Sunday, August 5, 2018

The Value of an Hour

One of the most precious gifts given to Klal Yisrael is the gift of time.  A second is as precious as a diamond, but we can make the mistake of thinking that it is just a piece of glass.  In America there is a common phrase “ Time is Money”.  According to Chazal, the phrase must read “Time is Life”.  One of the biggest problems we have as human beings is that we do not really understand the true value of time and how much it is really worth. In this piece, we will explain how it is possible to turn five minutes into more than eight million physical years as we know in this world.  If this calculation is correct, as we will see shortly, each minute or sixty seconds has a potential of one and a half million years.  Who would even imagine throwing away such a merit?

Everyone would like to have a successful, top-notch lawyer at his side defending him at all times.  Who doesn’t seek the best doctor when looking to cure any given illness which can happen at any given second, G-d forbid?  Who is not looking for blessings for his children and grandchildren to grow up to be tzadikim and follow the ways of Hashem?  Who doesn’t wish for success, prosperity, longevity, and happiness in life? 

With the dedication to Torah Study and in particular the study of the Zohar HaKadosh, these wishes will be granted as Chazal state:

 “Mi ha’ish he’chafetz chaim, Ohev Yamim Leerot Tov” (Tehilim 34:14,15)

“Who is a person who desires life, he loves the days where he sees good (Torah Study)”

                    הנֶּחֱמָדִים מִזָּהָב וּמִפַּז רָב וּמְתוּקִים מִדְּבַשׁ - וְנֹפֶת צוּפִים

The reason why the world is filled with calamities is because of the lack of Torah study.  Eretz Yisrael was destroyed because we abandoned the Torah.  All the troubles that we have seen in the past and that we continue to see today is all because of the lack and desire for Torah study just as it is stated, “Because of the sin of Yaakov (who was learning all day), all the troubles happened.” (Micha 1:5)

בְּפֶשַׁע יַעֲקֹב כָּל זֹאת (מִיכָה פֶּרֶק א' פָּסוּק ה')         

Therefore one must try his utmost, with all his effort and energy, to utilize his time wisely, and not fall to the temptations of this world, but rather to immerse himself in Torah study as much as he can, as if he was gathering precious diamonds and gems from the ocean.
The Talmud tells us, “One moment of Olam Haba is greater than all the pleasures of this world.”  The verse says “They are (the Torah) more desirable than gold and (even) an abundance of pure gold”. (Tehilim 19:11)

הַנֶּחֱמָדִים מִזָּהָב וּמִפַּז רָב וּמְתוּקִים מִדְּבַשׁ וְנֹפֶת   צוּפִים, (תְּהִילִים פֶּרֶק י"ט, י"א), (כַּף הַחַיִּים סִימָן קנ"ו סקי"א).

ב)                               - THE VALUE OF AN HOUR  עֶרְכָּהּ שֶׁל שָׁעָה
Let us calculate the actual value of an hour.
What can one person achieve through the study of the Zohar Hakadosh during the week and on Shabbos. Chazal have gone to great lengths to mention the praises of one who studies Torah on Shabbos compared to studying during the week. The Zohar itself says, “Praiseworthy are those who study Torah on the Shabbos day more than the other days (of the week).”
– זַכָּאָה חוּלַקֵיהוֹן דְּכָל אִינוּן דְּמִשְׁתַּדְּלִין בְּאוֹרַיְתָא, יוֹמָא דְּשַׁבְּתָּא מִשְּׁאָר יוֹמִין.
                                                (סוֹף פָּרָשַׁת "שְׁלַח-לְךָ")
R’ Yosef Chaim z”l in his sefer “Ben Ish Chai (Parshas Shemos) says: “The action of learning Torah on Shabbos is one thousand times greater that learning during the weekday. The explanation for this calculation is that Chazal teach us that one day in Hashem’s eyes is one thousand years in our eyes, like the pasuk says:

כִּי אֶלֶף שָׁנִים בְּעֵינֶיךָ כְּיוֹם אֶתְמוֹל וְגוֹ'

Therefore, when one studies Torah on Shabbos, it is considered one thousand times more than studying on a weekday.

ג)              - LEARNING ZOHARבּוֹאוּ וְהִתְחַבְּרוּ לְרַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן בַּר יוֹחָאִי זי"ע

R’ Mordechai Sharabi z”l once whispered into the ears of one of his relatives.  “One hour of learning the simple meaning of the Torah (pshat) on Shabbos, is equivalent to one year of learning pshat during a weekday.”  He continued further, “And one hour of learning sod (secrets of the Torah) during a weekday, is like one year of learning pshat (simple meaning) Finally, he said, “And learning one hour of sod on Shabbos is equivalent to seventy-five years of learning pshat during the weekdays.”

The Kaf HaChaim rules that the Zohar is considered sod.  (הַכַּף הַחַיִּים (קנ"ה סקי"ב).

The Pele Yo’etz writes, “Even if someone does not understand what he is reading and as he reads it he makes many mistakes, it is still beloved in Hashem’s eyes.  As the pasuk says in Shir Hashirim “and his banner of me is love”. Instead of reading the word “banner”, let it read “and he skips”. (Even though one reads and skips, Hashem still loves it.)
(In Hebrew the word banner and the verb to skip have the same root).
וְדִגְלוֹ עָלַי אַהֲבָה וּפֵרְשׁוּ חֲזַ"ל וְדִלּוּגוֹ עָלַי אַהֲבָה, עַכַּ"ל.

Harav S’ Buzaglo z”l (author of HaKiseh Melech) writes that one hour of the study of the Zohar HaKadosh is equivalent to one year of the pshat (simple meaning). He writes, “The basic reading of the Zohar HaKadosh (even without understanding it) is equivalent to creating entire worlds.  And if one merits to understand even one small quote from the Zohar HaKadosh, whatever he merits to accomplish cannot be done even with one full year of learning pshat.  He is guaranteed to be deservant of Olam Haba and ultimately merit to sit in the presence of the Shechina.

וז"ל: הַ"כִּסֵא מֶלֶךְ" (תִּקּוּן מ"ג): כִּי לִמּוּד הַזֹּהַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בְּגִירְסָא בְּעָלְמָא בּוֹנֶה עוֹלָמוֹת, וְכָל שֶׁכֵּן אִם יִזְכֶּה לִלְמֹד וּלְהָבִין אֲפִלּוּ פֵּרוּשׁ מַאֲמָר אֶחָד, יַעֲשֶׂה בּוֹ תִּקּוּן לְמַעְלָה בְּשָׁעָה אַחַת מַה שֶּׁלֹּא יַעֲשֶׂה בְּלִמּוּד הַפְּשָׁט שָׁנָה תְּמִימָה, וּמֻבְטָח לוֹ שֶׁהוּא בֶּן עוֹלָם הַבָּא מִבְּנֵי הֵיכָלָא דְּמַלְכָּא, וְיִהְיֶה מֵרוֹאֵי פְּנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ הַיּוֹשְׁבִים רִאשׁוֹנָה בְּמַלְכוּתָא דִּרְקִיעָא.

He also writes (Tikun 30),  “How great is the obligation for a Torah Scholar to learn the wisdom of the secrets of the Torah. How great is the punishment if the Torah Scholars abandon the study of sod.  They have caused the excessive length of our exile because they have prevented the redemption from coming.”

(הַכִּסֵּא מֶלֶךְ), וְזֶה לְשׁוֹנוֹ: כַּמָּה גָּדוֹל חִיּוּב עַל תַּלְמִיד חָכָם לִלְמֹד קַבָּלָה. וְעָנְשָׁם כַּמָּה גָּדוֹל אִם אֵינָם לוֹמְדִים קַבָּלָה וְגוֹרֵם אֹרֶךְ גָּלוּתָא כִּי הֵם מְעַכְּבִים הַגְּאֻלָּה רַחֲמָנָא לִיצְלַן.

To summarize the words of the HaKisei Melech and the Ben Ish Chai z”l, one who learns one hour of the Zohar HaKadosh on Shabbos Kodesh is equivalent to learning one thousand years of pshat during a regular weekday.  If one merits to learn six hours of Zohar Hakadosh on Shabbos Kodesh, it is equivalent to six thousand years of learning pshat on a weekday, which reflects the duration of the entire Creation since Bereshis.

If we also factor in the words of the Orchos Tzadikim (Sha’ar HaSimcha), who writes that study of Torah, or the fulfillment of Mitzvos, when done with happiness, is one thousand times greater when done without happiness.

IN SUMMARY: If someone has the zechus to learn one hour of the Zohar HaKadosh on Shabbos Kodesh, with Happiness, it is considered in Shamayim as if he learned one million years of Torah on the pshat level.

It is also brought down in “Avos De’Rabbi Natan” (perek 3 Mishna 6) that R’ Yishmael says in the name of R’ Yossi, “If you have studied Torah when times were proserporous, don’t leave the Torah when times are difficult.  The reason is because when someone learns

with suffering, it is one hundred times greater than without suffering.

לְפִי שֶׁטּוֹב לוֹ לְאָדָם דָּבָר אֶחָד בְּצַעַר מִמֵּאָה בְּרֵיוָח (עִיֵּי"ש)      

If we take into account the last opinion of the R’ Yishmael, it works out that learning the Zohar Hakadosh for one hour, on Shabbos, with Happiness, and with suffering (i.e. parnasa stress, and less worldly pleasures), is equivalent to one hundred million years of learning Torah on the pshat level during the rest of the week.

One second is equivalent to twenty-eight thousand years.

What incredible reward awaits for such a person.  Hashem’s name becomes exalted in all of the heavens because of this power of Torah.  As the pasuk says:                                                            "וְעַתָּה יִגְדַּל נָא כ"ח ה'".   

The Kaf HaChaim writes (Siman 155 SK 112) that the mitzvah of “P’riah V’riviyah” (being fruitful and having children), is a commandment that our minds should not be barren from Torah knowledge but rather always learning and being fruitful in Torah Study. Chazal mention that a person should have new chidushim (Torah Insights) every day of his life, which will shine before him in Olam Habah.

The Ben Ish Chai also writes that chidushei Torah (Torah Insights) in the Nistar (Zohar HaKadosh) is considered having male children, while chidushei torah in the “Nigleh” (pshat) is considered having Girls.  To fulfill the mitzvah one needs to have both.

The Zohar HaKadosh (Parshas Shelach Daf 173a) states that every Jew is obligated to discover new Torah insights on Shabbos Kodesh. Hashem will also ask every neshama what new insights it discovered, and if it does not have anything to answer, the neshama will be ashamed.

וּבְזֹהַר הַקָּדוֹש (פָּרָשַׁת שְׁלַח לְךָ דַּף קע"ג ע"א) כָּתוּב, שֶׁכָּל יְהוּדִי חַיָּב לְחַדֵּשׁ חִדּוּשִׁים בְּשַׁבָּת קוֹדֶשׁ, וְהַקָּבָּ"ה שׁוֹאֵל לַנְּשָׁמָה מַה חִדְּשָׁה, וְאִם לֹא חִדְּשָׁה נִמְצֵאת בְּבוּשָׁה גְּדוֹלָה.

It is also written in Sefer Zohar Chai, that every single person is obligated to learn new Torah insights on Shabbos in all four portions of the Torah “Pardes”:  P = “pshat”, R=”remez”, D=”drush”, S=”sod”, including Mishna, Gemara, and drashos of Chazal.  In the Ben Ish Chai’s sefer “Torah Lishma”, he also writes that if one thinks of a Torah Chidush and wrote it down during the week, he should not speak it out until Shabbos, because then it is considered like came up with this new insight on Shabbos itself.

ובשו"ת תּוֹרָה לִשְׁמָהּ (לְרַבֵּנוּ יוֹסִף חַיִּים – אוֹ"ח סִימָן צ"ח) כָּתַב: כִּי מִי שֶּׁחִדֵּשׁ אֵיזֶה חִדּוּשׁ בַּתּוֹרָה בְּמֶשֶׁךְ הַשָּׁבוּעַ וּכְתָבָם לֹא יוֹצִיא אוֹתוֹ בְּפֶה עַד שַׁבָּת, וְאָז נֶחְשָׁב שֶׁחִדְּשׁוֹ בְּשַׁבָּת.

The Gaon Rabbi Elizer Papo z”l in his sefer “Pele Yoetz (Erech Chidush) writes, “Only when one toils with all his might with questioning and answering thoughout Tanach and Shas to fully understand is one able to discover new Torah Insights in nigleh or nistar.  He then writes: “The learning of the Zohar HaKadosh, even if one has no understanding of it, is considered like he was “mechadesh chidushei Torah” (He has fulfilled his obligation of discovering new Torah insights)., 

הגה"ק רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר פָּאפוֹ זי"ע בְּפֶּלֶא יוֹעֵץ (עֶרֶךְ חִדּוּשׁ), כָּתַב: רַק שֶׁיַּעֲמֹל בְּכָל כוֹחוֹ לְחַדֵּשׁ חִדּוּשֵׁי תּוֹרָה דְּהָיְינוּ לְהַקְשׁוֹת וּלְתָרֵץ בַּתַּנַ"ך וּבַשַּ"ס אוֹ לְפָרֵשׁ פֵּרוּשִׁים בְּפַרְדֶ"ס עַל תַּנַ"ך וְשַׁ"ס. וְאַחַ"כ כָּתַב: וְגַם לִּימּוּד סֵפֶר הַזוֹהַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ אַף בְּאֵין מֵבִין חָשׁוּב לוֹ כְּאִילוּ חִדֵּשׁ חִדּוּשִׁים עַכַּ"ל. הָרְאֵתָ לָדַעַת דְהַלוֹמֵד זוֹהַ"ק יוֹצֵא יְדֵי חוֹבַת חִדּוּשֵׁי תּוֹרָה גַּם בְּכָל הַפַּרְדֵ"ס, וְזֶהוּ בְּוַודְאַי חִדּוּשִׁים אֲמִתִּיִּים וְתּוֹרָה לִשְׁמָהּ.

The Zohar Hakadosh also writes in the Hakdama (daf 4b, 5a): “How carefull one must be that his Torah study must be a true Torah study”  Now, through this amazing Torah study (The Zohar HaKadosh), in which one hour is equivalent to one year accorording to HaKiseh Melech, and on Shabbos is equivalent to one thousand years according to the “Ben Ish Chai”, and if studied with happiness is equivalent to one million years according to the Orchos Tzadikim, and if studied through difficulty and hardship equates to one hundred million years of torah study according as mentioned in Avos De’Rabbi Natan.  The zechus of such learning purifies one’s neshama and brings him closer to HaKadosh Baruch Hu.

ד)              - LET THE WEAK PROCLAIM “I AM STRONG”הַחַלָּשׁ יֹאמַר גִּבּוֹר אָנִי

Imagine for a moment the following scenario:  If we have ten thousand kollel avreichim studying ten hours a day, we have accumulated an astonishing one million years of Torah study.

In contrast, if a simple jew or child learns one hour of the Zohar HaKadosh on Shabbos, he has also achieved the same goal of one million years of Torah study.

And if it is difficult to study, we said that the study is equal to one hundred million years of Torah study.  Now we can understand the prophecy of Yoel (Yoel 4:10), “The weak will proclaim ‘I am strong’.”  Every Jew has merits and strength to bring the Moshiach with mercy.

וְכָךְ יְקוּיָים בָּנוּ דִּבְרֵי הַנָּבִיא יוֹאֵל (ד' י') "הַחָלָּשׁ יֹאמַר גִּבּוֹר אָנִי"

 וְכָל יְהוּדִי יָכוֹל לִזְכּוֹת לָזֶה וּלְהָבִיא אֶת הַמָּשִׁיחַ בְּרַחֲמִים.

The Chafetz Chaim says, “The foundation of the Jewish religion is the belief in schar ve’onesh (reward and punishment).  The explanation of the vidui (confession) is:

וְסַרְנוּ מִמִּצְוֹתֶיךָ וּמִמִּשְׁפָּטֶיךָ הַטּוֹבִים וְלֹא שָׁוָוה לָנוּ

“We have abandoned your mitzvos and have not appreciated your commandments”.   The Chofetz Chaim explains what the confession means is that we have not truly thought of the real worth of Torah and Mitzvos, as we explained earlier. 

The Chazal also explain the pasuk in Mishle (Perek 3:15)

"יְקָרָה הִיא מִפְּנִינִים וְכָל חֲפָצֶיךָ לֹא יִשְׁווּ בָּהּ" (מִשְׁלֵי פֶּרֶק ג' פָּסוּק ט"ו)

“She (The Torah) is so precious, all of your desires cannot compare to it.”

The Gemara in Horayos (Daf 13b) states: “Rav Acha says in the name of Rabbi Chanina, ‘The Torah is so precious’ means even more precious than a Kohen Gadol going into the Holy of Holies.”

וּכְבָר אָמְרוּ חֲזַ"ל עַל לִּימּוּד הַתּוֹרָה  וּבְמַסֶּכֶת הוֹרָיוֹת (דַּף י"ג א'): א"ר אַחָא בְּרַבִּי חֲנִינָא דְּאָמַר קְרָא יְקָרָה הִיא מִפְּנִינִים מִכֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל שֶׁנִּכְנַס לִפְנֵי וְלִפְנִים.

Through the learning of the Zohar HaKadosh, one is able to reach unimaginable spiritual heights and to merit to endless reward in Olam Haba.  With merits like this, one will definitely wait for Moshiach like the Chafetz Chaim did.  (The Chafetz Chaim used to walk with a briefcase with new clothes to great Moshiach, as he felt “b’emunah shleima” he could arrive at any moment.)

The Ari HaChai also comments that in one of the blessing in Shemonei Esreh – “Es Tzemach David”, one should have in mind not just the salvation of Moshiach, but also await Hashem’s salvation.

R’ Chaim Vital z”l writes in the name of the Arizal: Through the learning of sod, the revealed Torah, nigleh, is understood clearer.

In our generation, many Torah scholars will attest to this that after they have tasted the sweetness of sod, their hearts and minds have opened up and they were zocheh to compose many beautiful chidushei Torah on Shas, Shulchan Aruch, and various Midrashim.

Everyone is aware of the situation we find ourselves in today.   Things are changing so rapidly from day to day.  Moshe Rabbeinu, Eliyahu HaNavi, and R’ Shimon bar Yochai have all said that only with the study of the Zohar HaKadosh will we be mercifully redeemed.

The Zohar HaKadosh is compared to Noach’s Ark in that whoever studies it will enter the “teva” and will be saved from “chevlei Moshiach” (birthpangs of Moshiach). This is the secret of the salvation of Klal Yisrael in the final generation that will greet Moshiach.

The “Shla Hakadosh” (author of Shnei Luchos Habris) writes: The writings of the Zohar Hakadosh was meant to be hidden until the last generation in the end of days, when then it will be revealed to Klal Yisrael. Those that are learning the Zohar HaKadosh will have a tremendous zechus in bringing the geula closer.

We were not able to leave Egypt until Hashem was “mekadesh” (sanctified) us with the blood of bris mila, and the blood of the korban

pesach.  So too in the end of days, Klal Yisrael will need to be “mekadesh” themselves with extra “kedusha”, which is with the study of the Zohar HaKadosh.

(עֲשָׂרָה מַאֲמָרוֹת מַאֲמָר רִאשׁוֹן, שְׁנֵי לוּחוֹת הַבְּרִית).

Let us all make an effort to start and make a daily seder of studing one page, a daf yomi, of the Tikunei Zohar.  This takes only a couple of minutes per day

On Shabbos Kodesh, let us all learn one hour lishma. With these merits, Hashem will nullify all bad decrees and hastily bring the geula to Klal Yisrael. Amen.

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתַב הָרַשְׁבִּ"י, בְּסִפְרָא דָּא יִפְקוּן מִן גָלוּתָא בְּרַחֲמֵי, בִּיאוּר: בְּסֵפֶר הַזֶּה נֵצֵא מִן הַגָּלוּת בְּרַחֲמִים. (זוֹהַר נָשֹׂא בְרַעְיָא מְהֵימְנָא דַּף קכ"ד ע"ב).

The Rashash (R`Shalom Sharabi z`l), right before he passed away, left his son R`Chizkia Yitzchak z`l a will that said, “I know that through the merit of the study of the Zohar and Torah secrets, the nation of Israel will come out of galus.  Our redemption is dependent on this study. The last words that the Rashash z`l uttered from his mouth were

"..."וְתּוֹרַת הַסּוֹד מַה יְהֵא עָלֶיהָ"? [סֵפֶר הָרַשַׁ"ש עמ' 158].

What will be with the study of the sod (Zohar HaKadosh)?

We must dedicate time every day from our busy schedules to learn the Zohar HaKadosh to ensure we have done our utmost to bring the geula as fast as possible “b’rachamim”.

Due to the lack of study of the Zohar HaKadosh, we must take it upon ourselves as an obligation to teach ourselves, our children, friends, and achvreichim who are studying in yeshiva about the importance of studing the Zohar HaKadosh, and the great levels that Klal Yisrael can merit.

In the sefer Imrei Pinchas (daf 150) Rabbi Pinchas MiKoritz z”l says, “Every melamed (teacher) must learn Zohar HaKadosh because it is the “Tree of Life”, and he will be able to impress upon the children a holy neshama (soul).  Whatever Torah a Rav teaches his talmidim (students) is retained in their intellect which is the essence of the true neshama.

It is also said in the name of the Baal Shem Tov that the Zohar HaKadosh brightens the soul of every Jewish person in a way that he will have strength to brighten someone else`s soul to bring him closer to Torah & Mitzvos.

When a father sends his son to a Rebbe to learn Torah, The first question that should be asked is if the Rebbe learns the Zohar HaKadosh, for if the Rebbe neglects the study of the Zohar HaKadosh, who knows what type of impression the child will receive from the Rebbe.  We know that one can not have even a little Yiras Shamayim (fear of Hashem) without the study of the Zohar HaKadosh as explained in many seforim. (Author, R`Gross Shlit``a).

A person who studies the Zohar HaKadosh with a daily  commitment of study brings upon himself the same holiness we received on Har Sinai when we received the Torah.

זוֹהַר פָּ` בְּהַעֲלֹתְךָ (דַּף קנב.) דְקָרֵי לָעוֹסְקִים בְּחָכְמַת הָאֱמֶת אִינוּן דַּהֲווּ קָיְימֵי בְּטוּרָא דְּסִינַי

Rav Yehuda Petayah z"l explains that at Mamad Har Sinai:

"וַיַּרְא הָעָם וַיָּנֻעוּ וַיַּעַמְדוּ מֵרָחֹק"

When Klal Yisrael came to Har Sinai to receive the Torah HaKedosha, it says that the the nation saw the thunder and lightning and became frightened for their lives and moved away from the mountain.

However there was a select group of Klal Yisrael that did not move one inch from their original place due to their unconditional love for Hashem.  The same is happening in our generation, where many people have decided to distance themselves from the study of the Zohar HaKadosh because they are scared that the great fire will harm them.

The Rebbe from Komarna also says, "There are many fools who run and distance themselves from learning the secrets of the Arizal and the Zohar Hakadosh which is our life necessity.  In a generation like today where there is so much heresy and tumah, we should especially be learning these seforim so that our "Yiras Shamayim" (Fear of Hashem) should preceed our wisdom.

וְאָמַר הָרַבִּי מִקָאמַארְנָא: יֵשׁ הַרְבֵּה שׁוֹטִים שֶׁבּוֹרְחִים מִלִּלְמֹד רָזִין שֶׁל מָרָן הָאַר"י וְסֵפֶר הַזוֹהַר, אֲשֶׁר הֵם חַיֵּינוּ, וְלוּ עַמִּי שׁוֹמֵעַ לִי, בְּעִקְבוֹת מְשִׁיחָא אֲשֶׁר הָרַע וְהַמִּינוּת גּוֹבֵר, הָיוּ שׁוֹקְדִים כָּל יְמֵיהֶם לִלְמוֹד סֵפֶר הַזוֹהַר וְכִּתְבֵי הָאַר"י ז"ל, בָּלוּל עִם חֲסִידוּת שֶׁל מָרָן הַבַּעֲשְׁ"ט וְהָיוּ מְבַטְּלִים כָּל גְּזֵרוֹת רָעוֹת... וְלוּ עַמִּי שׁוֹמֵעַ לִי, בַּדּוֹר הָרַע הַזֶּה שַׁהַמִינוּת גּוֹבֵר, הָיוּ לְמֵדִים עִם תִּינוֹק בֶּן תֵּשַׁע שָׁנִים סֵפֶר הַזוֹהַר וְתִּיקוּנִים וְלַהֲגוֹת בָּהּ, וְהָיָה יִרְאָתוֹ קוֹדֶמֶת לְחָכְמָתוֹ וְיִתְקַיֵים.

ה)             הַשְׁרָאַת הַשְּׁכִינָה בְּצִיוּנֵי הַצַּדִּיקִים זי"ע

It is written in the Tikunei HaZohar (Tikun 6), that Hashem lets his Shechina reside on the tombs of the tzadikim.  We should also know that when we learn the Torah of any Tanna, we connect with that Tanna.  So if we learn the Torah of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai z`l, it is like we merited to be at his tomb in Meron.

The Chazal tell us in the Gemara in Yevamos (daf 72b-77a), that Rav Elazar once went to the Beis Midrash to give over a shiur (which he heard from Rebbe Yochanan) and when he gave over the shiur, he didn’t mention that he heard it over from Rebbe Yochanan.  When R` Yochanan heard no mention of his name he was distraught.

The Gemara asks: why was Rebbe Yochanan distraught?

 The Gemara then quotes Rav Yehuda who heard from Rav: What does the pasuk mentioned in Tehilim mean?

 - “I will dwell in your tents in (both) worlds. "אָגוּרָה בְּאָהֳלְךָ עוֹלָמִים"

Is it possible for someone to live in two worlds?  The Gemara answers that David Hamelech said in front of Hashem: “Master of the Universe, it should be Your will that Klal Yisrael should say over my words in this world.”  Since Rabbi Yochanan says in the name of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai z”l, “Any Torah Scholar whose words are mentioned in this world, his lips move in his grave.”

The Gemara continues: Rav Yitzchak ben Ze’era (or Shimon Nezira) said:  “What is the meaning of the pasuk in “Song of Songs”

 "וְחִכֵּךְ כְּיֵין הַטּוֹב הוֹלֵךְ לְדוֹדִי לְמֵישָׁרִים דּוֹבֵב שִׂפְתֵי יְשֵׁנִים"

“And the roof of my mouth is like the best wine that glides down smoothly for my beloved, gently moving the lips of those that are asleep.”  Here Torah is likened to a cluster of grapes. Just as when one places his hand and touches the cluster, all the grapes move, so to Torah Scholars, as soon their words of Torah are mentioned in this world, their lips move in their graves.

Based on this Gemara, how important is it to read and learn the words of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai!  He is the author of the above-mentioned statement.  Words can not describe the importance of learning the Zohar HaKadosh.  It connects us to his neshama, and arouses his lips to talk in his grave which awakens Hashems kindness to have mercy on Klal Yisrael.

The Gemara in Succah (daf 45b) states: Chizkia says in the name of Rebbe Yirmiya who said in the name of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai z”l: “I (Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai) can exempt the entire world from judgement from the day I was born till today.  If I have my son (R’ Elazar) with me, then I could exempt the world from the day the world was created until today.  And if we had Yotam ben Uziyahu with us, we would exempt the entire world from judgement from the moment the world was created until the very last day of its existence. 

Chizkia says in the name of R’ Yirmiya who said in the name of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai: “I (Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai) have seen many Torah Scholars and they are few in number.”

If there are one thousand, my son and I are included amongst them.  If there are one hundred, my son and I are included amogst them.  If there are only two, my son and I are them.

In the Midrash Raba (Bereshis 35, 2.) Rashi comments on:

(נֹחַ פֶּרֶק ט' י"ב) "זֹאת אוֹת הַבְּרִית... לְדֹרֹת עוֹלָם".

The word “L’doros” is written missing the letter “vav” to teach us that there are some generations that did not need a sign, like the generations of Chizkia Hamelech, and of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, because they were completely righteous people.  In our generation we need to bring as much kedusha as we can so that we can be merit to greet Moshiach tzidkeinu.

In a generation like today, we can merit to such great yeshuos by studying the Zohar HaKadosh.  Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai himself will recognize the merits you have brought to the world and Hashem will rain prosperity in ruchnius and gashmius upon all of Klal Yisrael because of it.

All of the Gedolei Yisrael in all the past and present generations understood the importance of learning the Zohar HaKadosh, and how it is able to nullify terrible decrees incluiding sicknesses, poverty, death, and destruction.

The Zohar HaKadosh is a shield which protects and covers us in a shade of kedusha.  Like the Talmud Yerushalmi says:

 (יְרוּשַׁלְמִי יְבָמוֹת ע"ח) "סַכֹּתָה לְרֹאשִׁי בְּיוֹם נָשֶׁק." וּבוֹ נִצֹּל מִמִּלְחֶמֶת גּוֹג וּמָגוֹג

“You have protected my head on the day of war”, and with this merit we will be saved in the War of Gog and Magog.

It is explained in the “Tikunei Zohar” (Tikun 6 daf 24a) that when Eliyahu HaNavi revealed himself to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and the talmidim that were present while they were learning the secrets of the purpose of various souls, a heavenly voice called out, “How great is your strength and holiness, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, in this world”.  The Bas Kol (Heavenly voice) continued  to reveal a future prophecy, “How many people in this world will benefit from your writings (the Zohar HaKadosh) in this world in the last generation before Moshiach arrives. This is the generation which the pasuk alludes to:

 - “You shall call out freedom in the land.”"וּקְרָאתֶם דְּרוֹר בָּאָרֶץ".

This is an allusion to our present generation and the benefits of one who takes upon himself the study of the Zohar Hakadosh.

The sefer “Mikdash Melech” (perush on Tikunei Zohar) explains further, that anyone who learns the Zohar HaKadosh brings the geula closer, and causes a lot of  nachas ruach (great pleasure) for Hakadosh Baruch Hu.  Hashem says about such a person: “It is as if he redeemed me and my children from exile”.

כְּאִלּוּ פְּדָאַנִי לִי וּלְבָנַי מִן הַגָּלוּת וְכוּ'.

This was the decree of Hashem, that the Zohar Hakadosh should stay hidden up to the last generation where it would be revealed as a key to come out of the final galus (exile).

When Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai finished listening to this Bas Kol (Heavenly Voice), he quickly ordered Rabbi Abba to write the entire Sefer HaZohar in a hidden format that will keep it hidden until the final generation which is the closest to Moshiach’s arrival.

כְּדֵי שֶׁבִּזְכוּת הַמִּתְעַסְּקִים בּוֹ תִּצְמַח הַגְּאֻלָּה בְּיָמֵינוּ בְּעֶזְרַת הַשֵּׁם

Everything is dependent on the study of the Zohar HaKadosh, and our neglect of this study is the direct cause of the postponement of the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash.

(הַקְדָּמַת הָרַב חַיִּים וִיטַאל לְעֵץ חַיִּים).

R’ Avraham Azulai z”l writes that the study of the Zohar Hakadosh will nullify all the evil and tumah in the world.

The sefer Pri Eitz Chaim comments that it seems that the merits of those who study the Zohar HaKadosh will protect Moshiach ben Yosef from being killed by the wicked Armilus.

The Ramchal (Rav Moshe Chaim Lutzato z”l) who was fluent in the writings of the Zohar HaKadosh and authored sefer Mesilas Yesharim, did not find any other advice to nullify evil decrees from Klal Yisrael but to study the Zohar HaKadosh.

(The Vilna Gaon said that if the Ramchal was alive in his generation, he would walk by foot from Vilna to Italy to sit at his feet.)

In his Yeshiva, the Ramchal instituted a special seder of learning the Zohar HaKadosh with different groups and times, so that the learning of Zohar would be continuous all day and night without stop.  He also writes about this in a letter he sent to the Rabbis of his generation, “This is the best advice (making a continuous seder for the study of the Zohar Hakadosh)  for all congregations to save themselves from falling in the traps that our enemies set up for us.”

He continues telling the Rabbis, “Do not throw this letter (advice) behind your backs, because if I had enough power I (the Ramchal) would establish this in every single Yeshiva.  But with all respect to you the Rabbanim of the generation, take this advice and receive your own merits, because there is no greater gift you can give Klal YIsrael.  Everyone can have this seder where ever he is, as it is not so difficult to do.

אֲבָל כְּבוֹד תּוֹרַתְכֶם יִקַּח אֶת הָעֵצָה הַזֹּאת וְיִהְיֶה לוֹ לִזְכוּת כִּי אֵין כָּמוֹהָ לְטוֹבָה לְכָל יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְכָל אֶחָד בִּמְקוֹמוֹ יָכוֹל לַעֲשׂוֹתוֹ כִּי לֹא דָּבָר קָשֶׁה הוּא כְּלָל".

The study of the Zohar HaKadosh and sod was especially strong by the students of the Ba’al Shem Tov z”l.  Like we find by Rebbe Yitzchak Eizik Mezidichov who testified about himself that he studied the sefer Pri Eitz Chaim one hundred and one times.

The sefer Degel Machaneh Efraim comments on Parshas Shemini on the pasuk “Darosh Darush Moshe…Ve’Hinei Saraf”, that every generation has a person who is the same essence (bechina) of Moshe Rabeinu who will explain (Da’rosh) what Moshe already explained (Da’rash).  This was Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, who compiled the Sefer HaZohar.  This learning will cause “Ve’Hinei Saraf”, all the tumah will be burned and destroyed.

The Sefer “Or Yesharim” states:

Before the arrival of Moshiach, there will be a powerful force of hypocracy and disbelief of Hashem.  One advice to overcome this force is to be careful to read the Zohar Hakadosh every day, even if you do npt understand what you are reading because just by saying the holy words from the Zohar HaKadosh, your heart will be come purified.

We also see that the Arizal himself (Sha’ar Ruach Hakodesh daf 12) once told R’ Avraham Ha’Levy that he should learn Zohar in (bekius) every day without going into too much depth forty or fifty pages, and that he should read the Zohar HaKadosh as much as possible.

In the sefer Shivchei HaAri he writes that the Arizal gave a tikun for a Ba’al Teshuva to read ten pages from the Zohar HaKadosh even without any understanding.

The Chida (Rav Chaim Yosef David Azulai z”l) also brings down in the name of the Arizal that a tikun was given to another Ba’al Teshuva to read five pages of the Zohar HaKadosh every day.

The Rav HaGaon of Komarna also wrote the same in his sefer Netiv Mitzvosecha (Shvil 1, 31), and that Rav Tzvi Hirsch of Zidichov had the custom to read the Zohar HaKadosh every day.

Rabbi Pinchas of Koretz writes in sefer Imrei Pinchas (1, 264) that one should read two or three pages every day.

One may ask himself that if he does not understand what he is saying, what is the point of reading it?  The Chida already addressed this concern in his sefer Moreh Ba’Etzbah (Ot 44):The study of the Zohar HaKadosh is more significant than any other study.  Even if one does not understand what he is reading, and even if he mispronounces the words, he has gained a great benefit for his neshama (soul).”

Rabbi Yackov Tzemach z”l also writes about this importance in his sefer Lechem Min HaShamayim.

The Ramak (Rav Moshe Cordovero) also writes that the reason the Sefer HaZohar is called the Zohar is because one who studies it shines because of the kedusha he receives from Hashem.  Through this kedusha, one is able to perceive holiness and be conscious of a Creator, thereby giving him the ability to fear Hashem.

The Shla HaKadosh (Shnei Luchos Habris) writes that one who has not tasted the taste of the Zohar HaKadosh has not tasted the taste of Yiras Cheis (Fear of sin), and ultimately fear of Hashem.

Rabbi Yaakov Tzemach z”l (one of the students of the Arizal) writes in his preface to Kol Berama, that the pasuk says:

 - Rachel (The Shechina) is cryingרָחֵל מְבַכָּה עַל בָּנֶיהָ

over her children, because they are not studying the Zohar HaKadosh, which hastens the redemption. Hashem would console her by saying:

אָז מִנְעִי קוֹלֵךָ מִבֶּכִי וְעֵינֶיךָ מִדִּמְעָה

“Then she should stop her voice from crying and her eyes from tearing.”

Since the redemption of Klal Yisrael is dependent on the study of the Zohar HaKadosh and the secrets of Torah, and “her children” (Klal Yisrael) are not studying it, except for a select few like one or two people in every city, because there is no kevius (commitment of a daily seder) in most yeshiva and shuls like we have with the study of Gemara.

ו)             כָּל תְּמִימֵי דֶּרֶךְ הוֹלְכִים בְּתוֹרַת הַזוֹהַר וּמַאֲמִינִים בּוֹ

We have a tradition passed down to us from the Vilna Gaon z”l, that we should never think, chas v’shalom, that the Zohar HaKadosh argues with the actual Halachic rulings (like the Tur / Shulchan Aruch). If we see an argument known today as “pshat vs. Zohar”, the reason is that the Acharonim have not reached the depths of the secret meaning of the Halacha.

The Vilna Gaon was zocheh in his lifetime to write many chidushei Torah and seforim on the entire Tanach, Shas, Shulchan Aruch, Sefer HaZohar, and Sifra DeTzniusa.

The Vilna Gaon also writes in sefer Even Shleima (Chelek 24) that whatever Torah a baby learned in his mother’s womb is the Torah he is obligated to study.  If one was able to understand the secrets of the Torah and he did not apply enough effort to study them, he will need to go through a harsh judgement.

 As we mentioned before, the inner secrets of the Torah (sodos) are the lifesource for the inner soul of one’s self.  The surface explanation of the Torah (pshatim) are the lifesource for the exterior of one’s self.  

The Vilna Gaon says that if one studies the secrets of the Torah, the Yetzer Hara can’t cause him to sin.

(אֶבֶן שְׁלֵמָה פֶּרֶק ח' אוֹת כ"ו).

Rav Shlomo Bloch z”l said over in the name of his Rebbe the Chafetz Chaim z”l, “Learning the Zohar HaKadosh has no boundaries, as most of it is Midrashim.”  The Chofetz Chaim strongly recommended that all the talmidim should learn the parsha of the week every Shabbos, and even to the young talmidim.

(ר' יוֹסֵף בֶּן שְׁלֹמֹה מִפּוֹזִ’ין, הוֹסָפוֹת בִּנְיַן יוֹסֵף).

The Chazon Ish z”l taught his talmidim to learn the Sefer HaZohar as a mussar sefer.  He learned it himself with his nephew Reb Shmaryahu Greenman z”l.

On one occasion, the Chazon Ish realized that there were different sugyas in the Zohar which were more complicated than the most complicated sugyas in all of Shas.  He would then explain this is why this knowledge is called Kabbala, from the meaning of ‘handed down’, that to understand the depths of this knowledge it must be handed down Rebbe to Talmid until Eliyahu HaNavi or handed down directly from Eliyahu HaNavi to the Talmid.

In the sefer Maseh Ish (Stories about the Chazon Ish) it is written in his name that the vocabulary of the Zohar HaKadosh awakens a person more than any other vocabulary in all of Chazal.

Rav Shmuel HaLevi Vozner Shlit”a once asked the Chazon Ish if one is permitted to learn the Zohar HaKadosh if he has not reached the proper level of Torah knowledge.  He replied, “If he is studying to attain knowledge of spiritual realms etc, it is prohibited, but if it is to achieve fear of Hashem, its is permissible and he is commanded to do so, as there is no greater collection of the words of Chazal more inspirational than the words of the Zohar HaKadosh”.

Rav Shmuel Halevi Vozner Shlita once visted the Chazon Ish and noticed a Sefer HaZohar, in which pages were falling apart, on the desk of the Chazon Ish.  Rav Vosner said to Chazon Ish, “It seems like this Sefer (The Zohar HaKadosh) is being learned very frequently.”  The Chazon Ish’s holy face lit up with a beautiful smile.

Rav Vosner then asked the Chazon Ish, “Who was the Vilna Gaon’s Rebbe in Kabbala?”  The Chazon Ish answered, “Is Eliyahu HaNavi not a good enough Rebbe?” 

The Chazon Ish concluded by saying that, “If all the Chasidim in his generation knew the power and greatness of his understanding in the Zohar HaKadosh and other sifrei Kabbala, there would not have been such a big difference of heart between the Chasidim like we see today.

In today’s generation we have merited that the promise of R’ Shimon bar Yochai has been fullfiled through Eliyahu HaNavi,  that in the final generation, all Jews will unite with the learning of the Zohar HaKadosh.

Sefaradim, Ashkenazim, Chasidim, and Litvaks, will all unite to listen to the fiery words of Hashem which have been passed down through all the Gedolei Yisrael, from the Arizal and his students, the Ramchal, The Vilna Gaon and his students, The Baal Shem Tov and his students, the Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh, The Chida, The Ben Ish Chai and his students, Rabbi Yisrael Salanter, The Chofetz Chaim, The Chazon Ish, and all the other Gedolim that we have not mentioned who learned the Zohar HaKadosh with love and happiness.

ז)             אֵין לְאָדָם לְהִפָּטֵר מֵעֵסֶק חַכְמַת הַקַּבָּלָה בְּשׁוּם אוֹפָן וְהוּא עִקַּר תּוֹרַת יִשְׂרָאֵל

The Bnei Yissachar writes in his sefer Ma’ayan Ganim (Perek 1) “In regards to one’s response to learning the “True Knowledge” (Zohar HaKadosh, etc.) even though he has not yet reached the level in kedusha (holiness) where he is fit to stand in the palace of Hashem, he has nevertheless not entirely exempted himself from the study, because it is his life source, and the only guarantee of soul’s success.”

How beautiful it can be if one applies both together, like learning a sugya in the Gemara according to the secrets of Torah.

מַה טוֹב וּמַה נָעִים שֶׁבֶת אַחִים גַּם יָחַד

He continues, “A person is not allowed to completely exempt himself from the study of the nistar (Kabbalah) under any circumstance.  This is the most important element of Torah, which Hashem revealed to us over any other nation in the world.”

וְאֵין לְאָדָם לְהִפָּטֵר מֵעֵסֶק חָכְמַת הַקַּבָּלָה בְּשׁוּם אֹפֶן, וְהוּא עִקַּר תּוֹרַת   יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר הַשֵּׁם יִתְבָּרַךְ הִגִּיד דְּבָרָיו לְיַעֲקֹב חֻקָּיו וּמִשְׁפָּטָיו לְיִשְׂרָאֵל

The Bnei Yissachar continues to say: “We would have been better off today had the Gedolei Yisrael not been lax with the study of the Zohar HaKadosh. On the contrary, if we would have taught our students Chochmas HaEmes, then for sure there would be no desire for them to seek other mundane knowledges because there is no comparison between the two. 

However, due to our sins, many righteous leaders of our generation have closed the doors to this room of knowledge from our Torah Scholars by saying that they should not study this knowledge until they reach overwhelming heights of kedusha and Ruach Hakodesh.  Due to this claim, many Torah Scholars have remained bare from such wealthy knowledge and have turned to other sources of mundane knowledge.”

Hopefully in our days will be see a fulfillment of the pasuk:

וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים יְהִי אוֹר וַיָּאֶר לָנוּ. אָכֵּיְ"רָ.

“And Hashem said “Let there be light.” So we will have clarity.

It is brought down in sefer Sha’ar Yissachar (Ma’amar Gal Einai 18) that the pasuk says “Praiseworthy is the nation who learn (Torah).”

אַשְׁרֵי הָעָם לוֹמְדֶךָ וְאַשְׁרֵי הָעוֹמְדִים עַל סוֹדֶךָ

At a first glance, the words do not seem to make sense.  Since the people we are praising are those who learn the secrets of the Torah, why then does the pasuk reference them as “HaAm” which is not a respected title for Torah Scholars?  From here we can clearly see that in the end of days, in the final generation which will merit to greet Moshiach tzedkeinu, even a simpleton “Ha’am” which may not have all the qualifications of a regular Torah Scholar, he will also come closer to this Chochmas HaEmes, because the geula of Klal Yisrael is dependent on this study.

We will conclude with the words of the “Kaf Ha’Chaim” (Siman 25 sk 75) who writes in the name of Ha’Rav Maset Binyamin z”l,

“The second approach is always to go after the majority in number and significance.

לֵילֵךְ אַחַר רוֹב בִּנְיָן וּמִנְיָן

After the end of the Talmudic Era, we know that the Zohar HaKadosh is considered greater than all the seforim written.  If we take all the seforim written after the Talmud and place them on one side of the scale, and we place the Zohar HaKadosh on the other side, The Zohar HaKadosh will weigh them down.  Here we have greater in number and significance. Except for the psak halacha of the Beis Yosef, we always follow the Zohar HaKadosh against all other authors.

Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai – has the numerical value of 915

 - 915"רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן בַּר יוֹחַאי"

 - Hashem shall guard you =915בַּגִּימַטְרִיָּה: - יִשְׁמָרְךָ הַשֵּׁם  

 - The War of Edom and Parasבַּגִּימַטְרִיָּה - מִלְחֶמֶת אֱדוֹם וּפָרָס

Through the study of the Zohar HaKadosh Hashem will watch over us and save us from the War of Gog and Magog.

ח)             "בִּזְכוּתְךָ הִגַּעְתִּי!, לְךָ יֵשׁ חֵלֶק בִּגְאֻלַּת הָעָם!"

There was once a Tzaddik who proclaimed, “When Moshiach comes, all of Klal Yisrael will gather to see him.  Everyone will be happy and joyous of the momentus occasion.  Then Melech HaMoshiach will glance at every person standing around him, and will know his entire essence by a single glance with his holy eyes.  He will then raise his hands and point to a specific individual and raise his voice and say, ‘I have come because of your merits, You have a portion in the redemption of the Jewish nation”.  This what Melech HaMoshiach will do for every single Jew who played a significant role in bringing the geula closer.

Therefore, let us all dedicate time of Torah study to Hashem so that we can all together greet the Moshiach Tzidkeinu soon in our days. Amen V’Amen.

וּבִּשְׂכַר זֹאת אֵ-ל חַי חֶלְקֵינוּ, וְנָחָה עָלָיו רוּחַ ה' צוּרֵנוּ מָגִינֵינוּ, יִגָּלֶה כְּבוֹד מַלְכוּתְךָ עָלֵינוּ, וְאָז יִשְׂמַח לִבֵּנוּ, וְתָגֵל נַפְשֵׁנוּ, בִּישׁוּעַת מַלְכֵּינוּ, אָמֵן כֵּן יִהְיֶה רָצוֹן.