SHEVI'I / ACHARON SHEL PESACH / SHABBOS ISRU CHAG PESACH
A SWEET SONG AND A KISS
It was Erev Shabbos and the holy Yid HaKadosh of Peshischa was in shul. All the G-d fearing baalei batim were also in shul reciting Shir HaShirim and preparing for Shabbos Kodesh!
The holy ear of the Yid picked up a soulful youthful shir hashirim whose sweet melody had an otherworldy sound! As the Yid leaned in to listen to this young child's recitation, he turned and said to the lad's father, "Your son recites shir hashirim just like Shlomo HaMelech!" All present were amazed by such a pronouncement and so saying the Yid HaKadosh ben down and kissed the young lad on his forehead.
This young boy was actually named Shlomo, years later he was well renowned as a tzadik and rebbe, he was none other than the author of the famed Chassidishe Sefer Tiferes Shlomo of Radomsk!
"I always felt the Yid HaKadosh's kiss on my forehead for many years later. Until I became Bar Mitzvah and donned Tefillin. It was then after putting on and wearing Tefillin in that very same spot on my head, that I then realized that the Yid HaKadosh's kiss felt just like wearing Tefillin!"
A Rav once approached the Tiferes Shlomo for a beracha that he merit not having to pasken and rule over complex halachic matters relating to Chametz on Pesach. The Segula for this, explained the rebbe to the astonished Rav, is that you study all the halachos of Pesach from the Shulchan Aruch. The reason for this is, that each and every halacha from Shulchan Aruch yearns to be studied and learned. Since many of the halachos are neglected, therefore questions arise that cause the Rabbis to have to study and review the halachos to rule on these matters. If however you study all the halachos beforehand, then you can be assured that you need not be forced to study them by having them arise as questions of Chametz on Pesach!
PARSHAS ACHREI MOS MEDOSHIM
Rav Asher of Stolin said that whoever has any sechel and intellect understands that when you get up from the seder, you can already hear them klapping to rouse the sleepers and banging on the shutters announcing Selichos.
When his grandson the holy Karliner used to say this he taught that it was hinted at in our parsha: because we read in parshas Achrei Mos the parsha of Yom Kippur.
Rav Asher of Stolin was so inspired when he read the parsha of Yom Kippur during Achrei Mos, that his soul almost expired in longing for Yom Kippur! He used to explain this with a Mashal:
Everyone was all in a rush, busy preparing for the great chasuna!!! The chassan and kallah were each busy with their preparations and so was the cook. There was a wedding feast to prepare and the cook was testing his finest recipes and delicacies in honor of the event. As he cooked and baked he tasted from each of the dishes. Hmmm. . .Ahhh what a sweet flavor! How else do you prepare for a feast?
Similarly this Shabbos is a taste of Yom Kippur to help us prepare, hmmm, ahhh how else do you prepare a dish without tasting it first?
FROM THE MAGGID'S TABLE
Self sacrifice – Mesirus Nefesh
Rav Elimelech Biderman shared the following stories and anecdotes regarding Shevi'I Shel Pesach:
The Avnei Nezer explains that when Bnei Yisroel jumped into the sea before it split that this was an act of self sacrifice and mesirus nefesh. The power of such mesirus nefesh is that it can nullify and cancel harsh decrees and bring down any barriers between us and Hashem and silence any prosecution and accusations against us! Therefore Bnei Yisroel were now worthy of the sea splitting for them! (Shem MiShmuel) This is the power that now awakens on Shevii Shel Pesach that of Mesirus Nefesh!
Here is are some examples of what mesirus nefesh can achieve :
The Pezinger Rav was not officially licensed as a mohel to perform circumcisions according to the secular authorities. However he was asked to perform the milah for a Ger tzedek, however he soon began to bleed profusely. The Pezinger rav was very worried and he didn't know what to do: On the one hand if he went to seek professional help surely when the Doctor found out he had performed the bris and was not licensed he would report him and involve the authorities, the consequences of which could endanger all of Hungarian Jewry! On the other hand if the ger bled to death surely this incident would also endanger them all. What to do? He quickly went to the Chasam Sofer and asked him what to do, explaining the possible consequences and weighing all the outcomes.
"There is no choice," said the Chasam Sofer, "you must both sacrifice yourselves to save Hungarian Jewry, go to the riverbank and cast yourselves inside and save us all." Sadly the Pezinger rav and the bleeding ger both made their way to the river. As they approached the bank full of a sense of mission and personal sacrifice an old man saw them and gauging their determined look he engaged them in a dialogue and asked them where they were headed to and why? The rav explained the situation and the grave and dire possible consequences, "but what a silly thing to do!" exclaimed the old man, "to cast yourselves into the river and drown when I have here with my healing medicinal herbs that can put a stop to this bleeding!" And so saying he immediately went to work and sure enough shortly the wound was healed and the bleeding had miraculously stopped! Amazed the Pezinger rav turned to thank the old man, but he was gone! Somehow he had simply vanished into thin air!
When the Pezinger Rav confronted the Chasam Sofer he asked him, "rebbe, if you had the power to send Eliyahu haNavi to help us with a yeshua, why couldn't you have done so here in town? Why send us frightened have to death to the riverbank on a suicide mission you knew would fail and scare us out of our wits end?" "Ahhh," explained the Chasam Sofer, "You think you could merit to see Eliyahu haNavi when you sit here all calm and collected. . .eh? No, only when you accepted upon yourself true mesirus nefesh and self sacrifice then you acquired the merit to be zoche to see Eliyahu HaNavi!"
On a somewhat lighter note:
It was Motzaei Shabbos Selichos and a young driver was driving to his rebbe for the first selichos when he noticed a group of bachurim waiting by the side of the road for a hitch to give them a lift to the very same destination.
Although he was driving a small sporty hatchback he stopped and explained to the eager bachurim that he would love to take them all but, "there is just no room, so squeeze in as many as you can and whoever gets in gets the ride and whoever can't fit will just have to wait for the next lift, OK?" Where there is a will there is a way and somehow, don't ask me how, but all the bachurim, pushed, shoved, jostled and squeeeeezed in tight until somehow miraculously they all fit in!
Well wouldn't you just know it, but a few miles down the road our young driver was pulled over by a traffic cop who noticed that there seemed to be just a tad too many people squeezed into this here vehicle. The traffic officer grew more and more agitated when he ordered them all to step out and he proceeded to count no less than, "Fifteen bachurim!" he fumed and thundered, "You endangered the lives of fifteen young boys!"
Now you must understand, pauses Rav Biderman, traffic violations are no laughing matter! A traffic cop once told me how bad he felt serving summons and slapping fines on other frum yidden and so he approached the renowned posek Rav Shmuel haLevi Wosner Zatzal who told him that he was mechuyav al pi din, he was obligated by Torah law to give out fines and summonses to transgressors because of the life danger, sakanas nefashos that traffic violations cause!
Back to our story: The cop was beside himself with anger, he threw the book at our young driver and he not only fined him heavily and gave him points on his license he served him with a court summons to trial! The poor chassid came in crying to his rebbe, the rebbe upon hearing what he did also berated him for driving dangerously and endangering the lives of the bachurim, yet after he saw that the driver was truly sorry and remorseful, the rebbe gave him an eitza and a beracha, a blessing and some advice on how to handle the case!
When the trial began, the prosecution's case seemed open and shut, the traffic cop was summoned as a key witness and he testified before the judge and the courtroom, "Your honor, I saw with mine own two eyes how this driver recklessly endangered the lives of these bachurim." "Well," said the judge turning to the defendant, "what do you have to say in your defense?" "Your honor," began the driver, "surely it is pointless of me to try and defend myself against these charges it will just make a mockery of me and the court, instead I ask your honor to indulge me by doing me one small unconventional favor?" "Yes, what is it?" asked the curious judge, "my car, the one in question that I was driving that night is here, parked just outside could you please accompany me to it so I can demonstrate something?" The judge, the plaintiff, the traffic cop and the court stenographer all exited and followed the driver, they in turn were all followed by a gaggle of curious onlookers from the courtroom. What was the driver going to show the judge? "Here it is your honor, here is my car, now I ask you, your honor, is it possible, does the officer actually expect us to believe that somehow by some miracle, fifteen bachurim all fit into this car?" The judge look at the small vehicle that was built to seat five and turned his angry stare towards the traffic cop, he stood there bewildered by this unexpected development, "What is the meaning of this! Come on do you actually expect us to believe your story?!" he was yelling at the traffic cop! "But, but, but your honor, I mean I saw them, really I did, I tell you fifteen bachurim, I counted them!" he stammered. In the end the judge ordered fifteen passerby to attempt to squeeze in! But after the eighth barely squished inside, there was just no room!" Case dismissed, banged the gavel. Quietly, defeated and deflated the officer walked over to the driver and whispered,
"OK you won. Hey just between us, though, you know and I know the truth, somehow by some miracle fifteen bachurim were in your car. You explain it, tell me, how did they do it!"
Answered the chassid driver: "All these bachurim all had the same will and desire, to make it to the rebbe for selichos, well when you all share the same common goal and are willing to sacrifice, squeeze, push and experience pain and discomfort and achieve your goal, nothing can stop you, there is no stopping you, not even nature, lack of space and no room could stop them from getting in.
Similarly Klal Yisroel, with one goal and one mission to serve Hashem and perform His will, they determinedly willingly sacrificed with mesirus nefesh, not even nature, not even the sea could withstand them, and so it split for them and for us.
Finally a little humor:
A chassid once came to his rebbe, Rav Duvid Tolner for YomTov. How did you get here? Asked the rebbe. "Mitten Goy – answered the chassid, meaning off course I came with the gentile coachman who drove me and brought me. "Und mit vemen furstu tzurik aheim?" which simply means, "and with who are you going back?" Bewildered and not understanding the chassid simply answered, "Mitten Zelben Goy" with the same gentile coachman.
The Tolner rebbe asked the chassid pointedly, "Mitten Zelben Goy vus di bizt gekimmen erev YomTov furstu tzurik motzaei YomTov?!" With the same goy you came with before yomtov that's how you are going back after yomtov! The rebbe meant to hint to the chassid, that he may have arrived erev yomtov lacking in his Yiddishkeit and jewishness, but hopefully the YomTov had transformed him! The chassid's answer however made the rebbe remark sharply: What the same way you arrived is how you are leaving? Haven't you changed over YomTov? May this YomTov Pesach transform us so that when we leave we aren't leaving mitten zelben goy.