This D’var Torah should be a Zechus L’Ilui Nishmas my mother Chaya Rochel Bas Dovid Tzvi (Hareini Kaparas Mishkavah), my sister Kayla Rus Bas Bunim Tuvia A”H, my maternal grandfather Dovid Tzvi Ben Yosef Yochanan A”H, my maternal grandfather Dovid Tzvi Ben Yosef Yochanan A”H, my paternal grandfather Moshe Ben Yosef A”H, my paternal grandmother Channah Freidel Bas Avraham A”H, my uncle Reuven Nachum Ben Moshe & my great aunt Rivkah Sorah Bas Zev Yehuda HaKohein,

It should also be in Zechus L’Refuah Shileimah for:

-My father Bunim Tuvia Ben Channa Freidel

-My grandmother Shulamis Bas Etta


-Mordechai Shlomo Ben Sarah Tili

-Noam Shmuel Ben Simcha

_R’ Simcha Yitzchak Ben Mirela Yudka

-Chaya Rochel Ettel Bas Shulamis

-It should also be a Z’chus for an Aliyah of the holy Neshamos of HaRav HaGa’on V’Sar HaTorah Shmaryahu Yosef Chaim Ben HaRav Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky A”H, Dovid Avraham Ben Chiya Kehas—R’ Dovid Winiarz ZT”L, Miriam Liba Bas Aharon—Rebbetzin Weiss A”H, as well as the Neshamos of those whose lives were taken by terrorists (Hashem Yikom Damam), COVID-19, and other tragedies.

-It should also be a Z’chus for success for Tzaha”l as well as the rest of Am Yisrael, in Eretz Yisrael and in the Galus.








Be”H, I will be translating / transcribing / paraphrasing Divrei Torah of my Rebbi, HaGaon R’ Yonason Avner Sacks Shlita. (Any inaccuracies portrayed and/or added, or due to omission and/or points lost in translation or context should be attributed to me alone. * = My addition.)






What Makes You Cry / Laugh?



Based on the following Shiurim:

● Charadah Gedolah Shel Yitzchak (Yomim MiKedem, Toldos, Pg. 309)

● Machshavas HaCheit (Yomim MiKedem, Vayechi, Pg. 346)

● Summer / Bein HaZ’manim Zoom Shiur on Mattos 5780/2020




“And Hashem Will Forgive Her”

The beginning of Parshas Mattos teaches the Dinim of Nedarim, and describes the case of a woman who took a Neder, and unbeknownst to her, her husband nullified it. Suppose she had pledged to abstain for wine, and nonetheless drank the wine. The Pasuk in our Parsha indicates that since Neder had been canceled, “VaHashem Yislach Lah” (Bamidbar 30:13) that Hashem will indeed forgive her. Hashem will forgive her for the Machshavas HaCheit, her intention to sin.



Rebbi Akiva Cries

The Gemara, both in Maseches Nazir (23A) and in Kiddushin (81B), reports that whenever Rebbi Akiva reached this Pasuk in Mattos, he cried. Imagine a person who intends to eat Basar Chazir but it turns out that he actually consumed Kosher meat, and yet the Torah needs to tell us that such an individual requires forgiveness and atonement; how much more so, one who not only intended but actually consumed Chazir. Even one’s Machshavas HaCheit requires Teshuvah.



Rebbi Akiva Laughs

It is stunning and incredibly to note, not just Rebbi Akiva’s Madreigah as is demonstrated by his Bechiyah (crying) in response to Machshavas HaCheit, but how it is Rebbi Akiva responds to tragedy and to suffering. The Gemara in the end of Makkos (24B) describes the infamous scene of the Gedolei HaTannaim at the site of Churban Beis HaMikdash, foxes crawling around Har HaBayis. The Tannaim were understandably crying, whereas Rebbi Akiva somehow was laughing. Even though it was something which, on its face, was tragic, Rebbi Akiva saw it as As’chalta D’Geulah (the beginning of redemption), that we were one step closer. That was the Emunah and Bitachon of Rebbi Akiva.

Similarly, in the Gemara in Sanhedrin (101A), when Rebbi Elazar Ben Hurkanus was gravely ill and all of the Talmidim who were Mevaker Choleh were crying, again, we find that Rebbi Akiva was laughing. For Rebbi Akiva, this was a Mussar Haskil (take-home, life lesson) about what is Ganuz (stored) for a Tzaddik in Olam HaBa, how Yisurim (suffering) in Olam HaZeh just solidifies, fortifies, and bolsters the Havtachah (guarantee) of one’s S’char in Olam HaBa.

Finally, in Yerushalmi, Brachos (Ch. 9), when Rebbi Akiva was being put to death, he was reciting Krias Shema dying Al Kiddush Hashem, and once again, he was laughing.

Whether it is personal suffering, Mesiras Nefesh / Kiddush Hashem, the illness of R’ Elazar, or even Churban HaBayis, Rebbi Akiva laughs. This was Rebbi Akiva, as he is quoted in the Gemara in Brachos (60B), “Kol Mah D’Rachmana Avad L’Tav Avad”-“Whatever the Merciful One has done, for good He has done it.”



The Anomalous Cry

The Gemara overwhelmingly records incidents her featuring the laughter of Rebbi Akiva. The one Yotzei Min HaKlal (anomaly/exception) is our earlier Gemara, when Rebbi Akiva would encounter that Pasuk in our Parsha.


What was the difference between that which made Rebbi Akiva cry and that which made him laugh?



“Kavshi D’Rachmana” vs. Personal Accountability

The answer is clear. In all of the other Gemaros, Rebbi Akiva responds out of Emunah and Bitachon as those Gemaros all deal with what the Gemara in Brachos (10A) refers to as “Kavshi D’Rachmana,” that which is within Hashem’s “dominion” and “jurisdiction.” However, the Gemara in Kiddushin and Nazir deals with that which we do, personal accountability, whether or not one is guilty of Cheit, or even Machshavas HaCheit. When the question is if I have done enough, Rebbi Akiva would cry. When rhe question is how to process that which Hashem does, Rebbi Akiva would laugh.



What Makes Us Cry / Laugh?

All too often, we tend to manifest opposite responses. In face of illness, sacrifice, and tragedy, we cry out to Hashem, “How could You?!” instead of manifesting Emunah and Bitachon. And yet, when it comes to personal accountability, we are very dismissive and not so hard on ourselves.



During Bein HaMeitzarim

When we find ourselves in the Three Weeks, the times of Churban HaBayis, we embrace Emunah and Bitachon, of course. “Kol Mah D’Rachmana Avad L’Tav Avad.” We are a step closer. But, getting to that point requires a seriois, sense of personal accountability, personal Ameilus (toil). It’s not a time for S’chok (laughter). It’s a time of crying in response to that which is within our own personal Achrayus (responsibility).



We should be Zocheh to know when to laugh, when to cry, and be”H, we should be Zocheh to laugh with the coming of the Geulah in the days of Moshiach, Bimheira Biyomeinu! Have a wonderful Shabbos!