Monday, September 12, 2016

Fusion of Gemstones

This Shabbos we will be reading a double Haftora. The one for Ki Seitzei and we will be adding to it the Haftora of Re'ei. With Hashem's help, I will be writing two dvar Torahs. Here is the first, enjoy!
The third Haftora of consoling is usually read with parshas Re'ei. However, when Rosh Chodesh falls on that Shabbos, it is pushed off and read together with the fifth Haftora of consoling, which is read with parshas Ki Seitzei, because in the book of Isaiah, it follows directly after that Haftora.

In either case, it is read in conjunction with the month of Elul, either the Shabbos before, when we bless the month of Elul, or a couple of weeks later, during the month of Elul. Therefore, there must be a lesson here for the month of Elul, in preparation for the High Holidays. What is the lesson?

Elul, is an acronym for the verse in Song of Songs, Ani L'dodi V'dodi Li, I am to my beloved and my beloved is to me. First, I am to my beloved, and that causes that my beloved is to me. Meaning, that through our effort to come closer to Hashem during the month of Elul, we awaken in Hashem the response, that he comes closer to us. The difference, is that because we are limited, our effort, closeness and love are limited, however, when Hashem, in turn, bestows his love on us, it is unlimited.

The idea is explained through a parable. Before the king enters the city, the people of the city go out to receive him in the field. At that time, everyone is permitted to go out and meet him. He receives everyone with a beautiful countenance and he smiles to all. As he goes to the city, they all follow him. However, when he comes to his palace no one enters unless granted permission, which is only granted to the elite of the nation and a special few others.

During the month of Elul, our King, Hashem, is in the field, He is accessible to all. He receives everyone with a beautiful countenance and he smiles to all, meaning, that He is responding in kind to our gesture, with acceptance. This is because Hashem's Thirteen Attributes of Mercy are shining bright and He grants forgiveness from a place of love. All you have to do, is to go out into the field, to make an effort to come closer. Your simple act of Teshuva (repentance) during this month brings you so close to Hashem. However, once Rosh Hashanah comes, the King is in his palace, access to Hashem is limited. The awe and fear of His majesty is upon us and we respond in kind, accepting His kingship and doing Teshuva from a place of awe.

In Elul, even though our effort to get closer to Hashem is limited, as we are limited, it is so precious to Hashem, that he showers us with infinite love from above.

This brings us to our Haftora. In the second verse of the Haftora, Hashem says, that when Moshiach comes, "I will make your windows from kadkod (a kind of gemstone)."

What kind of gemstone is a kadkod?

The Talmud tells us (Baba Basra 75a), "Rabbi Shmuel son of Nachmeini said, 'it is a dispute between two angels in heaven, Michael and Gavriel... one says it is a shoham and the other says it is a yashfei. Hashem says to them, "let it be kidayn u'kidayn, like this one and like that one (together)."'" Kadkod is a play on the words kidayn kidayn.

Now that we know that kadkod means shoham and yashfei together, we need to know, what is a shoham and what is a yashfei? In other words, what exactly are these two angels arguing about?

There are precious stones that produce their own light from within. Then there are others that if you cut and polish them well, they will reflect light in the most beautiful way. The shoham gives its own light, while the yashfei reflects light.

The debate between the angels, is about the reward we will receive when Moshiach will come. One says yashfei, it will be based on our work, effort and accomplishments. Just like a yashfei reflects light, based on how well it is polished. The other says shoham, which gives its own light. Meaning, that the reward will not be based on our accomplishments, rather, it will be Hashem's infinite revelation as a gift from above. Hashem says that we will get both, the reward for our efforts, and He will also bestow upon us his infinite revelation as a gift.

This is what the month of Elul is all about. We get both, the reward for our efforts to come closer to Hashem, through Teshuva (repentance), Tefila (prayer) and Tzedaka (charity), and He in turn bestows upon us his infinite love, acceptance and closeness, beyond anything we could have achieved on our own.

Now is the most opportune time to get close to Hashem. The King is in the field. Seize the day, put more effort into your Jewish expression, especially Teshuva, Tefila and Tzedaka.

May our efforts bring pleasure to Hashem, may He grant us a happy and sweet new year and may we merit to receive the biggest smile of all, saying, your work is done, Moshiach is here! 


  1. Wow, I have found the shoham and the yashfei STONE. The Angels were not fighting over with 2 stones but which way the SINGLE stone should be revealed. Should it's glory remain concealed in the dark, void and undefined klipah or should it be split and let the glorious inner LIGHT SHINE. I see the window you painted with your eyes! It's pure B'Reshyt: the 2 HaGadowl are one! The two waters are TORAH here and there. The window is like me and like you: rough and undefined but we still have His Light within us to guide us into being more than we were created AS. Thank you so much. I feel like Chuvvah. She looked into the Ayin of the Tree and saw the pleasure that would come out of the discomfort. I looked into what your Ayin painted here and I saw it too. This was pure Tanya... Shoham/Yashfei/Chrysophras