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Shabbat Morning Class - Parasha Emor / Lag BaOmer

Rabbi Mansour 2010
Shabbat Morning Class
Given in ??????? ??? ????
???? ???- ?'? ????

Lag Baomer is a joyous and festive holiday that we celebrate to commemorate
the passing of Rabi Shimon Bar Yochai. What is the special significance of this day,
and what makes Rí Shimon so unique in that we celebrate his Yahrzeit with such
excitement? Rí Shimon was the redactor of the Zohar Hakadosh and brought to light
the secrets of the Torah. The night before he passed away, he gathered his students-
Rí Abba being his primary student - and gave over many secrets of the Torah which
until that day had not been allowed to be disclosed from heaven.
What makes the Zohar so crucial to us? How are we to appreciate and connect
with the Zohar when most of us hardly understand even the simple meaning of what
the Zohar is saying?? To answer these questions we need to understand a few
concepts and to explain certain Gemarahs that speak of Rí Shimon.
One Gemarah tells a story of Rabbi Akivah- the rabbi of Rí Shimon- who when
seating his students in front of him to teach them Torah he sat Rí Meir in the front and
Rí Shimon in the back. When Rí Akivah realized that Rí Shimon was disheartened
because he was placed in the back, he told Rí Shimon: "donít worry it is enough that
Hashem and I know your value". After hearing this, Rí Shimon felt better.
In Another Gemarah, Rí Shimon advises his students to study his Torah since his
Torah was: " ?????? ??????? ??????? ?? ?' ????? "-"a portion of the portion from the Torah
of Rí Akivah".
In another Gemarah Rí Shimon declared that he is able to "exonerate the entire
world from judgment"!
To explain these Gemarot we need to understand certain concepts.
There is Chochma and Bina. Chochma represents knowledge, and Bina
represents an ability to use this knowledge to extrapolate and apply these ideas to
various different topics. Chochma is called Abba (father) and Bina is called Ima
(mother). Chochma is called "Abba" (father), because it is knowledge that is self
contained, like a father who cannot reproduce. Whereas Bina is called Ima (mother),
like the Pasuk says " ?? ?? ????? ???? "-since it takes the knowledge and goes forward
and expands it like a mother who reproduces and multiplies.
Aside from being referred to as Ima, Bina is also known as Teshuvah. After
sinning, a person repents and does Teshuvah. This is like a child who cries because it
realizes that it did something wrong and runs to its mother. The mother represents
Teshuvah and as mentioned, the mother also represents Bina. We also see Teshuvah
associated with Ima- mother when the Jews sinned with the golden calf, Hashem later
instructed them to bring a as a Korban saying: "let the mother come and clean up its
childís mess" the mother is the Teshuvah which cleans up the mess of the child (the
sins). ????, ???, ????? - Bina- Ima- Teshuvah are all linked. The Zohar Hakadosh is
compared to Bina since it represents the deepest level of the Torah and can therefore
be expounded the furthest. Since the Zohar is connected to Bina, it is also connected
to Teshuvah (as mentioned Teshuvah is linked with Bina). By simply reading the Zohar
one effects Teshuvah for his Neshama. The Hida zíl writes, that a person who has
sinned should read five pages of Zohar every day. Even if he has no idea of the
meaning of what he is reading, and even if he misinterprets the Zohar, it is still
beneficial to read!! The Zohar has a detergent like effect that cleans the stains of a
personís sins.
There are fifty levels to the Torah. Moshe Rabeinu had momentarily reached the
50th level after leaving Egypt (as hinted to by the fifty plagues Hashem inflicted on the
Egyptians at the Yam Suf- fifty corresponding to the fifty levels of the Torah). After the
sin of the golden calf Moshe was taken down from the 50th level as the Pasuk says "??
??" -lit; "go down". ?? is numerical value of fifty. Hashem was telling Moshe: ?? Ėfrom the
50th level- ?? go down!
The 50th level of the Torah is free from ????? -judgment and the Satan has no
association at all with it. The entire Torah is names of Hashem, but on the 50th level,
the names are the most clear and revealed. The Zohar Hakadosh is Torah from the 50th level!! It is a level of Torah that even Moshe Rabeinu did not have access to! The Zohar is uniquely referred to as
"Hashemís Torah", as the Pasuk in Tehilim says: " ?? ???? ?????? ?????? ?????? "-"open
my eyes so that I may perceive wonders from your Torah". The word ?????? -wonders
can be read ?-????? -fifty wonders, referring to the 50th level that is categorized as
?????? -your Torah.
Hazal explain that Hashem says; " ???? ???? ??? ???? "-"a new Torah will
emerge from me" this new Torah is the Zohar Hakadosh and it was given on Lag
Baomer. Lag Baomer is 17 days before Shavuot. The Pasuk says: "?? ??? ??? ???? ???
????? ?? ?????" Ė"I gave you a good teaching, do not leave my Torah". ??? equals 17
this refers to the "new Torah" that was given 17 days before the date of .??? ????
Hashem instructs us not to leave his Torah which is the Zohar.
There is a hint to this in the Pasuk in Parashat Devarim " ??? ???? ???? ????? "-"the
area of Golan in Bashan for the people of Menashe". Now, in the Galut, in the
Shamayim there is a prosecuting angel that tries to make our Misvot and good deeds
"forgotten", but through the reading of the Zohar its sweetens the judgment and we are
spared from this prosecuting angel. The word ???? is like the word ???? Ė exile, and
????? is like the word ???? Ė to forget (like it says in the Pasuk when Yosef named his
son Menashe " ?? ???? " - "made me forget") . In the ???? (Galut), there is an angel trying
to make our Misvot ???? (forgotten), the remedy for this is: ??? . The word ??? stands
for 50 "- ? ???? ???? gates of wisdom" which refers to the Zohar Hakadosh. The Zohar
protects us from the prosecuting angel.
The most optimal place for understanding the Zohar and the 50th level of Torah is
in ??? ????? as the Pasuk in Tehilim says; " ??????? ??? ???? ??? "-"the holy ones that
are in the land" the word ??? equals 50 showing us that the land (Israel) is the best
place for understanding the 50th level. There is also the Pasuk regarding the spies that
Moshe sent into Israel that says; " ???? ??? ????? ??? "-"they were the heads of the
Jews" again we find this word ??? which equals 50 in regards to .??? ?????
The ???'? wrote in his famous letter to his son ; ?? ???? ???? ??? Ė " do not
forsake the Torah of your mother". The ???'? was hinting to the importance of the Zohar
which as mentioned, is connected to Bina which is Teshuvah-Ima (mother) and
therefore called the Torah of your mother. This explains the Gemarahís mentioned above. Rí Shimon described his Torah as "Terumah"-"a portion" of the Torah of Rí Akivah. Why did he choose this term
Terumah? The word Terumah normally refers to the obligation that a person has to the
Kohen. The obligation of Terumah is to give 1/50th of the produce to the Kohen. We
now understand why he chose this word, Rí Shimon was explaining that the Torah that
he needed from Rí Akiva was this 50th level of Torah. He had 49, but he was searching
for the 50th level! Rí Akiva was the one who taught the concepts of the Zohar to Rí
Shimon. It was this 50th level - the Zohar Hakadosh -that Rí Shimon was alluding to
when he described his Torah as: " ?????? ??????? ??????? ?? ?' ????? "-"a portion of the
portion from the Torah of Rí Akivah".
Rí Akivah knew the concepts of the Zohar. This was hinted by Moshe Rabeinu
when he asked Hashem to give the Torah thru Rí Akivah, he specifically chose Rí
Akivah because he accessed the 50th level of which Moshe Rabeinu was taken down
from. (If Rí Akivah knew of the Zohar why didnít he teach it himself to the people why
was only Rí Shimon able to teach it? To bring down lofty concepts to the people is a
very difficult task. Rí Akivah knew the concepts but Rí Shimonís greatness was that he
was able to make it understandable on many levels and break it so that even the
simple people can benefit from the words!)
This also explains the Gemarah of Rí Akivah placing Rí Shimon in the back row.
He put Rí Meir in the front to signify that Rí Meir was representing the Torah that was
until that point revealed. He placed Rí Shimon in the back and explained to him that for
the time being, it is sufficient that I and Hashem know your value. In other words for
right now no one else is to know the knowledge you posses of the Zohar so "stay in the
back" and keep it hidden. There will come a time in the future that you will reveal it to
the world. It also explains what Rí Shimon meant when he said that with the Zohar the
Jews will go out from Galut, because the Zohar brings a person to Teshuvah and
cleanses the Jews of their sins, this brings the Geulah closer.
We see today a wave of ???? ?????? and people coming back to religion. It is no
coincidence that we also see a proliferation in the study of the Zohar and many
Sefarim that explain the Zohar on a somewhat basic level. Rí Shimon said; "with the
Zohar we will go out from exile", through the study and reading of Zohar we connect
with Teshuvah and the 50th level of the Torah that is free from judgment and will
ultimately end our exile. This is the cause for the great celebration of Lag Baomer. We celebrate in the
receiving of the Zohar and all the holiness and light that it brings us. We light fires on
Lag Baomer to commemorate our receiving the Zohar. The word Zohar means; light, or
fire. We celebrate in receiving the key to the exit of our exile, and in the Matan Torahreceiving
of the "New Torah" which is called "Hashemís Torah" and its sweetening of
our judgment and its power to bring us all to Teshuvah.

Parashat Vayikra- The Triple Sin of Dishonesty
Parashat Pekudeh- Counting the Things That Matter
Parashat Ki Tisa- The Sanctity of Every Jew
Purim and the Sale of Yosef
Parashat Terumah- The Torahís ďFootstepsĒ
Parashat Mishpatim: Our Religious Resume
Parashat Yitro- Partnering With Hashem
Parashat BeShalah- A New Understanding of the Splitting of the Sea
Parashat Bo- Pharaoh and His Advisors
Parashat Vaera- Moshe Was Human
Parashat Shemot- The Egyptian ďFurnaceĒ
Parashat Vayehi- Yaakobís Blessing to His Grandchildren
Parashat Vayigash- The Antidote to Adversity
Hanukah- When Building a Foundation
Parashat Vayeshev- The Precious Value of Silence
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