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  • #1912747
    Zugger613
    Participant

    Noach: Help

    This year, I think we can all really identify with the plight of Noach. We have also spent too much time trapped inside with no possibility of escape. We have also been overwhelmed and helpless while watching the world as we know it fall apart.

    Perhaps we can take some lessons from Noach on how to not just weather the storm, but to actually grow from the experience. The Medrash Tanchuma says that there are only two specific people in תנ״ך that are referred to as being a צדיק; Noach and Yosef. The Medrash explains what it is that both had in common that earned them this title: both gave food to others who were unable to feed themselves.

    Unfortunately, there are always people out there who need some help. But in the past few months, their ranks have swelled. Perhaps this is one thing we can hold onto in these turbulent times – to make sure that we’re always doing our best to help others, whether they be neighbors, strangers, or members of our own household.

    לע״נ דוד חיים בן ישראל דוב הכהן
    לע״נ ר׳ חיים דוב בן ר׳ בןציון שלום

    #1913040
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    In Eretz Yisroel there was no mabul, so why not send Noach and his family there? Maybe he had to earn his keep by feeding the animals.

    #1915110
    Zugger613
    Participant

    Lech Lecha: Hard Won Habits

    When Hashem informed Avrom that he would have children, the Torah tells והאמין בה׳ ויחשבה לו צדקה, the fact that Avrom believed Hashem was considered a zechus. The Ramban finds this puzzling – why wouldn’t Avrom believe the word of Hashem?

    R’ Elya Lopian gives a fascinating explanation. We know that לפום צערא אגרא – the amount of reward that a person receives for their actions is dependent on how hard it was for them to do what was right.

    We might think that once a person has accustomed themselves to doing what is right, they would no longer receive the same credit that they did when it was a struggle. This is why the Torah tells us that Hashem counted it as a zechus that Avrom believed – he received the same amount of reward now as he did when he first recognized and believed in Hashem. The fact that his original accomplishment had now become second nature did not lessen the amount of reward he received for each subsequent action.

    לע״נ דוד חיים בן ישראל דוב הכנן
    לע״נ ר׳ חיים דוב בן ר׳ בןציון שלום

    #1915140
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    The Chezkuni has a very interesting pshat on above kashye in believing in Hashem. Vayachsheveho lo tzedaka means that Avraham considered it a favor for himself, thinking that he is not worthy of it.

    #1915457
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    Also, the mazal is not in his favor, as children are dependent on the mazal. Hashem added a heh to Avram and changed Sarai making their name Avraham and Sarah both becoming a different individual on whom the mazal has no control. The yud of Sarai was applied to Hoshea making his name Yehoshua bin Nun. According Rebbi Reb Heshel the shvo for the yud was taken from ben making it bin.

    #1919490
    Zugger613
    Participant

    Chayei Sarah: Be You

    When it came time to find a wife for Yitzchak, Avraham seemed to have the perfect choice right under his nose: his top disciple Eliezer had a daughter. Yet Avraham refused to even consider this option, saying only “I am ברוך and you are ארור”. What is that supposed to mean?

    R’ Ahron Lopiansky points out that the word ברכה actually means to increase. We refer to a ברכה as a blessing only as a kind of shorthand; an increase in one’s physical possessions or spiritual abilities is indeed a blessing.

    Yitzchok was not supposed to be just another Avraham. He was his own man, with his own special way of serving Hashem. That is the very definition of ברוך. By contrast, Eliezer was דולה ומשקה מתורתו של אברהם, only a repetition of what Avraham said and who Avraham was. Avraham refused to consider Eliezer’s daughter for Yitzchok because he needed a spouse that valued originality.

    לע״נ דוד חיים בן ישראל דוב הכהן
    לע״נ ר׳ חיים דוב בן ר׳ בןציון שלום

    #1919497
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    This above needs some explanation. We don’t make things up on our own but folow tradition, the mesorah. The Chasam Sofer explains that a chidush is a divine revelation, siyata dishmaya to reveal the hidden secrets of the Torah usually through a question. Every individual is assigned from Heaven to reveal his designated part of the Torah.

    #1919599
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    Serving of Hashem through the different technique of Avraham, kindness, Yitzchok, strength, Yaakov, beauty, Torah, against the three pillars on which the world stands, Torah, avodah, gemilas chasodim lies in the Torah. They add up to the same gematria of 611, תורה, יראת, גמילות חסדים.

    #1921483
    Zugger613
    Participant

    Toldos: Blind to the Best

    The Medrash tells us that Yitzchok was blinded by the tears the Malachim cried during the Akeidah. What exactly is that supposed to mean?

    Rav Shach explains that although the Malachim serve Hashem far better than we do, they never struggle to do what is right like us. This is why the Malachim were so amazed by seeing Avraham and Yitzchok overcome the Akeida, the most difficult of tests – they couldn’t relate to that kind of struggle.

    But Yitzchok was blinded by this very concept. He so valued the struggle to make the right choices that he wanted to give the Brachos to Esav, because Esav had a more difficult time doing what was right.

    However, this was missing an important point: Yaakov would put the Brachos to far better use than Esav. True, Yaakov was the brother who doing the right thing came more naturally to; but even the best can always get better.

    לע״נ דוד חיים בן ישראל דוב הכהן
    לע״נ ר׳ חיים דוב בן ר׳ בןציון שלום

    #1921502
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    They say that Rivka Imenu grew up in the house of Lavan, so she was able to see through Esav recognizing who really deserves the brachas.
    When Yitzchak Avinu wanted to bentch Esav but he sounded like Yaakov, so why did he bentch him? The Beis Halevi explains that thinking that Yaakov might fool him, Esav made an agreement with Yitzchak that he will speak sounding like Yaakov figuring that Yaakov will speak like Esav but Yaakov did not change his voice.
    Originally, Esav came to Yitzchak wearing the hear shirt, from Adam Harishon whicb he acquired from Nimrod, and gave it afterwards to Rivka for safekeeping. Rivka gave it to Yaakov. When Esav returned, he could not find it and went to his father without it, so he smelled like the gehinam.

    #1923503
    Zugger613
    Participant

    Vayeitzei: God Always Wins

    The Gemora tells us that after Yaakov asked Rochel to marry him, she gave him a warning: my father is a trickster, and he will not let you marry me before my sister gets married. Yaakov cryptically answers: אחיו אני ברמאות, I am his brother in trickery. Yet, we do not find that Yaakov ever tried to trick Lavan. What was he trying to say?

    Perhaps we can suggest that Yaakov was referencing a deeper truth. In reality, nothing any person does can change the divine plan. Man plans and God laughs, for at the end of the day עצת ה׳ היא תקום.

    Based on this, when Yaakov said “I am his brother in trickery” he may have meant “I don’t care if Lavan tricks me”. It wasn’t relevant to him whether Lavan seemed to have gotten away with his plans. He knew that what Hashem decided would happen, no matter what.

    לע״נ דוד חיים בן ישראל דוב הכהן
    לע״נ ר׳ חיים דוב בן ר׳ בןציון שלום

    #1923506
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    Hashem wanted that Yaakov Avinu be fooled in order to get down to mitzraim. The holy Alshich explains the meaning of the pasuk arami oved avi vayered mitzraim. If Yaakov would not have been fooled, then he would have married Rachel first, Yosef would have been the bechor, there would have been no place for jelousy to sell him and no reason to go down to mitzraim.

    #1923520
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    I think your explanation above is similar to the Targum Yonathan. Rachel says, you will not be able to deal with him because he is a trickster, Yakov answers I am also a trickster and smarter from him and Hashem will not allow him to do bad to me.

    #1925797
    Zugger613
    Participant

    Vayishlach: It Never Ends

    When Avram’s name was changed to Avraham, he is never referred to as Avram again. When Yaakov’s name is changed to Yisrael, he is refers to as Yaakov in the very next פסוק. Why is that?

    The name Yaakov is symbolic of struggle. Yaakov is always holding on to the heel of his evil brother, holding on to existence through the bitter Galus. Yisrael is symbolic of victory; כי שרית אם אלקים ואנשים ותוכל; for you have struggled… and won.

    Perhaps we can suggest that this is why the name Yaakov was never shelved. For as much as Yaakov Avinu had accomplished, there still remained more to be done.

    We are usually referred to as בני ישראל, symbolic of all that we have accomplished and all that we are. But we are also still בני יעקב; constantly struggling to do things better.

    לע״נ דוד חיים בן ישראל דוב הכהן
    לע״נ ר׳ חיים דוב בן ר׳ בןציון שלום

    #1925800
    Zugger613
    Participant

    Reb Eliezer, thanks for the tip about the Targum Yonasan. And I apologize for never responding to your comments; I usually just post my dvar Torah and log out. But it’s good to know that at least one person reads my vort every time.

    #1925919
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    The Rabbenu Bachaya in Parashas Vayechi explains that Yaakov refers to the physical whereas Yisroel the spiritual, so both are true.
    Yaakov + Satan = 182 + 359 = 541 = Yisroel. Yaakov by fighting the Satan encompasses his power.

    #1927758
    Zugger613
    Participant

    Vayeishev: Peeking Through the Cracks

    Rashi cites a Medrash that although Arabs usually transport foul smelling merchandise, Hashem orchestrated that the Arabs who brought Yosef into slavery had pleasant smelling spices instead.

    R’ Chaim Shmuelevitz explains that this small and seemingly unhelpful miracle was a reminder that Hashem is always running the show. No matter what was happening to Yosef, Hashem was still with him.

    In a similar vein, R’ Moshe Feinstein asks why the one טהור flask of oil miraculously lasted for eight days, despite the fact that טומאה הותרה בצבור. He answers that Hashem performed a small and seemingly unnecessary miracle to show us that He is always here, and He is always the true source of everything good that happens to us.

    No matter how good or bad of a situation a person may find themselves in, Hashem is really the one running the show.

    לע״נ דוד חיים בן ישראל דוב הכהן
    לע״נ ר׳ חיים דוב בן ר׳ בןציון שלום

    #1927818
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    Reb Moshe ztz’l says that the first day the nes was just the fact that oil burns.

    #1929692
    Zugger613
    Participant

    Mikeitz: The Cause is really the Effect

    The Parsha begins with ויהי מקץ שנתים ימים ופרעה חולם, and at the end of two years Pharaoh dreamed. The פסוק implies this dream had been waiting to happen for 2 years.

    The Beis HaLevi explains that we might have thought that Yosef freedom was a result of Pharaoh’s dreams. But in reality, the opposite is true. Since Hashem decided that now is when Yosef should go free, He sent these dreams to Pharaoh to make it happen.

    When Yosef finally reveals himself to his brothers, he says a similar thing: Don’t be upset that you sold me, for Hashem sent me here to help you survive. Me helping you is not an incidental effect; it is the reason Hashem orchestrated my coming down to Mitzrayim.

    We sometimes look at current events as if they determine what happens to us. But really, that’s backwards. Hashem brings about events based on what He has decided should happen.

    לע״נ דוד חיים בן ישראל דוב הכהן
    לע״נ ר׳ חיים דוב בן ר׳ בןציון שלום

    #1929799
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    The Binah Leitim Darush 18, interprets Pharao’s dream differently. Who asked Yosef to find a manager on Mitzraim to make sure that grain is collected for the seven skinny years? He says the seven fat years also contained seven skinny years as some tevuah was set aside and vice versa, the seven skinny years was seven fat years as the collected grain was dispersed. What needs an explanation the question about the repetion which seems to be necessary for each of the seven years.

    #1929853
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    When Paraoh tells the dream to Yosef, he adds the word I stand by sefas hayeor, by the riverside but at the original dream is it not mentioned. Pharaoh wanted to test Yosef if he also knows the dream itself. So to the Bnei Yesoschor, Yosef said, שפת לא ידעתי אשמע I hear a sefas which I don’t understand.

    #1931785
    Zugger613
    Participant

    Vayigash: Touch Base

    After Yosef reveals himself to his brothers, he has a special reunion with Binyomin; they cry on each other’s shoulders, and Yosef gives Binyomin five sets of clothing. Rashi quotes Medrashim that they they were crying over the churban, and the clothes were a hint to the story of Purim. But what do these other stories of galus have to do with Yosef?

    At the age of 17, Yosef was left alone in a decadent culture that was the opposite of everything he’d learned in his father’s house. But he never forgot who he was: a son of Yaakov, and a son of Hashem. When he was about to sin in Mitzrayim, he saws his fathers face in the window, and he asked himself “how can I betray my loyalty to Hashem”?

    Just like Yosef, the only way that the Jews were able to survive all of our exiles was by never forgetting who we are. We are Jews, the children of the Avos and Imahos, the chosen people of Hashem.

    לע״נ דוד חיים בן ישראל דוב הכהן
    לע״נ ר׳ חיים דוב בן ר׳ בןציון שלום

    #1931816
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    Could be the Chasan Sofer explains the expression as eishes Potifar encouraged Yosef day by day, he did not listen to her. This is a reflection of the yetzer hara, bad inclination, who nudges a person constantly to sin by encorages him with all kinds of justifications, whereas the yetzer tov, good inclination, does not need to nudge as he has good merchandise which speaks for itself. Yosef thought that she had honorable intentions, but then she does not need to talk so much. Maybe, Yaakov Avinu taught Yosef to watch out for this and don’t follow the advice which comes from the yetzer hara which Yosef remembered when the father’s face appeared infront of him.

    #1938980
    Zugger613
    Participant

    Vaeira: Equality For All

    Rashi points out that when the Torah refers to Moshe and Ahron, sometimes Moshe’s name is listed first and sometimes Ahron’s is listed first. Rashi says this goes to show that the two were equal. But we know that Moshe was the greatest Navi of all time – how can they be equal?

    R’ Moshe Feinstein explains this based on a Gemora which states that Olam Haba is the opposite of this world – some of those who seem great here are not viewed as being great there, while some who don’t seem special in this world are considered extraordinary in the next world. In Olam Haba, one is not ranked by how much they did, but by how they could have done. Somebody who accomplished everything they could have is great, even if those accomplishments may seem meager. Somebody who has not all that they could is not great, even if they seem to have done impressive things. Moshe and Ahron were equal not in their accomplishments, but in that both of them did everything they could to live up to their potential.

    לע״נ דוד חיים בן ישראל דוב הכהן
    לע״נ ר׳ חיים דוב בו ר׳ בןציון שלום

    #1939037
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    Our responsibility in this world is to reach our potential. It is said, everyone can be like Moshe Rabbenu by reaching his potential.

    #1939050
    huju
    Participant

    I thought this thread was about my wife.

    #1941370
    Zugger613
    Participant

    Bo: Constant Renewal

    R’ Samson Raphael Hirsch points out that the core identity of the Jewish people was forged in a situation which would have caused most nations to completely forget who they are; in the darkness and difficultly of slavery and genocide. He opines that overcoming this near-death experience in the infancy of our nation is what allowed us to survive thousands of years of hardship without abandoning our identity as Hashem’s chosen people.

    Perhaps we can suggest that this message is hinted to in the very first mitzva that Bnei Yisroel received. One of the messages of קידוש החודש is even when what little light we have to guide us through the night seems to have disappeared, we are certain it will return. And no matter how much the light of Klal Yisroel may be dimmed by the darkness of Galus, we know that we will be able to shine brightly once again.

    לע״נ דוד חיים בן ישראל דוב הכהן
    לע״נ ר׳ חיים דוב בן ר’ בןציון שלום

    #1941407
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    The Jews are like the moon. There greatness appears in cycles. Sometimes they are up and sometimex tney are down. The Chasam Sofer says that the moon was willing to make itself smaller that the stars should be seen. The Hafloah says tbat a rebbi should be seen like a malach who is stationary in his edification to show and reveal the greatness of his talmidim in order to learn from him. The Rabbenu Bachaya on the parasha says from the Rabbenu Chananel that the calculation is what we rely on when determining the new moon. Tbe observation must agree with this calculation.

    #1941450
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    We make a bracha yotzer hamoros to ask Hashem that tbe moon should reacquire its original size and new light (having its own light) of creation being equal to the sun as explained by Rashi in Breishis on the pasuk.

    #1945495
    Zugger613
    Participant

    Yisro: ‘Cuz I Said So

    R’ Samson Raphael Hirsch has a beautiful explanation of what Bnei Yisroel meant when they said נעשה ונשמע:

    First comes the נעשה; we keep the mitzvos because Hashem told us to, for only by obeying Him can we develop a relationship with Him.

    Then comes the נשמע. This is when we try to listen to the messages behind the mitzvos, to figure out from the mitzvos how to lead the rest of our lives.

    But the נשמע, the lessons we take from the mitzvos, are themselves a part of the נעשה, obeying Hashem. We don’t keep the moral lessons of the mitzvos because we happen to like them. We accept them as correct because they are God given, a part of Hashem’s mitzvos.

    Morals that human beings make up change every decade, because they are based on nothing more than passing feelings and fads. Only a morality based on the eternal word of Hashem can last forever.

    לע״נ דוד חיים בן ישראל דוב הכהן
    לע״נ ר׳ חיים דוב בן ר׳ בןציון שלום

    #1945510
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    The Ksav Sofer asks why give two crowns when we must hear before we can do? The crown was given because of the precedence. However, there was only one precedence, so why two crowns? If they would have said, נשמע ונעשה, hear and do, then no two crown would be given, but they said נעשה ונשמע, do and hear, but you cannot do before you hear, so נשמע over here means to understand and for that an extra crown is deserved. The precedence caused the change of meaning through which a crown was provided.

    #1946559
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    The chitzonos, the outside action in performance of the mitzvos, should reflect on the penimiyos, the inner feelings and closeness towards Hashem.

    #1952042
    Zugger613
    Participant

    *Mishpatim: Constant Connection*

    The first Rashi in the Parsha asks why the appointment of judges is placed right next to פסוקים dealing with the מזבח. Quoting Chazal, Rashi answers that this teaches us that the Sanhedrin should sit next to the מזבח in the בית המקדש.

    Perhaps we can suggest that this juxtaposition teaches us how we are supposed to view all Mishpatim. These mitzvos do not exist merely to ensure that society functions fairly. Like the מזבח, they exist primarily to connect us to Hashem.

    The multitudes of mishpatim ensure that we never forget Hashem. Wherever we go and whatever we do, there is a rule in Hashem’s Torah instructing us how to behave. The fact that the Torah is so ingrained in every part of our lives is supposed to serve as a constant reminder that we are Hashem’s chosen people, and serve as a way of constantly connecting to Him.

    לע״נ דוד חיים בן ישראל דוב הכהן
    לע״נ ר׳ חיים דוב בן ר׳ בןציון שלום

    #1952043
    Zugger613
    Participant

    *Teruma: Spokespeople*

    Inside the ארון were some of the most consequential items in all of history: the pieces of the first luchos, the second luchos, and the original Sefer Torah that Moshe wrote. And yet, when Hashem spoke to Moshe, his voice did not emanate from inside the ארון. Instead, the voice came from in between the כרובים on the top of the ארון. Why was that?

    Perhaps we can suggest that this goes to show that the Torah is not supposed to exist as an interesting intellectual book on a shelf. Hashem’s Presence is only felt when people, symbolized by the כרובים, live their lives based on the Torah.

    The Mishkan, the Beis HaMikdosh, and the Torah itself are only there to teach us how to live our lives in accordance with Hashem’s will. But it is up to us to live up to these ideals in our own lives, and only through our actions can Hashem’s Presence be felt.

    לע״נ דוד חיים בן ישראל דוב הכהן
    לע״נ ר׳ חיים דוב בן ר׳ בןציון שלום

    #1952044
    Zugger613
    Participant

    Tezaveh: In Control

    The Gemora tells us that the מעיל, the outer robe of the Kohen Gadol, was מכפר on murder. But how does that work?

    The Akeidas Yitzchak, a late Rishon, explains that the lesson of the מעיל, when properly internalized, will fix the underlying issues that bring one to murder (which is the highest level of כפרה). A person can only come to murder another if they have become so angry that they have completely lost control of themselves, and their actions are no longer rational.

    The מעיל, a narrow robe that went down to the ankles, is the exact opposite of this. The מעיל made sure every step of its wearer would be measured, deliberate, and thought out; no move was to be made impetuously.

    From the מעיל we learn that every step and decision that a person makes in their lives should not be made in haste, but must be deliberate and thought out.

    לע״נ דוד חיים בן ישראל דוב הכהן
    לע״נ ר׳ חיים דוב בן ר׳ בןציון שלום

    #1952091
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    An intential murder with admonition by witnesses has no kapara. A shogeg, no admonition but witnesses, goes to arei miklat. so this was a crime of passion where if he thought it over a head of time
    would not have commit it as the meil, long shirt was made with proper measurement. Similarly, the mishkan wss made to exact specification. The Ben Ish Chai compares this to an architect who has to create a blue print for his test. He lives out a dot. He ends up failing the test but its only a dot. He is told that the dot is a representation of the king’s palace. Everything in the mishkan represents the mikdash above in the heavens, so it required exact measurements.

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