Rav Brazil On Parshas Shoftim


rav-shmuel-brazil-1By Rav Shmuel Brazil
Some thoughts inspired on the way from Lod Airport towads Yerushalayim:

 The passuk says Tzedek tzedek tirdof – one should chase after righteousness. Why did the Torah use a double language of zedek zedek? The passuk continues to say leman tichye veyarashta es haaretz – that by doing so you will live and inherit the land. Why is the inheritance of the land contingent upon the pursuit of this double term of zedek?

The sefarim say that there are two types of yiras shamayim. One is fear of punishment and retribution which is external to man. The second is the recognition that Hashem is awesome which is a more internal and essential experience. This type of yirah is called yiras haromemus. It is on this level that one deeply desires to serve Him because of His immense greatness and loftiness.

These two levels of fear of Hashem is expressed in the beracha for benching rosh chodesh. First we ask for chayim sheyeish bahem yiras shamayim veyiras chait. Afterwards we ask for chayim sheyaish banu ahavas hatorah veyiras shamayim. Why ask for yiras shamayim twice? However if we will scrutinize carefully the text, we will realize that the change of one word alone creates a light year difference in the nature of the request.

First we ask for a life that envelopes [sheyaish bahem] yiras shamayim. The second time we ask for yiras shamayim within oneself [chayim sheyaish banu]. Awesomeness of Hashem is the manifestation of the type of heavenly fear that is internalized deep within one’s heart.For one’s heart also have both external and internal components.

 We find that the passuk says concerning the madraiga of Avraham Avinu that Hashem found his hearts faithful [umatzasaw es levavo neheman lefanecha]. The plural heart denotes that Avraham attained the fear of awesomeness of Hashem, the level beyond the mere fear of punishment. For that reason he was called Avram which translates desire [for Hashem] because of his vision and type of yirah “rum” the loftiness and Hashem.

Similarly, Yerushalayim which is the heart of the world possesses two hearts, an inner and an outer. The city itself creates the atmosphere of yiras Hashem as the name Yerushalayim portrays [yirah shalaim]. However Yerushalayim has a heart within the heart and it is called the Beis Hamikdash. This too portrays yirahs Hashem as the passuk commands to ascend to the Beis Hamikdash in order to learn yiras Hashem. The yiras Hashem acquired at the site of the mikdash was the yiras haromemus. It was there that we came in contact with His majestic kingdom, the ten constant miracles that continuously were occurring there and the revelation of the Shechinah.

There are many pesukim that describe Yerushalayim as the city of Tzedek – righteousness. Malki “tzedek” the son of Shem was the kohen gadol in the city of Yerushalayim. Tzedek and fear of Hashem are synonomous. For only the fear of Hashem can make one truly righteous. But just as Yerushalayim contains two hearts, so too there parallels it the two types of tzedek. To this the passuk refers to when it says Tzedek Tzedek tirdof, that one should pursue and strive to attain the two levels of yirash shamayim which correspond to the two hearts of Yerushalayim. The completion of the second type of yirahs harommemus, the comprehension of Hashem’s awesomeness will only come about with the rebuilding of the third beis hamikdash. This is alluded to in our tefillah after the shemoneh esrai , sheyebaneh beis hamikdash bemehaira veyamainu vesain chelkeinu besorasecha vesham naavadcha beyirah. The word beyirah can be read bais yirah – two fears. Only with the beis hamikdash one can ascend to a clarity with Hashem’s awesomeness.

Eretz Yisrael is contingent on the desire to attain the levels of Yerushalayim and the beis hamikdash which is the two levels of Tzedek. As the passuk says by Avraham Avinu “umatzasah es levavo ne’eman l”efanecha vehcaros eemo habris la’ses lo eretz hakenaani. Hashem found Avraham’s hearts faithful before Him and He cut a treaty with him to give him the land of Eretz Yisrael Only when Avraham reached the level of two hearts, the level of two Yerushalayims the outer and inner, does Hashem make the bris of rewarding Eretz Yisrael to him. Only when Avraham reaches the level of “inner life” not only “surrounding life” does he merit the holy land.

Tzedek tzedek tirdof in order that you should attain the higher setting of life found in the chayim sheyaish banu, and merit the inheritance of Eretz Yisrael and the beis hamikdash. Included in this tefillah for rebuilding the beis hamikdash is also the request to give us our portion in Torah. This alludes to the fact that through Torah however, one can reach the awesomeness of Hashem equal to that recognized in the Beis Hamikdash.

This can be understood through the Chazal which states that since the destruction of the mikdash Hashem has only the four cubits to torah learning. This is explained that in the four cubits of torah the destruction of the mikdash did not take place. That through toiling over torah, one can attain that awesomeness that went into hiding since the churban. It is for this reason that Hashem appeared to Moshe at the burning bush with a labas aish [flaming fire]. Hashem wanted to hint to Moshe Rabbeinu this concept that learning of Torah can facilitate achieving these madraigas of two types of yirah.

Behold the gematriah of labas 432 is the same as 2x yirah!!We find the passuk describing Avraham Avinu as consistently traveling southwards “haloch venasoah “hanegb ah”. In the south was Yerushalayim the city that contained a special holinesss. Even within the city itself there was a south within a south. The beis hamikdash contained the south where the menorah was situated. The menorah represented the torah shebe’al peh the sixty mesechtos.

That is why negbah is gematriah 60. I find that we use the word awesome cheaply. It is used in advertisement s such as drink ….. only one awesome calorie. We use it to describe an awesome trip or good time. The food was awesome, the technology is awesome etc. Let us remember that only Hashem and His beis hamikdash are awesome and that we should strive and daven to attain once again that merit, that awesome longing experience of devaikus and nullification that cannot conveniently be found in packaged articles with slick wording and dazzling colors even though they would like you to think so.

Gut Shabbos
Rav Brazil – Yerushalayim

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