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Volume XII - Issue 10
L A H
The DRS Weekly Torah Publication By Benjamin Watman, 10th Grade
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One Pasuk for Three Sons
“ –ִשּׂש ָר ְבוּ ֻן, וּבְָ ִןYissachar, Zevulun, and Binyamin” (Shemos 1:3) י ָ כ ז ל ִ נימ The three names in the above title are in fact the complete verse, and this raises a question; why place two sons of Leah in one verse with a son of Rachel? Rav Yochanan Zweig, a rosh yeshivah in Miami Beach, offered a breathtaking insight based off of this passuk. If one were to argue that the Torah wanted to place the children of Leah and Rachel in a separate list, and Zilpah and Bilhah’s progeny together, verses 2 and 3 could have been combined into one verse, just as verse 4 put the children of two mothers together. Placing Yissachar and Zevulun with Binyamin hints to something larger. In Chumash Bereishis, after the birth of Leah’s first four sons, the Torah emphatically states (29:35) that “she ceased having children.” This should be taken to mean that this was indeed the goal of God’s plan. Leah and Rachel would each have four children, while Bilhah and Zilpah would each have two. Rachel’s lack of faith in God led her to barter her bed for some mandrake roots, presuming that they, not prayer to God, held the power to give her children. Thus, the plan changed, and Leah bore sons again- Yissachar and Zevulun, who should have been Rachel’s. A powerful confirmation to this astonishing proposal can be seen in the count of the 70 souls enumerated in parshas Vayigash. Leah has 32 male descendants and Zilpah, her maid, has half, 16. Rachel has 14 male descendants, and Bilhah, her maid, has half, 7.
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This week’s issue of דברים היוצאים מן הל"ב is dedicated in honor of the upcoming marriage of Rena Rubel and Yehuda Williams
PARSHAS SHEMOS 18 TEVES, 5771 DECEMBER 25, 2010
All Zmanim are calculated by myzmanim.com for Woodmere, NY (11598)
Candle Lighting: 4:14 pm Latest 53:9 :קריאת שמעam שבתEnds: 5:19 pm
This week’s issue of דברים היוצאים מן הל"ב is sponsored by the Sperber Family in commemoration of the yahtzeits of חוה לאה בת דוב בר and ,שמעון בן משהand the shloshim of .רבקה בת אהרון
A Master Detective
This week’s issue of דברים היוצאים מן הל"ב G-d was shopping around for someone to lead his people out of Egypt. For whatever reason, the local talent didn't measure up, not Aaron, a prophet, nor any of the Hebrew elders. is also sponsored by Torah Letzion, a program to help boys and girls Instead, He head-hunted an Egyptian-bred prince on the run in Midian, more commonly known learn in Israel for the year. as Moshe. You've got to wonder why. What was it about Moshe that made him worthy to lead? Visit at http://torahletzion.org/ The Midrash answers by way of a story: "Moshe was shepherding his father-in-laws' sheep one day, when one of them bolted. Moshe followed the runaway animal until it reached a body of water where it stopped for a drink. Moshe compassionately said to the sheep, "If only I had known that you thirsted for water. You must be exhausted from running…" Saying this, he scooped up the animal, placed it on his This week’s issue of shoulders, and headed back to his flock. Said G-d: "If this is how he cares for the sheep of man, c"kv in ohtmuhv ohrcs he is definitely fit to shepherd mine…" is also sponsored by Taken at face value, this story, and G-d's choice of Moshe, is about Moshe' deep commitment to the individual, not just to the community. Moshe never lost sight of each tree in the forest. Moreover, this anecdote tells of his extraordinary devotion to each member of his flock, GourmetGlatt.com • 516.569.2662
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Torah Teasers By Rabbi Moshe Erlbaum
(Benjamin Watman — Continued from page 1)
דברים היוצאים מן הל”ב פרשת שמות
Had Yissachar and Zevulun been born to Rachel, their total of 9 would have been added to Rachel and subtracted from Leah, giving each exactly the same 23 descendants, with the total of 46 still twice the amount of children their maids had combined! This may indeed be the hint from our verse, placing Yissachar and Zevulun with Binyamin in one united verse to show that they might indeed have been maternal brothers had Rachel had greater faith and prayed with the fervor we find later in Tanach with Chanah, mother of our great prophet Shmuel. Fitting very neatly in to this fascinating analysis is the following discussion by HaGaon HaRav Moshe Shapiro, head of Kollel Shuv Shmatta in Yerushalayim, in a shiur given in Far Rockaway in Shevat 5703: After the exodus, the B’nei Yisrael are in Refidim (Shemos 17), and Amalek comes to start a war. Chazal say that the location tells us why this happened. Refidim is actually a combination of two Hebrew words, refu yadayim, meaning their hands weakened (in Torah study). During the battle, Moshe sat on the mountain and lifted his hands heavenward. At such times, b’nei Yisrael was stronger. When Moshe tired and lowered his hands, Amalek gained strength. So Aharon and Chur supported his hands, and Amalek was greatly weakened by nightfall. Apparently, the weakness of our hands was countered by Moshe’s uplifted hands. What is the deeper meaning of this incident? In Chumash Bereishis, Yitzchak was planning to give a major blessing to Eisav. Many commentators explain, Yitzchak envisioned that both Yaakov and Eisav would form the Jewish nation together. Yaakov would be the scholar, totally steeped in Torah and its philosophy, while Eisav would provide him with all his material needs. In fact, Yitzchak’s exclamation, “The voice is Yaakov’s voice, and the hands are Eisav’s hands,” meant exactly that to Yitzchak. “The hands” meant hands that work, produce, and give to Yaakov what he needs. That is why the berachah Yaakov took from Eisav was entirely physical. (Yaakov’s very spiritual blessing comes at the end of that sidrah, so that he in fact received both of them.) When Yitzchak realized Yaakov’s trick, he “trembled a great trembling.” This was the moment of truth, when he finally recognized Eisav for
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Questions 1. In Egypt בני ישראלwere forced to produce ,לבִיםbricks. In what context are לבִיםfirst ְ ֵנ ְ ֵנ mentioned in the Torah? 2. Aside from this ,פרשהwhere do midwives assist in a birth? (2 places) 3. Who in the פרשהis called a ?לוי 4. Who in the פרשהis called a ?כהן 5. Where are there five פסוקיםin a row that begin with the same word? 6. ,קשstraw was used by בני ישראלto make bricks. Where else in ספר שמותis straw mentioned?
1. ,לבִיםbricks are first mentioned in פרשת נח ְ ֵנ where the people produced bricks to build the .מגדל בבל 2. In ,פרשת וישלחa midwife is involved in the birth of בנימיןto .)בראשית לה:יז( רחלIn ,פרשת וישב a midwife assists in the birth of פרץand זרחto תמרthe wife of .)בראשית כח:לח( יהודה 3 אהרןis called a .)ד:יד( לוי 4 יתרוis called a .)ג:א( כהן 5 פסוקים יא - טוin פרק גall begin with the word "“ - ”ַיֹּא ֶרAnd he said.” ו מ 6. In ,פרשת בשלחin the ,שירת היםthe drowning Egyptians are compared to straw sinking in water (.)טו:ז
(Ariel Bagley- Continued from page 1)
regardless of behavior. It is this charming tale which introduces us to Moshe' unconditional love for his charges, the legendary virtue that would come to characterize and immortalize him. We might even add that it was this very act of Moshe, his setting out to pursue a renegade sheep, that gave birth to the idea of outreach, and mirrors G-d's messianic promise that "Even if your outcasts are at the end of the heavens, the L-rd, your G-d, will gather and take you from there." If the lesson stopped here, dayenu - it would be enough. But the story and its lesson run deeper. After replaying Moshe' words to the sheep in my mind, I was struck by the depth of character they reveal in Moshe. "If only I had known that you thirsted for water. You must be exhausted from running…" Upon reaching the animal at the river bank, Moshe didn't see a rebellious creature. He saw a frightened being in need of immediate attention. He discerned what too many would not, that thoughts of hydration, not rebellion, drove this tender animal to break from "tradition" and to leave its natural surroundings behind. It simply hadn't been receiving from its caretaker that which it needed in order to thrive, even survive. These gentle words that hint of apology display the breadth and depth of Moshe' humility. They provide the backdrop and soundtrack for the epic story of Moshe' leadership. Moshe was a master detective of the human spirit, always following the clues leading to man's underlying goodness, recognizing thirst where others might see mutiny, seeing restlessness – even insubordination – as an expression of the desire to grow. Moshe wasn't naïve or romantic; he was more perceptive – receptive. He knew how to look, where to look, but most importantly, to look at all. It behooves us to mention a modern day Moshe. By this I mean our Jewish leaders, all of them, our Rebbeim, Rabbi's or community leaders, we all know of some. We see from Moshe's actions of never forgetting, or G-d forbid neglect, a fellow Jew even when they are not in need of help. The problem with us is that at times we forget, or take for granted, all of the things our leaders do for us. Whether its teach us Torah, which historically is something that many people have gone to great lengths to prevent, or give us guidance when we are lost, we fail to appreciate and thank our leaders. When we all give a deeper appreciation to the people who care about us, and when we do it with sincere kindness, that is all Hashem wants to see. And with that merit we should see the coming of Mashiach in our time. Have a great Shabbos!
Dvarim Hayotzim Min Halev
most difficult times for His people. - וירא ה' כי סר לראותGod sees that with all of Moshe’s efforts he can only complete the " ”סand the " - ”רbut he cannot understand the " ”.תMoshe sees the " ”סרthe סוףthat God will again be with His people, is something he had full faith in. The ,ראשthat God had been with the Avos and had done incredible things for them, was also clear to Moshe - indeed, .סר לראותBut where was the ?תוךWhere was God now in the present time? God notices Moshe’s struggle and He tells Moshe - אל תקרב הלוםdon’t analyze this too closely - the תוךis not something you can delve too deeply into and expect to understand. Moshe then realizes that while the relationship with the סוף וראשcan be one of ראייהthe תוךcannot be so readily understood, and has to be accepted with complete faith - ויסתר משה פניו כי ירא מהביט אל ”האלקיםAnd Moshe hid his face because he was afraid to look at God” - Moshe has now completed the סתרhe understands that the תוךcannot be analyzed too closely because it all seems like אלקיםthe מדת הדיןwhen viewed in the moment. We can’t appreciate the mercy of God in times like this. We are not expected to try to figure everything out in the moment. This may be why we cover our eyes when we are מקבל עול .מלכות שמיםWe have to acknowledge our blindness to God’s ways at the time that we profess our belief in Him. The : גמרא ברכות דף לדtells us the following story: שוב מעשה ברבי חנינא בן דוסא שהלך ללמוד תורה אצל ר' יוחנן בן זכאי וחלה בנו של ר"י ב"ז אמר לו חנינא בני בקש עליו רחמים ויחיה, הניח ראשו בין ברכיו ובקש עליו רחמים וחי, אמר ריב"ז, אלמלי הטיח בן זכאי את ראשו בין ברכיו כל היום לא היו משגיחין עליו, אמרה לו אשתו וכי חנינא גדול ממך, אמר לה לאו אלא ”הוא דומה כעבד לפני המלך ואני דומה כשר לפני המלךThere was a story of Rabi Chanina bar Dosa who went to learn torah by R’ Yochanan ben Zakai and the son of the latter fell ill. R’ Yochanan told R’ Chanina ‘my son, beseech God for mercy on his behalf so that he may live’. R’ Chanina placed his head between his knees, prayed for mercy and the boy lived. R’ Yochanan ben Zakai remarked ‘If I would have kept my head between my knees all day, my prayers would not have been heeded’. R’ Yochanan’s wife asked ‘Is Chanina greater than you?’ R’ Yochanan responded ‘No, but he is similar to a servant in front of the king, while I am an officer in front of the king’”. The קדושת לויexplains that a servant does not pretend to know which factors go into a king’s decision making. He accepts the fact that his understanding of the situation is very limited. An officer, on the other hand, always thinks he knows every element to every decision. For our prayers to be answered our attitude has to be one of a servant - figuratively burying our heads between our knees where we cannot see anything, not like an officer who thinks he can explain it all, but like a servant who appreciates that our narrow view of the world is but a speck of the entire sweep of eternity open to God at every moment. While this is a good enough explanation for somebody who is on the מדרגהof a , משה רבינוMoshe asks God - what should I tell the people? They won’t understand where You are at this time of great oppression and need? God responds to tell them אקיה שלחני אליכםand to add ה"א אבותיכםreinforce their memory of the past and their belief in the future and then hopefully that will be enough for them. Moshe responds - והן לא יאמינו לי ולא ישמעו ' בקלי כי יאמרו לא נראה אליך הthey are going to say that God who represents the present ( )שם ההוהhas not appeared to you just as he has turned his back on us in our slavery.
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*Yeshivat Lev Hatorah has been officially renamed to Yeshivat Lev Shlomo
By Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz, Maggid Shiur of Lev Shlomo and DRS Rebbi
Moshe, while certainly the greatest leader in our history, is also the most hesitant leader. God commands him to go to Mitzrayim and his initial reaction is that he is not worthy – “ ”.שלח נא ביד תשלחWe can easily understand how this hesitance actually enhances our image of who משה רבינוwas. The humility is both astounding and admirable. What is more difficult to understand, though, is Moshe’s second attempt at absolving himself from this mission - הנה אנכי בא אל בני ישראל – ”ואמרתי להם אלקי אבותיכם שלחני אליכם ואמרו לי מה שמו מה אמר אליהם “Behold I will go to the Jewish people and say to them that the God of their fathers sent me to you, and they will say to me “what is his name?’ – What should I tell them?” What exactly is the concern that the people will not know the “name” of God? Furthermore, God’s response to the question is equally puzzling - He does not seem to add anything to the description of Himself beyond what we already know - אקיה שלחני אליכם... ה' אלקי אבתיכם אלקי ” ? ”אברהם אלקי יצחק ואלקי יעקב שלחני אליכם זה שמי לעלם וזה זכרי לדר דרI will be’ sent me to you… Hashem the God of your fathers, the god of Avraham, the God of Yitzchak and the God of Yakov sent me to you. This is my name forever, and this is how I should be remembered throughout the generations” Finally, we may ask a third question: There are two times in Tanach that we find a commandment for a person to remove his shoes - Moshe was told during this encounter - של נעליך מעל רגליך כי המקום אשר אתה עומד עליו אדמת קדש הואremove your shoes from on your feet because the place that you are standing on is holy ground” - and ,יהושע after leading the Jewish people into ,ארץ ישראלencounters an angel who tells him ” ”של נעלך מעל רגלך כי המקום אשר אתה עמד עליו קדש הוא “Remove your shoes from on your feet because the place you are standing on is holy”. What is the connection between these two incidents? Rav Yosef Nechemia Kornitzer זצ"לprovides an insight that helps to answer all of these questions: The name of God that connotes a מדת הרחמיםrelates to three unique periods of God’s mercy - - היה, הוה, ויהיהGod has been, remains, and always will be the same .אב הרחמיםThe term סתרwhich is used in expressing those times that God’s ways are hidden from us is a נוטריקוןfor all three time periods - .סוף, תוך, ראשWhen God is hidden we don’t see how his מדת הרחמיםis all encompassing and covers past present and future. When Moshe Rabeinu sees the סנהhe immediately understands the symbolism of it - the Egyptians are playing with fire - they are persecuting God’s people - but somehow they escape any harm - they are not hurt by the fire at all - .והסנה איינו אוכלMoshe Rabeinu decides to investigate further - to try to figure out what God is thinking at these
(Lev Shlomo Corner—Continued from page 3)
דברים היוצאים מן הל”ב
Finally, the רבונו של עולםresponds with the image of the stick turning into a .נחשJust as the stick that may seem stable and worthy of trusting to support our weight, can turn into a slithery snake - so too, that which we sometimes put our trust into can turn into nothing more than something that can only come back to bite us. Just as that which slithers away from us may not seem to be of any help, but when we grab its tail it turns into our support system, God’s current actions where he seems to have turned away from us, when we focus on how everything will turn out - we grab onto the tail - we will realize that He has been our support system all along. The mission that Moshe was reluctantly sent on was not one that Moshe could readily understand during his lifetime. While there were many great times, there was also much frustration and suffering during Moshe’s time of leadership. He spent his life chasing a promise that he never got to see. He never really did get to see the .תוךOnly after his death, when Yehoshua led the people into the Promised Land, was the mission complete. Only from the perspective of the זנבof the mission, could we truly understand that there was a master plan at work the entire time. So Yehoshua too is told .של נעליך מעל רגליךHe is reminded how we can never think that we will understand the תוךuntil many years later. This is a critical message for יהושעas he takes over the reins for the Jews’ tumultuous existence in our Holy Land. It is a message of faith that is so meaningful to Yehoshua - remember how Moshe Rabeinu could not understand God’s actions at the time, but you, through the perspective of history, are able to put it all together. During your leadership as well, you will not understand everything, but if you have perfect faith in Me, and you understand the concept of ,סתרyou will have God by your side the entire time whether his presence is readily apparent or not. Throughout the exiles of the Jewish people we have seen a great deal of both personal and communal suffering. The strength to survive is derived in part from our ability to trust that our own understanding of events is limited and flawed, while God’s view of the world is perfect and complete. We pray for the day that we will all be able to look back at the times of struggle, from the position of the “tail” and declare with confidence and conviction !ברוך הטוב והמטיב Have a great Shabbos!
. Stronger Together
By Alex Selesny, 10th Grade
ַיּאמר אל עמּוֹ ה ֵה עם בּ ֵי יִ שׂראל רב וְ עצוּם ממּֽנּוּ )שמות ֶ ִ ָ ַ ֵ ָ ְ ְנ ו ֶ ֶ ַ ִנּ (א:ט This Passuk teaches us, said Rav Yisroel of Rizhin, that when the Jews act as one people , without any arguing or fighting, the nations of the world will see them as “more numerous and stronger than themselves,” and realize that they cannot dominate the Jews. This can be compared to a father who invited all of his children to his home. When they arrived, they gathered around him. The father held several thin twigs in his hand. He gave one to each of his children and then asked them to break them. His children snapped the dry twigs with ease. As the father passed around a bundle of several twigs, he challenged them try to break the bundle. Each one tried to break the bundle but none succeeded. “You see,” said the father, “so long as you remain united in the same way that these branches are united, nobody will ever be able to harm you! But if you act divisively and there is disharmony among you, then be aware that a lone individual is as feeble and easily broken as a thin twig.” Have a great Shabbos! Adapted from “A Shabbos Vort”
(Benjamin Watman — Continued from page 2)
what he was. So he now “blessed” Eisav by converting the “hands” that support to hands that kill. Those original hands of help and partnership were transferred away form Eisav. A well-known medrash informs us that Leah’s poor eyes were caused by her weeping. People were saying that she was destined for Eisav, and Rachel was meant for Yaakov. Indeed, had Eisav lived up to his potential, this would have happened and he would have been a well- functioning member of our people. (Nevertheless, Leah wept, for she wanted to be wed to the scholar.) Now, a new partnership had to replace this failed one, and that is Yissachar and Zevulun, because it is crucial for b’nei Yisrael to have a model of dedicated scholars supported by generous entrepreneurs. Since Yaakov intended to marry Rachel and not Leah, Rachel should have been their mother. (In this Rav Zweig’s and Rav Shapiro’s opinions coincide.) But the barren Rachel abandoned her prayers to God for a child, and instead sought the mandrakes of Reuven, bartering her husband to Leah in exchange. In that moment, Rachel made Yaakov’s marriage to Leah “officially legal” in her own eyes. Leah then went on to bring Yissachar and Zevulun into the world. With the exile and disappearance of the Ten Tribes, Klal Yisrael must arouse within themselves the great aspirations of each of these tribes, for there is a little of their blood and genes in all of us. For those who are not fortunate to be in the exclusive group of Yissachar, says Rav Shapiro, blessed are they who undertake to serve in the role of Zevulun in building and supporting Torah institutions. Have a Good Shabbos! Adapted from And There Was Light, Rabbi Meir Goodman
Dvarim Hayotzim Min Halev
Chasidic Views on the Parsha:
The Twelve Shevatim, Tehilim, and Teshuvah – What’s the Connection?
Avi Moisa, 12th grade
One of the unique features of Breslov Chassidus, is its emphasis on Hisbodedus. This is a practice where each Jew is encouraged to spend some time every single day, speaking to Hashem from the depths of his heart, in the language he feels most comfortable with. The following Dvar Torah is adapted from Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan’s “Outpouring of the Soul,” a translation of Sefer Histapchus HaNefesh. This Sefer represents a collection of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov’s comments on Hisbodedus. This weeks parsha begins with: “V’eleh shemos bnei Yisroel habaim Mitzraimah es Yakov ish ubeiso.” (Shemos 1:1) At first glance, the Torah is stating a simple historical fact. Rebbe Nachman, however, shows us that this posuk alludes to much more. In Sefer Likutey Moharan Tinyana (73), written posthumously by his main talmid, Rebbe Nososn of Nemirov, Rebbe Nachman offers the following lesson. If a person wishes to do teshuvah and return to Hashem, he must make a habit of reciting tehilim. The reason is that saying tehilim has the power to bring a person back to Hashem. There are fifty gates of teshuvah. Of these, 49 are gates through which every person can pass and gain access to what is beyond. The fiftieth gate, however, is that of Hashem's own return. The concept that teshuvah applies to Hashem as well, is derived from a posuk in Malachi (3:7), where Hashem says, “Return to Me, and I will return to you.” The 49 gates of teshuvah parallel the 49 letters in the Hebrew names of the twelve shevatim. Therefore, each gate of teshuvah is associated with one letter in the names of the shevatim. In other words, the names of the twelve shevatim contain a total of 49 letters, each letter corresponding to a gate of teshuvah. Every person has an inner desire to experience the awe of Hashem. But not every person is worthy of returning to Hashem. Even if an individual has an inner awakening to teshuvah, he may not be able to reach the letter and gate that pertains to him. Moreover, even if he reaches the gate of teshuvah, he may find that the gate is closed. When a person recites tehilim, however, a desire towards teshuvah is awakened in him, even if such a desire may not have been there to begin with. Furthermore, through tehillim, he can become worthy of reaching the gate and letter that pertains to him, and of opening that gate. Thus, by reciting tehilim, he can be worthy of truly returning to Hashem. This is alluded to in Shmuel 2 (21:1) where King David calls himself “the man who raised the yoke … the sweet singer of Israel.” Mesechet Moed Katan (16b) teaches us that King David called himself “the man who raised the yoke” because he
was the one who elevated the yoke of teshuvah. He elevated the concept of teshuvah specifically because he was the “sweet singer of Israel” - by composing tehilim. Mesechet Avodah Zarah (4b) also notes that King David was such a great saint that he never should have become involved with Bathsheba. Hashem caused this incident to happen only to teach every individual how to do teshuvah. King David was therefore a paradigm of teshuvah, and his main method for accomplishing repentance was through tehilim. He composed the tehilim with such spirit and enlightenment that every person can find himself in the tehilim, and thereby become worthy of returning to Hashem. As we mentioned before, the 49 gates of teshuvah parallel the 49 letters in the names of the twelve shevatim. The main purification of the shevatim, where they gained access to the 49 gates of teshuvah, occurred in Egypt. It is for this reason that after the Bnei Yisroel were purified in Egypt and were able to leave. They then counted 49 days until they received the Torah. These are the 49 days of the Omer, which parallel the 49 letters and the 49 gates of teshuvah. Then on the fiftieth day, “Hashem descended on Har Sinai.” (Shemos 19:20). This relates to the posuk in Malachi (3:7) where Hashem said, “l will return to you.” This is the “return” of Hashem Himself, the fiftieth gate of return. All of this is alluded to in the verse, “These are the names of Israel's sons who came to Egypt, each man with his household" (Shemos 1:l). In the original Hebrew, “These are the names of Israel's sons who came" is: VeEleh shemos bnei Yisroel habaim The final letters of the words in this posuk are ,ה ת י ל ם which can be rearranged to spell .תהילם The original Hebrew for the rest of the posuk, “to Egypt, each man with his household" is: Mitzraimah es Yakov ish ubeiso. The final letters of the words here are ,ה ת ב ש וwhich when rearranged spells ,תשובהHebrew for repentance and return. The lesson is that through tehilim one becomes worthy of teshuvah. This is alluded to in the words, “These are the names of Israel's sons." The 49 gates of teshuvah parallel the 49 letters in the names of Israel's sons, who came to Egypt to be purified there. We therefore see that during times of teshuvah, such as the month of Elul and the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah, it is especially appropriate to recite tehilim, since this is a practice which can bring one to teshuvah. It is therefore a wonderful practice to recite tehilim often, since such a practice can be a source of tremendous awakening toward Hashem. Have a good Shabbos!
6 The Making of an All-Star
The Complete Package
By Yoni Kadish, 10th Grade
By Daniel Stroh, 10th Grade
In this weeks parsha, we are introduced to Moshe Rabbeinu, the quintessential leader of Bnei Yisrael. I thought, is there any way we can reach the level of Moshe Rabbeinu? We all have the aspiration to become great and hopefully act on them, so what made Moshe Rabbeinu so special? Rabbi Mansour explains that the Torah is clear about what made Moshe Rabbeinu so great. The Torah doesn't have to tell us any stories because its not a storybook, so every mention and letter is important if written. I am sure there are thousands of fascinating “classic” stories about the life of Moshe - after all he was a prince, grew up in the Egyptian’s Pharaoh’s house, fled, became a Prince elsewhere, and returns to Egypt after seeing the Sneh and having Hashem reveals himself to Moshe. Obviously, the Torah tells us these select stories specifically so we would know what made him so awesome, and what we should emulate. What makes a Moshe Rabbeinu - the greatest Prophet and holy man ever? Our first encounter with him is in Perek 2, where it says “Vayelech Ish Mibeis Levi Vayikach et bat Levi. Vatahar Haisha Vatailed ben”. Why is it so important to say that this holy man was born in detail, a man from Levi took a wife from Levi/ Additionally, why are the parents anonymous? We see that having a child does not tell us anything about who the parents are. Many people can have children - however, a parent can only take credit when the child gets older and develops and becomes a role model and person of decency. Then we can look back and say lets see what kind of parents raised someone this good! Only after we see what kind of person Moshe develops into, can we say that his fathers’ name was Amram and his mothers’ name was Yocheved. To become great in Torah, it doesn’t matter what or who your parents are; it’s totally up to the individual to excel in Torah. That’s not true in everything. For children to be a Cohan or Levi the parents have to be that. For the child to be king he has to come from parents from the king family of David Hamelech. But the Torah is free for the taking, and can be learned at any time as exemplified by Rabbi Akiva. The Torah says there is hope for every parent to have great children as great as Moshe if they put in extreme effort. However, the whole story still seems extra. Why does the Torah need to say this? Do you think that every
(Continued on page 7)
Shemos (2:2) The woman conceived and gave birth to a son, she saw he was good and she hid him for three months. There are many questions that one could ask in reference to this pasuk. One question is, we know that every mother loves her child dearly regardless of how beautiful the child might be, so wouldn’t any mother hide her child during that time period in Egypt when all male babies were being persecuted? The passuk implies that she was special for doing so! A second question that can be asked is what is the implication of the word tov, or good, in the pasuk? The Rambam answers the first question by saying that Yocheved saw a unique and special characteristic in Moshe, and she saw that miracles would occur through him. Therefore aside from natural maternal insticts which would demand that she try to save her child, she felt an added need to save him since he was special and would be involved in miraculous events. Each reason independently would be enough for her to risk her life to save this child. The Ohr HaChayim explains that normally a woman’s gestational period is nine months. A baby born after six months of pregnancy is a premature baby and rarely survives as a healthy and fully capable human being. Therefore, since Yocheved realized and was shocked to see that her baby, Moshe, who was born after 6 months appeared to be able survive and develop to the fullest extent, she went out of her way to save him, even if she had to put her own life in danger by hiding Moshe. Nonetheless, we still have not answered the second question as to why Moshe was referred to as tov. The Gemara in Sotah(12a) gives five alternatives to the meaning of the word tov in this passuk. One of the answers given in the gemara by the Acherim is that Moshe was called tov since he was born with a bris milah. Nevertheless, how did the Acherim learn out from the word tov that Moshe had a bris milah? Again there are several explanations. The Torah Temima explains that on the second day of creation it does not mention the word tov because the creation of the waters of the world were not completely finished on the second day. However, on the third day of creation when the waters were complete it mentioned the word tov, or good. Therefore since the word tov meant complete in reference to the creations of the world, in reference to Moshe they understood it to mean that he was a complete and a fully formed baby with a bris milah. He did not require a bris milah as almost all babies do in order to be considered complete. The second answer given by the Channukas HaTorah is that we see by the story of Yiftach in Sefer Shoftim where it says, “he went to the land of good” that the question arises how could any other land other than Eretz Yisroel be called good? The answer given is that chutz l’aretz is good in the sense that one living there isn’t required in the giving of a tithe, maasir. Also a midrash on parshas Ekev explains that just as fruit needs maasir so to a child needs maasir taken from him, which is his bris milah. Since by Moshe it says that he was tov, it means to say he was exempt from a tenth, as the tenth (i.e., his bris milah) had already been taken from him. Have a Great Shabbos!! Adapted from a shiur given by Rabbi Dovid Weinberg
Dvarim Hayotzim Min Halev
(Daniel Stroh—Continued from page 6)
When we look at the history of mankind until that point, history was full of examples where the younger brothers (Avraham, Yitzchak, Yaakov, Yehudah (and Yosef), Moshe, and David Hamelech) were chosen over their older brothers. But only Moshe pleaded to not embarrass the older brother and asked to choose him instead. Yet this brotherly love with Aharon was totally mutual. When the Torah says that Bas Paroah saw the Teiva, it says V’Hinei Naar Bocheh Vatachmol Alav. A baby is not a Naar, so the Baal Haturim explains that the Naar crying was Aharon who watched over Moshe to see what would happen, so she had rachamim on Aharon and Moshe. The gematria of Naar Boche is the same as Zeh Aharon HaKohen. And that’s also how she knew he was Jewish, because someone who cares so much about other people that he will cry over someone else’s plight can only be Jewish. So what are some of the all star ingredients that we can copy in Moshe Rabbeinu and emulate? Moshe cared about everyone and everything, and showed the essential ingredient of Hakaras Hatov. We live in a selfish generation called the Me Generation. We have magazines called “Self”, and the only thing that is called “We” is a game called Wii - spelled with 2 “I”s in it! This is what is meant when Rabbi Mansour quotes Rav Shimon Shkup who said it all depends on how you define Ani = I. Most people define I as me, myself and I. That’s a narrow interpretation. Ask a mother what “I” includes and she will include me, and my husband, and my children. That’s an extended I. Moshe’s definition included all members of the Jewish race of all ages. And that’s maybe what is meant by “Vahavta Lreiacha Kamocha.” We strive to actually love someone like we love ourselves. Or additionally, in Pirkei Avot, Hillel says in Perek 1:14 Im Ain Ani Li Mi Li, Uksheani Latzmi Mah Ani”. If a persons definition of Ani is only “myself,” then he missed the point and is indeed very small. So what can we do? We need to be sensitive to the plight of others to be worthy of greatness for Klal Yisrael. Lets strive to become gedolim in this good deed, implement sensitivity in our own way for people and everything that Hashem put on this planet for us. And when Hashem sees that we have sensitivity and concern for others in return he will come back and have that same concern and sensitivity for us, our people, our community, and our brethren in Eretz Yisrael and Jews in the World. After all, our Rabbis say that the destruction of the second Beis Hamikdash was because of Sinas Chinam, so the only cure that can lead to the ultimate Geulah is the exact opposite - the sensitivity that we learn from Moshe Rabbeinu to everyone and everything around him. May we learn the lessons of Parshat Shemos and humble origins of Moshe Rabbeinu, and may we then be worthy of bringing about our Mashiach speedily in our time. Good Shabbos.
time someone is born in the Torah the Torah writes there was a man, he married a lady, they had a child, etc? The best answer given is from Rabbi Yaakov Kaminetsky, who says the Torah is telling us here: the greatest leader and holiest man that ever existed, who spoke directly with Hashem and had the highest level of prophecy; you know where he came from? He was born of two human parents. Because there is a religion in this world called Christianity that claims that their holiest man was born from an immaculate conception. The goyim can’t imagine that such greatness can come from human parents!! So the Torah testifies against them, making sure that no one thinks that Moshe was some creation out of the normal, by spending precious words detailing the normal creation of Moshe. The second thing that makes Moshe so great is the choices he made after he grew up. Moshe went up from his palace, and went to see the plight of his brothers. Moshe was a Prince living in the palace, but his nature was of a man that had sympathy and concern for others. He saw an Egyptian beating up a Jew. What do we do when we see a fight? Most of us try not to get involved and maybe even watch a little. Moshe Rabbeinu sees the fight and gets into the middle of it. The Torah says the person getting hit was his brother, “Echav.” But it wasn’t Aharon! Moshe looked at any Jew in trouble as his brother. On the next day Moshe goes out and sees two Jews fighting. And he jumps in to defend the weaker one and has genuine concern for him. The Torah continues and tells us that Moshe ran away and ran to Midyan where he goes to a well and sees 7 girls being harassed by shepherds. We would say it’s not our place to jump in as a foreigner, but what does Moshe do? The Passuk writes that Moshe jumps up and saves them. And then he gave the sheep to drink. Why did Moshe give the sheep to drink? Because Moshe has sensitivity to everyone and everything including the sheep. The name Moshe, given to him by Bat Pharaoh, was to signify that he was brought out of the water. However, “Mashui” is brought out of the water. The name Moshe is the verb, which means not only was he saved but he will save and redeem others. He was a Moshe to his brothers, to the Jew being beaten up, to the ladies at the well, to the sheep, and was even considerate of the water of the Nile and the dust of the earth! After all, Moshe was so sensitive that he did not do the Makkot on the Nile or dust because they saved him early on and covered up the Egyptian that he killed. He was sensitive towards everything and acted on it as well. On the 26th generation of man since creation, we see such a level of sensitivity finally being expressed towards a brother. Moshe argues with Hashem and says I am “Aral Sefasayim”, please send my older brother Aharon who is already a leader. Moshe had compassion for Aharon’s feelings and suggested that he should be the Mashiach instead!
דברים היוצאים מן הל”ב
STORIES OF GREATNESS
TOLD OVER BY: YEHUDA ISAACS
This week's story relates the power of bringing humility into our daily lives and shows that arrogance will never lead to greatness. Have a good shabbos! A man once came to the Chassidic master Rabbi Yerachmiel of Pshischa with his tale of woe: "Rebbe, I am a tailor. Over the years, I have earned quite a reputation for my expertise and the high quality of my work. All the nobles in the area order their livery and their ladies' dresses from me. Several months ago, I received the most important commission of my life. The prince himself heard of me and asked that I sew him a suit of clothes from the finest silk to be gotten in the land. But when I brought him the finished product, he began yelling and cursing: 'This is the best you can do? Why, it's atrocious! Who taught you to sew?' He ordered me out of his house and threw the garment out after me. Rebbe, I am ruined. All my capital is invested in the cloth. Worse still, my reputation has been totally destroyed. No one will dare order anything from me after this. I don't understand what happened! This is the best work I've ever done!" " Go back to your shop," advised Rabbi Yerachmiel. "Remove all the stitches in this garment, sew them anew exactly how you sewed them before, and bring it to the prince." "But then I'll have the same garment I have now!" protested the tailor. "Do as I say, and G-d will help." Two weeks later, the tailor was back. "Rebbe, You saved my life! To be honest, I had little faith in your strange idea. But having nothing to lose, I did as you said. When I presented the result to the prince, his eyes lit up. 'Beautiful!' he cried. 'You have more than lived up to your reputation. This is the finest suit of clothes I have ever seen.' He rewarded me handsomely, and promised to send more work my way. "But I don't understand -- what was the difference between the first suit and the second if the cloth was cut and sewn in exactly the same way?" "The first suit," explained Rabbi Yerachmiel, "was sewn with arrogance and pride. The result was a spiritually repulsive garment, which, though technically perfect, was devoid of all grace and beauty. The second suit was sewn with a humble spirit and a broken heart, investing in the garment an inner beauty that evokes awe and admiration in everyone who beholds it."
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