Thoughts from Kollel KLAL


The passuk states by ma’aser sheni, “למען תלמד ליראה את ה’ אלוהיך כל הימים, in order to fear Hashem your G-d all the days.” Tosfos brings the Sifrei: maaser sheni is so great that it brought people to learning Torah. While a person was standing in Yerushalayim until he ate his maaser sheni, he would perceive all of Yisrael involved in m’leches Shamayim, and avodah. He too would be directed towards yiras Shamayim and his heart was drawn to learn Torah.

The passuk states in Yishayahu, “מלאתי משפט.” The Eicha Raba brings b’shem Rebi Pinchas: there were 480 Batei Knesios in Yerushalayim besides for the Bais HaMikdash as the gematria of the word מלאתי, which equals 481. Each one of them had a Bais Sefer for Mikra and a Bais HaTalmid for Mishnah. The Vilna Gaon says, whoever ascended to Yerushalayim to eat maaser sheni would see the Kohanim doing their avodah, the Levi’im singing shira, Yisrael learning and delving into Torah; as there were 481 Batei Midrashos in Yerushalayim. The visitors would then throw their parnasa over their shoulder; leave it, and they too would sit down to learn. This is hinted in the words in Shir HaShirim, “אל יחסר המזג” which means, “the dilution was not missing.” All different types of people joined together to learn; even the businessmen, since were inspired by the sweet sound of Torah by the myriads of people in Yerushalayim which changed their mindset. Says Rav Brevda zatzal, one who walked through the streets of Yerushalayim heard the sound of Torah from all sides and was sponged with Torah. They experienced a tremendous uplifting spiritual inspiration by simply coming to Yerushalayim to eat maaser sheni.

In Parshas V’zos Habracha it states “עמים הר יקראו שם יזבחו זבחי צדק.” Rashi explains, “the nations will be called to gather together to Har HaMoriah, there they will slaughter righteous slaughter.” Non-Jewish merchants came to Zevulun’s land to trade wares, and stood by the border. They said, “Once we bothered ourselves to come this far, let’s go all the way to Yerushalayim and see the Fear of the Jews and what its nation does.” They came and saw all of Yisrael serving one G-d and eating one food. The non-Jews are different; they each have different idols which they worship, and different foods. Then they say to themselves, “There is no more fitting nation than this,” and they convert to Judaism. They will slaughter זבחי צדק, sacrifices of converts. The non-Jewish merchants also recognized Hashem’s true existence by seeing everyone serving and davening to One Source. They too were inspired and influenced to convert and join Klal Yisrael.

Rav Brevda says, many of the people who ascended to the Har HaBayis were obligated to bring korbanos. Those who sinned, were now confessing, repenting, and striving to return and come close to Hashem. Others who came to bring a thanksgiving korban came close to express thanks and appreciation to Hashem for healing him, or going through the sea or desert, or be saved from imprisonment. Onlookers noticed and felt the fear of Hashem, and were reawakened to the forgotten truth. It left an impression to strengthen themselves to return to the truth. Before people slaughtered their karbon they leaned on the animal and confessed their sins. Imagine watching people leaning on their animals and confessing, pouring out their whole heart before Hashem their creator. Even the stone-hearted people would melt when they would see this. There was tremendous enthusiasm to check into their ways and return with complete teshuva to Hashem.

May we be zoche to bring maaser sheni to Yerushalayim, and be inspired just by being there.

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