Shabbat Parashat Bo | 5769
Finding a Good Wife
(based on Berachot 1:93)
Gemara: “For this every pious man should pray to You for the time of finding” (Tehillim 32:6). Rav Chanina says that “the time of finding” refers to a wife, as the pasuk says, “One who found a wife found goodness” (Mishlei 18:22).
Ein Ayah: “The time of finding” refers to a certain time that has implications for the success of his entire life. The only thing that fits this description is a wife. As Chazal said: “If Hashem reserves for him a pretty/good wife, his life is double” (Yevamot 63b). Then he will be able to spend his life focused on reaching true shleimut (completeness). The opposite is also true. If one has a bad wife, all of his days are polluted by a tormented mental state, and he has to deal with the lowliness of bad attributes, as Ben Sira said: “A bad wife is leprosy for her husband.”
The Reason to Eat on Yom Kippur Eve
(based on Berachot 1:103)
Gemara: “You shall afflict yourself on the ninth day of the month in the evening” (Vayikra 23:32). Do we fast on the ninth? Don’t we fast on the tenth? Rather, whoever eats and drinks on the ninth is considered by the Torah as if he fasted on the ninth and the tenth.
Ein Ayah: There are two elements to the content of teshuva (repentance). One is to reclaim the lost positive emotions whose boundaries were ruptured. In regard to this element, staying away from physical pleasures and the normal flow of life is effective. This facilitates his contemplation on the ways of ethics and the work of disciplining himself with the love and fear of Hashem.
The second is the matter of forming, by actual practice, good habits of following a proper path and not allowing his desires to take him on a path that diverges from the path of Hashem. This form of repentance specifically is accomplished when one is occupied in the physical world and his own desires but does so in appropriate measure. In such a case, he distances himself from the path of introspection and a life of seclusion and still he does not leave behind his complete success in staying away from anything that is against the Torah. This second element of repentance is the way to complete the repentance of contemplation and elevate its level.
This is why Yom Kippur eve is designed and fit for repentance. By this, we mean that the time is appropriate for the type of repentance that is based on actual, positive habit forming. This is similar to what the Rabbis said (in Yoma 86b) about one who demonstrates having repented by succeeding in avoiding sin after being placed in the same situation in which he failed previously. Therefore, the repentance process of Yom Kippur is actually completed specifically through eating and drinking and involvement in physicality while still doing everything according to the Torah and its commandments. That is why whoever eats and drinks on the ninth is considered by the Torah as if he fasted the ninth and the tenth. In this way, after all, he elevates even his repentance of the tenth, for had it remained just a repentance of contemplation, it would not reach its goal, which requires him to attach it to action.
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This edition of Hemdat Yamim is dedicated to the memory of Shirley, Sara Rivka bat Yaakov Tzvi HaCohen z”L
R ' Meir ben Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld
Hemdat Yamim is endowed by
and Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l.