RAV BRAZIL PARSHAS KI SAVO תשע”ה
NOTHING BEATS THE GEMI
The Mishna in Bikurrim says that when the farmer sees that a fig has already ripened he should tie a גמי, a reed grass around it thereby designating it to be part of his first fruits to bring up to Yerushalayim. The fact that our Chachamim chose the material of a גמי to be the sign of Bikkurim carries a deep meaning of which we will speak about in this mamar.
Concerning the chait of Adam Harishon eating from the Aitz Hadaas, Hashem asks Adam המן העץ אשר צויתיך לבלתי אכל ממנו אכלת (Bereishis 3,11). Did you eat from the tree which I commanded you not to eat from? The Tiferes Shlomo explains that lust has two categories. One is that a person lusts for something that is truly in essence delicious and enjoyable. The second type of lust is running after something that is not essentially delicious or enjoyable, however it is prohibited. The prohibition has the power of fantasy to magically enhance something ordinary and transform into something that suddenly becomes super desirable and a must have. This concept Shlomo Hamelech revealed to us in Mishlei (9,17) in the passuk מים גנובים ימתקו stolen waters are sweet. Hashem was relating to Adam that in essence the Tree of Knowledge was not any more desirable than any other tree in Gan Eden. Its only exception was that Hashem commanded you not to partake from it אשר צויתיך לבלתי אכול ממנו.
Sometimes when one takes the time to understand and examine the source of his passion, that it really doesn’t originate from the object’s essence but rather because it is bound with a prohibition, he then has a greater ability to control it. The biggest fantasy of the yetzer harah is having an extra marital affair. For Chazal say that Shlomo Hamelech is referring specifically to this sin in the passuk. I am embarrassed to write that today in our culture however, this has become so common place to the point that there was a website that promoted and fostered such decadent behavior with the banner “Life is Short Have an Affair”. Shlomo Hamelech has made it very crystal clear by saying if this same lady or man was not married, one would have absolutely no interest in that person what so ever. It is only because of the issur which stirs within the person a seemingly uncontrollable drive, arousal and passion of insane Madness over nothing but worthless Ash. When the disloyalty is discovered and revealed, the intense shame, regret and guilt are unbearable and one’s life has turned into Ash.
The Daf Yomi just ended Meseches Nedarim with an unbelievable story that involved מים גנובים. There was a certain adulterer who entered the home of a certain woman. Her husband came home and the adulterer went and stationed himself behind a doorway curtain for concealment. There was some cress lying there in the room that a poisonous snake had tasted while the homeowner was away and the homeowner wanted to eat some of cress without his wife’s knowledge. The adulterer said to him from his place of concealment, “Do not eat of it for a snake tasted it”. Having discovered the adulterer in his home the husband was concerned that perhaps his wife was forbidden to him. Rava paskined, that his wife was permitted. The reason being, that if it had been so that she had relations, then he would have preferred that the husband should eat from the cress and die. As the passuk (Yechezkeil 23,37) says they have committed adultery and there is blood in their hands.
The gemarrah wonders why was it necessary for Rava to quote a verse when it is logical that the adulterer would desire to rid of the husband. The gemarah answers you might have said that the adulterer did actually commit the sin of adultery and the reason that he told the husband not to eat the poisoned cress is that he prefers that the husband not die so that his wife should be t the adulterer in the form of מים גנובים ימתקו the thrill is of greater intensity in comparison to the constant availability. Therefore Rava brings us the passuk that a true adulterer would have not saved the husband’s life for he would have preferred for the wife to be widowed so that he could then marry her.
From here we see that this power of מים גנובים is extremely strong that without the passuk that he would kill the husband we would naturally say that he is addicted to the heightened thrill of the experience.
The Tiferes Shlomo teaches us that this was the exact character of the chait with the original falling of Man in Gan Eden.
Moshe Rabbeinu was also placed in a basket of גמי (Shmos 2,3) which most meforshim learn was for the purpose of camouflaging him within the reeds. However, according to the above understanding the purpose of the reed basket was to manifest the incredible challenges that he was about to face during his lifetime and how he overcame them. When Moshe was born, the Torah says that the house lit up with a special light from the Ohr Haganuz. The reason could be because Hashem hid this great spiritual light in the Torah, and the sefarim say that משה רבינו is the gematriah of 611 תורה. This indicates that he was more essentially מצווה ועושה commanded to do the mitzvos and upkeep the Torah than anyone else. Imagine the challenge of Moshe during his lifetime always being taunted by מים גנובים ימתקו to the extreme degree and nevertheless conquering the yetzer harah from all its presentations of fantasies. This is why he was placed in such a basket of גמי symbolizing מים גנובים for his denial to them led him to greatness.
The sefarim write that the mitzvah of Bikkurim in a small way helps rectify the original falling of Adam. That is why the Chazal chose the example of a fig and not any of the other fruits of Eretz Yisrael while talking about the procedure since that was the fruit of the Aitz Hadaas. This is why after Adam and Chava partook from the Aitz Hadaas they covered themselves with fig leaves as to bring a tikkun to the avreirah which was with a fig fruit. Had Adam Harishon waited until Shabbos to eat the fig, it would not have been assur since the world would have attained its tikkun. It was his uncontrollable desire to have it now, immediately, that caused the chait from which until today we are still suffering. The Bikkurim fruit that he ties a גמי reed around it also is a matter of self control and discipline. The גמי reed is there to remind him the source of his seemingly uncontrollable desire of eating those first fruits which is מים גנובים ימתקו. No, the first blossoming figs are not essentially any more desirable than the rest to come. It is the issur of partaking from it before its time that creates a passion within man for this particular fruit. Chazal want to help one successfully fulfill the issur properly by making one aware that his desire to eat the first fruit is only a figment of his imagination but unessentially true. So they suggested to tie a specific reed called גמי which is the acronym of מים גנובים ימתקו to aid a person with his challenge of refraining from partaking from his grown fruit until the designated time.
Let us see how Shabbos fits into this picture. As we mentioned earlier, had Adam Harishon waited patiently until Shabbos, he would have been allowed to partake from the fruit of the Aitz Hadaas. The sefarim write that this is hinted in the gematriah of ומעץ הדעת טוב (Bereishis 2,17) which is equal to שבת. On Shabbos there would have been the tikkun of the world and the Tree of Knowledge would have turned to be the Tree of Good alone. If so then every Shabbos helps us in our struggle of מים גנובים ימתקו as well, which was the cause of Adam’s failure. For with the extra neshamah that we receive on Shabbos we are granted the power of insight to realize the great lie and hallucination that the Yetzer Hara permeates within us which makes it therefore much easier to subdue and conquer. That is why we find the gematriah of מים גנובים ימתקו is one less than יום שבת which equals 758. It is on Shabbos that the neshamah yesairah acts as a גמי tied around our body saying remember to give of our bodies to Hashem by waiting with patience to fulfill every must that it claims it cannot live without. Shabbos also has the mitzvah of oneg, the mitzvah to enjoy the Shabbos with all physical treats and pleasures. It is on Shabbos that we find that since the very mitzvah and command are saturated with enjoyment stemming from the Olam Habah meaning other worldly. it is therefore easier for the Yid to decline any persuasion from the Yetzer Harah to convince him that transgressing the Shabbos will bring greater pleasure since the physical pleasures alone dim to the pleasurable experience of physical pleasures tweaked together with the Next World.