Divrei Torah
MISHPATIM 5780
Divrei Torah from Shaya Gross z'l

[Editor’s note: As a memory of my beloved brother Shaya, I would like to continue sending
out his pearls of wisdom that he has shared with all of you in the past. For some of you
this may ring a bell and for others it may appear to be totally new. May the learning of
Shaya’s Divrei Torah inspire us to change our ways and thereby give an Aliya to the
neshama of our dear beloved Shaya whom we miss so much. A special thank you to
Aaron Friedman for always looking over the divrei torah.]

AN ILLUMINATING LIGHT
Parshas Mishpatim discusses many laws pertaining to the "day in the life of a Jew." What
is the connection between this Parsha and last week’s Parsha, in which the Jewish
People attained a spiritual high when Hashem revealed Himself to them on Har Sinai?

Rav Shraga Simmons answers that the 2 Parshiyos are two sides of the same coin.
Spirituality is not achieved by meditating alone on a mountaintop or by learning in an out-of-
the-way monastery. Jewish spirituality can only be reached by grappling with the mundane
world in a way that elevates it. Hence, we must learn and practice the laws of everyday life
in order to truly elevate everything we do as we interact in the ‘real’ world.

What then was the purpose of the super high revelation at Mount Sinai? The answer is that
we all need a powerful spiritual experience to get ourselves going. It gives us the
knowledge and conviction that we are on the right path and doing what Hashem wants us
to do. The Rambam likens it to one who is lost trudging along in a dark and rainy storm
unsure of where to go and what to do. Then there is a flash of lightning; it doesn't last long,
but it illuminates the path on which he is traveling, revealing which direction he should go
in.
          
That was the purpose of the revelation at Mount Sinai. Once we have witnessed that
'illuminating light,' we must channel its inspiration into our daily lives trying to elevate all
the 'mundane' things we do.  
I think this also explains why the last week of Shovavim [an acronym for the six
Shabbosim during the winter from Parshas Shmos through Mishpatim, which are a special
time for Teshuva] ends with our Parsha, Parshas Mishpatim. By now, we have hopefully
taken advantage of the spirituality of these past 6 weeks, which will then enable us to
continue elevating the mundane throughout the rest of the year.  

{Editor's Note: I read a beautiful story from the book Living Emunah that I would like to
share with you.  A teenage boy knocked on the door of the home of Rav Shlomo Farhi,
who is involved in outreach in England.  The boy said, “I know that Hashem loves me.”
Rabbi Farhi asked the boy, “How do you know Hashem loves you?”
“There is no question about that at all,” the boy responded.
He then proceeded to tell the Rabbi that during the summer of 2005, he would travel by
train to choir practice in London every Thursday morning. It was a long trip from his home,
and he needed to be there at 9:00 AM. One morning, as the train was just a couple of
stops away from his destination, he looked at his watch and saw that the time was 8:30.
There was a coffee shop across the street from the station stop and he figured he had
plenty of time to get off, get himself a coffee, and relax for a few minutes, before getting
back on the train and going to practice.  
Shortly after exiting the train, he heard a deafening explosion. He turned around and saw
that the train had just blown up!  With tears running down his face, he tried calling home to
inform his family that he was alive, but the cell phone network had crashed. The boy
started walking home, and two hours later, he walked through the front door.
He found his parents crying and sobbing. As soon as they saw him, they rejoiced. “You’re
alive!!” they exclaimed. “We can’t believe it! You were on that train!” They told him that
there was a synchronized terror attack on the London transit system and multiple
explosions took place at 8:50 AM.  
“No,” the boy said. “It didn’t happen at 8:50, it happened at 8:30!”  
“That’s wrong,” his parents replied. “All the news stations reported that the attack took
place at 8:50.” The boy looked at his watch and his mouth dropped. It still read 8:30.
Hashem had made his watch stop so he would think he had enough time to go get a cup
of coffee and that is how his life was saved.  
“That is how I know Hashem loves me,” the boy concluded to Rabbi Farhi.

I think that to some extent, we all receive that illuminating light in our lives. If we look back
at our lives and see the twists and turns that the school of life has taken us, we will see
that Hashem is constantly guiding our footsteps and shining His light on us. It is our job to
then take that light, and as Shaya wrote, to continue along the illuminated path and
channel that inspiration into our daily lives tring to elevate all the mundane things we do.
HAVE A GREAT SHABBOS!}  

Editor: Baruch Leib Gross
Daf Yomi
Bais Medrash Shomrei Mishmeres Hakodesh