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A Suggestion as to Why Trump Released His Superman-Like Playing Card

By Rabbi Yair Hoffman for the Sfas Tamim Foundation

On December 13th, Mr. Trump had hyped and promoted a “major announcement” on his social media website, Truth Social.  Both Republicans and Democrats speculated about what Mr. Trump might have planned for his major announcement.  The New York Times reported that they assumed that, “it related to his campaign or even the race for House speaker.”

The major announcement revealed that the former president of the United States released a playing card depicting himself as a superman-like figure.  Most people found it truly bizarre.  Indeed, many people, when first informed of this fact, did not even believe it.

But observant Jews believe in the pasuk in Mishlei, “Lev Malachim b’yad Hashem” – Hashem places thoughts into the minds of leader (even former ones.)  Based upon this, I would like to give a suggestion as why this may have happened.  Perhaps, it was to help focus our attention on a thought expressed by Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman zt”l.

Rav Shteinman zt”l once said that the Mitzvos that we and our children and grandchildren perform,  do bring us merit in the world to come and elevate our place in Heaven – shamayim.  For example, if we helped create or supported a Yeshiva, the Torah learning that is done later on in that Yeshiva after we pass away –  can actually elevate our neshamos.  The recitation of Kaddish on our behalf is also very effective in elevating our souls. This elevation can undo the damage we have done in our aveiros here on earth.

They cannot, however, affect or change our midos – our essential character traits.

Why is this important to note?  Rav Shteinman explained that in the future time of the resurrection of the dead, we will be given new bodies – new physical forms.  These new bodies will physically reflect our deficient character traits and character imperfections.  For example, if we did not work on our anger while here on earth, we will have “angry eyes” written on our faces that will be seen by everyone.   Our task on this world is to improve our midos – our character traits.  This concept is seen from the words of the Vilna Gaon [Even Shleimah chapter 3] where he said, “Without correction of our character traits – of what purpose is life?”

Perhaps Hashem put this thought into the former president’s head in order to bring this thought to light – that we should work on our midos – our character traits in preparation for techias haMeisim, so that our future physical selves will have no imperfections.

With this we may answer a question in this week’s parsha.

The first pasuk in parshas Vayechi tells us that Yaakov Avinu lived for 147 years.  However, the pasuk actually begins with the fact that Yaakov Avinu lived for 17 years in Mitzrayim.  Indeed this is even mentioned first in the pasuk.  Why was there a need to mention this fact?

There is a most fascinating thought expressed here by Rav Shlomo Ephraim ben Aaron Luntschitz (1550 – 1619) the author of the Kli Yakar commentary on the Chumash.

He writes that the number 17 in the very beginning of this pasuk carried a message to the Shvatim.  Their realization that Yaakov’s years of comfort in Mitzraim also carried that very same message.  The brothers had sold Yoseph at the tender age of 17.  The two numbers were not mere coincidence and could not have been lost on the brothers.  Even though they were tzaddikim, they could not continue to engage in any self-deception and needed to face the truth of their actions.  This was a message to them that they must correct the lie. They still needed to correct this character flaw in their own self-deception and face the truth, on a deeper level, that their actions of selling Yoseph at 17 caused that Yaakov’s living in peace and comfort was only for 17 years.

It would seem that the rationale provided to them by Yoseph, that the salvation came through the sale of Yoseph, was only a mid-level stop-gap measure. It was a temporary step so that they could live with themselves, for the time being.  But they still needed to do more work on their character and midos.  Hashem, in His infinite kindness and love for the shvatim – provided them with this opportunity.

This is a remarkable lesson in our obligations toward living a life of everyday emes.

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2 Responses

  1. boy is that stretching an explanation
    i guess trumpnicks will forever stay trumnicks, no matter what
    has this rabbi found a good posuk, to wipe away the dinner trump had with nazis?

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