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Shabbat Parashat Pinchas | 5768

Kriat Shema of Exile and Redemption

Ein Ayah

(from the Writings of Harav Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook, z.t.l.)


(from Berachot 2a – Ein Aya, Berachot 1:1)

[Let us briefly introduce the structure of Ein Aya and our presentation of it. The text begins with the Talmudic source (usually a gemara, but in this case, a mishna). Below is Rav Kook’s passage from Ein Ayah, which elucidates the text. It is important, while reading the Ein Ayah, to remember the content and wording of the Talmudic text. The numbering system is as follows. The passages start from 1 at the beginning of each chapter of the Talmudic tractate.]


Mishna: From when do they recite Shema at night? From the time that the kohanim enter to eat their teruma (tithe portions).


Ein Ayah: Kri’at Shema at night and in the morning demonstrate that there are two different ways that Israel is responsible to call out in the Name of Hashem. We need to accept upon ourselves the yoke of the Heavenly kingdom and also act through our calling out in the name of the One G-d, so that eventually all of the world’s inhabitants will recognize that Hashem, the G-d of Israel, is King and His kingdom has dominion over all.

In galut (exile), which is similar to darkness, our main activity is focused exclusively on ourselves, so that we will be able to withstand the waves that are washing over us with the strength of Hashem’s Name. Therefore, at night, belief applies, and therefore “whoever did not recite [the blessing of] ‘Emet Ve’emuna’ (Truth and Belief) at night did not fulfill his obligation” (Berachot 12a). This is because for ourselves, the belief and the acceptance of the truth from our forefathers, who saw with their own eyes the light and the honor of Hashem, is sufficient.

However, at the time of the geula (redemption), when the stature of Israel will be elevated, then will arise the time to act in the manner of Kri’at Shema of the morning, [said in proximity of the beracha] of Ahava Rabba (Great Love), as all of the nations will say that the light of Israel will be an eternal light. Therefore, at that time the reasons behind the [laws of the] Torah will be revealed, [as the pasuk (Zechariah 14:6) says] “There will not be anymore a precious light and a frozen one (ohr yekarot v’kipa’on),” from which Chazal learn that the reasons of the Torah, which are illusive in this world will come to the surface in the World to Come. This is because in order to bring close those who are far away, it is proper to clarify the words of truth in a clear manner and to translate that according to the external conception of the nations. That is why the morning [beracha of] Emmet V’yatziv (It is True and Stands) can be translated into Aramaic.

Israel are the priests of Hashem in the world in that they are involved in their internal matters between themselves and have nothing to do with those “outside the clan,” as kohanim act. This is not the case when they teach Torah or even at the time that they bring sacrifices, at which time they have a relationship with non-kohanim, as, after all, they act on the behalf of others. They are either our agents or Hashem’s agents, but they are certainly agents. However, at the time that they enter to eat teruma [see mishna above] they enter a world of kohanim alone, and they are not allowed to include a non-kohen at all. A non-kohen has no part in this eating, and there is a need to be separated from him.

This idea of separation is generally true in regard to the time of Kri’at Shema at night, representing the time of galut. It causes Israel to be a nation alone to protect their holy acquisitions, eternal life in whose midst the Name of the Blessed One dwells. In this way then there is a connection between Kri’at Shema at night and the time that the kohanim enter to eat their teruma.   




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This edition of Hemdat Yamim is dedicated in loving memory of

R ' Meir ben Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld


 Hemdat Yamim is endowed by Les & Ethel Sutker of Chicago, Illinois in loving memory of

Max and Mary Sutker

 and Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l.

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