| Parshah |

Lemonade Life

There’s nothing that’s not hinted at in the Torah

“…You should engrave upon it like the engraving of a seal: Holy to Hashem.” (Shemos 28:36)


Torah Jew requires no proof that Torah is min haShamayim. Yet the maxim of Chazal (Taanis 9): “Is there anything not hinted at in the Torah?”  offers ample proof of the Torah’s Divine character. Events, places and names are alluded to in the Torah, often long before they occurred.The Gemara (Taanis 2a) writes that that are three keys that remain only in Hashem’s control (and aren’t given over to a shaliach): childbirth, rain, and techiyas hameisim. Asks the Gra, where is this referred to in the Torah? The answer, he says, lies in the pasuk above: The word “chosam” (seal) is made up of three letters: ches, sav and mem. The ches represents “chayah,” a woman who gives birth; the sav “techiyeh,” revival; and the mem “matar” rain. The word “pituchei” (engravings), which precedes the word “chosem,” is from the same root as “maftei’ach” (keys).
There’s nothing that’s not hinted at in the Torah. (Rav Eliezer Chrysler, Midei Shabbos)

“Where are my scissors?” Silly me! Why do I think someone is going to pipe up and answer me? But those leopard-patterned-handled scissors were marked in clear permanent marker “For Kitchen Use Only.” Who was the invisible “Not-Me” who ignored that warning?

I eventually found the scissors screwed into a flower bed outside in the garden. Upon interrogation, my budding entomologist admitted he was trying to cut a dead worm in half to see if it would rejuvenate. Uggh. Time for new kitchen shears.

Earlier in the parshah is a remarkable reference to the years the two Batei Mikdash stood. The Torah writes: “And you shall take for yourself pure olive oil, beaten, for the light.” (27:20). The word “kasis” (beaten) read backward (hints connected with Hashem’s Midas HaDin often appear backward) and broken into two parts, reads sav-yud and sav-chaf. In gematria, (numerical value) these equal 410 and 420, referring to the years the two Batei Hamikdash stood. The very same word “kasis, beaten” indicates that they would ultimately be destroyed. However, the pasuk concludes “to kindle the everlasting lamp,” a neat reference to the third Beis Hamikdash, which will never be destroyed, and whose light will shine forever.

Seriously though, I rarely bother looking for any item in its designated place. Raising a bunch of creative out-of-the-box children forces even the most square of people (which I’ve never been) to think out of the polygon.

Yet the ability for search and rescue serves me well in life, not only when kitchen implements go missing. There are hidden messages inherent in every aspect of life, and the proper perspective helps ferret them out. I find these sleuthing techniques particularly necessary when things aren’t going the way I’d like them to. When life sends lemons in avalanches, often you’re drowned in lemonade. What then? How to wade through the wash to discover the deeper meaning hidden in the pulp and seeds?

The story is told of Shevno, a disciple of the Gra, who renounced his Yiddishkeit because he simply didn’t believe that everyone’s name is hidden somewhere in the book of Devarim. He challenged the Gra to show him where his name was to be found. The Gra indicated where “Shevno” was clearly hinted at in the first letters of four consecutive words. Stunned, Shevno immediately repented.
No proof is required that Torah is min haShamayim, yet we can’t help but learn from the numerous stunning hints that abound in the Torah.

Just like Hashem’s messages are embedded in the Torah, they’re available for the taking in life as well. This realization lends itself to an exercise I call playing the Hidden Good Game.

My friend Cindy and I often pop these questions to each other when faced with an annoying or frustrating scenario. Okay, where’s the good? Guy blocks you in at the parking lot? Quick! Find the hidden good. Bathroom sink gets clogged (due to a Playmobil invasion)? Whip out your sense of humor. The good’s hiding because I need to seek. (I hope this doesn’t sound too Pollyannaish. Often, it’s a lot of hard work to wrap the brain around the message.)

Yet the next time I’m grinding my teeth looking for the message or meaning behind the madness, I cut to the chase to find the good gradient. I never look up in the clouds for the silver lining. More likely it’s probably hidden among my pots and pans.


 (Originally featured in Family First, Issue 833)

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