Picture Source: Chabad.org

In Parshas Emor we have the prohibition of the Kohanim defiling themselves by coming in contact with corpses. One can also contact tumah through an ohel, a covering in which the corpse lies for then the corpse defiles anything that is under the covering. Being so we have a serious question with the deaths of Nadav and Avihu asked by the Daas Zekainim (Shemini 10.2) that according to Rabbi Akivah who is of the opinion that they died in the Mishkan under its covering, why wasn’t the entire Mishkan and its contents tamei?

In order to answer this question we must first understand what is Tumas Mais and how it comes about. The sefarim tell us that it is not the death that causes the tumah but rather what follows after it. As long as a person is alive the neshamah that resides inside of him naturally wards off any negative forces that want to penetrate his body and conquer it. The Kelippos who are the “shells” and the Dark Side of existence, strive with all their ability to make a person rebel against Hashem. These forces of Kelippos are called so, because they are external and likened to peels and shells which surround an interior. They possess the least amount of G-dliness possible just enough to preserve their existence. Because of this minimum connection to Hashem, they feel independent from Hashem and seek to topple His Kingdom. Their biggest prize is to nurture themselves from kedushaand remove it from its source. When a person dies and his neshamah leaves the body, the impressionable residue left by his neshamah remains. Nature abhors a vacuum. These Kelipos fill the vacuum and enter the body in order to nurture themselves from the scanty leftover of kedusha. It is their presence in the dead body what causes tumah to the body and defiles whoever comes in contact with it.

Rav Avraham Mordechai from Ger ztl answers with the above explanation. If tumah was caused by the experience of death, then the question would still remain. However, since the tumah is caused by the Kelipos entering the body, in the Mishkan where there was the presence of Hashem, the Kelipos could not enter because of its tremendous holiness.

Shabbos is the time when a Yid receives a neshamah yesairah. On Shabbos one therefore has the ability to awaken from the slumber of the week and inspire himself to return to Hashem to the world of spirit. On Motztei Shabbos the “extra” dose of neshamah departs from every person. This departure is likened to a death. We can see this concept from the minhag that a person who has yartzheit during the following week will daven Mussaf and Maariv Motzai Shabbos, and also receive the Maftir and Haftorah. The reason for this custom is that the last Shabbos the deceased was alive he had a neshamah yesairah but that neshama left and sort of died never to return into the deceased body. It is only during the week that his regular neshamah did the same. Therefore the Shabbos before the Yarzheit is considered also the Yarzheitfor the Nesahamh Yesairah. That is why he is given priority to daven the Mussaf which means the added tefillah which corresponds to the added neshamah, and to get the Aliya of the Maftir and Haftorah both names which refer also to the term Niftar – deceased.

Another custom that supports this idea of the mini death of the neshamah yeseirah is the minhag by Chassidim who stress that Shalosh Seudos should be eaten together with a minyan. The reason being that at the time the neshamahleaves the body a minyan should be present.

With the leaving of the Neshamah Yesairah on Motzei Shabbos, the Yid is left with a vacuum from holiness. As mentioned above this could be a cause for the invasion of theKelipos and evil forces to enter one’s body. That is why Motzei Shabbos we begin the Havdallah with the statement הנה אל ישועתי אבטח ולא אפחד כי עזי וזמרת יה ויהי לי לישועה. Why would there be reason Motzai Shabbos to declare that Hashem is your salvation I will trust in Him and not be afraid. You are my strength etc. Why after Shabbos does one feel such weakness when one would think just the opposite? We can again apply the explanation above because whenever there is a vacuum of kedusha the kelipos seek to invade and fill it and nurture themselves from it. We need special Siyatah Dishmaya to protect us during this critical time. By making Melavah Malkah of the Shabbos, we extend the kedusha of Shabbos into the week which helps us fill the vacuum of the loss of neshama and protect us.

The Zohar calls a tzaddik Shabbos during the whole week. When such a tzadik compared to Shabbos passes away it is like the neshama leaving Motzai Shabbos. It is therefore a time of teshuvah, retrospection, and somberness. Yet by Rabbe Shimon Bar Yochai it is called a Hilulah a celebration. The day of his petirah was the day he wrote the Zohar. When a person lives a peripheral life attaching himself to externals, the physical, the material, the pleasures, then he is a mate with the kelippos which also live  such a life. However when one lives a life connected to the source, to Hashem, then the “shells” cannot penetrate into his fortress. Rabbe Shimon gave us insight to the core of the penimiyus of the universe. The Zohar uses the term תא חזי  in contrast to the gemarahwhich says תא שמע. The Zohar of Rebbe Shimon gave us the power to see not just hear, and seeing is believing. He released into the world a special light of understanding by which we can invite Hashem into every aspect of our being. Our hearts can be a Mishkan and the Mishkan is void of Kelipos.

Rav Brazil
Gut Shabbos