Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Question & Answer With Rabbi Tal Zwecker - Yevamos

A Simple Jew asks:

Recently I have been troubled with a section of my learning in Chok L'Yisroel. Every Tuesday, there has been a selection of Mishnayos from Yevamos. I find it increasingly difficult to maintain concentration on Yevamos and have great difficulty seeing its application to my daily life. Do you know of teachings in Chassidus or have any personal advice that would help illuminate these Mishnayos for me and help me see their practical application?

Rabbi Tal Zwecker answers:

The holy Chakal Yitzhak the Spinka Rebbe used to relate while eating the Karpas at the seder and having in mind that the blessing over karpas is to exempt that of the Maror the "bitter" herbs, that we should make a blessing and exempt ourselves from the bitterness of our exile:

Once the Holy Rebbe Reb Zisha of Hanipoli asked the Rebbe Reb Shmelke of Nikolsberg to study Mishnayos with him and they began with the first Mishna in tractate Yevamos: "Zisha is an ignormaus and he needs you to translate every world for him Yiddish," the Rebbe Reb Zisha said to Reb Shmelke. Reb Shmelke began "The Mishna says 'Fifteen women exempt their Tzaros and the Tzaros of their Tzaros etc. from perfoming the ceremonies of Chaliza and Yibum etc. Ad Sof haOlam, for all generations.'" The Holy Rebbe Reb Zisha of Hanipoli grew very excited and interpreted the first Mishna found in Yevamos 2a as follows:

The 15 women alludes to the Holy Name of Hashem Yu"d He"i, (whose Gematria value=15). Nashim can be read as Notrikon a compound word for Please G-d! Na Shem. Therefore it means "Please Hashem we ask and beseech You safeguard and protect the whole of Klal Yisroel, and exempt them from Tzaros and the Tzaros of their Tzaros - sufferings and calamities of all kinds Ad Olam forever more!" (Quoted from the Spinker Haggada)

I remember learning Nezikin many times and thinking to myself what do oxes goring each other have to do with me and my life? What is spiritual about this? The truth is I have learned by studying Chassidus that first of all the Torah is an experience of dveykus with Hashem and it is the highest form, this is because the Torah is Hashem's wisdom. If you want to get to know someone the best way is to connect with their mind and heart and innermost thoughts and that's what Chazal our sages taught us that the first word of the ten commandments forms the acronym Anoch"i = "Ana Nafshi Kesavis Yehavis" Hashem says to us that I gave you My Soul in writing, that is the Torah a document offering us a glimpse into the "Chochma Bina and Daas" Wisdom Insight and Knowledge of the Divine mind as it were. When we learn we learn about G-d's mind. Its wisdom and all are not just mental gymnastics, btw, if you open up the Ramak's work Pardes Rimonim you will see that he learns the "Mishnayot" of Sefer Yetzira just as one learns Talmud logic but on Kabbala!

Aside from all this we should always remember that the Talmud contains deeper meanings and symbolic terms one needs only to open any Chassidic sefer to see this. So if you dont know the deeper meaning yet at least be aware that it is there.


At January 3, 2007 at 6:57:00 AM EST, Blogger yitz said...

Beautiful Torah from the Heiligeh Rebbe Reb Zusia!!! And while many of us, myself included, appreciate a Chassidic 'drash' on a mitzva like Yibum, we should not think that there isn't what to learn from it on a much simpler level. I would suggest looking, for example, into Sefer HaChinuch, Mitzva # 598; and also, the Commentary of HaRav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch ZT"L on Devarim 25:5.
A partial quote from the latter: "Contracted with the intention of perpetuating the memory of the deceased, this new marriage, along with the inheritance that the kinsman assumes together with it, makes it possible for the name of the deceased to survive, so that, thru this marriage & thru any offspring resulting from it, his moral & spiritual influence will live on."
How do you understand the parsha of Yehuda & Tamar without an understanding of Yibum?
There are many aspects of Torah that may seem "obscure" or "non-applicable" to us. Korbanos, Tumah and Tahara, just to mention a few. It behooves us to delve into them and find the "mussar haskeil", a practical ethical application that we can derive from every part of Torah. We are only fooling ourselves if we think we can ignore these parts of Torah.

At January 3, 2007 at 2:17:00 PM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

This just in...


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