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Dear  Naaleh Friend,
This Sunday marks a special day on the Jewish calendar, Lag Ba'Omer, and has many shiurim to get you inspired for this holiday. This week we have featured a class by Mrs. Shira Smiles entitled Lag Ba'Omer.  In this class, Mrs. Smiles discusses Lag Ba'Omer in depth and gives insight into the holiday.  
To watch this class now and learn more please click on the image below: 
jewish calendar class #2 

This week's edition of our Torat Imecha Newsletter on Parshat Emor is available on our Newsletter page
Click here for the printer friendly version, to share at your Shabbat table! Be sure to visit the homepage as well, for many more inspiring Torah classes! 
Shabbat Shalom!

-Ashley Klapper and the Naaleh Crew
Blashphemous Battle: Parshat Emor 
Based on a shiur by Mrs. Shira Smiles Summary by Channie Koplowitz Stein 

The verse in Parshat Eikev states that "man does not live on bread alone, but by everything that emanates from the mouth of God does man live." This concept was the basis for Hashem's providing us with manna in the desert, and for the continued freshness of the  lechem hapanim , the show bread, in the Mishkan. It provides us also with a paradigm for Hashem's kindness and love for us. This belief or lack thereof lies at the crux of an unusual incident in Parshat Emor.

An unnamed man, the son of a Jewish mother from the tribe of Dan and an Egyptian father, goes out among Bnei Yisrael. He fought with an Israelite man. He then called out the name of God and blasphemed. The people arrested him and approached Moshe to render judgment against him.

There are several puzzling elements to this story. First, from where was this man going out? Who was he fighting? What were they fighting about that led him to curse God? Rashi  cites three differen explanations. Rabbi Levi says that this man left "his world." That can be interpreted either as his giving up the eternal world or in more psychological terms, as we will discuss shortly. Rabbi Berachya says that he went out among the people to mock their belief in the showbread's ability to retain its freshness for nine days. After all he argued, shouldn't a king be served fresh bread rather than bread that is nine day old? By so doing, he negated the miraculous nature of the show bread. A third version connects the dispute to the lineage of his mother who was from the tribe of Dan. The man went to the camp of Dan to pitch his tent. Since only his mother was from Dan, he had no rights to be among them even though he had converted after the revelation at Sinai. (Prior to Sinai, Jewish lineage was determined through the father; after Sinai, through the mother.) The disputants were just leaving Moshe's tent where the dispute had been adjudicated against this man, and so he cursed God.

Rabbi Schwab shows the interrelationship between these three interpretations by explaining why the members of Dan were inhospitable to this man. First, this son of an Egyptian father had already shown he was a non-believer by mocking the miraculous nature of the show bread. He was coming from his own world rather than from the world of God. Even seeing the piping hot bread and smelling its aroma would not convince him that this bread stayed fresh because Hashem so willed it. With this attitude, he went into the Dan camp and tried to pitch his tent. The Danites refused him permission, as his father was not a tribe member. After his rant about the show bread, they felt justified in refusing to extend him normal hospitality. When Moshe affirmed the position of the Danites, this man mocked God, and openly cursed Him.

Rabbi Munk and Rabi Wolbe both note that this man left olamo , his world. which contains his essential Godly image. He misused a special gift from God, his speech, a uniquely human characteristic, to blaspheme. He thereby renounced his privilege of participating in the world of human beings.

Rabi Twerski continues this theme. Know your place, find out who you are, for you are a unique world unto yourself.   Rabbi Tatz suggests making a circle, and within it writing all your talents, skills and traits. Outside the circle, write all the things you wish you had but do not possess. Study the diagram well. Within the circle are all the tools you need to complete your task on earth. Outside the circle may be all your dreams, the things you wish you had. You must choose your life's work based on the tools you have. To choose a task based on those elements outside the circle is unrealistic and childish. At some point, potential must yield to pragmatism or nothing will be accomplished, and you will live an unhappy life, envious of those with different tools and different tasks. If you are unhappy and feel you are unsuccessful it is probably time to reevaluate. Study who you are. You may be focusing on the wrong task, one that does not use your unique tools. Make your choice based on the contents of the circle. Infinite choice leads only to confusion and unhappiness.

This man's mother was the only Jewess who had relations with an Egyptian during the entire two hundred years in Egypt. He felt rootless, with no connection to the Israelites. They scorned him and felt no connection to Egyptians. Without feeling the blessing of closeness to any human being, he could not feel a closeness to God either. Therefore, says the  Ner Uziel , as he felt alienated from people, he also felt alienated from God. He could not acknowledge that the show bread symbolized God's ever fresh love for Bnei Yisrael , since he himself did not feel part of that reality. The show bread reflected his own emotions. To him, says the  Chatam Sofer , the show bread could not be special or holy because he himself was not holy, and neither was any other member of Bnei Yisrael. There was no special love between the Creator and Bnei Yisrael.

Yet we know Hashem always loves us, even when we sin, because within each of us there is that  pintele Yid  (spark of the Divine presence). But this man felt that a sinner could not retain the love of Hashem. He then transferred this feeling to the show bread, and he refused to believe it would stay fresh. Because he did not feel the connection, he would not affirm that it existed, says Rav Wolfson.  This man saw himself as physically part of Bnei Yisrael, but he denied himself the spiritual connection. Therefore, he remained the son of an Egyptian father rather than the son of Hashem, and he felt free to mock Him.

We no longer have the show bread, but we still have the connection to Hashem. Let us invest effort to foster that closeness so that we will merit again to have the physical symbol of that relationship through the show bread in the Beit Hamikdash, speedily, in our day.
Make it Count- Class 33  
Based on shiur by Mrs. Shoshie Nissenbaum 
The 33 rd day of the omer is the yartzheit of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, author of the Zohar and the quintessential teacher of Kabbalah. Rabbi Shimon was the one who took responsibility when the sages declared that the Torah could be forgotten by the Jewish people. He objected, citing the pasuk, " Ki lo tishakach mipi zaro ." Not only would it not be forgotten, but Torah study would increase even more.
The Zohar is an expression of Hashem's eternal love for Klal Yisrael even in exile and it is our affirmation of Hashem's love for us. " K'dai Rabbi Shimon lismoch alav al b'shaat hadchak ." One can rely on Rabbi Shimon in difficult circumstances. The Gemara writes that if one has a halachic predicament one can follow the opinion of Rabbi Shimon. One can understand this on a deeper level. If a person is b'shaat hadchak , in a challenging situation, he should pray at the grave of Rabbi Shimon and he will be answered.
" Ashrei yoladitecha v'ashrei h'omdim al sodecha ." Praiseworthy is the one who gave birth to you and those who know your secret. What is the secret? Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai's parents were married for many years without children. His father decided to divorce his wife. She overheard him saying this but didn't confront her husband. Instead she turned to Hashem and prayed for a child. That night was Rosh Hashana and Yochai had a dream. He was standing in the middle of a huge field and angels were watering the trees. Yet they would not grow. Then they poured water on one tree and one gigantic, aromatic, fruit appeared. Yochai woke up and shared the dream with his wife. She said to him that they would have a child that year. The child was Rabbi Shimon who, just like his mother, never gave up. While the sages said Torah would be lost, Rabbi Shimon affirmed that it would never be forgotten.
The Arizal says Rabbi Shimon was a reincarnation of Moshe Rabbeinu who gave us the five books of the Torah. Rabbi Shimon gave us the concealed Torah, the kabbalah, and the Zohar. The verse in Tehilim states, " Alisah marom shavisa shevi." Moshe went up to heaven and brought back shevi , a treasure. The first letters of shevi spell out Shimon bar Yochai, the great hidden treasure that Hashem brought back to the world.
The thirty third day is hod she'be'hod , thanking and acknowledging Hashem's goodness. Let us stop before reciting Modim and think about all the things we should praise Hashem for. Let us be grateful to Him for loving and supporting us throughout our long exile, for giving us righteous sages such as Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, and for gifting us with the hidden Torah.
Based on shiur by Rabbi Yitzchak Cohen 
A person comes to sin when he forgets he is a servant of Hashem. The very first sin in history happened precisely because of that. The snake promised Chava that if she would eat of the fruit, "V'hiyitem k'Elokim . You will be like God." Rashi explains that he told her, "Now you are a creation, you must listen to Hashem. But if you eat, you'll rise higher and be like the Creator." Yet Chava didn't realize that the closest person to the president is his servant. An Eved Hashem  is a nishbar lev  (downtrodden heart) and that is how one comes close to the Creator.
People express modesty through action. The Mesilat Yesharim discusses some ways such as how one speaks, carries himself, walks, and greets people. "Divrei chachamim b'nachat nishmaim. A wise person speaks softly and respectfully." Being modest means swallowing offenses, not answering back, and refraining from taking revenge. If Reuven hurt Shimon, it's understandable if Shimon would want to hurt him back. But the Mesilat Yesharim explains that in truth Shimon was destined from heaven to receive that hurt. Reuven was only a messenger.
Another form of anivut is not deriving pleasure from being in the limelight. A Rav by the nature of his position is in the public eye. People pay him respect. But deep down he must abhor the honor. He must think, "I'm doing a kindness by spreading Torah but I must not enjoy the esteem I am getting." Just as Hashem is an anav v'shafal ruach (modest and of humble spirit) a Jew should strive to be the same. Being a servant of Hashem is the highest state one can achieve. And it is through anava and subordinating all of one's strength to do His will that one can come to this lofty level.
Featured Classes
Sefirat HaOmer and Lag BaOmer for Children
Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller
Clarity And Confusion
Mrs. Shira Smiles
Perfecting Perfect Perfection Parshat Emor
Mrs. Shira Smiles
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