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Dark Roots

Written by Rabbi Yehoshua Alt, 21/7/2019

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Dark Roots

Looking closely at the origins of Moshiach we notice he comes from dark roots. Examples of these include לוט with his daughters, Yehuda and Tamar, Rus and Boaz.[1] Why is this so?


The Bris Avram says since we live in a עלמא דשיקרא; a world of falsehood, we can’t have Emes alone without giving a חלק; portion to the ס-ם; Satan. Consequently, with Mitzvos we need to give a portion to him. As a result, we have the שעיר לעזאזל, the hair by the Tefillin Shel Rosh and the חלבנה; foul-smelling spice by the Ketores.[2] For this reason, before teaching his students, Rabba would say a מילתא דבדיחותא; something humorous.[3] This is also a reason given why we cover the ערלה with dirt since the ערלה comes from the power of the Nachash and dirt is what he eats.[4]


This can be understood through a metaphor of one who wants to go to a certain place in which there are dogs that are obstructing his path. He throws food to them at a distance in order that they run to the food so that he can get to his destination. Similarly, the Zohar says we, therefore, give a portion to the ס-ם. Now we can grasp a novel explanation in דן לכף זכות- judge everyone favorably since maybe he wants to do a big Mitzva and he is giving a חלק to the Satan in the action he is doing now.[5] We can understand in a similar vein אין צדיק בארץ אשר יעשה טוב ולא יחטא; there is no Tzadik who does good and doesn’t sin.[6] חטא means lacking; missing as in ולא נפקד ממנו איש; not a man of us missing.[7] It can now be understood as one who serves Hashem has no choice but to give the חלק.


The Satan tries to prosecute in regard to Moshiach since he knows he will be slaughtered in the future. We therefore see Moshiach stemming from dark roots since we try to get it past the Satan.[8]   


We know that one who steals wouldn’t think to search for jewels in the garbage. It is for this reason that Moshiach is born on Tisha Bav[9] as the pearl of Moshiach is hidden in the ‘garbage.’


There are two places in Tanach it mentions אדמוני- in regard to Esav and Dovid Hamelech.[10] The Satan didn’t complain when Moav was born because he never dreamed of such Kedusha coming from such a union (the daughters of לוט). The same is with Rus and Boaz in which came out Dovid. The Satan thought it was so low- אדמוני. However, concerning Dovid it was also יפה עינים.[11] This refers to the Sanhedrin- the  העדהעיני- as he kills with the permission of the Sanhedrin (unlike Esav).[12]


R’ Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander Ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. R’ Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.

[1] See Sota 10b

[2] Taamai HaMinhagim, pgs 12-13. See Pirkei Drebi Eliezer 46, Ramban to Vayikra 16:8, Tiferes Yehonason in Reeh, Yesod V’Shoresh Havoda, pg 658 and Sichos Mussar, מאמר יט.

[3] Shabbos 30b. Other examples are the smashing of the Luchos, Mayim Achronim and breaking the glass at the Chupa.

[4] See Levush, Yoreh Deah, 265:10

[5] Taamai HaMinhagim, pg 13

[6] Koheles 7:20

[7] Bamidbar 31:49

[8] Emunas Itecha, Masei, s.v. Tzav

[9] Pesikta Esther Rabbasi, 11. See Yerushalmi Brachos 2:4. The Maharal says this means he is created from our yearning, tears and the like.

[10] Breishis 25:12, Shmuel 1, 16:12. See Yalkut Reuvani, Toldos, on ויצא...אדמוני. Esav wore red and ate red-הלעיטני נא מן האדם.... We also know that he had a red complexion.

[11] Shmuel 1, 16:12

[12] Likewise, with Avraham the Satan didn’t think such Kedusha would come out from a Nida (the mother of Avraham was a Nida then). Tangentially, the Arizal says the mother of Avraham was reincarnated as דינה. In fact, נידה and דינה are composed of the same letters. She had to go through the pain of being violated by Shechem for her rectification.

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