MidrESHET Hayil

Friday, February 22, 2013

Parashat Tessaveh- Don't be Resilient; Be SILENT+Shabbat ZAKHOR

**BH this week is one of the Four Special Shabbatot of the month called Shabbat Zakhor; EVERYONE INCLUDING WOMEN are hayav/obligated to hear the Keriat HaTorah (Torah Reading) this Shabbat instructing us to wipe out the name and memory of Amalek from the world (Haman came from Amalek....).

Parashat Tessaveh- Don't be Resilient; Be SILENT

33. And on its bottom hem you shall make pomegranates of blue, purple, and crimson wool, on its bottom hem all around, and golden bells in their midst all around.

לגוְעָשִׂיתָ עַל שׁוּלָיו רִמֹּנֵי תְּכֵלֶתוְאַרְגָּמָן וְתוֹלַעַת שָׁנִי עַל שׁוּלָיו סָבִיבוּפַעֲמֹנֵי זָהָב בְּתוֹכָם סָבִיב:

34. A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, on the bottom hem of the robe, all around.

לדפַּעֲמֹן זָהָב וְרִמּוֹן פַּעֲמֹן זָהָב וְרִמּוֹןעַל שׁוּלֵי הַמְּעִיל סָבִיב:

35. It shall be on Aaron when he performs the service, and its sound shall be heard when he enters the Holy before the Lord and when he leaves, so that he will not die.

להוְהָיָה עַל אַהֲרֹן לְשָׁרֵת וְנִשְׁמַע קוֹלוֹבְּבֹאוֹ אֶל הַקֹּדֶשׁ לִפְנֵי יְ־הֹוָ־ה וּבְצֵאתוֹוְלֹא יָמוּת:

Did you know.... that Parashat Tessaveh is the only Parshah in the Torah since the birth of Moshe Rabbenu in which the name of Moshe does not appear (with the exception of the book of Devarimwhich consists wholly of a first-person narrative spoken by Moshe Rabbenu himself). Says the Baal HaTurimthe reason for this is thatwhen Benei Yisrael sinned with the Egelthe Golden CalfMoshe Rabbenu said to Ribono Shel Olam: 'If You do not forgive themerase me from the book that You have written'. Thus, the name of MosheRabbenu does not appear in this Parashainstead, the main focus of the Parashah is the Kohanim.

Among eight special garments that a Kohen Gadol wears, one of them is a robe with alternating pomegranates and bells fastened to the bottom in order to make a sound before he enters the Kodesh Kedashim (literally the holiest place in the world).

Did HaKadosh Barukh Hu not know that the Kohen Gadol was approaching that he had to be announced?

The Midrash Raba answers this question.

Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai said: There are four things which HaKadosh Barukh Hu hates, and I too dislike them... [the fourth thing is,] one who enters his house suddenly (withtout announcing himself, usually by knocking....)--all the more so when he enters his neighbor's house....

From the bells and pomegranates on the Kohen Gadol's robe, we learn to knock before entering a room in order to show respect to those inside. Yet, we can learn even another lesson from these bells and pomegranates on the Kohen Gadol's robe.  While the bells signify the use for our ability to make sound, the pomegranates represent silence; they do not make any noise.

There are times in life when staying quiet is the smarter course to be taken. Haz''al teach us that if words are worth one coin, silence is worth two. Sometimes it is better not to speak.

But why? Wouldn't it be more helpful to speak up and clarify things? Staying silent is the last thing that can help a situation! The more I explain, the more clear things become….no?

In the Talmud, there is a concept known as 'shetika ke'hoda'ah'. Silence is accepting. When somebody would speak in court and nobody would object, it is considered as if they agree to the verdict. What we have to understand about being silent in the face of life is that when we do so, we acknowledge a situation and we are accepting of it. When we feel the need to respond, we are essentially saying we object, we think we know better. Sometimes it is not our job to respond, sometimes we have to give in and agree to the challenges we face. By doing so, we are able to move forward.

Rabbi Akiva and his students were on a voyage where they had to cross a body of water in order to proceed. As the students reached the other side, there was no sign of Rabbi Akiva; they thought he drowned. As the students began to mourn the passing of their beloved Rav, Rabbi Akiva swims onto shore. Amazed, they ask him,' Rebbi! We thought the waters took you! How did you manage to make it out alive?' 'Simple,' he answered. 'I held on to a plank of wood and anytime a wave came, a bent over instead of fighting it.'

From Rabbi Akiva we learn a powerful lesson. When we encounter a wave in life, we shouldn't try to resist it; it will take over us. Instead, we should bend over and accept what is in front of us, and once the wave passes over, we can continue to swim. This is exactly the reason why Aharon HaKohen is deserving to wear the bells and pomegranates. He embodies this silence of acceptance that is so important for us to have. When he hears the news that his two dear sons were burnt to death because they sinned, the very day the Mishkan was being dedicated, the pasuk says 'VaYidom Aharon'. Aharon was silent. Upon hearing possibly the worst news in his life, Aharon HaKohen didn't object, he didn't get upset at HaShem, he didn't scream and cry and pity himself. Aharon HaKohen didn't try to change what happened; he accepted what happened with trust that this was what Ribono Shel Olam wanted for him. This is why he was fitting to be the Kohen Gadol. This is why he was deserving of an entire Parasha dedicated to him.

In life, we are going to have to go through what we have to go through, we might as well do it in a positive, happy way! Accept what your life is, and think of the best way to go through with it. I assure you that fighting it won't get you farther than if you were to go with the flow and genuinely make the best of what you were given. If we even realized how many berakhot we are given in life, we would never dare to speak up and ask otherwise, we would be silent in deep humility and appreciation for what we have been given.

This week, HaRav Bakhshi had taught us that a the character of a person who is strong is not a stong voice-it is a strong mind. A person  who wishes to strengthen themselves, it is not through their voice that they will achieve this--it is through the power of the mind, through trying to understand the situation and mentally coping with it, rather than momentaraily blocking it or diverting it by the 'power' of speech. Silence is acceptance. Acceptance makes us better people. Silence therefore, has the ability to make us better people.

Be'Ezrat HaShem may we all develop the humility to understand that HaKadosh Barukh Hu knows what is best for us and constructs our life based on this, and it is not our job to object and try to change it. May we all learn to accept what we are given graciously and make the best of it!

Although silence is a beautiful thing, one of the times where we should not be staying quiet is during Zemirot Shabbat Kodesh! Sing your heart out loud!

Wishing everybody a Shabbat Shalom uMevorakh!!
Ariellah Samimi

Based on teachings of Rebbitzen Ginzberg, Rebbetzin Stern and Rav Millstein

Make Your Neshamah Fly!

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