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Shabbat Morning Class - Parasha Terumah

Rabbi Mansour 2012
Shabbat Morning Class
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????? ???? ???? ?????
This past week we ushered in the month of Adar. It says "?????? ???
????? ?????" -"when the month of Adar arrives we increase in happiness". This is the month of the joyous holiday of Purim, and it sets us up for the upcoming holiday of Pesah. In honor of the month we discuss the topic of happiness as it relates to a statement from Ben Zoma in Pirkei Avot.
"????? ???? ???? ?????" -"who is a rich man? One who is happy with his lot". Unlike in todayís time society where richness is measured by how much dollars a person has in the bank, Ben Zoma teaches that true richness is being content and happy with whatever it is that a person has.
In todayís class we present 17 different interpretations of this statement "????? ???? ???? ?????" !
Before we begin, we must stress that these 17 by no means exhaust all of the ways to explain this statement of Ben Zoma. These are merely 17 out of the many many more ways there are to expound this statement and remember, Ben Zoma most definitely had in mind every single one of these interpretations when he made this statement!
That being said letís begin:
1) Ben Zoma is teaching us a lesson in charity.
Hashem could very easily provide for a poor person himself. However Hashem wants to increase our merits, so he instead gives the poor persons money to us, and he thereby gives us the merit to provide the poor man with something that anyways is rightfully his.
We thus find that the poor man has a portion in the money that we make.
We find very often that a person overextends himself when making a ???? -a happy affair for his children. He spends money on the hall, clothing, caterer, flowers, etc.. By the time the partyís over the person is
"tapped out". When he is subsequently approached by a poor person, he apologizes to the poor man and explains; "I just made a party I canít give you anything right now". The poor man can respond "I understand you taking your money and making a lavish affair with it Ė but who gave you the right to spend my portion of the money on your affair?!
Ben Zoma advices the one making a ???? : use your funds for your
???? , but not the poor manís!
????? ???? - who is truly a rich man, and spends his money properly?
???? ????? - it is one who makes a ???? )????( using only his portion of the money (????? -means his portion), and not using the poor manís portion of the money. He thereby retains the proper amount of money to give to charity.
2. This explanation also pertains to charity, but in a different sense.
There once was a Rabbi who together with his students, was collecting for a worthy cause. He entered the house of a wealthy person, and saw the wealthy man eating a simple meal of rice and lentils. The Rabbi asked; "a man of your stature should not be eating such a lowly, basic meal! You should be enjoying pheasant, fine wine, and other delicacies!"
After the meeting, the perplexed students asked their Rabbi why he would make such a suggestion to the rich man, when the Rabbi constantly preached self deprivation and not to enjoy too much from ???? ??? -this world?!
The Rabbi explained that if this rich man is a cheapskate and only eats cheap basic meals, what do you think he expects the poor people to eat?? He can tell the poor people; look even I eat a simple meal, surely you can too! However if the rich man starts to indulge in having pheasant and other delicacies, then maybe the poor people have a chance to get a piece of chicken from him!
Based on this story we can now understand the statement of Ben Zoma.
????? ???? - who is truly a rich man, and will merit to give charity properly?
???? ????? -it is one who enjoys his portion(his money) ! One who spends money on himself, as opposed to being a miser, will have a much easier time giving to those in need. Since if heís enjoying it, then the poor man has a chance to get something!
3. The Chief Rabbi Amar once explained to Mr. Jack Kassin, that a true rich man is one who is healthy and has all of his faculties. This is seen from Ben Zomaís statement. ????? ???? -who is rich? The word ???? stands for ?????, ?????, ????, ????? - eyes, teeth, arms, and legs. All of these are vital to us, and we wouldnít give them up for any amount of money. We therefore find that every person should be happy with what they have, because they truly are an ???? -a rich man, since they have their ?????, ?????, ????, ????? .
4. This explanation is based upon a fundamental idea in Judaism.
A person should serve Hashem in his own way, and not become confused and jealous by his friends accomplishments. Each person has their unique strong points and talents, and should focus on how they can best use their talents to serve Hashem. Some of us love doing Hesed-kindness for others, they are outgoing and can help everyone. Others may be shy and cannot effectively do the same. They however may excel in praying, they can sit in front of a Siddur and Tehilim for hours begging Hashem for mercy, something the first person canít do. Everyone has an area that they excel in and needs to explore themselves and find what they can do, and how they can best serve Hashem. One should never look at his friend, and feel depressed while he wonders "why canít I learn like that?", or why canít I do the good deeds that he does?!". Each person has a specific path to take to serve Hashem that is unique to their Neshama.
The holy Rav Zushia from Anipoli was once asked; "if you had an opportunity to be Avraham Avinu would you take it??" he answered; "if I would be Avraham Avinu, who would be Zushia"?? Meaning, the world needs Avraham Avinu, and the world needs Rav Zushia! He was teaching his students that they should all realize that they are special, and all serve an important and unique role in the grand picture of serving Hashem! There is not a set way that is the only way to serve Hashem (obviously a person
must stay within the boundaries of Halacha, and consult with his Rabbi for guidance on the proper path for himself).
Avraham Avinu served Hashem through Hesed and good deeds, Yishak served Hashem through Gevurah-strength and Tefilah, Yaakob served Hashem through ????? and learning Torah.
Which one was right? They were all right! They each served Hashem using their own strengths.
This idea is illustrated in a story in Navi )????? ?'( . There was a man named Navot who had a beautiful voice, and would be the Chazzan for the Jewish nation in the Bet Hamikdash. One year he decided not to go up to the Bet Hamikdash. He did not want to be the Chazzan for the nation.
That year Navot was approached by his neighbor Achav- the king of Israel and was asked if he would sell his property. When Navot refused Achav was very upset. Isabel (Achavís evil wife) devised a plan to have Navot killed in order to get her husband Navotís property. She hired two false witnesses to falsely testify in accusing Navot of blasphemy against Hashem. The court believed the witnesses, killed Navot, and gave Achav the property.
This was really all a punishment from Hashem to Navot for not having used his talent in being the Hazan for the Jewish people, and it was brought about from witnesses that accused Navot of blasphemy, because just like when a person gives his friend a gift it is a tremendous offense to "throw it back in his face". So too Hashem gave Navot a talent, and not using it was like "throwing it back" at Hashem ?''? and was tantamount to blasphemy!
The same idea applies to Torah. There are different topics of Torah that appeal to different people. One must not get confused and disheartened with watching what others learn. In Halab there were different groups who studied different topics of Torah every night, and they were all necessary and special!
This concept is alluded to in our Parasha. The word ????? stands for ????-? , and refers to the Torah that was given in the forty days (?=40) that Moshe Rabeinu was in the Shamayim. The Pasuk says further; "??? ???
????? ???" -"from anyone whose hearts motivates him". We see from here that even in learning one should pursue the areas of Torah that motivates
his heart, and not get disheartened when he sees others learning different topics that he does not excel in.
Every person has his specific portion in the Torah itself. There are unique and novel ideas in the Torah that are associated exclusively with only his Neshama! This is why we say; " "??? ????? ?????? -"give us our portion in the Torah" - we are referring to the specific portion of the Torah that is up to us to uncover!
This is the message that Ben Zoma was giving us with his statement.
????? ???? - who is rich and content?
???? ????? - It is one who is happy ????? -with his portion in the Torah )??? ????? ??????( , and is content with his exclusive path to serve Hashem without confusing himself by trying to copy everyone else.
5. This explanation is based upon the meaning of the words ???? and
???? . The definitions of both of these words are "happiness". However in the Hebrew language there are no synonyms, each and every word has its own definition and a connotation that is unlike any other word.
???? means happiness, and it connotes a joy that one is experiencing at the present moment.
???? also means happiness, however it connotes a future happiness that one is looking forward to.
This is why one of the blessings we make as a couple is getting married is "??? ??? ???? ????? ??? ????" - we bless them ???? -on their current joy of getting married, and ???? to bless them that they should also merit happiness in the future.
Ben Zoma is teaching us that the truly rich person is focused on his Olam Haba, and builds to accumulate merits to increase his portion in the next world. He is concentrated on his ??? ????? ??? .
????? ???? -who is rich?
???? Ėit is one who looks forward to the future joy of;
???? -his portion of Olam Haba, and does not get caught up in the vanities of this world.
6. Misery loves company.
This saying has multiple meanings. Firstly, the person who is suffering feels comforted when people come to "share his burden". Itís as if they take part of the suffering from the afflicted one onto themselves, and this makes the person feel a little better.
The other meaning is that the company loves the misery! Meaning, it is much easier for someone to feel bad for his friend that is going through hardship then it is for him to rejoice at his friendís good fortune. The "jealousy factor" kicks in, and we have a difficult time in feeling genuinely happy for our friends at their happy occasions (the great Rabbi ?????? ????
once sent out a wedding invitation for his daughter, and on it he explicitly asked everyone to please come to his daughterís wedding and fulfill the Misvah of "????? ???? ????" -for all to rejoice and be happy for him!).
This is the meaning of; ????? ???? ? Who is truly rich and content with his lot? It is someone that is happy for his friends, and wishes the best for them;
???? - one who is happy,-
????? - with the portion of his friend (in this case ???? is understood as a third party reference), and this is the message of Ben Zoma.
7. This explanation is based upon the ill effects of Lashon Hara- slander. It says that when a person speaks negatively about his fellow Jew all of his merits are given to the person he has spoken about. Imagine, a person works his whole life accumulating merits, then it all suddenly goes to the person he speaks Lashon Hara about!
The complicated part is what happens when the person does Teshuvah and repents and asks forgiveness for what he has done? Does he get his merits back?
It depends on the person he has spoken about. If he is a good and upright person, he will "return" what he was given from the one who had spoken about him, and if not then he wonít return it.
This is one of the meanings of the words in the Amidah that we say in the Berachah of ?? ?????? . We say ???? ????? ???? -"put our portion with them". How can we ask Hashem to put our portion with the Sadikim if our
actions are unlike the Sadikís, and therefore do not merit having our portion with him??
The explanation is that we are alluding to the sin of Lashon Hara, and we are asking Hashem that if we stumble and speak Lashon Hara about someone - and have therefore forfeited our portion in Olam Haba to that person - please let that person be like a Sadik and give it back to us when we repent.
The reason for this is that a Sadik does not want anything that he did not rightfully earn. When the speaker of Lashon Hara repents, he hopes that the person he spoke about will now be as generous as a Sadik and not want to hold on to the unearned merits that were given to him as a result of being the topic of Lashon Hara. Thatís why we say ???? ????? - our portions of Olam Haba that we forfeit by speaking Lashon Hara should be placed -
???? -with them (Sadikim, or people like them), that will return our portions to us when we repent.
This is the advice of Ben Zoma. A person should not want to maintain anything that he does not rightfully earn and as a result, if he is spoken about he would be willing to give the person back his Olam Haba upon his repentance.
????? ???? -who is truly rich?
???? ????? - it is he who is happy with his own portion, and does not desire to hold onto the portion of his fellow Jew that has been given to him as a result of being the target of Lashon Hara.
8. This explanation is based upon the concept spoken about in the Gemarah about a person accepting suffering from Hashem with love. This is called "????? ?????? ".
While we donít ask for suffering, if a person is faced with difficult times he is encouraged to accept it with love. A person must realize that any pain and discomfort in this world cleanses his soul, and it is infinitely easier for a person to clean his Neshama in this world that it is for him to endure the suffering in the next world. He should therefore accept his suffering with love in knowing that he is cleansing his Neshama down here, so that when it comes time to "upstairs" his Neshama will have already been cleansed.
Suffering is like cleaning a garment. If one has a deep stain on his garment he must rub vigorously in order to remove it. So too with his Neshama, if it is "stained" with sin, his intense difficulties serve to cleanse his soul. The more suffering, the cleaner he gets.
This is the message of Ben Zoma.
????? ???? - who is wealthy?
???? - one who is happy,
????? - the word ???? can be rearranged to spell ???? which means a garment. Meaning, a person that is happy even while his "garment" (a reference to his Neshama) is being cleansed as he is going through difficult times. He maintains his happiness even though he is suffering, because he knows his ???? -garment-Neshama is being cleansed, and this makes him truly rich!
9. The Gemarah (Bava Metziah 59A) quotes Rava as instructing the residents of the town of Mechuza "????? ??????? ?? ???? ???????:" -"respect your wives in order to become wealthy".
A wife is the source of the blessing of the husband. The more one respects the source of his blessing-his wife- the more he will be blessed. When Rabbi Akibah wanted to marry his wife Rachel, her wealthy father Kalba Savua was not supportive of her decision. Rabbi Akibah was not learned at the time and very poor. Rachel knew however, that she would be the source of blessing for her husband and that consequently all would be fine. When they were first married they were so poor they slept on straw! They could not even afford beds! In the morning Rachel would pull the straw out of Rabbi Akibahís beard. (This concept of pulling at the beard has great depth and profoundness. It says about the Baal Shem Tov, that he used to go out and meditate throughout the week, and return to his home on Friday. When he returned to his home it was almost as if he was in a different world as a result of his spiritual level. His daughter Udel would pull at his beard in order to "bring him back down" to this world. The Zohar says that the 13 points of the beard correspond to the 13 attributes of mercy of Hashem. By pulling the beard of her father the Baal Shem Tov, his daughter was bringing down the attributes of mercy from the upper worlds
to the lower worlds!) Ultimately Rachelís blessing uplifted Rabbi Akibah into becoming the leader of his generation.
Where did Chava, the original wife, come from?
Chava came from the rib of man, and thus comes from a ??? (a portion) of him. This is why typically a man searches out for a woman as opposed to a woman searching for the man, because it is the man who "lost" a piece of himself, and it is the way of someone who lost something to retrieve his object rather than the object looking for its owner!
Ben Zoma was teaching us that we must respect our wives in order to become wealthy.
????? ???? - how does one become wealthy?
???? ????? - if he gladdens his portion (???? ). If he gladdens his wife- who comes from him and is a "portion" of him he will then prosper.
10. This answer links the statement of Ben Zoma to the story of Hanukah. In the times of Hanukah the Greeks tried to stop the Jews from performing Misvot. They especially despised the Misvot that the Jews would do with extra zeal and excitement. They banned the Misvot of Milah, Rosh Hodesh, and Shabbat, for these Misvot are done with a lot of enthusiasm (just think, we wound our son and then we celebrate! This is an example of a Misvah done with tremendous excitement!).
This is why every Hanukah contains eight days (corresponding to the Mila that is performed on the eighth day), a Shabbat, and a Rosh Hodesh. The first letters of ???, ????, ??? spell ??? -(to rejoice). The first letters of these Misvot hint to the fact that they should be performed with extra joy and enthusiasm.
This is the message of Ben Zoma.
????? ???? - who is truly wealthy?
???? ????? - it is one who is happy and rejoices in the Misvot of ??? - ???,
????, ??? .
11. There is a holy name of Hashem " ?-?-? ". This is a name of Parnasah and sustenance. We allude to this name in Ashrei when we say ???? ??
??? -the last letters of these words are ?-?-? .
How do we access this name of Hashem, and connect with its Berachah?
Rí Baruch from Mezibuz explains that it is through joy. He proves this from the Pasuk " "????? ?? ??? -"and you shall surely rejoice". The last letters of this Pasuk are ?-?-? , and show that it is only through happiness that we can access the blessing reflected in the name ?-?-? .
We see this clearly today. In business, people want to associate themselves with the good "karma" and feelings that come with the positive energy from people that are happy. No one wants to be involved with people that are always negative.
Ben Zomaís advice is now understood quite literally;
????? ???? - how does one become rich?
???? ????? - by being happy with everything! By always remaining happy he will enjoy the benefits of being associated with the name of ?-?-? , and the blessing of wealth that it represents.
12. A person must learn to work with others, and share the credit for a successful project. This is learnt from ????? - the one who headed the construction of the Mishkan. He was brilliant, and he was competent enough to head the construction of the Mishkan on his own. However the Pasuk also lists his assistant ?????? ?? ?????? Ėa relatively unknown person until that time. ????? gladly "shared the spotlight" with ?????? , and they both worked diligently ??? ???? in order to complete this holy project.
Many times we find people willing to accept an undertaking as long as itís done "their way". They donít feel that itís fair that they should have to do all the work, and share the credit.
To these people Ben Zoma advices;
????? ???? - who is truly rich?
???? ????? - one who is happy with doing a ??? - a portion of the project and not insisting on running it all by himself. He is willing to let others help him and share the credit. This will only help the undertaking be all the more successful.
13. There is a holy name of Hashem called ?-?-?-? . This comes from certain letters that are missing from specific holy names in the current exile. It says
"?? ?? ?? ?? ?-?" by the war against Amalek, Hashem says that as long as he is fighting Amalek (resulting in the Jews being in exile), his name will be incomplete. It will only be ?-? , and not contain the final letters ?-? .
The word ?? in this Pasuk also shows us that the ??? -throne of Hashem is incomplete, and is missing the ?' of ??? .
We also find in scripture that ??????? is in many place referred to as ?????? - (missing the second ??? ).
We thus find that in exile the "missing" letters are: ?-?-?-? (the ?-? from the ?-?-?-? , the ? from ??? , and ? from ??????? ).
We allude to our longing for the return of these letters on Pesach night when we read the ???? ????? in the Hagaddah. The word ???? also contains the letters ?-?-?-? and in this portion of the Hagaddah we are asking Hashem to return the letters that we have been longing for so many generations and redeem us from our exile.
These four letters comprise the name of Hashem of ?-?-?-? , and therefore this name represents a yearning for the end of exile, and the letters to go back to their proper places.
This is the message of Ben Zoma. In this case we analyze the first word of his statement ????? . The word ????? is comprised of the letters of the name of ?-?-?-? plus the letter ?. What does the letter ? stand for? It stands for the seven days of the week.
We are supposed to yearn for the coming of the Mashiach, and the end of the exile all day everyday as we say in the Amidah; "?? ??????? ?????
?? ????" -"we hope in your salvation every day". We should long for the redemption and the return of these letters to their rightful place every day.
????? ???? ; the one who yearns for the ?-?-?-? all ?- seven days of the week is truly an ???? - a rich man, and he is focused on his ??? -portion for the upcoming time of Mashiach.
14. The key to financial success is giving charity. The Gemarah says that 10% is obligatory and 20% is praiseworthy. We see this from Yaakov Avinu when he says "whatever Hashem gives me; ??? ?????? I will give a double ten percent (20%) to charity.
Giving twenty percent to charity is a most powerful way to guarantee success in business. This is the advice of Ben Zoma;
????? ???? - how does one become rich?
???? ????? - the word ???? can be rearranged to spell the word ???? - five- (hinting to a fifth). One fifth is twenty percent, and Ben Zoma is teaching that giving a fifth of your portion to Sedaka will guarantee that you become a ???? !
15. The Pasuk says (Mishlei Perek 6 Pasuk 26) "?? ??? ??? ???? ?? ???
???" -"for by means of a harlot a man is brought to a piece of bread". It also says in Mishlei (chapter 29 Pasuk 3) "???? ????? ???? ???" -"he who keeps company with harlots wastes his capitol".
Both these Pesukim teach us that one who is unfaithful, and goes with ????? will forgo all of his wealth until he must resort to begging for bread!
This is also hinted in the commandment ?? ???? -"you shall not covet". The word ???? can be broken up to spell ??-?? -(bread please!), alluding to the fact that one who covets his friends wife, will ultimately beg for bread as the Pesukim in Mishlei describe!
Ben Zoma was exhorting us to be ??? ????? - happy with our ???
our lot- (meaning our wives), and therefore not stray ?''? to immorality thereby forfeiting all of our wealth!
16. There are three "partners" that contribute to the creation of each and every person and they are: Hashem, his father, and his mother. Each partner has an equal ??? -share in a person.
It is written that when someone ?? ????? loses a parent their consolation is that now there are only two partners left (Hashem and his remaining parent). This means that Hashem's share has gone up and the person now has Hashem with them on a more intense level (this is why we often find that after someone loses a loves one they suddenly begin to be drawn closer to religion).
Many times we find a person drawn to certain Misvot that his parents have a special passion for. Whether it be charitable acts, kindness, prayer, community work, etc. One should utilize this feeling of attraction to the
Misvot that his parents excelled in and take it even further than his parents did. He should perpetuate their efforts in the Misvah and this will serve as an eternal merit for them.
This is the message of Ben Zoma.
????? ???? -who is truly wealthy?
???? ????? - one who gives joy to his share )????( . Meaning, one who gives joy to those that have a share in him (referring to his parents). He gives joy to them by excelling in the Misvot that they showed a special enthusiasm for and for this he is considered rich!
17. David Hamelech wrote in Tehilim (116) "??? ?????? ??? ???? ?' ????" -"I will raise a cup of salvation and call upon the name of Hashem". A few Pesukim earlier it says "??? ????? ????, ???? ?' ????" -"I found trouble and sorrow and I called upon the name of Hashem". David Hamelech was teaching us an integral lesson. In times of joy and salvation )??? ?????? ???(
he called onto Hashem in praise )???? ?' ????( .
In times of difficulty and sorrow )??? ????? ????( he would also call onto Hashem )???? ?' ????( - with the same praise!
David Hamelech uses Hashemís name of kindness )????( showing us that in both joyful and in difficult times everything that Hashem does to us is for our absolute good!
This lesson is also learnt from ??? ???? .
We know that Sarah had three miracles that would constantly occur for her. 1) She had a heavenly cloud that hovered above her tent. 2) Her dough was blessed and rose miraculously to produce special satiating bread. 3) The candles she lit for Shabbat stayed lit throughout the week.
These miracles ceased after Sarah passed away, and returned upon Rivkahís arrival to marry Yishak.
The three miracles of Sarah symbolized the concept that whatever a person is experiencing they should know that it is for the best.
How so?
The miracle of the dough alludes to the blessings of this world. Dough and bread represent nourishment and sustenance.
The miracle of the cloud alludes to a lack of clarity, the inability to see the kindness of Hashem as a result of suffering.
The miracle of the light alludes to joy. " "??????? ???? ???? ????? -"to the Jews there was light and joy".
The miracle of light shows us that we must be happy in times represented by the miracle of the clouds (difficult times), and in times represented by the miracle of the dough (times of blessing) and that we must remember that Hashem is our loving father, and is always merciful with us even when we canít understand it.
This will lead a person to have true content with their life. They will have serenity in knowing that "this too is for the good" and is from our father in heaven who only does whatís best for us.
This is the message of Ben Zoma.
????? ???? -who is the truly rich person?
???? ????? - one who is happy with whatever lot is given to him! He does not feel like he is lacking anything. He is always comfortable in knowing that Hashem is watching over him and giving him exactly what he needs!

Parashat Behaalotecha- Rectification is Always Possible
Parashat Naso- Emuna First
Shavuot- Celebrating the Eternal Torah
Shavuot- The Challenge Ė and Rewards Ė of Torah Commitment
Parashat Behar- Experiencing the Sweetness and Delight of Torah
Parashat Emor- Keter Shem Tob 'The Crown of Good Reputation'
Parashat Ahare Mot- Planting Our Spiritual Trees
Parashat Shemini- Respect and Reverence in the Synagogue
Pesah: Redemption Then and Now
Pesah- Its A Mirage
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
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