are “In mount Sinai”. The place of the Chuchmah of God. His creative inspiration. The projection of the voice of the Elohe”m Chyim (Living Go”d). In the middle of our parsha is the law against taking interest. The prophet Isaih says “He has taken interest. Shall he live ?. He shall not live. “ The Sages say this refers to the world to come. This also refers to the aspect of the soul called Chayah . This aspect reveals Chuchmah (creative inspiration). It is because of this aspect that Rashi explains that the wicked are dead while they are still living in this world. While the righteous are alive even when their physical existence ceases. Life is only when one is enlivened by the revelation of the part of their soul called Chayah (living). Which is Divine inspiration. The law forbidding taking interest on a loan is central in our parsha. As its violation in a sense is a violation of the most central basis of the Torah to promote as Rabbi Miller says “ a happy commonwealth”. This happens when all people work together to help one another, not in competition against one another.
In this parsha is also given the law of yovel (50th year). In this year all land returns to its original owner. Rabbi miller explains that this is to prevent homelessness. As each Jew is Given a portion in the land by God. Rabbi Bergstien once said that before a person can approach revelation of Divine thought, have a relationship of love with God. They must first love the creatures He created. They must act in a righteous way in the matters of this world. Rebuke over matters such as this is a major theme of the prophets. As error in these ways destroys the foundation for a relationship with God, God forbid. Isaiah says
“Woe to those who join house to house and field to field, they draw close till there is no place (for the poor)” (5:8). Jeremiya”h says
“For wicked men are found among my people, they lie in wait as a trap bites. They station an ambush, they catch people. As a cage is full so are their houses full of deceit. They have become great, they have become rich. They have become fat, they have become thick. They also transgress in deeds of wickedness, they don’t plead the cause of the orphan that they should prosper. The judgment of the poor they will not judge ” (5:26) Amos says:
“Who aspire on the dust of the Earth concerning the head of the poor ” (2:7)
“the head of the poor” Rashi explains that all their aspiration on the earth is how they will exploit the poor. Michah says “They oppress men” (2:2). Zacharia says “So said YHVH TSAVAOT saying, execute true judgment and perform loving kindness and mercy, each one of you to his brother. Do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the stranger or the poor man ” (7:9-10)
Malachi says “I will approach you for judgment, and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against those who swore falsely, and also against those who withhold the wages of the day laborers, of the widow and the fatherless, and those who pervert the rights of the stranger, don’t you fear me says YHVH TSAVOAT ” (3:5). These are just a few of their words. The prophets warn us greatly concerning our give and take while in this world. The parsha concludes after giving these economic laws with “You shall not make any idols”. The love of our fellow creatures is basic to act in any other way is as having a strange Go”d. They have made a idol. The parsha finishes saying “ You shall keep my Shabot”. Shabot is Time of the revelation of Chuchmah (creative inspiration). Which is the inheritance of those who act in love towards all creatures following the laws of the Torah day in and out till that we reach the day that will be all Shabot with the arrival of our righteous Mashiach quickly in our days.
Filed under: aretz israel, emuna-faith, freedom and ethics, middot, righteousness, social justice
On Rosh Hashanah one must consider how they can become a better person in the year to come. It is the day of “judgment” of the whole world. Make judgments concerning your self, on how you can become a better person. Do not make it so that Hashem has to force you to become better. Consider matters as kindness, righteousness and justice. Much is in the balance this year. In your Rosh Hashanah prayers let your heart hope for the Great things. We need them. If all you can imagine is almost nothing that is all you will get. If the prayer of your heart is for the greatest dream the world can have, how great it will be. The Prophet Amos says :
“Those who turn justice to wormwood, and who leave righteousness on the ground ” (5:7)
The Radak explains that judgment is perverted for the rich. Making judgments for the poor like wormwood, which is bitter. We hear about a lack of justice very often from our Prophets as its prevalence is great and its result catastrophic. Concerning ” who leaves righteousness on the ground ” this means they totally disregard it, as it does not matter at all. The Radak cites a verse from Jeremiah ” For I am YHVH who practices kindness, justice and righteousness on the earth. In these things I delight says YHVH “(9:23). Thus man should follow suit and not cast kindness righteousness and justice on the earth, but should hasten to pursue these traits. The prophet Amos continues with instruction for us that ends with great results:
“Hate evil and love good, and establish justice at the gate, perhaps YHVH ELOHY TSVAOT will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph “(5:15)
This is pretty obvious one should find evil disturbing thus resulting in him hating it. Such a state does not leave one quiet and unmotivated, but then one feels forced to act and make things better for all. Since he loves good he pursues it over all else, as this is his love. This love pushes him as it says to establish justice at the gate. He wants to fight for social justice and against oppression as he hates evil and loves to see good. One needs to understand what true ultimate good is and love it and not accept things as they are now, but one must see what is the good that the God desires as Rabbi Kook explains That the great dreams are the foundation of the world. They are manifested on different levels. The Prophets dream as it says in the Torah ” I speak to him in a dream ” (num. 12:8). The poets dream while awake. The mighty thinkers dream of perfecting the world. All of us dream about the time ” YHVH will return the dwelling of Zion ” (Ps. 126:1). The crudeness of conventional life, which is completely immersed in its material aspect, removes from the world the light of the dream, The splendor of its wide horizons, it’s ascent above ugly reality. Thus the world is in convulsions with pain engendered by the destructive toxins of a reality that is lacking all brightness of the dream. These pains are sufferings of love. They will purify the world. Then it will be clear how grave is the error of those who boast of reality in its defective state. As then the dream is left uninhabited, this is a revolt against reality. This force of limitation is truly the most substantive truth of existence. Think deeply over these words, as it is by these things that Hashem will show mercy to his people. Even if they have sinned against them exceedingly, perhaps Hashem will be gracious to the remnant if they will return to him.1 It is not enough to only mourn over the Temple and commemorate our proud History as a nation. We must go on again striving for the excellence of the dreams Hashem gives to us, to regain again, only this time in much greater force and forever the Glory of Hashem in Yisrael.
Filed under: Amalak, Business, freedom and ethics, middot, social justice, Torah Politics
Ki tetze Bs”d
It says in the parsha. “You shall not have in your bag different weights, a large and a small. You shall not have in your house different measures, a large and a small. But you shall have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shall you have; that your days may be lengthened in the land which Yhv”h Elohech”a gives you. For all who do such things, and all who do unrighteous, are an abomination to Yhv”h Elohech”a. ” (25:13-16)
The prophets say much concerning social injustice and economic oppression. Isaiah says:
“Woe to those who join house to house and field to field, they draw close till there is no place, and you will be settled alone in the midst of the land ” (5:8)
They create a situation where there is no where for the poor man to live, as Rashi explains. This type of action is robbing the poor of their land. They allow themselves to act in this selfish way by denying that the land actually belongs to Hashem, and that the poor inherently have a right to a place to live as explained by the Radak and Ibn Ezra. By joining field to field the small independent farmer is put out of business by large commercial industrial farming corporations. In safer Eliyahu, Eliyahu ha Novi says that becouse of interest taken on houses, and stealing fields from this there will be orphans and widows in sackcloth.1 Rashi teaches us that this commandment of having “a perfect and just weight”. Is in The Torah next to the commandment of destroying Amalak. So to teach us Amalek comes when Yisrael is not honest in their Business practices. The Magid of Koznitz teaches that if your “yetzer hora” (evil inclination) says to you “teshuva” (returning to Hashem) of sinners is of no value, be happy with the pleasures of this world. Live only for today, who knows what tomorrow will really bring. Your “yetzer Hora” tells you things as these so to make you fall into sadness over your service of Hashem, making your heart bitter toward things of the כבוד Hashem. Know that it is becouse of these things that that Hashem told us to “remember what Amalak did to you on the way”.2
“Remember what Amalek did to you by the way, when you came forth out of Egypt;
How he met you by the way, and struck at your rear, all who were feeble behind you, when you were faint and weary; and he did not fear Elohem”e. Therefore it shall be, when Yhv”h Elohech”a has given you rest from all your enemies around, in the land which Yhv”h Elohech”a gives you for an inheritance to possess, that you shall blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; you shall not forget it. “(25:-17-19)
Yuhuda is Givurah, but the seed of Yisrael is rachamim. Becouse of this they need to draw upon themselves the flow of “din” so their hearts will remember to war with the nations. By the sword Amalak will arouse great jealousy in Yisrael. This is all necessary as again the nature of Yisrael is “rachamim” not “din”, its not their nature to war as their nature is peace. It’s for this same reason Rabbi Akiva as said before will recognize his enemy from the past. These things are necessary to arouse the anger needed that will allow vengeance to be taken on the enemies of Yisrael.3 Concerning this it must be said that the Palestinians are not our baby that we have to nurse along so to give birth to a Palestinian state. They are an enemy state that daily shoots rockets at us, so should be dealt with appropriately. we wage total war when attacked. This is no game. One must never forget that the Ramba”m teaches in his Mishna Torah that the Jewish people when they enter the land of Israel are responsible then to fulfill 3 mitvot (laws) : Appointing a king over themselves, to wipe out the descendants of Amalak and build Hashem’s House (the Temple).4 With our righteous Mashiach quickly in our days.