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Bridging The Gap

Written by Rabbi Yehoshua Alt, 11/8/2019

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Bridging The Gap

We need to internalize that which we know and become one with our knowledge as in והשבת אל לבבך; take to your heart.[1] This is hinted to in תוכו כברו;[2] one’s insides should be like his outsides, meaning to be sincere in spirituality. The inner letters of תוכו- כו- have a Gematria of 26, the same as י-ה-ו-ה, representing spirituality. Likewise, the external letters of כברו are כו. We need to integrate the spirituality we know internally and externally.[3] 


This is also alluded to in the hidden and revealed letters of the word סיני (which represents spirituality as the Torah was given there). The hidden letters- סמך. יוד, נן, יוד-  have an identical numerical value to the outer letters. ס has a Gematria of 60, the same as מ,ך. י is 10, the same as ו,ד.


R’ Yisrael Salanter once was absent from shul from Kol Nidrei on Yom Kippur. This was because he went to take care of a crying infant whose mother had left him alone while she went to shul.[4]


It once happened that while R’ Simcha Bunim (1765- 1827) was in bed, he wanted to smell some snuff tobacco. However, the case of tobacco was in the other room. He then made the analysis that “If I get up and go to the other room for the tobacco, I will be giving in to my desires. On the other hand, if I do not go, it could stem from laziness.” He decided to walk to the other room. He approached the tobacco and without touching it he returned to his room.


Moshe attained this on the ultimate level. The letters of פרעה, the nemesis of Moshe rearranged spell הערף, the back of the neck. The neck separates the מח and לב; mind and heart. This symbolizes one who doesn’t internalize what he knows. Moshe, on the other hand, was the opposite. The Midrash relates that when Paroh sought to kill Moshe, Moshe’s neck became a pillar of marble.[5] On a deeper level this means that Moshe’s מח and לב can’t be separated.[6] This is the level that Moshe[7] was on.[8]

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] Devarim 4:39. The analogy is given of one placing another in charge of his house because he is going away. He gives a list of what to do daily- feed the fish, water the garden and so on. A week later when he returns, he finds that his house is a wreck. The caretaker tells him that he read the list daily! Of course that is insufficient as that which is on the list must be done! Likewise, learning Halacha, ideas about Shabbos, Yom Tov and so on is inadequate as we must implement it. 

[2] Brachos 28a

[3] It happened that R’ Yonasan Eibshitz (1690-1764) was in a random town for Yom Kippur where he observed someone davening with Kavana saying from the Yom Kippur Tefila-איני כדאי; I was unworthy and עפר אני; I am dirt. He was so impressed that he even deferred a seat in the front of the Shul so he could sit near this person. When they were reading the Torah, this man received the 5th Aliya- Chamishi. He expressed his dismay to the Gabbai since he didn’t receive Shishi (see Mishna Brura 282:18). By Neila, this man once again said איני כדאי and עפר אני with special Kavana. R’ Yonasan Eibshitz was shocked at this contradiction in this man’s behavior and inquired about this. The man responded that to Hashem I am dirt but not to this Gabbai!

[4] Alai Shur, pg 270

[5] Shemos 18:4, Rashi

[6] When one does this, he can fulfill כימי שמים על הארץ (Devarim 11:21)- to have שמים– spiritual- days– in this world- ארץ.

[7] Once Moshe reached ultimate perfection, that is when he died. This is how R’ Tzadok in his Sefer Pri Tzadik interprets לא אוכל עוד לצאת ולבוא (Devarim 31:2)- Moshe reached the level that he had no ups and downs since he attained the level of such perfection. Having reached that, there was no purpose to his existence and would thus die.

[8] Additionally, Moshe represents דעת (see Tanya, chapter 42). דעת is connection, that which you are one with as in והאדם ידע את חוה. This is what Moshe embodied. Thus, דעת on the body is represented by the neck as this is what connects the head and the rest of the body. Moshe is called the front of the neck by the Arizal. The back of the neck, to which Paroh is referred to, is the negative side of דעת- דעת דסטרא אחרא.

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