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The words "Torah Tavlin" are best known from a phrase in the Gemara in the tractate Kiddushin: "בראתי יצר הרע ובראתי לו תורה תבלין" - "I created  the Yetzer Hara, and I've also the Torah Tavlin" - as an antidote; it is only in this passage that the context compels this translation. The word “Tavlin” has many understandings in the teachings of Chazal, but it is literally translated as “Spices.” Just as a master chef will employ a refreshing blend of spices and ingredients to make his culinary creation into a masterpiece, so too, does Hashem blend together a Divine brand of seasoning - “Tavlin” - into His Living Torah for us to absorb, each according to our individual understanding. Through the countless pages of our commentators, from thousands of years ago up to the present day, we “taste” these spices in every word and posuk in the Torah, and our intellectual senses are overloaded. It is the “Sam Hachaim” - the elixir of life, and the truest manner to experience the Torah.


Parshas Balak

"As Bilaam looked up and saw Israel encamped tribe by tribe, the spirit of Hashem came upon him"

     After numerous attempts, Bilaam finally gave up. Rashi writes: "(Bilaam) saw each tribe settled on its own and not intermingling; he saw the openings of each (family's) tent misaligned with the neighbor's so that one should not infringe upon the tent of another .... he felt then in his heart not to curse them." We, as Jews, understand the concept of Indus - modesty, and family parity, so it is no wonder to us that our ancestors behaved in this fine manner. But what would a shameful degenerate like Bilaam gamer from such a sight, that impressed him so much so to the point of changing his wicked tune, of his own volition?

     The great R' Boruch'l of Mezhibuz zt"l responds with an esoteric explanation, citing the oft-quoted words of Chazal: פתחו לי פתח כחודה של מחט ואני אפתח לכס פתח כפתחו של אולם. - Open up for Me (with teshuva) an opening the size of a pin-head, and I will open for you an opening as wide as that of a banquet hall. Hashem wants us to make even a minor effort and He will do the rest to show His love for Klal Yisroel.

     This, then, is the meaning of Rashi's words, "He saw that their openings were misaligned" - this is a reference to the "פתח" - "Opening" that exists between Hashem and His chosen nation. Unfortunately, our openings remain small and distant, however, Hashem is always ready to enlarge His opening to allow us to return to the proper fold. When Bilaam saw this misalignment but still realized that through it all, the opening that Hashem creates for His people is as wide as the day is bright, he understood that there was no purpose to his evil curses, as Hashem would protect His people.

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