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Shabbat Morning Class - Parasha Vayishlach

Rabbi Mansour 2011 ???? ???? ?' ??? ???? ?? ???? ?? ?' ????? ???
Shabbat Morning Class
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One of the highlight of this weekís Parasha is the battle between Yaakob and the guardian angel of Eisav. Yaakob successfully defeated the angel, however the angel was able to deal Yaakob a blow to his Gid Hanashe (the sciatic nerve located at the point where the leg and thigh meet). As a result of this blow, the Torah forbids consumption of an animalís Gid Hanashe for all future generations.
Can it be that the only reason for the prohibition of Gid Hanashe is that it happened to be the spot where Yaakob got hit? Had Yaakob gotten hit in a different body part, would that spot have been forbidden instead?!
There is obviously a deeper understanding to the prohibition of the Gid Hanashe, and to why the angel struck Yaakob in specifically that spot.
In this Shiur we try and uncover some of the depth behind the prohibition of eating the Gid Hanashe.
We begin with a lesson from the ??? ???? ?????? . He writes in his sefer (the Sefer in which he provides over 250 explanations of Moshe Rabeinuís prayer to Hashem of ?????? ) in explanation 47 that there is a place where impurity resides, and it is from this place that wicked people such as Eisav and Lavan come from. It is to this place that the Kelipot go to receive nourishment. This place is called; "??? ?????? ??????" -"the southeast corner" and it resembles a "closed box".
This "??? ?????? ??????" is also notable for being the "corner" from where the Parnasah and sustenance comes from (apparently the Kelipot try to draw from the source of sustenance). We see this hinted in several places, one of them being the opening paragraph of Birkat Hamazon. We praise Hashem for providing nourishment for us "??? ???? ???????" -"with
grace (alt; free and undeserving like the word ???? ), with kindness, and mercy".
??? -unadulterated kindness- always stands for the right side.
??? -undiluted strict judgment- always stands for the left side.
????? - (mercy) is a combination of the two- not too overly kind, but not too strict- stands for the middle.
Thus, ??? is right, ??? is left, and ????? is in the middle.
When we pray the Amidah we face east thereby making east our middle point. To our right would be ??? , to our left would be ??? , and the center-???? that we are facing would be ????? .
The Birkat Hamazon shows us that the sustenance and nourishment from Hashem comes from "??? ??????" . ????? as mentioned would be the center (east) - the direction in which we pray the Amidah- and ??? would be to the right of it. The direction that is to the right of east is south.
Therefore ??? ????? stand for the "southeast", and we mention it in the Birkat Hamazon because that is the area from where the sustenance emanates from.
We also find a hint to the southeast cornerís connection to Parnasah from the words of the holy Arizal in his ??? ?????? . He discusses various Kavanot for the words "???? ?? ???" found in Ashrei. One of the Kavanot is a name of Hashem that is seen from the last letters of "???? ?? ???" the name ??? (lit. "To cut"). The Arizal says that this name, is a name of Hashem that is associated with Parnasah, and that it also equals 2x the word ??? (??? =214 and 214x2-428, ??? =428). ??? means direction. What did the Arizal mean by saying that this name representing Parnasah equals the word ??? -direction twice?! The depth of what the Arizal was referring to were these two directions of south and east, that together form "southeast"-
?????? ??????" ", and it is from there that the Parnasah represented by the name ??? comes from!
In order to better understand the significance of the southeast corner, we turn to the words of the holy Rav Tzvi Elimelech Shapiro in his Sefer
???? ???? he explains that there are two instances in the entire Torah in which a letter is written larger and bolder than its surrounding letters. This is the ? of the Pasuk )????? ??? ?' ???? ?'( "??? ????? ?' ?????? ?' ???" , and
the other one is the ? of the Pasuk )???? ??? ??' ???? ??'( "?? ?? ?????? ???
???" ("you shall not bow to another god").
Why are these two letters the only oversized letters written in the Torah? The simple explanation is that the ? and ? in Torah script are very similar and can easily be confused (the difference between them is that the ? is a little higher in its corner). Since theses two Pesukim represent the basic obligation to recognize the oneness of Hashem, any confusion between the ? and ? in these Pesukim would be catastrophic. If we would accidentally read ??? ????? ?' ????? ?' ??? )?'?( it would mean ??? - a "different" Hashem- Chas Veshalom.
If we would read the other Pasuk: ( ?????? ??? ???- )?'? ?? ??
It would mean: "do not bow to the one G-d" (Chas Veshalom).
Both readings of the Pesukim would be blasphemous! Therefore the Sofer writes these letters ? and ? big and bold, so that the reader can clearly identify the letter and not ?'? make this mistake.
The ???? ???? explains a deeper reason why these two letters are written large.
He explains that the idol worship mentioned in the Pasuk does not necessarily mean only bowing or worshipping an idol. It can also manifest itself in ways that even observant Jews can fall prey to!
How is this possible?
If a Jew does a Misvah but he does this Misvah with ulterior motives such as a desire for honor, money, or fame, he is actually worshipping the ulterior motive by doing the Misvah, instead of worshipping Hashem!! The Rabbi even lists reasons why this form of "idol worship" is worse than outright idol worship!
This is a startling lesson that teaches us, that we must delve into our psyche when we do Misvot in order to make sure that we are doing them purely for the sake of Hashem, to serve him whole heartedly, and not because we seek honor or attention from others!
On the other hand there are times that it is just the opposite. There are certain situations in which one is required to commit what seems like an Aveirah, and is against the Torah, and for him it is considered a great
Misvah! For example, when a person is faced with a danger of life - ????
??? - on Shabbat he is required to violate Shabbat to save the life, and if he refuses to "violate" the Shabbat he is actually committing a great transgression!
When a man sees a woman drowning but refuses to save her because he doesnít want to "violate" the laws by touching her, he is actually acting foolishly, and by not violating the law he is transgressing the Torah! By not saving her he is called a murderer!
There is a story in the Gemarah of a Jew who would pose as a Goy in order to infiltrate the non Jewish government and advocate on behalf of the Jews. He would pose as a Goy by wearing a four cornered garment, without putting Tsisit on it. At first glance this seems like a blatant transgression, but upon further analyzation we see that it actually was a great Misvah since by doing so he saved many Jews!
This is a balance that every Jew must have. He must know when a Misvah can really be an Aveirah, (ex; when done for the wrong reasons) and when an Aveirah can really be a Misvah (ex; saving a life)!
This balance of Misvah-Aveirah, Aveirah-Misvah is why the Torah wrote the ? and ? oversized. A person can easily confuse the ? of ??? for a ? of ??? . Meaning, he can easily confuse a Misvah (represented by the word ??? from the Pasuk ??? ????? ) for an Aveirah (represented by the word ??? from the Pasuk ?? ?? ?????? ) and vice versa based on the situations that he finds himself in.
The Torah therefore wrote these two letters larger than the others, in order to symbolize to us that we must by overly cautious of our actions, to make sure that our Misvot truly are Misvot, and to only refrain from Aveirot that are truly Aveirot!
This is why, when after the Jews accepted the Torah at Sinai and fifty days later they worshipped the golden calf, Hashem told Moshe ?? ?? (lit; "go down"), because your nation is corrupt. The word ?? is ?-? . Hashem was telling Moshe, that it is because the Jews have confused the ? and the ? that they have sinned!
In addition the Midrash writes that Hashem told Moshe ?? ?? -go down "???????" -"from your greatness". ?????? is from the word ???? meaning
greater or higher. The letters ?-? were written higher )????( than the others, but today it is as if they have been lowered )??( . They have been confused with one another resulting in sin.
What is the origin and source of the confusion between the ? and the ?? It is as a result of the sin of Adam eating from the Eitz Hadaat. As a result of this sin, it is easy for us to confuse the ? and ? and to know right from wrong.
This is hinted in the curse that Hashem gave Adam after he committed the sin. Hashem cursed Adam; "???? ????? ????? ??" (lit; thorns and thistles shall sprout [in the field]). The word ???? is comprised of the letters ?-?,?-? alluding to the punishment, that we now can easily confuse the ? and ? of the Pesukim. In addition, the difference between the numerical value of ? and ? is 196 (?=200 and ?=4. 200- 4=196). The word ??? equals 196. Hashem told Adam; "??? ????? ????? ??" , ??? (196) - the difference between ? and ?- and ???? (the confusion of letters) "????? ?? "- will sprout. (Also, the part of the ? that is elevated and makes it recognizable from the ? is called the "???" , showing us that the ??? -the difference between the ??-?? and the doubts that will arise between them will be ????? ?? -they will be increased). As a result of the sin of Adam, the difference between the letters, and the line between right and wrong will be blurred.
The Gemarah (Eiruvin 13A) tells of how Rabi Meir used to write Sifrei Torah, and would use a special coating for the ink called ??????? (a type of vitriol) to "seal" the ink, and prevent it from running. The Gemarah writes that Rabi Meir was: "???? ????? ??? ????? ??? ????? ????? ???? ????? ??? ?????
??? ???" . He used this sealant because he was "concerned maybe a fly would land on the tip of the ? and thereby erase the tip, and then the ?
would look like a ?!
It is no coincidence that the two letter Rí Meir was afraid of us confusing were the ? and the ?! As explained, these are the two letters we must strive throughout our lives not to confuse!
Why did Rí Meir worry about a ???? -a fly- smudging the letters, why not any other flying creature??
Rí Meir was hinting to us a major force in the confusion between Misvot and Aveirot )?-?( .
This is the force of Amalek.
The evil nation of Amalek seeks to blur the line, and to constantly confuse us and put doubt into our minds about our actions. The numerical value of the name ???? is 146, and it is the same numerical value as the word ??? -doubt.
We are instructed to eradicate Amalek, and the doubts they represent. Hashem instructed Moshe regarding the destruction of Amalek (Shemot chapter 17 Pasuk 14) "??? ??? ????? ???? ???? ????? ??????" -"write this for a memorial in a book and recite it in the ears of Yehoshua". That he will completely wipe out the remembrance of Amalek. The first letters of the words "????? ???? ???? ?????" spell the word ???? -fly. Rí Meir was hinting to the force that tries to make the ? into a ?- the Misvot into Aveirot- the force of Amalek. This is why he used the example of a fly )????( !
We also find that the Pasuk writes regarding Amalek (two Pesukim later) that Hashem will fight Amalek " ??? ?? " ("from generation to generation"). Hashem will fight Amalek on account of what they try and do to the ?-? .
It was Rí Meir that was uniquely concerned for this confusion of Misvot and Aveirot, because Rí Meir witnessed his Rebbi, Elisha ben Avuyah stray off the path of Torah as a result of this confusion, and it is no coincidence that after he strayed he was referred to as ??? , because he had mistakenly "turned the ??? into "??? !
How does all this tie into the southeast corner that we spoke of above??
The explanation is that it is precisely in the south east corner where this confusion between ? and ? exists! When we look at the letter ? written in the Torah, the top right corner of the letter is where the ??? -the tip of the ?- is located, and it is this tip that differentiates it from the ?. If there is
confusion in the tip located in the top right corner, then there is confusion between the ? and ?.
The right corner is the southeast corner! (As mentioned above the center is east, and to the right of it is south, this makes the right corner the "southeast" corner!) It is this corner that the Kelipot attack. They try to have an effect on this corner in order to make it unclear to us whether itís a ? or ?
Ė whether an act is right or wrong- and it is from here that the wicked people emanate from!
Now, how does all this shed light on the depth of the prohibition of eating the Gid Hanashe??
The explanation is that there is a part of the body that corresponds to this "southeast corner". This body part is none other than the Gid Hanashe! The right leg of the person is like the "leg" of a ? (we find several references in the Gemarah to the "leg" of a ?-meaning its vertical line). If we envision the leg of Yaakob as the leg of the ?, and the midsection of Yaakob as the "roof" of the ? (the horizontal line above the "leg" of the ?), then the ??? of the ?, the top right corner, would be just above the spot where the leg and midsection meet. This is exactly the spot of the Gid Hanashe! It is just above the corner where the right leg and midsection meet on the side of the leg, and it is the exact spot of the southeast corner of the imaginary "?" of the body!
This is why the Satan targeted that spot! He was symbolizing his desire to attack this southeast corner, the source of sustenance and Parnasah, and to confuse us by clouding our clarity of the ? and ? between ??? and ??? , between Misvah and Aveirah!
It is for this reason that this part of the animalís body remains prohibited to us. We stay away from it, not to associate in any way to the impurity that resides in the southeast corner, and the Gid Hanashe is the southeast corner of the animalís body.
With this we understand many Pesukim in the Torah that mention the "legs" of a person.
The Pasuk says by Yaakob, when he was on his way to live with his wicked uncle Lavan (Bereshit chapter 29 Pasuk 1) " "???? ???? ???? lit; "Yaakob lifted his legs".
Why does the Pasuk use such dramatic terminology? It should have just said; "he went"! Isnít it obvious that he lifted his legs in order to walk?!
The understanding is that we recite the ????? ??? - which firmly solidifies our faith in Hashem- twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening (from the Torah, itís only twice a day ????? ?????? when we "arise and lay down"). Thus the ??? of the Shema is said twice a day, and we must have the ??? (representing the proper performance of Misvot as mentioned) firmly ingrained in our hearts.
Yaakob "lifted his legs", meaning he took his two ?ís (as mentioned the leg of a man corresponds to the leg of the ?) he took the two ??? ís of the Shema, and with this firm belief he went to face his wicked uncle Lavan.
The Pasuk ends by saying; that Yaakob arrived- "???? ??? ???" -"to the land of the people of the east" - a reference to the land of Lavan.
Why does the Pasuk call Lavanís town "??? ??? "?
The word ??? stands for "??? ?????? ??????" (the southeast corner). Yaakob was heading for the Tumah of Lavan, and the Tumah of the southeast corner, and he girded himself with his two "legs"- his Emunah represented by the two ?ís of the ??? ís of Shema Yisrael!
This also gives us and understanding, what the ???? ????? meant when he said that the Tumah of the ??? ?????? ?????? -southeast corner- is " ????? ?????? " (lit; "a square piece"). The word ????? also means to "slice". If we slice a square box diagonally into two we create two ?ís, . He was hinting that it is these two ?ís from the two ??? ís of the two daily Shema Yisrael that help protect us from this Tumah!
Interestingly, when ???? ???? attempted to curse the Jews he instead blessed them, and in his blessing (Bamidbar chapter 23 Pasuk 7) he mentioned that Balack the king of Moav brought him from Aram, from "???? ??? " the "mountains of the east". Again we see mention of the word ??? that stands for ??? ?????? ?????? , the southeast corner. Balack had
asked for Bilaamís help, because he knew that Bilaam was from ??? - ???
?????? ?????? and Balack was hoping that this impurity would be able to defeat the Jews.
When Bilaam was on his way to Balack he had an argument with his donkey, and where did his donkey injure him? In his legs! The donkey was showing Bilaam that he would fail in his attack on the legs (the ?ís) of the Jews!
We also find that Avraham had a wife called ????? and he had children from her. The Pasuk says (Bereshit chapter 25 Pasuk 6) that Avraham sent them "?? ??? ??? " (to the east). Rashi explains on this Pasuk that Avraham gave them a "?? ?????" -"a name of Tumah" (why Avraham would give them a name of Tumah is another topic). Again we see the association between ??? - )??? ?????? ??????( and ????? impurity.
We see from all of the above the great depth behind every commandment of the Torah, and how we must scrutinize all of our actions to make sure that they are ??? ???? without any trace of personal honor from our Misvot.
May we always have clarity between our ? and ?ís, and perceive what is truly right and wrong thereby leading a life of Torah and blessing. Amen.

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