Parshas Chaye Sarah  


   Effron had a wondrous treasure in his backyard, Me'aras HaMachpela. He had Adam and Chava whose dazzling light shone from one end of the world to the other. But to him, Me'aras HaMachpela was just darkness and gloom, an utterly pitch black darkness. Since Adam and Chava were buried in this cave, Hashem made sure that the people would have a terrible fear of the cave, including all kinds of illusions that it harbored demons and ghosts. People were full of dread at the thought of even drawing near the place. It was in such a remote spot on the slope of a mountain that no one dared wanted to buy it, so clearly Effron knew he was cheating Avraham Avinu when he sold him the cave.  

   Rebbe Nosson explains, that the holiest place, the holiest tzaddik, in any place that there is holiness, always seems like a place of darkness and gloom, surrounded by demons and evil spirits. As it is written, “The holier a person is, the more abandoned he is.” “Effron” has the gematria of 400 which is the same gematria as “evil eye,” the opposite of a “good eye.” So, Effron saw only darkness and gloom in the Me'aras HaMachpela, but David HaMelech had a good eye, about whom as it is written, “beautiful eyes and lovely to see.” He saw only the light in each Jew, the good point in each Jew, the holy spark in each Jew. A person sees his own light, but he doesn’t see the light of others, neither his friends or even at home. Sometimes, a person sees the light of his wife, but she doesn’t see the light of her husband. Or it could be the reverse: a woman sees the light of her husband and he doesn’t see her light. But in truth, each person needs to see the light of others, because it is very bad for a person to see the other’s weaknesses, the other’s flaws. The essence of a bad eye is when a person can’t stand seeing that his friend is succeeding better than him—that he feels that he is better than his friend. A person is quick to notice that his friend learns more than him or prays more than him. Why should he care if his friend is praying better than he is or learning better than he is? Every single person has a bad eye and no one is ready to accept that someone else is better than he is. If a person was able to accept that someone was better than he is, he would be able to live forever—he would be able to fix the entire world. A good eye is something altogether different. If a person wouldn’t be jealous of others, would love others, would be happy with the other person’s success, then he would have the eyes of the true tzaddik, who has a completely good eye. This is David HaMelech who has “beautiful eyes and is lovely to see,” who is completely focused on the good, and doesn’t wish bad on anyone.      

   Each person has countless treasures; he only needs to remove the earthliness that covers them—to escape from the klippa of Effron, from the bad eye. In every man, in every woman, in every Jewish soul there are unlimited treasures. The Jewish soul is blazing and burning for Hashem--every Jewish soul wants to do teshuva! Every Jew has a heart that is on fire for Hashem, a blazing heart that could burn the whole world. Every Jew has a fiery flame inside, “The eternal fire shall burn on the mizbeach; it shall not be extinguished.” Every single Jew can bring the whole world back in teshuva, even the greatest sinner can make teshuva, because to the extent that he can be bad, so too does he have the power to be good—he has a greater soul.  

   This is what is related in the Midrash about Yosi Misita who was a heretic. He denied everything and went and joined the Romans. Whoever kept Shabbos, whoever gave his child a bris at that time was crucified. He saw that the nation of Israel was lost, erased from the earth, and he gave up and said, “Why do I need to be a Jew? I will be a Roman.”  So he went along with them to burn the Beis HaMikdash, threw torches with them, and before the Beis HaMikdash had finished burning the Roman’s said to him, “Wait one minute! Who will go into the sanctuary to get the menorah?” They told him to go in and take something. Everyone knew that anyone who would go into the sanctuary would be burned. Whoever would go into the Kodesh Kodoshim would be burned. Everyone was afraid to enter, so they told him, “Whatever you bring out first is yours to keep.”  Yosi Misita went in grabbed the golden menorah and came out with it, and they said to him, “Give us that menorah! You can’t take it—it’s too valuable. Take some goblet, some spoon, but not the menorah!” At that moment his Jewish spark ignited—suddenly his spark was awakened. The menorah lit his inner spark, and he saw that the menorah was completely made up of light. So he held on to the menorah and said, “This menorah you are not going to get. You are not going to get the menorah.” They said to him, “What do you mean we’re not going to get the menorah? It’s not yours! It’s the King’s! We need to bring Titus the menorah.” He told them, “You will not get this menorah under any circumstances; I will die together with it.” And then he was completely aflame, completely on fire for Hashem. “I am returning to Judaism! I will start being a Jew.” Cut me into bits!” They said, “OK,” and grabbed him and put him on a carpenter’s table which was used for cutting wood and began cutting into him, chopping him up. The minute they began cutting him up, he felt pleasure. Each time they sawed into him he felt such pleasure—he was full of joy and exhilaration, and he said, “I take upon myself all this suffering with love! Ribbono Shel Olam, it is good that they are chopping me apart; it is good that they are cutting me. Forgive me for all my sins! How did I join the Romans who killed millions of Jews? How can it be that I didn’t realize that the nation of Israel is eternal? Baruch Hashem that they are sawing into these rotten bones, these poisoned bones that led me astray. They led me to where they led me, and Yosi Mesita is now a dedicated servant of Hashem, completely happy while they are cutting me apart, and he is still singing and doesn’t feel any pain—a servant singing, ‘my soul is sick with love of You.’ They are chopping him apart and he is sick with love for Hashem. He only feels Hashem—he feels nothing but Hashem.”



Ohr P’nei Melech Chaim  

   When a person doesn’t work on himself to raise himself up spiritually, there is no way he can get rid of all the nonsense that he has in his mind. He feels deprived; he complains; he gets angry; he is sad; he worries; he blames himself and others; he is haughty; he is jealous; he eats too much; he looks around too much. Everything he does is only because he is looking out for his own success, so that others should give him honor. But a person who is working on himself—he is developing; he is growing; he is changing. He is drawing close to Hashem. All the time he is asking himself, “Where am I in the world? Am I attached to Hashem or not? What will be with me, Father? What will be with me in the end? When will I start thinking about You and not about myself and my own honor?”  

   Thought has a tremendous power. Everything is clarified in thoughts. That’s where that soul is. That’s where the will is. A person meditates a little about himself, about his life, and sees where he is holding, and this goes from thought to speech: “Hashem, help me to eat less. Look how big my stomach is. It is distancing me from You. I can’t cling to You, because my stomach gets in the way. Hashem, let me be happy with what You give me, and to stop being jealous of people who learn well, or of people who are happy all the time. Help me to be truly delighted when my friends are successful. I shouldn’t try to avoid meeting someone because I don’t want him to have the pleasure of my seeing him successful.” And speech leads to action. Slowly, slowly, a person begins to change. And then, life is truly awesome. You have to feel sorry for someone who can’t let go of all the nonsense that messes up his mind—in the end he grows old, but he is really still a child. This is what is called the “chalal hapanui,” (“the vacated space”). Hashem isn’t there, chas v’shalom. But then someone has a good thought, prays with kavana, learns some Torah, and all these actions fill up the vacuum. Hashem says to each one of us, “Go to the place which is complete G-dliness, to your inner self, to the place where Hashem is always found, and then you can be in a state of constantly being aware of this point and not fall, and not become confused. Even though Hashem created the world with a vacated space and all the time there are problems in life, and there are all kinds of things that we can’t understand—we get offended often, and we fall, and things happen exactly the opposite of how we wanted them to be, and everything bothers us, and we think everything is a mess. But we need to remember that Hashem is found in every place and every moment, even when things aren’t going our way. But we are moving. We are going to the place where Hashem is to be found. We open our hearts and we find Hashem there, inside our own hearts.  And there we find the same, protective point that binds us to Hashem. Avraham Avinu established the blessing of “magen Avraham” which is greater than the blessing of “mechayeh hameisim.” “This first is yours.” We start the shmonei esrei with “magen Avraham,” and only afterward do we have “mechayeh hameisim.” First we need to be protected. “Your blessing is greater than my blessing,” Hashem said to Avraham. “You are first, and I come afterwards. I revive the dead, which is the second stage.” Avraham Avinu guards the point that is silver, which is the silver castle, which are the wings of a dove which are covered with silver. True joy is yearning and love for Hashem, and with this power one can gain strength from all one’s troubles. And it is this point which is the basis of the nation of Israel’s existence.     

   People sinned and stumbled, and were damaged, and committed crimes, and the later their children were chozer b'teshuva, and sometimes they themselves came back in teshuva. And this is all in the merit of this point, the point which stands and exists until the end of all generations. Just like the baby wants its mother and runs all the time to his mother, so does the world want Hashem. The entire nation of Israel stands on this point, on the point of Avraham Avinu.



Parparot L’Torah  

“I came this day to the well” (24:42)  

Rashi explains the phrase “I came this day” that Eliezer said to Rivka’s family, “I left today and I arrived today’—that he had a miraculous journey (literally, “that the land shrank for him.”)  

   And Chazal take issue with this statement of Rashi: How do the words, “I came this day to the well,” serve as a proof text that “the land shrank” for Eliezer, Avraham’s servant? Perhaps he started out a few days earlier, and only when he arrived at the well he said, “I came this day to the well.”

   The Apta Rav says that according to kabbala, the holy name of Hashem which is used for kefitsas haderech (a miraculous shortening of a journey) is "אהו"ה" which is the rashei taivos from the pasuk, "את השמים ואת הארץ" which are the same rashei taivos of the pasuk, "ואבא היום אל העין" and this is what Rashi is referring to when he explains “I came this day to the well” as meaning that “the earth shrank for him.”

   But we still need to clarify, how do we know that Avraham Avinu gave Eliezer the holy name of Hashem which would achieve kefitzas haderech?

   There are those who say that this was hinted at when Avraham sent Eliezer. “And Avraham said to his servant…I will have you swear by Hashem, G-d of heaven and G-d of earth” (24:2-3). The hint is in the rashei taivos of "אלוקי השמים ואלוקי הארץ" which is the holy name "אהו"ה" which is used for kefitzas haderech. And this is what it says there, “and the servant took…and departed and all the best (וכל טוב) of his master was in his hand” (24:10), meaning that he departed with the name of Hashem for kefitzas haderech in his hand, which is "אהו"ה" which has the gematria of 17, which is the same gematria as "טוב".


Parparot L’Torah  

Did you set aside time for Torah study?

   When a person comes to Heaven, the first question that they ask him is about the two levels of setting aside time for Torah study. The first level is “I will learn and in this way I will merit eternal life,” which is also an awesome level if a person learns with this intention and not for the sake of his own status or being able to put together complicated arguments. But there is a higher level than this, which is “I study because I want to do Hashem’s will and no more. I only want to become part of Hashem.” This is the complete nullification of self, just like a three year old child who runs to his father, without any self-interest at all, but just simply because this is the only possibility that exists for him. The tzaddik understands that there is nothing here in this world other than Hashem, and so he only wants to become a part of Him. And this is our work in this world: to make this the purpose of our existence. And one achieves this by connecting oneself to the tzaddikim who have attained this level, and by remembering always that “Hashem is Elokim—there is nothing else.”


Story on the Parsha  

“And the servant took out vessels of silver, articles of gold, and garments and gave them to Rivka” (24:53)

   The tzaddik Rebbe Shalom Rokeach from Belz was especially particular about the dress of his chassidim. At any opportunity he would to warn them to dress modestly, as has been accepted by Jews in throughout the generations. When the chassidim came to him to get his blessing for shiduchim, he cautioned them to write explicitly in the tena'im that the clothing of the kallah should be that of a simple, modest Jewish woman, as is accepted in typical chassidic homes.

   The Admor Rebbe Shalom endorsed this matter citing the pasuk, “And the servant took out vessels of silver, articles of gold, and garments and gave them to Rivka.” The question that needs to be asked is: Why did Eliezer bring special clothing with him from Avraham’s home for the kallah Rivka? Wouldn’t it have occurred to him that the Nachor’s rich and honorable family would surely send the kallah from her parent’s home with appropriate clothing? Rather, Avraham’s intent was to make sure that Eliezer took special clothing for the kallah of his son Yitzhak, according to the style that was worn in his own home. This was so that this kallah, when she would eventually arrive at his home, would not continue wearing the elaborate, stylish clothing that the girls in Nachor’s idolatrous city were wearing.


“A precious stone was hanging from Avraham’s neck.”

   The daughter of the Admor Rebbe Aharon from Karlin, author of “Beis Aharon,” once came down with a serious illness, and the doctors almost gave up hope of saving her life. By chance the tzaddik Rebbe Moshe from Kovrin arrived just then at the home of the “Beis Aharon.” Rebbe Aharon invited him to sit down for a meal, as was his holy custom. During the meal, Rebbe Aharon mentioned his sick daughter who was in need of heavenly mercy to the tzaddik who was his guest. Rebbe Moshe answered his host, “We learn in mesechet Baba Basra (16:72), “A precious stone was hanging from Avraham Avinu’s neck, and whenever a sick person would look at it he would immediately be healed. The question is asked: What was the nature of this precious stone that enabled Avraham Avinu to cure all the sick people in the world with it?

   The intention was not a physical “precious stone” that you could hold in your hands, but a spiritually precious stone—for the good and special characteristic that Avraham Avinu was endowed with—was this not the mitzvah of welcoming guests? And this mitzvah is a verified segulah to cure any illness or disease. At this very moment,” continued the tzaddik from Kovrin “the precious stone that is the trait of welcoming guests is hanging on your neck! The sick girl should look at you, her father, and b’ezras Hashem, she will be healed.” Rebbe Aharon did as his honored guest told him, and a miracle took place, there was an immediate improvement in his daughter’s health, and she was soon completely cured from her illness.  


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