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The Story Behind a Curse

Embracing Your Unique Place in the World

1 hr 3 min

Class Summary:

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


    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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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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