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  • #2099913
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    According to the Rav Abarbanel and Maasei Hashem they should have not publicized their findings as they were responsible to Moshe Rabbenu sending them as it says shelach ‘lecha’. They also emphasized the negative by saying good but bad rather than saying bad but good. The Rav Malbim explains the difference between ויתורו and וירגלו. The original intention of Moshe Rabbenu was that each shevat should look at the positive qualities, what they like. This was the reason why each shevat was sent. However, they switched their mission looking for bad qualities, what they didn’t like. Moshe Rabbenu wanted them to realize that they need the help of Hashem and they cannot conquer EY by themselves because they are strong.

    #2102080
    Zugger613
    Participant

    Korach: The Right Man for the Job

    What reasons did Korach give for why he should be Kohen Gadol instead of Ahron? He complained that all the honor and glory was going to Moshe and his family, and that Korach’s family should have been in line for the next open position.

    However, there is one point Korach did not address. He made no argument that Ahron wasn’t fit for the job, or why he would make a better Kohen Gadol. Korach was apparently not concerned with who the best man for the job was. He just wanted it for himself.

    Contrast this with the attitude of Moshe. In last weeks Parsha, Moshe receives a Nevuah that he will die in the desert, having failed to bring Bnei Yisroel to their destination. But Moshe was not perturbed-מי יתן כל עם ה׳ נביאים. Moshe wanted the best man to get the job, regardless of that was him or not.

    This is a pretty easy way to gauge whether we are looking out for the greater good, or just in it for ourselves. If we find ourselves asking “who would do the best job”, we’re asking the right question. But when that becomes “why not me?”, we should check our motives.

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

    #2102170
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    I asked the above question from Rav Shafran, as Korach argued that everyone is holy, so what makes him better than anyone else? He told me that when one has self interest they will not argue logically.

    #2104259
    Zugger613
    Participant

    Chukas: Speak Softly & Drop the Stick

    We know that when Moshe hit the rock, instead of talking to it as Hashem had instructed, he was no longer allowed to enter Eretz Yisroel. But the reason given seems somewhat puzzling: “יען לא האמנתם בי”, because you did not cause Bnei Yisroel to believe in Me. What exactly was the lesson that the Jewish people was supposed to have learnt from witnessing Moshe talk to the rock that they didn’t see from him hitting the rock?

    The Mahral explains that if the rock would have given water simply by request, Klal Yisroel would have seen a model image of Avodas Hashem: you should do what Hashem wants, because you want to do what Hashem wants you to do.

    Instead, by seeing Moshe angrily hitting the rock, they were shown a very different image: of doing what Hashem said because you feel you have no choice, due to either threats or rewards that you just can’t ignore.

    This difference in attitudes is so critical, writes the Mahral, that it is part of the very definition of Emunah. כי אין אמונה רק שיהיה” דרך רצון ושמחה” – the only way of serving Hashem with Emunah, is do so voluntarily and joyfully.

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

    #2104261
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant
    #2106235
    Zugger613
    Participant

    Balak: Blame Game

    Why did Hashem prevent Bilum from cursing Bnei Yisroel? Hashem controls the world, and nothing Bilum or anybody else says can force Hashem to do anything. Why didn’t Hashem let Bilum curse us, and just ignore him?

    The Chida quotes R’ Shlomo Astruk as explaining what the problem would have been. If Bilum had cursed Bnei Yisroel, Bnei Yisroel would have blamed any suffering or misfortune that occurred to them as being the result of Bilum’s curse, without considering whether their suffering was actually caused by their own actions.

    Pain is often Hashem’s way of sending us messages about what it is that we need to do better. If we blame others for the situation we find ourselves in instead of considering that what is happening to us is primarily the result of our own actions, we will never be able to fix the true root of the problem.

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

    #2106263
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    We got the greatest brachas from Bilam which we would have never gotten. Hashem showed His great love to us by reversing Bilom’s curses to blessings. Hashem wanted to show that Bilom accomplished with his curses the opposite. The speaking of the donkey reflects this. Even a donkey can speak when Hashem wants it to. Bilom was only able to speak what Hashem wanted him to say. Hashem can give water from the rock, blessings from the wicked.

    #2108002
    Zugger613
    Participant

    Pinchos: Admit It

    There were 24,000 people who died in a plague, all of whom had allowed themselves to be enticed by the daughters of Midyan. Why is Zimri specifically singled out for condemnation?

    R’ Yosef Chaim Zonnenfeld explains that Zimri did not just make a mistake. Zimri publicly sought to justify his actions, and to convince others to do as he had done.

    Zimri ridiculously compared his actions to that of Moshe, who married a giyores. Zimri proudly paraded his sinful actions in the heart of the camp, trying to sway others his way.

    We all make mistakes. But we need to make sure that our failings do not dilute our ideals. We always need to recognize what is right and what is wrong, but never more so than after we’ve crossed that line. Don’t let your failings redefine you.

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

    #2108078
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    When you believe that you are right like Korach and Zimri over here, you will never do teshuva,

    #2112253
    Zugger613
    Participant

    Devarim: Channeling Tragedy

    Rashi explains why it is that Moshe chose this moment to rebuke Bnei Yisroel for all the mistakes they had made over the past 40 years. Moshe knew that he was about to die, and that this was the most opportune time to correct all the mistakes of the past.

    The Ksav Sofer further explains that when we are happily going about our regular lives, without any major challenges or issues, it can be very difficult for us to change ourselves. We feel comfortable, and we can feel complacent.

    But when tragedy strikes, it tends to jolt us out of our regular routine. We suddenly realize how little in life is certain, and we can be far more open to changing our ways.

    When Moshe was about to pass away, he knew that Bnei Yisroel would be uniquely attentive to what he had to say, and would be far more open to changing their ways.

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

    #2112339
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    The Ksav Sofer needs some explanation what tragedy personally struck them? When Moshe Rabbenu was passing away, the Jews realized that life is temporary and even a tzadik does not live forever, so it reminded them of their day of demise. Therefore, it brought them to teshuva by willing to accept mussar more easily.

    #2118664
    Zugger613
    Participant

    Re’ah: Everyone Can See It

    The Parsha starts off: ראה אנכי נותן לפניכם היום ברכה… אשר תשמעו אל מצות ה׳. But how can we be told that we can see, today in front of us, the ברכה of listening to Hashem? Don’t we know that שכר מצוה בהאי עלמא ליכא, the reward for the Mitzvos can never be paid back in this world?

    R’ Moshe answers that although the reward for the Mitzvos is not given in this world, the difference between somebody who lives a life dedicated to ruchniyus and somebody who only lives for gashmiyus is apparent to all. Somebody who lives life focused only on physical pleasure and selfishness will never be happy, and everyone will know it. But somebody who truly dedicates their life to ruchniyus and doing what is right will be happy and content.

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

    #2120459
    Zugger613
    Participant

    Shoftim – Who Needs a King?

    One of the Mitzvos recorded in this week’s Parsha is to appoint a Jewish king. And yet, when the nation requested a king from Shmuel HaNavi, they were punished. How can this be?

    R’ Shamshon Raphael Hirsh explains that they asked for a king at the wrong time and for the wrong reasons. The goal of the ideal Jewish king is to guide the people by example, and to show them what true Avodas Hashem looks like. If that is why we seek a king, we’re doing the right thing.

    But in the times of Shmuel HaNavi, the people wanted a king to help them win their wars and conquer the rest of Eretz Yisroel. But the Torah says that we should appoint a king only after we have conquered the land and divided it between the Shevatim, לאחר ירושה וישיבה. Explains R’ Hirsh, this is to drive home this point – a king’s job is not to fight wars and not to conquer territory. A king’s job is to guide the people to be the best that they can be, and to do so primarily by example.

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

    #2120489
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    We are not suppose have a king ככל הגוים, like other nations but the king keeps the Torah in front of him to know how to lead as Chasam Sofer explains וקרא בו כל ימי חייו, his life behavior he should read from the Torah.

    #2120514
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    By wanting a king it says ככל הגוים, like other nations but when placing a king, שום תשים עלך מלך, you can get a king but not to be like other nations.

    #2122776
    Zugger613
    Participant

    Ki Seitzi: Forever Grateful

    There is a somewhat surprising mitzva in this weeks parasha: לא תתעב מצרי, do not hate an Egyptian. Despite the fact that they enslaved and made us miserable for hundreds of years, culminating in their throwing our children into the Nile, we can’t hate them.

    Why? The passuk continues: כי גר היית בארצו. Because when Yaakov and his sons needed a place to live during times of famine, Mitzrayim took us in. Despite all the terrible things they did to us afterwards, we can never forget the one favor that they did for us when we needed them.

    R’ Yerucham Levovitz points out how applicable this is in our own lives. We tend to dwell on the bad we feel people have done to us. And if we even think about the good that they’ve done for us at all, we tend to think it’s been “canceled out”.

    But in the Torah view, we should never forget a favor that somebody has done for us, regardless of what happens after that.

    There is a incidental benefit to living our lives like this. By focusing on the good people have done, we may find ourselves feeling far more happy and grateful and far less grumpy and resentful.

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

    #2122917
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    The Mitzriyim elevated Yosef and provided a haven for Yaakov Avinu.

    The Kli Yokor at the end of parashas Vayigash explains that, the reason for the suffering and enslavement was because the Jews forgot an important lesson that must be remembered in diaspora. We must constantly keep in mind that we are strangers in a strange land. Moishe Rabbenu constantly kept this in mind, and therefore the G-d of his father was constantly helping him. This was the lesson that Moshe Rabbeinu wanted to teach us through the naming of his children. The Jews wanted to become part of the Egyptian establishment. They forgot that they came to Egypt just as a temporary dweller, who is fleeing his problems temporarily by escaping to a strange land. They became rich and acquired land. They built on it fancy houses which the Egyptians resented.

    #2125153
    Zugger613
    Participant

    Ki Savo: Being Uplifted<strong/>

    When a person brings their Bikkurim to the Beis HaMildosh, there is an intriguing process to be followed. The owner first places his hand on his basket of fruits, then the Kohen puts the Kohen’s hand under the owners hand, and they lift the basket together. Only then does the owner begin reciting the inspiring passages of Bikkurim.

    R’ Aaron Lopiansky points out a message that we can take from this. When a person is in the presence of the Kohen in the Beis HaMikdosh, they mustn’t view themselves as just a visitor. They must come with the intention of both accepting the inspiration and teachings of the Kohen, and of being uplifted and changed by their experience. Only someone looking change for the better will succeed in doing so.

    In the next few weeks, we will all go through experiences that have the ability to change us. But these Yomim Tovim can only change us if we want to be changed, if we want to be better.

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

    #2125242
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    When we give something on behalf of something else than the second thing for which the first thing is given is more beloved than the first. We bring bikurim to show that Hashem is more beloved than the first fruits, which is much loved as the first dollar earned, is being sacrificed in His name by our recognizing all He has given to us. This is also the reason that we show recognition at the Hagaddah for Hashem taking us out from Mitzraim by saying the same pesukim.

    #2127490
    Zugger613
    Participant

    Nitzavim: Returning to our Ideals

    This parsha contains some famously stirring words about a particular mitzva: לא נפלאת היא ממך… לא בשמים היא… כי קרוב עליך הדבר מאוד. However, there is a disagreement between Rashi and the Ramban which precise mitzva this is referring to. Rashi is of the opinion that the mitzva being discussed is the study of Torah, while the Ramban thinks the we are talking about the mitzva of teshuva.

    However, we can suggest that two opinions are not necessarily in conflict. Translated literally, “teshuva” means “to return”. During the course of a full year, it is all but guaranteed that there are times that we will have fallen short, times when we will not have moved up to the ideals that we cherish. Teshuva is the process of returning back to the ideals that we may have abandoned.

    This is where studying Torah comes in. The Torah is the ultimate, divine guide to Jewish ideals. By studying the Torah, we can ensure that our ideals are not watered down by the times that we’ve fallen short, and that we have pristine ideals to return to.

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

    #2127598
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    The Rabbenu Bachaya sasys that the center rules. The mouth should follow the heart and the actions should also follow it especially for teshuva.

    #2127605
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    Maybe both are true as it says with the mouth indicating learning where by the heart only one forgets and actions indicating teshuva where the mouth alone is not enough and the heart is also required.

    #2128601
    Zugger613
    Participant

    Vayeilech: Finding the New in the Old

    One of the final Mitzvos on the Torah is the mitzva of Hakhel – on the Sukkos of the year following Shemittah, the king read all of Sefer Devarim in the Beis HaMikdosh.

    R’ Aaron Lopiansky sees a beautiful message in this mitzva. Devarim is the Sefer that was written by Moshe – but its content is not truly new. It is Moshe’s understanding of the things that Hashem had previously said, and his application of those Divine principles to the upcoming life of the nation in Ererz Yisroel.

    Explains R’ Lopiansky, this is symbolic of the job of a Jewish king. He is not to make up new ideals, but he can’t just repeat old ideals either. Rather, his job is to see the new within the old, to find the application of the old ideals that his generation needs to hear.

    R’ Lopiansky further explains that this is one of the messages that Chazal intended when they said that the reason that the children are brought to Hakhel is “to give reward to those who brought them”. This doesn’t just mean that shleping kids is a pain, so you get reward for it. It means that the truest success a parent can have is to impart to their children the ability to find the new messages within old wisdom.

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

    #2128602
    Zugger613
    Participant

    Link to the full shiur: https://shiurim. eshelpublications. com/vayeilech-5780/

    #2128691
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    It does not say kovato torah leitim, to set the Torah to the times but kovato itim latorah, set the times to the Torah. A man bought a small hat, so he went to the goldsmith to squeeze his head to make it fit to the hat rather than expand the hat to make it fit to his head. We don’t change the Torah to make it fit to the times.

    #2129701
    Zugger613
    Participant

    Haazinu: Torah is like 🌧️

    As he gets ready to take his final leave of his people, Moshe compares the Torah he is about to teach Bnei Yisroel to rain watering plants. Aside from the obvious metaphor of Torah bringing life, perhaps there is a deeper message here as well.

    Every patch of earth has its own unique qualities, and each area has plants that it is uniquely suited to providing for. And yet, the same rain nourishes each and every spot in the world, and allows it to produce its own crop.

    Similarly, each and every one of has our unique characteristics and circumstances, abilities, and challenges. Each of is capable of producing a unique crop of achievements, things that nobody else can do instead of us.

    Yet in order to make our unique contributions, we all need the same thing. Only through the Torah can we see how to use our unique talents in pursuit of the greater good, in the context of Hahsem’s grand plan. The Torah nurtures our uniques talents, and shows how to use them correctly.

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

    #2129715
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    Moshe Rabbenu was like the above by having a special ability to lower himself to everyone’s level when teaching the Torah. He lost this strength now שנסתמו ממנו מעינות החכמה, the water flow of his wisdom became closed him.

    #2129966
    abukspan
    Participant

    If I understood you correctly, the last pshat from Rav Ilan ,is a good tzu-shtel to what you wrote. Piska Tuva

    We read toward the end of Parashat Vayelekh (31:28) of Moshe’s instruction to the Leviyim to assemble the nation’s leaders so he could present to them the poem of Ha’azinu. Rashi, citing the Midrash Tanchuma, raises the question of why the chatzotzerot (trumpets) were not used for this purpose. As we know from Sefer Bamidbar (10:1-10), Moshe was instructed to make two silver chatzotzerot which the kohanim would blow on certain occasions, including to announce the assembly of the entire nation or its leadership. Seemingly, if Moshe wanted to summon the nation’s elders, he should have had the kohanim sound the chatzotzerot. Rashi explains that the chatzotzerot were not used because they were buried that day. The trumpets were not left for Yehoshua, Moshe’s successor, and they buried on the day of Moshe’s death – even before he died – as an expression of the concept, “ein shilton be-yom ha-mavet” (Kohelet 8:8), meaning, that even the most powerful figures forfeit their authority in the face of death. Thus, when Moshe summoned the elders, his chatzotzerot had already been buried, and Yehoshua was not yet the nation’s leader, and so his chatzotzerotcould not be used.

    Rav David Mandelbaum, in his Pardeis Yosef He-chadash, presents three possible reasons for why Moshe’s chatzotzerot were not handed down to his successor. First, Rav Mandelbaum suggests a halakhic reason, noting that Moshe had the formal halakhic status of a king. (The issue of Moshe’s status as king is discussed at length earlier in the Pardeis Yosef He-chadash – Bamidbar, vol. 1, pp. 376-7.) The Gemara in Masekhet Sanhedrin (44a) establishes that after a king’s death, his scepter may not be used, even by his successor. And the Rambam (Hilkhot Melakhim 2:1) rules that all the king’s personal items are destroyed after his death. For this reason, perhaps, Moshe’s trumpets had to be discarded, and were not to be used, even by his successor, Yehoshua.

    In a much different vein, Rabbenu Bechayei, in his commentary to Parashat Beha’alotekha (Bamidbar 10:2), writes that the sounds blown by thechatzotzerot were actually expressions of profound wisdom, which only Moshe, through his unparalleled prophetic capabilities, could understand. The chatzotzerot made by Moshe were buried, and not used by anybody else, as an indication that only he was capable of understanding the deep messages conveyed by the sounds of the trumpets.

    Finally, Rav Mordechai Ilan, in his Mikdash Mordekhai, views the burial of the chatzotzerot as expressing the notion that each leader uses different “instruments” in proclaiming the immutable messages of the Torah. Moshe’s chatzotzerot were not used because leaders should not necessarily look to mimic the precise methods and strategies used by their predecessors. While the laws and values remain the same from one generation to the next – just as the precise same sounds were blown with every set of trumpets in every generation – the “instruments” used by leaders and educators to communicate those laws and values must be altered and modified to suit the needs of each particular age. Yehoshua was, without doubt, to transmit the same Torah as taught by Moshe; however, he was to use different “chatzotzerot,” different tools and media to convey the Torah. Moshe’s trumpets were therefore buried on the day he died, to teach that each leader must choose the means of communication that best suits him and the particular needs of his generation.

    #2129976
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    The Haflaah explains the passage הכהן אשר יהי’ בימים ההם, each Rav is chosen for the need of his generation. The generation declined at the time of Yehoshua. The elderly realized that Moshe Rabbenu was greater when he was Yehushua’s age. Moshe Rabbenu was like the sun an Yeshuah like the moon where Yehoshua was acquiring the light from the sun. The trumpets required a different sound for the next generation.

    #2130778
    Zugger613
    Participant

    Vzos Habracha: Doing It Yourself

    The Sfas Emes has a fascinating explanation on the pasuk of תורה צורה לנו משה מורשה קהלת יעקב.

    We know that Klal Yisroel chose to hear the Torah from Moshe, not to hear it directly from Hashem. The Sfas Emes explains that there was a reason for this. They knew that anything that is given to a person miraculously will not last. The only things that stay with us are the things we worked for, the things dedicated our heart and soul towards. Those things become a part of our very essence, and we can never forget them.

    Since we chose to hear the Torah from Moshe (תורה צוה לנו משה), we had to work to understand it – it wasn’t miraculously given to us. And since we had to work on it, it became a part of who we are, and we were able to transmit it from one generation to another for the thousands of years since (מורשה קהלת יעקב).

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

    #2130838
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    We should see the Torah daily as something new like a kallah encouraging the striving to learn and not get tired of it. It says morasha, an inheritance but we should read it as morasa, an engagement.

    #2130864
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    To learn Torah and arrive at the truth through questions and answers requires unity קהלת יעקב. The Taz O’CH 47,1 explains our bracha on the Torah לעסוק בדברי תורה to make it a business of give and take.

    #2131364
    Zugger613
    Participant

    Bereishis: What A Waste

    The second passuk in the Torah tells us that at the beginning of creation, the world was “תהו ובהו”. Rashi explains that the בהו means empty, while the תהו means that a person is astonished by the emptiness.

    R’ Moshe Feinstein asks, why is this second description necessary? Nobody was alive to be astonished by the emptiness – why does the Torah point it out?

    R’ Moshe answers that since there is such an important message here, the Torah felt a need to teach this right at the beginning. If we see a vacuum, we see emptiness where we know something positive could exist, it should bother us. It should astound us. We should ask ourselves, how can this be? How can I fill the void?

    The Ramchal writes in the Derech Hashem that Hashem “didn’t finish” creating the world. He could have made a perfect world, but He made an imperfect world instead.

    The Ramchal explains why Hashem did this. If the world would be perfect, we’d have nothing to add. But the fact that some of the world’s potential has not yet been realized gives us an opportunity to be the ones to fill the void and fix the emptiness.

    לע”נ דוד חיים בן ישראל דוב הכהן
    לע”נ ר’ חיים דוב בן ר’ בן ציון שלום

    #2131379
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    It says אשר ברא אלקים לעשות, Hashem wanted us to build on His creation.

    #2131386
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    The midrash says that תהו is Bavel, ובהו is Media and וחשך is Greece ורוח אלקים מרחפת על םני המים Meshiach will arrive when Torah (water) will persist.

    #2131399
    Zugger613
    Participant

    Reb Eliezer, do you know who says that pshat in אשר ברא אלקים לעשות?

    #2131426
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    I think the Ibn Ezra and the Kli Yakar.

    #2131685
    abukspan
    Participant

    Here is the source from
    Rav Chaim Paltiel

    Rav Chaim Paltiel (Peirushei HaTorah LeRav Chaim Paltiel, Bereishis 2:3) explains the pasuk and its switch of tense in a way that dovetails with our discussion. Hashem wants man to be a partner in the creative process, to be devoted to recreating himself into an improved and better person. The Torah writes that Hashem stopped doing all His work “asher bara,” that He had created, in order for us to be the ones “laasos,” to do and continue where He left off, making us, in a real sense, partners in creation.

    #2131686
    abukspan
    Participant

    I believe the following would be a good tzu-shtel and the flip side of what Reb Moshe wrote.

    1rst Half Idea – We Learn From Tohu Vavohu To Hard Work And Meet Potential

    The second verse of Bereishi famously describes the state of the earth pre-creation as tohu va-vohu. This term is generally translated as “chaos,” but Rashi interprets it to mean “astonishingly void.” In his view, bohu denotes emptiness or nothingness, while tohu stems from the root t.h.h., which means wonderment or astonishment. Rashi thus explains, “…that a person is bewildered and astonished over its [the world’s] bohu.” The sheer nothingness of the universe causes – in retrospect – bewilderment and shock.

    Rav Moshe Feinstein ( Kol Ram, vol. 3) raised the question as to whether the earth’s primordial state of nothingness is indeed cause for astonishment. One could argue that to the contrary, creation far surpasses pre-creation in terms of the marvel and wonder it evokes. The more a person probes and examines the intricate workings of nature, the more he marvels at the brilliance of the Creator. Why, then, does Rashi speak of the pre-creation nothingness as a source of astonishment? Shouldn’t we be more astonished by the wonder of creation?

    Rav Moshe suggested that Rashi’s comments work off the assumption that nothing could be more jarring and mystifying than unfulfilled potential. Once the world has come into existence, in all its majesty and splendor, one can only wonder how it once did not exist. When we consider what could be achieved, we are astonished when that achievement is not reached.

    The practical implication of this insight, as Rav Moshe discusses, is obvious: each person must strive not merely to achieve, but to achieve to very fullest of his individual potential. As Rashi’s comments suggest, there is no greater tragedy than wasted opportunities and unfulfilled potential; it thus behooves us all to work towards actualizing our individual potential to the fullest, rather than allow these valuable resources go to waste.

    2nd Half Idea – We also learn from Tohu Vavohu that Meeting Potential Is A Prosses Paved With Failures.

    tohu va’vohu is part of the process of creation

    1. The opening of Braishis is the story of creation. Why then are we treated to the introduction of “v’ha’aretz haysa tohu va’vohu,” a description of the pre-creation void? B’shlama if you interpret the pesukim like Ramban, namely, that tohu va’vohu is some kind of building block matter necessary for all else to be created, then I guess it makes sense. But according to Rashi, who understands tohu va’vohu to simply be a void and chaos, why mention it? If you were to describe an artist at work, you would talk about the brushstrokes on the canvas, not the blank canvas that was there before he started to paint. Why talk about what was there before G-d started making our world and the universe?

    Sefas Emes explains that the Torah / Hashem is teaching us about how to create, what creativity means. The artist doesn’t just sit down and produce a great work of art, a great piece of literature. There are dozens of prior sketches that are first tested and discarded, dozens of drafts that don’t make it further than the trash bin. Hashem was “birei olamos u’machrivan.” At first there was tohu va’vohu. This is not pre-creation — this gufa is part of the process of creation. Every act of creation, growth, advancement, always first starts with chaos and void.

    It’s difficult as a parent when your kids are growing up and sometimes it seems like they have no idea what direction that are going in or what direction they want to go in and you wonder why they just can’t get on with it and mature. Yet this is the Sefas Emes — you can’tget the “ye’hi ohr” without first having a little “tohu va’vohu.” And it doesn’t just apply to kids either :

    #2133186
    Zugger613
    Participant

    Noach: Building Upward

    Noach was the first person to make a מזבח. But what is the point of a מזבח? Why can’t a Korban be brought on bare ground?

    R’ Shamshon Rafael Hirsh has a fascinating explanation. Some people think that God can only be found in nature, and that they must retreat from society to connect to the divine.

    But that is not what we believe. We believe that the best way to connect to Hashem is by building a society that reflects His will, by incorporating the divine into every aspect of our lives.

    That idea, explains R’ Hirsh, is symbolized by a מזבח. A מזבח must be attached to the ground, but we need to make it by putting stones together. This represents using human activity to elevate the earth towards the divine.

    After the world was destroyed in the Mabul, Noach built the first מזבח. This was an attempt to rededicate the world to its original mission – to be a place where people are constantly striving to build higher, to create an elevated society that connects us to our Creator.

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

    #2133294
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    Yaakov Avinu dreamt that a ladder is extended from the ground to the heaven and the angels climb up and down. The Ksav Sofer sees this as the potential of the human being to climb from the ground to the heavens being above or below the malachim, angels. We must sanctify the mundane. The mizbeach is made from the mundane and we sanctify it.

    #2135187
    Zugger613
    Participant

    Lech Lecha: Cry Out

    When Hashem told Hagar that she would soon give birth to a son, Hashem told her what the boys name would be. It would be ישמעאל, a combination of the words ישמע קל, Hashem has heard. The reason for this name is כי שמע ה׳ אל עניך, Hashem has listened to the prayers of Hagar during the time of her affliction.

    The Pirkei D’Rebbi Eliezer offers an additional explanation. The Medrash details some of the suffering that the nation of Yishmael will bring upon the Jews before the coming of Moshiach. But this affliction is what will cause the Jews to daven and cry out to Hashem with all their heart. Due to this persecution, ישמע קל, Hashem will hear our prayers.

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

    #2135203
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    The Ramban says that since Sarah chotoh, sinned by afflicting Hagar therefore we will be afflicted by the Yishmaelim. The Abarbanel questions that Sarah by afflicting her forced to follow her teachings, so why did she sin? Also, the malach says go back and continue to get afflicted. When one eats garlic and mouth smells is not told to eat more. Maybe, the word chotoh can also mean to err, make a mistake. The gemora says that a Jewish servant if not behaving properly is allowed to be afflicted. Sarah Imenu, if not afflicting Hagar, could have given us an excuse to say that Sarah could have afflicted Hagar but she didn’t. Therefore we should not be punished when we don’t behave properly.

    #2135324
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    The Baal Haturim on the connection between the end of Chayeh Sarah and the beginning of Toldos explains that Meshiach will come when Yishmael falls so Hashem will stop our affliction before Meshiach can come.

    #2137443
    Zugger613
    Participant

    Vayeira: This is a Test

    This week we read about the quintessential nisayon: When Hashem asked Avraham to sacrifice Yitzchok. Normally, we “test” somebody or something to find out what they’re capable of. But Hashem already know what we can or can’t do – why does He test us?

    The Ramban answers that it’s true that Hashem knows what we can accomplish. But we may not. Until we face a situation that tests us, we may not be fully living up to our potential. The challenges in life give us opportunity to become all that we can be.

    The Rambam has a seemingly different answer. He says that the word נסיון comes from the root of נס, a banner. Hashem already knows what we can do. But when we actually do it, we can inspire others to follow in our footsteps. Hashem gives us challenges He knows we can overcome so that others can be inspired to live up to their own challenges.

    R’ Aaron Lopiansky points out that the Rambam is not that different from the Ramban. The Ramban sees tests as a means of living up to our own potential. The Rambam sees challenges as a means of helping others live up their full potential.

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

    #2137450
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    It strengthens the belief by actually uttering or doing it as it says heemanti ki adaber as in the Hagaddah Shel Pesach. The starting letters are שפה, the lips. One thing to want to do it and another to actually do it.

    #2139675
    Zugger613
    Participant

    Chayei Sarah: No Regrets

    After acing the test of the Akeida, Avaraham comes home to some shocking news: his wife had died. The Satan made it appear that she had died from shock upon hearing that Avarham was about to slaughter his son.

    Avraham now faced another test. The gemora tells us that if somebody does a mitzva, but then later regrets it, he loses that mitzva. תוהא על הראשונות, איבד את הראשונות.

    If Avraham would have regretted carrying out the Akeida, it would have been as if he had never done it. But Avraham had no regrets, even when it appeared that his actions had caused the death of wife.

    Sometimes we face a test whether to the right thing. But sometimes we are tested whether we regret the good things we’ve already done, or whether we stay true to our convictions no matter what they lead to. Even when we don’t like the situation that our doing the right thing seems to have gotten us in, we should never regret doing what is right.

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

    #2139720
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    When we examine Rashi we see that maybe Rashi meant something else. Rashi says that Sarah Imeinu died when she heard that כמעט ‘שלא’ נשחט he was not sacrificed. It should have said that she heard that he was almost sacrificed. When Sarah Imeinu heard that Yitzchak was not sacrificed, she taught that she was at fault by her upbringing him improperly thereby making him not worthy to be sacrificed, so she died. The Sifsei Chachamim explains that the meaning might be, before they had the the time to tell her that he was not sacrificed she died. The midrash asks where did Avraham come from? The Midrash answers from Har Hamoria. The meforshim explain that the question is what was his eulogy’s inspiration? To demonstrate that Sarah Imeinu raised a son who was great and worthy to be sacrificed on Har Hamoria.

    #2142152
    Zugger613
    Participant

    Toldos: Detached Head

    Where did Eisav go wrong? He was raised in the house of Yitzchak and Rivka, and grew up with with his grandfather Avraham until the age of thirteen. How did he end up such a rasha?

    R’ Ahron Kotler explains that Eisav grew up knowing what was right. But that intellectual recognition never actually guided how he lived his life. What Eisav knew and what Eisav did were completely separate.

    R’ Ahron Kotler further explains that this idea is hinted to by Chazal. Chazal tell us that Eisav’s head was chopped off by חושים בן דן, and it rolled into the מערת המכפלה. This symbolizes that Eisav’s head, his intellectual understanding, was in the right place. But he didn’t incorporate his ideals into his everyday life.

    It is far easier to articulate what is right than it is to do what is right. We need to ensure that our ideals do not stay detached from the way we actually lead our lives.

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

    #2142186
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    He was not transparent but said one thing with his mouth and another thing he kept in his heart. The Yad Yosef in Yoma 9 explains sinas chinam as hatred that is kept in the heart. When one has a good excuse for hatred, will reveal the hatred to another in order he could apologize. However, hatred like jealousy is not revealed as it is not accepted as a justifiable reason.

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