Friday, September 27, 2019

Shera Shimshon - Nitzavim

Zera Shimshon - Nitzavim

Life and death, I have placed before you, and you shall chose life (30:19)

The Zera Shimshon explains this passuk by first explaining the following mishna.

The mishna says (Avos 3:18), He (Rabbi Akiva) used to say, "everything is given as collateral, and a net is spread over all the living. The store is open and the storeowner extends credit etc."

The Zera Shimshon prefaces his explanation with the following introduction.

Originally, all the souls of the Jewish nation were grouped together in the all-inclusive soul of Adam Harishon. 

After the first sin, many of these souls fell into the clutches of the impurity. This is the true meaning of 'Galus Hashechina', the exile of Hashem's divine presence since the souls of the Jewish nation are a part of Hashem.

 By fulfilling the Mitzva of having children with the proper intentions, these souls are extracted from the hold of the forces of impurity. The more one sanctifies himself while fulfilling this mitzva, the holier the soul is that he takes out from the side of the impure. This is why towards the end of time, when people are
removed from holiness, as a result of their impure intentions, the generations become more and more brazen.

Never one to rest, the side of the impure works exceedingly hard to contaminate the holiest souls so that they remain captive. By doing so, the forces of impurity are empowered by fueling themselves with the capture holiness of these great souls.

In Shaar Hagilgulim (§27, 38), the Arizal explains that for this, the forces of evil will be punished, the same way the Egyptians were overly zealous about fulfilling Hashem's decree of enslaving the Jews and it was for that reason that they were destroyed, the forces of impurity as well are only supposed to hold these souls as deposits, not contaminate them to further hold them captive.

This is what is hinted to in the mishna.
 "Everything is given as collateral," 
the souls that fell to the impurity are only there are collateral. They do not belong to the forces of evil to contaminate them. 

The mishna continues,
 "and a net is spread over all the living,"
 here, the mishna is saying that although before the souls come to this world the forces that hold them may not contaminate them, however, once they come to this world as living people, the forces of impurity have the right to try and ensnare them by making fall to sin, as the passuk says,
 "Life and death, I have placed before you, and you shall chose life."

Given that the forces of evil are undoubtedly much stronger that mere humans, the mishna reassures us with the following, 
"the store is open,"
 This, the Zera Shimshon explains to mean that Hashem does not allow these forces to cause a person to sin against his will, they are only allowed to place temptation in front of a person and he has to chose to either sin or hold himself back. The same way a store displays its merchandise to the passersby, trying to get them inside to buy something, but in the end the choice is entirely in the hands of the passerby to decide if he will walk in and buy something or not.

The mishna continues,
 "the storeowner extends credit."
 This is the tactic of the Yetzer Hara, trying to get one to sin by attempting to convince him that Hashem extends credit and will not punish him for these sins.

This is the "death" that the passuk says is placed in front of a person - these deceiving tactics of the Yetzer Hara.

 On the other hand, the Yetzer Tov places "life" in front of the person by placing mitzvos in front of him and countering the claims of the Yetzer Hara. 

It remains for the individual to 'chose life'.

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