Parshas VaEira

“But they would not listen to Moshe because of their anguish of spirit and the hard labor” (6:9)

   Moshe Rabbeinu arrived in Egypt and said, “Rabbosai! Hashem revealed himself to me! He is about to redeem us. You can all start rejoicing. Start singing; making music. The time to sing and dance has arrived. Bring on the bands. Bring violins and flutes. Start singing about the tidings of the redemption. “But they would not listen to Moshe because of their anguish of spirit and the hard labor.” Rabbeinu says in Likutei Moharan, Book Two, Torah 86, “Those of little faith are the aspect of kotzer ruach (anguish of spirit), i.e. they suffer anguish because they are lacking in faith. Because they didn’t have perfect faith they were this aspect of kotzer ruach, which is why they involved themselves in all kinds of self-denial and fasting. The No'am Elimelech says that there was an argument between Moshe and the other tzaddikim of the generation. Moshe was of the opinion that they should stop their fasting, self-denial, and self-infliction, and should be happy and sing and play music. In truth, from the beginning of the enslavement of Am Yisrael, the tzaddikim were not quiescent: they fasted and cried and sat on the ground. They saw that every day they were throwing children into the Nile . Every day they were slaughtering children. They would kill children by putting them in the walls they were building. Pharaoh was bathing in the blood of their infants. No one was inactive. Everyone fasted and cried out, trying to bring the geula. Moshe came and said to them, “Rabbosai! This is not the way! You’re too quick to fast. You can fast, but this will not bring the geula. The geula will only come if you are happy!” They said to him, “What? Are you proposing a new path in serving Hashem? You want to take our fasts and our self-mortification, after we already fasted for years and years and are weary from all the abstention?” They didn’t listen to Moshe because of their kotzer ruach, because of their distress, despair and their misery from the hard work. They were incapable of renouncing their despondency. Of believing that there was hope, that the redemption could really take place. Moshe said that the time had come to serve Hashem with happiness, with a powerful joy. Only happiness would subdue the klippa; only joy would bring the geula. The No'am Elimelech says that the tzaddikim that take upon themselves suffering and fasting have very precious souls—not regular souls at all. But they don’t see what the tzaddikim who are the aspect of Moshe see, because the true tzaddik cancels all the harsh judgments and decrees with the utmost ease. He doesn’t need to make any effort at all. He doesn’t need to do any self-mortification or fasting. He cancels all the judgments with his joy, with singing and niggunim. The world is making a big mistake. A person thinks that in order to merit salvation and the sweetening of judgments, he needs to undergo all kinds of suffering and fasting, etc. Actually, the Baal Shem Tov already completely cancelled the path of fasting and serving Hashem with suffering. This is what Rabbeinu said, that the world doesn’t believe that it is possible to attain salvation and to sweeten all the judgments in the world through joy. There are several levels of having a tzelem Elokim, a Divine image. There is the level of a person happily going through life living in the present, always happy. This is level 1000. This is the first level of tzelem Elokim. But, there is a level of perfection of tzelem Elokim that requires that a person know the Torah, the mitzvos, and the laws. But first of all he needs to achieve the first level: to start knowing what the present is and to start learning how to be in the here and now, how to be happy now, how to be happy at every moment, to feel the present, only the present, and not to think about anything from the past or the future. You are here now—living, healthy, breathing—so be happy. Make yourself happy. Find joy without any thought of what will be or what was. This is, “Who is rich? One who is happy with his portion.” Be happy every moment. Be happy every second. No one is hitting you? You have a cup of tea? What more do you need than that? What are you lacking? You’re thirsty? So, drink. You’re hungry? So eat a slice of bread and feel good! Feel happy. Feel content. Don’t worry about what was. Don’t worry about what will be. Enter the epitome of bliss. This way you will get everything. The minute a person starts living in the present moment he fulfills “Who is rich? One who is happy with his portion.” And from this joy he receives everything, salvation, and ever greater levels of serving Hashem.

   The test of a Jew is to always be happy. This is the main test because each and every person must pass all kinds of tests, all kinds of ups and downs, throughout his life. And the main thing is to strengthen oneself in being happy during the downs. When a person is being tested, he needs to believe that he will come out of the down time. There is an awesome story in Kochvei Ohr about a person who dug and found a diamond that was worth a million dollars. He thought it was just a piece of glass, but someone came along and said, “That’s a diamond! It’s worth a fortune, but you won’t find anyone in the village or even in the whole country who could afford to buy this diamond.” So he decided to travel to London. He sold his house, his belongings—his broken furniture—and the money was enough to take him only as far as the port. When he arrived he came across a captain of a ship, who asked him, “What are you wandering around here for?” He answered, “I have a precious stone, a diamond.” And he showed him the diamond. The captain of the ship was dumbfounded. He was shocked. He said, “If you own such an item, you can board the ship. You don’t have to pay, not for anything.” And he arranged for him to stay in a luxurious room with a magnificent bed, and three meals a day. One day on the ship, he was eating and looking at the diamond. He really enjoyed looking at it. Suddenly he dozed off and fell asleep for a moment. The waiter entered and cleared off the table. He took the tablecloth with the diamond on it and shook it out over the sea to clean off all the crumbs and leftover bits of food. When he woke up, he was stunned, shocked. He almost passed out. His heart stopped beating. If the captain found out, he would throw him off the ship. He would throw him after the diamond into the sea. Then and there the Jew decided that he had to strengthen himself to be happy with all his might. With every ounce of strength he had, he forced himself to be happy and to smile. Five minutes later the captain entered. The Jew gave him such a smile, and he started to joke and dance. He moved with such joy, he was absolutely ecstatic. The captain had never seen him so happy. Truly, the Jew knew that he would only be able to hold on like this, with such joy and blissfulness, for a short time. Soon his heart would start pounding anew. When the captain saw him so happy, he said to him, “Let’s make a deal. Everyone thinks that I am a pirate. When I get to London , they are all going to question me, ‘Where did get this merchandise?’ etc. So, you’re a merciful Jew. Help me out. The whole ship with all its merchandise—all the gold and diamonds—I will register in your name. I trust you completely. You are an important, successful merchant. You have a diamond that is worth a huge amount of money.” Everything was registered in his name. And as they arrived at the port and even before they could disembark, the captain had a stroke and died. And all of the merchandise on the ship, all the millions and all the gold, everything became the property of the Jew.

   Rabbeinu made a completely new chiddush: Know that there is no despair in the world at all. Despair simply does not exist. Even in the biggest tragedy, even in the biggest crisis, if a person holds on for five minutes and is happy, dancing, and singing, then everything will turn out for the best. You always need to come home with a smile and in a pleasant mood. At home, they don’t need to know that you are having a hard time, that you’re going through some crisis. If you can’t smile and be happy, then stay out on the steps and practice smiling. Make all kinds of happy movements, get ready, and then go inside with a happy face, with a shining face. If a person will hold on and remain happy, he can merit to all the miracles in the world. All the work of a person is to remain happy with all his might, with mesirus nefesh, and to say all the time, “Everything is for the best.” This is his test. If he will say that all is for the best he will avoid all the suffering in the world—he’ll have miracles and wonders. A person always needs to be happy and to sing and to give praise to Hashem before any trouble comes upon him, chas v’shalom. He shouldn’t wait until he is in trouble and then comes out of it and only then, when he gets out of trouble and he is obligated to do so, praise Hashem, sing, and bring offerings of thanksgiving. Rather, he should always be happy, sing to Hashem, and recognize the greatness of Hashem. “My entire soul will praise G-d.” Every breath should praise Hashem. You’re breathing? Be happy. For each and every breath one needs to sing and not to wait for trouble, because if he will be happy and sing to Hashem and give thanks to Hashem, then he won’t have any troubles.

   The main work is not to be sad, even for one second, because there is no reason to be sad. One needs to believe that every Jew can get to a state in which everything is good, both materially and spiritually, that he can have every success in the world. There is a concept of being happy because Hashem did not make me a goy, that he made me a Jew. Thank G-d that I merited to keep Shabbos. I merited laying tefillin. Be happy that you merited praying. This is like finding a diamond that is worth a million dollars. A person needs to draw happiness upon himself, to be totally happy. You don’t know what to be happy about? We need to be happy that Hashem created us divine beings. This is the greatest joy. “ Israel was happy with His deeds; the sons of Tzion rejoiced in their King.” We should be elated that Hashem created us, “and made us and we are His, His people and the sheep of His pasturing.” Hashem created us for His honor. “Blessed is He, our G-d, Who created us for His glory, and set us apart from those who go astray.” We should rejoice that Hashem created us for His glory, that we should learn, pray, and that the entire world should see—that all the goyim should see—that the weapons of the Jew are Torah and prayer. When Hashem sees us in true joy, being happy with Him, then He cancels all the evil decrees and all the suffering. So what are you waiting for? Start rejoicing in Hashem. Delight in Hashem—only with Hashem. With Hashem you can find joy. He is alive and exists. Hashem is eternal. He loves you. Hashem created you. Hashem believes in you. Hashem believes in your teshuva. He will not abandon you ever, and He will give you everything.



   Master of the world, wondrous and awesome, Master of joy and delight, the one and only Master about whom it is said, “splendor and majesty are before Him, strength and rejoicing are in His place.” Please, let me merit to the level of constant happiness, which never stops even for a moment but is without end or limit. Let me merit that You should enlighten me with the radiance of Your joy on all the days of the year without any break, even a short moment. I should have true joy and delight in You and in Your true tzaddikim. “Because it is good to thank You and Your name is pleasant to sing.” “Because of this, the beloved ones praised and exalted the Almighty, and the beloved ones offered hymns, songs and praises to the King, the Almighty, who is living and enduring.”  


Biur Pnei Melech Chaim

   Sometimes, in the whirlwind of life and in the humdrum of daily affairs, a person forgets where he belongs, for what he is yearning, and exactly what it is that he wants for himself from all that surrounds him. There is one concept that always guides us, which is accepted and well-known around the world, which everyone uses, Jews and non-Jews alike. This is a concept that every person is committed to, enslaved to, and subjugated to. The concept is the truth. “Send Your light and Your truth, and they will guide me.” The light of truth should guide me. Everything is contained in the truth. Truth, in Hebrew, emes, is comprised of the letters aleph, mem and taf, which are at the beginning, middle and end letters of the alphabet. We want the absolute truth. We are looking for the absolute truth, because truth is an abstract concept. We want the real truth as it applies to us, at this moment and in every moment and hour. We want to know, every moment, what Hashem wants from us precisely at that moment, both in relation to our own life’s mission and in regard to those around us. When we merit this understanding, we are rewarded with happiness, which is the highest and most sublime goal of all. A state of happiness will bring you to the true purpose. But a person has things which bother and confuse him, and he has his ego, and his desire for honor. But when he debunks them, by wrestling with them, and when he manages to banish them, then he is freed from it all, and suddenly he can see that he has arrived at something. He has connected with the wonderful line of David HaMelech in Tehillim, “and I will be joyous in Him.” What comes out of this is that he is not looking for honor or success or some kind of external achievement. He has reached an inner point of truth in himself. He has managed to neutralize all the external things that either turn him into some kind of mindless robot, or make him hot-tempered, or dissatisfied, or overbearing, or angry, or feel deprived. All this leads to the highest thing, the point of joy. He is connected; he is happy. And his happiness is not dependent on all kinds of external factors. A person needs honor. A person could not survive a single second without some form of honor. But what is honor? Honor is G-dly light. When a person receives honor, and he knows how to take the honor in holiness, he receives an addition to his soul. This honor is when he is attached to Hashem which makes him happy, and this is another soul that the person receives. When a person escapes his dire straits, his confines, his fears, his self-pity, this is his redemption. “In truth, from Egypt you redeemed us.” Only through truth can one escape from his own Egypt , out of his own dire straits. We haven’t reached the final geula, the general redemption, but each person’s personal redemption is certainly within his reach.


Parparos L’Torah 1

Clarification of the truth in generation after generation

“I revealed myself to Avraham…as Keil Shakai but my name Hashem, I did not make known to them.” (6:2-3)

   All the arguments between Hashem Yisborach and Moshe Rabbeinu regarding his being sent to redeem Israel were due to Moshe’s refusal to go, which he did several times. And Hashem Yisborach was unrelenting and forced him to go on the mission to redeem them. This is really all about the issue of the truth. Even the greatest tzaddikim have a hard time facing the absolute truth at first. But each and every tzaddik clarifies the truth according to his own achievements and his own efforts and his own work, and he has to face tests his whole life long. As long as he is alive, he has free choice, and the main reason he has free choice is that he will be able to clarify the absolute truth. So even Moshe Rabbeinu refused to go on Hashem’s mission, and it was all because of the multiplicity of his truth. In the holiness of his wisdom, he knew the truth, that it would be very difficult to free Israel and bring about their complete and total salvation, because he saw that in the end they would sin and rebel against him and against Hashem Yisborach several times at the beginning and at the end. And this is in fact what happened, as it is written, “and they have tested me these ten times” (Bamidbar 14:22). This is why when he wanted to decline his mission, he based his refusal on his humility, since he was so insignificant in his own eyes, saying, “Who am I,” etc. All this is the aspect of truth.

   Certainly Moshe Rabbeinu spoke with truth and true modesty, but Hashem Yisborach was unrelenting, as it is written, “Hashem was angry with Moshe,” and He forced him to go. All of the ideas and explanations which Moshe used to try to evade going on this mission were drawn down from the truth of the angels, who had argued against creating man, because “what is man that We should recall him.” Because in the future he will sin before You, and anger You. This was the whole argument of the yetzer hara. And even complete tzaddikim have to make tremendous efforts to clear their minds from these accusations made by the yetzer hara. This is why Moshe said “Why have You done evil to this people? And “Why are you sending me?” This came from the power of the controversy of the dissidents, Dasan and Aviram who, “…placed themselves opposite them” (Bamidbar 16:27) and they said, “Hashem look upon you and judge” (14:12, Rashi). They thought they were speaking words of truth, as if they were impassioned by all the suffering that Israel was undergoing. Because all the flaws in the world, and in particular all the controversies, are drawn solely from the defective truth which is the source of free choice. So, even completely evil people clothe their evil words with a covering of truth, pretending that what they are saying is true. Just as Pharaoh said to them, “Why do Moshe and Aharon interrupt the people from their work” (5:4). “Increase the amount required from them…etc.” (5:9) 


Parparos L’Torah 2

“And the sons of Uziel: Mishael, VeEltzafan and Sitri”

   The book Shalshelet Hakabbalah tells about the wise man Rebbe Avraham HaLevi, who lived in Jerusalem in the year 3,270, who once asked a question in a dream, about the end of days—when will Moshiach tzidkeinu come?

   He was answered from heaven with an explanation from the words, “Mishel and VeEltzafan, and Sitri,” Mi sha’al v’ el tzafan, v’sitri - Who is it who is asking regarding things that are concealed, which Hashem has hidden away?


   Story on the Parsha 1

   “Hashem spoke to Moshe and Aharon and commanded them concerning the children of Israel .” (6:13) “And he commanded them (Moshe and Aharon) to deal with them ( Israel ) pleasantly and to be patient with them” (Rashi).

It is told of the Gaon Rebbe Yaakov David, the Radbaz, the Rav of Slotzk, who suffered terribly from the local people who would torment and humiliate him, and he would accept it all with love. Once, the head of the community asked him, “Honorable Rabbi! Look, we are giving you a lot of aggravation. Why don’t you leave and go to another town and be their rabbi there?” He answered, “It is known that there are seven fires of Gehinnom that an evildoer has to pass through. It would make sense to ask why they need seven fires in Gehinnom. Isn’t one Gehinnom enough? Rather,” the Rav continued, “if there was only one fire of Gehinnom, then the evildoer would become accustomed to that fire and it wouldn’t be such a suffering for him. That’s why there is a need to steadily increase the ferocity of the fire so that they shouldn’t get used to any one of them. This way their suffering in Gehinnom will continually increase in order that all their sins will be atoned for. So while it’s true that the city of Slotzk is giving me a lot of aggravation, I already got used to this Gehinnom, and why should I go look for a different Gehinnom?”


Story on the Parsha 2

“And He said to him (Moshe), I am Hashem.” (6:2) (I am Hashem—faithful to give a good reward to whoever walks in My ways. Rashi)

   It is told of the Gaon, Rebbe Yeshiaya Zochovitzer z”tzal, that one time a Jew came to him and asked him to loan him a thousand gold coins for half a year, so that he could save himself from going bankrupt. Rebbe Yeshiaya agreed to lend him the money, but on the condition that someone who knew him in the city would be a guarantor. The Jew answered him that he was a foreigner in town, and that he didn’t have anyone who knew him, or any friends—only Hashem Yisborach, who knew his situation and that his word was good, could be his guarantor. Rebbe Yeshiaya agreed to give him the loan, saying that certainly there is no guarantor more reliable than Hashem Yisborach, and he gave him the whole sum that he had requested.



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