Devar Torah - Shavous

Thursday, 21 May, 2015 - 11:00 pm

The Betrothal of Hashem and Klal Yisroel
By Rabbi Shimon Raichick

This year Shabbos parshas Bamidbar falls out on Erev Shavuos.  This order of Shabbos falling on Erev Shavous also occurred in 5728-1968. The Rebbe said a maamar that Shabbos and quoted the pesukim from the end of the haftara:

"And I will betroth you to Me forever, and I will betroth you to Me with righteousness and with justice and with loving-kindness and with mercy. And I will betroth you to Me with faith, and you shall know Hashem."

The two pesukim mention betrothal three times. There is a minhag for some to say these pesikim as they wrap the final three rings of the hand tefillin strap around their finger when they put on their tefillin. These pesukim represent the betrothal to Hashem that the entire Jewish People entered into when we received the Torah at Har Sinai. The nesuin, the marriage will be consummated speedily with the coming of Moshiach. What are these three types of betrothal and what do they represent to each one of us in the service of Hashem?

In gemara Kesubos there is a disagreement between Bais Hillel and Bais Shamai about what should be said about a Kallah as they dance in front of her. Hillel says that she should be described as a pleasant and pious Kallah. Shamai says that she should be described just 'as she is' without any embellishing or exaggeration. They asked Hillel what to do if the Kallah is not so pleasant and not so pious. He answered that still, she is, both pleasant and the eyes of her Chosson. This same idea holds true for every individual Jew. The way we are in our present state without any exaggerations may not be so great or so perfect. Hillel's answer still applies to each one of us. The name Hillel, as the Rebbe explains, is from the same grammatical root as 'to shine or reveal' as in the verse: "B'hilu nero ali roshi- His candle shined upon my head". The lesson from Hillel is that if we look deeper into the heart of each Jew, we will be able to see the internal connection he or she has to Hashem. There is a reflection of the Chosson, Hashem within the neshama of every Jew and therefore this Jew and every Jew is pleasant and pious.

The three different types of betrothal represent three different approaches in avodas Hashem. There is one approach that is 'l'olam-forever'. This is a person who's entire pleasure in life is Hashem. Because he delves into Hashem's greatness, he understands Hashem's ways with great insight. This is  what brings great pleasure in every aspect of his  service of Hashem. This approach is called 'forever' and he arouses a very deep love for Hashem.

The second approach refers to someone who tries his best but a great pleasure and deep appreciation of Hashem does not sink into his mind. He is distracted and his mind is in many places. Nevertheless he  does the right thing, 'tzedek', he give of his time and his money to help others. He works on himself, and does 'mishpat'. He judges his own conduct and sees his state of affairs and then decides how best to deal with his circumstances.  He concludes and successfully goes in the the way of chesed, using his natural love inherited from Avraham Avinu, 'chesed l'Avraham'. If he is unable to arouse his natural love, he nonetheless persists by arousing rachamim, compassion, the attribute of Yaakov Avinu. He realizes how far away he has gone from closeness to Hashem etc., and is moved to tears. He cries out and in his longing he reveals his authentic emotion for Hashem.

For this third individual nothing works. His heart is like a stone. Spiritually and physically, he has nothing to give. He asks why has Hashem placed in this difficult position. He's so down that Hashem isn't even giving him the capacity to give tzedaka. Nevertheless he is a Jew, he has his 'emunah'. He is 'maaminim b'nei maaminim' so he does all the mitzvos any way with emunah without any insight or emotion. For many this is what it's like today. There is no hisbonenus. We do our best and because of acting this way in galus we will be zoche to Moshiach when the whole world will be filled with the knowledge of Hashem.

This is the way the Rebbe looked upon all of us, even the simple Jew who knew nothing. He looked at all of us the same. Each of us in our own way is a pleasant and pious Kallah to Hashem and help reveal it in each individual.

As we make the final preparation for receiving the Torah on Shavous we remember and remind ourselves of the way Rebbe sees every one of us; that we are all Hashem's betrothen. This is revealed on Shavous; Hashem is the Chosson and we together all as one are His Kallah. May we immediately witness the final fulfillment and eternal consummation of the marriage with the full and complete revelation of Moshiach Now.

A Good Shabbos. A Good Yom Tov.

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