Parshas Vayeira English2013

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    Shalosh Seudos1ofParshas Vayeira 5767

    " ' ".

    And Hashem appeared to him by in Elonei Mamre, as he sat in the tent door in

    the heat of the day.2

    Rashiexplains:And Hashem appeared to himHashem came to visit the ill.3 Rabbi

    Chama bar Chanina taught that it was the third (and most painful) day after Avrahams

    bris, and Hashem came to ask after his welfare. In Elonei MamreiMamre was the

    one who had advised Avraham to go through with the circumcision, and it was to honor

    him that Hashem appeared to Avraham on his property.

    TheMochin that Descend at the Time ofMilah

    Bris milah comprises three stages: the milah itself which is the cutting, thepriyah which is the exposure of the corona, and hatafas dam which is the drawing of the

    blood. The Arizalwrites that each of these three stages reveals one of the three mochin,

    or mentalities. The milah reveals the mochin ofBinah / Understanding, through the

    mohel. Priyah, reveals the mochin ofChochmah/ Wisdom through the infants father.

    Hatafas dam reveals the highest mochin ofKesserthrough the sandek, the person who

    has been honored with the holding of the child during the circumcision. This last aspect

    is alluded to in the verse, "e k de z , k d e,

    d k"... ...And one that was ancient of days did sit: his raiment was as white snow,and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne...

    4[The custom is to seek out an

    1 The lesson was delivered at the third meal of Shabbos.2Bereishis 18:13Bava Metzia 864Daniel 7:9

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    elder tzaddik for the special honor of being the sandak who serves as a throne on

    which the bris is performed.]

    The Vilna Gaon taught that these mochin are not only associated with the

    masculine aspect ofZeir Anpin (the lower six sefiros from Chessedto Yesod), they are

    also from the feminine aspect of Nukvah (Malchus, but nukvah literally means

    feminine). The feminine aspect possesses two doors, which take the form of two

    dalets.5 [The womb is likened to a final mem, a chamber, that has hinges so that its

    doors (the literal meaning ofdalet) can open to release the child at birth.] This is thelesson of the sealed final mem )( that appears out of place in the verse "

    ) a ( e n - " That the rule may be increased and of never-

    ending peace...6

    When the doors are opened, the child is born. The two doors and the

    child itself parallel the three elements of the bris, and the two doors themselves

    symbolize Moshiach ben Yosef and Moshiach ben Dovid. They are the two main

    preliminaries before the birth of the child, the soul of Moshe Rabbeinu, the faithful

    shepherd. The verse says: " i e" That which was, is what willbe...

    7

    The acronym formed by the initials of the phrase is Moshe Rabbeinubecause our first redeemer will also be our final redeemer.8

    Our sages taught that the universe was created because Hashem desired for

    Himself a dwelling-place in the lower worlds.9 This is the inner meaning of the

    phrase, " k- " As the days of heaven upon the earth...10 The

    days of heaven are meant to infiltrate the earththe absolute nadir of creation.

    Hashem wants His people to be G-dly as well, that each of us should come to the level

    of Moshe the man of G-d and be a nation of prophets. The Torah commands us:

    "e z k' " Be holy, for I, Hashem your G-d, am

    5Taamei HaMitzvos, Ki Teitzei; Likutei Moharan II:4;Bechoros 45a;6Yeshayah 9:67Koheles 1:98Shaar Haleshem I:12:1; Tikkunei Zohar69:131a9Midrash Tanchuma, Parshas Naso10Devarim 11:21

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    holy.11

    The Alshich explains that the verse comes to teach us that every single Jew

    must come to the level of holyofruach hakodesh, which is the spirit of prophecy.

    The fact remains, however, that the divided nature of this world makes it difficult for a

    person to be like a ladder standing on the ground whose top reached to the heavens

    and cleave to Hashem.12 Even so, since it is Hashem desire to dwell here, with us, in this

    lower world, He sent down three lofty soulsMoshiach ben Yosef, Moshiach ben

    Dovid, and Moshe Rabbeinuwho light the way for us to cleave to our Creator as we

    should. By following their illuminated path, we too can transform our bodies and soulsinto a dwelling place for the Shechinah. These are the three elements ofmilah.

    Moshiach ben Yosef, Moshiach ben Dovid, and Moshe / Moshiach

    The main impediment to our cleaving properly to Hashem is the divided and

    distracting nature of this physical world. Our problem stems from the fact that we are

    not constantly preoccupied with the spiritual work of Moshiach ben YosefTorah

    study, the contemplation of Divine Names, and effecting supernal unificationswhich

    has the power to purify and refine a persons vision. Both the Ramak and the Baal

    HaLeshem taught that the beginning of spiritual growth lies in the refinement of his

    body and soul through meditation upon the holy sheimos. All the while that a person is

    preoccupied with thoughts about all the worldly things and events that surround him, he

    will not be able to properly connect with his Creator. It is for this reason that Moshiach

    ben Yosef draws the hidden light of the Torahs inner dimension down into the Jewish

    people, to purify them so that they will be able to advance spiritually.

    Moshiach ben Dovid, represented by the second dalet, then draws down into the

    Jewish people the awareness that this work of contemplating the Divine Names is still

    insufficient. Rather, they must come to cleave to Hashems Infinite Lighta level that

    is beyond all Names and attributes, which is akin to absolute , or nothingness. While

    the soul of Moshiach ben Yosef is rooted in the sefirah ofChochmah/ Wisdom, whose

    11Vayikra 19:212Bereishis 28:12

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    nature is contemplative, the soul of Moshiach ben Dovid is rooted in Binah /

    Understanding, which extends up to the level ofArich Anpin or Kesser/ Crown. The

    level of Kesser, or of , is where one never loses sight of Hashems absolute

    existence, and that, in truth, nothing exist besides Him. Even when a person is

    contemplating the Divine Names, he must bind his thoughts with the overarching

    awareness of Hashems absolute existence, that He is One, Alone, and Uniquethis

    is the meaning of the recitation ofShema. Hear, Yisrael, Hashem our G-d, Hashem is

    One.

    13

    In order to give birth to the third and highest elementthe child itself, the

    soul of Moshe Rabbeinuone must open the two doors of the two redeemers by

    following in their respective paths. Doing so clears the way for the light of Moshe

    Rabbeinu, which is light of the lofty level of Divine awareness that will exist in the

    ultimate future, can descend to the world. The manifestation of this level of awareness,

    where, The world will be permeated with knowledge of G-d, like water covers the

    seabed, will occur when Moshiach ben Dovid receives a special additional aspect of

    soul, which is a spark of the soul of Moshe Rabbeinu. This is how Hashem will have adwelling place in the lower worldswhen this lofty level of awareness will be able to

    descend into the lower strata of our existence. At first, when a person is still in the

    Moshiach ben Yosef state of contemplation, he is unable to draw down this lofty level

    of awareness. However, once he reaches the level of Moshiach ben Dovid, where he

    realizes that there is no true existence outside of Hashem, it is possible for him to draw

    the awareness of Moshe Rabbeinu down.

    This principle is encapsulated by the acronym formed by the phrase, " " [In the beginning, Hashem created] the heavens and the earth.

    14

    The initials of the phrase form the Name EHYeHI will bethe Name associated

    withDaas / Knowledge [and Hashems revelation to the Jewish people through Moshe

    Rabbeinu just before the exodus]. The phrase alludes to the fact that this lofty level of

    13Devarim 6:414Bereishis 1:1

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    awareness is only accessible when a person exists both in the heavens and on the

    earth. In this state, the existence of the material world does not serve as an impediment

    to Divine awareness; quite the contrary, it brings the person to ascend and contemplate

    yichudim at an even higher level. This is what is meant by uplifting the creation to its

    Source.

    Naturally, the first step to this level is focusing on looking at things that are

    spiritually edifying, like the faces oftzaddikim, etc. But the main way in which this is

    accomplished is by spreading the light of the Torah throughout the worlds, because allof material existence is really animated by the Torahs holy letters. When the Torah

    says, And the spirit ofElokim hovered over the waters, the sages taught, This is the

    spirit of Moshiach that hovers over the facets of the Torah. This is the