Dovid Hamelech eulogizes Yehonasan with the words נפלאתך אהבתך לי מאהבת נשים (Shmuel 2,1,26). The simple understanding to this phrase is that Yonasan’s love to me was more wondrous than love of woman, an expression which on the surface seems out of place when delivering a hesped about the tsaddik Yehonasan.

Rav Menachem from Panu explains this in a deeper way. Dovid expressed that Yonasan’s love for him was so wondrous that it must have been derived from the love of two women – Rachel and Leah. By Yonasan’s befriending of Dovid against his father Shaul, he was in essence relinquishing himself as the successor to the kingship of his father. How can one put aside such a self interest only because of a love and deep friendship? The answer is because Rachel actually preceded Yehonasan in this noble act by giving over the signs that Yaakov preplanned with her to Leah on her wedding night. Rachel did so in order that she would not become embarrassed and ashamed. In essence she was willing to sacrifice herself as being the source of the Jewish Destiny by relinquishing being the marriage partner with Yaakov who had the countenance of Adam Harishon, the twelve shevatim, the seventy souls, the six hundred thousand Yidden who left Mitzrayim, Moshe, Ahron, Yehoshua, Shmuel, Dovid, Shlomo, Tanaim, Amoraim, Rishonim Acharomin, etc. This selfless sacrificial act programmed in Klal Yisrael the ability to follow in her footsteps and to be selfless for someone else.

This is what Dovid Hamelech meant in this phrase of the hesped. Your love for me Yehonasan was so spectacular and other worldly that the only explanation is that it was already programmed מאהבת נשים from the love of two women, Rachel to Leah.

There is another example of selflessness in the beginning of the parsha concerning inanimate objects. Yaakov Avinu takes the stone that he slept upon and erects it as a Matzaivah. The Tur in his commentary on Torah asks that the difficulty with this is the gemarrah (Zevachim 116) that states that one cannot make an altar from material or an object that a person derived personal benefit from it?

The sefer Shemen Rosh brings another question in the name of the Chasam Sofer that our Chazal explain that the stones that Yaakov placed under his head began arguing between themselves in the middle of night. Each one wanted that the tsaddik should place his head exclusively upon it. A miracle occurred and they transformed into one stone thereby each stone had his wish fulfilled. Now it wasn’t the stones who were arguing but rather the angels appointed over them. If so they should have realized that by allowing Yaakov to use the stones for his personal purpose, from then on they would be forbidden to be used as part of the altar or the Beis Hamikdash. Why were they then arguing amongst themselves when what ever there was to gain by serving the tsaddik they would still lose by making themselves unusable for the Beis Hamikdash?

The response to this is that it might be even a greater madraigah to host the tsaddik rather than to be part of the Mikdash and host the presence of the Shechinah. We see such a reality with the mitzvah of Hachansas Orchim upon which Chazal learn from Avraham Avinu that greater is the mitzvah of hospitality than receiving the Shechinah. For Avraham excused himself in front of the Shechinah which came to visit him due to his sickness after Bris Milah. Instead of keeping his audience with Hashem he ran to do the mitzvah of hachnasas orchim and take care of his three guests. Here too the stones were willing to sacrifice the Shechinah in order to host support for the tzaddik’s head instead.

The Sfas Emes writes that part of these twelve stones of Yaakov miraculously became the twelve stones that were placed in the breastplate of the Kohen Gadol. We see from this that by surrendering one’s own Aliyah and spiritual experience to benefit another, one can merit to reach even higher levels than before. Until now the stones would have been part of a building whereupon the Shechinah resides. Now they are worn on the heart of the Kohen Gadol the holiest person, the one individual who enters the Holy of Holies on the holiest day of the year. These stones don’t just lie there being part of a fixture but rather now they tell a very important story as they light up the letters that are carved in them relaying heavenly messages instructing and communicating to Klal Yisrael on a national level.

Klal Yisrael is still reeling from the shocking and tragic events that occurred just over a week ago. Four very special neshamos died by Kiddush Hashem and then there were the seriously wounded who constantly need our tefillos for their recovery. The stone walls which were splattered with blood of our kedoshim will never be the same. Until now they lay still as part of a structure which allowed for the Shechinah to come and dwell. Today, although the blood has been washed off their surfaces, these stones have nevertheless become elevated with a new sanctity that reaches the highest levels in shamayim. Because the blood of kedoshim became one with them, like Yaakov’s stones they bear testimony of martyrdom of sacrificing their own lives in order to spare life for others. These blood stained stones just as Yaakov Avnu’s stones, were elevated to nest on the hearts of Klal Yisrael arousing them to introspection, teshuvah, and to make changes for the better. The impact of the Kodoshim’s sacrifice of life has granted a greater qualitative life to all of us.

Until one experiences a pure act of self sacrifice one has not yet felt the deep exhilaration of real living. Giving of oneself and performing acts of selflessness for a higher cause merits one to contact the source of all life. The act of constant taking and making oneself the center and top priority on his list is a death sentence during one’s lifetime.

Coke just launched a brand new soda in a green can and they named it Coca Cola Life. The media is always seeking new definitions of life because the old definitions seem to expire right after their appearances. Esav told Yaakov הנה אנכי הולך למות. This can be translated to mean I am living in constant death row for the new pseudo definitions of life which surface every other day and which I embrace is an admission that up until now I was dead. I am willing to sell the bechorah since I am not used to identifying with something truly alive that lasts, and faithfully delivers simchas hachayim. The new name for this soda is merely the company’s way of admitting that up until now any previous Coke was really Coca Cola Death.

This is the saga of those who pursue earthliness. They turn their backs to the word live to spell evil. When will the world wake up to the realization that living is giving. The only ones who cherish the formula for life are Am YIsrael who Hosheiah (2,1) the prophet quotes Hashem describing Yisrael asבני אל חי the children of the Living G-d. ואתם הדבקים בה’ אלקיכם חיים כולכם היום

Gut Shabbos
Rav Brazil