The parsha Behar begins with וידבר ה’ אל משה בר סיני לאמר Hashem spoke to Moshe at HarSinai. Then the next passuk elaborates on the topic which was spoken there – Shemittah. The meforshim all ask why was the mitzvah of Shemitta singled out with a special relationship to HarSinai over many other mitzvos?
We suggest the following answer. In the Haggadah we recite אילו קרבנו לפני הר סיני ולא נתן לנו את התורה דיינו. If you brought us to Har Sinai and did not give us the Torah, that would have been sufficient. The question is how would that suffice if the entire purpose of YetziasMitzrayim was to receive the Torah as Hashem told Moshe at the revelation of the Burning Bush תעבדון אלקים על ההר הזה? Many answer, that at HarSinaiAmYisrael attained a level and madraigah that no other nation could attest to, that of ויחן ישראל נגד ההר. The passuk should have said ויחנו in plural form but rather it was written in singular form. The singular form was chosen in order to convey כאיש אחד בלב אחד as Rashi brings the Chazal, they were likened to one person with one heart. This was a demonstration of Achdus on the highest level! Coming to HarSinai and reaching such a lofty level of unity of ויחן which also is rooted in the word חן, to find favor in each other’s eyes, was worth it even if it meant not receiving the Torah.
In a deeper way of understanding this phenomenon of achdus, the sefarim tell us that the root of each individual neshama originates from one source neshama called כנסת ישראל which means the gathering of Yisrael. Therefore, in our very essence we are essentially one. It is for this reason that the Torah can command and demand from us with the directive as ואהבת לרעך כמוך because in truth the other Yid is כמוך ממש! What then distracts us from feeling this unity and allows us to get into machlokes and anger with other individuals? The culprit is not the neshama but rather the גוף. The neshama does not take up any space but earthliness does. Two bodies cannot stand in the same place.
When we recite the kedusha and the words of קדוש קדוש קדוש, we elevate our bodies. Why? The answer is that order to acquire holiness and become sacred, one must be willing to sacrifice some earthliness and materialism. The same applies to achdus. Physical objects separate and blind us from seeing the source of all neshamos to which we all belong and nurture from. Physicality creates jealousy, strictness הקפדות, pettiness, animosity, greediness, hatred, resentment, anger selfishness etc. The Pri Tzadik writes (Kedoshim 5)
שכתב בזוהר הקדוש דהנשמה היא דנקראת אדם והגוף נקרא בשר אדם והנשמה טרם התלבשה בגוף היתה נקיה וטהורה והגוף מושכה לחמדת עולם הזה
The Zohar writes that the neshama is called אדם and the body is called בשר אדם. The neshama before it was clothed in the body it was pure, and it is the body which schlepps it to earthly pleasures.
One of the mitzvos that helps a person to seek less earthliness is Shemitta. The Torah commands that six years you could work the land but on the seventh it must be a Shabbos to Hashem. During this year the landowner must renounce his ownership to these properties and it becomes ownerless for everyone to use it even male and female slaves. You are no longer the proprietor and everyone else possesses equal rights. The Shemitta emphasizes that Hashem is the real proprietor on your property from beginning to end. Interesting that the words one and own really should be pronounced the same. There is no letter w before the word one only the letter o. This says that the only owner of everything in the universe is the power called ONE ה’ אחד.
This awareness frees the neshama from the clutches of the body and its gravity to earthliness. Then neshama during Shemitta regains its reign over the body and the Yid gets a refresher course in what true achdus means which is portrayed by the title אדם. Yovel brings a deepening of this awareness since your land that you owned and worked on for years must be returned to the original owner way back then.
There is a story (I cannot verify its truth) of two close brothers who came before a Rav arguing the issue of ownership of a particular property after their father passed away. No one could bring proof that it was him whom the father told it was his ירושה. So the Rav said please take me to the land and I will ask it who is the rightful owner. They both showed him the property and he bent down and put his ear to the earth as if it was telling him something. They stood there astonished because they never saw anything like this before. As he rose he told them that the earth informed him that you both belong to it. What he meant to convey was that here we have a situation where no one has proof and yet because of this earthliness that you both possess you are allowing this machlokes to separate your two families forever and for generations to come when you won’t even be here. My advice to you is to split the land and don’t split your brotherhood.
This is why Shemitta in particular is connected to HarSinai. It was the standing opposite HarSinai when AmYisrael attained the highest level of achdus כאיש אחד בלב אחד. They reached such a level of spirituality that their bodies were like neshamos. They experienced being bonded to the source neshamah above. This learning experience of achdus is repeated every seven years during the Shemitta.
Chazal (Baba Metziah 114b) tell us אתם קרויים אדם. You Yisrael are called the title of אדם. This derasha is applied to the passuk אדם כי ימות באהל (Bamidbar19,14) that that if a person enters a tent where there is a corpse he becomes tamei.באהל טומאת מת applies only to Yidden since the Torah used here the word אדם to exclude goyim. What is so special about this title אדם? The meforshim explain that there are four words in LashonHakodesh which express the term man: איש גבר אנוש אדם. They all possess a plural form except the term אדם which possesses the singular form. Only AmYisrael merits this reality because we all originate from the same one neshama.
I am always amazed that with all the friction that existed and exists today between the different sects in KlalYisrael, when it comes to LagB’omer there is an unbelievable achdus between everyone, young and old, Chassidish, Litvish, Mizrachi, Sefardim, Ashkanzim, DatiLeumi, Chareidim, BaaleiTeshuvah etc. On this day no one looks at the type of clothing, shoes, sneakers, payos, dialect, yarmulke, hat or color of skin. Why is that? I humbly think because Rav Shimon revealed the סוד התורה, the deep secrets of the Torah, those which are concealed under many layers. On his yartzheit when he revealed these inner secrets, we too can merit to take an inner look and peek behind those layers of every Yid, to feel beyond the external surface, connect to our brethren’s inner neshama, and to draw light from the place where all Yidden are one. On LagB’omer everyone is שחורה אני ונאוה black and beautiful. On the outside I might look in your eyes as an undesirable which doesn’t fit into your mold because of my struggling, but you should recognize that inside in my core I am as beautiful as you.
In the shir of בר יוחאי we sing נעשה אדם נאמר בעבורך “Let us make man” was said because of You. Why do we attach the creation of אדם to RavShimon? According to above, אדם is the title given to highest level of achdus. The sefarim tell us that AdamHarishon contained all the neshamos of Am Yisrael in his body. Each neshama was situated in a different part of his body but they were nevertheless all bonded as one. For example, if one accidently hit his hand with the other one, he doesn’t think of reacting negatively to his hand that hit since it is the same body and why would he hurt himself? The neshamos in AdamHarishon were in full achdus mode even inside his body. This is how it was meant to be even with different bodies ואהבת לרעך כמוך. Until we had the revelation of the secrets of the Torah, KlalYisrael as a whole did not merit to see, or even realize the reality of this secret that lies in every Yid. There was a shortcoming in the shelaimus of this achdus until Rabbe Shimon and the revelations of the סודי התורה. On his yartzeit when he revealed these secrets, that is the day that we are infused with his lenses and we can glean from this achdus even though our bodies are separated. נעשה אדם נאמר בעבוריך. The manner in which AdamHarishon was created with the achdus of all neshamas of Am Yisrael, was made possible for all KlalYisrael on the day when RabbeShimon revealed the ZoharHakadosh.
LagB’omer is the day when title of אדםbecomes prominent and available for everyone. But why does it leave so fast the day after? Every time when there is LagB’omer of incredible insane achdus. Yet in contrast, the division between all the varying sects in KlalYisrael gets increasingly worse as days and months pass which enlarges a kitrug against our title אתם קרויים אדם. In the tragedy of this past LagB’omer of which we are still reeling from, an exact number of 45 neshamos died. This maybe points to the gematriah ofאדם . Rabbe Shimon brings to us every year the awareness to our מעלה of achdus נעשה אדם נאמר בעבורך, and yet we find ourselves losing grip on this unique crown day by day.
It took 45 neshamosgematriah אדם to bring this message home. How many incredible stories and displays of achdus, mesirasnefesh, chesed, tzedakah emerged from the moment that the tragedy began until today. A Talmid told me a story that I can’t get out of my head. One Yid ztl, as he was already lying on top of others and being trampled by more who were falling, could be heard saying over and over again “I am mocheil everyone for stepping and falling on top of me”. Only a Yid could be thinking and talking this way during his last breaths of life. I am not makpid!!!!! ומי כעמך ישראל.
Unfortunately tragedy unites. By happening on LagB’omer in the height of the simcha, we now carry this achdus of Lag B’omer further than usual, into days when we would have normally fallen back into the old פירוד behavior. The passuk mentioned above alludes to this tragedy. זאת התורה אדם כי ימות באהל. This is the Torah – אדם. It was given to Yisrael who are called אדם the title of achdus איש אחד בלב אחד. Every Yid corresponds to a letter or part of a letter in the Torah. If it is missing, the Torah is passul. If one ח”ו despises another Yid and would rather get rid of him, it is tantamount to erasing that letter or part of it. The passuk continues אדם כי ימות באהל that in order to bring KlalYisrael back on the track of achdus, and fight against the kitrug,אדם that 45 neshamos ימות will die in the Ohel of RabbeShimon. אהל means light as it says in (Iyuv 29,3) בהלו נרו על ראשי. At the Ohel of RabbeShimon where it is known that on LagB’omerforminhag Yisrael is to be bountiful with displays of fires.
Please don’t stop what your are doing for the deceased and for their families. Everyone’s heart is broken and saddened yet at the same time whole and united with KlalYisrael. Hashem is sending us a window of tikkun during these remaining days of sefirah leading up to MatanTorah where we once stood with the acdus of כאיש אחד בלב אחד. How can we celebrate the YomTov of MatanTorah if we have letters or parts of letters missing in the Torah. Hashem is giving us today the opportunity of experiencing the original MatanTorah כאיש אחד בלב אחד. Give the niftarim z”l the zechus that they, by being the sacrifices, have once in for all permanently united us to be ומי כעמך ישראל גוי אחד בארץ and may we merit to the fulfillment of the passuk (Yechezkail 34,31) ואתן צאני צאן מרעיתי אדם אתם אני אלהיכם.