Vol 13.05 - Behaalotecha 1 Spanish French Audio Video
An Emanation of Spirit
In the Torah portion of Behaalos’cha, we read: “And on the day of your rejoicing, on your festivals and on your Rosh Chodesh days, you shall sound the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings, and they shall be a remembrance for you before your G-d.”
It is Rashi’ s custom to explain things in the simple context of the verse.1 Accordingly, we must understand why Rashi fails to explain the words “on the day of your rejoicing” — exactly what day is the verse referring to? It cannot refer to the various festivals, for they are specified after “the day of your rejoicing.”
The Sifri explains “the day of your rejoicing” to mean “the days of Shabbos.” However, we cannot say that Rashi would apply this to the simple meaning of the text for: a) If this were indeed the case, Rashi would have said so, and b) in the simple context of the verses, we don’t find that the Torah ever refers to Shabbos as a “day of rejoicing.”
Since Rashi mentions absolutely nothing at all regarding the meaning of “the day of your rejoicing,” we must conclude that he finds this so easy to understand that no explanation is needed. (If Rashi had not known the meaning, he would have said, as in other places,2 “I do not know.”)
The verse preceding “On the day of your rejoicing….” states: “When you go to war against an enemy who oppresses you in your land, you shall sound a staccato on the trumpets. You will then be remembered before G-d your L-rd, and will be delivered from your enemies.”
Thus the words “On the day of your rejoicing….” continues the theme of the previous verse, and is simply stating, according to Rashi, that victory in battle results in a “day of rejoicing,” during which the Jewish people gave praise and thanks to G-d for their salvation.3
In the context of our spiritual service, these verses convey the following instruction:
“When you go to war against an enemy who oppresses you” alludes to the constant war man wages with his evil inclination,4 for “no other enemy oppresses us as he does.”5
This is especially true during the time of prayer, for “the time of prayer is the time of battle.”6 At that time, the evil inclination exerts all its power in endeavoring to take a person’s mind off his prayers.
The Torah teaches us that victory can be achieved by “sounding a staccato,” i.e., by becoming contrite and brokenhearted — a state that leads to the short staccato notes of weeping. The person will then be humbled before G-d, beseeching Him to “have mercy upon his soul and save it from the ‘turbulent waters.’ ”7
Doing so means that “you will then be remembered before G-d your L-rd, and will be delivered from your enemies.”
A person may think that humility and self-nullification are necessary only at the outset of his spiritual service, and that once he has vanquished the enemy and serves G-d with a greater measure of comprehension and emotion, deriving a great deal of pleasure and joy from his service, then self-nullification and subservience are no longer needed.
The Torah therefore tells us: “And on the day of your rejoicing…, you shall sound the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings.” The verse is telling us that, even after a person has overcome the enemy and achieved a state of union with G-d (the spiritual equivalent of bringing offerings), the trumpets must still be sounded.
Self-abnegation, humility and contrition remain a necessary ingredient in divine service, no matter how much a person has already achieved.
Based on Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XIII, pp. 24-28
1. See Likkutei Sichos, Vol. X, p. 13, and places cited in fn. 1.
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