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May 2009 • Sivan 5759 Volume 22, No. 2, #154
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K'Ish Echod B'Lev Echod

By Dov Shurin

This is what we are supposed to become for the highest level of ‘Kabolas HaTorah,’ which happens anew every Yom Tov Shavuos.

But it only happened once in history - on Rosh Chodesh Sivan, after we left Egypt. When the Torah reports: “And Israel encamped there, facing the mountain.” And it’s written in the singular, to which Rashi explains: The Jews, during the counting of the Omer with true teshuva, reached the highest level of “like one man with one heart!”

The following cute story will show you where a lot of us are holding in our mundane level:

This frum Yid gets shipwrecked and is stuck on a deserted island for half a year. When he is finally saved and has returned home, he tells his friend, “You know, I was all alone on an island for 6 months and I build two little shuls!”

His friend asked him, “But you said you were all alone! Why two shuls?”

He quickly snapped back, “One shul was where I davened and the other was the shul that I would NEVER step foot into!”

I was in Meron for Lag B’Omer, with another million people. For me it was my 23rd Lag B’Omer in Meron! But this year I had a new consciousness.
All the other times, I felt a taste of all the holidays of the whole year combined into that one day as I sipped banana liquor at the many hair cutting ceremonies, at the burial site of Reb Shimon Bar Yochai. This time it was entirely different for me. I became conscious that from Pesach Sheni till Shavuos, we are all working our way towards the level of ‘like one man with one heart.’

It’s interesting that in the portion of Pesach Sheni, the word ‘ish’ (man) is used twice. One of the words is mamesh extra. I was thinking that this shows that from Pesach Sheni until Shavuos we start working on becoming ONE MAN, all of us. The day before Lag B’Omer is 32 (which spells ‘heart’ - Lamed and Bais, so it’s; ‘Heart B’Omer.’ So we have the ‘Ish’ on Pesach Sheni (the yortziet of Rabbi Meir Baal Hanes) and the ‘heart’ one day before Lag (The yortziet of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai). Each of these tzadikim was one of the 5 students with whom Rabbi Akiva began all over again, after his 24,000 students died, because they didn’t honor each other.

So on Lag B’Omer in Meron, ALL the different factions of Jews come together, eat together, partake of the great chesed; FREE food and drink - to fix the level of ‘love your neighbor like yourself,’ which Rabbi Akiva stressed is what the Torah is all about. That’s why the day is 33 in the omer: 3 is me, my neighbor, and Hashem.

The day is the Kabbalistic sphere of Hod: the Hod that’s in Hod (the inner beauty of the inner beauty). Love your neighbor like yourself and Hashem joins you as a trio, 33, the level of three that is Jew, fellow Jew, and Hashem: a threesome!

But the level of ‘Like ONE man with ONE heart,’ is even higher than this; it’s when the three become ONE with G-d! And we have ‘Tov’(gematria 17) days to reach the even greater level of one man with one heart. No Misnagdim, no Chasidim; we are all united in the, ‘like one man with one heart!’
The great Tzadik, Reb Yisroel Salanter once quipped, “The Litvak (misnagid) says he doesn’t need a Rebbe (he does his own learning) and the Chosid fails too, by saying, ‘I have a Rebbe’ (and he does my learning and G-d serving, for me).”

So let us truly strive to reach this higher level of nullifying all the stigmas like Sephardi, Ashkenazi, Misnagid, Chasid, etc., and let us watch that we are not brought down by the ‘ayin horah’ the evil eye. and I’ll end by explaining the popular five-fingered hand, which is called ‘Chamsa’ (5 in Aramaic) and is a very popular segula among Sephardim. I’ll make it relevant to what I realized as I communicated with Rabbi Shimon, as I celebrated Lag in Meron.

The five-fingered hand is symbolic of the five dimensions of every Jew’s soul. Now look at all these ‘fives’ from Pesach Sheni till Lag B’Omer:
The word ‘Ish’ in gematria kitana (when we drop the zeros) is ‘5,’ the word lev (heart) when you drop the zero is ‘5.’ There are five days from Pesach Sheni till Lag B’Omer. And Lag B’Omer is the ‘5th’ day of the ‘5th’ week. And the ‘Hod that’s in Hod’ (The kabalistic sphere of Lag B’Omer, is the fifth sphere of the seven that we count!

Also, there were ‘5’ new students of Reb Akiva, after the great tragedy that befell his prior students.

So let’s slap each other ‘5’ as people say to each other when hearing something good! And in these 17 days (gematriah ‘good’) let’s do something good for Hashem who is named the ‘Good ONE.’

As we say three times a day, “Ha”tov (The Hey is also 5), that’s how many days from Pesach Sheni till Shivuos: 22=Hatov. And may we all become ‘k’ish echod b’lev echod,’ when we receive the ‘5’ books of the Torah on Shavuos.

Good Yom Tov

dovshurin@yahoo.com

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