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Devar Torah - Beshalach

Friday, 18 January, 2019 - 10:22 am

by Rabbi Shimon Raichik


In this week’s parsha the Torah says that Moshe Rabbeinu took the bones of Yosef HaTzaddik when the Bnei Yisroel left Mitzrayim. The proper place to mention this seems to be in last week’s parsha, Bo when the Exodus is discussed. Why is it mentioned here in parshas Bashalach which speaks of the travel in the Midbar?

Because of this question the Rebbe asks the following questions about what this teaches us in daily life. What does the fact that Moshe was the one who took Yosef HaTzaddik’s bones teach? Secondly, what does placement in the Torah of this by their travels in the Midbar teach?

To better understand we first need to ask about the term “bones”. Isn’t the term “aron-coffin” a more appropriate and respectful term than “bones”? The Rebbe explains that the word “atzmos-bones” in Hebrew means essence. (Just like by a person, their bones are their essential structure) When Moshe Rabbeinu took the aron of Yosef HaTzaddik, he took his essence with them. Rachel Emeinu, when naming him Yosef explained the meaning; ,to add a another son , a Ben Acher. The Tzemach Tzedek explained that Yosef had the power to take an individual who was ‘acher’ different, estranged from Hashem, and reveal in him his ability to be a ‘Ben-a child’ of Hashem. If Rachel had just wanted a son she would not have added the word ‘acher-another’. Passing through the desert, Moshe Rabbeinu strengthened each and every Jew, to overcome his mentality of servitude from Mitzrayim, and brought that person them to identify as a Ben to Hashem.

If the Yidden would have gone directly to Eretz Yisroel they would not have needed that extra strength. Since, however, they needed to traverse the desert; a place of scorpions and snakes, a place of spiritual danger there remained a possibility that someone may not be able to endure the prolonged challenge. For this reason Moshe Rabbeinu the leader of Klal Yisroel needed to take the bones, the essence of Yosef, to help those individuals. And that is why it is mentioned in parshas Bashalach, not parshas Bo because they were going through the desert and not yet in Israel.

So too in this protracted and difficult galus we live in, filled with challenges to connect with Hashem, to be a Ben. We take strength from our ‘secret weapon’, from our connection with the essence of Yosef the ability to be a Ben, and to help others to be a Ben as well and to yosif-add them to Klal Yisroel.

In connection with Yud Shevat, the Previous Rebbe’s first name is Yosef. The entire Nesius of the Previous Rebbe was characterized by this concept of ‘making from another a Ben’. His Shluchim in Communist Russia, in America and all over the world carried out their Shlichus with the power of the Mishaleiach- the one who sent them, the Yosef of the generation to make Tzivos Hashem and lead Bnei Yisroel out of galus upright with an upheld head.

One of the Rebbe’s Shluchim, my Father who’s Yartzeit is the 8th of Shevat, escaped Europe in 1946. He lost his entire family to the Nazi’s, yemach shemam. He knew that his way of life was to attach to the Rebbe. A tzetel was found after his passing in which he wrote to the Previous Rebbe a request for guidance to clarify his purpose in America and a bracha for success in its fulfillment. Soon thereafter he was appointed as a Shadar (a Shlucha d’Rabbana- an Emissary of the Rebbe) to travel all over America. The purpose of his shlichus was to find Jews spread out in little towns all across America. He was to reach out to them and make them into a Ben to Hashem.

Although he met and touched the lives of hundreds of people, he always felt that he was only a Shliach of the Rebbe.

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