Friday, May 12, 2017

פּרשׁת אמוֹר

פּרשׁת אמוֹר:

One who mocks the poor is scorning his Maker’ (Mishlei 17:5).  

The Gemara states that one who comes within four amos (cubits) of a grave must hide their Tzitzis, lest they “mock” the dead, who cannot perform the Mitzvah.

~~(Now, you might be wondering how the Gemara is speaking of scorning the dead, when the verse quoted is speaking of a poor person:  But actually, a poor person is, in some way, likened to a dead person; see Gemara Nedarim 64b.  Of course, though, this should not be taken as meaning that they are really dead at all, Chas V'Shalom.  But the comparison is made.)~~

Explains the Alter of Slobodka (HaRav Nosson Tzvi Finkel zt”l); imagine we are going to Daven at the graves of Tzaddikim (righteous people).  We are certainly free of any thoughts of scorning them!  And yet our Chachamim (Sages) still ordered us to hide our Tzitzis!

How much more so, says the Alter, when we walk among the living -- who are sensitive to every nuance of another’s behavior towards them -- should we take care not to cause them any shame or embarrassment, for we would thereby be scorning our Maker. (Quoted in Sparks of Mussar; p. 163).


My dear brothers and sisters!  Now, as we read about the Omer in this Parsha – also and live in it --  let us think about and meditate upon why it is sad!  Is it not mainly because Rabbi Akiva zt”l’s students did not treat each other with the proper respect?

But let us now all look at ourselves -- perhaps we are guilty of that transgression.  Perhaps we have treated others without respect!  

The Omer was originally a very joyous time!  In fact, the Ramban zt”l says that it was like a Chol HaMoed.  

Just think about that:  Such a joyous, special time…… and it became very sad because of…… Jews not treating each other with the proper honor and respect.  That is what great destruction strife and the like can cause.


But now, B'Ezras Hashem, I would like to go further:  Our Gedolim tell us that, in Egypt, the Jews had deteriorated to the 49th level of impurification.  And then, as we know, HaKadosh Baruch Hu, in His Great Kindness, took us out from there.  The Omer was the period of time, they explain, in which the Jews got purified and prepared to go up to Har Sinai to receive the Torah.  (7 weeks for the 49 levels).  That was the time of sanctification and purification.

And then; as we came to Har Sinai, the Torah says (in Parshas Yisro): ‘ויחן שׁם ישׂראל נגד ההר’ -- ‘And Israel encamped there, opposite the Mountain’.  

Comments Rashi HaKadosh from Mechilta: “Like one man with one heart……” (He derives this, it is explained, from the fact that the verse uses the singular form of the word – ‘ויחן’).

At Har Sinai, when we were ready to accept the Torah, we were together.  We were ready, as one people, as one family, to receive the Torah from our Father in Heaven.


How will we turn the Omer back into a happy time?  The above is the answer:  By returning to how we improved on the very first Omer:  We really tried to improve ourselves, and we reached Achdus (oneness).  

If the Omer is sad mainly because of a lack of oneness -- then if we can, with the Help of Hashem, treat others better, and show them more respect, thus bringing oneness; it will not only turn the Omer back to a happy time, but it will bring Mashiach speedily in our days, may Hashem will so, Amein Vi’Amein.

A Gut Shabbos to all!

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