In Memory of Mr.

Max Glass ‫לע”נ שמואל מרדכי בן שלמה זאב יוסף‬

In Memory of Mr. Jack Gindi ‫לע”נ יעקב אליהו בן אליהו הכהן‬

Likutei Ohr
Volume II : Issue IV
Editor-in-Chief: Asher Naghi ’14 Senior Editor: Micah Hyman ’14 Ariel Amsellem ’15 Managing Editors: Eitan Meisels ’15 Michael Somekh ’15 Layout Editor: Yair Fax ’14 Marketing: Yosef Hier ’16 Distributors: Mitchell Silberberg ’14 Michael Lazovsky ’14 Jordan Lustman ’15 Staff Advisor: Rabbi Arye Sufrin

The Pamphlet of Light

Parshat Vayera

A publication of YULA Boys High School

‫ליקוטי אור‬
Rabbi Aaron Gartner
Adapted from R’ Yissocher Frand

The Only Thing We Have to Fear

The Flame of Our Ancestors
"The wise man sees evil and hides, but the fools pass on and are punished.” - Proverbs 22:3

Tefillah Gems
Yonah Hiller ’14

In this week’s Parsha, Parshat Vayera, Avraham introduces Sarah as his sister, and almost immediately she is taken to the palace of Avimelech, King of Gerar. Avimelech comes very close to sinning with Sarah, but Hashem reveals her true identity to him. Avimelech calls for Avraham and asks why he did not tell him that Sarah was his wife. Avraham responds, “For I thought only there was no fear of the Lord in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife” (Bereshit 20:11). The word “only” in this verse seems to be extra. The verse would seem to have the same meaning if it would have been written, “For I thought there was no fear of the Lord in this place.” What is this addition meant to imply? The Malbim suggests the following explanation: Avraham was telling the people of Gerar that your city is wonderful. It is a place of culture, refinement, and exemplary citizens. There is, however, one problem. The Lord is not feared in your city. And if the Lord is not feared, then all of your other accomplishments are meaningless. If you are not governed by fear of the Lord but instead by your own human standards, then there is no hope for you. Your civilized ways mean nothing. They will not prevent you from acting upon your passions and ambitions because you do not fear the Lord. The mishap that then occurred with Sarah and the King of Gerar, who was supposed to be the paragon of this society, demonstrated that their human rules did not even ensure that they could be trusted around a man with a desirable wife. In the 1930s, Rav Elchanan Wasserman shared his thoughts on Germany with a group of Rabbanim. The implications of Rav Elchanan’s words were clear: Germany was a civilized country, but there was no fear of Hashem. Therefore, it was a dangerous place. “Not so,” objected some of the Rabbis present, “Germany is a land of laws, culture, and high moral standing, and Jews are not at risk here. We are protected by the law.” Today we know all to well who was right in this argument. Rabbi Reuven Bulka of Ottawa, Canada, recalls attending Cheder in Germany during Kristallnacht. One of the children ran into the classroom and informed the Rebbe that his house was on fire. The Rebbe immediately called the fire department and reported the fire but to no avail. “We are sorry,” said the fire chief, “but we cannot put out the fire. It is against the law.” It was now against the law to put out fires in Jewish homes. Germany was still a land of laws, but the laws had changed. When there is no fear of the Lord, when people live by their own rules, culture and refinement mean nothing. It was true in Gerar. It was true in Germany. It is true everywhere, and it is still true today. May we merit to become true G-d-fearing Jews.

Many of us struggle to maintain concentration during Davening. The following inspirational story about the Maggid of Mezritch has the power encourage us to overcome the challenge of maintaining concentration during Davening: “A Chassid once asked the Maggid of Mezritch for a Bracha so that his mind should not wander during his Tefillah. The Maggid told the Chassid to consult R’ Zev of Zhitomir for some guidance. The Chassid arrived in Zhitomir late at night and knocked on Rav Zev’s door. When there was no answer to his knocking, he banged on the back door and on the window shutters, yet no one came to the door. The frustrated Chassid sat in the doorway and fell asleep. At dawn R’ Zev woke him and invited him into his home. He served him a hot drink and said, ‘Well, do you have the answer to your problem?’ The man just sat in astonishment. ‘Do you not see?’ Rav Zev asked, ‘You tried desperately to get into my house last night, but you could not get in because I am the owner, the master, the person in control of my house. If I do not want to let someone in, then he simply will not get in. Various thoughts attempt to enter our minds during Davening. These thoughts may take away our opportunities to connect with Ha’Kadosh Baruch Hu. However, we can be the masters of our minds.

Treat Him Right
Jonathan Haroonian ’17
‘’In the light of the countenance of the living king, and his desire like a cloud of rain’’ (Proverbs 16). In this verse, King Shlomo hints to the benefits that come to those who win favor in the eyes of a king. In another Pasuk, Shlomo compares the courtesy of a king to dew– “Dread like a lion is the anger of a king, and like dew on grass is his desire.” In a concise dialogue, Shlomo teaches us that a king can carry out favors with quick and long term effects, just like dew and rain which produce changes in a crops over short and long periods, respectively. Also, Shlomo teaches us that that a king’s agitation is as awful as death, as deduced from the verse- ‘‘The fury of a king leads to messengers of death.’’ Now, if the fury of a king, reflected by his agitated countenance, is considered death, then his friendly countenance must be considered life. Shlomo makes a Kal Va’Chomer here to Hashem, the King of Kings. If, in the case of a mortal king, everyone wants the king’s favor, then so too by Hashem, who owns all true pleasures, all the more so should his pleasures be sought. The Gemara in Brachot relates that when the Tanna, Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakai, was dying, he called his students in for a final few words. Rabbi Yochanan had previously escaped the Roman siege of Yerushalayim. He said that he was frightened about receiving a verdict in negative Shamayim. When he escaped the Roman siege, he only asked the Romans to spare certain parts of Yerushalayim but not all of it. Rabbi Yochanan explained that it is not similar to commit an offense before a human king than before Hashem since a human king can be bribed, but Hashem does not take bribes (Devarim 10:17), and a human ruler will jail an offender for most the felon’s lifetime, but Hashem can do so for eternity. From King Shlomo’s deep teachings, it also seems that “With the light of the countenance of the King [are the] living.” This teaches us that with Hashem’s Divine Presence emerges life. It appears to me that the statement of the Sages: ‘‘‘One who comes to be purified, we purify him’’ is similar. If one tries, Hashem helps him. Now how does all of this relate to this week’s Parsha? The protagonist in the stories of Vayera is clearly Avraham. He was one of the few of his time to recognize the splendor of Hashem and did not anger G-d. Hashem repaid Avraham’s respect for him by saving Avraham from burning in a fiery furnace and by visiting him, giving him life, healing him from the difficulties of performing a Brit Milah. When we deal properly with Hashem, he will treat us like Avraham, but when he is not allotted the Kavod he deserves he will take on the negative qualities of a human king in amplified form.

Halachic Illuminations
From Rabbi Nachum Sauer
If an individual Davens Ma’ariv at home, then he is Mekabel Shabbat because Ma’ariv brings in Shabbat even without a Minyan. Even if this individual makes a stipulation that he will not be Mekabel Shabbat with Ma’ariv, he is automatically Mekabal Shabbat. This rule applies even if he Davened Ma’ariv before sunset. A person who did not Daven Mincha yet and walks into a Shul that has already Davened Kabalat Shabbat despite it still being light outside should walk outside and Daven Mincha by himself. If one Davened Kabalat Shabbat through Lecha Dodi with the Shul, or even if he just answered Barchu along with the Tzibbur, he is Mekabel Shabbat. If he was Mekabel Shabbat before saying Mincha, he cannot daven Mincha and should instead say two Ma’arivs as a makeup – a Tashlumin. Both Ma’arivs should include the Ma’ariv, Shabbat Shemonah Esrei. The first Ma’ariv should be for Friday night and the second Ma’ariv should be the makeup for Mincha. If the order was reversed (he made up the Mincha before the Ma’ariv), he is not Yotzei, and he must Daven a third Shemonah Esrei to makeup for Mincha. If one walks into a Shul while the congregation is singing Lecha Dodi, one can start the Mincha Shemonah Esrei, even though by the time he finishes, the congregation will be Mekabel Shabbat with Boei BeShalom. The reason is that since when one started Mincha, it was before Kabbalat Shabbos, he can finish the Shemoneh Esrei even though it is after the Kabbalat Shabbos for the Tzibur.

Compiled By Your Senior Editor Micah Hyman

Actions Versus Words

Eitan Tennenbaum ’17

‫וירא אליו ה ’ באלוני ממרא והוא ישב פתח האהל כחם היום‬ Hashem appeared to him in the plains of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance of the tent in the heat of the day ( Bereshit 18:1) These are the opening words of Parshat Vayeia . Avraham sits in the blazing heat in front of his tent and waits for guests to come. This was not merely the heat of a hot day in the desert; rather, Hashem wished for Avraham to rest after his painful circumcision, so Hashem made that day scorching hot so Avraham would not have to endure the burden of waiting on travelers. Yet Avraham persisted. He sat outside waiting and waiting and waiting. Hashem felt mercy towards Avraham and sent three Melachim to join Avraham in his abode. Avraham then says to them, “Take some water to wash your feet, and recline beneath the tree. I will fetch you some bread.” Then Avraham seems to change his mind. He commands Sarah, his wife, to “Hurry! [Make] three se’ahs of meal, fine flour! Knead and make cakes!” Avraham abruptly decides to offer the guests much more than just water and bread. He serves his guests a full-fledged meal. Sarah made cakes for the strangers while Avraham hastily took from his livestock in order to feed his angelic guests. Avraham demonstrates a Torah axiom: say a little and do a lot. The implementation of such philosophy has many positive effect, which can be proven by Avraham’s general success. Avraham shows us that even small changes within our lives can make all the difference. For example, one can tell a friend that he will finish half the project, but he ends up finishing all the work for his fellow just to be nice. Imagine the relief of the classmate! The opposite concept, say a lot and do little, can be extremely detrimental to our relationships with our friends, our families, and our peers. Clearly, Avraham was known as a Gadol Ha’Dor because he acted and did not make empty promises. We must always think of what we can do for others. If we commit to always achieving our goals, there is no doubt that we can bring about significant change in the world and become Gadolim like Avraham Avinu .

YULA Boys High School Nagel Family Campus 9760 W. Pico Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90035 Tel: 310.203.3180

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