Parshas Mishpatim


1) We find in the end of Parshas Yisro the Mitzvah of the מזבח. This seems a little bit out of place because all the other כלים of the משכן are dealt with in Parshas Teruma, so why is the מזבח specifically brought up earlier?

2) Even more so, we find that the last pasuk (כ' כג') in Parshas Yisro says "ולא תעלה במעלת על מזבחו"- we learn from here that there must be a ramp and a slope leading up to the מזבח and not stairs. The pasuk continues and states that the reason why is because "אשר לא תגלה ערותך עליו". However, we must understand why exactly stairs would lead to גילוי ערוה, because we know the Kohanim wore very long clothes, so how exactly do stairs cause גילוי ערוה? Also, we must understand why this is the last pasuk in the Parsha of Kabalas Hatorah, how this represents the climax of our acceptance of the Torah?

3) The beginning of this week’s Parsha says "ואלא המשפטים אשר תשים לפניהם", and Rashi[1] explains the connection of this pasuk to the last pasuk of Parshas Yisro is to teach us that we must place the Sanhedrin next to the מזבח. But we must understand how the Sanhedrin fit into the מזבח because the משכן was a place of Avodah and not of Torah. We know in Halacha that תורה לחוד and תפלה ועבודה לחוד, that Torah and Avodah must be separated. So why exactly do we פסקין the דינים with the Sanhedrin by the משכן?

4) Also what exactly is the meaning of this connection between the Sanhedrin, the דינים, and the מזבח?

5) Rashi (ד"ה אשר תשים לפניהם) also brings down that when you teach Halacha it must be like a   שולחן ערוך מוכן לאכל, a table all set and ready for a person to eat. What exactly is the meaning behind this?

6) Also we know that all of our Halachos are called שולחן ערוך. What is the meaning behind this name which deals not only Halachos pertaining to eating but rather all areas of Halacha. Why is the name “Shulchan Aruch” chosen to represent this?

7) We begin Parshas Mishpatim with the Halachos of עבד עברי. Why is it that we begin with this Halacha, especially when we find that the Gemara in Kiddushin says that the Parsha of עבד עברי is very uncommon? Why do we begin with עבד עברי and why don’t we begin with a more practical area of Halacha?

8) The מדרש רבה says that just like Hashem created the world in six days and rested on the seventh, so too an עבד עברי should only work for six years and he should go free on the seventh year. However what exactly is the connection of these two topics of the six days of creation and an עבד עברי?

9) The Parsha then continues (פסוק ג') to say that however the עבד comes in that’s how he must go out, like the pasuk says "אם בגופו יבא בגופו יצא אם בעל אשה הוא ויצאה אשתו עמו". The question arises though that why must it be this way?

10) We then find that if the עבד wants to stay we pierce his ear. The reason for this is to remind the עבד that this was the ear that heard by Har Sinai not to steal, or some say it was the ear that heard that we’re only עבדים to Hashem. So we’re reminding this עבד of what he heard by Har Sinai. However, we know an עבד עברי is מותר to marry a שפחה כנענית, so what exactly is he lacking that he must be reminded of Har Sinai?


The Yesod of  רצוא ושוב

In the first perek of ספר יחזקאל,יחזקאל הנביא  describes the מעשה המרכבה. He says that he saw that the חיות were רצוא ושוב (יחזקאל א' יד'.) The ספרים הקדושים say that this topic of רצוא ושוב is one of the most fundamental points in Yiddishkeit and Torah and Mitzvos.

יחזקאל הנביא saw that the חיות, the מלאכים, were רצוא ושוב, meaning they were running quickly (רצוא) and then they quickly came back to their place (ושוב). Chazal learn out from here that a person also must always be in a state of רצוא ושוב.

רצוא is the ענין of השתוקקות, because רצוא is מלשון רצון, meaning to say that when you have השתוקקות and a desire for something then you run towards it. The חיות are teaching us that every person must be a רצוא and have a strong השתוקקות to run away from our גוף[2]. So רצוא teaches us that we must have השתוקקות that goes out of control, to a point of desiring to leave the עולם הגשמי.

However, all of these desires and yearnings are only if it’s on the condition of "ושוב". That only after all the השתוקקות, one brings back his השתוקקות to his normal life and situation. שוב is מלשון התיבשות and יישוב העולם. The רצוא goes out of the יישוב העולם but the תנאי is that he must be a שוב.


Bringing השתוקקות into one’s everyday life

One must ח"ו never feel that he doesn’t need to grow or move on in his עבודת ה', and one must always be a רצוא and a הולך in his life. On the other hand, one who is only a רצוא and is constantly in השתןקקות and he doesn’t bring it down to his day to day עבודת ה' is also not on the right path, because Hashem wants there to be a יישוב עולם.

We know that nature is called טבע, and טבע also can mean to sink (לטבוע). This teaches us that when one gets used to civilization and to nature and he thinks he’s staying in one spot – he is really sinking. One must always have השתוקקות and at the same time bring it down and implement it into his life.

Even when one is involved in mundane matters, such as eating or any other small activity, it must be with a השתוקקות and afterwards bringing it down. One who lives his life without any השתוקקות it’s like a גוף without a נשמה.

The Yidden in Mitzrayim

Klal Yisroel in Mitzrayim were in a terrible situation of שוב, meaning they were sunken in[3]. לטבוע means to sink, and לטבוע comes from the same word as טבע, nature. One who lives with טבע, with all the הגבלות and within all the גבולים then he will sink. מצרים is מלשון מיצר, meaning גבול, and גבול means טבע – and טבע means to sink. Meaning to say that in מצרים we lived with the מיצר and not with השתוקקות, we sunk and fell to a very low state.

When one sinks to this very low state of יישוב עולם he is in a very dangerous state and how must pull himself out in an uncontrollable and wild manner through strong feelings of השתוקקות. Imagine someone is sinking in quicksand, so by just pulling him he won't come out. Instead you would need to yank him out with a strong rope, otherwise he would carry on sinking.

In this world a person is naturally drowning and sinking. That is why nature is called טבע, also mean to sink, since one is constantly sinking. Klal Yisroel in Mitzrayim were also in a state of constant drowning and sinking. Chazal say that all the building which the Yidden built in Mitzrayim sunk in the ground.

The whole idea of Mitzrayim was that a person shouldn't be able to have a השתוקקות and he should stay in one spot[4]. This is what an עבד is all about. An עבד doesn't take a step out of line and he lives a pareve and boring life. This was the life in מצרים.

The Koach of Torah

Klal Yisroel in Mitzrayim davened to Hashem that they needed something very powerful to pull them out of this sinking state.  So Hashem said the Heilig Torah is what will save them. Like the pasuk in Shir Hashirim says "משכני אחריך נרוצה" – Hashem pull us and then there will be a running towards you. We were asking Hashem that if you just help us and pull us out then  we'll have a tremendous השתוקקות running towards you. "מן המיצר קראתיך" –we were calling out to Hashem from within כלים, within boundaries. One who is stuck in such a state must get out.

So Hashem told Moshe "הוציאך אלקים את העם הזה ממצרים תעבדון את אלקים על ההר הזה". תעבדון את אלקים על ההר הזה- is referring to Har Sinai. Hashem was telling us "I'm giving you the Torah". The Koach of Torah can pull us out and give us that השתוקקות to wildly come out of our כלים. Like we see by מעמד הר סיני when we accepted the Torah פרתא נשמתם - Klal Yisroel נשמות left them. The whole ענין of רוצה and השתוקקות is הסתלקות הנשמה מן הגוף, that we have so much השתוקקות that our נשמה leaves our גוף. This is what happened by Kabbalas Hatorah.

Preparing for תורה שבכתב and תורה שבעל פה

A Torah – dika Neshama is Mesiras Nefesh – dicka Neshama, one which just wants to get out. We know Rebbi Akiva was the שורש of תורה שבעל פה, and Chazal say כל ימי הייתי מצער, his whole life he waited when he could be מוסר נפש to Hashem. By Kabbalas Hatorah the השתוקקות  was so great that they even had to put baracades up to prevent Klal Yisroel from climbing up Har Sinai.  The Yesod of שלשת ימי הגבלה was to get Klal Yisroel into a tremendous ריצה until we ממש felt like climbing Har Sinai. 

So too we find when it comes to תורה שבעל פה we know Purim is a day when we were מקבל תורה שבעל פה, and it's a day full of השתוקקות and coming out of our כלים. Like we find קם רבה ושחט ר' זירא, רבה literally killed ר' זירא. Any other day of the year he'd be considered a רוצח, but on Purim that's the עבודה, to come out of our כלים[5]. This is because it's a day of Torah and kabbalas Hatorah, and Torah lifts up a person. That is why after we read the Torah we do הגבהה and we lift up the Torah. This is to teach us that the Torah can also lift us up and pull us out of any situation.

Mesiras Nefesh and Torah

This is why when a person is stuck in a situation the Torah can save him. The Gemara says אם פגעה בו מנוול זה מכשהו לבית המדרש – if the Yetzer Harah comes to a person, he should pull him into the Beis Medrash. The Yetzer Horah  tends to come to a person when he's in a calm quiet state. But we must react towards him with מלחמות and fight wildly against him, like chazal say לעולם ירגיז אדם יצר טוב על יצר הרע.

R' Elimelech Milegenzsk זצ"ל says in the beginning of צאטיל קטן that if somebody is sitting idly doing nothing  he should think in his mind that there's a huge fire and he's willing to jump into that fire for Hashem's sake. By doing this he'll be fulfilling the mitzvah of ונקדשתי בתוך בני ישראל  of Kiddush Hashem. This seems to be a very interesting mitzvah to choose while one is trying to relax. Just imagine you're lying in bed trying to fall asleep and suddenly by imagining all this you're letting yourself into a night mare of jumping into this huge fire. Why can't one just choose another simple mitzvah  to do, like Bikur Cholim or Hachnasas Orchim? The answer to this is: R' Elimelech is teaching us that if one is יושב ובטל, sitting idly and quietly, and he's in a state of "שוב" – so he must have a רצוא to pull him out of there. This is accomplished through Mesiras Nefesh! Once one is prepared to give up his life for Hashem, this can pull him out of his idle state of שוב.

Parshas Yisro and Parshas Mishpatim

This is the difference between Parshas Yisro and Parshas Mishpatim. Parshas Yisro is the פרשה of רצוא and Parshas Mishpatim is Parsha of שוב. Even more so, the whole period of Yitzias Mitzrayim was also a state of רצוא and our השתוקקות to be pulled towards Hashem[6]. When it comes to ריצוי we were wild without any סדר, just having in mind to get out of there.

The מזבח had to be without Stairs- A place of ריצוי (Answers to Questions #1 & #2)

This same בחינה of רצוא which was מעמד הר סיני was also by the Mishkan which תורה רצוץ אהבה when they started to climb the מזבח they got into a tremendous state of ריצא. To a point where the Gemara says in Mesechas Yoma that once when they were running up the מזבח one Kohen stabbed another Kohen; There was another story where one Kohen pushed another Kohen off the מזבח causing him to break his leg. Even though these stories happened during תרומת הדשן, which wasn't from the most popular עבודות, however as soon as these Kohanim reach to the ramp of the מזבח they came to a מדריגה of ריצא and they lost themselves.

The explanation behind this is as follows: The whole בחינה of the Mishkan and especially the מזבח was a בחינה of ריצוי. We find throughout the Mishnayos in Tamid and Middos that כהנים זריזין הם, that the Kohanim were always running. This is because they were in a situation of ריצה and the Mishkan was a place of ריצוי and Mesiras Nefesh.

The מזבח itself was a place of Mesiras Nefesh. Once a person brought his Korban to the מזבח to be shechted, he felt  as if he was being offered up to Hashem. It was a place of Mesiras Nefesh and התלהבות, like it says תמיד תוקד על מזבח לא תכבה etc. The מזבח was כולו רצוא and כולו אש, a place of tremendous השתוקקות towards Hashem[7].

The מזבח was also a place which was מכפר and atoned for all averios. When one came to the מזבח with all of his aveiros, how did he get out of his downfall state? By having that השתוקקות and pulling him out of his situation. The place of כפרה had to be a place of wild ריצה, pulling people out of their sunken state bringing them to a כפרה.

This explains the לאו of "לא תעלה במעלות על מזבחי" (כ' כ"ג) – that the מזבח must have a ramp and not stairs. Whey there are stairs you go step by step, and that’s not רצוא. One must go up the מזבח with a רצוא and not as a הולך  step by step.  When one comes to the מזבח he is stuck in the עולם החטא waiting for his כפרה. If he decides to do teshuva step by step – he'll never climb out of the mud and his חטא. The מזבח was to take a person out of his ערוה, and out of his חטא, like it says לא תגלה ערותך עליו. To accomplish this it must be with a tremendous השתוקקות and ריצא and not with "מעלות", not with stairs step by step[8]. If one doesn't climb out of a ירידה, out of the שוב,with a ריצה and השתוקקות – then that's considered גילוי ערוה, like the פסוק says לא תגלה ערותך עליו. Specifically the מזבח had to be כולו רצוא without steps, because this is how one will climb out of חטא[9].

This is the משיכה of Torah, and the Yesod of Parshas Yisro, the parsha of Kabalas Hatorah. With this we can also understand why the מזבח and the pasuk of לא תעלה במעלות על מזבחי belongs in Parshas Yisro. Parshas Yisro is the Parsha of השתוקקות and climbing out of our כלים. So the Parsha ends off with this Yesod of the מזבח that one must go up on the מזבח with ריצה and השתוקקות and not step by step[10].

Shulchan Aruch and the חלק הדינים of Torah (Answers to Questions #5 & #6)

However, the Mishkan was only a place to gain השתוקקות, but it was not a place to stay and live in. One must live and learn Torah with השתוקקות, but there's also another very important part of Torah called דינים.

The Misnah in Pirkei Avos says הוי מתונים בדין, meaning one must be calm and well thought out. One can't be a דיין and פסקן הלכות if he's in a mode of a wild ריצוי. To be a פוסק one must think things over slowly and carefully. הלכה comes from the word הליכה meaning to walk. Until now we were dealing with ריצה and running, but the חלק התורה of הלכות and דינים is a different approach.

After one learns the Torah with השתוקקות he must afterwards bring it down into his everyday life of הליכה[11].  This is what הלכות דיינות is about – to implement that רצוא and השתוקקות into our life. This is what Rashi (ד"ה אשר תשים לפניהם) means to say that the דינים must be כשולחן ערוך מוכן לאכול. The Torah must be brought down even to the nitty griddy actions, like עבודת אכילה and בכל דרכיך דעהו.

This is also why Halachos of Torah are called Shulchan Aruch. A Shulchan Aruch is a table ready for a meal, and when it comes to Halachos, that's the הליכה of Torah, bringing everything down into our practical life[12].

The Lesson of the סנהדרין the דינים next to the מזבח (Answers to Questions #3 and #4)

This can also explain what Rashi (ד"ה ואלה המשפטים) says, "ואלה המשפטים", the "ו" is מוסיף על ענין הראשון that the דינים must be placed specifically next to the מזבח. The דינים must be by the מזבח to teach us that one can't live his life only with השתוקקות (like the מזבח represents),and it was be מתיישב into כלים and דינים in everyday life.

The same applies to נסתר and נגלה of Torah. Learning nowadays נסתר התורה is very important, but one must make sure to bring it down to the נגלה התורה as well. However, one must not learn only the נגלה התורה without the השתוקקות from the נסתר התורה[13]. We need the פנימיות התורה today to not only cry during the פנימיות התורה, but to also cry while learning קצות and the נגלה of Torah. There needs to be השתוקקות in Torah, with this בחינה of going out of your כלים.

A דיין Becomes a Partner in Creation

According to this explanation we can explain what chazal say "כל דיין שדן אמת לאמיתו נעשה שותף להקב"ה במעשה בראשית"[14].  The whole ענין of מעשי בראשית is "לא תהו ברא לשבת יצהר", and a person should be in a state of שבת and שוב. דיינים and דינים also bring a person to a state of a שוב, like we. Quoted earlier דיינים must be מתונים בדין. Chazal say that בתחילה עלה במחשבה to create the world with מידת הדין and then Hashem saw he can't so he used מידת הרחמים[15]. So Hashem at first wanted to create the world with מידת הדין, which the דיינים represent. Therefore, כן דיין שדן אמת לאמיתו becomes a partner with Hashem in מעשה בראשית. So one who is in a mode of רצוא and השתוקקות is the opposite of מעשה בראשית, even though that רצוא is still needed.

Parshas Mishpatim and עבד עברי (Answer to Question #7)

This is what Parshas Mishpatim and דינים represent – to start bringing things down into a state of שוב. This is exactly what עבד עברי represents, as the first Halacha in the Parsha. An עבד עברי is an Jewish Slaave. There are two בחינות that we are towards Hashem. A בחינה of a בן and a בחינה of an עבד.

The difference between them is that a בן is השתוקקות. A child who leaves his father has tremendous yearnings and השתוקקות to his father[16]. When one learns torah with השתוקקות and רצוא then he's learning in a state of אב ובן where Hashem is our father and we are the בן[17].

However, when it comes to the עבודה of שוב then that is a מציב of an עבד. An עבד is one who is scared to take a step out of line, which the בחינה of שוב represents. Also, an עבד is one who deals with the less important things. A king wouldn't ask his servant to sign the country document, but rather to do the laundry and make the bed. These little things he does is what שוב represents. שוב is our עבודת אכילה, negel vaaser, and all the mitzvos which are שייך to עבדות. One who is in a state of השתוקקות can sometimes forget the time, and not be totally focused in a normal state of mind. An עבד however is totally focused, accomplishing even small things בשלימות[18].

So when it comes to Parshas Mishpatime dealing with דינים and הלכות, the main focus is on הליכה, בשבתך בביתך ובלכתך בדרך בשבת דדך ובלכת דידך. This includes בין אדם לחבירו, הלכות ברכות המזון, הלכות ברכות הנהנין, מוכן לשולחן ערוך and even Halachos regarding which shoe to put on or take off first. All of these things are what an עבד represents with which the Parsha begins with.

Having both the השתוקקות and the שוב, bring an עבד to a בן

So Mishpatim is the Parsha of שוב, but one must still remember that even the שוב must be with השתוקקות. Even when he's involved in little things, like putting on his right shoe first, it must be done with השתוקקות by doing it בשמחה and having in mind "What a privilege it is to do even this small Mitzvah by putting on my right shoe first" One must take the השתוקקות from Parshas Yisro and implement it into Parshas Mishpatim, when doing even the little things of שוב which an עבד עברי represents.

Therefore Klal Yisroel are compared to both an עבד and a בן to Hashem. One who is ח"ו just an עבד to Hashem, without any השתוקקות and רצוא, so he belongs back in Mitzrayim. In the mitzrayim and boundaries. Also, if one just has the רצוא and only השתוקקות, so he'll be lacking in שולחן ערוך, One must have both the רצוא and שוב.

The Connection of an עבד and Shabbos (Answer to Question #8)

Now we can understand the connection between an עבד's six years to the six days of creation. The six days of the week are meant for עבדות and work, like it says "ששת ימים תעשה מלאכתך". The מלאכה and עבודה are meant to be done during the week. However, when it comes to Shabbos it says "לא תעשה כל מלאכה", and it's a day only of רצוא. A day where one doesn't go out into the world, and is focused only on פנימיות and השתוקקות. We sing by the Shabbos table over and over with Divrei Torah feeling this השתוקקות throughout the whole day[19].

So we can now explain the pesukim in the beginning of the Parsha as follows: "אלה המשפטים... כי תקנה עבד עברי" After Parshas Yisro when you come to buy and עבד, you must take all the השתוקקות of Parshas Yisro and become an עבד with it. Take the experience of a בן and become an עבד with it. When must this be done? During the ששת שנים, corresponding to the ששת ימי המעשה of creation. Shabbos will give you so much השתוקקות that when you're dealing with shoelaces and halachas during the week, בשבתך ובלכתך בדרך, then we'll be on Avodah of an עבד together with a בן.

However, one must not ח"ו stay as an עבד the whole time, and one must renew his השתוקקות from time to time. If an עבד wants to stay and not go free, then that's not good. To stay an עבד isn't acceptable. "ובשביעית יצא לחפשי חינם" – שביעית is like shabbos, and Hashem is saying that just like I took off on Shabbos כביכול – so too we have to take off on Shabbos to renew our השתוקקות, and an עבד must fulfill ובשביעית יצא לחפשי חינם If we don't take off on Shabbos, then our Tefillah and Torah won't be done properly during the week[20].

The Special Koach and Kedusha of Shabbos

The Arizal says that Shabbos is such a powerful day that even if a person doesn't eat with a כוונה לשם סעודת שבת it still has קדושת שבת, unlike during the week. Everything we do on Shabbos is automatically with a ריצה. This is because on Shabbos there's a נשמה יתירה, and the נשמה יתירה always wants to leave. Like it says נר ה' נשמת אדם – A flame always flickers and wants to go up, but it's being held down. So too with our נשמה יתירה of Shabbos, a person feels so much השתוקקות that he wants to take off and reach upwards. This is why we sing a lot on זמירות ותשבחות on Shabbos, because it helps us correct to our עומק בפנים and our השתוקקות.

As much השתוקקות we have on Shabbos, acting like a בן to הקב"ה, that's how much we'll be successful during the week when we're an עבד we'll become a בן dicka עבד an עבד who still keeps up with the השתוקקות of Shabbos, implementing it into our everyday lives. We'll be acting like an עבד, doing all the little מצוות and deeds, together with a powerful השתוקקות.

Our Avodah and Purpose in עולם הזה during the week (Answer to Question #9)

This is the meaning behing the pasuk which we asked on ealier which says "אם בגופו יבא בגופו יצא אם בעל אשה הוא ויצאה אשתו עמו", that the way the עבד comes in that’s how he must go out. The Gemara says that יצאתי מן העולם הזה should be like כניסתו מן העולם הזה. Meaning that the weekdays are like a person coming down into the שוב, facing עולם הזה and טבע and all the עבודות  of בכל דרכיך דעהו He's also going to face the שולחן ערוך, אכילה andשתיה, בשבתך ובלכתך בדרך, and all the מלאכות of רשות etc. This is all the Avodah during the week. However, he must make sure that when he leaves that and comes back up on Shabbos it's done in the proper manner. Even though when he's עוסק in the שבוע – he's still בעצם a שבתdicker. So when one leaves Shabbos clean entering the week he should enter the upcoming Shabbos in this clean slate as well. He must not bring all the sillyness of עולם הזה with him into Shabbos. This is the only היתר  to be עוסק in יישובו של עולם.

So if an עבד says "אהבתי את אשתי", I got used to עולם הזה and accustomed to being an עבד, and I don't want to go out to יצא לחפשי חינם, then he lost focused of his purpose. So too if a person's whole Avodah during the week when he davens and learns is in a מציב of an עבד – then he doesn't know what to do when Shabbos comes He can't connect to Shabbos and he feels he doesn't needa Shabbos. However, if a person is looking for השתוקקות all week long, he's anxiously awaiting for Shabbos, the day of כולו השתוקקות, to arrive.

The Yesod of Piercing the עבד's Ear (Answers to Question #10)

So if a person lost his השתוקקות by being an עבד, and he says אהבתי את אשתי, it's like he's back in Mitzrayim. This person must have his ear pierced and he must be reminded of Har Sinai. Har Sinai, like we explained above, was the השתוקקות. "Piercing" is like an injection, giving him a hold end pushing fiercly into him this Yesod which he's lacking. His ear obviously forgot about all that השתוקקות of Har Sinai and he must be reminded of that[21].

This is the connection of Parshas Yisro and Mishpatim. Bringing the השתוקקות of Parshas Yisro and מעמד הר סיני down into Parshas Mishpatim and being an עבד. This is also the connection to the following Parshios of תרומה and תצוה, which also represent השתוקקות. The Avodah started in the Parshios of Yetzias Mitzrayim where we came out of the טבע of Mitzrayim, going upwards towards the השתוקקות of מעמד הר סיני. It then comes down to Parshas Mishpatim, getting used to בין אדם לחבירו and Dinim. However, we don't stay in that Parsha and situation for that long, and we again go back into the השתוקקות of Parshas Terumah[22].

Living with השתוקקות in our Everyday Lives.

We must remember that after our השתוקקות in Torah, when we walk out of the Beis Medrash, we must implement everything which we gained from the Torah. Sometimes one feels during the week that his daily routine of Mitzvos are done without meaning, like Chazal say מצוות אנשים מלומדה. This type of person needs השתוקקות, whether it's by going to the Kosel or by learning פנימיות התורה, he should give himself a boost of השתוקקות and מסירת נפש, of going out of his כלים and then afterwards come back down.

The only way to climb out of a hard situation is to run with השתוקקות, like the Kohanim ran up the מזבח. Even though afterwards the השתוקקות must be brought down into כלים it must never be lost. Also, in order for the השתוקקות not to get lost it must be brought down and put into כלים, to make it a דבר של קיימא.

Yisro was dragged into the השתוקקות of מעמד הר סיני. He was a priest and he suddenly made a radical change in his life. The Pasuk says "וילך לו לארצו" simply meaning that he went back home. This is coming to teach us that after Yisro made his drastic change to become a Yid with all that השתוקקות, afterwards וילך לו לארצו and he brought it all down and put in into כלים. In order for his השתוקקות not to get lost. When one takes the השתוקקות down to become an עבד that's how one keeps the השתוקקות. So the עבדות we have during the week is the שומר on the השתוקקות of Shabbos.

Just like a candle needs a wick to hold down the flame which flickers upwards, so too our השתוקקות is a fire (like it says לא תכבה it's a fire that never goes out) and it needs the weekdays to hold it down to stay and have a קיום.

So one must always have השתוקקות for Avodas Hashem, and the עבד which he is during the week is a שמירה of that השתוקקות, to keep that מצב of a בן to an אב. This is why we say in Shemoneh Esrei השיבנו אבינו לתורתך – that when it comes to Torah it's כולו השתוקקות and when we refer to Hashem as our father. But we then continue and say וקרבינו מלכינו לעבודתיך – that we must become an עבד as well, bringing our השתוקקות into כלים. This is accomplished by always feeling excited of the initial אמת and השתוקקות.[23]

If one has השתוקקות during his learning but afterwards he loses it, that means he didn't have the right השתוקקות. If he had a real השתוקקות and felt that his learning Torah is תענוג אלוקי, then even the slightest Mitzvah he does afterwards he'll have that same feeling, and the Mitzvah will act as a wick which will keep theהשתוקקות down for him.

So Parshas Mishpatim's halachos is a wick for the e/c and השתוקקות of Parshas Yisro, so it can stay and we can implement it into all the דינים of Mishpatim, and then to go up again with a רצוא to the upcoming Parshios of תרומה, תצוה, כי תשא, ויקהל פקודי.[24]

Utilizing the Power of Shabbos

Shabbos is the day of כולו השתוקקות and if one doesn't have proper סעודות on Shabbos and he doesn't sing until he's hoarse with so much השתוקקות, then when Sunday morning comes it's very easy to lose it all.

R' Velvel Cheshin used to sing Shabbos Zemiros for hours on Friday night and specifically when it came to singing the words "וברננה נעלה" he used to sing these two words a lone for almost an hour. He had tremendous השתוקקות when singing on Shabbos and he had a hard time leaving it, and after the meal he used to learn all night.

One must make his Shabbos into 24 hours of כולו השתוקקות. Each person enjoys and feels he can connect and feel השתוקקות in whichever situation it may be. Wherever one gets השתוקקות from you must be so pounded and full of השתוקקות during Shabbos that when comes to Sunday it all comes pouring out. This will automatically cause one's weekday Shemoneh Esrei to be like Shabbos Shemoneh Esrei and the same regarding all of one's activities during the week.

R' Yisroel Mordechai Twersky זצ"ל, The Rochmastrivka Rebba, on every Erev Shabbos he used to come to Beis Medrash very earlier and just sit there and anxiously wait with השתוקקות for Shabbos to come.

Approaching and Appreciating Torah in the Proper Way

This same Yesod applies to the Torah as well. When we learn פנימיות התורה and תורת הנסתר this is in order for us to approach תורת הנגלה properly. תורת הנסתר must give us that השתוקקות that when we learn תורת  הנגלה and we see a רש"י על הש"ס or any other חידוש תורה we have that tremendous feeling of השתוקקות and תענוגי אלוקי.

One can hear a חידוש and say "WOW", and one can also hear a חידוש and have strong feelings of השתוקקות of תענוג אלוקי. Learing the lumdoos of Torah must be learnt as כולו תענוג אלוקי, making a person feel on such a high.

R' Aharon Karliner זצ"ל used to say that גמרא is from the לשון of גמרא – meaning glowing coals. The Gemara we learn must be felt as כולו אש and glowing coals. This can only be felt after one feels very strongly as a בן to the רבונו של עולם. This is what meant in Chazal when it says "אין לך בן חורין אלא מי שעוסק בתורה" – that it's very hard to be an עבד when learning Torah, because one gets into such a השתוקקות in Torah representing a בן and an אב relationship. An עבד doesn't have any השתוקקות to his אדון like a child has to his father. So אין לך בן חורין אלא מי שעוסק בתורה – when one is עוסק in Torah and works and toils in his learning, then he's a בן because he is full of השתוקקות. If one is עוסק in Torah and he doesn't feel השתוקקות, so he's not a בן and he's not a בן חורין but rather an עבד who is עוסק בתורה. Since we're a בן so therefore we're חורין and we're free.

This is how the השתוקקות of Shabbos leads us into the weekdays. Sometimes even in the middle of the week if one feels a little down, he should come home and sit down and take out a white tablecloth and start singing י-ה אכסוף with the השתוקקות feelings of Shabbos. This can lift up and bring a person out of his situation. As soon as a person feels like he's falling and losing those feelings of השתוקקות, he must realize he's falling into Mitzrayim and the only thing that will pull him out is a very powerful rope of השתוקקות. Whether it's singing י-ה אכסוף, or a good vort, or learning some פנימיות התורה, or doing a special mitzvah, whatever it may be which will give him those feelings of תענוג אלוקי and השתוקקות.


[1] ד"ה ואלא המשפטים

[2] Chazal say by Tefila that הסתלקות הנשמה מן הגוף.

[3] That is why Hashem punished the Mitzrim מדה כנגד מדה that they sunk by the Yam Suf after causing the Yidden to sink in Mitzrayim.

[4]  Like we said above מצרים in מלשון מיצר, meaning boundaries.  Mitzrayim held us in the boundaries not letting have השתוקקות to reach higher heights.

[5] The Shulchan Aruch even talks about if someone rips somebody else's clothes on Purim that he's פטור, because it's a day where you can break the boundaries.

[6]  Like the אור החיים הקדוש describes in Parshas Yisro the whole מעמד הר סיני as the event of our tremendous תשוקה and excitement towards Hashem.

[7] The Gemara is Yoma says that by the first Beis Hamikdash the fire which came down onto the מזבח was in a shape of a lion. Chazal say that a lion was on the right side of the מעשה מרכבה. The right side, צד ימין, represent השתוקקות, and this is also represented in a lion. The roar of a lion is the השתוקקות of a Yid towards Hashem. So the fire was in the shape of a lion, representing this point that the מזבח was כולו השתוקקות and a wild place.

[8] Like we find that Hashem took us out of Mitzrayim with a wild גילוי, chazal say אילו לא הוציא הקב"ה בכבודו ובעצמו, then we would still be there. We were only able to get out with a ריצה.

[9] The whole Mishkan was actually also like this. Chazal say there were ten constant ניסים happening in the Mishkan, and there was no טבע and no כלים, and it was completely a place of השתוקקות. This also explains why there was a miracle in the Mishkan of עומדים צפופין ומשתחוים רווחים. The deep meaning behind that nobody took up room was that it was like nobody was there. Everyone was עולה למעלה with השתוקקות to reach upwards, so they weren't there and there was plenty of room. Only a person who is there and in a מצוה of שוב takes up room.

[10]  We find the הקדמה to the Mishkan was very similar to the הקדמה to מעמד הר סיני. By מעמד הר סיני the הקדמה was פרחא נשמתם, which was a ריצוי. Similarly the הקדמה to the Mishkan was the death of נדב ואביהו, who died on the first day of the Mishkan. They had a wild ריצוי and were מוסר נפש and this served as a הקדמה to the Mishkan.

[11]  We find this Yesod also by Krias Shema. Shema starts off "שמע ישראל ה' אלקינו ה' אחד, ואהבת את ה' אלוקיך בכל לבבך...". This refers to the חלק of ריצוא, of השתוקקות and הסתלקות הנשמה of serving Hashem with everything we have. Suddenly we find the following Pesukim say בשבתך בביתך ובלכתך בדרך which the Gemara דרשין's and says בשבת דידך ובלכתך בידיך, referring to person who is הולך לדבר רשות. What is the connection of these seemingly different themes of עבודה?  The answer is that this is the סדר עבודה. We first go to the bed at night and wake up with שמע and a Mesiras Nefesh to Hashem. But afterwards a person must implement that into his everyday life – בשבתך בביתך ובלכתך דידך.

[12]  We find very often by people who have tremendous התעוררות in a certain areas of life (specifically by Baalei Teshuva) that we find them doing certain things against Halacha. But many Rabbanim and experts in Kiruv respond and say "Let them and leave them alone for now." The reasoning behind this is because at this point in their lives they're experiencing tremendous השתוקקות, and that's extremely important for them at the moment. Even if they're just taking a small heiliga thing and making a big deal about it, sometimes even against Halacha, but let them. They need their השתוקקות now, because they're coming from their מ"ט שערי טומאה and their own Mitzrayim, and for them to be able to climb out of it the השתוקקות is a necessity. Afterwards, when they start settling down then you can start teaching them Halachos. Only once they've achieved their השתוקקות then you can bring them down. Everybody needs השתוקקות first in order to have שוב afterwards.

[13]  In previous times people were on the מדריגה where even the נגלה התורה brought them to השתוקקות. People used to cry out of השתוקקות while learning קצות החושן. Unlike nowadays where most people need the נסתר and the פנימיות התורה to bring  us to that השתוקקות to be able to bring it down into our everyday life's and into our נגלה התורה.

[14] Some explain because regarding Torah Chazal say הסתכל באורייתא וברא עלמא. But this is difficult to understand because why do Chazal specifically דיינים, it should be anybody learning Torah became a partner?

[15]  מידת הרחמים is a מידה of השתוקקות, because it's a מידה of כתר coming from למעלה מן הבריאה.

[16]  The Gemara speaks about a certain סגולה which they used to have where they tied a certain lace in order for the son not to have השתוקקות to his father.

[17]  This really is the most important way to learn Torah, with השתוקקות. That is why we say in Shemoneh Esrei "השבינו אבינו לתורתך". We ask Hashem, our Father, to allow us to learn Torah as a בן with השתוקקות.

[18]  For example, if a servant serves the Kings tea wrong he can be חייב מיתה.

[19]  This is why during Shemoneh Esrei on Shabbos we don't ask for חיי שעה. Even though מעיקר הדין the 18 ברכות of Shemoneh Esrei applied to Shabbos as well. (for example if one by accident started the Brocha of אתה חונן on Shabbos he should complete the whole Brocha), but Chazal took it away and instituted only 7 Brachos. The simple reason  for this is because Chazal didn't want it be a טירחה for a person to daven so long and not have enough time for a Seudah. However, a deeper understanding of this is like we explained above. The main Avodah of Shabbos is not to worry about חיי שעה because that's mainly an Avodah for during the week. Shabbos though is a day of כולו השתוקקות.

[20]   We would be like an עבד back in Mitzrayim. Mitzrayim was like an עבד without Shabbos, without השתוקקות.

"לא שמעו אל משה מקוצר רוח" – They were so weak and into the Gashmiyus in Mitzrayim, and sunk.

[21] R' Tzadok Hakohenזצ"ל writes (in רסיסי לילה) that the gemora says אלו דברים שעומדים ברומו של עולם: כלום זולת לפני אדם, ובני אדם מזלזלין בהם and this tefilla, because Tefilla is חיי שעה. R' Tzadok explains that why is Tefilla, חיי שעה, something is which ברומו של עולם. Tefilla is חיי שעה and it's not like Torah which is חיי עולם? So says R' Tzadok that if someone thinks that there's only Torah and there's no בכל דרכיך דעהו and there's no בין אדם לחבירו, so then he's מזלזל. The בחינה of חיי שעה of tefilla is that we daven to Hashem that we should bring the השתוקקות of torah down into this world, that we should be able to be a proper עבד to הקב"ה. If a person thinks that all he lost is Torah and Lumdos, but when it comes to one step out of the Beis Medrash and to בין אדם לחבירו, or to Middos, or to other things which בני אדם מזלזלין בהם and he's מזלזל in them – so כרום זולת לבני אדם, he cheapens his whole Torah and whole Avodas Hashem. The whole השתוקקות of Torah is only for us to come down and become a better person, working on ourselves and on our Middos and or even the little things.

[22]  We do find certain נשמות like Rabbi Akiva and Moshe Rabbenu who only live in the השתוקקות. Since Torah mainly represent השתוקקות, so we find Moshe was פורש מאשתו, and we don't find that Moshe eats in the Torah. (like the Rupshitzer Rav once said that it says in Parshas Yisro "ויבא אהרן וכל זקני ישראל לאכול לחם", and it doesn't mention Moshe). This is because Moshe and Rebbi Akiva had a Torah Dika נשמה, which is a השתוקקות – dicka נשמה. אהרן ate because his avodah was to bring it down into the כלים.

[23] We can see this Avodah by big Tzadikim where we see that everything they do is done which great excitement and השתוקקות, even the most slightest Mitzvah. By them there's never a mitzvah which is less important or an act done with less השתוקקות. So by doing everything equally that brings down all the high מדריגות and השתוקקות into כלים, causing them to have a קיום.

[24] Really one needs to prepare the wick before the fire. R' Tzadok writes that Sefer Bereishis is דרך ארץ קדמה לתורה. Meaning to say that Torah is e/c, and if we don't make the wick and the כלים first then it won't last. Like the gemara in Shabbos says that if one lights just a spark of fire on Shabbos he's not חייב because it's "אין בו ממש", it isn't held down by anything. So too the Avos in Sefer Bereishis made the כלים for the Torah. That is why it says וישמע משמרתי מצוותי חוקותי בתורתו – that Avraham Avinu kept all תרי"ג מצוות and he was a בחינה of הליכות עולם לו and there was nothing which was too small for him. When an arab used to come into his house he made him make a ברכה ראשונה and a ברכה אחרונה. Avraham Avinu by doing this, by being involved in even the "small things" was paving the way and making the כלים in order to accept the Torah, fulfilling דרך ארץ קדמה לתורה. This is Sefer Bereishis. When Sefer Shemos begins, all we had was דרך ארץ and we didn't have the Torah yet. So we got stuck in the דרך ארץ and in the טבע until Hashem pulled us out. And lead us through Parshios of Bo, Beshalach, and Yisro with a lot of השתוקקות, and only after that we were ready to go back into דרך ארץ with Parshas Mispatim.