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Parshas Emor (#2) Lag BaOmer 5764
Rabbi Avraham Brandwein of Yerushalayim (in translation)
In Parshas Emor, all of the Holiday’s of Israel are mentioned, including Shabbos, and there is even a hint to Chanukkah, for in the end of the Parsha there is the command to light the Menorah in the Holy Temple. There is another Parsha in the Torah where there are also mentioned all of the holidays, and it is Parshas Pinchas. The comparison between the two Parshas is that Emor always falls during the Counting of the Omer, which are days of mourning for the 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva, who died, since they did not behave with respect towards each other. Parshas Pinchas generally falls during the three weeks called Bain Hamitzarim (between the narrows), between the 17th of Tammuz and the 9th of Av, for during these days we follow the laws of mourning for the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, since the temple was destroyed only because of baseless hatred.
The unique issue of the Holidays is that all of Israel together would gather in Jerusalem, as the verse says, “Three times a year all your men should appear… when all Israel comes to see the countenance of Hashem your Elokim.” The gathering together is the repair for the separation and hatred. It is known that in the place of the rotting is the location of the sprouting. Therefore, these days will be converted into days of Holiday and Festival, as the Ramban (Nachmanides) says that the days between Pesach and Shavuos are like Chol Hamoed (the middle days of Pesach itself). The great Rabbis of Chassidus also say that the three weeks of the Bain Hamitzarim will be converted into days of joy.
We likewise see that the passing of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai is also on the 33rd day of the counting of the Omer, and so too the passing of the Holy Ari is on the 5th of Av, which is one of the days within the Bain Hamitzarim. The question is asked, “How is it possible that specifically within the students of Rabbi Akiva, who based all of the Torah on the Mitzvah of loving another like oneself, which is the great rule of Torah, that they are his students and they faltered in this Mitzvah and did not behave with respect towards one another. The issue is that in order to reach the understanding of unity, it is impossible without obtaining the inner (teachings) of Torah. For example, electric machines, like a heater or air conditioner, washing machine or refrigerator, all of their differences are at the external level. But internally, which is the electricity, the moving power, there the unity (of the machines) is found. So too with people, the external bodies are separated, but the soul, which is a part of the Divine, it is in unity. Therefore, the students of Rabbi Akiva did not behave with respect towards each other, since they did not grasp the secret of unity, (they only grasped) the external level. The hint to this is that between Pesach and Shavuos there are 49 days (32 + 17) numerically equal to the words Lev Tov (32 + 17) (a good heart). They were just Lev (32) (heart), but not Tov (17) (good), since the beginning of the Torah, from (the word) “Bereishis (In the beginning)” until (the words) “that the light was good,” there are 33 words, and Tov represents the inner light which is the understanding of the unity, which starts to shine from the 33rd day of the Omer until Shavuos, which is this light, the light of Shavuos, which is the light of Yechida (singularity). (When Israel camped at Mount Sinai to receive the Torah,) it says there, “And “he” camped,”(using the singular “he”, (showing there total unity) even though it referred to all of Israel and should have said “they camped”). This is the Torah of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, which is the light of the inner level, which he revealed on the day of his withdrawal (from this world), that from henceforth, the “light which was good” shines. Likewise, the Holy Ari revealed his Inner Torah, which is the repair for the destruction (of the Temple), which is the light of Chochmah, which brings to unity.
Now we will explain the Sefirah of Hod. Lag BaOmer (the 33rd of the Omer) corresponds to Hod within Hod. In Hebrew there are many terms to connote beauty, Hadar, Pe’air, Ziv. Hod is used when there are two opposites; for example, the Holy Zohar explains that Hod is like a cow, which has two colors, red and black. Likewise, the Sefirah of Hod is revealed when a negative is converted into a positive, for example, “over this our heart has been ill,” which is a language of pain, if it is turned into a joy, or the negative attribute of anger and hatred when these traits are directed towards the positive, it shows the Hod of the traits, like a painting which has different colors, but the beauty and the Hod of the painting is that each color is in the right proportion and in the right place.
Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (Rashbi) descended (to this world) to repair the lowest places in this world. There is a rule, that if one repairs the most material thing and converts it to the positive, this reveals the full form of the highest light. Therefore, Hod of Hod is also tied to Malchus of Malchus, which is the revelation of the Light of Yechida of the Holiday of Shavuos, since the light already began to shine on Lag BaOmer, as said above.