Weekly Cycle

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Talmud Studies


(Work in Progress)


Brachot 2

Creation, Mitzvot, as well as the history of the Jewish people and our forefathers, starts at night, when we are a state of darkness and confusion (Mochin d’Katnut, relying on our Emunah and Mesiras Nefesh (Sh’mah).

Once we experience the night and then the day (and an explanation for both are given to us), we bless the day and also bless the night.

The Talmud also teaches us various ways in which to serve Hashem.

The main halacha is like the Kohanim at the time they purified and ready to eat holy food, with Zrizut.

Another way is to serve Him as a poor person, yet another is like someone experiencing Shabat.

Yet another is like a Kohen who is still impure and is about to become purified.

The last one mentioned is simply, “like the majority,” in a state of being part of the Klal.

Brachot 3

Donkeys and dogs play a key role in Perek Shirah (See Week 33 and 52, and Appendix II in the book)

There seems to be a parallel here with Bava Kamma 60B:

ת"ר דבר בעיר אל יהלך אדם באמצע הדרך מפני שמלאך המות מהלך באמצע הדרכים דכיון דיהיבא ליה רשותא מסגילהדיא שלום בעיר אל יהלך בצדי דרכים דכיון דלית ליה רשותא מחבי חבויי ומסגי

ת"ר דבר בעיר אל יכנס אדם יחיד לבית הכנסת שמלאך המות מפקיד שם כליו וה"מ היכא דלא קרו ביה דרדקי ולא מצלו ביהעשרה.

ת"ר כלבים בוכים מלאך המות בא לעיר כלבים משחקים אליהו הנביא בא לעיר וה"מ דלית בהו נקבה:

The Sages taught: If there is a plague in the city, a person should not walk in the middle of the road, due to the fact that the Angel of Death walks in the middle of the road, as, since in Heaven they have given him permission to kill within the city, he goes openly in the middle of the road. By contrast, if there is peace and quiet in the city, do not walk on the sides of the road, as, since the Angel of Death does not have permission to kill within the city, he hides himself and walks on the side of the road.

The Sages taught: If there is a plague in the city, a person should not enter the synagogue alone, as the Angel of Death leaves his utensils there, and for this reason it is a dangerous place. And this matter, the danger in the synagogue, applies only when there are no children learning in the synagogue, and there are not ten men praying in it. But if there are children learning or ten men praying there, it is not a dangerous place.

The Sages taught: If the dogs in a certain place are crying for no reason, it is a sign that they feel the Angel of Death has come to the city. If the dogs are playing, it is a sign that they feel that Elijah the prophet has come to the city. These matters apply only if there is no female dog among them. If there is a female dog nearby, their crying or playing is likely due to her presentation.


The story of Eliyahu slaughtering someone seems a lot deeper.

It appears related to how the Rebbe explains the Purim story of Rabbah and Rav Zeira.

“Hahu gavra” seems to be an important term, like “Hahu Saba.”

It appears unlikely thet Eliyahu HaNavi would appear stam for a lowly person.

I don’t know of any occasion in which Eliyahu is known to have a sword. It is mentioned that Pinchas has a sword - that’s actually how he kills Bilaam, mentioned a bit later in the Daf. Bilaam also turns his face away from the Jewish people, towards the desert, when he gives his final blessing.

Rabbi Akiva says that when you go very high up in Ma’aseh HaMerkava, there’s a point that you’re not allowed to say “Mayim, Mayim.”

That’s the point that “Hahu Gavra” reached. He was behind the congregation because his prayers were much longer. He turned away from to separate completely from their mundane davening. That led to Kalus HaNefesh, like Nadav and Avihu, parts of the soul of Eliyahu.

Ultimately, it’s a mistake to separate yourself, even if your intentions are pure.

In the Bilaam story, initially, it is the angel that has a sword. Angels disguised themselves as Arabs when appearing before Avraham, who is the spiritual antidote to Bilaam (as noted in Pirkei Avot and by Rashi when Bilaam gets up early in the morning to saddle his mule).

The part in Pardes where Rabbi Akiva says not to say “Mayim, Mayim,” is when you see the angel Metat (Akrasi’l), like in the story of Rabbi Yishmael that comes next.

Acher saw the angel Metat sitting down and thought this made it look like were two powers and became a heretic.

In Perek Shira, the dog and the wolf are at different times. So is the donkey and other “beasts of burden.” Maybe that’s the reason there.

Also by David, maybe they interpret the 5 worlds from the letter “Hey” in “Piah Patcha b’Chochmah.” Instead of interpreting as feminine conjugation (Eshet Chayil), it’s really King David with the extra Hey for the 5 worlds.

It occurred to me that Yishayahu may have been trying to elicit in King Chizkiyahu the concept that nothing is ever set in stone and there is always the possibility of Teshuva, and apply it to his own offspring. We see in fact that King Menachem himself does Teshuva even though it was “pre-determined” that he was going to be a Rasha.

In education, there’s a big emphasis on not labeling children, perhaps for this very reason, to give them an opening to change.


The fact that whether you are allowed to interrupt Krias Shemah to save your life has to do with the fact that Shemah is primarily about that exact idea: being willing to sacrifice your life for Hashem (Mesiras Nefesh)


Each animal we are saved from represents one of the exiles. I know that Edom is connected to the primordial snake (Mashiach gematria 358, Nachash); Lion is associated with Nebuchadnezzar; what about the wolf?


Can “Mashmya Kolo” also mean someone who likes to make his voice heard in shul, even when not necessary, as a sign of arrogance and self-importance? Kind of the opposite of the Talmid Chacham, who can’t stop having thoughts of Torah, even when standing in a dirty place.

One of them cannot be a proper kli but speaks anyway, while the other cannot stop being a kli even against his will. This theme seems to repeat itself throughout Brachot, where certain acts are not done except by Talmidei Chachamim/“delicate” people, and those that put willingly put themselves in that category are called arrogant.

It also seems related to the certain paradox in the concept of those that run away from kavod, kavod runs after them, while those that run after kavod, kavod runs away from them.


It’s interesting that Eliyahu HaNavi, a Kana’i, is the one that says not to get angry in order not to sin.

There also seems to be a connection between not being angry and being on the road, like Yosef said to his brothers, “Al Tirgezu Ba’Derech.”


I thought it was fascinating how the reason why Rabbi Yehoshua forgives Rabbi Gamliel was because of Rabbi Gamliel’s forefathers. That’s the essence of the 12th of the 13 middot according to the Ramak’s Tomer Devorah.


The pshat still seems to be that what made them sad was that the expensive glass breaking reminded them of the destruction of the Temple.


On 39B it’s interesting that the teacher’s name is Shalman (Shalom) but also that the teaching itself is also about Shalom, placing the piece of bread inside the whole (Shleimah) piece.

It appears to be an insight into teaching itself, taking bits and pieces of knowledge from different students and showing how it is in fact part of a whole concept.


The part about what was the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge is really amazing. It’s interesting that Noach, “Ish Adamah” used the grapes to basically repeat the sin of Adam. It reminds me of the Rambam’s words about how do you know if you did proper Teshuvah? If you are put in the same position as before and do the right thing.

The opinions seem to be referring to different aspects of the sin: Intelectual, Emotional, and Physical.

The wheat is the intellectual (learning how to speak), the wine emotional (getting drunk) and the figs physical (needing clothes to now cover up their bodies).


It sounds from the end of the story that Eliyahu HaNavi only came precisely because of the additional act of mourning over Rav and his Torah knowledge.


There’s a discussion about when salted fish can kill, and the days there seem to parallel the different opinions of which day of Tammuz is Yosef HaTzadik’s yahrzeit. I believe Yosef was also called a fish.


Our custom for saying “L’chayim,” where does it come from? Is it possible that it’s related to Rav Ashi’s girsa, גודר פרצות בישראל... ?


62 - discussion of whether a Passover sacrifice with an arel in mind is invalid. Arelut represents impurity related to sexual sins. Humility is incongruent with sexual desires. 


Niddah 9

I think there’s also an interesting drush in Daf Tes regarding Eliyahu HaNavi’s (HaHu Saba) question there.

The Gemara is talking about a woman that is in labor pains and gives birth to air, and a pasuk from Isaiah is brought there which in fact is talking about the labor pains of the Jewish people, which is as if it has given birth to air because Mashiach has not come.

Eliyahu HaNavi then asks, a pregnant woman (the Jewish people) who is not careful regarding her appointed times, is she (the Jewish people) impure? 

Rabbi Yochanan answers: the woman (the Jewish people) is hiding and in fear (due to exile), and therefore, this suspends her possible impurity, and she, the Jewish people, is deemed Tahor.

ות במסכת חולין ו, א. שכל מקום שאתה מוצא בתלמוד ההוא סבא הוא אליהו הנביא זכור לטוב. וכן כתב ספר העתים בפסחים קו, א. במעשה דרב אשי בסורא בקידושא רבה שהיה שם אליהו הנביא זכור לטוב.



1. secured in the possession of or assigned to a person.

-protected or established by law or contract.

- (of a person) legally entitled to a future benefit, as from a pension.


“The extensive knowledge of natural [science] prevalent among scholars in Babylonia caused me not to examine niddah blood”

The effect that colors have upon each other had been noted since antiquity. In his essay On Colors, Aristotle observed that "when light falls upon another color, then, as a result of this new combination, it takes on another nuance of color."

In 1793, the American-born British scientist Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford (1753–1814), coined the term complementary colors. While staying at an inn in Florence, he made an experiment with candles and shadows, and discovered that colored light and the shadow cast by the light had perfectly contrasting colors. He wrote, "To every color, without exception, whatever may be its hue or shade, or however it may be compounded, there is another in perfect harmony to it, which is its complement, and may be said to be its companion." He also noted some of the practical benefits of this discovery. "By experiments of this kind, which might easily be made, ladies may choose ribbons for their gowns, or those who furnish rooms may arrange their colors upon principles of the most perfect harmony and of the purest taste. The advantages that painters might derive from a knowledge of these principles of the harmony of colors are too obvious to require illustration."


What does it mean that a woman doesn’t give birth to mountains, and why was this not a question regarding giving birth to a bird?

Sounds like something the Maharal would  explain. I think there is likely a much deeper meaning here. The fact that Rabbah Bar Bar Chana is involved suggests maybe there is a aggadic component as well. 

What happens when a child doesn’t live up to the expectations of the mother? What happens when the child is a Vilde Chaya or a Nachash? Chachamim say this is not a product of the mother’s behavior and she is not temeah. Rabbi Meir says it is her fault.

What if the child is scattered and distracted like a bird, whose eyes that look only to the sides, not to what it is ahead and in front of them? That, everyone agrees it has nothing to do with the mother.

Birds here may also be a reference to angels, and angel-like children.

The Rebbe Maharash brings a Midrash Rabba (1:3), in which Rabbi Chanina states that “birds that fly” are a reference to Michael an Gavriel.

Mountains are usually a reference to the Avot. Mothers don’t give birth to people on the level of the Avot. They are clods of earth that aspire to be like them.


I think the stories from Abba Shaul may be related to Rabbi Yehoshua’s words in Pirkei Avot:

“The evil eye, the evil inclination and hatred towards [G-d’s] creations take a person out of this world" (II:11)

Rabbi Yehoshua is the Pirkei Avot rabbi for this week, according to our book, “The Kabbalah of Time”

Abba Shaul is there burying the dead and he sees all that can lead to leaving this world.

Estimates indicate that vanishing twin syndrome occurs in 21-30% of multifetal pregnancies.

At delivery, the deceased fetus may be identified as fetus compressus (compressed enough to be noticed) or as fetus papyraceous (flattened remarkably through the loss of fluid and most of the soft tissue).

I think Rebbi specifically mentioned a raven because it is a cruel animal whose mother does not feed its offspring (which is the role of the placenta)

Again, I think that there’s a deeper lesson here. A cruel child is often a product of the cruelty of his mother towards him.

Maybe you could answer Rabbi Yossi Ben Shaul that Rebbi’s comment is limited to the raven not other birds, etc... The gemara doesn’t say that for some reason.


The last time we saw “Hahu Sabah” (Eliyahu HaNavi) was also in an interaction with Rabbi Yochanan. I’m not sure what Eliyahu HaNavi is trying to teach us here, but it seems related to appreciating the “Ita’ahuta D’letata” even when the end result does not appear to be substantially different than the initial effort.


The birth of the Jewish year goes by the head, “Rosh Hashanah.” As soon as Rosh Hashanah enters its the new year. Ah, but what about times when things are not going k’tikuno, we are in a “breached” position and need turning around? Well, then it goes by Rubbo k’Kulo. When is the Rov reached? After six months, on Rosh Chodesh Nissan, the “Head of the Months,” Chodesh HaGeulah.


I wonder if there is a discussion somewhere of the significance of the numbers 7 and 11 in a more general sense. Seven represents creation, and 11 is usually associated with klippah. 7+11=18 (חי), and 11/7 is Pi/2. 40, which appears a lot in our daf, also has many symbolisms (Har Sinai, the Mabul, Binah, etc.) It’s interesting that we say that women are given a “Binah Yeteira בינה יתירה” - an additional 40 (days).

40 is also Mikvah, which is a pretty obvious connection. The 22 letters of the alef beis can also be seen as 11 pairs.

If you count the eleven days both from before the days she saw blood as a niddah and from after the seven days of niddah, then you get 22/7 = Pi. I guess that could be seen as a “full cycle/circle” so to speak.

It occurred to me over Shabat that 22+7, 29, is the days in the lunar/menstrual cycle.


By the way, “clair” in French (Rashi) means clear, but also light and bright. Seems to fit the language that the man gives the white aspects of the baby.


It appears that the Cutheans were also called “the Samaritans.”

The most anti-Jewish sections of the new testament were apparently all written by Samaritans (including the part about the “good Samaritan”). Apparently they weren’t so good. 

It’s weird that they did all this while keeping so much of the Torah.


Rav Pappa’s opinion is hard to understand on a practical level. It’s like the Muslim calendar that never gets adjusted.

It sounds a bit similar to the Rambam’s opinion on Niddah cycles, I think.


Interesting that at no point in our discussion about children close to 12 or 13 have we brought the passuk used in Ben Sorer uMoreh (in Sanhedrin) when King David says that King Solomon was “[Samuch] L’Ish”

I think this concept of measuring years (and valuations, such as Erchin) by one’s own personal calendar as opposed to society’s calendar, is a very deep one.

Whether it be one’s sacrifices, one’s home in a city, one’s field in Israel, one’s redemption from slavery, or one’s own self-worth, one has to measure for one’s self, and not let them be dictated by society.

I like the idea that a person’s thoughts matter the most at the beginning and at the end of the process. People have a lot of (unhelpful) thoughts when they are in the middle of a project (maybe I’ll use it for this instead, or for that... Rabbos Machshavos b’Lev Ish). Once you actually have results and harvested what you planted, then you have the capacity to make changes to the product’s status or use.

For some reason, I couldn’t stop thinking about the Gemara we learned today and it seems like there could be an application to Teshuva, Ratzoh and Shov.

The Shotot/To’ot are the women that don’t know the difference between day and night, Tameh and Tahor, right and wrong.

The Pikchot, on the other hand, have ups and downs, but at least they know the difference between these concepts. They just need a “fixing,” and their “fixing” should be given priority over the Shotot/To’ot.

Of the Pikchot, the most “unstable,” is the one that is constantly going up and down from day to day. As long as the blood comes during the day, she will have days of service/closeness to Hashem. However, if her downs are at “night,” then her only hope is the Shmini, something beyond nature.

One that is slightly more stable, yet at the same time has longer periods of impurity, has less days of service. Her actions are also called intemperate.

Those with three or more days of impurity establish a chazakah of “sin” and cannot but serve Hashem only once.

Only those with seven or more days of purity complete a cycle of Teshuva can serve G-d again. Interestingly, the one with most days of service of them all is someone with 9 days of purity following 9 of impurity (44% of all of her days)

However, once a person has had 10 full days of impurity, paralleling all 10 powers of their neshama, that establishes a different kind of Chazakah it takes a real long time to return.

It seems pretty extreme to think that a person would make a sheet/saddle for a donkey out of his parent’s skin... Perhaps there’s a deeper meaning here, too.

Perhaps Ulla is saying that in truth, from the Torah itself, matters/desires related to the skin of man (the skin [clothes given to] Adam [in Gan Eden]) are Tahor. Why do we treat such matters as Tameh? It’s a gezeira against those that are steeped in materiality (Chamor) and only see baseness of the act of procreation (even of their own parents).


Daf 29 - onions connected to snake/death - perhaps related to seminal impurity; 



Gittin 2: The Yetzer Harah as the Ex-Master of the Household

A person bringing a Get [Document of severance] on someone else's behalf overseas (outside of Eretz Yisrael] has to bring it to the Beis Din. He has to say, "I was present by the writing and I was present by the signing."

Rabbah: we're worried that people are not familiar with [the Halacha of] "Lishmah." For the purpose of divorcing this specific woman.

Rava: we're worried about the problem of bringing back the original witnesses to fulfill it.

“Rabbi Yitzhak said: At first, the Yetzer Harah [the evil inclination] is a guest, and then it becomes the Baal HaBayit [the master of the house]." (Bereshit Rabbah 22:6; Sukkah 52b, in the name of Rava)

On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, each person receives a Ktivah veChatimah Tovah, a "document of severance" from the Yetzer Harah, declaring that the person has a new, clean slate for the year. According to Rabbah, later the Yetzer Harah might come and say, "Wait, I never let him/her go. I'm still the Baal HaBayit! They sinned." We say, "No, the person is free from you. The fact that they sinned before is considered now to be "Lishmah," for the sake of Heaven.  According to Rava, later the Yetzer Harah might say, "Wait, I never let him/her go. I'm still the Baal HaBayit! They are sinning!" We say, "No, the person is still deemed free; the fact that they are not fulfilling the Torah properly now is because they are not in the state of witnessing the holiness of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur."

Gittin 3: What's More Essential, the Ktivah (Writing) or the Chatimah (Signing)?

When it comes to kiyum haget (establishing the validity of a divorce document) even a "Baal Davar," an interested party can testify. "Baal Davar," which literally means "Master of the word," is one of the names for the Yetzer HaRah.

What's the main service that requires "Lishma," the Ktivah (writing) or the Chatimah (signing)? According to Rabbi Meir it's the Chatimah, while according to Rabbi Elazar it's the Ketivah. Rabbi Yehudah requires both.

What's the service of the Yamim Nora'im (High Holy Days) that raises all our deeds to the level of "Lishma," Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur? Rabbi Meir, who was a descendant of converts from Edom (Rome), believes the main elevation is the Teshuvah (repentance) associated with Yom Kippur. Rabbi Elazar, who came from a prominent family and became the head of the Jewish people from a very young age, believes the main elevation is Rosh Hashanah, which the level of Tzadikim Gemurim (completely righteous). Rabbi Yehudah, who was not a descendant of converts yet nevertheless had a very good relationship with the Romans, thought that both services were important for attaining the level of "Lishma."

Gittin 4: Behaviors Outside of the Realm of Holiness

There's a debate regarding whether a Get written on the border of the Land of Israel requires the statement of the emissary regarding Ketivah and Chatimah. Rabban Gamliel says this includes the border towns of Rekem and Cheger. Rabbi Eliezer says even from Kfar Ludim to Lud, and Abayeh says even a town that's enveloped by Israel's borders.
The Land of Israel is the "Holy Land." When a person is trying to improve their behavior and rid itself of the "Baal Davar," the Yetzer Harah, to what extent is repentance needed for things that may be just slightly off the mark, really a gray area in terms of whether it's considered at all a sin?

Rabban Gamliel says it includes Rekem and Cheger. Rekem comes from the verb "Lirkom," to embroider. Cheger comes from "Lachgor," to gird. Whether a person is simply planning or preparing to take an improper action, even that action never came about, it still requires fixing.

Rabbi Eliezer says even from Kfar Ludim to Lud. Even if superficially, you can hardly tell the difference between the holy and unholy action, that still requires Teshuvah.
Abayeh says even if the unholy behavior is enveloped by holiness, still it requires repentance.

Gittin 5: The Emissary as a Witness and a Judge

The Talmud speaks of whether the Sheliach (emissary) needs to make the declaration of Ketivah veChatimah in front of two or three people. Rabbi Yochanan says one needs only two, while Rabbi Chaninah says you need three.

The Gemara explains that this discussion is based on a different question: whether the one who brings the Get can be considered a witness regarding the Get (that it was written in front of two people), and if then, as witness, whether he can be considered as one of the three judges necessary in order to uphold the Get in court.

The conclusion, surprisingly, is yes, following the opinion of Rabbi Yochanan. At least when it comes to Rabbinical issues, the agent himself can serve as a witness as well as a judge, so only two (additional) people are needed to uphold the Get in court.


In the service of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the Sheliach Tzibur (lit. emissary of the congregation, ie. the prayer leader) plays a very important role. As he is praying on behalf of the congregation (and in reality everyone of us should think of him or herself as a mini-Sheliach Tzibur), he should think of himself not only as an emissary, but also a witness testifying in its favor. Not only that, the emissary should even see himself as one of the judges (!!!), judging every single person favorably.

Gittin 6: Making Diaspora into Eretz Yisrael

The Talmud discusses whether Babylonia, with its numerous houses of study, has the legal status of Israel when it comes to the laws of Gittin. Rav says yes and Shmuel says no, that it has the status of every other land outside of Israel.

Rav says that Yeshivot (houses of study) create a lot of movement, and therefore it'll be possible to find the necessary witnesses to uphold the Get. Shmuel says that because the people were involved mainly in study Torah, people won't be familiar with the signatures of others and won't be able to uphold the validity of the documents.

The final ruling is that, yes, Babylonia does have the same legal status of Israel when it comes to these laws.


We have obligation to make the Diaspora like the Land of Israel. How do we do this? Through Torah learning. The Yeshivot are the main thing. Shmuel raises an important point regarding the need to do business as well, but in the end of the day, the main thing is Torah learning.

(The Talmud will later discuss Surya, on the border of the Land of Israel, which King David managed to infuse with many aspects of the holiness of the Land of Israel)

Gittin 7: the "Adam Gadol" and the "Davar Gadol"

As an example about the importance of not creating too much fear in one's household, the Talmud discusses how once an "Adam Gadol," a great person, was (almost) fed a "Davar Gadol" (a big [non-kosher] thing) because the people in the house were too afraid to admit their mistake in the preparation of the food.

This also an example of the Divine characteristic of reward and punishment known as Middah K'neged Middah, where the retribution comes in the same form as the original behavior, to teach a lesson. Anger ultimately comes from a feeling of self-importance. It is utterly unkosher. Similarly, fearing anything other than G-d is also a form of impurity. By making oneself great, showing anger and instilling fear, the "Adam Gadol" was feeding unkosher energy to the world, so it was proper that he be punished with (almost) being fed unkosher food.

Gittin 8: Acquiring Yourself (Atzmech)  and the Possessions of the Evil Inclination

The Talmud has a discussion regarding a slave who brings a document of freedom and it says there, "Yourself (Atzmech) and my possessions are acquired by you." We believe him regarding himself but not his master's possessions.

There's significant debate regarding what happens if a single statement is made, where the owner says, "All my possessions are acquired by you." According to Abaye, we free him only if he can establish the validity of the entire document, while according to Rava we can split the words of the document and believe him regarding himself (freeing him immediately).

The Talmud further discusses whether or not we can split words of such a statement. An example is brought regarding a master's statement where he gives everything to a slave except for a small part. Rabbi Shimon says yes, unless the master's intentions of not freeing the slave were obvious (and it was just a trick), we split the statement (free the slave but not giving him the master's possession), while Rabbi Meir at first appears to says no, we cannot split the statement, neither the slave or the possessions are transferred. Rabbi Yossi says that "Rabbi Shimon's lips should be kissed" but that the Halacha is according to Rabbi Meir.

Another example is given regarding someone on his deathbed that gives everything to a slave. There, even Rabbi Meir says that if the master recovers, the slave is free (the statement cannot be retracted) while the possessions are returned. We conclude that Rabbi Meir always believed that one can split words, it's just that when it comes to a document of freedom, the separation must be total.

As discussed previously regarding a divorce document, a document of freedom also is connected to the idea of Teshuvah. There is a lower level of Teshuvah and a higher level. In a lower level, one frees oneself from bad behavior, but one's previous bad behavior is not acquired as a merit. In a higher level of Teshuvah, the sins themselves are transformed into merits, essentially transferring what was once the possession of his temporary master, the evil inclination.

Regarding lower level Teshuvah, there is less scrutiny. However, regarding higher level Teshuvah, we must ensure that he can establish (fulfill) the contract. If two separate steps were taken, the lower level Teshuvah is immediately accepted, and the higher one is investigated.

What happens when the Teshuvah is so dramatic and fast that he achieves lower and higher level Teshuvah in one fell swoop? Can we separate the person's freedom from bad behavior from the transformation of sins into mitzvot? Abaye says no while Rava says yes.

In the case where the transformation is not total (the yetzer harah holds on to aspects of the bad behavior), Rabbi Meir says not even the person is free. Rabbi Shimon says the person is free, unless the yetzer harah is basically tricking the person. Rabbi Yossi says that Rabbi Shimon's ability to free the person from judgement should be praised, but that the Halacha is like Rabbi Meir.

When it comes to the yetzer harah being about to be destroyed completely within a person, the lower level Teshuvah is immediately accepted, even if the yetzer harah is able to recover and the person is not yet on the level of a complete Tzadik.

Gittin 9: What Happens When the Sheliach Becomes a Deaf-Mute?

The Talmud discusses a case where a Sheliach cannot say the words, "it was written and signed before me." Then the signatures of the witnesses have to be investigated and proven to be accurate.

It explains that this is the case of a Sheliach who was healthy and became a deaf mute before he made the declaration. We know from a separate law that a Sheliach for a Get cannot be a deaf-mute, a crazy person, or a minor. (These are considered to be people without proper knowledge/common sense)


To be a proper Sheliach Tzibur (leader of the congregation), particularly on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the person cannot be deaf to the needs of each individual, and he also cannot fail to speak up on their behalf. He also cannot be crazy, in the sense that he must know the proper balance between reaching up to the Heavens in prayer, and remaining in this world in his thought, speech and deed. Furthermore, he cannot be a child, who in general tend to be self-centered and irresponsible.

What happens in the case where a Sheliach was healthy at the time of his appointment, but then at the time of judgement he somehow disqualifies himself? Then the "signature of the witnesses" must be investigated. Every deed in this world creates an imprint on the world, along with an angel testifying to that act, who could potentially serve to indict or defend a person at the time of judgement. A good Sheliach Tzibbur, like a good lawyer, can find ways of tempering the effect of the negative witnesses and emphasizing that of the positive ones. If a Sheliach is not around, then the deeds must speak for themselves.

Gittin 10: What if the Witnesses are Kutim?

The Talmud discusses a case where the the witnesses are Kusim (they had questionable conversions, out of fear of being eaten by lions, and generally only keep the Written Torah, not the Oral Torah). The Talmud states that if one witness is a Kusi, the get is still valid... The Gemara then tries to figure out who's opinion this is.

Really, it's Rabbi Elazar, who forbids it, it's just that in this case there was a kosher witness there that could vouch for the Kusi

The Rabbi enforced the principle of Kulchem. Everyone had to sign together at the same time.

Rabbi Gamliel even holds if both are Kusim (as a judge, he found a way to be lenient)

When it comes to our deeds, even if some are questionable, other ones can make up for it. Even the deeds of others can make up for it - That's the idea of Kulchem. We try to bind our actions to that of other Jews at the time of doing; we also bind to each other at the time of judgement.

Nitzavim is always on Rosh Hashanah, and it starts, "Ve'Atem Nitzavim... Chayim Kulchem Hayom."

Bava Metzia 113

"All of Israel are children of kings."

Can the agent of the court enter the home to pick up a security? Shmuel says no.

Bava Basra 2

Partners that wanted to build a "mechitza" (divider/wall), they build it in the middle and share the expenses.

If they are partners, isn't it strange that they want to be separate?

In marriage, in study, and in many other areas, partnerships still often need to have boundaries. If these barriers fall, HaMakom and HaAvanim (perhaps it can be read as Banim) belong to both of them.

Ideally, they will come to the realization that when boundaries fall, more room is created for Hashem, and the the "bricks" (mitzvot), or the "children," ie. the positive results of tearing down this barrier belongs to both of them.

Yoma 65-66

Importance of starting a new year, and not having a sacrifice (a reminder of their sin) lingering

We see this also regarding the rush to get the Seir out to be sent on the cliff, to the extent that they had to protect it from people ("Babylonians") that would pull the animal's hair to get it out of sight as soon as possible. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Comparing the Torah Portion of the Week, the Noam Elimelech, the Tanya, and Likutei Moharan

(Work in progress)

Chapter 97:1 (Kneged Devarim; Tanya 43)

וְכֵיצַד עוֹשִׂין מִן הַד' ה', הָעִנְיָן הוּא כָּךְ: דְּהִנֵּה כְּתִיב (תהילים ס׳:ט׳): לִי גִלְעָד וְלִי מְנַשֶּׁה אֶפְרַיִם מָעוֹז רֹאשִׁי יְהוּדָה מְחוֹקְקִי., הַפֵּרוּשׁ הוּא כָּךְ. כִּי קֹדֶם בְּרִיאַת הָעוֹלָם, הַשֵּׁם יִתְבָּרַךְ עִדֵּן וְקִשֵּׁט אֶת עַצְמוֹ בִּתְפִלָּתָן וּבְמַעֲשִׂים טוֹבִים שֶׁל צַדִּיקִים, שֶׁצָּפָה שֶׁיִּהְיוּ צַדִּיקִים, שֶׁעַל־יְדֵי מַעֲשִׂים טוֹבִים שֶׁלָּהֶם יִמְשְׁלוּ בִּתְפִלָּתָם, וְיִפְעֲלוּ כָּל מַה שֶּׁיִּרְצוּ, עַל דֶּרֶךְ: צַדִּיק מוֹשֵׁל יִרְאַת אֱלֹקִים (שמואל ב כ״ג:ג׳).

How do we turn the dalet into a heh? The matter is as follows: Behold, it is written (Psalms 60:9), “Gilead is mine, and Menasheh is mine; Ephraim is the stronghold of my head; Yehudah my rulers.” This is the explanation: Prior to the creation of the world, the Blessed One delighted in and adorned Himself with <Israel’s> prayers and the good deeds of the righteous. He foresaw that there would be tzaddikim who, by virtue of their good deeds, would rule through their prayers and accomplish whatever they want to, in accordance with: “The tzaddik rules with the fear of God” (2 Samuel 23:3) .

Behar: "... and this is called, "the Sabbath of the Land." Truly there is freedom and rest in it; as the Sabbath is rest for all, so the Sabbatical year is rest for all, for the spirit and the body." (Zohar, Behar, 108a)  

Tanya, Chapter 31 is about how focusing on one's sins in order to break timtum halev should not lead to the klippah of depression is one does it correctly. Broken-heartedness is not Atzvut and should lead to Simcha. Using the very weapon of the Yetzer HaRah can have a very positive effect (from the forest itself comes the handle for the axe).

Likutei Moharan, Chapter 83: 6 "Pehs" in Alef-Beit, related to klippah, and the way to fight the klippah is through tzedakah


Bechukotai: Once a man was very fond of a friend of his and said to him: "I am so fond of you that I am going to stay with you. Said the other: How do I know that you will stay with me? So he took all his most precious belongings and brought them to him, saying: "Here is a pledge to you that I shall never leave you. And although the Holy One, blessed be He, has departed from us, He has left his pledge in our hands, and we keep that treasure of His, so that if He wants His pledge He must come and abide with us. (Zohar, Bechukotai, 114a)

Tanya,  Chapter 32: Ve'Ahavtah is accomplished through looking at people spiritually, at the Root, because Hashem is the Father of us all, all neshamot are from the same source.

Likutei Moharan, Chapter 84: The way to reach high spiritual levels is through love.


Bamidbar - Counting as a way for the Jews to realize how they can be a Merkavah in all the worlds; how counting is ok when we are doing Hashem's will. (from Noam Elimelech)

Tanya: Chapter 33 is regarding additional ways of finding happiness. The Alter Rebbe speaks of the idea of contemplating on how Hashem's glory fills the word and transcends it, and how the whole world is nullified to Him. This contemplation alone brings closeness to G-d and should bring a person tremendous joy. He actually brings the verse, "Tzadik B'Emunatoh Yichyeh." (Verse of the deer of week 36, of Shavuot). It is a tremendous kindness that lowly creatures like ourselves can be close to the King of Kings.

Likutei Moharan: Chapter 85: in order to strengthen Malchut, one must tap in to the Netzach, Hod, Yesod of Ze'er Anpin. One does so by tapping into the Mochin, Chochma, Binah, Chesed and Gevurah, which is enclosed in the Netzach-Hod-Yesod of Binah. In other words, it is intellectual contemplation that brings to the building up of Malchut. This is the secret of the 3-branched Shin and the 4-branched Shin.


Nasso - some souls the Tzadik can elevate directly; others, the more simple ones, he must first connect to the Avot, and only then to higher worlds. Different kinds of Tzadikim - Kehot, Gershon and Merari; kneged Tzaru'im, Zavim, and Tamei Nefesh, who needed to leave the camp. (from Noam Elimelech)

Tanya: Chapter 34 - The Patriarchs had such nullification to Hashem that they were on the level of a Merkavah. The prophets were nullified at their level, until Moshe came, who was the highest, in that the Shechinah spoke from his throat. The Jewish people were not at that level, even at Har Sinai, as their souls expired when experiencing G-d. (Clearly connected to Sivan and Shavuot!)   That is why the mitzvah of building the Mishkan came immediately afterwards, so that the Shechinah could dwell among them. After the Temple was destroyed, what was left was for the Shechinah to dwell in the 4 Amot of Halachah. Every Jew should learn at his level, even if only a chapter in the evening and one in the morning, and that should make him happy.

Likutei Moharan: Chapter 86: the days of the week are primarily connected to unholy forces, while Shabat is connected to the holy. Shabat is connected to walking. (Similar to the concept of Merkavah) Still, even on Shabat, they were only able to take "light steps" (p'siah ketanah). To strengthen oneself in holiness, one needs to connect oneself to truth (the third leg) and tzedakah of Shabat, which is connected to Olam HaBah. 


Beha'alotcha is primarily about the lighting of the Menorah. The Kohen Gadol would begin (and finish) by lighting the Menorah from the Ner Ma'aravi (the Westernmost candle). This candle is a reference to the Shechinah. The Tzadik must always be in a high state of Deveikus, cleaving tightly to Hashem. He is constantly attached to the Shechinah. The Talmid Chacham is called Shabbos, and all days of the week shall be rectified so that they shine together with Shabbos as one light. (from Noam Elimelech)

Tanya: Chapter 35 - To understand the purpose of the Beinoni, and why he must constantly struggle and still be unable to defeat or even weaken his evil inclination, one must understand the statement of the Yenukah in the Zohar, that the wise has his eyes in his head. His head here is a reference to the Shechinah. For the fire of the Shechinah to be upon a person's head, there must be oil (for the candle). The oil here is a reference to good deeds, Mitzvot. Even a perfect tzadik still has a sense of self and is not completely nullified to Hashem's will. Mitzvot, however, represent complete nullification to G-d; they are G-d's willl. The actions of a Beinoni bring down the Shechinah upon his very body, and even hovers over the animal soul, that is forced into a state of sleep and exile during the performance of Mitzvot.

Likutei Moharan: Chapter 87: We see that a when a person wants to walk on a straight path, he encounters judgments (Dinim). Why is that? One first has to understand that there are two types of Yirah (fear). Yirat HaOnesh (fear of punishment), which is called Tzedek (justice) and Yirat HaRomemut (fear / awe of the exaltedness [of G-d]), which is called Emunah (faith). It is impossible to reach Emunah if one does not first have Yirat HaOnesh. It is through fear of punishment that one comes to appreciate Hashem's power and ability to do anything. When a person resolves to go on a straight path, he must have Yirah, which is Tzedek, and that leads to judgements. Once he reaches Emet (truth), which is the level of Yirah connected to Emunah, then the judgements are sweetened. That's how you go from Titen Emet L'Yaakov to Chesed L'Avraham. Once truth is connected to Tzedek, one reaches Emunah, which is where all the good and the fire/light is.
(Again, Likutei Moharan seems to focus on the same topic from a different angle. To reach the fire, one must connect to Tzedek and Emet, and then Emunah. The Alter Rebbe seems to focus on the Mitzvah)


Shelach is primarily about the spies' failure to realize that the whole purpose of Creation is to make a dwelling place for G-d in the lower realms.

Chapter 36 of Tanya begins as follows:

In a well-known statement, our Rabbis declare that the purpose for which this world was created is that the Holy One, blessed be He, desired to have an abode in the lower realms.

The chapter further explains the need for the Hishtalshelut, the different levels of intensity and refinement in which the the Divine Presence fills the world. The Alter Rebbe further writes:
For this purpose, the Holy One, blessed be He, gave to Israel the Torah which is called "might" and "strength," as the Rabbis, of blessed memory, have said, that the Almighty puts strength into the righteous in order that they may receive their reward in the hereafter, without being nullified in their very existence, in the Divine light that will be revealed to them in the hereafter without any cloak, as is written, "No longer shall thy Teacher hide Himself (literally: He will not conceal Himself from thee with robe and garment) ... but thine eyes shall see thy Teacher." It is also written, "For they shall see eye to eye,.. ." and, "The sun shall be no more thy light by day ..., but the Lord shall be thine everlasting light...."

This, again, appears to be the theme of Likutei Moharan 87, mentioned last week:
It is impossible to reach Emunah if one does not first have Yirat HaOnesh. It is through fear of punishment that one comes to appreciate Hashem's power and ability to do anything. When a person resolves to go on a straight path, he must have Yirah, which is Tzedek, and that leads to judgements. Once he reaches Emet (truth), which is the level of Yirah connected to Emunah, then the judgements are sweetened. That's how you go from Titen Emet L'Yaakov to Chesed L'Avraham. Once truth is connected to Tzedek, one reaches Emunah , which is where all the good and the fire/light is.


Korach focused on mitzvot and the greatness of the entire people, but it was really all for sake of himself, of machloket and was like a "mitzvah habah b'aveirah..." Noam Elimelech for Korach talks about how Hashem creates Reshayim to decrease the kitrug...

Tanya Chapter 37 appears to be primarily about mitzvot and their great value, unless done  by means of an aveirah... it then describes how the Jewish people is divided into 600,000 souls, all holy and how each will perform all 613 commandments... 

Likutei Mohran 88 applies to Korach. It talks about how when a tzadik becomes well known it is good that there are people that argue with him and say bad things about him because that reduces the kitrugim, a Machloket LeShem Shamayim is Leshem the Tzadik, which is called "Shamayim."

Likutei Moharan 89 and 90 is very similar to the above theme of Chapter 37 of Tanya, about how a Chisaron of an individual is a chisaron of the Shechinah, which is formed of the 600,000 souls of the Jewish people. This very much parallels what is says in chapter 37 of Tanya:

"For the community of Israel, comprising 600,000 particular souls, is the [source of] life for the world as a whole, which was created for their sake. And each one of them contains and is related to the vitality of one part in 600,000 of the totality of the world, which [part] depends on his vital soul for its elevation to G-d through its own [the soul's] elevation, by virtue of the individual's partaking of this world for the needs of his body and vital soul in the service of G-d, viz., eating, drinking, and the like, [his] dwelling and all his utensils.

Yet these 600,000 particular souls are roots, and each root subdivides into 600,000 sparks, each spark being one neshamah; and so with the nefesh andruach in each of the four worlds— Atzilut, Beriah, Yetzirah, Asiyah.

And each spark descended into this world— although it is indeed a profound descent and a state of true exile, for even if one be a perfectly righteous person, serving G-d with fear and a great love of delights, he cannot attain to the degree of attachment to G-d, in fear and love, as before it came down to this gross world, not a fraction of it, and there is no comparison or similarity between them at all, as is clear to every intelligent person, for the body cannot endure,... nevertheless [each spark] descended into this world, to be clothed in a body and vital soul, for the sole purpose of mending them and separating them from the evil of the three impure kelipot, through the observance of the 365 prohibitions and their offshoots, and in order to elevate his vital soul together with its portion that belongs to it of the totality of the world, so as to join and unite them with the light of the blessed En Sof, which the person draws into them through fulfilling all the 248 positive precepts through the agency of the vital soul, the very one that fulfils all the active commandments, as has been explained above. It has also been stated in (Etz Chayim, Portal 26) that the soul itself[neshamah] needs no tikun (mending) at all ... and there is no necessity for it to be embodied in this world ... except in order to bring down the light to mend them ... and this is exactly similar to the esoteric exile of the Shechinah for the purpose of elevating the sparks...."



Chukat is about the interaction between the tahor kohen who temporarily becomes tameh, and someone who is tameh that through the interaction with the kohen, receives a tikkun and becomes tahor. How this works is above our limited understanding.

Chapter 38 of Tanya is about the interaction between the tahor G-dly soul that comes to this world for the sole purpose of a tikun for the lowly animal soul. This is done through mitzvot and their kavannah. The Alter Rebbe also writes,  וכל מדותיו, שהן יראתו מדברים המזיקים אותו ואהבתו לדברים הנאהבים אצלו, הן רק טבעיים אצלו, ולא מבינתו ודעתו; ultimately, mitzvot are above intellect, and the connection (for most of us) is above our limited understanding.

Likutei Moharan 91 - Tumah is in the yadayim. By washing one's hands in the morning, Mayim represents the Sechel, that's also why when you wash your hands, you raise your hands to the head. But in order to do so, one must have Emunah (which is above the intellect).

Again, Rebbe Nachman is going from down to bottom. By having emunah in one's hands (paralleling the animal soul/physicality), one can reach sechel, "Shemesh," the level of intelect. The more Emunah one has, the more intellect one can obtain. Rebbe Nachman's Torah also appears related to the idea of sprinkling the ashes of the Parah Adumah... 


Balak is primarily about an animal and an angel, as well as about Bilaam, who, even though he follows G-d's command, does it "Lo Lishmah." Balak and Bilaam's plans fail because of the merit of the Avot. At the end,. Bilaam’s actions are ultimately elevated by Hashem forcing him to bless the Jewish people, praising then for their modesty and good behavior, and causing a great Kiddush Hashem.

Chapter 39 of Tanya is about animals and angels (service of G-d through emotions) and how man/a tzadik is different, because his love and fear derives from intellect. On a higher level still are the Patriarchs who are totally nullified and a chariot of G-d. The chapter finishes with a discussion of mitzvot that are "Lo Lishma,” which ultimately are elevated.  From Chapter 39:

This inability of one’s divine service to ascend to the Sefirot applies not only where one’s motive for engaging in Torah and mitzvot is actually shelo lishmah (“not for its own sake”), i.e., for some ulterior motive, heaven forbid, in which case one is actually serving himself, not G‑d, and his service surely cannot ascend “to stand before G‑d."

Likutei Moharan 92 - Through a person's pacing in their house, he can resurrect the dead. [People move, while angels and animals are stationary.] Elisha brought the son of the Shunamite woman back to life by pacing. Jacob is truth, truth is Torah, and the 5 books of the Torah are the 5 parts of the lungs. Joseph is the heart, hiddeness. The fire of the heart can burn up the entire body. Through the lungs going back and forth (pacing), they cool off the heat of the heart. Jacob was about to settle down, but then the "heat" of Joseph came upon him. [To be a live human being, a person needs this kind of warmth of the heart related to love and fear.] The human being is a Sefer Torah, and through his paces, he can cool off the fire, which is dinim, and bring back the dead.

The pacing back and forth is reminiscent of Bilaam pacing back and forth on his mule, to the point where the mule speaks (it is given a higher level of “life”). Bilaam is also extremely angry and irritable, ready to kill the mule, and it is only the appearance of the angel that cools him off.

Likutei Moharan 93 is about the Kiddush Hashem of being honest im business. Through the Jewish people, G-d is sanctified in the eyes of the nations, and it leads to proper intellect and prayer.


Pinchas begins by continuing the theme of the previous Torah portion, describing his act of courage and zealotry, and the sinful behavior of Zimri and Kozbi. The text emphasizes how Pinchas was the grandson of Aharon - his actions, although violent on the surface, stemmed from his kindness and desire for peace, characteristics of Aharon. [In a way, Pinchas was a tikkun for Aharon, who at times, due to his love, may have been overly passive.]

Chapter 40 of Tanya also continues the theme of the previous chapter, and then focuses primarily on the concept of Ahavah and Yirah, and how both together are like the wings of a bird. You need both.  

Likutei Moharan 94: There are times when Hashem cannot be Mashpiah Chesed. The sins of the Jewish people cause G-d great pain. Therefore, there needs to be “holy Tzim-Tzum” to counteract the pure kindness, to be believe that “for me the world was created,” in order for that person to fix ir. And so it was with Pinchas, who took it upon himself to fix the situation created out of pure Chesed.


Matot has as a major theme the importance of the father/husband (yirah) to have a say in the actions/nedarim (vows) of the daughter/wife (ahavah), in order not to profane one's words. The need to destroy the females of Midian is also about the need of Yirah over misplaced Ahavah. 
Chapter 41 of Tanya emphasizes the importance of Yirah (fear) even regarding Aseh Tov (positive mitzvot) associated primarily with Ahava (love), in order not to rebel against the King of Kings in the slightest. 

Likutei Moharan 94: Only with the combination of Emunah and Chochmah can the Hashpa'ah of Chesed come to the world. Words are in exile, and in order to fix the words one needs to infuse them with the Chochma of the Fathers.

Massei is about the 42 journeys in the desert, "training ground" for the Jewish people to learn proper Emunah and Yirat Shamayim, in order to elevate them and be able to enter the Land. The Land is apportioned by Yehoshua, Moshe's successor, and the leaders of each tribe. 

Chapter 42 of Tanya is also about Yirah, and how it comes from Moshe and the leaders of Israel in every generation. It also talks about how to acquire this Yirah: by seeking it like someone "digging for a treasure buried in the depths of the earth..." One first acquired Yirah in thought and then one translates it into action. (This similar to the idea of conquering and working the Land)

The end of Likutei Moharan 94 is about elevating the sparks of the words. It is known that the journeys in the desert were in order to elevate the sparks. Rebbe Nachman also talks about the sages/leaders of the community, who are called the “eyes of the congregation,” which is related to the appointment of Yehoshua as the eyes/shepherd of Hashem’s flock.


Devarim contains primarily words of rebuke, and an account of the various sins that took place in the desert, particularly the sin of the spies. It comes right before Tisha B’Av. 

Chapter 43 of Tanya describes two levels of fear (Yirah), and words of rebuke are meant to inspire Yirah (Tanya D’Oraisa). Moshe was the very embodiment of Koach Mah described in Chapter 43 of Tanya, as he said about himself, "Nachnu Mah?"

Likutei Moharan 95 and 96: If the leader of the Jewish people becomes haughty, Hashem establishes people to argue with him in order to get him back to his state of humility. A leader is only appointed if he has a "can of worms" behind him, which is connected to the quality of “Mah,” humility. Again, Rebbe Nachman seems to be working backwards - focusing on what brings humility/Yirah to the leader). 

Chapter 96 is about all kinds of extraneous thoughts that fall upon a tzadik due to others, some due to arguments on other tzadikim - all this is very parallel to the sins of the Jewish people in the desert, particularly the sin of the spies.


Va'etchanan is about how Moshe prays to Hashem and makes a request for a gift, not because of his merits. He very much wants to enter the Land of Israel but ultimately does not merit to do so. Yehoshua is the one that will lead the people into the Land. Va'etchanan also includes the Ten Commandments (and how the Jewish people couldn't handle receiving all 10, because the experience was too overpowering), and the first paragraph of the Shemah, which is about loving Hashem with all one's heart, soul and might.

Chapter 44 is about how every Jew is like Moshe and the love he has for Hashem is a gift, an inheritance from the Avot. Chapter 44, towards the end, is also about the need for each person to do his utmost to know G-d and connect to His greatness, each at his/her level. 

Likutei Moharan 97, 98, and 99: Chapter 97 is about how precious to Hashem is the prayer of the Tzadik, which comes from a place of not thinking he deserves anything due to past merits, but as a gift. 

Chapter 98 is about how when a tzadik looks into a person and sees/shows about far a person sin goes in blemishing his connection with Hashem, it's a very overwhelming experience. (This parallels the Ten Commandments)

Chapter 99's title is the first line of Va'etchanan, which is about praying consistently, at whatever level you are at the moment (Ba'Et HaHi)


Chapter 45 is about "Middat Yaakov," and the Parsha is "Ekev"! Parashat Eikev, the heal, is about taking an approach to life that is not based on "Kochi v'Otzem Yadi"... it's about maintaining our humility, remembering our flaws and mistakes, and yet, despite it all, Hashem is still on our side. 

Chapter 45 is about connecting to the middah of rachamim, mercy, taking pity upon our soul, which had to go from the highest heights to the lowest lows.

Likutei Moharan 100: there are Tzadikim that are able to have mercy and patience with the masses, and there are those that get angry at them. The Tzadik whose deeds match his Torah knowledge is settled and has patience with the people, but a Tzadik whose Torah knowledge are much greater than his deeds has Torah burning inside of him to such an extent that he becomes unsatisfied with the people. 


Re'eh is about seeing clearly that the choice of a path before each person: one (following the Torah and mitzvot) leads to life and blessing and one that leads to the opposite. The parasha is also about being seen (mentioned at the end of the Parashah).

Chapter 46 focuses on a path to reach a love of Hashem that is very close, which can easily be perceived through introspection:

There is yet another good way for a man, which is suitable for all and "very nigh" indeed, to arouse and kindle the light of the love that is implanted and concealed in his heart, that it may shine forth with its intense light, like a burning fire, in the consciousness of the heart and mind, to surrender his soul to G-d, together with his body and [material] possessions, with all his heart, and all his soul and all his might, from the depth of the heart, in absolute truth, especially at the time of the recital of the Shema and its blessings, as will be explained.

This [way] is: to take to heart the meaning of the verse: "As in water, face answereth to face, so does the heart of man to man." This means that as [in the case of] the likeness and features of the face which a man presents to the water, the same identical nice is reflected back to him from the water, so indeed is also the heart of a man who is loyal in his affection for another person, for this love awakens a loving response for him in the heart of his friend also, cementing their mutual love and loyalty for each other, especially as each sees his friend's love for him. This is Elul! Ani L'Dodi veDodi Li! Reciprocity.

Likutei Moharan 101 begins with a statement of how the Torah is the source of the world, and that there is also a choice each person needs to make: Torah can be a potion of life or one of the opposite. What defines a Jew as Adam is his/her connection to the Torah.


Shoftim is about creating a society that is free from the corruption and the problematic ways of Egypt, the Canaanites, and others societies.

Chapter 47: "In every generation and every day a person is obliged to regard himself as if he had that day come out of Egypt."

Likutei Moharan 101 continues by stating that each gentile nation has a bad quality that one becomes subsumed by if he/or she fails to connect properly to the Torah. By accepting the yoke of Torah, one is liberated from the yoke of gentile nations and their negative quality.


Ki Tetzeh is about bedieved situations. War, encountering a beautiful idol worshipper, deal with two wives, one of which is hated, the rebellious son, someone deserving of a death penalty...

Chapter 48 of Tanya is about how G-d contracts His light all the way down to reach the most mundane of places.

Likutei Moharan 101 continues by describing how a Jew overcomes the darkness of the gentile nations, the bad qualities engrained deep within him, by connecting to the Torah in a way that he “kills” himself over it, completely nullifying himself to it.

Ki Tavoh is ultimately about the need to be grateful to G-d. It starts with the Bikurim and later discusses the curses, which took place because we did not serve G-d with happiness and a happy heart.

Chapter 49 of Tanya is about how our love for Him comes from an appreciation and reflection of all that G-d does for us; His tremendous love for us.

The end of Likutei Moharan 101 is about how ultimately man is defined by his intellect, Chochma/Bina/Da’at (Chabad), the “yadayim” that allow him to be called Adam and escape the darkness.


Nitzavim is about Gevurah; standing strong to fulfill the Torah. (and choose life)

Chapter 50 of Tanya is also about the love of G-d that comes from Gevurah, fire; which derives from intellectual comprehension, related to Binah Ila'ah  (Week 51) of G-d's greatness.
And this is the interpretation of the text: "Come, my beloved," and so on. From this will be understood the adage of the Rabbis: "Despite thyself thou livest, and despite thyself...." As for what shall one's will be indeed? The answer will be found elsewhere in the lengthy explanation of this Mishnah: "Despite thyself thou livest"— with the aid of the blessed Life of life.

Likutei Moharan 102: When Hashem blesses us that brings Him glory. The way to receive the blessing is through Yirah (fear) [which is the root of Gevurah]. There are two levels of Yirah.


Chapter 51 of Tanya is about how Hashem is everywhere, yet the Shechinah is more concentrated in certain parts of the body, like the head:

It is with reference to the flow of all the 613 kinds of powers and vitalities from the concealment of the soul into the body in the process of animating it, that it has been said that the principal dwelling place and abode of this flow of life and of this manifestation is situated entirely in the brains of the head. Therefore they first receive the power and vitality appropriate to them acccording to their disposition and character, namely, ChaBaD (chochmah, binah, da'at) and the faculty of thought, and all that pertains to the brains; and not only this, but also the sum-total of all the streams of vitality flowing to the other organs is also contained and is clothed in the brain that is in the head. It is there that the core and root of the said manifest flow of the light and vitality of the whole soul are to be found. From there a radiation is diffused to all the other organs, each of which receives the power and vitality appropriate to it in accordance with its disposition and character: the faculty of sight reveals itself in the eye, and the faculty of hearing manifests itself in the ear, and so forth. But all the powers flow from the brain, as is known, for therein is located the principal dwelling-place of the whole soul, in its manifest aspect, since the sum-total of the vitality that is diffused from it is revealed there. Only, the [individual] powers of the said general vitality shine forth and are radiated from there into all the organs of the body, much in the same manner as light radiates from the sun and penetrates rooms within rooms. (Even the heart receives vitality from the brain; hence the brain has an intrinsic supremacy over it, as has been explained above. )

In a truly like manner, figuratively speaking, does the blessed En Sof fill all worlds and animate them. And in each world there are creatures without limit or end, myriads upon myriads of various grades of angels and souls,... and so, too, is the abundance of the worlds without end or limit, one higher than the other....

Likutei Moharan 102

Haazinu is a summary of the entire Torah. It is also a summary of history itself. How Hashem showed us mercy, but eventually we became corrupt. We are punished and He "hides His face" from us, but then we redeem ourselves again.

Chapter 52 also appears to be a summary of all of Tanya. About how the way to serve G-d is to be enclothed in His Torah and Mitzvot, primarly through the service of the intellect.

Likutei Moharan 103

The last portion of the Torah, VeZot HaBrachah is a blessing to all the Tribes. It is also about Moshe's ascent to Har Nebo (seeing the Land of Israel), reaching the 50th level. It's about Moshe's passing and how he broke the Tablets in from of fall of Israel.

Chapter 53 of Tanya describes the Tablets:

At the time the First Temple stood, in which the Ark and Tables [of the Decalogue] were housed in the Holy of Holies, the Shechinah, i.e. Malchut d'Atzilut, that is, the aspect of the "revealed" light of the blessed En Sof, dwelled there and was clothed in the Ten Commandments, far higher and stronger, and with a greater and mightier revelation, than its revelation in the shrines of the Holy of Holies above in the upper worlds. For the Ten Commandments are the "All-embracing principles of the whole Torah," which comes from the Higher Wisdom, that is far higher than the world of manifestation. In order to engrave them on material tablets of stone it (the Shechinah) did not descend degree by degree, parallel to the order of descent of the worlds down to this material world. For this material world functions through the garment of material nature, while the Tables [of the Decalogue] are "The work of G-d, and the writing is the writing of G-d," beyond the nature of this material world which is derived from the effulgence of the Shechinah in the shrine of the Holy of Holies of Asiyah("Action"), whence issues light and vitality to the world of Asiyah, in which this our world also is contained.

It also talks about the combination of the Torah given at Sinai with the mitzvot of the rabbis is what produces the Keter, the Divine Will:

The 613 commandments of the Torah, together with the seven commandments of our Rabbis, combine to total the numerical equivalent of כתר ("crown") which is the blessed Ratzon Elyon (the "Supernal Will"), which is clothed in His blessed Wisdom, and they are united with the light of the blessed En Sof in a perfect union. "The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth," which refers to the Oral Law that is derived from the Higher Wisdom, as is written in the Zohar, "The Father [chochmah] begat the daughter [i.e. Malchut, the Oral Law]."

The Tanya also ends with the idea of the beinonim eliciting "female waters," and thereby drawing the light of the Shechinah. This is parallel to the blessings given by Moshe, which are elicited from the behavior and characteristics of each one of the Tribes:

For as a result of the transformation of the animal soul, originating from the kelipat nogah, [a transformation] from darkness to light, and so forth, there is brought about toe so-called "ascent of the feminine waters" to draw the light of theShechinah, i.e. the category of the "revealed" light of the blessed En Sof— over one's divine soul [principally dwelling] in the brain of the head. 

Likutei Moharan 104

Bereshit is about the idea of the Neshamah Klali - Adam, and how things get corrupted with each generation.

The Alter Rebbe writes that Tanya is like a Neshamah Klali, able to answer the question of every kind of Jew. Copies of the Tanya get corrupted, so it is necessary to (get rid of the manuscripts) and publish an authoritative version.

Likutei Moharan, beginning of Chapter 52 is about the Creation of the world, and how apostates make the mistake of thinking that the world has exists/or must have existed forever (Mechuyav B'Metziut). This is similar to the mistakes made in the generation of Enoch and so forth. He then explains that all the worlds are Nichlalim within the souls of Israel. Once the souls of Israel were introduced, then Hashem was "forced," so to speak, to create the worlds.

Noach is about the Tzadik, the foundation of the world. It is also about the yetzer harah that totally dominated the remaining people at that time who were reshayim.

The first chapter of Tanya is about understanding the nature of the Tzadik, the rasha, and the beinoni. How in the Tzadik, the bad is mevutal to the good, and how in the rasha, the good is mevutal to the bad. The Tzadik gamur has no longer any bad at all.

Likutei Moharan, second part of Chapter 52 is about how to become a Tzadik and have the whole world dependent on you, and that is through hitbodedut, particularly at night. This way, you break the bad, making it mevutal to the good, until it is "mevutal legamreh."

Lech Lecha is about Avraham, the first Jew.

The second chapter of Tanya is about the G-dly soul, which is part of G-d Himself. It describes how the soul of a Jew comes from the essence of G-d, and how a son comes from the head of the father.

Likutei Moharan, Chapter 53, is about how Da'at is connected to Zerah.

Chayei Sarah is about the effect of the life of Sarah, even though it describes her passing away in the very beginning. Nevertheless, everything that happens in the parashah is related to her.

The fourth chapter of Tanya is about the levushim of the soul. Even though it is not the soul itself, the garments are the expression of it in this world, through thought, speech, and deed. (The parasha also has many examples of thought, speech, and deed - particularly that of Eliezer, who expresses Avraham and Sarah's will.)

Likutei Moharan, Chapter 54, is about the importance of memory, particularly memory of the World to Come. This is related to remembering Sarah, and the fulfillment of her will even after she was no longer physically in this world.


Toldot is about the struggle between Yaakov and Eisav. Yaakov is from Tikkun and Eisav is from Tohu. Yaakov is pnimi while Eisav is from sovev - he cannot properly absorb Kedushah.

The fifth chapter of Tanya is about grasping Torah concepts and being enclothed in G-dliness, in a process that is similar to digestion.

Likutei Moharan, Chapter 55, is about the downfall of the wicked, which is accomplished to connecting to the holiness of the Land of Israel, through the merit of the patriarchs, remembering the covenant with Yaakov.


Vayeitzei is about the Yaakov going to Lavan's house to elevate the sparks there.

The sixth chapter of Tanya is about klippah.

Likutei Moharan, Chapter 56, is about developing the aspect of Malchut, establishing it in one's household. It also discusses the opposing force of Malchut of evil, which acquires holy sparks through the acquisition of wealth. By taking that wealth out of impurity and bringing it to the side of holiness, we elevate it, and Torah is "made" from it. 


Vayeshev is about Joseph's imprisonment.

The sixth chapter of Tanya is about how an issur literally imprisons the sparks of holiness.

Likutei Moharan, Chapter 57, is about overcoming of Issurim, which is seen as a form of imprisonment. The chapter also makes reference to peace and the power of speech, and how Joseph's brothers could not speak to him. The end of the chapter discusses the severity of disgracing a Talmid Chacham.


Miketz is about Joseph's interaction with Pharaoh, becoming the head, and elevating all of Egypt.

The seventh chapter of Tanya is about the face-off between the G-dly soul and the animal soul, and how ultimately the G-dly soul is able to influence the animal soul to serve G-d.

Likutei Moharan, Chapter 58, discusses the power of the patriarchs, and also that of Yosef, becoming Mishneh.


Vayigash is about Yehudah and Yosef

Chapter 8 of Tanya is about two kinds of Tzadikim

Likutei Moharan, Chapter 59, is about how someone approaching others to bring them close to Torah has to be careful about not being affected by the klipot. Yehudah was careful in his approach to the viceroy of Egypt. It discusses words that come from the depth of the heart of a kosher person, and how it impacts the hearts of others and makes them return to Hashem.


Vayechi: a quasi-messianic era, the best years of Yaakov's life is, paradoxically, when he is dwelling outside Israel, where all of Egypt is under the dominion of Yosef.

Chapter 9 of Tanya: the dwelling place of the animal soul and the dwelling place of the G-dly soul, and the ultimate transformation of the animal soul into the dominion of the G-dly soul.

Likutei Moharan Chapter 60 begins with a discussion about how, in order to acquire certain levels, one needs to be extremely rich [like Joseph in Egypt]. This richness comes from the attribute of old age [like Yaakov]. This, in turn, is obtained through Yirah, fear of one's teacher, father, and mother [which Yosef arguably did not sufficient demonstrate], which is obtained to making the barren give birth [Rachel, who was barren], which is obtained by awakening men from their sleep [Yosef came to Jacob's bed, but it was Jacob that was awakening Joseph], and that is done by enclothing Torah in stories [as Jacob did as he was telling him about what happened to Rachel], and one must stay away from bad students [hence the need for Jacob to be buried in the Land of Israel]


Shemot - Moshe


61 - Emunat Chachamim



62 - Emunah

Bo - Circumcision, Korban Pesach


63-64 - Circumcision, "Bo el Paroh"



65 - Garden



66 - Soul leaving the body



67 - Kavod


- Noam Elimelech: service of Tzadikim through the study of Torah in elevating judgments and sweetening them. 

- Tanya, Chapter 18: acquiring love for G-d through meditation or the innate love given to us as an inheritance

- Likutei Moharan Chapters 68-69: lust for money; source of money is very high; staying away from anger; the severity of stealing money; tzedakah as a remedy.

Tetzaveh: Moshe/Aharon, Oil to Light the Menorah

- Noam Elimelech: Shaking/Moving (Mitna'ane'ah) the Source Above

- Tanya, Chapter 19: The Neshamah is a a flickering (Mitna'ane'ah) candle; just like the fire of the candle wants to return to its elemental source in heaven, so too the Neshamah wants to return to Hashem.

- Likutei Moharan Chapter 70: power of the Tzadik; just like gravity on earth, people gravitate towards the Tzadik, who is the aspect of dust (humility), dust of gold.

Week 45 (Book 7) : The Creeping Creatures Are Saying

The Creeping Creatures are saying

Let Israel rejoice in He Who made him
May G-d rejoice in His works
Many waters cannot quench the love 
Nor can rivers flood it

Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King 
The entire community of the children of Israel journeyed
And Moses finished speaking all these words to all Israel 
As soon as their ears hear, they obey me 

And He smote every firstborn in their land 
The first of all their strength
May the glory of G-d endure forever
From the Desert of S'in to their travels 

By the mandate of the Lord 
They encamped in Rephidim 
And Amalek, and those of the east 
And they came up upon it

And the sin of the lads was great before the Lord 
You have shortened the days of his youth
You have enwrapped him with shame forever
And there was no water for the people to drink 

Strangers lie to me; "Why do you test the Lord?"  
Should a man give all the property of his house for love 
They would despise him
For the men despised the offering of the Lord 

And they said, Give us water that we may drink
Moses said to them, "Why do you quarrel with me?"
Because of Midian the children of Israel made for themselves 
And it was, when Israel had sown, that Midian came up

So the people quarreled with Moses
And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel 
Egypt rejoiced with their departure 
For their fear had fallen upon them

The dens which are in the mountains 
And the caves and the strongholds
And He took them out with silver and gold 
And there was no pauper among their tribes

Friday, March 1, 2013

Week 46 (Book 7): The Prolific Creeping Creatures Are Saying

The Prolific Creeping Creatures are saying: 

We have a little sister who has no breasts
What shall we do for our sister on the day she is spoken for?
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the recesses of your house 
Your children like olive shoots around your table

So that you may command your children
To observe to do all the words of this Torah 
And Samuel was serving before the Lord
Being a lad girded with a linen robe

The people thirsted there for water, 
And the people complained against Moses
Both they and their camels without number
And they came into the land to destroy it 
And they said, "Why have you brought us up from Egypt
To make me and my children and my livestock die of thirst?"
The strangers will wilt, 
And become lame from their bondage

And they encamped against them, 
And they destroyed the produce of the earth 
Until you come to Gaza
Moses cried out to the Lord 

Saying, "What shall I do for this people?" 
Just a little longer and they will stone me!  
They would leave no sustenance in Israel 
Neither sheep, nor ox, nor donkey
He spread out a cloud for shelter
And fire to illuminate the night
For they and their cattle came up, and their tents
And they came as numerous as locusts

They asked, and He brought quails, and the bread of heaven sated them
He opened a rock and water flowed; in the deserts ran rivers
And he said to them, set your hearts to all of the words
Which I bear witness for you this day.

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