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The Story Behind a Curse

Embracing Your Unique Place in the World

1 hr 3 min

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The Story Behind a Curse: Embracing Your Unique Place in the World

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  • Anonymous -1 year ago

     Dear Rabbi Jacobson,

    First I would like to thank you for the beautiful shiurim. When I say Birkat "Vehaarev Na" in the morning I think specifically of your shiurim.
    I was listening to your Shiur on "Emor" "The Story Behind a Curse" and you explain the concept of "Vayikov", piercing the veil, breaking down barriers and differences, unifying people, concepts, ideas that are designed to be separate, etc.

    I was wondering if you thought that this could also be explained in the context of "Bilam" and later on with "Kosbi Bat Zur".

    Briefly, Balak was looking to curse Bnei Yisrael using the term "אאור" whereas Bilam suggest "אקוב" coincidently (?!) the same verb as our Mekalel. G-d puts words in Bilam mouth such as "הן עם לבדד ישכון" and "מה טובו אוהליך יעקב", emphasizing the separation and individuality of Am Yisrael. Bilam is unsuccessful with the cursing (bringing down the barriers) so he suggests the Znut of Midyan (בעצת בלעם).

    And now the punch line - what does Pinchas do וַ֠יָּבֹ֠א אַחַ֨ר אִֽישׁ־יִשְׂרָאֵ֜ל אֶל־הַקֻּבָּ֗ה וַיִּדְקֹר֙ אֶת־שְׁנֵיהֶ֔ם אֵ֚ת אִ֣ישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וְאֶת־הָאִשָּׁ֖ה אֶל־קֳבָתָ֑הּ וַתֵּֽעָצַר֙ הַמַּגֵּפָ֔ה מֵעַ֖ל בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

    Very odd pasuk. The Torah is forcing certain synonyms using the Shoresh קֻּבָּ֗ה. Once in the context of tent (rashi) and once in the context of stomach. The torah may be eluding to the fact that this whole episode of Zimri and Kosbi was specifically about piercing the veil. About bringing Bnei Yisrael closer to Midyan. Pinchas recognizing this specifically went אֶל־הַקֻּבָּ֗ה and attacked קֳבָתָ֑הּ - the attempt to break the barriers.

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  • A

    Avraham -4 years ago

    Havdalah

    The three things he rejected are the three other things we mention in Havdalah. Light and dark, Shabbos and weekday, Jews and non Jews.

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  • JD

    Jacqueline Dunlap -10 years ago

    Dan tribe
    I have been investigating the tribe of Dan and why  they were cursed. Maybe God cursed them because they wouldn't let him join the tribe.

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  • Q

    Question -11 years ago

    Ish Mitzri
    Rabbi Jacobson, you said the reason the son of Shlomis could not accept structure and didn't have "bittul" humility because he was son of a Ish Mitzri - I find that a bit hard to understand why should that prevent him from being a G-d fearing Jew and accept structure etc. What about al the Gerei Tzedek throughout history who were our masters and teachers like Shmaya and Avtalyon, they had both a goyishe mother and father and converted and DID accept structure, they did have bittul?

    Maybe the answer is that a full fledged Jew from birth to both a Jewish mother and father is born with bittul, it's organic, he just has to work with himself later on to reveal it. But for a convert, although, bitul might become organic upon his conversion it's still harder for him to reveal it because he comes from the levushim of a goy or in this case a goyishe father.

    So for Shmaya V'avtalyon in the beginning after their conversion it was harder for them to be botel than a regular Jew from birth, but they worked twice as hard and attained it. Unlike the son of Shlomis, he didn't want to work with himself like other Gerie Tzedek so he was stuck with his father's levushim.

    This is what I think - what do you think?

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  • A

    aryeh -13 years ago

    comment on story
    the story with reb zusha and reb elimelech also teaches us that many times when a person shows his humility in serving G-d by not doing, does he then eventually grant the merit of doing, hence the end of the story when the bucket gets removed reb zusha says to his brother "you can now start praying".

    thank you for an amazing shiur!

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  • A

    Anonymous -13 years ago

    Question
    Son of Shlomis wanted to put his tent in the place of his mother's tribe? And what else could he do? There were some another place for people like him?

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    • A

      Anonymous -13 years ago

      Answer to Akiva
      The son of Shlomis would have been given a place to dwell and live; just as any other convert to Judaism would be given a place. Just as the "eirev rav" received their place.

      What he wanted was a "plot" in the section of the tribe of Dan; he wanted to dwell in the section designated to Dan. This they refused to give him since his father was not from Dan.

      By the way, the same issue would take place also in Eretz Israel. The tribes received their part in the land. But what about converts? The Jewish people desginated special cities for living locations for the Kohanim, Leveyim, and the Gerim, the converts who were not part of any tribe.

      So the question was not if this man would have a place to live, but if he was to be seen as a member of the tribe of Dan.

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  • T

    Tamar -14 years ago

    a tall order
    an inspiring article, but frightening at the same time. Realizing that the right thing to do, in Hashem's eyes, sometimes is the thing that we least want to do, or fear doing. It is a tall order, to be a Jew.

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  • Y

    Yonatan -14 years ago

    To Lawrence
    Lawrence, I understand how you feel. Keeping the status quo, however, isn't going to make things better, it's going to make them worse. Of course, you have heard the saying "its always darkest before the dawn". Dawn is rapidly approaching. Every single act counts. Every single act, as small and as insignificant as it may seem to you now, can change the world.

    You can never stand still, you are either rising or falling or in a very small state of changing from one to the other, making it seem like you are stationary.

    Re-read the article again and take it upon yourself to add a single Mitzvah and connect to Hashem through that Mitzvah. Be serious about it and it will not only change your life, it will change the world.

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  • L

    lawrence -14 years ago

    enough
    ENOUGH ABOUT CHANGING THE WORLD ALREADY. HOW ABOUT SOMETHING ON KEEPING THE WORLD AS IT IS WITHOUT FURTHER DETERIORATION

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  • A

    Avraham -14 years ago

    Fantastic
    All I can say is such a fantastic article.

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  • KK

    Kayo Kaneko -14 years ago

    Education makes Techeiles
    Baruch HaShem,

    I wanted to do something for HaShem. So I studied Torah through the Rebbe by watching your Farbrengen 2090 for Gimel Tammuz and read this article. As you stated in the Farbrengen, education changes the attitude and the deeds of the person. I will try to implement your teachings to my day-to-day real life.
    Todah.
    Shalom

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  • C

    chaya -14 years ago

    ver nice
    Such a smart and inspiring article.
    Thank you so much,
    really enjoy all of them every week!!

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  • A

    Admin -14 years ago

    Download problem
    We have checked the issue and have found no problem with the mp3 download. It may be your computer. Should you continue to have this issue feel free to contact us: 347.625.1700 or email [email protected]

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  • S

    Suri -14 years ago

    The lesson I took from this is about accepting Hashem's Will. I've heard women complaining about not being able to daven with the men in shul. They're upset about having to stay behind the mechitza. They want to be called up to the Torah. It's always these same women that are lax in their observance of the Mitzvohs that Hashem does command them to do. This proves that they're not sincere in seeking a connection with Hashem. They just like to do whatever makes them feel good.

    It requires true humility to say Sheasani Kirtzono and mean it.

    Thank you for teaching me a very profound lesson. I will work on taking this home with me.

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  • P

    profound -14 years ago

    ending not in the downloads
    thank you very much for the wonderful talk. this is the second time for me that the mp3 download does not download the whole talk so i miss the ending. can this please be looked into. thanks!

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  • N

    Nechamasara -14 years ago

    Thank you Joe.
    I hear the other explanations, but with reservation. I have come across discrimination within the religious community based on so-called halacha and chumros. It is disturbing to see. I guess I am sensitive to this neshoma's distress. It still doesn't answer the question of, since he was living with his mother, and she was married to a member of the tribe of Dan, wasn't their tent already in that area? Was her son trying to pitch a different tent? For a possible marriage? OR was his mother removed from the area of Dan? No one answered that question.

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  • TY

    thank you -14 years ago

    beautiful lecture especially relevant to today world of activism and the fallacy of gay marriage

    thank you rabbi

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  • J

    Joe -14 years ago

    To Nechamah Sara
    Rashi says that this boy converted to Judaism. the Ramban writes he did not have to because his mother was Jewish. many explain that Rashi means that he converted to a Jewish life, as in Egypt he may have been raised as an Egyptian.

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  • YJ

    YY Jacobson -14 years ago

    In Response to Some Questions
    In response to some questions:



    1. It seems to me that according to the Zohar (quoted in the source sheet), Shlomes bas Divri willingly submitted her body to the Egyptian man, who impregnated her (unlike Rashi in Shemos who says she thought he was her husband).



    2. Their child was trying to defend his mother, so he came up with a philosophy that there is no difference between Jew and non Jew, between Shabbos and the weekdays, between one tent or another tent, between Beis Hamikdash and other locations (the tents were designed based on proximity to the Mishkan.) in the words of the Mei Hasheluach, this son claimed that “G-d can help every person, at every time and in every place.” There are no needs for any structures or conduits.



    What he was cursing, then, were the "structures" G-d set up in the world. As the Zohar says, he cursed the last "hay" of the name, which represents Malchus, action, the energy which creates the structure of the universes. This son perhaps loved G-d's undefined unity, but he could not make peace with G-d's "structures," and that is what he cursed, in order to protect his mother.



    3. His punishment demonstrated that by denying these structures you ultimately become a heart of stone, you lose your lifeline of inspiration and spiritual vitality. You can't access the G-d of complete oneness without the vehicles He communicated to us. To play the violin and create the beautiful music, you have to follow the "rules" of how to play a violin and the strings must be tied down. To write a beautiful article which will uplift the reader, you still need to follow the structures of grammar and laws of spelling, etc.

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  • C

    CARMELA -14 years ago

    JEWISH BUT REJECTED
    B''H
    IN RESPONSE TO NECHAMASARA:
    FROM THE RABBI'S EXPLANATION I DIDN'T GET THAT HE WAS EXPELLED FROM JUDAISM,NOT THEN
    NEITHER NOW!!!
    HE WASN'T DENIED HIS JUDAISM PRACTICES, AND WAS NOT A LOST SOUL!!! HE WAS CONSIDERED A JEW BUT
    WAS DENIED LIVING WITHIN THE TERRITORY OF HIS MOTHERS TRIBE-DAN,SINCE A MALE WAS DESTINED TO HIS FATHERS TRIBE AND DAUGHTERS TO THEIR HUSBANDS,BECAUSE OF LAND HERITAGE ISSUES...
    NOW A DAYS THERE ARE RELIGIOUS JEWS WHO WILL NOT ALLOW THEIR SON OR DAUGHTER TO MARRY A SECULAR JEW WHO IS ''HOZER BITSHUVA'' OR WHO WAS BORN TO PARENTS ''HOZRIM BITSHUVA''....

    AS ALWAYAS,STANDINOVATION TO THE RABBI

    CARMELA,ISRAEL

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  • Y

    yisroel -14 years ago

    @ Nechamasara
    I think the Rabbi came through very well.
    The ben mitzri was accepted as a totally regular jew like a anyone else, but the fact that his father was not Jewish served him certain restrictions (ones that are not necessarily applicable today e.g. tent placement). Yet he was not able to accept this reality and wanted to have it ALL. He was accepted then and he is accepted today, but he could not except himself.

    Rabbi Jacobson very deep concept, rejection is also a conection, possibly even deeper than acceptance.
    Thank you.

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  • N

    nechamasara -14 years ago

    dichotomy
    I'm reacting to the storyline. Where was Shlomis' husband? Who raised the boy? Didn't they try to raise him Jewishly? Was he shunned by the other tribes? It seems Shlomis was ousted to another place, and living w/o her husband. How did the son know 'the name"? I feel pity for him - but why? Could he have behaved differently? The world is full of such boys, unfortunately.

    Excellent shiur ... exactly what is missing in Klal Yisrael ... it hurts to witness this (lack of shalem). [fire&water=hail]

    Isn't today's accepted practice to allow him a place in Judaism; that he is considered a Jew in Halacha; doesn't Chabad accept these 'lost souls' and weave them back into Yiddishkeit?

    Why 'no' then, but 'yes' now? Or is it still "NO" in spiritual reality?

    The last few minutes didn't come thru.(ergh!)

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  • J

    joe -14 years ago

    wow
    as always, beautiful

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Rabbi YY Jacobson

  • April 26, 2010
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  • 12 Iyyar 5770
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Dedicated by David and Eda Schottenstein- in the loving memory of Alta Shula Swerdlov, Rabbi Gavriel Noach and Rivki Holtzberg and all of the Mumbai Kedoshim

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