Please enable JavaScript in your browser to experience all the custom features of our site.

RabbiHorowitz.com
Please Use Our New Website
still under constructions
to purchase safety books and educational materials
https://thebrightbeginnings.com

Mr. Harry Skydell, Chairman
Mr. Mark Karasick, Vice Chairman
Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, Director
Rabbi Avrohom M. Gluck, Director of Operations
The first 1000 members will have a chance to win a
16 GB
iPod
touch
with Rabbi Horowitz audio

Membership Benefits:

  • Save articles to your favorites folder.
  • Save and print selected articles in a PDF journal.
  • Receive emails containing the latest comments on your favorite articles.
  • Mark articles as "READ".
  • More member features coming soon...

Raffle Rules:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. To enter, complete the signup form and join as a member. Incomplete entries will be disqualified. All entries shall become the property of CJFL. CJFL is not responsible for lost, misdirected or delayed entries.

The contest is open to the general public. Members need to be at least 18 years old. Identification must be produced on request. Employees of CJFL, its raffle sponsor, advertising and promotional agencies and their respective affiliates and associates and such employees' immediate family members and persons with whom such employees are domiciled are excluded from this raffle. ALL PREVIOUSLY REGISTERED MEMBERS WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY ENTERED INTO THIS RAFFLE. The prize is not redeemable in cash and must be accepted as awarded. Decisions of the raffle judges are final - no substitutions will be available. By claiming the prize, the winner authorizes the use, without additional compensation of his or her name and/or likeness (first initial and last name) and municipality of residence for promotion and/or advertising purposes in any manner and in any medium (including without limitation, radio broadcasts, newspapers and other publications and in television or film releases, slides, videotape, distribution over the internet and picture date storage) which CJFL may deem appropriate. In accepting the prize, the winner, acknowledges that CJFL may not be held liable for any loss, damages or injury associated with accepting or using this prize. CJFL retains the rights, in its absolute and sole discretion, to make substitutions of equivalent kind or approximate value in the event of the unavailability of any prize or component of the prize for any reason whatsoever. This contest is subject to all federal, provincial and municipal laws. CJFL reserves the right to withdraw or terminate this raffle at any time without prior notice. One entry per person.


Rabbi Doniel Staum - Parshas Tetzaveh 5776 "Internal Flame"
by Rabbi Doniel Staum, LMSW

Not Rated Yet   |   Viewed 3428 times since 2/18/16   |   0 Comments
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size    [ Change Font Size ] Email This Article to a Friend
   

2/18/16

STAM TORAH

TETZAVEH 5776

INTERNAL FLAME

Naftali was a hard-working innkeeper - honest, respected, and well-liked. For years he made a respectable living and made sure to pay his rent to the Poritz on time. But then, all at once, business took a turn for the worse. People stopped flocking to the inn and one month Naftali found himself without money to pay the Poritz.

After years of faithful prompt payment the Poritz agreed to extend his debt for a few weeks. But when another month went by and things only became worse, Naftali began to feel desperate. He knew he only had one option, to run for his life.

He and his family furtively loaded a wagon with as much of their belongings as they could pack onto it. The Poritz had gone to a spa up north. They hoped to be far away before he returned.

However, after only two hours of travel, Naftali was seized with terror. On the road headed his way, was unmistakably the Poritz's elegant carriage. Suddenly an idea entered his head. He pulled the reins and drew the horse to a halt, and waited for the Poritz's carriage to reach him. He offered up a short prayer that his scheme work.

"We are just going to stay with relatives for the holiday. When we come back, I'll be sure to bring the money I owe to you," he told the Poritz.

"Holiday?" echoed the Poritz. "I thought I knew all about your Jewish holidays. What special day do you have now?"

"It's the Festival of Flight," answered Naftali.

"The Festival of Flight? I don't remember that one. It doesn't really matter; just make sure that you come to me as soon as you're back home."

The Poritz seemed satisfied so Naftali bid him farewell and quickly sped off. Before he returned home the Poritz stopped at the market. While there he saw many Jews conducting their business. He stopped one of them, "Tell me, when is this 'Festival of the Flight' that my tenant told me about, as he sped away to his relatives for the holiday? If it’s a holiday why are you all still working?”

The Jew quickly realized what had occurred and answered wittily. "The Festival of Flight is an unusual holiday, for each person must choose when to celebrate it. Your tenant obviously felt that this is the most opportune time for him to celebrate it. That's how the Festival of Flight is; each person knows when it's just the right time for him to keep it best."

“Now you shall command the Children of Israel that they shall take for you pure, pressed olive oil for illumination, to kindle the lamp continually. In the Tent of Meeting… Aaron and his sons shall arrange it from evening until morning, before G-d, an eternal decree for their generations, from the Children of Israel[1].” [2]

The Menorah is of the most cherished symbols in Judaism[3]. The light of the Menorah represents the spiritual light of Torah, the source of the vitality of Klal Yisroel.

In discussing the laws of the lightning of the Menorah, Rambam writes[4] “The cleaning of the Menorah and the preparation of its lights every morning and every evening is a positive commandment, as it says, “Aaron and his sons shall arrange it from evening until morning”. Rambam continues by discussing the process for cleaning the menorah and preparing the new candles.

It is fascinating that Rambam writes that it is not the lighting of the Menorah which is a positive commandment, but rather the cleaning out of the previous day’s candles in preparation for the new lighting that is a commandment. In fact, Rambam[5] rules that although only a Kohain is permitted to prepare the candles of the Menorah for the lighting, a non-Kohain is permitted to actually light the candles of the Menorah[6].

Prima facie, one would think the primary focus of the Menorah is the actual lighting of its candles. Thus if there were to be any part of the Menorah’s service which should require a Kohain’s involvement it would be the lighting itself. The preparation and cleaning out of the previous day’s ashes and wicks would seem to be no more than a means to enable the lighting to take place. Yet Rambam writes that the opposite is true.

What is the logic and deeper message that lies here?

Rabbi Chaim Vital zt’l explains[7] that there are four fundamental energy sources in this world that comprise all of creation: Fire, water, wind, and dust. Similarly, a person’s character traits are based on these energy sources[8].

The ‘fire’ of one’s personality has a positive component and a negative component. When used improperly one who possesses a fiery personality has an unmitigated temper which can flare easily and dominate his entire personality. When used properly however, such a person displays boundless passion and an unyielding drive and ambition for spiritual growth. He has, the proverbial, ‘fire in his soul’.

Fire is also a source of light. There are two ways for one to obscure the light of a fire: by extinguishing the fire with water, or by placing some sort of separation near the fire to blot out the light.

The amount of light that will be blocked depends on the separation. If one uses a threadbare cloth to block the fire a fair amount of light will continue to shine through. The thicker and coarser the cloth is the less light will be able to penetrate beyond it.

The fire in our souls is pure and holy. But one who chooses to surround and involve himself with the pleasures of this world can obscure the light that burns within him.

Perhaps the central point reiterated numerously in sefer Tanya[9] is that every person possesses an inner fire. We do not need love for Torah and G-d to be implanted within ourselves, because we already possess it internally. Our souls are “a portion of G-d above[10]”. Fire symbolizes our souls because just as a fire seems to dance upwards, so too our souls yearn to reconnect to their upper source. Therefore our task is to remove the impediments which douse our inner fire and enervate our ability to feel our innate drive for spiritual holiness. Therefore, we don’t need to create new fires; we merely need to fan the fire which is already there.

Our nature is that if we remain placid and stationary for too long we became overgrown and caked with grime and rust. Just as chimneys of old and kerosene lamps need to be cleaned, so too the fire in our souls needs to be kept pristine and pure.

In parshas Beha’aloscha the Torah repeats that Aharon must light the Menorah daily. “When you make the candles ascend, toward the face of the Menorah, shall the seven candles cast light.[11]” The gemara explains that the obligation was for Aharon to hold the fire next to the wick “until the flame rises by itself.”

The primary service of the Menorah was not to ‘put a new fire in’ as much as it was to ‘draw the fire out’, i.e. to enable the flame ‘to rise by itself’. The actual kindling of the candles of the Menorah did not require a Kohain because that was not the primary focus of the service. Rather, the main effort of the Kohain was centered on ensuring that there was no grime or leftover ash which might impede the new candle’s light.

The light of the Menorah reflects the light within every one of us. That light is pre-supplanted. Our task is to ensure that no foreign elements dim its ethereal glow.

A speck of dirt on one’s clothing is unsightly and annoying; a speck of dirt on one’s glasses however, is intolerable, because it affects everything he sees. The external dirt that remains in the cups atop the Menorah symbolizes the spiritual dirt we allow to gather around our internal spiritual flame.

The lighting of the Menorah symbolizes that we do not need to bring in inspiration as much as we need to keep out foreign influences. If a person allows his mind to become filled with nonsense and spiritual grime his inner light will easily became obscured. In order to stir the embers he must begin to remove those foreign materials.

The holiday of Chanukah in known as ‘the Holiday of Light’. However, before one can truly appreciate and take advantage of that light he must celebrate ‘the Holiday of Flight’. The more one is able to flee and divest himself of the impurities that abound, the more he will be able to connect and see the luminescent light that shines within himself.

“Aaron and his sons shall arrange it”

“Until the flame rises by itself.”

Sign up to receive Stam Torah via email each week at:

http://www.stamtorah.info

http://torah.stamtorah.info/view/mosaic



[1] 27:20-21

[2] The following thoughts are based on a lecture given by Rabbi Aharon Lopiansky in the Yeshiva of Greater Washington

[3] On the Arch of Titus in Rome there is a depiction of Jewish prisoners carrying the Menorah as they were being carted off to Rome as slaves. Outside Ben Gurion airport there is a Menorah (so that you can take pictures in front of it). Just before descending the “Rabbi Yehuda Halevi steps” from the Old City of Yerushalayim to the Kosel there is a massive golden Menorah. In addition, many shuls have a Menorah at the amud.

[4] Hilchos Temidin Umusafin 3:10

[5] Hilchos Bias Mikdash 9:7

[6] The only issue is that the Menorah was in the sanctuary and a non-kohain may not enter the sanctuary. But if he were able to find a long enough candle that would reach from outside the sanctuary to the menorah, a non-kohain would be permitted to light the Menorah.

[7] Sha’ar Hakedusha

[8] For example, a lazy person is dominated by ‘dust’, while an impulsive person is dominated by ‘water’.

[9] Authored by the great Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi 1745-1812, the founder of Chabad Chassidus. The Tanya is said to be the equivalent of the “Written Torah” of Chassidic philosophy.

[10] לקוטי מוהר"ן, חלק א', סימן רו

[11] Bamidbar 8:2



To sign up for Rabbi Horowitz’s weekly emails, please click here.


Reader's Comments:      Rating & Comments Policy      Rate & Write a Comment!
 Average Rating:       Not Rated Yet
Subscribe to this Article
(by subscribing you will receive email notification
when new comments are posted)
There are no comments yet. Click above to write the first comment.
Dear Readers:

Please visit our Parenting Resource listing to learn about agencies and services that you can make use of. If you know of an agency that can be of assistance to others, kindly drop an email to our site administrator at admin@RabbiHorowitz.com and pass along the information to him.

I ask that you please consider supporting the work we are doing to improve the lives of our children. Click on these links to learn more about our teen and parent mentoring program that serves hundreds of teens and their families, or our KESHER program, now in 20 schools in 4 states. Your financial support can allow us to expand these services and help more children.

If you believe in the governing principles of this website – to help effect positive change through the candid discussions of the real issues we collectively face, please consider becoming a daily, weekly or monthly sponsor of this website and help defray the costs of it’s maintenance.



Working with Families and Educators on Behalf of our Children

This site is managed by The Center for Jewish Family Life, Inc., 56 Briarcliff Drive, Monsey, NY 10952
Project Y.E.S. was founded by Agudath Israel of America
The Center for Jewish Family Life/Project YES - 56 Briarcliff Drive, Monsey, NY 10952 (845) 352-7100 ext. 114 Fax: (845) 352-9593
email: email@kosherjewishparenting.com


Advertisements