|This article was constructed with the help of either writings, lectures or shiurim of Asher Hurzberg,
Chaim Shmuelevitz zt’l, yossi Bilus, Ilan Feder
|Timna, the mother of Amalek, was the concubine of Elifaz, the son of Eisav. One may find it odd that she was merely a concubine considering she was the daughter of a king and the sister of a prominent figure, Liytan. The reason for this was because she was under the strong belief of ‘better rather be a mistress to this nation than a queen to a different nation’, ‘this nation’ referring to Avraham and his children. In fact, she made her overtures to be the wife of Avraham, Isaac, and Yaakov but was rejected by all three; our forefathers did not accept her. So she settled for Elifaz. In a statement from Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz, which this dvar Torah is based from, he says the bitterness of being rejected by our ancestors became ingrained and transferred to Timna’s future genealogy. The rage Amalek has towards us stems from jealousy of Timna, that of being tossed away and not accepted. Rav Chaim asks “How can that be? It’s out of character of the persona and philosophy of Avraham. This is the great Avraham, whose teachings of G-d and the notion of bringing people back was his virtue. He was an expert of bringing people closer to G-d, to convert everybody and to take them under the wing of glory. The self-sacrifice he gave towards outreach is one of astonishment, and yet he turns and rejects an individual soul who understands the prominence and value of his family, and is willing to give up so much to be a part of it. One can say it’s very commendable on her part. The question remains, ‘Why didn’t they accept Timna?'”
Timna wasn’t accepted because she wasn’t worthy to be under the clouds of glory. Our ancestors saw through prophecy that she and her descendants carry in their genes very bad traits, and our fathers wanted no part of it. As one is familiar Amalek became our most bitter enemy. They have haunted us for thousands of years.What is their source of power?
The answer lies at the revelation at Sinai. In order to understand we have to delve into a very odd Jewish behavior that is based on a deep concept found in our Torah. Let’s explain.
It’s really scary what one can pick up living like a stranger in a strange land. As Rabbi Berel Wein, the Jewish historian says about Jews in Germany: “The Jews became better Germans then the Germans!” But if we examine our way of life, we find that there is a profound difference between Jews and Americans. They use Facebook to show off their whereabouts and latest vacations, however for the most part, we Jews are not so showoff-y. We have a certain fear and, you know what, that’s a Jewish thing. But regardless where the source originates, it’s downright peculiar how we react when G-d is or is about to shower us with blessings. For example, many of us do not disclose they’re dating someone seriously until they are engaged. Everything is under wraps, and all in the family household are sworn to secrecy not to disclose to no one that a family member is dating someone. Furthermore, if they can hide it, and not be seen, one pushes off the news of pregnancy until after three months. Some go further and don’t say anything till birth.
We have all have acted like ‘Mossad agents’ and experienced our friends doing the same. How can you not tell your best friend you were dating seriously? One can feel slighted. However that’s how many of us are and that is our society. That is our custom. Although, we’ve adopted much from the host country we are from, the root of “not to tell” is rooted in the very essence of our holy Torah.
Our society accepts the notion of not disclosing potential brachot until it actually happens. Some people never mention how many children they have. Big business deals are played down and the business is presented as “tough times” even though the one asked just made a “killing”, the deal of his life. If one passes by a street in Boro Park, the houses look very unassuming even though inside’s a palace where millions were spent.
These two reason have influenced the behavior of Jews throughout the generations. It’s a philosophy an approach which has become a tradition and is a mark on Jewish style and way of life. “We have to be unassuming” this is what the mainstream Sages have ingrained in us over the years. “This is the way of G-d”.
The source of the hidden philosophy comes from the Talmud “There is only bracha if it’s hidden from the eye.” Our Sages convey that the biggest bracha is children and regarding them we have to be as modest as can be. If one notices, the most common tradition to conceive children through marital relations is in the confines of the private bedroom at night in the dark under the covers where no one can see, not even the negative angels so the source, root of the bracha is hidden. To extend this idea further Rabbi Akiva Tatz morhidden.
In Chasidic teachings we are taught of the concept of tzimtzum – to trickle down. G-d spirituality trickles down in a minute portion. We don’t receive the abundance of love, it’s measured. This is essentially the same concept for G-d presence in the world is scarce.
Is it really the Jewish way? Is this what G-d wants? Is it really the way of G-d? Is hidden HIS philosophy? There is an incredible question told over to me by Rabbi Asher Hurtzberg posed by the Sfat Emet. If “unassuming” and “modesty” is the way to go, then why did we receive the Torah in such a spectacular way? Why was receiving the Torah hyped up to such an extent, where the whole world heard? The thunder and the lightning it was a sight to see, an extravaganza like no other. It’s uncharacteristic of the Master of the Universe to order such a hoopla event. It doesn’t flow with the program.
As a matter of fact, it did prove to be a negative, for shortly afterwards the Jews sinned with the golden calf. The Torah was showcased and we paid a heavy price. Presumably the Ayin Harah kicked in. Moshe broke the first Luchot. Death was brought back into the world. What a disaster!!
Perhaps we needed one of those Ayin Hara remover experts with heating lead on the stove to determine which people or nation gave us the evil eye. There is an entire cookbook of Ayin hara remedies.
However, the second Luchot-Tablets reverted back to G-d’s hidden philosophy. It was back to basics. There was not much fanfare. Seemingly, the fact that we had such trouble with the first ceremony strengthens our question. Why then was the original “receiving of the Torah” spectacular? Why go through all that?
The answer is plain black and white; quoiting the Torah in parshat Yitro (19:9) “So the people will hear as I speak to you, and they will also believe in you forever.”
G-d changed the philosophy of “hidden” one time and one time only “for many witnesses are more believable then few”. Here three million people witnessed the receiving the Torah and “the world heard and trembled”. The enormous breathtaking and dazzling display had an imprint on the world forever. It demonstrated to the world that the Jewish religion is different than other religion. No other can claim that they witnessed the spectacular event, the inception, the correlation of their religion. No other religion can claim that an entire nation saw and heard the recitation of at least some of the commandments from the voice G-d himself; Christianity nor the Muslims can make that claim. G-d did it in such a way that IT’S CLEAR THE TORAH WAS GIVEN AT MOUNT SINAI!! End of discussion.
The Torah describes how Moshe wrote on a rock the Torah in seventy different languages. What is the reason for this? What is our mission abroad?
The most evil nation in the world is Amalek. The Torah proclaims they should be wiped out. Interestingly we find out some of Amalek’s descendant became Torah scholars. How is that possible from the wicket righteous people emerge?
The world is divided into Kedusha and Tumah, holiness and impurity, good and evil positive and negative. Interestingly in order for an evil nation of the world to exist it needs elements of Kedusha. Evils needs the holy spark, it needs the holy power source and feeds from it. Evil (klipa) uses it as energy for their philosophies and negative power.
The task that we must accomplish is to take these Kedusha power source that was dispersed to the four corners of the world at Matan Torah-revelation at Mount Sinai and expose it as G-dly spirituality. We transform their existence to a positive spiritual. For this reason we recite in the prayer V’CHAROT which follows VAYEVARECH DAVID, all the 7 nation every time we recite we utter Hebrew words of their names and expose the sparks of Kedusha which resonates the atmosphere, place people into positive light’
What fuels Amalek and the enemies of the Jews is they were able to take the sparks from the Sinai revelation and to transform it to evil. What is outright deadly and powerful is the combination of these sparks mixed with the good intentions of Timna, the woman who wanted to connect to our ancestors but was denied. Amalek’s descendants are able to take that goodness, that Kedusha and build the most devastating weapon of evil for Kedusha is the spark that can be directed in either direction.
So in essence the first Luchot, the first spectacular receiving the Torah, accomplished its mission. It was worth a bit of Ayin Hara in order to be fulfil a broader important task, that of transferring the Master of the Universe’s Torah globally.
One of the main reasons we read the book of Ruth, besides that the story takes place during harvest season which always comes out during the Shavuot holiday time, is that King David, who is a descendant of Ruth, died on Shavuot.
The book of Ruth starts off where a prominent Jewish family led by the patriarch Elimelech, left Israel and settled in the outskirts of Moab. Elimelech was one of the wealthiest people in Israel and he foresaw troubled economic times ahead. He knew that he will be called upon to help with the financial burden laid upon his fellow Jews, and to be instrumental in bringing the country back on its feet. It would require a tremendous amount of generosity on his part, in which he was not ready to oblige.
G-d gives certain gifts to people with the expectation that they will utilize them when the opportunity calls. However, if one doesn’t step up to the plate, G-d doesn’t need such an individual. So within a 10-year period, both Elimelech and his two sons – who both married non-Jews – died. Elimelech’s widow, Naomi, was heading back to Israel, her homeland, and saying her goodbyes to her two daughter-in-laws. However, one of them, Ruth, decided to follow her mother-in-law to Israel after a failed attempt to persuade her to go back to her country and family.
They arrived in Israel during harvest season and Ruth, who converted to Judaism, asked Naomi, “Let me go out and glean in the fields.” It happened to be faith that Ruth was working on a parcel of land that happened to be owned by a man named Boaz, a relative of Elimelech. Boaz inquired who Ruth was; he then informed her, “My daughter, does not glean in other fields but this one.” He was impressed with her modesty and for all that she has done for her mother-in-law.
Naomi informed Ruth that Boaz is one of the redeemers (goel). When someone dies childless, the next of kin has a duty to marry the widow. Boaz was one of those next-of-kin. (Similarly, Boaz’s ancestor, Yehuda, the son of Yaakov, our Forefather, practiced yibum with Tamar, his widowed daughter-in-law. However, Yehuda did not know she was Tamar. That passage in the Torah was the first in which we were introduced to that topic.)
Naomi then gave Ruth the most peculiar instructions ever. She said, “Make yourself look nice and wait until Boaz finishes eating. Then go to him in the field as he lies down to go to sleep. He should not notice you; then lie down by his feet where then he will give you instructions what to do.
Our courtship, today, is slightly different and more expensive. Has anybody ever been to a New York elegant kosher restaurant? I guess one can say different strokes for different folks. These instructions, which Ruth followed to the T, poses tremendous difficulty. There is a famous expression in the Torah “Before a blind man, don’t put building blocks.” It seems like a clear cut case of what we call here in Queens, seduction.
Boaz had a routine before he retired for the night, which is a glass of wine and learning a set amount of Torah; he was a member of the 71 Judges. Later that night, he woke up from his sleep and noticed a woman by his feet; he then discovered it was Ruth and realized her intentions. “I’m not going to marry you here, my daughter. Although I am interested, but there is a goal before me. If he declines to redeem you then I shall marry you.”
The next morning Boaz approached the no-name redeemer, who declined to go forth with redeeming Ruth, leaving Boaz the opportunity to do so. People, then, made the halacha mistake of prohibiting both men and women from Moab for marriage. Boaz who was well-versed in Jewish law, knew it was only the “men” who were prohibited. Boaz found 10 people and proceeded to marry Ruth. After their first night together, Boaz died; however, not before leaving his mark, a very important one. Ruth became pregnant with a son. Very strange, Ruth did not name the child nor raise him. The neighbors named him Oved and Naomi raised him.
Rabbi Aderet gives us a clearer picture of the book of Ruth through the teachings of the Ari z’l. In order to explain his interesting interpretation, we have to fill one more piece of the puzzle.
G-d summoned angels to destroy the cities of Sedom and Amora. The only family that did not comply with the atrocities of the two cities was Abraham’s nephew, Lot; the angels got them out on time. Although, Lot attempted to save his future son-in-law, who is nameless, the-son-in-law didn’t take him up on his offer and subsequently died with the rest.
Believing the whole world was destroyed, Lot’s daughters conjured up a plan to seduce and procreate with their father, where they both will take turns on consecutive nights. They will supply him with alcohol and he will not know what had occurred. Their plan succeeded and each got pregnant. Our sages criticize the oldest for calling her son, Mo-av, from the father. They teach that even though they did it for the continuity of the world, she shouldn’t have publicized a sin.
The Ari z’l teaches a very important lesson about cohabitation. Children who come out from a man and woman where there is a mistaken identity, where one partner doesn’t know who they slept with, will cause spiritual damage to the offspring. This offense has to be fixed.
Boaz, the Ari z’l says, is the reincarnation of Lot and Yehuda. Ruth is the reincarnation of Lot’s oldest daughter and Tamar (and in fact, throughout the story of Ruth, Boaz always referred to her as daughter just like Lot referred to his daughter.)
Ruth was instructed to lay down by Boaz’s feet to see how is he going to react. Will he get seduced or will he marry her properly? Lot had a future son-in-law that never came to be because he didn’t want to leave Sedom, no name. Boaz had an uncle who refused to marry Ruth, no name. As punishment for naming your child (Lot’s daughter) after a sin, Ruth will not name or raise her child. Boaz ate and drank and learned Torah before cohabiting with Ruth. The Ari z’l says one should try to purify, somewhat, the experience. If one wants to have kids with positive energy, they should learn Torah, preferably with your spouse, before having intimate relations.
There is a big Mitzvah to co-habit Friday night. The reason is because Adam didn’t listen to G-d, who said, “Be together Friday night;” Adam couldn’t wait. So, the first two children did not come out proper.