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Shabbat Morning Class - Parasha Noach

Rabbi Mansour 5771- 2010
Shabbat Morning class
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" ????? ??-???? ???? ???? ???? ??-???? ???? ??? ????"
"And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were
dried up from off the earth"
"????? ?? ????? ???? ????? ???? ???? ??? ??? ?????"
"Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the
face of the ground;"
Noah had sent the raven out of the ark in order to ascertain whether the
ground had dried or not. The raven did not do as he was instructed and instead
circled around the ark. Afterwards Noah sent out the dove. The dove did as it
was instructed and on its second attempt it brought back an olive leaf in its
mouth. This was Noah’s sign that the world was dry and the time had come for
him to leave the ark.
This episode contains a great lesson for all generations. The Midrash
Tanhuma in Parashat Tesaveh says that just as the dove brought light to the
world (the good news it gave to Noah that the world was dry brought "light" and
happiness to Noah) the Jewish people will also bring light to the world by lighting
the Menorah. The Jewish people are compared to the dove as the Pasuk says in
Shir Hashirim: ????? ????? ???? -"my dove in the clefts of the rock". Just as the
dove brought light, so do the Jewish people, and just like the dove brought back
an olive branch, so too the Jewish people will light the Menorah specifically with
olive oil. We see from this Midrash the great ramifications that came about from
the dove loyally following Noah’s instructions and its returning with the olive
We also see mention of the dove in a Gemarah (Shabbat 49A). The
Gemarah writes the story of ????? ??? ????? -"Elisha who had wings". He was
called so on account of the following incident: the Roman government had
issued a decree on the people that banned wearing Tefillin on their heads.
Whoever was caught wearing Tefillin would be killed by having their head
pierced! Elisha defiantly wore his Tefillin in public. A Roman official had spotted
him and began to run after Elisha. When the official was near him, Elisha took
off the Tefillin from his head and covered them in his hands. The official asked
him " ?? ?? ???? "-"what is in your hands?" "The wings of a dove"; Elisha
answered. Sure enough, when Elisha opened his hands there were wings of a
dove inside of them!! This miraculous event is how Elisha earned his name "???
?????" . The Gemarah explains further why Elisha specifically had chosen a dove.
Why not any other bird? The Gemarah explains that the Jewish people are
compared to a dove, since just like a dove has wings to protect it (and Rashi
explains that the wings protect it from the cold) so too the Jewish people have
the Misvot that protect them.
When we analyze this story there are several points that need clarity. Why
did the Romans target specifically the Misvah of Tefillin? There are many other
Misvot that they could have chosen? Why did they specifically ban the Tefillin of
the head? (As it says in the Gemarah Shabbat Daf 130) when it repeats the
story: ?????? ?? ???? ) What about the Tefillin of the arm? What is the deeper
connection between the Misvah of Tefillin and the dove that prompted Elisha to
tell the officer he was holding dove’s wings??
To answer these questions we need to analyze the deeper message of which
the Misvah of Tefillin shel Rosh represents. It says in the Pasuk "???? ?? ???? ??
???? ???????? ??? ?????" -"it shall be for you a sign and "totafot" between your eyes".
The Pasuk in its literal sense is instructing us to put our Tefillin shel Rosh
"between our eyes" yet as we all know, we wear them on our heads, not
between our eyes! The reason for this is that the Rabbis explained that what the
Torah means is for us to place the Tefillin on our heads, even though the
Torah seems to clearly state otherwise! This concept is known as " ?? ?? ???
????? ????? ??? ?? ?????" "the rabbis have the ability to "uproot" something from
the Torah".
The Tefillin shel Rosh is the primary example of the Rabbis ability to explain
the Torah as they see fit - even when it seems to conflict with what the Torah
actually says!! The Torah was the blueprint of creation. The Rabbis "control" the
Torah and they therefore control the creation and its "nature".
[For example: the Halacha says that if the virginity of a girl under 3 years old is
broken it will grow back. The question arises during a leap year in which there is
an extra month added to the calendar and a girl is under 3 only because of the
extra month added (for example if a girls birthday is on the first of Nissan and
the month prior to Nissan [Adar] is doubled that the girl is really 36 months old
on Rosh Hodesh Adar 2, and when her birthday arrives on Rosh Hodesh Nissan
she will be 37 months old). Does her virginity grow back if it is broken during the
time just before her birthday? After all, she is already 36 months old and
physically the same as a girl in a normal situation in which there is no leap year!
Still the Halacha is that if she did not yet have her third birthday her virginity will
grow back - even though she is older than 36 months. How is this possible??
How could the physical make up of a girl’s body change based on if it is a leap
year or not?? It is from the Rabbis. When the Rabbis proclaim a leap year they
actually change the physical functions of the body.
Another example is from a story of the Chazon Ish. There was once a man
who approached the Chazon Ish to get advice on where he should receive a
certain medical procedure. The Chazon Ish advised him to do the procedure in
Israel and to be careful not to have it done outside of Israel. "Why specifically in
Israel"? asked the man. The Chazon Ish explained that his symptom was similar
to one that is discussed in Halacha regarding an animal. The Rama and Bet
Yosef disagree in a case of an animal with the same disease that this man had.
Maran’s opinion was that the animal is kosher; since the animal will continue to
live (an animal is kosher only if at the time it was slaughtered it was healthy
enough to live). The Rama said the animal is not kosher since it has a ??? ???
and is due to die. The Chazon Ish explained to the man that since Israel was the
city of Bet Yosef (whose opinion was that the animal with a similar problem
would live). The Rama however, was from outside of Israel and his opinion was
that an animal with a similar problem will not live. Based on this Machloket,
depending on where you are will determine the Halacha, and that will determine
the way this man is judged in the heaven!! Therefore the Chazon Ish advised the
man to stay in Israel where the Halacha was that he would live!!
We also find that when Moshe came to split the sea for the Jews, the sea
refused, stating that since it was older than Moshe it did not have to listen to
him, until finally Hashem demanded that it split. There is a story in the Gemarah
of Rabbi Pinhas ben Yair who once was traveling and wanted to cross a river so
he simply split it and crossed! He subsequently realized that he forgot
something, so he split it again! Why is it that Moshe had such a "hard time"
splitting the sea but R’ Pinhas did it seemingly with ease? The answer is that
Moshe split the sea before Matan Torah, before the Rabbis were given control of
the Torah and the nature of the world, but Rabbi Pinhas split the river after
Matan Torah and by that time the Rabbis had the control over nature so it was
"no big deal" to split it several times!
Another example is when Yehoshua was fighting a war and it was getting
close to Shabbat he stopped the sun in its place! There are many other
examples that illustrate this concept.]
This explains the Pasuk :
"???? ???? ?? ??? ??????? ??? ????? ???? ???? ???? ?' ????"
"It will be for you a sign for your arm and a remembrance between your
eyes so that Hashem’s torah should be in your mouth".
The Tefillin shel Rosh is the symbol of the Rabbis power through the ????
???? ?? -the oral Torah, to explain the written Torah as they see fit! This is why it
says the Tefillin will cause Hashem’s Torah to be - ???? "in your mouth"; it will
give power to the "Torah of your mouth"- meaning, the oral Torah! It will be the
primary example of the strength of the oral Torah .???? ???? ??
The Torah is comprised entirely of the names of Hashem. Before the world
was created the Torah was straight names of Hashem, but when Hashem gave
the Torah he rearranged his holy names to spell the words of the Torah as we
know it. The Rabbis have "control" over the interpretation of the Torah and the
holy names hinted in it. This is what the Pasuk means; " -"?????? ?? ????? ???
"those that know your name trust you". The rabbis "know your name" meaning
they know the Torah which is full of Hashem’s names. It also says (in the Birkat
Hatorah) " ????? ?????... ???? ????? ??? " "We should know your name". We pray
that we should know Hashem’s name, meaning we should know the Torah
which is full Hashem’s names.
With this we understand the Gemarah that explains the Pasuk:
"???? ?? ??? ???? ?? ?? ?' ???? ???? ????? ???"
?' ?????? ????? ???? ??? ?????? ?????.
"The nations will see that you are called by the name of Hashem and they will
fear you". Rabbi Eliezer Hagadol says: this is referring to the Tefillin Shel Rosh.
They will fear you when they see you are wearing your Tefillin shel Rosh.
It is this control of the Torah and the control over nature that the Goyim fear
most! As the Pasuk says; they will see "' ?? ? "-"the name of Hashem" on you
and fear you. They will see the Tefillin shel Rosh that represent the example of
the Rabbis control over the Torah (which is referred to as the "names of
Hashem") and this therefore represents the rabbi’s control over the nature of the
entire world, and that is why they will be afraid of us!!
We now understand why the Romans targeted the Misvah of Tefillin Shel
Rosh. (The Tefillin shel Yad was under the shirt and could not be seen as it says
???? ?? ????" "-"they shall be for you a sign") It was only the Tefillin Shel Rosh
that represented the Rabbis control of the world. This frightened them and they
therefore chose specifically to try and stop the people from fulfilling this Misvah.
Why the dove? What is the unique connection between the Misvah of
Tefillin and the dove?
The answer lies in the story of the raven and the dove in our Parasha.
Noah instructed the raven to leave the ark and go check if the earth had
dried. The Gemarah Sanhedrin 108b explains that the raven protested saying:
"maybe I will get burnt or maybe I will freeze! The world will then be without my
The real concern of the raven was that Hashem had not instructed Noah
to send him out. Noah was acting on his own accord. The raven lacked faith in
Noah the Sadik. The raven represents the literalists that only do "what it says in
the books". They understand the Torah literally and they wear their Tefillin
between their eyes. The raven was concerned because Hashem never
instructed Noah to send him, meaning this was something that Noah, not
Hashem is commanding! The raven therefore refused, it was afraid that since
Hashem did not give this command, it would not be protected from the elements!
It lacked faith in Noah and therefore represented a lack in ????? ????? -"belief in
the rabbis". The Raven did not believe in the concept of ?? ?? ??? ????? ?????
??? ?? ????? -"The rabbis have the ability to "uproot" something from the Torah".
The dove however, represents the exact opposite. The dove faithfully
carried out its mission without questioning Noah. It represents ????? ????? , trust
in the ???? , and trust in the power over the Torah that the ?????? have. This is
why Rashi (mentioned above in the Gemarah of the story of Elisha) explains that
the wings of the dove protect it "from the cold". The dove represents the
opposite of the raven who was afraid "of the cold".
This explains the Pasuk in Mishlei: " "???? ????? ???? ??? ???? ???? ???? ???
"Thorns and traps are in the way of the perverse; he who guards his soul shall
be far from them". ???? ????? also mean "cold and heat". The excuses of cold
and heat are ??? ??? "way of the crooked". They are the excuses of the raven
that represents the crookedness of the literalists who do not believe in the rabbis
and their power.
The Gemarah in Megillah (24b) categorizes anyone who wears Tefillin between
their eyes as "Minim" (non believers). Rashi explains that this is because they
belittle the words of the rabbis. We see from this Gemarah and Rashi how grave
the sin is of straying from the laws of the rabbis represented in the Tefillin Shel
The reform and conservative movements both began from the people deviating
slightly from the words of the rabbis, and we see how unfortunate the results!
This is why Elisha chose the dove as the bird who he claimed to have in
his hand. It was the dove that stood for the ????? ????? and that is the same
thing that the Tefillin shel Rosh represents.
This also explains the deeper connection between the Jews and the
dove. The Midrash said that " just like the dove brought light, so will the Jews
light the Menorah". The Menorah stands for the light of the Torah, as it says;
???? ?? ????" ". (This is why if someone wants wisdom he should turn slightly to
the south when he prays the Amidah, because the Menorah was positioned in
the south and the Menorah represents the wisdom of the Torah. If he wants
wealth he should turn to the north, because the Shulhan that contained the
bread was to the north and bread represents wealth. Hacham Baruch A’h
advised to pray Shaharit to the south then Minhah to the north) The Menorah
stands for the light and the wisdom of the Torah and the light of the Torah
comes from the Rabbis who explain it. This is why the Menorah is connected to
the loyal dove which represents the adherence to the Torah of the Rabbis.
The Gemarah says that you need a ??? ??? -"a clean body" when you wear
the Tefillin just like Elisha. We now understand the message of the Gemarah.
The written Torah is housed by its parchment. The oral Torah is "housed" by the
mouth and body. The Gemarah in Eiruvin 53b mentions a story about Beruria,
the wife of R’ Meir, who once witnessed a student studying silently. She berated
him based on a Pasuk in ????? from which we learn one has to learn Torah with
his entire body. The Maharasha explains that the way a person learns with his
entire body is by learning ???? -with a loud voice. When we learn with a loud
voice our entire body gets involved. We see from here that the "home" of the
???? ???? ?? is our bodies! This is why the Gemarah said that for Tefillin one
needs a "clean body". It is a clean body that is needed to house the oral Torah
which the Tefillin and the story of Elisha represent!
This is the meaning of what the Roman officer asked Elisha " "?? ?? ????
(literally; what is in your hand)? Meaning; how do you have the courage to don
the Tefillin and connect to the ???? ???? ?? , even in the face of our decree?!
Elisha responded; "the wings of a dove". It is through the lesson of the dove that
we learn the belief in the ?????? , and the ability to self sacrifice, to fulfill whatever
it is that is commanded to us by the Rabbis! It is the implicit belief in the Sadikim
and their connection to Hashem, and their ability to dictate the very nature of the
world that is integral to our serving Hashem, and connecting to the light of the
Torah and this will enable us to earn the title "the nation compared to the dove".

Succot: Celebrating Hashem’s Love
Parashat Vayelech: Transforming the Curse Into a Blessing
Rosh Hashana- A Time to Stop Making Excuses
Parashat Ki-Tabo: Harnessing Our Innate Creative Drive
Parashat Ki-Teseh: Emuna and Honesty
Parashat Shoftim- Judging Ourselves
Parashat Re'eh: True Passion for Torah
Parashat Ekeb- Reaping the Fruits of Our Misvot
Parashat Vaet'Hanan: The Consolation of Shabbat Nahamu
Parashat Debarim: Believing That Our “Limp” Will Heal
Parashat Matot: Sincerely for the Sake of G-d
Parashat Pinhas: What Did Pinhas See?
Parashat Balak: The Story of Bilam as a Lesson in Emuna
Parashat Hukat: Avoiding Conflict – the Ultimate Good
Parashat Korah: Elevating Ourselves
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