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Friday, 25 September 2015


Daf Yomi Nazir 34

Yankel had found his dream job.  The local day-school had employed him to ring the bell between periods and before recess and lunch.  The rest of the time, he could sit and shteig (learn) in the little attic by the bell.  Each day, he would get up early and run to school to ring the bell ushering the children into their classes.

But then one day as he is running out the door, he slips and falls, breaking his arms.  Showing up to school with both arms in casts, the principal asks him how he expects to do the job without the use of his arms.
“No problem,” he responds, “I can jump up and head butt the bell with my face.  Here, watch this!”  And sure enough, he jumps up, bangs his face into the bell and it chimes beautifully, like every day previously.
“Okay, Yankel,” replies the principal, “if you’re sure you can do the job, it’s yours to keep.”  And Yankel returns happily to his desk in the attic.

A few days go by and everything is going according to plan.  Every time Yankel needs to ring the school-bell, he jumps up and bangs his head face-first against it and nobody below is any the wiser.  But on the fifth day, he runs up to ring the bill, loses his footing and misses, plummeting down three stories to the ground below.  A crowd of students quickly gathers but no one knows who this man is writhing in pain.  After all, he’s been hidden from sight all this time, keeping to himself up in the attic.

Just then, a senior teacher comes by and looks at Yankel lying there.
“Do you know this man?” a younger teacher asks. 
He takes a good look, scratches his head and replies, “Honestly, I can’t really place him.  But I must say, his face sure rings a bell!”

Listing the prohibited foods of the Nazir, the Torah declares, “Anything that is made from the grape-vine, from chartzanim to zug (of the grape), he should not eat.”
Rabbi Yossi teaches: In order to avoid erring, here’s how to remember the meaning of chartzanim and zug: A grape is just like a cowbell (zug), regarding which the exterior is called the zug while the interior is called a clapper.
Tosfos explains: Just like on a bell, the grape’s outer kelipah (skin) is called the zug. 

The Kabbalists liken the world around us to the kelipah of a fruit.  If you peel it away, you will find the inner beauty.  WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) only when you fail to take the time to discover what lies beneath the surface.   If you take the time to peel away the skin, you will discover the most incredible jewels underneath.

Rabbi Yossi takes the analogy a step further.  Sometimes you see a metal tin and you think nothing of it.  Believe it or not, there’s music underneath.  The outside of the bell on its own is pointless.  But when the clapper hits it, it makes music.  If you take the time to peel away the kelipah of this word, you will merit hearing the music!

Everything you encounter in this world is but a shell.  You wouldn’t eat the husks of the grapes on their own; G-d created them to house the primary element of the grape.  Even though it is the kelipah, it serves an important purpose.  Sometimes in life you need to dig deep to taste the sweetness and hear the music, but it’s worth digging.  The harder you must search, the sweeter the taste and richer the music.

Whether you’re dealing with a challenging situation or a challenging person, have patience and dig deep.  If you can just get past the kelipah, you will discover incredible richness.  Every individual is G-dly; if you haven’t discovered their G-dliness, you haven’t looked hard enough yet.  If G-d has sent this person into your life, He wants you to uncover the goodness within.

Our job in this world is to peel away the kelipah and discover the sweet music in every person and every situation.  WYSINWYG (What You See Is Not What You Get) when you make the effort.  May you make the effort to discover the beauty in everyone and everything!

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