Bamidbar: Shabbos has the Power of a Tzaddik

Updated: Aug 27, 2018

ואתכם יהיו איש איש למטה איש ראש לבית אבותיו הוא.


And with you shall be each person to his tribe, each person to his father’s family.” (Bamidbar 1:4)

Hashem instructed Moshe to count Bnei Yisroel as a whole, as well as each tribe individually.


The holy Tiferes Shlomo interpreted this verse as a lesson for the righteous to help out Jews who have lost their way. Even a Jew who loses his spiritual footing is still a child of Hashem. He should not be given up on, but the tzaddik should help him come back into the fold.


“And with you shall be each person to his tribe.” The word “ish - person” is a term used for worthy people. The word “mateh - tribe” could mean “slip,” such as in Tehillim 94:18, “mateh ragli, when my legs slip.”

The verse now reads: “With you Moshe and Aharon should be the worthy people who shall assist the people who have slipped” because “each Jewish person belongs to the Fathers,” Avrohom, Yitzchok and Yakov. The word “avosav – his father” could mean “desire” according to a different interpretation (see Devarim 25:7). The Torah is telling us that every Jew has an inner desire to serve Hashem. Even if he strays from the right path, his soul will not be lost because this inner desire can always be reawakened; the sparks of kedusha could be fanned into flames.


Shabbos is similar to the concept of a tzaddik. The Torah says that on Shabbos the sea calms down. A rasha, sinful person, is likened to the sea. On Shabbos, the sinful urges within a person are calmed and the forces of holiness take over. The person becomes attracted to kedusha and spirituality.


The letters of the words “rosh bais” avosav – the leader of his father’s house – can be rearranged to spell the words “Shabbos, Rebbe.” The verse is hinting to us that Shabbos has the power to bring back a straying Jew, just like a tzaddik. Hashem does not want a single Jew to be lost to Klal Yisroel, even if he has left the path of Torah. Through Shabbos, the inner Jewish spark within his soul can be reawakened and he can be drawn back to the true source of light – the Torah.

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