Parshat Ki Tisa
By: Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron
Inviting the Holy Presence in Our Holy Land
For You Have Found Favor in My Eyes, And I Shall Make Myself Known to You by [My] Name
‘Blessed are You HaShem One Who supports the righteous.’
This week’s parsha highlights the remarkable power the righteous have before HaShem. Even though HaShem decreed that the People of Israel were to be obliterated, Moshe Rabeinu pleaded and prayed that the People be saved, and indeed HaShem forgave Israel and spared them from this severe decree. This special power of the righteous can be found in the terms of our Sages, “the righteous declare and HaShem ‘obeys’ their decree.” An even stronger expression of this concept may be found in our Sages’ teaching: “who ‘rules’ over Me (God so-to-speak)? The righteous who rule with the awe of God.” How can this be, that a righteous human of flesh-and-blood ‘rules’ over HaShem, Master of the Universe? Of course, this concept is not to be taken literally, but rather that HaShem originally created the world in a fashion that the righteous have the power to rise to supreme levels of compassion in the spiritual worlds where one may ‘awaken’ tremendous mercy upon Israel and the world, calling for forgiveness and compassion despite the evil decree.
One of the righteous figures of Hebron, known for his ability of ”‘decreeing and HaShem ‘obeying’’ as seen in the miracle stories associated with him, was the Chief Rabbi of Hebron, Rabbi Moshe Ferera. Rabbi Moshe Ferera came to the Land of Israel in 5611 (1851) and became the Chief Rabbi of Hebron in 5613. Rabbi Ferera passed away in 5625 (1865).
The City of the Patriarchs, is the city that unites [‘hibur’=Hebron] our entire people to our saintly origins, the holy Patriarchs and Matriarchs, and also to Moshe Rabeinu. According to the Midrash, Moshe Rabeinu was brought to rest with the Forefathers and Mothers in Hebron after his passing at Mount Nevo. For this reason, there is an ancient custom to make pilgrimage to Maarat HaMachpela on the day of Moshe Rabeinu’s passing (and birth), the 7th of Adar. Ultimately, it is through uniting with our saintly roots in Hebron that our People are also united together, one with each other.
Thus, the power of the righteous not only unites the People to HaShem to ‘awaken’ HaShem’s mercy, but also this unity with God is achieved through the righteous’ power to unite the People themselves, between man and his fellow man. This is the secret of Purim, which reminds us to “go and call all the Jews together” through the decree of the righteous figures, such as Mordechai and Esther then, and through the call of the righteous throughout all the generations. This is the secret of Purim which calls us to reach out to our fellow Jews through charity, through sending gifts, mishloah manot, and through feasting together in rejoice. This is also the secret of Hebron which unites our People together through our Godly Fathers and Mothers and through our greatest master and teacher, Moshe Rabeinu.
‘One Shabbos morning I planned to go the mikveh in my neighborhood, but for an unexplainable reason I took a different path than I had planned… It ‘turns out’ that on the altered route I ‘happened’ to meet a good friend of mine I hadn’t seen in years, who came to my neighborhood for a ‘Shabbat Hatan’ (Shabbos after a wedding)…’
Sources: Sefer Hebron, Article by Mordechai Land (about midrash and custom to make pilgrimage to Hebron on 7 Adar), Sefer HaTemuna, Tana Deve Eliyahu ch. 2
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Real Stories from the Holy Land #257