October 21st, 2017

1st of Heshvan 5778


The world exists in unity

Rabbi David Hanania Pinto

“And he sent forth the raven, and it went out, back and forth until the waters dried up off the earth” (Bereishit 8:7)

It is brought in the parashah that when Noach noticed that the flood had ceased and the ark was resting on the Ararat mountains, he sent the raven to check the level of the water in the world, whether it was possible to leave the ark. Rashi explains that the words “and it went out, back and forth:” Going and encircling around the ark, but it did not go to fulfill its errand because it [the raven] suspected him [Noach] concerning its mate. The raven feared that it may die on its mission, and then what would become of its mate? Since Hashem left in the world a pair of each unclean species, so if the male raven would desert the female mate then the female would be liable to behave corruptly and mate with a different species. Therefore, the raven refused to fulfill the mission that Noach sent him to perform.

When Noach noticed that the raven refused to go out on its mission, he returned it to the ark and sent the dove in its place. Furthermore, Hashem supported the raven’s argument and told Noach that the raven was destined for a different mission – during the drought in the time of Eliyahu Hanavi.

Actually, we need to understand why Noach did not wait for Hashem to give him a sign that he could leave the ark, but sent the raven to check if the waters had receded. In addition, why even after Hashem defended the raven and supported his argument not to go on its mission, Noach was not reassured and sent the dove instead. Similarly, the saintly Admor of Sanz, zt”l, asks why the raven had to fulfill his mission instead in the days of Eliyahu. Why couldn’t the raven simply fulfill both missions?

It seems to me that these questions are resolved through the words stated about Choni Hama’agel: Either companionship or death (Ta’anit 23a). After Choni Hama’agel awoke from a slumber of seventy years and the people did not recognize him and thought he had died, he wished to die. Since a person’s existence in the world without a close friend is akin to death, he wished to die, so that he would not to be like a dead man among the living. This signifies that learning with a companion enriches a person’s mind and gives him vitality. One cannot compare learning in solitude to studying with a companion, because when one learns with others, each person raises his questions and stimulates discussion, thus clarifying the issue.

My master and teacher, Rabbi Betzalel Rakow, zt”l, brings in his sefer regarding the words of Chazal in Pirkei Avot, “Develop many disciples” (Avot 1:1) that this does not refer to the quantity of students; that one must increase their numbers, but explains that every Rabbi must make his students great and elevate them personally, so that they should be filled with Torah, fear of Heaven and virtues, etc.

The advantage of learning with a companion is immeasurably great, since apart from the fact that it raises and elevates him, it also leads to unity and bonding between the friends. In the time of the Generation of the Dispersion, the people behaved with love and friendship among themselves, but their intentions were evil. Yet, although they their purpose was to wage war against Hashem, they succeeded in their endeavors, because there was fraternity and comradeship. What did Hashem do? Hashem confused their language, and without basic communication between them, they immediately became divided and could not succeed in their project.

Noach knew that the Flood would come to the world because all the people had become corrupt, and they were not united in friendship. When one person had an object that his fellow desired, it did not take long for his fellow to steal it for himself. They were used to embezzling and robbing each other on a daily basis, as it is stated, “And the earth became full of robbery” (Bereishit 6:11), and so there was no unity in the world.

We may explain that the word “oreiv – raven” is from the root word “arvut – guarantor,” as Chazal say (Shevuot 39a) “All Israel are responsible one for another!” This is why Noach wanted to send the raven, whose name alludes to the responsibility between man and his fellow, and he did not wait for a signal from Hashem to do so, since he wished to teach the world that only through mutual responsibility and unity the world could exist. In the absence of unity, a Flood would come to destroy the entire universe. But, the raven was unable to fulfill this mission because it feared for the fate of its mate. The raven knew that the Flood came to the world because all mankind had become corrupt, and therefore it wished to stay alive and not risk its life in the mission that Noach was sending him on, so that its partner would not mate with another species and thus the world would be ruined. Therefore, even Hashem intervened in favor of the raven and proposed a different mission, since Hashem knew that that the raven meant well.

This also answers the question of the Admor of Sanz, zt”l of why the raven couldn’t fulfill both missions. Really the raven could have completed both missions, but since it feared that it may die, and as a result its partner would corrupt its ways and then the world would cease to exist, it refused to go on Noach’s mission. It is amazing that the animals and livestock and birds that were in the ark knew why the world was destroyed, and under which conditions it could continue to exist, while Cham, Noach’s son, behaved corruptly even during the Flood, while he was in the ark.

Noach did not suffice with his attempt to send the raven, and when he saw that he did not succeed in conveying a message of mutual responsibility and unity through the raven, he sent the dove, symbolizing Knesset Yisroel, who are compared to a dove. “Knesset” is also a derivative of the word “kinus – assembly” and unity. It is also well-known that the dove is a symbol of peace and unity.

Walking in Their Ways

The Gift of Recovery

R’ Moshe Gopas of Mexico, may he live long, always hosts me with utmost kindness. On one such visit, he particularly went out of his way, above and beyond the norm, in order to make my stay as comfortable as possible.

Before leaving his home, I felt compelled to leave him a gift, in thanks for the wonderful hachnasat orchim which I was privileged to experience in his home. But what could I offer him? Anything I would give would be a drop in the bucket, nothing compared to the kindness I had received. I therefore turned to Hashem and asked Him to give me a good idea for how to repay my host.

That very night, I had a dream. Father, zy”a, appeared to me and said, “There is one invaluable gift which you can give your host. His daughter has developed a serious intestinal disorder. She must be operated on immediately. But her father is not yet aware of this illness. Go and inform him about it, so that her life can be saved.”

When I awoke in the morning, I clearly remembered my dream, but I was reluctant to reveal it to R’ Gopas. Dreams are often figments of the imagination. Maybe it was just nonsense. I kept the entire matter to myself.

Later in the day, a meeting of rabbanim took place at the home of R’ Gopas. Suddenly, I felt a strong obligation to reveal my dream immediately. I realized that if it was discovered that the girl was deathly ill and I had kept this knowledge from them, I would never forgive myself. Even if it would turn out to be nothing at all, what did I have to lose? No harm would come from her father bringing her to the hospital on a false alarm.

I called aside R’ Gopas and instructed him, “Bring your daughter immediately to the emergency room.” I then related the details of my dream. He heard the urgency in my voice, and hurried his daughter to the hospital. Approximately one hour later, he called me up. “Rabbi David!” he began, his voice laden with emotion. “Your dream was 100% true! Had I waited any longer, my daughter’s life would have been in grave danger! The doctors wheeled her into the operating room right away and are now attempting to save her life.”

The next morning, Baruch Hashem, the girl opened her eyes, and her father thanked me profusely. “Honored Rav,” he started, in a tear-choked voice, “You saved my daughter’s life. This is the greatest gift you could have given me.”

Words of Our Sages

How does a tzaddik annul harsh decrees?

“You shall make a skylight for the ark” (Bereishit 6:16)

The sefer “Toldot Yakov Yosef” quotes his teacher, the holy Ba’al Shem Tov, zy”a, revealing the secret of how a tzaddik annuls harsh decrees.

Really, how can a tzaddik annul Hashem’s decree? This is because the sentence is formed by a combination of letters, and the tzaddik can rearrange these letters, through his prayers and righteousness. For example, the letters “צרה” (trouble) can be rearranged to read “רצה” (grace) by moving the first two letters around.

This is what Chazal say (Sanhedrin 44b): Rabbi Eliezer said: לעולם יקדים אדם תפילה לצרה – One should always offer up prayer before misfortune comes. Through prayers the second letter precedes the first, transforming trouble (צרה) into grace (רצה).

According to this principle, he explains the words of the pasuk. Hashem revealed this secret to Noach, who was the tzaddik of the generation, so that he could mitigate the harshness of the judgment through rearranging the letters. He could transform צרה (trouble) to צהר (skylight). This is as it is stated “צֹ֣הַר | תַּֽעֲשֶׂ֣ה לַתֵּבָ֗ה – You shall make a skylight for the ark” – implying that he should form from the “taiva - ark,” (which can also mean “letter,”) the word צהר (skylight), instead of צרה (trouble). 

In the same vein, the saintly Admor Rabbi Shimon of Yaroslav explains the pasuk in Tehillim (33:18): הִנֵּ֚ה עֵ֣ין יְ֖הֹוָה אֶל־יְרֵאָ֑יו לַֽמְיַֽחֲלִ֥ים לְחַסְדּֽו לְהַצִּ֣יל מִמָּ֣וֶת נַפְשָׁ֑ם וּלְחַיּוֹתָ֥ם בָּֽרָעָֽבֹ – Behold the Eye of the L-rd is to those who fear Him, to those who hope for His kindness to rescue their soul from death and to sustain them in famine. The words “הִנֵּ֚ה עֵ֣ין יְ֖הֹוָה אֶל־יְרֵאָ֑יו – Behold the Eye of the L-rd is to those who fear Him” signifies that Hashem gives the letter (עין) “ayin” to those who fear him; namely the tzaddikim, so that they should add it to the word (מות) “death” and by doing so they will created the word “מעות” (money). Also from “רעב” (hunger), Hashem removes the letter “ayin” and thus the two words are formed: “מעות רב ma’ot rav – a lot of money”. In this way the harshness of the death sentence is mitigated, and the person is granted both life and livelihood, as the continuation of the pasuk implies: “To rescue their soul from death and to sustain them in famine.”

Guard Your Tongue

He deserves to be thrown to the dogs

Chazal say: Lashon hara causes death to three: the one who speaks it; the one who accepts it; and the one who is spoken about; but the sin of the one who accepts it is greater than the one who speaks it.

Also Chazal say that anyone who speaks lashon hara and accepts lashon hara deserves to be thrown to the dogs, as it is stated, “You shall not accept a false report,” and following this it is stated, “You shall throw it to the dog[s].”

The Haftarah

“So says the L-rd, ‘The heavens are My throne’” (Yeshayahu 66)

The connection to the parashah: Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan falls on this Shabbat. This is the connection to the pasuk mentioned in the haftarah: “And it shall be from new moon to new moon and from Sabbath to Sabbath, that all flesh shall come to prostrate themselves before Me,” which is discussing the current event of Rosh Chodesh.

Chazak U’Baruch

Prayers and actions

Three times a day we stand in the Beit Haknesset and ask in our prayers:

“May you rest within it, [Yerushalayim] as You have spoken.”

“The offspring of Your servant David may You speedily cause to flourish.”

“And restore the service to the Holy of Holies of Your Beit Hamikdash.”

Also in Birkat Hamazon we beg every day: “Rebuild Yerushalayim, the Holy City, soon in our days.” This is besides for the Mussaf prayer that we pray on Shabbat, chagim, and on Rosh Chodesh, which deals entirely with our supplication for the building of the Beit Hamikdash and restoring the service in the Beit Hamidash properly.

Thus, we see that the building of the Beit Hamikdash depends to a great extent upon our deeds! It turns out that the restoration of the service in the Beit Hamikdash depends on us! In order that we merit seeing the House of Hashem standing properly; so that we may see our Kohanim in their service and the Levi’im in their song and music, we must do something: we must uproot baseless hatred, which caused the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash, and instead advance love for our brethren.

Ultimately, when we will stand, after a hundred and twenty years, before the Heavenly Court and give account for all our actions – most certainly we will be asked: “Did you await the Redemption?” After all, this is one of the questions that a person will be asked when he stands before the Heavenly trial, as is explained in the Gemara (Shabbat 31a). What will we answer?

Undoubtedly, we will answer that certainly we awaited the Redemption! “Three times a day we prayed for Redemption; we shed tears like water during the Mussaf prayers, and our hearts were full of yearning and longing for the great day when our Father in Heaven would return His Shechinah to reside amongst us,” we will confidently assert.

But then they will ask us from Heaven: “True, you prayed for it. But, what about your actions? Did you do anything to advance the Redemption, in order to build the Beit Hamikdash?”

Surely, we will be surprised and taken aback: “What could we have done? Is the building of the Third Beit Hamikdash in our hands? Will it not descend in the future through a fire from Heaven? Besides for our prayers, there was nothing we could do!” we will claim. But the Heavenly Court will not accept this argument.

They will explain to us that we could have done a lot in order to expedite the Redemption. We could have accomplished great achievements in building the House of Hashem. If only we would have removed baseless hatred from our midst; if only we would have instilled brotherly love in our hearts for our brethren – it is possible that the Redemption would have come long ago, and the Beit Hamikdash would be standing in its place, and the wonderful things that we long for would have materialized.

Then we may be accused for causing a terrible desecration of Hashem’s Name for each added day of exile, which we could have averted by our deeds. We would be charged for all the troubles and suffering and rivers of tears that plague the Jewish people every day that the Redemption is delayed!

What will we say? How will we face this?


Rabbi David Hanania Pinto

“Noach was a righteous man he was perfect in his generations” (Bereishit 6:9)

Rashi explains: Some of our Sages interpret it [the word בְּדֹרֹתָיו – in his generation] favorably: How much more so if he had lived in a generation of righteous people, he would have been even more righteous. Others interpret it derogatorily: In comparison with his generation he was righteous, but if he had been in Avraham’s generation, he would not have been considered of any importance.

Nevertheless, how can we interpret it derogatorily; that if he had been living in a different generation, he would be considered less of a tzaddik. Ultimately he was a great tzaddik, and as explained in the Midrash, he was busy for 120 years building the ark, and he did not pay attention to the heresy of his neighbors who would mock him and scorn him. He held on to his faith with tremendous devotion and continued with the construction of the ark. So how can we explain this in a derogatory way? But moreover, the entire Deluge is referred to Noach, as it is stated, “the waters of Noach” (Yeshayahu 54:9), which implies that supposedly Noach could have prevented the Flood, and because he did not do so, the Flood is called in his name.

From this we learn an important principle in the service of Hashem. Although Hashem does not charge His creatures, but Hashem wants man to do everything he can, and utilize his abilities, and not waste them, since man was created with skills so that he could serve Hashem with them. If so, he must utilize all these skills in the service of Hashem, and this was the accusation against Noach.

It was expected of him to rise and lead all the people to do teshuvah, and try to influence them with his great skills. Also, he should have prostrated himself before Hashem and beg Him in prayer to spare the people of his generation from the Flood and forgive them for their sins. This is what Noach is blamed for, since really he was a great man and he possessed the skills  of a great man. Consequently, he should have made an effort to influence his brethren. But, because he did not do enough to save his generation, and he did not utilize his skills, he is blamed and it is considered as if the Flood came because of him, and the Flood is called in his name, “the waters of Noach.”

Men of Faith

Absolutely Impossible

On one of the days of the hilula of Rabbi Chaim Hagadol, a woman came and told this amazing story:

A year earlier, she encountered a serious problem in her eyes, which could cause her to eventually become blind. She visited a top ophthalmologist, who told her that he suspected that she was suffering from a particular medical problem, which could be remedied only through surgery.

The woman was extremely alarmed and decided to go to Moreinu, Rabbi David Pinto, in order to receive a blessing. Rabbi David told her to begin observing mitzvot, and in this way the merit of the tzaddik Rabbi Chaim would protect her, and she would be healed.

She followed his suggestion and began to scrupulously observe the Torah and mitzvot, believing in the merit of the tzaddik with all her heart. On the day of her surgery, the doctor ordered preliminary testing. The unbelievable occurred. The tests confirmed that she did not require surgery. This was something extraordinary and absolutely impossible under normal circumstances.

Rabbi David declared, “We see from this that Hashem can change the order of nature. All troubles come upon a person only to bring him to do teshuvah. When he ultimately does teshuvah, Hashem removes his troubles and suffering from him in a way that is beyond the laws of nature.”

The Merit of Tefillin

There was a man from New York who was on the brink of turning blind. The doctors did not know how to assist him with the medical crisis which he faced. Therefore, he came to Moreinu v’Rabbeinu to receive his blessings.

When he was asked if he put on tefillin regularly, he replied in the negative, “No, I do not lay tefillin at all.”

Moreinu v’Rabbeinu advised, “Begin putting on tefillin every day, and thus the merit of Rabbi Chaim Pinto will protect you and heal you entirely.”

Later on, the man recounted that indeed, from the day that he began to lay tefillin, his vision began to improve. He saw better and better each day, until he was able to see normally.

When he returned to the doctors for follow-up examinations, they could not understand what had happened. “Which doctor treated you?” they asked him. “Under normal circumstances you should have remained blind.”

His response to the doctors surprised them no less: “The merit of laying tefillin, which Rabbi Pinto ordered me to do each day is what healed me.”

Food For Thought

Expressing pain accurately

“And G-d said to Noach: The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth has become full of robbery” (Bereishit 6:13)

In the sefer “Chaim Sheyeish Bahem” the following is told about the Admor Rabbi Shem of Kalushitz, zt”l, who used to go every night to immerse himself in the Mikveh before starting his learning session. One night, the Rebbe noticed that his attendant had fallen asleep on duty, and so he decided to go to the Mikveh alone.

On his way, still deep in thoughts, he tripped on something and fell, breaking one of his ribs. For many days the Rebbe lay in his bed, writhing in terrible agony, but not a single sigh escaped his throat!

When he was asked how he could restrain himself, he replied that he was afraid because of the words of Rabbi Pinchas of Koritz, who said that a person who sighs beyond what is appropriate for his pain, transgresses slightly the prohibition of falsehood…

If so, then perhaps we can explain that the sin of those who were robbed and plundered during the generation of the Flood was that their cries were beyond what was appropriate to express their pain, and thus they sinned through falsehood…


Hevrat Pinto • 32, rue du Plateau 75019 Paris - FRANCE • Tél. : +331 42 08 25 40 • Fax : +331 42 06 00 33 • © 2015 • Webmaster : Hanania Soussan