the sweetening of redemption

Today (21 Adar) is the (223rd) Yahrtzeit of the Noam Elimelech. (Rebbe Elimelech ben Reb Elazar of Lizhensk) [last year's yahrtzeit post here: the sweetness of elimelech]

Reb 'Meilech said about himself that he would sweeten the hardships of the time of Moshiah. 

The Komarna Rebbe wrote about the sefer Noam Elimelech that it is pure light and no one can truly comprehend it, they can only perceive it relative to their own level.

In honor of his 223rd Yahrtzeit, I wanted to share a little hidush (according to my own muddied level) on the sefer Noam Elimelech.

Reb 'Meilech often repeated the lesson that a Tzaddik, through his prayers, creates a new heaven and a new earth. Now, it occurs to me that there is almost a literal analog in the chumash of this description, creating a new earth and a new heaven: The splitting of the sea by the exodus from egypt. What are the heavens, the firmament that divides the heavenly waters with the earthly waters, well, on that day there was another firmament dividing the waters around the Jewish people. Similarly the earth, aretz, or land, is originally created (in Bereishith) through gathering the water away from and exposing dry land. Once again we see that in the splitting of the sea, new land, a new earth, was created.

Now to really get to the point of my teaching we need to visit two teachings of Chazal: 
(1) In Rabi Meir's (the Tanna who is responsible for much of the mishnah) Sefer Torah, the Talmud teaches, the words "robes of leather" (עור) was written "robes of light." (אור) The Komarna explains that Rabi Meir was on such a level that his flesh was totally transparent to HaShem's light, the true and deepest definition of learning Torah for its own sake (According to the Baal Shem Tov) and so in Rabi Meir's Torah scroll, the ayin was written as an aleph.

(2) The midrash mentions that by the splitting of the sea, HaShem appeared before Bnei Yisrael
as a powerful warrior in the prime of life, (sure enough we see in the song by the sea, Az YaShir, that Mosheh praises HaShem as a "Man of war") and by Har Sinai, HaShem appeared before Bnei Yisrael as an old man with a flowing white beard. 

The point is this:
In the Noam Elimelech (and once more in the appendix 'Likkutei Shoshanah') there appears a seeming reference to this midrash, but instead it is written that HaShem appeared by the splitting of the sea as an old man with a flowing white beard. 

At first I puzzled at this reading and even asked Rav Tal Zwecker (who recently translated the Noam Elimelech into english) for his explanation -- it would seem that the original manuscript abbreviated "Har Sinai" (ה"ס) and the printer misread it as (הים) "the sea." Seems like an honest enough mistake. 

But I would like to be mechadesh (offer a new interpretation) here that in fact, Reb Meilech was on such a level that all of HaShem's harshest judgements were clear to him as truly the sweetest kindness,  and so like Rabi Meir's Torah in which it was written "light" instead of "leather," here too Reb Meilech's sefer recorded only a likeness of Hesed, a kindly old man with a long white beard, by the splitting of the sea, not a man of war.


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