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.


Shelach / Korach


     Shiflus V’Romemus B’Avodas Hashem (Lowliness and Loftiness in Service of Hashem)

[Chayei HaAdam B’Midos HaTorah, Pg. 51]



Shiflus Va’Anavah – Lowliness & Humility

The Midrash Rabbah (Bamidbar 1, 7) comments on the opening Pasuk of Sefer Bamidbar, “וַיְדַבֵּר ה׳ אֶל־משֶׁה בְּמִדְבַּר סִינַי”-“And Hashem spoke to Moshe in Midbar Sinai…” The Midrash asks as follows: Why does the Torah specify that Hashem spoke to Moshe “B’Midbar Sinai,” in the desert of Sinai? From here, the Chachamim derived that it is through three things that the Torah is ultimately given: In fire, in water, and in desert land.

How do I know that the Torah was given in fire? As the Pasuk in Parshas Yisro states: “וְהַר סִינַי עָשַׁן כֻּלּוֹ וגו”-“And Har Sinai was entirely engulfed in smoke” (Shemos 19:18). And how do I know that the Torah was given through water? When describing Matan Torah, Devorah sang, “גַּם־שָׁמַיִם נָטָפוּ גַּם־עָבִים נָטְפוּ מָיִם”-“the heavens also dripped; the clouds as well dripped water” (Shoftim 5:4). And finally, the Torah was given in the desert, as our Pasuk states, “וַיְדַבֵּר ה׳ אֶל־משֶׁה בְּמִדְבַּר סִינַי.”

In Maseches Ta’anis (7A), we find that water symbolizes Shiflus and Anavah, lowliness and humility, as it is cited there in the name of Rebbi Chanina Bar Idi: “?לָמָּה נִמְשְׁלוּ דִּבְרֵי תוֹרָה לְמַיִם”-“Why are Divrei Torah compared to water?” “דִּכְתִיב: ״הוֹי כׇּל צָמֵא לְכוּ לַמַּיִם״”-“As is written (Yishaiyah 55:1), ‘Ho, whoever is thirsty, come for water'” “לוֹמַר לָךְ: מָה מַיִם מַנִּיחִין מָקוֹם גָּבוֹהַּ וְהוֹלְכִין לְמָקוֹם נָמוּךְ, אַף דִּבְרֵי תוֹרָה אֵין מִתְקַיְּימִין אֶלָּא בְּמִי שֶׁדַּעְתּוֹ שְׁפָלָה.”-“This is to teach you: Just like water leaves a high place and flows to a low place, so too, Divrei Torah are maintained only by a person whose spirit is lowly, i.e. humble.”


And yet, in Maseches Nedarim (55A), we find a similar model with regard to the Midbar, as the Gemara comments:

“מַאי דִּכְתִיב: ״וּמִמִּדְבָּר מַתָּנָה וּמִמַּתָּנָה נַחֲלִיאֵל וּמִנַּחֲלִיאֵל בָּמוֹת״?”

“‘What is the meaning of that which is written: “And from the Midbar, Matanah, and from Matanah, Nachaliel, and from Nachaliel, Bamos”? (Bamidbar 21:18-19)?”

“אֲמַר לֵיהּ: כֵּיוָן שֶׁעוֹשֶׂה אָדָם אֶת עַצְמוֹ כַּמִּדְבָּר, שֶׁהוּא מוּפְקָר לַכֹּל — תּוֹרָה נִיתְּנָה לוֹ בְּמַתָּנָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״וּמִמִּדְבָּר מַתָּנָה״.”

“[Rava] said back to [R’ Yosef]: ‘Once a person renders himself like a (deserted) Midbar which is free for all, the Torah is given to him as a Matanah, a gift, as it is says: “And from the Midbar, Matanah.””


In this vein, the Or HaChaim writes (Shemos 19:2) that the Midah of Anavah (humility) is a most crucial prerequisite for Kabbalas HaTorah:

“אכן כוונת הכתוב הוא להקדים ג’ ענינים הם עקרי ההכנה לקבלת התורה שבאמצעותם נתרצה ה’ להנחילם נחלת שדי היא תורתנו הנעימה…

Thus the Torah wanted to preempt us with three matters which were essentials of the preparation for Kabbalas Torah, for through them, Hashem would be willing to allow us to inherit the eternal inheritance that is our most pleasant Torah…

וענין ב’ הוא השפלות והענוה כי אין דברי תורה מתקיימין אלא במי שמשפיל עצמו ומשים עצמו כמדבר, וכנגד זה אמר ויחנו במדבר פירוש לשון שפלות וענוה כמדבר שהכל דורכים עליו:

The second matter is that of lowliness and humility, as Divrei Torah aren’t fulfilled but by the one who lowers himself and positions himself like a Midbar; corresponding to this notion, the Torah stated: ‘And they camped in the desert.’ In other words, an expression of Shiflus and Anavah, like a Midbar as everyone treads upon it.”


Gadlus Va’Chashivus – Greatness & Grandeur

Conversely, it appears that fire which travels upward on its own and has the Koach to consume and illuminate symbolizes Gadlus and Chashivus, greatness and grandeur. Thus, the Torah is compared to fire in order to hint that, at times, one needs to seize this Midah as well. In this vein, it is taught in Maseches Sanhedrin (4:5), “לְפִיכָךְ כָּל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד חַיָּב לוֹמַר, בִּשְׁבִילִי נִבְרָא הָעוֹלָם”-“Therefore, each and every individual is obligated to say: For my sake alone was the world created.”

What clearly emerges is that, on the one hand, it is imperative for one to live with Shiflus and Anavah, and to recognize his place. On the other hand, it is imperative that one be aware that it is for his sake that was the world created, and it is there incumbent on a person to spare every moment and measure of his Kochos to engage in Toras Hashem and Tikun HaMidos (improving his character).


The Balance – Our Parshiyos

HaGa’on R’ Asher Weiss explained that the proper path to secure this Shiluv HaMidos (balance of one’s character), is to learn from the sin of the Miraglim and from the sin of Korach Va’Adaso (Korach and his assembly). The Miraglim sinned in that they seized upon the Midah of Shiflus in the inappropriate context, as it says (Bamidbar 13:33), “…וְשָׁם רָאִינוּ אֶת־הַנְּפִילִים בְּנֵי עֲנָק מִן־הַנְּפִלִים וַנְּהִי בְעֵינֵינוּ כַּחֲגָבִים”-“And there, we saw the Nefilim, sons of a giant from the original Nefilim; and we were in our eyes as mere grasshoppers…”

On the other hand, Korach Va’Adaso sinned in that they seized upon the Midah of Ga’avah (grandeur, arrogance), and they complained against Moshe and Aharon, “כִּי כָל־הָעֵדָה כֻּלָּם קְדשִׁים וּבְתוֹכָם ה׳ וּמַדּוּעַ תִּתְנַשְּׂאוּ עַל־קְהַל ה׳”-“For the entire assembly is entirely holy, and Hashem among them is; so why do you raise yourselves above the congregation of Hashem?” (Ibid. 16:3).

However, the correct approach in relation to Midos is the exact opposite. In order to be Mikayeim Ratzon Hashem (fulfill Hashem’s Will), one is to seize upon the Midah of Romemus (loftiness) and have a sense of the Chashivus of humankind. And through that, one will be able to say, “that all of the congregation is holy.” However, when we’re standing before a Moshe and Aharon, we must seize upon the path of Shiflus and Anavah, and in this context, it is appropriate to suggest, “And we were in our eyes as mere grasshoppers.”


We should be Zocheh to strike that balance in our Avodas Hashem between these Midos of Shiflus on the one hand and Romemus on the other.