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Shabbat Parashat Beha'alotcha 5780

Ein Ayah: Individual and General Exceptions to Nature

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 11:18)

Gemara: Aharon’s staff swallowed the [Egyptians’] staffs. Rabbi Elazar said: It was a miracle within a miracle.


Ein Ayah: The appearance of miracles comes from the higher revelation of godliness that shines onto the world of rules, which is arranged based on the divine wisdom and the secrets of His desires. The miracle is well above any matter of natural order that exists in the world of limitations that we can experience with our senses.

In the world of nature, there are general matters and specific matters. Sometimes something appears in a manner that enables skipping over a rule of nature on an individual basis whereas the basic foundation of nature remains generally unaltered. However, sometimes a very special, holy light needs to be revealed, so that the Creator’s glory and greatness in the world can be perceived and it can demonstrated that all the ways that the world runs are according to His desire. Then the exceptions to the rules of nature do not have to be limited to individual divergences but can be general, including a miracle within a miracle. It is then not enough for there to be a miracle that is a “free jump within the circle” of nature, but there must be a ness l’hitnoses (a miracle that is like a banner), which uproots the limitations of nature and demonstrates that “there is no one but Him” (Devarim 4:35). That is what happened when Aharon’s staff swallowed those of the Egyptians. “Your testimonies are very trustworthy” (Tehillim 93:5). 


Subtle Melachot Performed According to Form

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 11:20)


Gemara: [In a certain case,] if one passes an object from domain to domain, he is guilty of chillul Shabbat, but if he throws it, he is exempt.


Ein Ayah: Carrying is a preparatory action for other melachot (work that is forbidden on Shabbat). It has the potential of melacha, but carrying is not an active melacha. Nature did not place the imprint of a melacha on it. It brings no strengthening of an object or change to it in any form, just that the object moves to a different place.

However, it is only from a human perspective that movement is not considered a melacha as long as the object stays the same from a physical perspective. However, from the true perspective, all physical changes are only the “equivalent” of movements from place to place. Therefore, carrying is also considered a melacha like others. It is just that when one describes it, it must be connected to an application connected to the divine will. It is this connection that makes it considered a melacha.

Therefore, the carrying has to be done in the manner that it was in the Mishkan in order for it to be melacha. The imprint of the melacha, after all, comes from the fact that the Leviim performed it in that way. If the work is done in a different manner (i.e., by throwing), then one has to return to the realm of normal human activity. In that realm, a melacha has to change the object, and therefore if one passes it, he is guilty and if he throws it he is exempt.  Since the realm of divine activity is not involved in the action of throwing, it must be viewed as a natural action evaluated according to human conceptions of melacha, so that carrying is not included.   
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