Monday, January 23, 2017

Plant Now Benefit Later

Dear friends,

This is what I wrote for parshas Shemos. I wanted it to be ready for last Shabbos, but Hashem and my computer had different ideas. It's a little bit longer than usual, but I hope that you will enjoy it.


Print Version
The Haftora for parshas Shemos has one theme, divided into three parts. The theme is the blossoming of redemption. First, we go down into exile for a reason. Second, in the darkness of the exile is where we are able to accomplish the most, developing ourselves and the world for the ultimate redemption. Third, the gathering of the exiles and how when Moshiach comes, we will reap the fruits of our labor in exile.

There are also hints of how to bring Moshiach, through showing love to our fellow Jews.

The connection to our parsha, is that the parsha begins with the descent of the Jewish people into Egypt. Then it tells of the hard labor and the amazing growth of the Jewish nation. And finally the beginning of our redemption from Egypt, when Hashem sent Moshe to start the process of the Exodus.

What We Do Now Is Most Powerful

Another connection to our parsha is the first verse of the Haftora. The parsha begins, "And these are the names of the Children of Yisrael who came to Egypt." The Haftora also begins, "Those who came," and continues, "whom Yaakov caused to take root, Yisrael budded and blossomed and they filled the face of the Earth with fruit." Just as the parsha tells us, how the Jewish people multiplied.

Both Yaakov and Yisrael are names of the Jewish people. When it comes to taking root it says Yaakov, but by budding and blossoming it says Yisrael. Why the difference?

Yaakov, refers to the Jewish people when they interact with the physical world, which in the time of exile, is a very dark place. Yaakov is symbolic of serving Hashem out of accepting the yoke of His will, which is our main service to Hashem in exile. This form of service is not necessarily very meaningful, but it is the most powerful. It is compared to planting which is hard work. Planting a small tasteless seed in the ground, where it is dark and cold. But it is there where this small tasteless seed takes root, and grows into a great tree. The transformation from a small seed to a large tree, is exponentially great. The same is true about our service in exile. It is hard work, tasteless, it is cold and dark, but here is where our work takes root and the transformation is well beyond our efforts.

Yisrael refers to the Jewish people's interaction with the spiritual and G-dly, which is mainly in the time of Moshiach. Yisrael is symbolic of serving Hashem out of understanding. It is compared to budding and blossoming, and the growth of fruit. Above ground, in the light and warmth, the budding and blossoming is visible and beautiful, and the fruit is tasty and enjoyable. Because in the light and revelation of Hashem in the era of Moshiach, we will have the pleasure of seeing the accomplishments of our actions and the fruit of our labor.

All this will be possible, only because of the seeds we planted in the exile. So our work now as Yaakov, in the darkness of the exile, is what gives us the great pleasure as Yisrael, in the time of Moshiach.

Hashem Will Take Every Jew By The Hand 

The Haftora continues with a rebuke to the Jewish people for their idol worship and then resumes telling about the time of Moshiach. "It will be on that day, Hashem will remove the kernel from the chaff of the river and until the brook of Egypt, and you, the children of Israel, will be gathered one by one. And it will be on that day, the great shofar will be sounded, and those who are lost in Assyria and those who are cast away in Egypt, will come and bow down to Hashem on the Holy Mountain, in Yerushalayim."

Hashem will remove the kernel, which is the Jewish people. From the chaff, which are the nations of the world. The river is Assyria, which was by the Euphrates, until the brook of Egypt. What is the significance of Egypt and Assyria, which are mentioned or hinted to, in these two verses? And why are the exiles in Egypt called "cast away," while those of Assyria are called lost?

There are two types of exiles. Egypt is symbolic of every exile of oppression and servitude. As the name Egypt in Hebrew is Mitzrayim, which means constraints. When the Jewish people were in the Egyptian exile, they were in forced servitude. That is why they are called "cast away," because they are oppressed.

The second kind of exile, is one of abundance and freedom. As the name Assyria in Hebrew is Ashur, which means happy. And when the Jewish people were exiled to Assyria, they had religious and economic freedom. When there is abundance and freedom, it is easy to get lost in the culture of the time and stray from the Jewish way. This is why the exiles of Assyria are called lost.

The verse says, "and you the children of Israel, will be gathered one by one." Literally, "to the one, one." What is the meaning of these words?

First, that every Jewish person will be gathered. Second, that Hashem Himself will be involved personally with taking every individual one of us, as Rashi explains that He will take each of us by the hand. Third, the "one," the essence of every Jew, will be gathered and become united with "The One," which is Hashem.

Alternatively, it is a call to each of us, to reach out to others with love and bring them closer to Hashem.

The Call Of The Great Shofar

"The great shofar will be sounded," what is the significance of a "great" shofar? Also, from the verse, there is no indication as to who is doing the blowing, why?

The sound of the shofar reaches the core of every Jew. The question is, how powerful is its effect? There are four levels in shofar, each of them shakes us up by touching our core.

The shofar of Rosh Hashanah, is a cry from deep within the heart of a Jew, deeper than the reach of our understanding. Therefore, it reaches deep within Hashem, to the divine will, which is far beyond divine wisdom. This causes Hashem, so to speak, to blow the shofar, meaning, shining from his divine will upon us. This is the meaning of the verse, "Hashem our G-d will blow the shofar."

Greater than the shofar of Rosh Hashanah is the shofar blowing of Yom Kippur, which was blown to announce the jubilee year, of which the Torah says, "You must proclaim shofar blasts."

Greater than that, was the shofar that was sounded at the Giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. Of which the Torah says, "The sound of the shofar was going and very strong."

Yet, the sounding of the shofar when Moshiach comes will be even greater than all the previous three, as it is called the "Great Shofar." It will be so strong, that it will reach every Jew, even "Those who are lost in Assyria and cast away in Egypt." It will affect them so much so, that they "will come and bow down to Hashem." Meaning, that they will start to keep Torah Judaism. And at what level? The verse continues, "on the Holy Mountain in Yerushalayim," meaning, the holiest level.

Why will it be so powerful? Because of the blower. While the shofar of Rosh Hashanah, jubilee, and Giving of the Torah are great, they all come from a place in Hashem that relates to the world. However, the sound of shofar of Moshiach, comes from the essence of Hashem, beyond any connection to existence. That is why it doesn't tell us who is doing the blowing, because it is a part of Hashem that is beyond any name or description. This call of the shofar will reach the essence of every Jew, no matter how far they have strayed.

The Rebbe explains, that this is similar to major events in the world, like the Six Day War, where the hand of Hashem was so apparent, that the souls of Jewish people all around the world, were set ablaze.

The Haftora continues with a rebuke to Efraim (the ten northern tribes), for their arrogance and the devastating consequences headed their way. Then it speaks of the future glory of Yehuda and Binyamin, followed by a depiction of their present drunken and irreverent state.

Love Brings Moshiach

The last two verses return to the subject of Moshiach, "So says Hashem to the House of Yaakov, who redeemed Avraham." The simple meaning here, is that Hashem, Who saved Avraham, is speaking to the House of Yaakov. However, it could be read, as if Yaakov is the one who redeemed Avraham. What are we meant to learn from this? And what does it have to do with Moshiach?

Avraham's attribute is love. As Jews, we are obligated to love every Jewish person, irrespective of their observance level. However, when a friend who is observant sins, and even after you approach him and talk to him about it, he continues to do so, the Talmud tells you to hate him.

This is where Yaakov's attribute of compassion redeems Avraham. When you see your friend's failing, you will hate the bad in him, but at the same time, you will recognize that he has good deep within. You will have compassion on his Neshama, which will awaken the love for your friend again.

Since love among Jews is a key element in bringing Moshiach, it is mentioned here.

The verse continues, "Yaakov will no longer be ashamed... When he sees his children, the work of My hands, in his midst, they shall sanctify My name, and sanctify the Holy One of Yaakov, and they shall praise the G-d of Israel.

May it happen soon.


  1. Torah is timeless, and it's beautiful to hear from you again!!!

  2. Thank you for sharing! I have created a shortcut on my phone for your blog & enjoy it when I remember to check! Sorry for your computer troubles..
    Shabbat shalom !

  3. Dear Yitzi,
    I have no other way to contact you, I find your story heart wrenching, even to me who knows you not personally. I understand you have accepted your fate and I suppose I admire you for that. Your story has tugged at my heartstrings, you and your entire family and all of your friends. For me I suppose Yitzi having known about someone who has suffered for years with MS and is truly and currently getting her life back to some degree, miraculously and knowing those diseases are so closely related, I so want the same for you. I hope Yitzi I haven't offended you or your family by expressing my hope and feelings for you and your circumstances. I felt in my heart Hashem wanted me to contact you and share the story. I will not continue to try and contact you I feel I have fulfilled Hashem's request and I don't want to become/continue to be a nuisance on your blog.
    I will continue to think of you and your family, to pray for you and your family and to thank G-D for giving me this treasure of crossing your path.
    Sincerely and with the utmost respect, Sandy Pascaretti