Vol 16.04 - Shmot 4                         Spanish French Audio  Video

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The lesson from the claim of Pharoah: "Get back to your burdens" (Ex. Rab. 5:16) - that "the sons of the tribe of Levi should deal solely with teaching the wisdom of Torah to the Bnei Yisroel and not involve themselves in the conduct of the country" (5740)


1. On the verse (Ex. 5:4): “The king of Egypt said to them, "Why, Moshe and Aharon, are you distracting the people from their work? Get back to your burdens”,

the Sages point out that since  Pharaoh states: “Get back to your burdens/sivloseichem” and it states it (in the second person plural), “sivloseichem” meaning “to your” (including Moshe and Aharon) individual work, and not (i.e. he did not say, for example) “his work” or “their burdens” (as in the very next verse) referring to the back breaking servitude of all the Yidden – it proves that Moshe and Aharon were free from this labor for :the tribe of Levi was exempt from the back breaking work”

Ramban explains that:

                “There is a universal custom among nations to have sages to instruct them in their laws/torosam”

Therefore Pharaoh separated the tribe of Levi and exempted them from servitude because they were the “the wise men and elders” of the Yidden. And this is what Pharaoh meant by: “Get back to your burdens” – for (the sake of) Yisroel, in other words to the task of teaching the Yidden and “instructing them in their laws” (morei torosam).

In other words, Pharaoh protested to Moshe and Aharon:

It is sufficient that you are exempt from the servitude and are able to study Torah individually and also with Yidden – therefore, why must you (also) involve yourself with the (general) routine of the life and work of other Yidden, in order to relieve them from following the dictates and order of the country? It is also sufficient that you study Torah with them from time to time?

2. It states in Zohar that the wisdom of Mitzrayim was “greater than the rest of the world”. Therefore – Pharaoh was a great wise man (chacham gadol). His claim, therefore, had merit in mundane logic.

According to nature, the Yidden could not free themselves from Galut Mitzrayim, as it states: “A slave could not flee from Mitzrayim”. Moreover, this corresponded to the order of conduct that came from Above. For G-d’s decree of the Galut Mitzrayim was for “four hundred years”.

This, therefore, is what Pharaoh claimed:

Why are you trying to change the nature of G-d’s ways? “Get back to your burdens” – go and learn the Torah (lessons) and let Yidden conduct themselves the way it is dictated from the order of conduct of the world.

The reply to this is:

Even though it is a valid claim – nevertheless it is a claim of Pharaoh. And if his claim was accepted, we would have, G-d forbid, missed the whole aspect of Geulah. As it is known, the Geulah needed to be “with haste”. For if the Yidden would have remained in Galut Mitzrayim even: “a wink of an eye” more, the Geulah could not have occurred. The Geulah came by specifically not listening to Pharaoh.

It is true, that according to wisdom and logic, his claim had merit. Nevertheless Yidden are not bound by the confines of logic and the nature of the worlds. Therefore, notwithstanding that which the decree of Galut was for “four hundred years”, the Geulah was much earlier, in a manner of “skipping to the end” (dilag al haKeitz).

3. The lesson from this is:

A Yid should not think: “I study the Torah and (therefore) ‘I have saved my soul’. And (this is) especially so, since I occasionally give a Torah lesson (shiur) to others. Therefore, what great concern is it of me how another Yid conducts himself? - Whether he keeps Mitzvot or, G-d forbid, not. Or whether he gives his strength (kochot) to G-d, or the opposite, to “Pharaoh king of Mitzrayim” - in physical matters.

(Physicality, of its own accord, without the G-dly vitality (Chayut Eloki) within it, is like building Pisom and Rameses, the “cities of  Pharaoh” of which the sages state: (Tal.Sotah,11a): "Why was it called Ramses? Because it would crumble (misroses)...And why was it called Pisom? Because "pi t'hom bol'o" -the mouth of the depths would swallow it." It had no permanence (whatever they built would sink into the ground - Rashi).)

One must realize that this is (was) the outlook of Pharaoh king of Mitzrayim when he said “Get back to your burdens". It is sufficient for you that you study Torah. What great concern is it of yours, regarding the welfare of another Yid?

This (rationale), however, is not proper conduct for a Yid. Therefore Moshe and Aharon did not accept Pharaoh‘s claim.

This is analogous to one’s seeing a fire burning, G-d forbid, in a Jewish home. One would not sit and debate whether he should do something to save the person from the fire – or make an assessment (saying): how can I and why should I involve myself in another’s affairs? Every person has his own destiny (seder HaChaim) which is established by Divine Providence. Therefore why should I mix in G-d’s ways?

But rather it is simple:

Any person, who saw such an occurrence, would not hesitate to debate whether it (his actions) follows one opinion or another. But rather, he would immediately run to save the other person!

If this is so when it regards only temporal matters (Chayei olam hazeh), how much more so is it, when it concerns temporal as well as eternal (Chayei olam haba) life together - there is no place to make assessments (machen cheshbonot). But rather, one must do all that he can to save another from the Be'er Shachas (the pit of destruction i.e. Gehinom).

4. The Rebbe Rayatz said in the name of the Ba’al Shem Tov that the obligation for Ahavat Yisroel does not just extend to a person that he knows, but that the love must also be to a Yid who is found somewhere (ergetz)at the ends of the world. And the love must be (not just love, “v’Ahavta”, that is with limitation, but) “kamocha”, the same way one loves himself, without limitation. (Note: from the dictum: V'Ahavta L'Reacha Kamocha/Love your fellow as yourself). The same type of love must extend to another Yid.

The Rebbe (Rayatz) related how the Mezritcher Maggid wished on himself to be able to kiss a Sefer Torah with the same love that the Baal Shem Tov had for every Jew. The Previous Rebbe then added (in the name of the Maggid) that if, while he was still living in this world, the Baal Shem Tov would have known that which he knows now (i.e., how much he achieved with his love for all Jews) it would have been totally different! -

The “V'Ahavta L'Reacha Kamocha” must express itself that,

just as he himself - “kamocha” – has the: “Get back to your burdens”, namely that he is surrounded by the tent (environment) of Torah and the tent of prayer and Mitzvot, so too,

he must achieve this for another Yid.

And since G-d does not demand more than one can handle ("ein hkb"h ba b'trunia im briosav"), it is certain that one has been given the wherewithal to carry this out. One must just realize that he cannot postpone this Avodah for another week or day or even for a moment (a “wink of an eye”). For truly, a wink of an eye determines whether one remains in Galut, G-d forbid, or whether one will be freed - meriting the complete Redemption.

5. This is the lesson that concerns all Yidden that are in the tent of Torah, including the yeshiva students/talmidim, and also those Yidden which are in their environs (keren orah):

When one sees that the spiritual situation of another Yid is not as it should be, not illuminated sufficiently – one must not tell himself that ‘I have saved my soul’”. This is specifically so, since all Yidden are one complete unit (koma achas sheleima/ all connected to each other). Therefore, if there is a deficiency in the completeness of another Yid’s Torah and Mitzvot – there is a deficiency in himself as well as all Yidden.

Torah states regarding Yidden:

"You are all standing this day before the L-rd, your G-d, the leaders of your tribes, your elders and your officers, etc. both your woodcutters and your water drawers”

When one places soldiers in a parade before the king, the rule is that if a simple soldier has not polished the buttons of his uniform correctly, that not (only) is the soldier held responsible, but primarily, an explanation is demanded from the commanding officer as to why he did not instruct his soldiers that they should know to prepare themselves in how to stand before a king.

One must know that when "You are all standing this day before the L-rd, your G-d”, the demands are not (just) from the “woodcutters and your water drawers”. On the contrary, it is primarily demanded from the “the leaders of your tribes, your elders and your officers”. And they cannot answer with the excuse that they were occupied with themselves (their own affairs).

And when Yidden conduct themselves as a complete single unit (koma achas sheleima), all Yidden together -from the leaders of your tribes, your elders and your officers until the woodcutters and your water drawers, (the prayer from the High Holiday Amidah): “they will all make a single union” (veyei'asu kulam agudah achas” is achieved.

We will then all merit to the (end of the prayer) “to do Your will with a complete heart” (la’asos ritzonicha b’levav shaleim) and it will be “G-d is One and His Name is One”.

m’Sichas Simchat Beit HaSho’eva 5717

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