Parshas VaEschanan

   All of the anger that was directed by Hashem to Moshe was caused by Am Yisrael, as it is written, “And Moshe suffered harm because of them” (Tehillim 106:32). They were the ones responsible for the anger. Am Yisrael caused the terrible mistake which resulted in Hashem bringing Moshe down from his level and causing him to strike the rock and thereby not enter Eretz Yisrael. A person needs to know that even when he is faced with the hardest situation, being without water and not having anything to drink and also having all kinds of questions on Moshe Rabbeinu, he still needs to cast away all his questions and continue with simple faith and know that Moshe, who did miracles and wonders until now, will certainly continue to doing miracles and wonders.
   Am Yisrael cried so much for water and were so alarmed that there wasn’t any to be had, they caused Moshe Rabbeinu to fall from his level. And once Moshe Rabbeinu fell, Hashem told him that now he had to hit the rock, just speaking to it would no longer work. And that is when Am Yisrael lost everything—they lost the 1st  and 2nd Temples—because if Moshe had entered Israel, the Beis HaMikdash would never have been destroyed.
   So that is when Moshe initiated a new kind of service for Am Yisrael—the service of prayer alone, accompanied by song and melody! It was a service of pure supplication! As it is written, “And I implored Hashem at that time”(Devarim 3:23). The Baal HaTurim explains that the word “vaeschanan” has the same gematria (numerical value) as “shira” (song). Moshe sang before Hashem so that He would hear his prayers because a person needs to begin with songs and zemiros haboker (special songs before the morning prayer service) so that his prayers will be accepted. This is explained in Likutei Moharan 42, that through music the judgments are sweetened. “Whoever sings the letters of the prayer, and the sounds of the singing are pure and clear, then he clothes the Shechina—i.e. the letters—in radiant garments” The Shechina is the letters of the prayer. If you said the words of prayer with song, then the Shechina speaks from your throat and then Hashem takes note of the prayer. This is what the Baal HaTurim says, and this is the foundation of all foundations, that “vaeschanan” is the gematria of the word song. Even Moshe Rabbeinu sang before his prayer, before “vaeschanan, (And I implored…)” so that Hashem would take note of his prayer and accept it.
   The Tsfas Emes says in parshasVaEschanan” that there are accusers that arise to oppose every prayer, but when a person accompanies his pray with song and melody and really experiences the prayer, then the prayer is accepted without any opposition. One should have the intention that through his song and his prayer he will draw down all kinds of salvations. And during Shemoneh Esrei, he should be careful to say the words very slowly! “Because You are the Almighty King Who is a faithful and merciful Healer” (Shemoneh Esrei prayer). You are a faithful Healer. Hashem is ready to heal every illness. Why do we need to go to doctors? If a person would say “Refaeinu” with kavannah, then he wouldn’t need to go to any doctor! A person only needs to say the words very slowly and with kavannah, “Because You are the Almighty King Who is a faithful and merciful Healer.” Hashem is the true, faithful, merciful doctor who really has mercy on us. And this is the great praise of Hashem that we say He is faithful and merciful.
   The Tsfas Emes says that the true, unique point that a person has in his life, the only moment that he is truly l’shem shemayim in his life, is when sings and expresses himself though music to Hashem—and this is only when he is praising Hashem, because even when a person learns, for the most part, he is learning for himself! Does a person learn for Hashem? He wants to be a Rosh Yeshiva. He wants to be a Dayan (Rabbinical judge). He wants to be the head Rabbi. He wants that people will say he is a great learner. There are people who learn in secret for 120 years and still are only really learning for themselves! They want to feel that they are learned people, intelligent people, people with wisdom and knowledge. Rabbeinu said that even if a person says “This is to bring the Shechina out of galus” before everything he does—which is certainly a wonderful thing to say and maybe one time we
also will merit doing this—but truly, does he have any real connection with the Shechina? He’s an earthly being! He’s in the pit with snakes and scorpions which are his desires and bad character traits. What is the connection between him and the Shechina? So, the Tsfas Emes says that the only place that is without any personal benefit, where a person doesn’t get any personal honor and doesn’t think to get money for it, is only with song and melody, because only though song and melody a person comes to deveikus with Hashem Yisborach. Through music and song, a person can bring down all the secrets. This is why song (shira) comes from the same etymological root as line (shura). “My foot stands on a straight path (‘b’mishur’)” (Tehillim 26:12). The minute a person sings, everything starts to straighten out.
   If a person envelops his prayer in song and music then certainly Hashem will accept this prayer. This is the secret of why Leah gave birth to the line of Moshiach ben David whereas from Rachel descended only the line of Moshiach ben Yosef. Since Rachel only remained silent in the face of embarrassment, she was given the line of Moshiach ben Yosef, but Leah who was always giving thanks, singing and praising Hashem all the time, she merited the line of Moshiach ben David, who is completely song and thanks, as it is written, “By day Hashem will command His kindness, and at night His resting place will be with me (Tehillim 42:9). David HaMelech said: I sing about everything. I make music about everything. “Thank Hashem for He is good, His kindness endures forever (Tehillim 118:1). David said “His kindness is forever.” Kindness will go on forever! Kindness is always being drawn down! There will always be miracles! Rebbe Levy Yitzhak from Berditchov asked, what does it mean “His kindness endures forever
?” It means that all of the wonders and miracles and kindness that David merited having, were drawn down forever to each person throughout the generations. We only need to know how to continue the miracles. We need to know how to draw down the kindness, because the miracles are ready and waiting for each person in every generation, every day, and every hour. And one draws down these miracles through melody and song.
   Why aren’t people uplifted by prayer? Why aren’t they able to change their fate though prayer? Why don’t people become healed through prayer? It is because they aren’t enveloping their prayer in melody and song. The preferred prayer, the one that rises up without any opposition—is the one that is purely melody and song. How can you stand and pray when you just saw a forbidden sight in the street? You defiled your eyes and now you want to stand up and pray Shemoneh Esrei? What kind of Shemoneh Esrei will this be? Because of a person’s sins, he has opposition to his prayer being accepted, but if you would sing and dance a little before you prayed, if you would praise Hashem and make teshuva, then Hashem would be ready to forgive you and receive your prayer. This is the wondrous secret of having prayer which is chosen and accepted without any opposition—specifically when it comes with melody and song. A person wants that his prayer will be accepted and will bring him all kinds of salvation and healing to his whole family and to all of Israel and to whomever needs it. But this comes only though enveloping the prayer in music and song, in melodies and praises. This is how we will merit the final redemption, speedily and in our days, Amen.

Master of the World, help us in Your great mercy that we should merit raising up our voices in song, and give us the strength that we should merit giving praise to You with song and melody, with a song of joy and delight until we merit though our song and dance that You should open up all the blockages in our hearts and our minds, in our limbs and our sinews, our veins and our senses. And we should merit dancing and singing in the house of Hashem. I made melody and I will sing in the house of Hashem all the days of my life.

B’Ohr Pnei HaMelech
Hashem wants faith from us
Hashem says to us: “This is not the way it works. Life is not about getting handouts—I don’t just give away presents. I also want something from you. What do you give Me?” So the person responds: “What can I give You Hashem? I have nothing to give You. I don’t have anything. I’m just a poor pauper. I am not wise. I have no understanding. ‘You bestow upon a person intelligence.’ Everything that exists is from You. Everything is Your possession.  I don’t have anything.” But there is one thing that you are able to give! And it is something that Hashem cannot give. There is no way He can give this thing. Only you can. This is, so to speak, something that Hashem doesn’t have. This is something that He is ‘missing.’ What is this thing that He wants from you? It is your faith. That you believe in Him and are looking to Him and you connect yourself to Him and attach yourself to Him, this is the part that you give Him and through this you create the vessel that is able to contain that which He gives to you. This is what the Patriarchs did. They didn’t see anything at all, but just had total belief and did things that were hard for them to do and stood up to their tests. They made such a wonderful huge vessel—they prepared the vessels. The forefathers suffered terribly, they endured so much suffering. What did Yaakov Avinu say before he died? “Few and awful were the days of my life.” Am Yisrael left Egypt, and they would soon start experiencing good. They would have the manna. They would have quail. They would have the well. The Clouds of Glory would accompany them. Afterwards they would arrive in Eretz Yisrael. And there they would experience wonderful things. But what about the forefathers? They didn’t have anything. They only invested and invested and invested. They made the vessel for all the generations, until the coming of Moshiach Tzidkeinu. Because HaKadosh Baruch Hu doesn’t give hand outs. He says: I want you to make Me the vessel.


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