The Cloud of Torah and Geulah (Redemption)

The following Dvar Torah is from the current Rosh Yeshivah of Kerem B’Yavneh, Rav Motti Greenberg. Back in the day’s when I was at KBY, Rav Motti was a Ram and senior member of the Kollel. I remember that he never sat up top near my Rosh Yeshivah Rav Goldvicht ז’ל because Rav Goldvicht insisted that those who sat on the מזרח wall near him, had to wear the clothing of a Talmid Chacham (which included a hat). Rav Motti felt that either a hat had passed its used-by-date as a Levush (piece of clothing) or that he wasn’t sufficiently a Talmid Chacham. The rumour was that the former was the main reason. I recall that in those days he wore a suit on Shabbos but always had an open neck (without a tie) and the collar was folded out over the outside of his suit lapel. When I met him a few years ago after many years, that’s exactly how he remained. Rav Motti was and remains infused with the Torah of Rav Kook ז’ל. Rav Goldvicht was a different type of man, having come through Etz Chaim, R’ Isser Zalman Meltzer ז’ל (who was his Mesader Kiddushin) R’ Aryeh Levin ז’ל and the Chazon Ish. Rav Goldvicht was rumoured to be a Boyaner Chassid, and whereas Rav Motti is always quoting Rav Kook, Rav Goldvicht was always quoting the Sfas Emes and Rav Tzadok HaCohen ז’ל. Anyway, enough of my reminiscing (great song by LRB, by the way, for those who know …)

Rav Yaakov Moshe Charlap ז’ל

One source used by Rav Motti is the Sefer מעיני הישועה by the famous, R’ Ya’akov Moshe Charlap ז’ל, who was a famous Talmid/Chasid of Rav Kook. Charlap is a actually an abbreviation in Hebrew of חייא ראש לגולי פולין in memory of Rav Chiya from Poland, who was the head of the Polish and Portugese Communities in exile. Rav Charlap’s grandson is Rav Zevulun Charlap, who is one of the current Roshei Yeshivah at YU, and who occasionally mentioned trips to Israel when he was a boy to visit his Zeyda.

Anyway, the Dvar Torah is beautiful and I hope you enjoy it.

לזכר נשמת אבי מורי הריני כפרת משכבו ר’ שאול זעליג בן ר’ יהודה הכהן בלבין

The title “the cloud of torah and redemption” was the name of an article that Rav Avraham Yitzchak Kook published a year before he passed away. He based his essay on the verse (Shmos 19:9) in this week’s Torah portion of Yisro

And Hashem said to Moses, “Behold, I am coming to you in the thickness of the cloud, in order that the people hear when I speak to you, and they will also believe in you forever.” And Moses relayed the words of the people to Hashem. ט. וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל משֶׁה הִנֵּה אָנֹכִי בָּא אֵלֶיךָ בְּעַב הֶעָנָן בַּעֲבוּר יִשְׁמַע הָעָם בְּדַבְּרִי עִמָּךְ וְגַם בְּךָ יַאֲמִינוּ לְעוֹלָם וַיַּגֵּד משֶׁה אֶת דִּבְרֵי הָעָם אֶל יְהוָֹה

The Rambam feels that the momentous events at Sinai and not the grandiose miracles that took place are the foundation of our faith (Hilchot Yesodai HaTorah 8). One question that we can ask is why it was necessary for this glorious revelation to appear in a cloud, from within a fog, and not as a clear vision.

Rav Kook’s answer is that Divine light is different from the physical light with which we are familiar. When we want physical light to do something we increase its intensity. The brighter the light the less darkness remains. But this is not true for Divine light. It is so powerful that the only way it can be seen is for its intensity to be decreased. Only then can the human eye perceive it.

“The weak eye of a human being and his limited and shaky intellect is not capable of looking at the awesome shine of the Divine light. Therefore humanity in its confusion flees from G-d, as a bat flees from the sun… The only way for the Divine light to become visible is for it to be diminished in a known way. Covering the light, decreasing it, and hiding it – t hese are the ways to reveal it.”

And just as the Divine revelation at the time of the giving of the Torah was through a thick cloud, so is the revelation of Hashem through history.

One of the phenomena through which the Divine light appears is linked to the light of the Mashiach. This light will be revealed to the world through darkness and from hiding. The first spark of Mashiach appeared in Sedom.

“‘I found my servant David’ [Tehilim 89:21]. מָצָאתִי דָּוִד עַבְדִּי בְּשֶׁמֶן קָדְשִׁי 

Where did I find him? In Sedom.” [Bereishis Rabba Lech Lecha]. As is written [Bereishis 19:15],

“your two daughters who are here” . וְאֶת שְׁתֵּי בְנֹתֶיךָ הַנִּמְצָאֹת

Mashiach begins to take shape in the darkness of Sedom, through an act of illicit sex. David says [Tehilim 69:9],

“I was a stranger to my brothers”, מוּזָר הָיִיתִי לְאֶחָי 

created in an illegitimate act! This process continues with the events of Yehuda and Tamar, in the immodest meeting between Boaz and Ruth, and in the story of David and Batsheva.

This same effect was seen in the building of the Second Temple, which was founded with the help of Koresh, who also had a hidden spark of the Mashiach [Yeshayahu 45:1,4]

“This is what G-d says to his Mashiach Koresh… I will call out to you by name, I give you a nickname but you do not know Me.”

כֹּה אָמַר יְהֹוָה לִמְשִׁיחוֹ לְכוֹרֶשׁ…  וָאֶקְרָא לְךָ בִּשְׁמֶךָ אֲכַנְּךָ וְלֹא יְדַעְתָּנִי

Rav Kook notes that the same principle applies in modern times, when the leaders of the movement include “some people who do not know their worth with respect to the role within the exalted guided process. They have been called out by name, but they do not know who is calling them.”

“Just as the light of Mashiach appears in ugly envelopes, now that the footsteps of Mashiach are beginning to appear it is necessary for the same thing to happen… People like this have been chosen for the process, and everything is part of the wonders of the One who is Perfectly Wise.” [Eim Habanim Semeicha, from Rav Teichtal]. As it says in Yeshayahu 51:16

And I placed My words into your mouth, and with the shadow of My hand I covered you, to plant the heavens and to found the earth and to say to Zion [that] you are My people.

טז. וָאָשִׂים דְּבָרַי בְּפִיךָ וּבְצֵל יָדִי כִּסִּיתִיךָ לִנְטֹעַ שָׁמַיִם וְלִיסֹד אָרֶץ וְלֵאמֹר לְצִיּוֹן עַמִּי אָתָּה

Rav Charlap in Mayanei Hayeshua, page 103: “Because of the awesome power of its bright light, it states in Shir Hashirim 2:6

His left hand was under my head, and his right hand would embrace me. שְׂמֹאלוֹ תַּחַת לְרֹאשִׁי וִימִינוֹ תְּחַבְּקֵנִי

 and this is the shadow, as it states in Yeshayahu 51:16

And I placed My words into your mouth, and with the shadow of My hand I covered you, to plant the heavens and to found the earth and to say to Zion [that] you are My people.

טז. וָאָשִׂים דְּבָרַי בְּפִיךָ וּבְצֵל יָדִי כִּסִּיתִיךָ לִנְטֹעַ שָׁמַיִם וְלִיסֹד אָרֶץ וְלֵאמֹר לְצִיּוֹן עַמִּי אָתָּה

Author: pitputim

I've enjoyed being a computer science professor in Melbourne, Australia, as well as band leader/singer for the Schnapps Band. My high schooling was in Chabad and I continued at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh in Israel and later in life at Machon L'Hora'ah, Yeshivas Halichos Olam.

2 thoughts on “The Cloud of Torah and Geulah (Redemption)”

    1. Yes indeed. I saw the Video. There was also a Lubavitcher Talmid learning at KBY who wanted to go to 770 for Tishrei and asked the Rosh Yeshivah. Rav Goldvicht said it was fine with him as long as the LR gave permission. The Talmid never asked in the end.


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