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Invisible Eye-opener

Written by Rabbi Yehoshua Alt, 14/1/2020

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Invisible Eye-opener

                We know stories of people who did a holy act, yet it was unrecognizable to others since it was done in a concealed way. It is said that when R’ Tzvi Zidichover[1] (1763-1831) would inhale, he would concentrate on the name of Hashem—י-ה-ו-ה, whereas when he would exhale he would concentrate on the name אלה-ים.[2]


                This idea is also related in the words of a Gadol who once commented: “I tried my entire life to break my Middos. I worked even harder to make sure no one would hear it crack.”


                It says ויך את המצרי ויטמנהו בחול, Moshe killed the Egyptian and he hid him in the sand.[3] How did he kill the Egyptian? Rashi remarks with the שם המפורש, the name of Hashem. Since Moshe was the most humble person that ever lived,[4] he concealed his act in such a way that it wasn’t noticeable.[5] This is hinted to ויטמנהו בחול as this can be interpreted that he hid his act in the mundane (חול means mundane) as he made it seem as if it was an ordinary act making it unrecognizable to others.       

Rabbi 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. Rabbi 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] He was a student of the Chozeh. The Sefer Ateres Tzvi was authored by him.

[2] In this way he fulfilled the words of the Midrash—על כל נשימה..., for each breath one breathes, he must praise Hashem (Breishis Rabba 14:9).

[3] Shemos 2:12. Rabbeinu Efraim (Shemos 2:12) comments on the previous words of the Pasuk, וירא כי אין איש, he saw there was no man—that there was a נער, a youth. Moshe though wasn’t concerned about him. However, it was this נער that made the matter known—אכן נודע הדבר (2:14). This is alluded to inאכן נודע הדבר as the end letters spell נער.

[4] Bamidbar 12:3.

[5] In a similar vein, if we compare the words of the Chumash to that of נ"ך (נביאים וכתובים), it seems that נ"ך is encoded with so much more depth. Is this really so? To explain this, the following analogy is given. If one wants to hide packs of cigarettes, he may tuck it under his coat. However, in this case, it is still noticeable since it bulges out. Another way of concealing the cigarettes is to place it into the lining of the coat. Then it passes by unnoticed. The same is true of the Torah and נ"ך since the words of נ"ך bulge out as it is so obvious there is depth hidden there. This is contrary to the words of the Torah where although the words seem so simple, there is so much depth there as it is comparable to that of hiding items in the lining of a coat as it is unrecognizable that there is anything there. 

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