Friday, May 1, 2015

Parshas Emor

In praise of the Jewish woman

Parshas Emor Weekly Parshah transcribed and translated from shiurim of HaRav Eliezer Berland Shlit"a

"Emor – and you shall say, to warn the great about the small (Rashi 21;1)" "A woman who fears Hashem – she shall be praised" – The woman has fear (of Heaven), she has more fear than the man since the women did not participate in the sin of the Golden Calf nor did they take part in the sin of the spies. As soon as the women took upon themselves the Ten Commandments, as soon as they took upon themselves the yoke of Torah and mitzvos, nothing in the world could affect them (to go against), nothing could deter them or entice them – no claims or persuasions could convince them otherwise. This is because the woman's emunah is much stronger than the man's. That is the woman's nature. If she hears some sort of Torah lesson or law, nothing in the world can deter her from what she just learned. When the men had approached the women to demand their jewelry [for the Golden Calf], they tried persuading their wives by saying, "What?! You don't believe Aharon HaKohen? You don't have faith in tzaddikim?" Aharon HaKohen said to build a calf but the women simply replied: What do you mean 'he said to build a calf'? What, Aharon is changing the Ten Commandments? The Zohar Hakadosh said, "And they fell apart upon the people" – What does this mean, "And they fell apart"? The Zohar explains that the women refused to remove their earrings, no matter what! The grabbed their ears with their hands and would not remove them for the world. That's why it says, "And they fell apart," as in "he takes apart mountains and breaks rocks"; they simply took the matter into their hands forcefully. When the men suffered this attack of madness and wanted to create a Golden Calf, Hashem have mercy, the women, nevertheless, remained wholehearted and pure, faithful and modest, and nothing at all could convince them to change their minds. Nothing! The Zohar Hakadosh says that there are great halls in Shamayim, into which the righteous women merit entrance. There is one hall called, "Basya, Bas-Paroh". Thousands of women come up with chidushim (innovations) of the Torah, every day. There are thousands of women there who left their homes, their wealth, their careers, etc. Basya was a bas-Melech (daughter of a king) who left everything in order to become a simple Jewish woman. So every woman who could have become a big manager of a company but left everything behind in order to stay home and raise her children to Torah and sends her husband out to learn Torah, says Tehillim and prays at the kosel, etc., by merit of her actions she grows to such high spiritual levels unmatched to those any other woman can reach, even to the levels of Basya Bas Paro who entered alive into Gan Eden. Women are the aspect of a mizbeach (altar), because they sacrifice themselves for the sake of Hashem Yisborach, they make sacrifices, they raise the children, sometimes caring for ten kids at once… Mothers do everything; they devote all their time to the children, feed them and give them to drink, bathe them, and they do it all with messirus nefesh (self sacrifice). They sacrifice themselves to Hashem Yisborach therefore they can become prophets, like Devorah Hanevi'ah and Miriam Hanevi'ah. What is a house? A house is a Mishkan. The Hebrew letters stand for "bed, table, chair and light" in Hebrew. The wife cleans the house, educates the children, the home is filled with Torah books because the children learn Torah and the husband can sit and learn Torah. When the wife washes dishes and lights candles, cooks and sets the table, she is building the mishkan. If she fulfills her purpose and mission in this world, she can certainly come to nevu'ah (prophesy). Although a woman is exempt from studying Gemora, she is not exempt from clinging to Hashem. From that there is no exemption; she can cling to Hashem while cleaning the house, cooking and washing dishes. There is a story told about the wife of Rabbi Yitzchak Drohovitcher, the mother of Reb Michel of Zlotochov. While sweeping the floors of her house she said, "holy, holy holy!" Reb Yitzchak, her husband said, "Why are you saying, "kadosh, kadosh, kadosh"? She replied, "I hear the malachim singing; they are now saying "kedusha". Rebbe Moshe Leib of Sasov had become blind. When asked the reason behind his blindness, he said, "Because of my wife I became blind. With everything she does, she says, "lichvod Shabbos, lichvod Shabbos". She kneads the dough and cooks and says, "lichvod Shabbos". With every "lichvod Shabbos" an angel is born. Angels are created out of every word said in honor of Shabbos, until the entire house was filled with a burning fire. The house was so filled with malachim that I became blinded from all the bright light." If the woman does her job properly and loyally with joy and mercy, for the sake of Hashem, then from the simplest things she can come to nevu'ah.  

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