Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Earlier this week we celebrated the Yom Tov of Shavuos when we commemorate the giving if the Torah on Har Sinai.

We say in the Haggadah, “If You would have brought us to Har Sinai, and not given us the Torah it would have been sufficient.” The Rishonim are bothered by the obvious question: what is the purpose of going to Har Sinai if we would not have received the Torah? The Kol Bo in his pirush to the Haggadah answers that when Klal Yisrael were at Har Sinai, they rid themselves of their zuhama (yetzer hara). At Har Sinai we witnessed Hashem’s malchus and as a result, all of the uncertainties surrounding the Oneness of Hashem became clear, and our yetzer harah departed. Once everything was crystal clear no one was able to sin.

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The Gemara in Shabbos 88a says that when Klal Yisrael recited na’aseh v’nishma, they were compared to malachim, as the Gemara states that Hashem inquired, “Who revealed this secret to my children, that only the heavenly angels utilize?”

The pasuk in Tehillim (103:20) says, “Barchu Hashem malachav giborei koach oseh devaro l’shmoa b’kol devaro.” The Midrash Rabbah, in the beginning of Vayikra, says in the name of Rabbi Yitzchak that the pasuk is describing those who keep shemittah as giborei koach and comparable to malachim. The Midrash says that occasionally we find someone who performs a mitzvah for one day, one week, one month… but to watch one’s field wither away
for an entire year? Is there anyone who is a greater giborei koach than that? Chazal saw the tremendous strength that one who keeps shemittah must possess in order to defeat his yetzer hara. This ability is what earns him comparability to malachim.

The aforementioned Gemara in Shabbos cites the same pasuk that the Midrash cited for those who keep shemittah. Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz zt”l observed that Chazal consider both one who keeps shemittah, and Klal Yisrael when they recited na’aseh v’nishma, to be as malachim.

Similarly, the Gemara in Kiddushin 40a says that there were Tana’im who withstood temptation and were thus compared to malachim by means of the same pasuk.

What is this lofty level of malachim? We say in Kedushah every day, “Nekadesh es shimcha b’olam, k’sheim shemakdishim b’shmei marom.” We ask Hashem to allow us to sanctify His name as do the malachim in the high heavens. Rav Matisyahu Salomon shlit”a asked, How are malachim mekadesh Hashem when they do not even have bechirah – free will? He answered that malachim do in fact have bechirah—as evident from the fact that when they came to Earth they sinned. A malach loses his bechirah when he is in the presence of Hashem. The proximity to Hashem causes such tremendous yirah, fear, that it becomes impossible to sin. That is the kiddush Hashem that the malachim perform. They reach the level of fear of Hashen that makes it impossible to sin. We ask Hashem to allow us to reach the level where He is in front of our eyes—like the level of the malachim.

This was the level that Klal Yisrael were on before Kabbalas HaTorah, and that those who keep shemittah are on. This is why the Tana’im in Kiddushin (40a) were compared to malachim when they were withstood their tests.

In truth, one would have to try not to notice the Hand of Hashem at work in today’s world events, for it is so blatant. Major developments that point toward the final geula have been progressing so swiftly, who else could be behind these advances? If one reads the news and bears in mind that everything that happens is a part of His master plan, it will lead one to see how Hashem is hastily advancing the coming of the final geula, may it come in our time, amen.

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Rabbi Fuchs learned in Yeshivas Toras Moshe, where he became a close talmid of Rav Michel Shurkin, shlit”a. While he was there he received semicha from Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg, shlit”a. He then learned in Mirrer Yeshiva in Brooklyn, and became a close talmid of Rav Shmuel Berenbaum, zt”l. Rabbi Fuchs received semicha from the Mirrer Yeshiva as well. After Rav Shmuel’s petira Rabbi Fuchs learned in Bais Hatalmud Kollel for six years. He is currently a Shoel Umaishiv in Yeshivas Beis Meir in Lakewood, and a Torah editor and weekly columnist at The Jewish Press.