Nachal novea; makor chochma -
A flowing river; the source of wisdom (Mish. 18:4)

Parshas Ki Sissa 5751

(Exodus 30:11-34:35)

“And You [Moshe] shall make it [the mixture of spices] an incense, a compound after the work of the compounder tempered together. pure for holiness' (Shemos 30:35) -

The following verse states: 'Gladness and joy shall they [the returning Jewish Exiles] obtain, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away" (Isaiah 35:10). Rabbi Nachman explains that this verse teaches that true joy is when a sad or sorrowful situation is converted and turned into a joyful one. It is no trick to be happy when things are going one's way. Hashem sometimes sends a person a sad situation so that person can turn the sadness of a particular situation to joy and therefore elevate the situation. This is true Joy. Then the sad situation becomes a vehicle for holiness, for joy is what connects one to holiness. Rabbi Nachman continues that joy is the main factor that prevents all  disease.   For sadness disconnects a person from G-d, who is the source of all joy and the source of life.  There are 10 types of joy which are contained in the 10 types of spiritual song, and these are found in the book of Psalms. When a person is connected to G-d by being happy, he draws the 10 types of joy into the 10 pulses of his body.  The joy then causes these 10 pulses of the body to work properly. His pulses properly regulate and maintain the body’s functions, and this results in good health. The improper functioning of the pulses of the body in the root cause of all sickness and disease. (2 Lekutai Moharan 23)

Now we understand why the Talmud teaches: “Any prayer that doesn't include the sinners of Israel isn't called a prayer” (Karesuss 6).  As was mentioned above, we must convert a sorrowful situation to a joyful one. We must include the sinners of Israel in our congregations who are detached from the Joy of being connected to G-d. This connects the sinners who are in a state of sadness to our prayers, which connects them to G-d, which is true joy.  For one who prays can reach a state of pure ecstasy, for the verse says: “Serve G-d with joy” (Psalms 100:2). The Rabbis teach that prayer is the service of the heart. In one's heart there should be joy, as the verse indicates: “You (G-d] have placed Joy in my heart (which is its proper state]” (Psalms 4:8). The Talmud teaches: “A person should not stand in prayer only from (being in a state of] joy that comes from doing a mitzvah [G-d's  will]” (Brachot 31).  From these statements we see that prayer which comes from the heart places one in a state of Joy. Therefore, we see how including the sinners of Israel in our assemblies of prayer connects them to true Joy, which them helps turn their present state of sorrow to joy.

Therefore, the most important place for prayer is with a minyan (a quorum of 10 Jewish male adults). For each man in the minyan activates one of the 10 types of spiritual song. When all these 10 types of song are combined by the 10 men in the minyan, a complete atmosphere of joy is created.  Therefore, every person in required to try their utmost to pray with a congregation of 10. For in such an atmosphere of joy it becomes very easy to change one's state of sadness to joy. Therefore, prayer has the ability to prevent disease and heal, for joy is the main ingredient in the healing process.

This is why the Rabbis instituted that the morning and evening prayers have the Shema precede the Amidah. By reciting the Shema we declare our faith in G-d. Faith connects one to G-d, who is the source of all Joy. Therefore, one who has faith is connected to Joy, for the verse says: 'I will rejoice in the L-rd' (Psalms 104:34). Right after we recite the Shema we make the benediction which expresses our faith that G-d is our redeemer, “Goal Yisroel.”  This benediction puts us in a state of Joy as well as the previously mentioned recitation of the Shema,  for only through Joy can redemption come to each person individually and to the nation an a whole.  The verse says: 'For in joy you [the Jews] shall go out (from exile] (Isaiah 55:12). After this two-fold arousal of Joy, we recite the main body of prayer the Amidah, for as we mentioned above, prayer should be recited through Joy. Therefore, the Talmud teaches: 'Anyone who connects the benediction of redemption to the Amidah will not
come to harm all that day' (Brachot 9). For one who recites the Shema and the benediction of the redemption, injects joy into one's heart, which to opened through prayer. When a person is Joyful, one's bodily functions work properly and one's health is therefore maintained. Through Joy one also becomes connected to G-d. These two factors protect a person from harm all the day long.

We now ran see how everything we have mentioned until now directly relates to the lesson we derive from the incense offering.  Our Rabbis learned a valuable lesson from the fact that a foul smelling    spice, galbanum, was included in the ingredients of the incense offering, which emitted the most appealing and fragrant smell.  This fact teaches what we mentioned above, that we are required to seek out the sinners of Israel and include them in our congregations, so that they too can participate with us in our prayers. For an we mentioned above: 'Any prayer that doesn't include the sinners of Israel is not called a prayer' (Karesus 6). Just as the incense offering, the highest form of prayer, is not valid without the foul smelling galdbanum, so to our prayers are not valid without the inclusion of the sinners of Israel. This means that if we neglect those who are not as fortunate as ourselves, then this type of behavior is not acceptable to G-d, and our service then becomes invalidated. We must help everyone, including the sinner, experience the joy of being connected to G-d.  The foul smelling galbanum represents the sinners of Israel, who are in a state of sadness, just as a foul smell can make one unhappy. We are commanded to include the foul smelling galbanum, which represents sadness, the sinners of Israel, into the incense, which represents Joy.  For the incense offering connects a person to joy, as the verse says: “Oil and incense cause the heart to rejoice” (Proverbs 27:9). This is because the incense contained ten pleasant smelling spices, which is connected to the 10 types of Joy, mentioned above.

To emphasize this point, the holy Ari asks, why in the Passover Haggadah, the order of the four sons who attend the seder are, the wise son, the wicked son, the simple son, and the son who doesn't know how to ask? If we are listing the sons in descending order, based on their spiritual level, shouldn't the wicked son be mentioned last? Why is the wicked son mentioned right after the wise son, who is a righteous person? This seems to be out of sequence.  The holy Ari answers that the reason the righteous wise son is mentioned right next to the wicked son is that a tzadik is not a tzadik unless he takes a wicked person with him to come closer to G-d.

The Talmud teaches: “The incense offering atoned for the sin of Loshon Ha'rah” (Arachin 16). Why did the incense offering have the ability to atone for this most serious sin?  Disparaging another person could hurt his feelings to the point where he feels he doesn’t want to be connected to a people where the adherents of G-d's teachings could hurt a person in such a way. This could drive a person away from G-d, and the Jewish People, which is an extremely great sin, heaven forbid.  This is such a great sin, because this sin results in preventing G-d's greatest desire from being fulfilled and goes against the entire purpose of creation, for G-d deals with everyone with kindness and wants everyone to come close to Him.

As we mentioned above, the incense offering, as well as communal Prayer brings a person to the   state of joy which causes him to be connected to G-d.  Even the most distant person from G-d can come to a state of joy in this way. Therefore, since the incense offering has the power to bring the most distant person closer to G-d, it atoned for the sin of disparaging talk, which can drive other people far away from G-d. (Lekutai Halachot: Orach Chayim: Hilchot Krias Shema 2:1)

Faith in G-d is the opposite of the desire to amass wealth, for a person who wants to amass money wants to feel secure, and become self-sufficient, and doesn't want to be dependent on anyone including G-d. When a person tries to exclude G-d and other people from his life due to his desire for money and self-sufficiency, then it is as "In sorrow you (Adam] will eat of it (the produce from the earth)' (Bereshis 3:17). A person can feel that his entire well being is dependent on money and not G-d.  For these reasons, the desire to amass wealth is called idolatry, for idol worship denies and excludes G-d from part of one's life. Rabbi Nachman taught that the incense offering has the ability to break one's desire for money. “Oil and incense cause the heart to rejoice” (Proverbs 27:9). The Talmud teaches that 'The incense (offering] endowed one with wealth' (Tuna 26). Why did the incense offering have the ability to make a person happy and endow him with wealth?   Anyone who falls into the desire for money will never become truly wealthy, for one then becomes a slave to his desire for money and material possessions, and he will continually run to do what ever it takes to feed his endless appetites. Whatever he has, he feels that he needs even more. Therefore, this person is always in a perpetual state of lack and want. This endless quest for security through accumulating wealth causes a person a great deal of anxiety, as the Mishna teaches: “He (Hillel] used to say, ‘The more possessions the more worry’” (Avot 2:8). A person can't come to true wealth until he loses his desire for wealth and cones to believe that G-d can easily provide a person with whatever he requires.

Therefore, the incense offering and all the sacrifices, were the remedy for this type of attitude,  for one was required to part with his money and donate some of his funds to bring the incense offering. This helped the donor make a start in overcoming his  idolatry by having him part with some of his money to be used for the service of Hashem.

The Torah doesn't condemn a person for trying to earn what is legitimately necessary for his needs. What the Torah warns against is a person who sacrifices his health, concern for others, peace in the home, etc. and wants much more than he actually needs. Therefore, the Mishna teaches: 'Ben Zoma says: “Who is rich? He who is happy with his lot” (Avot 4:1). If someone is satisfied with what he has, he feels no lack and will use his money to actually live life based on his means. (Lekutai Halachot: Orach Chayim: Hilchot Tefilah 4:16).

To attain the benefits of the incense offering that we have mentioned, one could recite the incense prayer printed in all prayer books in the Korbonos (sacrifice) section of the morning prayers, which begins with the words, 'Atah who', it is You G-d.

"And G-d spoke to Moshe: Go, descend [from Mount Sinai]; for your people [the mixed multitude, who you converted without consulting me] which you brought out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves.”  (Shemos 32:7)

It was through Moshe's mistake of hitting the rock, that was punished by not being allowed to enter the land of Israel. G-d had commanded that he speak to the rock in order to draw forth the much needed water for the thirsty nation.  The Zohar says in many places that the rock hitting incident is connected to Moshe's mistake in bringing the mixed multitude close to G-d earlier than he should have. The Zohar explains that G-d's telling Moshe to descend from Mount Sinai, on account of the spiritual damage caused by the mixed multitude, was a hint to Moshe. G-d was hinting to Moshe that it was his responsibility to repair the damage they had caused.

All the sins and troubles that the Jewish People ever experienced in their history were due to the mixed multitude influencing the Jews to worship the Golden Calf.  This sin was also responsible for the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.

Moshe certainly had the most noble intentions in bringing the mixed multitude into the fold.  He wanted these converts to enjoy the same closeness to G-d the Jews had experienced. Rabbi Nachman teaches that when a person brings distant people closer to G-d, there is a great danger that the alien life-style of these people might hove a harmful affect on the person bringing him close and on others within the community. One must bring people closer to G-d with great wisdom. It must be done slowly and gradually. It must be done in such a way where the alien ways of the person don't harm the community.  The person himself should be treated with a tremendous amount of patience,   tolerance, and dignity so that he should feel comfortable in adapting to his new life-style, for it is extremely difficult for a person to adapt to a new life-style. These people should never be treated harshly, forced, or coerced to keep all of the commandments before they are ready to do so.  They need a tremendous amount of compassion and understanding to help them adapt to the Torah way of life.  To pressure a person to take on more than he is ready for is called in the Talmud “pushing the hour.”  This is forcing events to transpire earlier than they should.

The same rule applies to older singles who are understandably demanding from G-d that they get married immediately. We don't know what lofty plans G-d has in mind for these people, and why G-d has delayed their getting married, which is most certainly for their ultimate benefit.  If these very precious people would know the full story behind G-d's actions, they would not feel that G-d has purposely neglected them. If a person is supposed to get married, it will only happen through G-d's will, at the proper time, and to the person that G-d has determined is right. Just because G-d's plan called for a particular individual to get married, that married individual should not become arrogant and think that getting married was all their own doing and that the older single who still isn't married, is a misfit or not normal. It is like mocking someone for being blind, mentally retarded, or crippled. We certainly would not want to hurt the feelings of these individuals, so why hurt the feelings of older singles who certainly feel bad enough about their situation of being without a mate, why make them feel even worse?

 In fact, the holy Tanna (Rabbi in the era of the Mishna) Ben Zoma, never got married. The holy Ari explains that he had fulfilled duty get married in a previous life and he had other things to accomplish in his present incarnation. Please note everyone should try to get married, if one doesn't succeed, it could be because it isn't time yet or because it is G- d's will. One should never give up. One should ask G-d for help to get married or be able to tolerate the pain of not being married.

This rule, of not pursuing time, applies to everyone and to every situation in life. The Talmud gives several examples of disastrous results to those people who pushed events before their proper tine. Even the coming of the Messiah must come in its proper time.

The Torah tells us that the Jews left Egypt in great haste. It was at this time that Moshe accepted the mixed multitude into the fold. This should not have been done, for events were happening too quickly. There wasn't enough time to absorb the mixed multitude safely into the community, at the proper slow pace that was necessary, as we discussed above. The Torah hints that by Moshe's hitting the rock to produce water, refers to using force and a strong hand to nourish the people with the waters of Torah. Moshe thought this method of force was especially necessary for the mixed multitude, who needed it most. The Torah however, must be taught to people with patience and compassion based on the needs of the individual. This is the only method that will bring people closer to G-d. If one imposes Judaism an people by force, it will only repel them. Therefore, by Moshe making this error, he wasn't allowed to enter the land of Israel.  The land of Israel causes people to be gathered together to come close to G-d, as the verse says: (the  Jews] shall be gathered up [from the Diaspora] one by one...Then (when the Messiah will come) she will coo those who are lost in the land of Asshur, and those who are outcast in the land of Egypt (they will all be gathered together to serve G-d in Jerusalem]” (Isaiah 27:12,13). However, Moshe's mistake had the opposite result.  Even though he had good intentions to try to quickly make the mixed multitude more religious, he made the mistake of pushing the time.  The land of Israel has the spiritual  power to help a person slowly come closer to G-d, if that is the person’s desire. Moshe, wanted to effect this process quickly, which  was not what the land of Israel and coming close to G-d is about. This method would  not work well in the land of Israel, and therefore, this was one of the reasons Moshe was denied entrance to the land. (Lekutai  Halachot: Orach Chayim: Hilchot Devarin Ha'nohagim Ba'aeudah 4:7)

And G-d repented of the evil which he thought to do to his people [for worshipping the Golden calf']” (Shemos 32:14)

Rabbi Nachman once talked about those people who are religious for a while and then fall away. He said that even the short time that they are religious is very dear to G-d, no matter what happens later.  The verse says, 'You [the Jews] have attracted My (G-d's] heart with [even] one of your eyes' (Song of Songs 4:9). This verse is referring to G-d speaking to the Jewish People, recalling the time when they accepted the Torah. The Midrash asks why the verse says 'with one of your eyes'. It answers that the other eye was already looking at the Golden Calf at the giving of the Torah.

Therefore, Rabbi Nachman explained that even when the Jews accepted the Torah, they already had plans to stray. Still, the short time that they were close to G-d was still very dear to Him. Therefore, G-d says in the verse, 'you have attracted Me (even] with one of your eyes'. (Sichot HaRan 123)

And when Aaron saw the Golden Calf, he built an altar before it. And Aaron called out and said, tomorrow is a festival to G-d.” (Shemos 32:5)

The holy Ari explains this verse as follows: Avraham had two brothers, Haran and Nachor, who both came from the spiritual origin of Havel (Abel), the son of Adam. When Avraham was thrown into the fire for his belief in G-d, his brother Haran (who came into his world to rectify the sin of Adam, whose sin was a form of idol worship) didn't know what to do. His faith in G-d was very weak and he eventually half heartily agreed to be thrown into the fire for G-d as well. Because his in G-d was full of doubt, he was consumed by the fire, not like his older brother Avraham who survived the fire in the merit of his strong faith.

Therefore, Haran was reincarnated as Aaron the high priest. We know this because the last three letters of Aaron's name spell the name Haran.  Nachor, Avraham's other brother, was reincarnated as Chur, Miriam's son. We know this because the last three letter's of Nachor's name spell the name Chur.

Aaron was supposed to sacrifice his life for G-d, to rectify the lack of true faith that Haran had when he was killed in the fire in Avraham's time. Instead, Aaron gave in to the pressure of the mixed multitude, who forced him to make the Golden Calf. However, Aaron made a mistake, by not sacrificing his life. The verse says, "He built (va'yeven) an alter before it'. The word “va'yeven” could     also mean in Hebrew “he understood” (as well as he built.)  Therefore, the verse could be understood to mean: Aaron understood by the one who was slaughtered before his [refer to the Hebrew text to understand this interpretation). Aaron thought that since Chur also came from the same spiritual origin as himself, Hevel, it was sufficient that Chur was killed to rectify Adam's sin and the  half-hearted martyrdom of Haran. This is why Aaron thought it was unnecessary to sacrifice his own life by the incident of the Golden Calf. However he was in error and he failed to rectify these things and it became necessary to rectify these things in a later incarnation. (Shaar Ha'gegulim: Hakdamah 33)

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