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Getting Closer

By: Mrs. Rena Coren

"Vayihi bensoa ha’aron vayomer Moshe, kuma Hashem veyafutzu oyvecha veyanusu misonecha mipanecha. Uvenucha yomar Shuva Hashem rivavot alfei yisrael."

Contrary to the accepted “five are the books of the Torah”, the Gemara Shabbos 116 explicitly states that the Torah is actually divided into seven different sefarim, and the above two psukim (found in this week’s parsha) are considered to be an entire sefer  unto themselves. The upside down “nuns” which surround them at the beginning and end, serve to delineate them from the parshiyot before and the parshiyot after. 

The Netivot Shalom asks what is the significance of this separate “sefer”? We know that the Torah was given to teach us the mitzvot and therefore in each chumash, different mitzvoth can be found- yet in these two psukim, there is no special commandment being taught. The Slonimer Rebbe zt”l replies that in the Torah, aside from teaching us the actual mitzvot, we are also taught how to keep these mitzvot in a way that brings us closer to the purpose of the Torah. To understand the difference, we can use a car as a mashal.  It’s one thing to know about all the parts of the car and what they do- but it’s another to actually know how to drive the car to get to your destination. These two psukim are of the second category, teaching us how to live a life of Torah and mitzvot in a way that will bring us close to Hashem, no matter where we find ourselves.

The Netivot Shalom explains that every neshama comes to this world with a special tafkid (purpose/assignment). In order to accomplish this tafkid and get close to Hashem, a person goes through time periods of nisyonot, struggles, and times of menucha in his life.  Each nisayon takes him to a higher place, when handled correctly, but to go through the struggle takes a lot of emotional, spiritual and sometimes even physical exertion. This time period is hinted to in the words “vayehi binsoa ha’aron”- when the aron/the neshama is traveling, struggling, sweating to get to where it needs to go. It is about these moments that Moshe davens and says “kumah Hashem...” stand up and help your children, “vayafutzu oyvecha, vayanusu…” destroy the kochot that are pulling your children down so that they can overcome and be victorious in their struggle. After overcoming the struggle, a time of peace follows, hence the second pasuk- “uvnucha” when the aron/the neshama rests. For this time period, Moshe davens “Shuva Hashem revavot….”- which teaches us that even after a Jew overcomes his struggle, he still hasn’t finished his assignment in this world, for now it is his responsibility to take what he’s learned and the depth that he’s gained and help others.  In other words, he must use it as a springboard in order to bring other's (and of course, himself) closer to Hashem.

We all go through different nisyonot at different times in our lives - some when we're younger, some when we get older. The struggle can be in the area of health or finding a zivug, shalom bayit or raising children, financial issues or losing someone we love - the list is endless.  Hashem should bless us all during those times with the strength to persevere, rise above and become greater for the struggle that we’ve been through. 

May we take it to the next level during the calm periods in our lives; give chizuk and guidance to others with our new found insights and wisdom. And may the whole journey bring us closer to Hashem.

Shabbat Shalom




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