There are three forms of hitbon'nut (contemplation, meditation):
(a.) Study-meditation: After mastering the concept thoroughly, one meditates on its profundity, until the intellectual element shines forth for him.
(b.) Meditation before davening: This is directed toward sensing the vitality of the concept learned, in contrast to sensing the intellectual element emphasized in study-meditation.
(c.) Meditation in davening: To sense the "G-dly element" in the concept learned.
These three are rungs on the ladder of sensitivity. It is only by G-d's kindness towards us that we may occasionally sense G-dhood spontaneously, without any avoda at all. This comes about by virtue of the quality of Ultimate Essential G-dhood1 within the soul. For avoda by one's own efforts, however, these three forms of meditation are essential.
Compiled and arranged by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, in 5703 (1943) from the talks and letters of the sixth Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, of righteous memory.
Ten powerful things were created in the world: mountains are hard, but iron cuts through them; iron is hard, but fire melts it; fire is strong, but water extinguishes it; water is strong, but clouds bear it; clouds are strong, but wind scatters them; wind is strong, but the body contains it; the body is strong, bur fear breaks it; fear is potent, but wine dispels it; wine is powerful, but sleep assuages it; and stronger than all these is death. But charity delivers from death.
- Talmud, Bava Batra 10a
Parshat Pinchas, 6th Portion (Numbers 28:16-29:11)
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16. In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, [you shall offer up] a Passover offering to the Lord. טז. וּבַחֹדֶשׁ הָרִאשׁוֹן בְּאַרְבָּעָה עָשָׂר יוֹם לַחֹדֶשׁ פֶּסַח לַיהֹוָה:
17. On the fifteenth day of this month, a festival [begins]; you shall eat unleavened bread for seven days. יז. וּבַחֲמִשָּׁה עָשָׂר יוֹם לַחֹדֶשׁ הַזֶּה חָג שִׁבְעַת יָמִים מַצּוֹת יֵאָכֵל:
18. On the first day is a holy convocation; you shall not perform any mundane work. יח. בַּיּוֹם הָרִאשׁוֹן מִקְרָא קֹדֶשׁ כָּל מְלֶאכֶת עֲבֹדָה לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ:
You shall refrain from all manner of mundane work: Even essential work, such as the prevention of loss, which is permitted on the intermediate days of the festival, is forbidden on the festival itself. — [Torath Kohanim Emor 187, see Rashi on Lev. 23:8] כל מלאכת עבודה: אפילו מלאכה הצריכה לכם, כגון דבר האבד המותרת בחולו של מועד אסורה ביום טוב:
19. You shall offer up a fire offering, a burnt offering to the Lord: two young bulls, one ram, and seven lambs in the first year they shall be unblemished for you. יט. וְהִקְרַבְתֶּם אִשֶּׁה עֹלָה לַיהֹוָה פָּרִים בְּנֵי בָקָר שְׁנַיִם וְאַיִל אֶחָד וְשִׁבְעָה כְבָשִׂים בְּנֵי שָׁנָה תְּמִימִם יִהְיוּ לָכֶם:
bulls: Corresponding to Abraham, about whom it says, “And to the cattle did Abraham run,” [to feed the three angels who visited him] (Gen. 18:7). פרים: כנגד אברהם, שנאמר (בראשית יח, ז) ואל הבקר רץ אברהם:
ram: Symbolizing the ram [sacrificed instead] of Isaac (see Gen. 22:13). אילים: כנגד אילו של יצחק:
lambs: Corresponding to Jacob, of whom it says, “Jacob separated the lambs” (Gen. 30:40). I saw this in the commentary of R. Moshe Hadarshan [the preacher]. - [Mid. Aggadah, Midrash Tadshey ch. 10] כבשים: כנגד יעקב שנאמר (בראשית ל, מ) והכשבים הפריד יעקב. ביסודו של רבי משה הדרשן ראיתי זאת:
20. Their meal offerings [shall be] fine flour mixed with oil; three tenths for each bull and two tenths for the ram you shall offer up. כ. וּמִנְחָתָם סֹלֶת בְּלוּלָה בַשָּׁמֶן שְׁלשָׁה עֶשְׂרֹנִים לַפָּר וּשְׁנֵי עֶשְׂרֹנִים לָאַיִל תַּעֲשׂוּ:
21. And you shall offer up one tenth for each lamb, for all seven lambs. כא. עִשָּׂרוֹן עִשָּׂרוֹן תַּעֲשֶׂה לַכֶּבֶשׂ הָאֶחָד לְשִׁבְעַת הַכְּבָשִׂים:
22. And one young male goat for a sin offering to atone for you. כב. וּשְׂעִיר חַטָּאת אֶחָד לְכַפֵּר עֲלֵיכֶם:
23. You shall offer these up besides the morning burnt offering which is offered as a continual burnt offering. כג. מִלְּבַד עֹלַת הַבֹּקֶר אֲשֶׁר לְעֹלַת הַתָּמִיד תַּעֲשׂוּ אֶת אֵלֶּה:
24. Like these, you shall offer up daily for seven days, food of the fire offering, a spirit of satisfaction to the Lord; you shall offer up this in addition to the continual burnt offering and its libation. כד. כָּאֵלֶּה תַּעֲשׂוּ לַיּוֹם שִׁבְעַת יָמִים לֶחֶם אִשֵּׁה רֵיחַ נִיחֹחַ לַיהֹוָה עַל עוֹלַת הַתָּמִיד יֵעָשֶׂה וְנִסְכּוֹ:
Like these, you shall offer up daily: They should not be decreased progressively, as is the case of the bulls of the [Sukkoth] festival. — [Sifrei Pinchas 48] כאלה תעשו ליום: שלא יהיו פוחתין והולכין כפרי החג:
25. The seventh day shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall not perform any mundane work. כה. וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי מִקְרָא קֹדֶשׁ יִהְיֶה לָכֶם כָּל מְלֶאכֶת עֲבֹדָה לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ:
26. On the day of the first fruits, when you offer up a new meal offering to the Lord, on your festival of Weeks; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall not perform any mundane work. כו. וּבְיוֹם הַבִּכּוּרִים בְּהַקְרִיבְכֶם מִנְחָה חֲדָשָׁה לַיהֹוָה בְּשָׁבֻעֹתֵיכֶם מִקְרָא קֹדֶשׁ יִהְיֶה לָכֶם כָּל מְלֶאכֶת עֲבֹדָה לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ:
On the day of the first fruits: The festival of Weeks [Shavuoth] is called the first fruits of the wheat harvest, because of the two loaves, which were the first of the wheat offerings to be brought from the new [crop]. — [Men. 84b] וביום הבכורים: חג השבועות קרוי בכורי קציר חטים על שם שתי הלחם, שהם ראשונים למנחת חטים הבאים מן החדש:
27. You shall offer up a burnt offering with a spirit of satisfaction to the Lord: two young bulls, one ram, and seven lambs in the first year. כז. וְהִקְרַבְתֶּם עוֹלָה לְרֵיחַ נִיחֹחַ לַיהֹוָה פָּרִים בְּנֵי בָקָר שְׁנַיִם אַיִל אֶחָד שִׁבְעָה כְבָשִׂים בְּנֵי שָׁנָה:
28. Their meal offerings [shall be] fine flour mixed with oil; three tenths for each bull and two tenths for the ram. כח. וּמִנְחָתָם סֹלֶת בְּלוּלָה בַשָּׁמֶן שְׁלשָׁה עֶשְׂרֹנִים לַפָּר הָאֶחָד שְׁנֵי עֶשְׂרֹנִים לָאַיִל הָאֶחָד:
29. One tenth for each lamb, for all seven lambs. כט. עִשָּׂרוֹן עִשָּׂרוֹן לַכֶּבֶשׂ הָאֶחָד לְשִׁבְעַת הַכְּבָשִׂים:
30. One young male goat to atone for you. ל. שְׂעִיר עִזִּים אֶחָד לְכַפֵּר עֲלֵיכֶם:
31. You shall offer this up besides the continual burnt offering and its meal offering they shall be unblemished for you, as well as their libations. לא. מִלְּבַד עֹלַת הַתָּמִיד וּמִנְחָתוֹ תַּעֲשׂוּ תְּמִימִם יִהְיוּ לָכֶם וְנִסְכֵּיהֶם:
they shall be unblemished for you, as well as their libations: Even the libations shall be unblemished. Our Rabbis learned from here that wine that has turned moldy is unfit for libations. - [Men. 87a]
1. And in the seventh month, on the first day, there shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall not perform any mundane work. It shall be a day of shofar sounding for you. א. וּבַחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִי בְּאֶחָד לַחֹדֶשׁ מִקְרָא קֹדֶשׁ יִהְיֶה לָכֶם כָּל מְלֶאכֶת עֲבֹדָה לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ יוֹם תְּרוּעָה יִהְיֶה לָכֶם:
2. You shall offer up a burnt offering for a spirit of satisfaction to the Lord: one young bull, one ram, and seven lambs in the first year, [all] unblemished. ב. וַעֲשִׂיתֶם עֹלָה לְרֵיחַ נִיחֹחַ לַיהֹוָה פַּר בֶּן בָּקָר אֶחָד אַיִל אֶחָד כְּבָשִׂים בְּנֵי שָׁנָה שִׁבְעָה תְּמִימִם:
3. And their meal offering [shall be] fine flour mixed with oil, three tenths for the bull and two tenths for the ram. ג. וּמִנְחָתָם סֹלֶת בְּלוּלָה בַשָּׁמֶן שְׁלשָׁה עֶשְׂרֹנִים לַפָּר שְׁנֵי עֶשְׂרֹנִים לָאָיִל:
4. And one tenth for each lamb, for the seven lambs. ד. וְעִשָּׂרוֹן אֶחָד לַכֶּבֶשׂ הָאֶחָד לְשִׁבְעַת הַכְּבָשִׂים:
5. And one young male goat as a sin offering, to atone for you. ה. וּשְׂעִיר עִזִּים אֶחָד חַטָּאת לְכַפֵּר עֲלֵיכֶם:
6. [This is] besides the burnt offering of the new month and its meal offering, and the continual burnt offering and its meal offering, and their libations as prescribed for them, as a spirit of satisfaction, a fire offering to the Lord. ו. מִלְּבַד עֹלַת הַחֹדֶשׁ וּמִנְחָתָהּ וְעֹלַת הַתָּמִיד וּמִנְחָתָהּ וְנִסְכֵּיהֶם כְּמִשְׁפָּטָם לְרֵיחַ נִיחֹחַ אִשֶּׁה לַיהֹוָה:
[This is] besides the burnt offering of the new month: The additional offerings of the beginning of the month, which is on the first day of the new year. מלבד עלת החדש: מוספי ראש חדש שהוא ביום ראש השנה:
7. And on the tenth day of this seventh month, there shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall afflict your souls. You shall not perform any work. ז. וּבֶעָשׂוֹר לַחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִי הַזֶּה מִקְרָא קֹדֶשׁ יִהְיֶה לָכֶם וְעִנִּיתֶם אֶת נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם כָּל מְלָאכָה לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ:
8. You shall offer up a burnt offering to the Lord, [for] a spirit of satisfaction: one young bull, one ram, and seven lambs in the first year; they shall [all] be unblemished. ח. וְהִקְרַבְתֶּם עֹלָה לַיהֹוָה רֵיחַ נִיחֹחַ פַּר בֶּן בָּקָר אֶחָד אַיִל אֶחָד כְּבָשִׂים בְּנֵי שָׁנָה שִׁבְעָה תְּמִימִם יִהְיוּ לָכֶם:
9. And their meal offering [shall be] fine flour mixed with oil, three tenths for the bull and two tenths for the ram. ט. וּמִנְחָתָם סֹלֶת בְּלוּלָה בַשָּׁמֶן שְׁלשָׁה עֶשְׂרֹנִים לַפָּר שְׁנֵי עֶשְׂרֹנִים לָאַיִל הָאֶחָד:
10. One tenth for each lamb, for the seven lambs. י. עִשָּׂרוֹן עִשָּׂרוֹן לַכֶּבֶשׂ הָאֶחָד לְשִׁבְעַת הַכְּבָשִׂים:
11. A young male goat for a sin offering, besides the atonement sin offering and the continual burnt offering, its meal offering and their libations. יא. שְׂעִיר עִזִּים אֶחָד חַטָּאת מִלְּבַד חַטַּאת הַכִּפֻּרִים וְעֹלַת הַתָּמִיד וּמִנְחָתָהּ וְנִסְכֵּיהֶם:
besides the atonement sin-offering: The goat offered up [i.e., whose blood is sprinkled] in the inner chamber mentioned in [the portion of] Acharei Moth (Lev. 16:9, 15), as that too is a sin-offering. מלבד חטאת הכפרים: שעיר הנעשה בפנים האמור באחרי מות, שגם הוא חטאת:
and the continual burnt offering: Besides the regular burnt offering, you shall offer these burnt offerings. ועלת התמיד: ומלבד עולת התמיד תעשו עולות הללו:
and their libations: This refers to the additional offerings which are stated, and to the [phrase] “you shall offer up” [which is not written, but implied]; this denotes a command: Besides the continual burnt offering and its meal-offering, you shall offer up these and their libations. The same applies every time “their libations” is mentioned in connection with all the festivals, except for [when mentioned in connection] with the festival [of 'Succoth’] offerings, for all [the expressions] “and its libation,” “and their libations,” “and its libations” in [connection with] them refer to the continual sacrifice. Nor are they expressions denoting commands, since the libations of the additional offerings are written separately for each day.
1. When the Lord will reveal His kingship, the earth will exult; the multitudes of islands will rejoice. 2. Clouds and dense darkness will surround Him; justice and mercy will be the foundation of His throne. 3. Fire will go before Him and consume His foes all around. 4. His lightnings will illuminate the world; the earth will see and tremble. 5. The mountains will melt like wax before the Lord, before the Master of all the earth. 6. The heavens will declare His justice, and all the nations will behold His glory. 7. All who worship graven images, who take pride in idols, will be ashamed; all idol worshippers will prostrate themselves before Him. 8. Zion will hear and rejoice, the towns of Judah will exult, because of Your judgments, O Lord. 9. For You, Lord, transcend all the earth; You are exceedingly exalted above all the supernal beings. 10. You who love the Lord, hate evil; He watches over the souls of His pious ones, He saves them from the hand of the wicked. 11. Light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart. 12. Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous, and extol His holy Name.
This psalm describes how Israel will praise God for the Redemption.
1. A psalm. Sing to the Lord a new song, for He has performed wonders; His right hand and holy arm have wrought deliverance for Him. 2. The Lord has made known His salvation; He has revealed His justice before the eyes of the nations. 3. He has remembered His kindness and faithfulness to the House of Israel; all, from the farthest corners of the earth, witnessed the deliverance by our God. 4. Raise your voices in jubilation to the Lord, all the earth; burst into joyous song and chanting. 5. Sing to the Lord with a harp, with a harp and the sound of song. 6. With trumpets and the sound of the shofar, jubilate before the King, the Lord. 7. The sea and its fullness will roar in joy, the earth and its inhabitants. 8. The rivers will clap their hands, the mountains will sing together. 9. [They will rejoice] before the Lord, for He has come to judge the earth; He will judge the world with justice, and the nations with righteousness.
This psalm refers to the wars of Gog and Magog, which will precede the Redemption.
1. When the Lord will reveal His kingship, the nations will tremble; the earth will quake before Him Who is enthroned upon the cherubim, 2. [before] the Lord Who is in Zion, Who is great and exalted above all the peoples. 3. They will extol Your Name which is great, awesome and holy. 4. And [they will praise] the might of the King Who loves justice. You have established uprightness; You have made [the laws of] justice and righteousness in Jacob. 5. Exalt the Lord our God, and bow down at His footstool; He is holy. 6. Moses and Aaron among His priests, and Samuel among those who invoke His Name, would call upon the Lord and He would answer them. 7. He would speak to them from a pillar of cloud; they observed His testimonies and the decrees which He gave them. 8. Lord our God, You have answered them; You were a forgiving God for their sake, yet bringing retribution for their own misdeeds. 9. Exalt the Lord our God, and bow down at His holy mountain, for the Lord our God is holy.
This psalm inspires the hearts of those who suffer in this world. Let them, nevertheless, serve God with joy, for all is for their good, as in the verse: "He whom God loves does He chastise." The psalm also refers to the thanksgiving sacrifice-the only sacrifice to be offered in the Messianic era.
1. A psalm of thanksgiving. Let all the earth sing in jubilation to the Lord. 2. Serve the Lord with joy; come before Him with exultation. 3. Know that the Lord is God; He has made us and we are His, His people and the sheep of His pasture. 4. Enter His gates with gratitude, His courtyards with praise; give thanks to Him, bless His Name. 5. For the Lord is good; His kindness is everlasting, and His faithfulness is for all generations.
This psalm speaks of David's secluding himself from others, and of his virtuous conduct even in his own home.
1. By David, a psalm. I will sing of [Your] kindness and justice; to You, O Lord, will I chant praise! 2. I will pay heed to the path of integrity-O when will it come to me? I shall walk with the innocence of my heart [even] within my house. 3. I shall not place an evil thing before my eyes; I despise the doing of wayward deeds, it does not cling to me. 4. A perverse heart shall depart from me; I shall not know evil. 5. He who slanders his fellow in secret, him will I cut down; one with haughty eyes and a lustful heart, him I cannot suffer. 6. My eyes are upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me; he who walks in the path of integrity, he shall minister to me. 7. He that practices deceit shall not dwell within my house; the speaker of lies shall have no place before my eyes. 8. Every morning I will cut down all the wicked of the land, to excise all evildoers from the city of the Lord
An awe-inspiring prayer for the exiled, and an appropriate prayer for anyone in distress.
1. A prayer of the poor man when he is faint [with affliction], and pours out his tale of woe before the Lord. 2. O Lord, hear my prayer, let my cry reach You! 3. Hide not Your face from me on the day of my distress; turn Your ear to me; on the day that I call, answer me quickly. 4. For my days have vanished with the smoke; my bones are dried up as a hearth. 5. Smitten like grass and withered is my heart, for I have forgotten to eat my bread. 6. From the voice of my sigh, my bone cleaves to my flesh. 7. I am like the bird of the wilderness; like the owl of the wasteland have I become. 8. In haste I fled; I was like a bird, alone on a roof. 9. All day my enemies disgrace me; those who ridicule me curse using my name.1 10. For I have eaten ashes like bread, and mixed my drink with tears, 11. because of Your anger and Your wrath-for You have raised me up, then cast me down. 12. My days are like the fleeting shadow; I wither away like the grass. 13. But You, Lord, will be enthroned forever, and Your remembrance is for all generations. 14. You will arise and have mercy on Zion, for it is time to be gracious to her; the appointed time has come. 15. For Your servants cherish her stones, and love her dust. 16. Then the nations will fear the Name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth Your glory, 17. when [they see that] the Lord has built Zion, He has appeared in His glory. 18. He turned to the entreaty of the prayerful, and did not despise their prayer. 19. Let this be written for the last generation, so that the newborn nation will praise the Lord. 20. For He looked down from His holy heights; from heaven, the Lord gazed upon the earth, 21. to hear the cry of the bound, to untie those who are doomed to die, 22. so that the Name of the Lord be declared in Zion, and His praise in Jerusalem, 23. when nations and kingdoms will gather together to serve the Lord. 24. He weakened my strength on the way; He shortened my days. 25. I would say: "My God, do not remove me in the midst of my days! You Whose years endure through all generations.” 26. In the beginning You laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. 27. They will perish, but You will endure; all of them will wear out like a garment; You will exchange them like a robe, and they will vanish. 28. But You remain the same; Your years will not end. 29. The children of Your servants will abide; their seed shall be established before You.
David's prayer when he was ill, this psalm is an appropriate prayer on behalf of the sick, especially when offered by the sick person himself while his soul is yet in his body. He can then bless God from his depths, body and soul. Read, and find repose for your soul.
1. By David. Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all my being, His holy Name. 2. My soul, bless the Lord; forget not all His favors: 3. Who forgives all your sins, Who heals all your illnesses; 4. Who redeems your life from the grave, Who crowns you with kindness and mercy; 5. Who satisfies your mouth with goodness; like the eagle, your youth is renewed. 6. The Lord executes righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. 7. He made His ways known to Moses, His deeds to the Children of Israel. 8. The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and of great kindness. 9. He will not contend for eternity, nor harbor ill will forever. 10. He has not dealt with us according to our transgressions, nor requited us according to our sins. 11. For as high as heaven is above the earth, so has His kindness been mighty over those who fear Him. 12. As far as the east is from the west, so has He distanced our transgressions from us. 13. As a father has compassion on his children, so has the Lord had compassion on those who fear Him. 14. For He knows our nature; He is mindful that we are but dust. 15. As for man, his days are like grass; like a flower of the field, so he sprouts. 16. When a wind passes over him, he is gone; his place recognizes him no more. 17. But the kindness of the Lord is forever and ever upon those who fear Him, and His righteousness is [secured] for children's children, 18. to those who keep His covenant, and to those who remember His commands to do them. 19. The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His kingship has dominion over all. 20. Bless the Lord, you His angels who are mighty in strength, who do His bidding to obey the voice of His speech. 21. Bless the Lord, all His hosts, His servants who do His will. 22. Bless the Lord, all His works, in all the places of His dominion. My soul, bless the Lord!