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Hayom Yom: Tackling Life's Tasks - 4 Elul

Hayom Yom: Tackling Life's Tasks - 4 Elul

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סֵדֶר בִּרְכוֹת הַתּוֹרָה: נוֹגֵעַ בְּטַלִּיתוֹ בִּתְחִלַּת הַקְּרִיאָה וּבְסוֹפָהּ נוֹשֵׁק הַטַּלִּית בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁנָּגַע בַּסֵּפֶר תּוֹרָה, גוֹלֵל הַסֵּפֶר תּוֹרָה, מַפְנֶה פָּנָיו, קְצַת, לְיָמִין וּמְבָרֵךְ. פּוֹתֵחַ הַסֵּפֶר תּוֹרָה וְקוֹרֵא.

The manner in which the blessings before the public Torah Reading are recited is as follows: [After the Torah scroll has been rolled open, the congregant called to the reading] should touch the beginning and end of the passage [that is about to be read for him]1 with his tallis and then kiss the part of the tallis that touched the scroll. After rolling it closed, he turns slightly to the right and recites the blessing, then opens the scroll, and [it is read].2

בְּמַעֲלַת מִין הָאֱנוֹשִׁי, יֶשְׁנָם אַרְבָּעָה תוֹאֲרִים: אָדָם — מַעֲלַת הַמּוֹחִין וְהַשֵּׂכֶל, אִישׁ — מַעֲלַת הַלֵּב וְהַמִּדּוֹת, אֱנוֹשׁ — הַחֲלִישׁוּת בְּאֶחָד מֵהֶם בְּשֵׂכֶל אוֹ בְּמִדּוֹת, אוֹ בִּשְׁתֵּיהֶם, גֶּבֶר — מִתְגַּבֵּר עַל עַצְמוֹ לְהָסִיר הַמְּנִיעוֹת וְעִכּוּבִים לְהָשִׂיג אַחַת הַמַּעֲלוֹת אוֹ בְּשֵׂכֶל אוֹ בְּמִדּוֹת, הַיְנוּ דְּגֶּבֶר עוֹסֵק עִם הָאֱנוֹשׁ לְהַגְבִּיהוֹ לְמַעֲלַת אִישׁ אוֹ אָדָם.

וּמֵאַחַר דְּאֶפְשָׁר לַעֲשׂוֹת מֵאֱנוֹשׁ אִישׁ אוֹ אָדָם, הֲרֵי בְּהֶכְרֵחַ דְּגַם בֶּאֱנוֹשׁ יֶשְׁנָם כָּל אוֹתָם הַמַּעֲלוֹת שֶׁיֶּשְׁנָם בְּאִישׁ וְגַם בָּאָדָם.

Four terms are used to describe the uniqueness of humanity: adam reflects the quality of intellect that is lodged in the brain; ish refers to the quality of emotion that is lodged in the heart; enosh indicatesweakness in either or both the intellectual and emotional abilities; and gever denotes a person who overcomes his own limitations, removing the blocks and obstacles that would hinder his attainment of the positive quality of intellect or of emotion. That is to say, the gever works with the enosh [within himself] to elevate him to the level of ish or of adam.

Hence, since an enosh can be made into an ish or an adam, we must say that an enosh has [in potential] all the positive qualities that both an ish and an adam possess.3

To Fill In the Background

On the one hand, this teaching highlights the potential that everyone, even an enosh, possesses. But what really stands out is the work of the gever. After all, the superior qualities of the ish and the adam — and for that matter, the potential latent within the enosh — are not man’s contribution. They are granted from Above. The advancement achieved by the gever and the struggle against his nature that enables him to take such steps depend on his initiative alone.

*

The Rebbe Rayatz once related that the maamarim delivered in association with a bar-mitzvah by the Rebbeim, his predecessors, would traditionally begin with the phrase, Naaseh adam (“Let us make man”).4 Implied is that a bar-mitzvah boy must know that he is obligated to attain the distinction of adam, which is the most elevated of the four names for man.5 This objective, concludes the Rebbe Rayatz, must be tackled immediately, rather than left for a later date, and a person who applies himself to it is helped from Above to become an adam.6

Footnotes
1.
According to the Rebbe’s custom in the later years, one touches (with the tallis) the beginning and end — and again the beginning — of the passage that is about to be read. See Reshimas HaYoman, p. 164.
2.
See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim, sec. 139:4 and commentaries there.

The original text above is worded as if the congregant read from the Torah personally. This wording reflects the practice in earlier eras, when each person honored with an aliyah to the Torah would read his passage from the scroll himself — which is still the case today in many Yemenite and some Sephardic congregations. According to the prevalent Ashkenazic custom, the passages are read for everyone by a designated reader, popularly known as a baal koreh (or, more grammatically, baal keriah). The congregant honored with the aliyah should read along with him in an undertone. (See the Shulchan Aruch, op. cit., sec. 141:2.)
3.
See Kuntreis Toras HaChassidus, pp. 9-10.
4.
Bereishis 1:20. See: Sefer HaMaamarim 5640 [1880], Vol. 1, p. 89; Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 15, p. 289ff.
5.
See the above teaching, and sec. 2 of the maamar entitled VaYavo Amalek 5709 [1949], in Sefer HaMaamarim 5709 (1949), p. 34.
6.
See Sefer HaToldos — Admur Maharash, p. 64. In that source, the Rebbe quotes from the Rebbe Rayatz regarding the preparations his father, the Rebbe Rashab, made for his own bar-mitzvah. When he was twelve-and-a-half, his father, the Rebbe Maharash, conveyed a teaching at yechidus that motivated him to train his body to follow the Shulchan Aruch as a reflex action. (See the entry for 20 Shvat.) In this manner, he became an ish. At his bar-mitzvah, the Rebbe Maharash gave him his blessing that he should become an adam.
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