YWN Coffee Room Nightly D’Var Torah
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September 29, 2009 9:13 pm at 9:13 pm #1124780
Thats what they’re there for.September 29, 2009 9:47 pm at 9:47 pm #1124781
Jax’s Tuesday D’Var Torah – Sukkos
When we sit in the Succah – a temporary structure with an open roof – it reminds us that it is not the building that protects us, but, it is Hashem who is protecting us. The more and more mitzvos that we do, the more and more Divine protection we merit often in the most unexpected ways, as the following true story illustrates:
In the late 1800s, there lived a Rebbi in a small city in Poland. Reb Zevulun as he was affectionately known, was one of the best and most beloved Torah teachers in the local Yeshiva. He was known for his erudition, dedication and gentle warmth. He and his Rebbetzin never merited having children, and indeed he treated his talmidim as if they were his own children.
The years rolled on, and eventually Reb Zevulun could no longer handle the physical demands of teaching, so he retired from a long and illustrious career. His beloved Rebbetzin passed on, and he lived alone in a one-room apartment. As his health deteriorated, he could no longer handle the chores of cooking and cleaning for himself. For the most part he was home bound.
One of the women of the community, Mrs. Tzirel Roznik, heard of the aging Rebbi’s plight. It broke her heart, Reb Zevulun had taught her own children. Indeed, he was the best Rebbi they ever had. She took it upon herself to prepare meals, which she would send over with one of her children. Each week one of her children would show up with a week’s worth of meals, and would stay to clean and straighten up the apartment and do the laundry.
This practice went on for the remainder of Reb Zevulun’s life. Upon his passing, the whole Jewish community was in mourning. The Roznik family was so broken up, it was as if they themselves were sitting shiva.
The Jewish community of this town remained vibrant and populous all the way up until the invasion of the Nazi beasts. The once proud Jewish community was in turmoil trying to flee from the Nazi hoards, but there was no way out. The Nazis methodically surrounded the city and all of the Jews were being herded into the town square.
Mr. and Mrs. Max Frankel managed to slip out the back of their home with their family. They were hiding in an alley not sure what to do. Suddenly they saw a Jewish friend of theirs running through. He told them two hiding places in town where Jews were holding up. One was to the right, one was to the left, he dashed off to the left. The Frankel’s quickly decided to go to the one on the left. It was closer to them and easier to get to.
Suddenly Mrs. Frankel halted in her tracks. She insisted that they switch to the other hiding place. Her husband didn’t understand, proceeding to the other place presented more peril. Mrs. Frankel didn’t understand either. She simply had this powerful feeling that this was the right way to go and she was adamant.
They safely found their way to the other place and managed to hide there with some other families, amongst them, Mrs. Frankel’s first cousin and his family. They remained there till the “storm” passed, and were eventually able to get out of Nazi Europe. They later learned that the hiding place on the left was actually a Gestapo trap and all who hid there were deported to the death camps. The inexplicable sense that caused Mrs. Frankel to turn around actually saved their lives.
It turns out that Mrs. Frankel and her cousins are grandchildren of Mrs. Roznik, and the room they hid in – the chamber that shielded them from the Nazi tempest – was the very apartment lived in by Reb Zevulun – the man whom their grandmother fed and cared for, in his old age.
When we sit in the Succah – a temporary structure with an open roof – it reminds us that it is not the building that protects us, but, it is Hashem who is protecting us. The more and more mitzvos that we do, the more and more Divine protection we merit often in the most unexpected ways,
[The foregoing true story is documented by Rabbi Paysach Krohn in the Maggid Series. The names have been changed.]September 30, 2009 6:13 am at 6:13 am #1124782September 30, 2009 5:47 pm at 5:47 pm #1124783
***************mepal’s DT for Wednesday**Sukkos***************
Somebody’s a Nobody
by Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky
One of the most joyous customs associated with the holiday of Sukkos is the celebration of Simchas Bais Hashoaevah. In the times of the Bais HaMikdash, a water libation accompanied the customary offerings. Simchas Bais Hashoaevah, literally, the Joy of the Water Drawing, was observed with a most ebullient celebration. It included a marvelously varied array of harps, lyres, cymbals, and trumpets, among other instruments. The greatest sages and most pious of rabbis performed acrobatics and antics that would have normally been below their dignity. In fact , the sages in Tractate Sukkah 51, note that, “one who has not seen the celebration of the Bais Hashoaevo has never seen true joy.”
Rambam (Maimonides) discusses this aspect of exuberance and adds that “one who in his insolence restrains himself from serving Hashem in a joyous manner is a sinner and fool.” Yet the Rambam adds a caveat. “But this joy was not performed by the ignorant ones and by anyone who wanted (to dance). Only the great sages of Israel, the heads of Yeshivos and the Sanhedrin, the pious, the elders and men of righteous action would dance, clap, and sing in the Bais haMikdash on Sukkos. Everyone else, men and women would come to watch and listen” (Rambam Hilchos Lulav 8:14).
This passage begs explanation. Why shouldn’t everyone, even the most profane of men, sing and dance and make merry in celebration of the L-rd? Further what does the Rambam mean by not including “those who want to dance”?
Ultimately, anyone who ended up dancing, even the most pious of sages, obviously wanted to dance. What, then, does the Rambam mean when he said that this joy was not performed by anyone who wanted to dance? A classic story circulates in all Jewish humor anthologies.
Before the start of the Ne’eilah service, the holiest and final supplication of Yom Kippur, the rabbi rose from his seat and bolted toward the Holy Ark. He spread his hands toward heaven and cried out, “Ribbono Shel Olam, Master of the Universe, I am a total nothing before you! Please inscribe me in the book of life!”
All of a sudden the chazzan (cantor) ran toward the Aron and joined the rabbi! “G-d Almighty,” he shouted, “please forgive me, too, for I am truly a nothing before you!” There is an awed silence amongst the congregants.
The shammas (sexton) then followed suit. He, too, ran up toward the ark and in tearful supplication pronounced, I too am a nothing!”
Mouths around the congregation dropped open. The President of the synagogue’s men’s club, Ed Goldstein, a large man, was also caught up in the fervor of the moment. Suddenly, he, too, bolted from his seat in the back, and lumbered toward the front of the shul. With great eagerness he prostrated himself in front of the Ark and cried out at the top of his lungs. “Forgive me Oh L-rd he shouts, for I too am a nothing! Suddenly a shout from the back of the synagogue was directed toward Goldstein’s hulk of a figure. It shouted with incredulity. “Harrumph! Look who thinks he’s a nothing!”
Rambam teaches us that whoever runs to dance and sing and make himself crazy is not truly lowering himself before the Almighty. If someone inherently likes to cavort wildly, then he is not dancing for the sake of lowering himself before the Almighty, rather he is having a wonderful time. When King David liberated the Aron (Ark of the Covenant) from the Phillistines, he danced in front it as if he were a lowly slave. When confronted by his wife, Michal, for dancing like a servant, he retorted. “I would make myself even lower before Hashem.”
When rejoicing during the festivities we must bear in mind our true reasons for enthusiasm — who we are, and why we dance. Because in order to be a nobody, you gotta be a somebody.
Chag SameachOctober 1, 2009 5:43 am at 5:43 am #1124784
mepal: great DT! very nice!October 1, 2009 8:09 pm at 8:09 pm #1124785
first of all i wanna explain the subject of this thingie (after long contemplation, i came to the conclusion that that is the best way to describe my divrey torah), i kinda feel bad for the last parsha of the torah, you know it never really gets the attention it deserves it’s always read the same time that so many other things are going on and it just never really gets to shine the way a parsha (especially this one) is supposed to, and so i wanna try and make up for some lost opportunities and focus on the parsha as apposed to the chag (has anyone ever taken more time to “i don’t really have any good divrey torah for sukkos”?)
Moshe dies……. just giving you all a second to contemplate that…….. and a couple of moments of silence in memory of the greatest leader we ever had.
Moshe taught us countless amounts of lessons throughout his 40 years of leadership, in fact if we trace back every single action he ever did from the moment hashem spoke to him at the bush and till the day he die, we can see that there is something to learn from every action, now what is there to learn from his final moments? or better so, what can we learn from the whole “dying” episode? many things, which i do not have the time, patience, energy or quite frankly the knowledge to share with u 🙂 but there is one point i do wanna discuss, one seemingly innocuous,or to be more exact, lack of, detail. I’m referring to Moshe’s burial place, as we are told in the torah moshe’s burial site has not been revealed to us. why? why is hashem denying all the travel agents from making the deal of their life? just think bout it, 7th of adar nothing else is happening , no one is really flying anywhere and then BOOM “moshe rabeynu’s kever for just 999 [plus tax, gas, food and bribe], go now before moshiach comes and moshe moves to a better place!!!!” it would be the perfect sales pitch, but NO hashem had to hide it………..why?
The gemara gives a very interesting explanation (i actually got acquainted with this gemara thru an Aaron Razel song……..so kudos to him!), if the children of israel (and moses, weather biological or other) would have known where the grave was, they would have gone there on their way into exile and pleaded with moshe to daven to hashem (all kever davening issues aside for now) to forgive them and allow them to stay in the land and………hashem would have HAD (kivyachol) to listen to moses’s prayers! and he never would have been able to kick us out of our land [so why indeed did hashem deny us that privilege? cuz going into exile is part of our purification process, ein kan mokom leha’arich, a.k.a i’m not getting into that]. That is the basis of the lesson…….now what is the lesson itself? dunno. JUST KIDDING!
When do we daven for something? when all else has failed, “there is nothing left to do now, all you can do is pray”- after we have tried fixing the problem on our own, after we have gone to all the “professionals” for advice, after we wasted many hours and money, only after that we go to our last resort…….G-D. I mean he did like create the world and stuff so maybe, just MAYBE, he will have an idea of how to fix it, it can’t hurt to try. that is BAD……..VERY bad!!!!!
Let’s go back to that gemara…….. just stop for a second to realize just how powerful prayers can actually be, if done in the right manner, and for the right reasons they can, so to speak, FORCE hashem to answer us! no matter how much of a “miracle” we are asking for!!! i am in no way saying prayers are a magic potion for everything, and i am in no way saying that every time we ask for something we will be answered (and i am especially not saying that every time we daven, plead, beg and even cry(!!!!!)really really hard that our team should win they will win, even if we go to every grave we know of!!!), all i am saying is that prayers ( a.k.a tefilos) are mucho mucho powerful! and as a result of their potentness (that is a real word right?) they really should be our FIRST option and not just some by the way last resort.
That is what the aforementioned “innocuous” (thats’s a lot of vowels, and i’m not even sure what the word really means……) detail was told to us for, and so even in death moshe teaches us, possibly the most important lesson of all!
So, will this lesson go like all others? in one ear, around the brain a bit and out the other? or……… try this. Next time something not so pleasant happens in your life, or next time you want something pleasant to happen in your life, before you go to all the “natural” ways of going about things, try the “supernatural” (and since we are in olam hasheker, then obviously we always get mixed up, cuz indeed the “supernatural” prayer method is really the most natural method, cuz our entire existence is “supernatural” and therefore supernatural+supernatural= natural……….huh???) davening method. no……..REALLY try it!!! i know it sounds weird, but just sit down, drown everything else out, and start talking to “him” (if you happen to be out doors put a cellphone ear piece in your ear so ppl won’t think ur weird!!!!).October 1, 2009 9:50 pm at 9:50 pm #1124786
nooseisko: thanks for this great DT! entertaining yet powerful as always! Chag Sameach & send JayMatt regards from the CR!October 2, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am #1124787
will do jax. chag sameyach to all!!!!October 2, 2009 2:48 pm at 2:48 pm #1124788
hmmmm, in case I’m not around Chol Hamoed, is there anyone willing to cover?October 5, 2009 3:05 am at 3:05 am #1124789
Sorry this DT is a long one, i found it & wanted to share it!
I will try my best IY”H to fill up the DT thread as much as I can when it needs extra DT’s on Succos! A Gutten Moed to everyone!
**Jax’s D’VAR TORAH: Succos**
On Succos, on the eve of the rainy season, we sit in an open booth and demonstrate our trust in Hashem to protect and provide for us.
In the 1600s, there was a serious drought in Yerushayim. One by one the winter months came and went, yet the skies remained as clear and pure blue as on a pleasant summer day. The earth was dry and cracked in the unyielding gardens and fields, and the water level of the cisterns was dropping at an alarming rate.
More days passed. Already the winter season was drawing to an end, but still, no rain. Even the elders of the city couldn’t recall such a rainless year as this.
Jews, Moslems and Christians alike became increasingly worried. The dread specter of famine now loomed in addition to the immediate problem of water shortage. The cisterns had almost completely dried up. It was so close to springtime and the end of the rain season that many Israelis were already girding themselves for a difficult, perhaps life threatening, period of famine and water shortage.
All the worries generated a stream of rumors, and the rumors in turn led to increased tension between the different ethnic groups in the holy city. The Arabs started to blame the Jews for the lack of rain.
The instigation against the Jews eventually reached the palace of the pasha, the governor, of the Yerushalayim district of the Ottoman empire. Soon thereafter, the pasha summoned the famed Rav,
R’ Moshe Galante, who had moved from Tsfas to Yerushalayim in 1655, to appear before him. The pasha said, “I know that it is solely because of you Jews that G-d has not let it rain in Yerushalayim. You people like to glorify yourselves that you are his chosen people; you call Him ‘Father’ and refer to yourselves as ‘His children.’ Therefore you are totally to blame.
“So I am warning you. If it doesn’t rain by the end of three days, it will be clear that it is all the fault of the Jews; I shall expel every single one of you from Jerusalem.”
As soon as Rabbi Galante left the palace, he called an emergency meeting in the main Shul, emphasizing that all the Jewish residents of Yerushayayim should attend.
Everybody came. Their faces reflected their worry over the situation. The whole population knew that Rabbi Galante had been summoned to the governor. Rabbi Galante declared a three-day fast, with the time to be spent in Tefillah and pleading before the Al-mighty, in the hope of abolishing the evil decree.
A spirit of gloom descended upon the Jews of Yerushalayim. With broken hearts and flowing tears they crowded together in the shuls to recite Tehilim and pray for mercy from Above.
One day passed, and a second. On the third day the skies were as blue and cloudless as ever. Dread descended into their hearts. The sun marched inexorably across the sky, and now stood in the western sector of the sky. The final hours of the afternoon were slowly dwindling.
Rabbi Galante announced that everyone should proceed together outside the city walls to the Kever of Shimon HaTzaddik, and there to pray one last time for rain. He also made another demand that startled all that were present. What he had said was that everyone should put on their galoshes or boots, wear raincoats, and have umbrellas in hand! Why? Lest they get drenched in the expected downpour!
Everyone complied faithfully. They left the city dressed in their boots and raincoats, and carrying umbrellas. When the police officer in charge of the area saw this strange parade, he burst into laughter. But then, when he heard they were doing this only because their rabbi had ordered them and promised them a heavy rainstorm, he became furious. He caught up to the rabbi, slapped him severely in the face, and screamed: “The people of the city are suffering so much, and you dare to waste their time and strength in such foolishness!”
Rabbi Galante kept walking. When they arrived at the gravesite, the rabbi prostrated himself on the tombstone and remained there, immersed in profound concentration. All the other people cried out in prayer from the depths of their hearts.
Suddenly, they realized that a breeze was blowing-a soft, gentle breeze, but still…a breeze! Then, rather quickly, the breeze became a real wind, which began to blow furiously. A few raindrops were felt. Then it began to drizzle, and soon after that to pour. The Jews opened their umbrellas. In no time at all, they were in the mist of a torrential shower.
Peering through the deluge, they saw a man running as fast as he could in the rain towards them. It was the police officer! By the time he reached them, he was so thoroughly soaked he seemed to be made more of water than of solid flesh. He made straight for Rabbi Galante and threw himself down in the mud before his feet. “Forgive me, please, for how I insulted you,” he begged. “I didn’t realize you were such a great, holy person.”
In order to display his sincerity and make amends, he lifted the rabbi onto his shoulders, marched with him at the head of the Jewish procession back to town, and carried him all the way to the door of his house.
The rainstorm continued all the night. By dawn, all the cisterns were filled to overflowing. Later in the morning, the pasha himself came and apologized for threatening to expel the Jews. He proffered more words of appeasement and then stated emotionally, “Now I know that your L-rd is the true G-d, and that you Jews really are his treasured people.”
All we have to do is fully trust in Hashem…then the Yeshuos DO come to Klal Yisroel!October 5, 2009 3:39 am at 3:39 am #1124790HIEParticipant
WOW< JAxOctober 5, 2009 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm #1124791
****Jax’s D’var Torah on Succos for Monday****
On Succos we leave our comfortable house and go out to the Succah – a booth that does not have a solid roof. This demonstrates our belief that it is not brick and mortar that protects us; rather it is Hashem.
Rabbi Moshe Turk of The Jewish Heritage Center of Queens and Long Island, thanked Hashem as he told the following incredible story concerning his own family: Rabbi Turk’s wife used to always take her baby to a certain park near their home in Kew Gardens for some nice fresh air. Usually the baby would fall asleep in the stroller and Mrs. Turk could relax on the park bench for the better part of an hour, possibly with a good book. One day, after sitting there for only ten minutes, the baby suddenly woke up and started crying. This was very unusual for this particular child. Mrs. Turk tried to rock the stroller so that the baby would fall back to sleep; but, it was to no avail, in fact, as she rocked, the baby shrieked more and more loudly and urgently. Seeing that she wasn’t getting anywhere she took the hysterical baby out of the stroller and to hold in her arms. Just at that point a bike rider lost control and his bike rammed into the now empty stroller sending it flying. Had the baby not uncharacteristically started screeching, we shudder to think what would have happened.
it is not brick and mortar that protects us; rather it is Hashem!October 6, 2009 3:50 am at 3:50 am #1124792
Hashem Is Everywhere: thanks for taking out the time to read the DT of the day! a gutten Moed!October 6, 2009 6:32 am at 6:32 am #1124793
23 Tishrei, 5770 Vol. 10, No. 49 Simchas Torah
True optimism and simcha does not come from ignoring the reality that we are flesh and blood, and ultimately destined to die. It comes from confronting death and mortality with a positive and constructive attitude. Life in this world is, as our sages teach us (Avos 4:21), only a relatively brief journey, an entranceway to the eternal World-to-Come. Our challenge is to avoid the distractions, the empty facades of this world; to use every moment we have here to prepare and improve ourselves, perfecting our neshamos so they can come close to our Creator in our real destination, the next world. Moshe was telling the Jews not to be misled and not to get involved with the foolish trinkets of this world. In truth, his words were the greatest consolation because they served to guide them on the right path. He reminded the Jews of their true purpose in life, which is the source of genuine happiness and joy, satisfaction and fulfillment.October 6, 2009 8:21 am at 8:21 am #1124794
chofetzchaim: shkoyach real nice DT!October 6, 2009 8:23 am at 8:23 am #1124795
****Jax’s Tuesday D’Var Torah on Shmini Atzeres****
“Zeh hayom asa Hashem,” “This is the day that Hashem has made, let us rejoice in it.”
What is the reason behind the holiday of Shmini Atzeres? Pesach commemorates freedom from Mitzreim-Egypt, Shavuos commemorates giving of the Torah and the Luchos at Har Sinai.
Shmini Atzeres does not commemorate any historic event or miracle. The reason behind Shmini Atzeres is as follows: During all the Yom Tovim, the Yidden would travel to the Bais HaMikdash with Karbanos to Hashem. It is like a father, whose family is all visiting. When it is all over and time for everyone to go home the father says, “Stay a while longer.” Hashem, as it were, says, “Kasheh alai preidaschem…Your parting is difficult for Me. Stay a while longer” So Hashem made the chag of Shmini Atzeres – not for any historic cause, but, just to extend the stay. Just to have us around a bit longer in his full and glorious presence.
There is another way to understand the words “Kasheh alai preidaschem…Your parting is difficult for Me.” It is referring to the fact that we are now parting each other (Yaaneh Shel Torah). Hashem loves when we are all together in kinship and unity.
Queen Izevel, the wicked wife of King Achav, ordered her servants to kill all the prophets of Hashem. Many were slain but 100 prophets were saved due to the valiant efforts of Ovadya. He hid them all, 50 in one cave and 50 in another cave and secreted them food and water every day at great personal risk. Some of the Torah commentaries point out that the reason he hid them in two caves was because he could not find one cave big enough for all one hundred. That is to say that it was not for some strategic reason, but only because there was no choice for it is important for Jews to be together. More can be accomplished. More spiritual greatness can be achieved.
Hashem loves it when we are all together in kinship & unity!
A gutten moed everyone & may you have a splendid day!October 6, 2009 1:12 pm at 1:12 pm #1124796
Jax: thanks for filling in for everyone. Much appreciated.October 6, 2009 7:32 pm at 7:32 pm #1124797
mepal: your welcome! so far 3 straight days in a row of Jax’s DT’s! (LOL that thread of a Jax DT every week….the mod must be rolling…!)October 6, 2009 8:14 pm at 8:14 pm #1124798October 7, 2009 1:44 am at 1:44 am #1124799
Joseph; seems like we’re heading to that pretty soon!
p.s. do give a DT from time to time as well!October 7, 2009 3:29 am at 3:29 am #1124800
ok Jax. Surprise, surprise. I am here to help you out.
***************Mepal’s DT for Succos***************
By Rabbi Label Lam
The Nazis did not find who they were looking for that day but Rabbi Horowitz discovered something very rare, even in this day and age. He found himself a safe place in His Sukkah!October 7, 2009 3:56 am at 3:56 am #1124801
mepel: thank you so much for helping out this great thread! and that was a wow DT!October 8, 2009 12:07 am at 12:07 am #1124804
No problem, Jax. Didn’t think I’d get on tonight so I sent it in a bit earlier instead.October 9, 2009 6:47 am at 6:47 am #1124806
better late then never i suppose…. A Jax’s DT for Thurday!
****Jax’s D’Var Torah – Simchas Torah****
On Simchas Torah we rejoice as we appreciate our wonderful Torah.
Our Sages tell us (Shabbos 88b) that when Moshe Rabbeinu, was up on Har Sinai, receiving the Torah from Hashem , the Malachim-Angels were in an uproar. They complained that Hashem should give them the Torah, & not to Benei Yisroel.
“Master of the Universe, why give the holy Torah to human beings who are sinful, deceitful and frail,” the Malachim argued, “Give the Torah to us. We Malachim are perfect and obedient. We sing songs in praise of You every day. We follow your bidding to perfection. We are far superior to mere mortals both in strength and in knowledge. We understand secrets that would boggle the mind of man.”
They were so aggressive in their demeanor, Moshe was afraid they were going to kill him. Moshe clung to the Kisei Hakavod-Hashem’s Heavenly Throne for dear life.
Hashem said, “Moshe, do not be afraid. Answer the Malachim.”
Moshe gathered up his courage and responded,” Malachim, the Torah says ‘Honor your father and mother.’ Do Malachim have parents to honor?”
They had no choice but to reply, “No.”
Moshe continued, “Malachim, the Torah says, ‘You shall not steal.’ Would a Malachim ever steal?”
“Malachim, the Torah says not to eat unkosher food. Does an Angel even eat?”
Again the Angels had to admit, “No.”
“You are right,” Moshe explained, ” Malachim are more perfect than humans, but it is our frailty that makes us need the Torah. We have parents whom we tend to neglect, unkosher food that we are tempted to eat, money that we are blinded by. Every day in the life of a human is filled with temptations and opportunities to sin. The Torah is the medicine that will help us live our lives with purity. It will enable us achieve greatness!”
“You see Malachim,” concluded Moshe, “It is because of our many imperfections that we SHOULD receive the Torah.”
Hashem then gave the Torah to Benei Yisroell and the Malachim did not complain.
The Torah is our life and the length of our days. May we dance with joy as we realize what a special and precious gift we have – The Torah!
Chag Kasher V’sameach!October 12, 2009 4:45 pm at 4:45 pm #1124807
special thank you to Jax for taking over last mondays DT
kapustas DT for monday
Creation. After 5756 years it still mystifies us. Where did the world begin, and where will it end? We often forget to ask a question which is much more pertinent than how many stars are in the Milky Way. We forget to ask what are we doing on this world and where do we fit into the great picture of creation. This week we are reminded of that question by no one less then the Creator Himself.
After Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit from the Garden of Eden, they were gripped with shame. They covered themselves with fig leaves and hid from the wrath of G-d. G-d, about to interrogate them, appears as if he is searching the Garden for them as if they would be fugitives from justice. Then seemingly in mock frustration, He asks a question quite unbecoming the Omnipotent, “Where are you?” I was always bothered. Why the shtick. He knew good and well exactly where they were, precisely what they had done, and why they were hiding. Why then the question, “Where are you?”
Perhaps there is a great lesson for us to learn from this. Even after we commit what we may think is the greatest sin and we wish that we would disappear, we tend to lose self-confidence and self interest. Hashem doesn’t lose interest in us. He still asks for us. He wants to know where we are. He also wants us to know where we are.
In the town of Chelm, there was a man who was quite absent-minded. Upon going to the bathhouse he was worried that without clothes he would forget who he was. He tied a red string around his big toe in order to make sure he would not lose his identity. Unfortunately the string slipped off his toe and wound itself on the toe of a fellow bather. Shocked by seeing the string on his neighbor’s foot, he exclaimed, “I know who you are, but who am I?”
We often are occupied in asking “where is G-d?” or “who is G-d?” Sometimes our questions are placed in the present, “where is G-d?” Sometimes they are asked about the past, “where was G-d?” We are so caught up in the search for the unknown and the unseen that we often forget to search for ourselves. It is possible that G-d’s first question of man is an unremitting query that reverberates from time immemorial, “where are you?” Maybe we ought to ask ourselves constantly, “where are we?” We should it ask it as we analyze our standing in every aspect of life. After all, if G-d wants to know where we are shouldn’t we want to know too?
taken from Torah.orgOctober 12, 2009 5:19 pm at 5:19 pm #1124808squeakParticipant
kapusta, an oldie but goodie 🙂 I think I heard that one 14 years ago.October 12, 2009 5:34 pm at 5:34 pm #1124809
squeak, I was considering changing the year, then I decided not to. Isn’t honesty worth anything these days?October 13, 2009 6:03 am at 6:03 am #1124810
kapusta: well done! & your welcome!
squeak: will you be reading my DT for Tuesday too?!October 13, 2009 6:55 am at 6:55 am #1124811
****Jax’s Tuesday’s DT****
Creation of the World, and Adventures of the First Humans
“THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE”
The first negative commandment to mankind (the first positive command is “be fruitful and multiply” – Genesis 1:28) is surprisingly a dietary law. (“Why is Hashem concerned over what I put in my stomach?”)
When the serpent, a manifestation of evil in its external form, tried to get Chava to sin, she replied that we are “forbidden to eat from that tree or even touch it.” Since she was not created at the time of the prohibition, she obviously heard from Adam that it was forbidden to do so.
This is the first example of the transmission of an oral law. We can assume that when Adam told her not to “touch” the tree, he was enacting a rabbinical stringency in order to avoid coming to the transgression that Hashem had commanded not to “eat” from the tree. Unfortunately, by not differentiating between the pure prohibition and the rabbinical fence, Adam made a mistake. The serpent pushed Chava and she touched the tree. “See, nothing happened, you can eat from it, too.” (Rashi) Thus we find, right in the beginning of the Torah, a dietary law, an oral tradition and a rabbinical decree.
Question: What’s wrong with “the knowledge of good and evil” that it should be harmful to pursue it?
Answer: Good and evil are potentially subjective: e.g., “Was it a good meal, or not?” Before the sin, Adam would make decisions based on the objective criteria of true and false. Something can be objectively true but subjectively bad. E.g., The smoker, upon reading that smoking is dangerous to his health, decided to give up reading!
Have a great one!October 14, 2009 6:16 pm at 6:16 pm #1124812
************ DT for Wednesday ** Parshas Bereishis ************
Dealing with the Enemy
by Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky
There are few descriptive verses in the Torah that defines the evil-inclination. Many of them appear in Sefer Braishis. After all, if Hashem created man with a Yetzer Horah (evil-inclination) then man ought to have the formula to defeat it. In fact, after Kayin fails by offering an inferior sacrifice, Hashem guides him by revealing something about the enemy – the Yetzer Horah. “Surely, if you improve you can carry him (the Yetzer Horah), and if you do not improve, he crouches at your door and his desire is toward you. But you can rule over him!” (Genesis 4:7)
The two sides seem to lack a study in contrast. If you improve you will carry him, but if not he will wait for you, he will desire to get you -but you will rule over him! It seems that the Yetzer Horah is defeated both ways. Even if you are not able to carry him and he crouches in ambush, you still can overrule him. Shouldn’t the negative have stated, “and if you do not improve, he crouches at your door, his desire is toward you and he will rule over you”? In a recent volume about the life of Rabbi Ahron Moshe Stern, the Mashgiach of the Kaminetz (not related to Kamenetzky) Yeshiva in Jerusalem, I saw an amazing story about Reb Naftali Trop, the Rosh Yeshiva of the Chofetz Chaim’s Yeshiva in Radin.
There was an itinerant Jew who had visited Radin and had earned a reputation as a thief. This particular individual had stolen from the very people who had invited him in as a guest in their homes. Word got out that he had stolen, and the next time he came to Radin, no one invited him into their homes – except Reb Naftali Trop.
Upon hearing of the offer of hospitality, some of the prominent members of the community approached Reb Naftali. “The man you invited is a thief! Last time he was here he walked off with some of his hosts valuables. You mustn’t have him sleep in your home!”
Reb Naftali did not react. “The Torah tells us that a thief must pay a fine for his actions. It does not tell us that a thief should not be invited to eat or sleep. I have a responsibility to invite guests. If I am afraid that they may steal, well, that’s my problem. I guess I must arrange to make sure that all my valuables are guarded. However, my fears can in no way relieve me of my responsibility to shelter my fellow Jew.”
The Torah’s message to Kayin is twofold. You can get the Yetzer Horah out of your way completely. You can carry him. You can place him out of your path and lift him out of sight. But that may not work for all of us. Those who cannot rise to that level and have the Yetzer Horah in our doorways constantly still may not give up hope. He may be lying in ambush but we can not ignore him. We must deal with him. If it means channeling your anger against evil – so be it. If it means steering an improper stinginess, channel that attribute to those times when splurging unnecessarily is uncalled for.
The Torah is telling us that when the Yetzer Horah is part of our lives we must deal with him. We never have an excuse by saying that the desires were too great and insurmountable. If we let him in the door we have to make sure that we are able to fulfill the mitzvos in spite of his presence.
The mussar luminaries used to comment: The Talmud tells us that our matriarch Rachel warned Yaakov about the deceptive shenanigans that her father Lavan was wont to perform. Yaakov responded by saying, “I am his equal in the ability to deceive.”
The question that was raised is simple. “Where did Yaakov learn to be so crafty?” The answer that they gave was that when dealing with a Yetzer Horah, one must be wily too. Yaakov learned from the trials of life how to deal with the most clever and cunning of men.
If you tame the beast correctly, he may crouch and wait for you. But you will rule over him. And you will learn to use his resources for your gain.October 15, 2009 2:06 am at 2:06 am #1124813
mepal: very nice! thanks!October 15, 2009 2:21 am at 2:21 am #1124814
A pleasure.October 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm #1124815
welcome back to me!!!
The female in this weeks parsha has 2 different names, “Isha”- “woman”, and “chava”- “hava”, why 2 names? what wrong with one?
Well you may just answer that nowadays as well, many people have 2 names, so why should the 1st woman be different? (not exactly sure how that would answer the question though), but we have to realise that names aren’t “STAM”, names describe the actual essence of the person, and who better than adam harishon, who gave names to all living organisms (well..at least to all animals, i wonder if he gave names to fruits and veggies too), each name specifically and particularly chosen to specially fit that being. Ans so why did chava have to get 2? coudn’t he encapsulate her essence in 1 word? maybe this means she had 2 essences??? hm……….
To cut a very long story (i actually had a whole story made up) short, the most simple way to answer the aforementioned qustion is………….chava/isha actually had 2 essences. Period. the end. But not only that, i wanna suggest (which prob means i’m wrong), that what we were being taught by the mention of both of chavas names, is that we ALL have 2 essences.
We are all schizophrenics!!!!! and so are we!
The name Isha which was given to chava, has actually become the term for all womankind, and so that name represented chavas outward, public, worldwide essence, whilst the name Chava stayed as her own personal (women may be refereed to as “bney chava”, but we don’t reffer to women in general as “chavas”) name, symbolizing her own inner, personal, intermarriage (i mean between her and her husband, and not what the word actually means, cuz i don’t think it is fair that this Webster guy should have a monopoly on the english language…i’m also entitled to an opinion!!!!).
We are 2 ppl, we have 2 essences, one which covers our goals for our own home, the other which is our job within klal yisrael, someone who is supposed to be dominant in his own home, doesn’t necessarily have to be dominant as far as klal yisroel is considered, the fact that someone is the ruling authority of halacha in his own home, doesn’t garantee that he will become the poseyk hador. Many times we get mixed up between our 2 rolls (yummy), and use the tools which were meant to be used on the outside, inside and vice versa. We MUST understand that we have 2 jobs, we must thrive to figure out (with the help of da’as torah) what those 2 roles are.
This is best seen in Chava/Isha, true she was the mother of all man[and woman]kind alike, she was setting down the foundations for all of us, and yet she was also the wife of Adam, and the mother of kayin, hevel sheys (and their twins) etc. not all of us have such dramatic roles when it comes to the public side of our lives, not all of us are ever intended to have such a strong effect on the world…… yet all of us fit in the big picture somewhere, as well as fitting in our own small picture.
The torah never writes an extra extra (haha) word, yet it went through the trouble of mentioning both of the females names? why? dunno………but till you do figure it out, just make believe it was put there to teach us the lesson i just attempted to teach you.October 16, 2009 3:38 am at 3:38 am #1124817
26 Tishrei, 5770 Vol. 11, No. 1 Parashas Bereishis
Let us use these Torah lessons to learn about our weaknesses, and rise above them, to acknowledge and take the blame for our mistakes. Humility and honesty will open the gates of self-improvement for us and allow us to use the gift of teshuva to bring ourselves ever closer to our Creator.October 18, 2009 5:22 am at 5:22 am #1124818
nooseisko & CC: both great DT’s! thanks for sharing them with us!October 18, 2009 8:53 pm at 8:53 pm #1124819
****Jax’s DT for Sunday: Rosh Chodesh****
The Hebrew month -Rosh Chodesh begins with the new moon. It is a time of renewal. This symbolizes the fact that we can always make a new start. We can always shed off our crusty cynicism, and recapture the purity and sincerity of our youth. If we allow ourselves to reflect, there is much we can learn from youth as the following anecdotes illustrate:
1) A four-year-old child had a next-door neighbor who was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman’s yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his mother asked him what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, “Nothing, I just helped him cry.”
2) As I was driving home from work one day, I stopped to watch a local Little League baseball game that was being played in a park near my home. As I sat down behind the bench on the first-base line, I asked one of the boys what the score was.
“We’re behind 14 to nothing,” he answered with a smile.
“Really,” I said. “I have to say you don’t look very discouraged.”
“Discouraged?” the boy asked with a puzzled look on his face.
“Why should we be discouraged? We haven’t been up to bat yet”.
If we allow ourselves to reflect, there is much we can learn from youth.
It is a time of renewal!
A Gutten Chodesh!October 19, 2009 1:45 am at 1:45 am #1124820
kapustas DT for monday
Tire of Babel
Volume 3 Issue 2
by Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky
The Flood was history. The era of robbery, greed, and corruption was washed away by its powerful waves. Peace and tranquillity reigned. The entire world was now united — against the Almighty.
The world community decided that in the interest of harmony they would join forces and build a colossal tower to reach to the heavens. Then they would ascend the tower and do battle with G-d Himself.
It was an ambitious dream, but they were united and determined.
Hashem, however, had other plans. The Torah tells us that He convened the same tribunal He consulted with in creating man and this time decided that He would not destroy the builders. He would confuse them. He changed their languages so they were not able to communicate. One man would ask for a hammer and receive a nail, a saw, or a blank stare. Enraged, the requestor would then argue with and even strike his fellow builder who was impeding progress. Eventually a small civil war erupted on the construction site. The men dispersed and the construction project was eternally halted. And seventy distinct nations ultimately emerged.
It is puzzling: how does a problem such as lack of communication stop a lofty project of such tremendous scope? Didn’t the French and British jointly finish the Chunnel, the tunnel that connects the two countries, under the English Channel?
I once asked my rebbe, Reb Mendel Kaplan, who after escaping from the Nazi inferno lived in Shanghai, China for nearly five years, how he was able to communicate with the Chinese. He held up a dollar. “Everybody understands this language,” he said.
Don’t people of different languages manage to communicate when they want to realize a noteworthy mission? Why was there no way to gather the forces, create new communication techniques, and continue the project?
A college professor was known give difficult tests yet he had a very lenient policy. If a student missed the exam he could take a make-up test the next day. The make-up, however, was always the same test the professor had given the day prior.
15 minutes before the final exam, of a particularly difficult semester, the professor received a phone call. The four voices crowding the phone booth sounded desperate.
“Professor, we were on our way to take your final and we got a flat tire. Please let us take a make-up exam tomorrow.” “Certainly,” the professor responded.
The next day the four young men walked in feeling quite smug. They had reviewed the entire final with a friend who had taken it the day before. The professor seated the four students in different corners of the room. He placed a single sheet of paper in front of each one and stated crisply.
“Today’s make-up exam entails just one question. I would like you young men, each in his own way, to write down for me…” he looked at the young men and smiled knowingly — “which tire was flat?”
When the goal entails truth and true good for mankind, when the goals are harmonious with the concepts that transcend culture, language, custom, or vogue, then nothing can impede success.
But when selfishness rules and individual glory and gratification is the motivation, then the simplest problem can cause total disunity, contempt, and ultimately failure.
When our common goals are enveloped in common good, then we can unite under the most difficult of circumstances. However, if our motivations are selfish, the slightest impediment will leave our entire project and mission flat. As flat as the tire of Babel.
taken from Torah.orgOctober 19, 2009 1:57 am at 1:57 am #1124821
kapusta: powerful DT! thank you & nice of you to show your face around here! do stick around please!October 20, 2009 5:43 am at 5:43 am #1124822
***** Jax’s Tuesday DT- Parshas Noach******
NoaCh took to the Taiva-ark in fulfillment of Hashem’s command. He traveled with dedication and purpose. In contrast, many of us are “lost at sea” without a compass, when it comes to our own lives as the following true story illustrates:
There once was a Rav, who possessed many exceptional qualities that earned him a great reputation. However, he had one character flaw: he was so stubborn that once he made up his mind about something, there was no way of ever changing his opinion.
One day, when traveling on a journey, the Rav lost his way and wandered through a forest for several days, frightened and confused. In his state of confusion, he lost count of the days and became convinced that Shobbos was really one day earlier than it really was. When finally, with Hashem’s help, he found his way out of the forest and back home, he insisted on observing Shobbos on Friday, despite the attempts of his family and congregation to inform him of his error.
The Rav held firm, insisting that his calculation was correct and that everyone else’s calculations were a day off. And so, every Thursday evening he would dress up in his Shobbos finery, make kiddush and conduct a Shobbos tish full of guests, with another elaborate Shobbos meal the next day. He would also insist that everyone else do the same. Needless to say, this was awkward for the community and embarrassing for his family.
Then someone had the idea to summon his childhood friend, the wise Rabbi Shmuel Shmelke of Nicholsburg to see if he could bring the Rav back to his senses. When Rabbi Shmuel Shmelke arrived, he instructed the people to play along with him: to dress for Shobbos on Thursday night and to join him and their Rav at the “Shobbos” table. When they were all assembled, Rabbi Shmuel Shmelke asked that wine be brought out – one after another so that he could toast l’chaim to everyone. The wine was very strong and while the Nicholsburger Rabbi only pretended to drink, the Rav of the city became more and more intoxicated, until he finally fell into a deep sleep.
The combination of strong wine and physical exhaustion caused the Rav to sleep until the next night, at which time everyone reassembled, dressed in their Shobbos garb (which was no problem since this time, it actually was Shobbos). The Rav awoke and apologized to everyone for “napping,” and concluded the Shobbos meal as usual. And so the Rav caught up to reality without even knowing it, and from then on observed Shabbos on the correct day. [The foregoing true story is documented in The Commentators Siddur by Rabbi Y. Sender.]
We often are blinded by our emotions. In our confusion and arrogance we do not listen to the voice of reason and become more distant from Hashem, Torah and Bnei Yisreol. We pray that just as Hashem showed Noach the way, may He give us the wisdom and discernment to find the proper path in life.October 21, 2009 12:12 am at 12:12 am #1124823October 21, 2009 6:00 pm at 6:00 pm #1124824
***************mepal’s DT for Wednesday Parshas Noach***************
Window to the World
by Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky
Did you ever stop to imagine what life was like inside of Noah’s ark? There were three floors; the middle floor was filled with a collection of the world’s animals wild, domestic, and otherwise. Birds and critters of all shapes and sizes, vermin and an endless potpourri of creepy crawlers whose pesky descendants bear witness to their survival during that tempestuous period.
Then there was a floor of refuse. There was no recycling center, and no sewage system that I am aware of.
The humans had the top floor. Cramped in an inescapable living space was Noach, his three sons, their wives and one mother-in-law. I think the rest of the scenario can play clearly in our minds. Surely, it was far from easy. What intrigues are the detailed architectural commands that Hashem gave Noach. Hashem details measurements and design for an ark that took 120 years to build! Why? Are there lessons to be learned from the design of the design of the ark? After all, Hashem promised that there will be no more floods. If there are no more floods, then there need not be any more arks. So what difference does it make how it was built. Obviously, there are inherent lessons we can learn from the design of the ark. Let’s look at one.
Noach is told to build a window. It seems practical enough; after all sitting for an entire year can get awfully stuffy. So Noach is commanded to build a window for breathing room. It is a little troubling. Does Noach need a command to add something so simple as a window? Does it make a difference whether or not he had a window? Did that command have to be incorporated into the heavenly plans for an ark that would endure the ravaging flood?
A renowned Rosh Yeshiva, tragically lost his son to a debilitating disease at the prime of his life. Not long married, the son left a widow and a young child. The Rosh Yeshiva and his Rebbitzin were devastated at the loss and the shiva period was a most difficult time.
One of the hundreds of visitors was the Bluzhever Rebbe, Rabbi Yisrael Spira, whose entire family was wiped out during the Holocaust. He sat quietly, taking in the pain of the bereaved family. Finally, when it was time to say something, Rabbi Spira turned to the Rosh Yeshiva and spoke. “Your loss is terrible, but at least your son will have a living remnant, his child. He will also have a resting place and stone where the family can visit. I do not even know where any of my children who were killed by the Nazis are buried.” Then he added, “yet somehow Hashem has given me the strength to rebuild my family and life.” Those words truly helped console the Rosh Yeshiva.
Sometimes when we are locked in our little boxes, we, too, need a window. When we think our world is crumbling and that we are doomed to a fate that is too difficult to bear, Hashem tells us to make a window. Sometimes, in our frustrations we have to look across the globe, or even across the river to know that despite our difficulties, others must endure a more difficult fate. And when we realize that they can endure, whether it is an Og holding on the back of the ark, or struggling with those lost amongst the ruins, we can remember that life inside the ark is not so bad after all.October 22, 2009 1:13 am at 1:13 am #1124825
mepal: great piece!October 23, 2009 6:25 am at 6:25 am #1124826
*** Jax’s DT for Thursday***
“The dove came back… and behold, an olive branch… was in its mouth.” (8:11)
When Noach wanted to see if the flood waters had receded to where they could finally get out of the Taiva-Ark, he sent out a dove to look for dry land. The dove returned with an olive branch, indicating that the water level was at least below the treetops. On a Midrashic level, Rashi comments that the dove was hinting the following to Noach, “May my food be bitter as an olive and be provided by Hashem; not sweet as honey and provided by Man.” During its stay on the Taiva-Ark the dove was being fed by Noach. We learn from this that it is always uncomfortable for one to have to rely on the kindness of others. Therefore we must be sensitive to minimize the embarrassment of anyone who receives a kindness from us.
There once was a man known as Yossele Kamztan (Miser). He was the wealthiest man in his village and since most of the residents were impoverished, he received petitions for charity all the time. People would tell him what they needed and why; but, he would abruptly send them off empty handed. When he eventually died, the burial society had a tough time scraping up a minyan to participate in his funeral, for he was so despised, no one wished to attend. Shortly thereafter the Rabbi was flooded with an unusual amount of charity requests. Each person had a similar story: “Every morning, the milkman always brought milk to my door free of charge. Now he has stopped so my children have no milk.” “Every week the butcher would give us a chicken for Shabbos free of charge and now he has stopped. My family has nothing to eat for Shobbos.” “We have very sick child. The doctor used to treat him and give him medicine free of charge. Now he has stopped. What are we to do?” The Rabbi investigated and discovered that Yossele was secretly funding all of these people. When someone would beseech him and tell him of his needs, he would pretend to turn a deaf ear as he “kicked them out.” Afterward he would secretly arrange for whatever the person needed to be delivered to him and he would pay for it. The Rabbi was so taken by this, that he organized the entire community to gather at Yossele’s grave and ask forgiveness from his soul for the way they scorned and despised him. From that time forward he was always referred to as Yossele Tzaddik.
Have a great Shobbos!October 23, 2009 7:36 am at 7:36 am #1124827
i’m sure it’s still technically thrusday somewhere…………
We know the torah doesn’t write as much as an extra letter, so why in the world did the torah go through so much “trouble” describing the exact measurements of the teyva? going through the exact details, and furthermore why is it so important for the torah to tell us that Noach did EXACTLY as hashem commanded him? WHY G-D WHY?
We all have a tendency to take miracles and “naturalize” them, we always look as much as we can to kick hashem out of our lives, converting all yad hasehm situations into “yad me”, and we do it for a very simple reason. If we can convince ourselves that we r really the ones that run the show, then we don’t have to answer up to anybody, if hashem is in control then he has the “right” to demand certain things from us, but if we r in control……..then we call all the shots.
Ok Natan, very good point……………but what does it have to do with noach?
Boats float. they have been doing it for thousands of years, u just drop em in an ocean and……..they float. Noach built a boat. The boat floated. End of story. Miracle? i don’t see one……….. you wanna tell me that every time there was a flood and a sailor was saved it’s a miracle? then you should also say that every time anything floats it is a miracle……. i hope u guys get the jist.
And so, that is what the torah was trying to tell us. If noach would have built the teyva even 1 inch differently he would not have been saved, if he would’ve chosen a different interior design, the teyva would not have floated. He was commanded to do something specific, and he did it, THEREFORE he was saved.
True Hashem created the world with millions of “natural laws”, and yet still anytime ANYTHING happens, it is only cuz hashem decided it should work like that.
That is why hashem “made a point” of mentioning all the details, to remind us just how much we depend on him, just how much we all have to realize that hashem runs the show, and “sadly” (for us), as a direct result of that he actually has the right to demand of us what he demands of us.October 23, 2009 7:11 pm at 7:11 pm #1124828
6 Cheshvan, 5770 Vol. 11, No. 2 Parashas NoachOctober 23, 2009 8:21 pm at 8:21 pm #1124829
His friends and family have put out divrei Torah and Mussar for the Yomin Tovim. Below are links to the ones I have posted previously in the Coffee Room.
The name of this publication takes on the name ALIYOS REFOEL ZEV as an aliyah to his Neshomah, and with the Tefilah to bring Aliyah and inspiration to all those that read it.
?????? ???? ????? ????? ?’ ???? ??? “?? ?? ?’ ???? ??? ? “?
Asara B’Teves: http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/ywn-coffee-room-nightly-dvar-torah/page/2#post-24777
Tisha B’av: http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/ywn-coffee-room-nightly-dvar-torah/page/32#post-89465October 25, 2009 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm #1124830
DT for monday
by Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky
The news came from a most unlikely source. Og, a feared giant, came to Avraham (Abraham) and informed him that his orphaned nephew Lot, was captured in a war. Avraham felt compelled to do something. Lot’s father, Haran, was Avraham’s younger brother. After Avraham was miraculosly saved from death by incineration, Haran, also trying to emulate Avraham’s monotheistic beliefs, was thrown into a burning furnace.
But, miracles don’t happen for everyone and Haran was burnt alive.
Now Avraham, the man of peace, was thrust into war. He joined five kings, including the King of S’dom, and battled four of the most powerful kingdoms on Earth. Yet he emerged victorious. He propelled the five kings to a victory that was unprecedented in history. And Lot was returned to his family, unharmed.
The kings were grateful. They offered Avraham the spoils of war that were rightfully his. Avraham declined their magnanimity. “I lift my hand to Hashem if so much as a thread to a shoestrap,” replied Avram as he refused to take any personal compensation from the spoils. Genesis (14:22)
The question is why Abraham, when anguished by Pharaoh in Egypt or Avimelech in Grar, had taken gifts as part of a greater compensation for his humiliation. Why defer now? What was different about this war that removed Avram from desiring any rightful financial gain?
Rabbi Paysach Krohn in his wonderful work Around the Magid’s Table tells a beautiful story.
One Shabbos afternoon when young Yitzchak Eisenbach was in Jerusalem, he spotted a very valuable gold coin shining in the distance. The value of the coin was enough to support his entire family for 2 weeks! But it was Shabbos and young Yitzele knew that the coin was muktzeh, prohibited to be picked up and taken on the Shabbos.
He decided to put his foot on top of the coin and guard the coin until sunset — a good number of hours — but worth every moment of the the wait.
An Arab boy saw Yitzchak with his foot strangely and obviously strategically placed, and decided to investigate further.
“What’s that you’re hiding?” the Arab asked.
“Nothing,” replied Yitzchak as he shifted his body to hide the fact that he was guarding a golden treasure.
It was too late. The Arab boy pushed him, saw the prize, quickly grabbed it and ran away. All Yitzchak could do was watch in horror as his attacker melted into the Arab market place.
Dejected, Yitzchak sulked to the nearby Tzcernobel Bais Medrash (synagogue) where he sat in a corner. Normally, Yitzchak would help prepare the final Shabbos meal, but today he sat — dejected and depressed — until the Sabbath was over. The Rebbe inquired about young Yitzchok’s sullen mood and was told the story.
Immediately after Shabbos the Tzcernobel Rebbe (1840-1936) summoned Yitzchak into his private study. In his hand he held a gold coin, exactly the same size as the one Yitzchak had almost secured earlier that day.
“I am very proud of you,” said the Rebbe. You did not desecrate the Shabbos even for a tremendous monetary gain. In fact,” he continued, “I am so proud of you that I am willing to give you this same coin.” The Rebbe halted. “On one condition. I want you to give me the reward for the mitzvah you did.”
The boy looked at the Rebbe in utter disbelief. “You want to trade the coin for the Mitzvah?”
The Rebbe nodded, slowly.
“If that’s the case, keep the coin. I’ll keep the mitzvah.”
The Rebbe leaned over and kissed the child.
Avraham underwent tremendous sacrifice to fight the battle which had basically nothing to do with him. But he did it for one reason. The mitzvah of redeeming his own blood. He refused any compensation that would put any monetary value to the mitzvah. Any reward, albeit a strap or thread, would attach a mundane value to an inestimable act.
Pharaoh and Avimelech compensated Avraham for damages. For that he was willing to accept gifts. But for a priceless Mitzvah — never. Certain actions we do are beyond physical evaluation. By keeping them in the spheres of the unearthly, they remain like the heavens themselves — eternal.
taken from Torah.orgOctober 29, 2009 8:44 pm at 8:44 pm #1124831
Abraham our forefather (our 1st 4father. huh?), a man (child) who discovered his creator at the ripe old age of 3, fought his whole life against the flow, was called “abraham the ivri” cuz he was on the other “ever” (side) religiously than the rest of mankind, a g-d fearing person in an era when atheism and paganism were all the fad, his father was an idol seller for crying out loud, got thrown in a furnace, mocked by all his friends, ridiculed by all the important ppl of the time (except for shem i guess, and noach. did u know avraham learnt by noach? how cool is that! he heard bout the flood first hand!!!…….i think), and yet he did not allow any of this to budge him from his beliefs even in the slightest bit.
Abraham, the man of the 10 tests, from leaving his home, to having no children to having to slaughter his own beloved son (not all these things had already taken place at the time of the story which we will tell soon, but he was still the man who would pass all these teats in the future), the man who was the epitimy of following g-d’s word to the finest detail.
Abraham, the man who, as explained by Rav Brevda, had hashem on the forefront of his mind 24/7, the man who surely would not make a move without thinking of “what would g-d do”
Avraham, the man who went down to Egypt in the time of the plague the man who decided, surely after much deliberation, contemplation and prayer, that the best way to approach the dangers of egypt is by telling his wife to lie about their relationship. The man who surely was convinced that this was the best, and only feasible approach, that this was the ratzon hashem, for if it was not he would not have done it! he had already proven that he favored g-d’s will more than, even, his very own life. If he thought there was a better way to fulfill g-d’s will, he would have jumped at it! right? well maybe……….huh?
The ramban goes on an absolute rampage!!!!!! calling Avram no less than a sinner (albeit beshogeg, but still a sinner), how could the ramban fathom that such a thing was even possible? how could the ramban, after seeing avraham’s track record even attempt to say that avram made a mistake? where is he coming from?
I am in no way claiming i understand the reasoning behind the rambans peyrush, i am in fact not even claiming i trully understand the ramban even in the slightest bit! nor am i in any way, or, shape or any other appropriate word, coming to judge avraham avinu chas veshalom (even i am not stupid enough to do that……….sober), but i still think that we can learn a very important yesod form what the ramban said
NEGIOS, a.k.a BIAS. the evel of all evils, the one thing that can even fail the biggest tzaddik, the one consideration that no matter how righteous, smart, talented or expert you are, you can not escape under any circumstances. As soon as you are making a decision which will effect you, even in the slightest way, your judgment will be effected, warped, hijacked and any other appropriate word.
Avraham was arguably the most perfect human being that ever lived (i think most americans rank him right after the guy that invented the Ipod……loko americano). yet still when making a decision that effected him (it was a question of life and death for him), there was an outside input which he needed to get, not cuz he didnt want to do what hashem wanted him to do (which IS the case when we make “unbiased” decisions), not cuz he cared more about himself than the truth (which IS the case when we make a “mistaken” decision), and definitly not cuz he wanted to do what his yetzer hara told him to (which IS the case………). simply because it is a law of nature that “negios” exist. “hashocahd ye’aver eyney chachamim”- end of story.
Is this what the ramban is sayiing? i have not the slightest clue, was avraham also affected by negios or was he above them? your guess is as good as mine. will i be punished for suggesting that avraham made a mistake? most probably. is the yesod which comes out of all this blabbering a true one as far as our day to day lives are concerned? most definitely!November 1, 2009 1:22 am at 1:22 am #1124832
13 Cheshvan, 5770 Vol. 11, No. 3 Parashas Lech Lecha
Let us step back and examine the situation: Avraham Avinu, the paradigm of kindness and the epitome of selflessness, has a disagreement take place between his shepherds and those of Lot. The Torah does not report any anger between Avraham and Lot themselves, rather that Avraham approaches Lot, and proposes a way to keep their shepherds from bickering. His idea is accepted by Lot and they settle the issue in a calm and peaceful way by agreeing to separate from each other. The problem was solved in a quick and reasonable manner.
How delicate and sensitive is the emotional response of a human being! Even our forefather Avraham would have been somewhat affected by some lingering hard feelings over their past disagreement, despite all his love for Lot and his kindness towards any person. Avraham felt that for him to properly exert himself to the required degree, he would first need a session of mussar study. Avraham needed to take a moment for introspection; time to concentrate on the special bond and relationship he shared with Lot. Only after this deliberation could Avraham summon all his energy and zeal to save Lot.November 5, 2009 3:46 pm at 3:46 pm #1124833JotharMember
From another website:
Parshas Vayeira: Why Was The Generous Avrohom Frugal When It Came To The Water?
The Meforshim answer, the pasuk says, “Yukach Na” – “Let it be taken” – which Rashi explains to mean – “Al Yidei Shliach” – by means of a messenger. Since it was another person who would be carrying the water, Avraham was sensitive not to make him carry such a heavy load and therefore only offered the guests “a bit of water”. Eventhough he was busy with the Mitzvah of Hachnosas Orchim – Avraham teaches us that one cannot be “Frum on Yenim’s Cheshbon”
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