Wednesday nights - Rav Benzion's Tanya shiur..........Please continue to daven for the good health of the Rebbe (Yechiel Michel ben Devorah Leah) and Rebbetzin (Feiga bas Sarah).

Friday, March 4, 2011

Pekudei: Everyday Ruach Hakodesh Part II

...This is a continuation of the previous post.

Is This Ruach Hakodesh?
These three stories all deal with people who have been liberated from everything which confounds most of our minds. And because their minds are free, what comes to them is significant. They understand that its not capricious. There is meaning to what enters their awareness, especially, if what enters their minds is in any way unusual. Why, after scores of years, did I think about this question of chicken before the soup or vice versa? When I’m touching the mezuzah, why is my mind reviewing the laws of Tumah? Why, when someone is telling me something which is perfectly logical, that they should retire and learn Torah, does my mind tell me that he should continue working?
You could argue that it isn’t ruach hakodesh. It could just be a keen sense of intuition. Maybe. But it sure is prophetic caliber stuff (ruach hakodeshdik) when someone has a mind that is free of debris and garbage to such a degree.

My Heart Told Me: Rashi HaKadosh

Rashi's Synagogue in Worms
When describing the garments of the Kohen Gadol, Rashi (Shmos 28:4) says: “My heart tells me that [the Ephod] is similar to the type of apron worn by princesses when the go horseback riding.”
Our attention is drawn to this comment, merely for the fact that the phrase “my heart tells me” is not only uncommon with Rashi, but in his entire commentary of Tanach, it appears no place other than on this verse.
In addition to the fact that Rashi’s mind was clear of debris, his line of sight was also not subject to anything disharmonious with Torah. If something came to his attention, not only in the form of a thought, but even if he saw something, totally outside of himself, that wasn’t congruent with his discipline, it had to be for a reason. When Rashi was walking along and his attention was diverted to the apron of a princess riding by, the likelihood is that he was plagued to no end. Why did he need to see this, something so out of place with who he was? But, he knew it must be for some reason. When he encountered difficulty understanding the nature of the ephod, it all came together and he knew that “his heart had told him” what the Ephod looked like.

Further Illustration: The Rebbe Reb Zisha

Compilation of Reb Zisha's divrei Torah
A woman came running into the Beis Medrash, crying hysterically. “My husband has gone missing! Am I to remain an aguna my entire life? Have mercy!”
“Your husband is in the hekdesh (the local inn for transients and paupers).”
Everybody turned in the direction of the voice. It was the none other than the Rebbe Reb Zisha, zy”a, of Anipoli who has spoken with such confidence. It took no persuading anybody and the hekdesh was promptly investigated. Sure enough the woman’s husband was found and convinced to give his wife a proper get.
When queried as to how he knew, Reb Zisha responded in all simplicity, “This morning when I went mikveh, I overheard two vagrants conversing and one told the other that there was a new addition to the regulars at the hekdesh. Now why would I have heard something if it wasn’t going to be of some use to my avodas Hashem? I couldn’t figure it out. When this woman said her husband went missing, I understood; it was obvious that her husband had to be at the hekdesh.”

Baal Shem Tov: Chilul Shabbos?

The Baal Shem Tov, zy”a, once saw a certain individual violating the Shabbos (some versions say he was informed that someone was seen violating the Shabbos). The Baal Shem Tov had no rest. He was sure he had somehow desecrated the Shabbos but could not find in himself even the slightest dereliction of this holy mitzvah. He then understood (or, according to some versions, he davened to the Almighty and it was revealed to him) that inasmuch as there was such strong opposition to the Baal Shem Tov, he had once been present when some of the Chassidim and their opponents were arguing and the Baal Shem Tov overheard someone disrespect another Talmid Chocham who was present. The Sages teach that a talmid chocham is likened to Shabbos (see Zohar 3, 29a) and since the Baal Shem Tov did not protect the honor of the talmid chocham, he saw the violation of the Shabbos. The Baal Shem Tov immediately set out for three of the great tzadikim of that generation to serve and honor them. (A story in and of itself.)

Listen To Your Own Questions
With a parsha such as Pekudei, we are often faced with some pretty basic questions which are dismissed for their simplicity. Any question that is troubling you is significant and you should stop and ask yourself, what does that mean to me?
It happens all the time. We go through these sedras every year. Every time I come up with some question that never occurred to me before. And virtually every time I thought about what it is that stopped me it was something that was pertinent to me at this point which would not have been pertinent to me or it wasn’t particularly relevant to me at that time.
The questions or comments that pique our interest when we are learning are really kinds of messages that we would do ourselves a disservice if we brushed them off. There is something there for us to find if would just look a little.

Hashem’s Direct Guidance

 The Baal Shem Tov himself imparted that whatever a person sees or hears is meant to tell him something meaningful in regards to the service of his Creator (see Keser Shem Tov, hosafos, 224). This is true for every individual, not just the likes of the aforementioned Tzadikim. The problem is that most of us have not disciplined ourselves and our senses to only take in that which is pertinent to us and the Almighty’s service. Because detrimental influences and distraction have a free pass into our field of awareness, the significance of those messages is greatly diminished. Unless we see something flagrantly out of place, it is difficult to discern that which is important from the static. The extent to which we commit ourselves and our “inbox” exclusively to G-dly things is the extent to which what we see or hear will contain a meaningful lesson for us.
The Master of the Universe converses with us on a regular basis. But one needs to tune up and tune in to hear it. We need to clean the receptor. Ruach hakodesh is alive and well even today but it is reserved for those who believe in and are faithful to its Source.

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