Rav Brazil On Parshas Shelach


rav-shmuel-brazil-1By Rav Shmuel Brazil

We find the parsha of tzitis as a follow up to the parsha of the meraglim. This can be explained in this fashion. The Talmud Yerushalmi states that everthing in this world is a circle and nothing is a square. Until the recent discoveries of science this statement was hard to believe for we see the physical creations not as circles but existing many different forms. However, since the discovery of atoms, this statement of the Yerushami hundreds of years ago bears an irrefutable proof. Not only is the earth not flat as the ancients thought, but round, so too is every planet and star and rule applies to all matter. For every physical creation contains atoms that circle around and around on its own path at incredible unfathomable speeds, If you want to be inspired for devaikus in Hashem take an encyclopedia and read what it says about the atom and you will be totally astounded. In fact the Sefas Emes learns that this is the meaning of the Chazal that Avraham saw a birah dolakas a “running” world as the word eretz suggests from the lashon of ratz. And Avraham asked the big question Where and to what is the entire universe running? Hashem then appeared to him and replied I am the owner of this universe and therefore they are all running to fullfill my command and will.

The next question is what then is the reason why the Torah commanded a mitzvah which specifically requires a square. Of course this mitzva is tzitzis which only applies with a four cornered garment.Incredibly enough the way we today fulfill this mitzva is by first making a cut out circle for our heads which is surrounded by a square. The upshot is that as long one stays within the realm of a circle which symbolizes wholesomeness, then he is fully connected to his creator. As soon as one leaves the circle – the recognition that one must run as a servant to fulfill his creator’s desires, then he brings upon himself spiritual death. Atom in lashon hakodesh means “A” the aleph referring to Hashem who is the One and only. The remaining letters are tum which means end [yetamu chataim min haaretz]. The atom teaches that if one realizes the aleph and runs to the source of everything – Hashem then he aligns himself with the rest of creation. If he fails to do so then he has reached his end since tum are also the letters of mais -death.

The tzizis are a reminder that even if one travels outside of the circle, nevertheless his “free” fall can be broken with the tzizis reminder. For inside the circle one is bound with limitations. Not everything he desires he can do, not all the foods he craves he can have, not all the sights he wants to see is he allowed to do so etc. In the free fall when one breaks away from the boundaries set forth by his creator, he can still be protected by the tzizis to remind him not to go off the deep end. For while entering the square life style, what he is actually doing is cutting himself off from the real world of circles. He has allowed himself to enter the world of square which symbolizes the unnatural and unwanted expansion to the outer space in all four directions. In this world of squares, desire knows no bounds and one can free fall to an endless abyss of self destruction and decadence as we unfortunalely see prevalent in today’s society.The mitzva of tziitzis has the power to stop the expansion as it is placed on the four corners and bring the person back into the circle the realm of spirituality.

This brings to mind the joke that we heard when we were kids how a not so put together individual as he stopped at a red light was accosted by three men who commanded him to get out of his car. They then drew a circle around him and said that if they see him step of the circle even once they were going to give it to him over the head. It was then that they took out sledge hammers and began smashing his car to pieces. All of a sudden they heard the sound of gleeful laughter. They quickly turned aournd to the place of orign and they saw the man in the circle was hysterically laughing. They asked him how can he laugh at a time like this. He replied when they were not looking he stepped out of the circle and went completely unnoticed. In his mind he was the victor. What a fool indeed!

Sometimes we are so busy stepping out of the circle life that we forget to focus on the destruction that the life of squares causes to our being and connection with Hashem. The meraglim who spoke evil on eretz yisrael wore the spectacles of “squaredom”. Our Chazal say that they were worried and concerned that they might lose their presteigeous positions when Am Yisrael would enter Eretz Yisrael. By going against the will of Hashem they stepped into the world of squares and caused the Tisha B’av for generations.It is for this reason that the parsha of tzitzis was given as a safeguard not to square off but to be saviv by the soveiv kal almin.

Our Chazal say that in the future Hashem will make a circle dance around the tzadikim. The reason being that in this world it was they who danced a circle around Hashem. Just to put it more succinctly – “Square dances” have no place in the future world.

Shabbos is meiain olam habah. It is for this reason we eat a kugel which symbolizes ke-oogal like a circle. For the old style kugels were round. The future holds the rounds. Succos we circle the bimah with the the four minim and Simchas Torah we dance around it. As the Maharal explains, Succos is the Yom Tov of Mashiach and the future. It belongs to the world of circles and shelaimus.


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