Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Vayeitzei II

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In this week’s Torah portion, Vayeitzei, we read of the marriage of Yaakov to Lavan’s two daughters, Rochel and Leah.

Many of the commentaries question this. We are taught that even before the Torah was given, our forefathers kept all of its commands[1]. One of those commands is the prohibition against marrying two sisters; as the Torah says[2] “you shall not take a woman with her sister in marriage …” This being the case, how was Yaakov, our forefather, permitted to marry Rochel and Leah, who were sisters?

Each of the commentaries answer this question in their own manner. However, Rashi does not deal with this question.  He explains the simple meaning of the Torah; everything which is needed in order to understand the entire Torah. Yet he pays no attention to this question. In other words, according to Peshat there is no question. How can that be?

The status of the Patriarchs and their descendants prior to the giving of the Torah was that of a special family among all of the children of Noach. The entire population of the world was commanded to follow seven commandments. After the Torah was given to the Jewish Nation, the Jews acquired a special status, and were obligated to fulfill 613 Mitzvos.

In addition to the seven universal commandments, the population of the world accepted upon themselves other commandments for the benefit of society. These were equally binding upon everyone. For example, it was accepted not to deceive another. Accordingly, we find that Yaakov scolded Lovon[3], “why have you deceived me?”

These commandments which were binding upon everyone, took precedence over the 613 commandments of the Torah. For our forefathers keeping the Torah’s Mitzvos was something extra which enhanced their service of G-d. If the fulfillment of any the 613 commandments would render it impossible to observe one of the binding commandments, it could not be fulfilled. Yaakov had already promised that he would marry Rachel, hence he was obligated to do so.

There are times that helping our fellow Jew, and keeping our word must take precedence over another law. May we all take care (after checking with a competent Rabbi) that we are not being too religious, and remember to help our fellow Jews.

I wish one and all a wonderful Shabbos.

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 5, Beginning with Page 141

DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE
מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

IN HONOR OF
The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris

לזכות
חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס
נדפס ע”י הוריהם
הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס


[1]. This is cited in a number of places in the Midrash. Among them, see Bereishis Rabbah, Chapter 95, 3.

[2]. Parshas Acharei, Vayikroh 18:18.

[3]. Our Parshah, Bereishis 29:25.

Pearls of Rashi – Parshas Vayeitzei I

Click here for a printable PDF.

This week’s Parshah, Vayeitzei, begins by telling us that[1] “And Yaakov left Be’er Sheva, and he went to Choron.”

Rashi cites the words from the verse, “And Yaakov left,” and comments that, “The Torah had only to write, ‘And Yaakov went to Choron.’ Why did it mention his departure? But this tells us that the righteous man’s departure from a place makes an impression. As long as the pious man is in the city, he is its beauty, he is its splendor, and he is its majesty. When he departs from there, its beauty has departed, its splendor has left, and its magnificence has departed…”

The holy Ohr Hachaim offers a deeper explanation of this verse[2]. We find that the words “Yaakov left Be’er Sheva, and he went to Choron” can be explained in a more in-depth manner. It is a reference to the descent of the soul into the body. Spiritually, Be’er Sheva refers to the source of the soul. In spiritual terms, Choron refers to this world. It is only by way of descending to this physical and material world that the soul can reach the most incredible heights.

Rashi is teaching us an additional lesson. “The Torah had only to write, ‘And Yaakov went to Choron.'” All that is necessary for the Torah to tell us is that the soul descends to this world. Here the soul faces all sorts of obstacles to serving G-d, Whose presence is concealed. Yet the soul overcomes these obstacles and elevates this world, transforming it into a dwelling place for the Almighty. “Why did it mention his departure?” The entire point would seem to be that the soul is in this world! Rashi answers this question by telling us that “this tells us that the departure of a righteous man from a place makes an impression. As long as the righteous man is in the city, he is its beauty, he is its splendor, and he is its majesty.” The world of souls makes an impression upon the soul. It feels Hashem’s beauty, splendor, and majesty. The fact that despite basking in the light of Hashem, the soul’s descent into this world is absolute self-sacrifice. All souls will return to the place where they belong. Because of this, we will undoubtedly merit Moshiach, now!

Have a great week and a wonderful Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 35, p. 119 ff.

DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE
מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

IN HONOR OF
The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris

לזכות
חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס
נדפס ע”י הוריהם
הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס


[1]. Our Parshah, Bereishis 28:10.

[2]. Our Parshah, Bereishis 28:14.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Toldos II

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In this week’s Parshah, Toldos, Rivka, Yitzchok’s wife, did not have children until[1] “Yitzchok prayed to Hashem … Hashem accepted his prayer, and Rivka his wife conceived.” She gave birth to two very different twins, Yaakov and Aisov.

The Torah tells us that[2] ” The youths grew up. Aisov was a man who understood hunting, a man of the field. However, Yaakov was an innocent man dwelling in tents.” Rashi explains that it was not until they got older that people could see just how different they were.

What does it mean that Aisov understood hunting? Rashi cites the words “who understood hunting” and explains it as follows.“(He knew how) to trap and deceive his father ‘with his mouth.’ He would ask him, ‘Father, how do we tithe salt and straw[3]?’ His father thereby thought that he was scrupulous in his observance of the commandments.” In other words, he understood how to hunt, how to fool his father into thinking that he was a Tzaddik.

Commentaries[4] ask how Aisov could fool Yitzchok by asking him how to tithe salt and straw. Yitzchok might have understood from this that his son is ignorant! He should have encouraged his son to improve his studies. Why should he think that his son is scrupulous in Mitzvoh observance?

We can understand this based on Rashi’s earlier comments to the verse[5] , “and he (Avrohom) gave him (Malkiztedek) a tithe from everything.” Rashi comments on the “Ma’aser – Tithe,” which Avrohom gave; “a tithe from all that was his because he was a Kohen.” In other words, Avrohom tithed all of his possessions without exception.

Aisov told his father that he was following in his grandfather Avrohom’s example. Straw and salt, by themselves, have no value. However, when combined with other things, they are of enormous importance. Bland food becomes delicious by adding salt. So too with straw. It is indispensable for making bricks. Aisov was asking Yitzchok a question that (inaccurately) showed his righteousness. “Father, I would like to tithe all of my property. How am I to evaluate the worth of salt and straw? Should I look at their inherent value or consider their potential value as tools to accomplish something else.

We are all children of Yaakov. As such, we must follow in his path of “dwelling in tents,” the tent of Torah study. In this manner, we will undoubtedly merit Moshiach now!

Have a good Chodesh and a wonderful Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 20, p. 101 ff.

DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE
מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

IN HONOR OF
The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris

לזכות
חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס
נדפס ע”י הוריהם
הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס


[1]. Our Parshah, Bereishis 25:21.

[2]. Ibid, ibid. 27.

[3]. According to Jewish Law, there is no need to tithe either salt or straw.

[4]. See the Maskil LeDovid’s comments on this verse.

[5]. Parshas Lech Lecho, Bereishis 14:20.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Toldos

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 This week’s Parshah, Toldos, begins by telling us,[1] “these are the generations of Yitzchok, the son of Avraham; Avrohom begot Yitzchok.”

Rashi explains the reason for this seeming redundancy, i.e., first, the Torah tells us that “Yitzchok the son of Avrohom,” and immediately after that, “Avrohom begot Yitzchok.”

Rashi cites the words “Avrohom begot Yitzchok.” He explains that since the Torah wrote, “Yitzchok the son of Avrohom,” it had to say, “Avrohom begot Yitzchok.” Why? Because the scorners of the generation were saying that Soroh had conceived from Avimelech. She had lived with Avrohom for many years and had not become pregnant from him. What did Hashem do? He shaped the features of Yitzchok’s face to resemble Avrohom’s. Therefore, everyone attested that Avrohom had begotten Yitzchok. Thus the Torah writes here, “Yitzchok, the son of Avrohom.” Here is proof that “Avrohom begot Yitzchok.”

According to this, we understand that Yitzchok “took after” his father, resembled Avrohom, to dispel the words of the generation’s scoffers. However, this leaves us with another question. It appears that Rashi is explaining that Hashem performed an extraordinary miracle here; he caused that Yitzchok looked just like his father. The fact is that it is a perfectly natural phenomenon. It is usual for a child to look just like his father!

There is an often-quoted Chassidic expression that[2] “our forefathers are a chariot.” This enigmatic phrase’s meaning is that the subservience of Avrohom, Yitzchok, and Yaakov to Hashem is like that of a chariot to the one who rides it. The chariot has no will of its own; it turns only because the rider wishes to do so. So too, is the case with Avos. They have no intention other than Hashem’s. Each of them drew down into the world a different aspect of G-dliness in the world of Atzilus, the highest of all spiritual worlds. Avrohom was one with the Divine attribute of Chesed, which is kindness, giving. Yitzchok was one with the G-dly aspect of Gevurah, withholding. One might think that these two are mutually exclusive. However, the fact is that Gevurah must temper Chesed alone. Pure Chesed does not work. The same is true of Gevurah. That is why Rashi tells us that Yitzchok looked like his father, Avrohom. In other words, both are representations of the same, all-inclusive Hashem.

Have a good Chodesh and a wonderful Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 20, p. 101 ff.

DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE
מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

IN HONOR OF
The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris

לזכות
חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס
נדפס ע”י הוריהם
הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס


[1]. Our Parshah, Bereishis 25:19.

[2]. The source of this saying is from both the Midrash and the Zohar. See Bereishis Rabbah 47, 6, Zohar volume 1, page 200, b, and Zohar volume 3, page 184, b.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Chayei Soroh II

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This week’s Torah reading is called by the name Chayei Soroh, meaning “The Life of Soroh.” The apparent reason for this is because the portion begins by saying that[1] “the life of Soroh was one hundred years and twenty years. and seven years. These were the years of the life of Soroh.”

This, however, is difficult to understand. The entire Parshah is called by the name “The Life of Soroh,” hence, every part of this reading must focus on Soroh’s life. Despite this, we find that after telling us that Soroh lived for 127 years, the Torah says that[2] “Soroh died in Kiryas Arba, which is Chevron …” How can we reconcile the fact that we are told of Soroh’s passing at the beginning of a Parshah which is called by the name “The Life of Soroh?”

This can be explained as follows. The entire Torah portion does indeed discuss things that took place after our matriarch Soroh’s passing. Nonetheless, everything which took place due to her influence[3].

Among that which was influenced by Soroh’s life, was Avrohom’s search for a Shidduch, a proper match for his son Yitzchok. Immediately prior to beginning his quest, the Torah tells us that[4] “Avrohom was old, advanced in days. Hashem blessed Avrohom with everything.”

What exactly does it mean that Avrohom was blessed “with everything?” Rashi explains that “the words ‘with everything’ -בַּכֹּל in Hebrew, is numerically equal to the word ‘son’ – בֵּן in Hebrew; both equal 52. Since he had a son, he had to find a wife for him.”

What lesson can we learn from Rashi – why is it relevant that Hashem blessing Avrohom “with everything” is the equivalent of blessing him with a son? Avrohom was indeed blessed with everything. He was a wealthy man! There is no need to look for other blessings.

The explanation is, that among the obligations of a father to his son, is to marry him off. Rashi is telling us that it makes no difference whether the father is blessed with material wealth or not. Regardless, he must fulfill his obligation.

The same is true of all of one’s obligations; whether we feel up to the task or not. We must follow the example of Avrohom, thereby bringing Moshiach now.

Wishing one and all a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 5, Page 346

DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE
מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

IN HONOR OF
The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris

לזכות
חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס
נדפס ע”י הוריהם
הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס


[1]. Our Parshah, Bereishis 23:1.

[2]. Our Parshah, Bereishis 23:2.

[3]. See Likkutei Sichos Volume 15, beginning with page 145 at length.

[4]. Our Parshah, Bereishis 24:2.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Chayei Soroh

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This week’s Parshah, Chayei Soroh, tells us of Hashem’s special mission sent his servant Eliezer. Avrohom sent him to find a wife for his son, Yitzchok. He had Eliezer swear that he would “not take a wife for his son from the Canaanites’ daughters. None of those women would be suitable for him. Instead, he should go to Avrohom’s land and his birthplace to find a wife for Yitzchok.

Eliezer asked Avrohom,[1] “Perhaps the woman will not wish to go after me to this land. Shall I return your son to the land from which you came?” Avrohom responded that[2] “Hashem, the G-d of the heavens, Who took me from my father’s house, and the land of my birth, and Who spoke about me, and Who swore to me, saying, ‘To your seed will I give this land,’ He will send His angel before you. You shall take a wife for my son from there.”

Rashi cites the words “Hashem, the G-d of the heavens, Who took me from my father’s house,” and explains as follows. “He (Avrohom) did not say, ‘and the God of the earth.’ However, earlier, he said, ‘And I will make you swear by Hashem, the G-d of the heaven and the G-d of the earth.’ Avrohom said to him, ‘Now He is the G-d of the heaven and the God of the earth because I have made Him familiar in the mouths of the people. However, when He took me from my father’s house, He was the G-d of the heavens but not the earth. That was because humanity did not acknowledge Him, and His name was not familiar on the earth.”

Rashi teaches us that before Avrohom began his work, Hashem was only called “the G-d of heaven.” People thought that G-dliness was something heavenly, spiritual. Hashem was not a part of our daily lives. Avrohom, the first Jew, changed that. His dedication and self-sacrifice caused everyone to recognize that He was also the G-d of earth. People began to think of G-d as part of their day-to-day lives.

As a result of our following in our forefather’s ways, we will undoubtedly merit the coming of Moshiach. Then, everyone will see that Hashem permeates our entire being.

Have a wonderful Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 20, p. 565 ff.

DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE
מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

IN HONOR OF
The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris

לזכות
חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס
נדפס ע”י הוריהם
הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס


[1]. Our Parshah, Bereishis 24:5.

[2]. Ibid, ibid. 7.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Vayeiro II

Click here to download a PDF.

In this week’s Torah Portion, Vayeiro, the Torah teaches us that[1] “Hashem appeared to him (Avrohom) in the plains of Mamre. He was sitting at the entrance of the tent when the day was hot.” Rashi tells us that Hashem appeared to Avrohom to visit the sick. It was the third day following his after his Bris, which is the most difficult.

Rashi goes on to explain that Avrohom was sitting at the entrance of his tent “to see whether there were any passersby whom he would bring into his house.”

Throughout his lifetime, Avrohom worked tirelessly to publicize Hashem’s name to everyone around him. He did so even at the advanced age of ninety-nine. Moreover, kept this up on the third and the most painful and challenging day following his circumcision. He sat outside under the blazing Sun to invite people into his home.

Hospitality was one way with which our forefather spread Hashem’s name. He would invite a guest into his home. Sparing no expense, he would give his guest food and drink. At the end of this lavish meal, the visitor would thank him for the unexpected pleasure. He never accepted the thank-you. Instead, he would let his guest know that they were thanking the wrong host. All of the food and drink came from Hashem[2].

We, who are Avrohom’s descendants, must learn a vital lesson from this in our service of Hashem. Some have spent their lives drawing those around them close to Hashem. Furthermore, their efforts bore fruit. They changed the lives of many people.

Such a person might think that at some point he is entitled to rest. Why shouldn’t he rest from his difficult work? Avrohom’s actions teach us that this is not true. Even at the age of ninety-nine he must continue his holy work. .He must be concerned that there may be one more person that needs to be taught that there is a G-d in this world.

We must all learn this lesson, and make it a part of our lives. In this merit, Hashem will certainly bring Moshiach now!

Have a wonderful Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel MendelsohnAdapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 2, p. 84 ff.

DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE
מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

IN HONOR OF
The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris


לזכות
חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס
*
נדפס ע”י הוריהם
הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס


[1]. Our Parshah, Bereishis 18:1.

[2]. See the Talmud Sotah 10b.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Vayeiro

Click here for a printable version.

In this week’s Torah Portion, Vayeiro, the Torah tells us that Hashem informed Avrohom that because the sins of Sodom and Amora were great, He would destroy them. Upon hearing this, he immediately pleaded with Hashem on their behalf. The Torah tells us that[1] “Avrohom approached (Hashem) and said, ‘Will You even destroy the righteous with the wicked?'” Rashi cites the words “And Avrohom approached (Hashem) and said.” He comments that we find that the phrase “approached – ויגש “has three different connotations in the Torah; it can mean approaching placate, to pray, or to speak harshly.

Avrohom’s primary attribute wat that of “Chesed,” which means kindness. “Chesed” is rooted in the character trait of loving Hashem. Avrohom had this characteristic in great abundance. Each of our forefathers had whatever attributes were needed to serve G-d. However, the driving force behind Avrohom was that of “Chesed.” He was the physical manifestation of the G-dly quality of kindness. Therefore, the prophet refers to the Jewish people as “the seed of Avrohom who loved Me.[2].”

Accordingly, we need to understand why Avrohom found it necessary to approach G-d with harsh words at all. Moreover, he began by speaking harshly. Even if he had a reason to talk to Hashem with harsh words, why did he start the conversation in that manner? He could have started with appeasement or prayer, either of which would be keeping with his nature. In that way, he may have avoided harshness altogether.

The explanation is that love was not merely his nature. What it means is that love was the root of his soul. It was the primary method in which he served Hashem. However, when there is either a physical or a spiritual threat to life, he was perfectly willing to do whatever it took to save them.

            We should all take this lesson to heart. There are so many people whose spiritual lives, their G-dly soul, is in severe danger. We must be ready to do whatever it takes to save them. In this merit, we will surely merit the ultimate redemption through our righteous Moshiach.

Have a wonderful Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 10, p. 55 ff.

DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE
מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

IN HONOR OF
The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris


לזכות
חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס
*
נדפס ע”י הוריהם
הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס


[1]. Our Parshah, Bereishis 18:23.

[2]. Yeshayahu 41:8.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Lech Lecho II

Click here for a printable version.

In the beginning of this week’s Torah Portion, Lech Lecho, the Torah tells us that Hashem commanded Avrom to[1] “Go forth from your land and your birthplace and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” The Torah then tells us that Avrom fulfilled Hashem’s command and went to the Land of Israel[2]. Avrom went, as Hashem had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. Avrom was seventy-five years old when he left Haran.

Besides Lot, Avrom also brought others[3]. He also traveled with “…Sorai, his wife, and Lot, his brother’s son. He brought all of the possessions that they had acquired. Additionally, he brought the souls (people) they had acquired in Choron, etc. Rashi seems to be bothered by the phrase “the people they had acquired.” How can one acquire a person? He explains that it refers to those “whom he had brought under the wings of the Shechinah. Avrom would convert the men, and Sarahi would convert the women. This teaches us that the Torah considers it as if they had made them.”

In other words, Rashi is explaining that even when they were still in Choron before they ascended to Israel, they were involved in converting those around them. Furthermore, the Torah is telling us that bringing one close to Hashem is considered if they acquired them.

We need to understand Rashi’s use of the word “converting.” Hashem would not give the Torah to the Jews for another ten generations. Until that time, the obligation was to perform only the seven Mitzvos, which Hashem gave to all of humankind[4]. It would seem that the idea of conversion did not exist yet.

To explain this, Rashi writes that Avrom and Sorai brought them “under the wings of the Shechinah.” They brought these “converts” to believe in Hashem and to worship Him alone.

Each of us must follow Avrom’s example by leaving our environment and going to “the land which I (Hashem) will show you. We must also strive to bring those around us closer to Hashem. Then, just as Avrom went to the Promised Land, so too will we go to Eretz Yisroel together with our righteous redeemer.

Have a wonderful Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 5, p. 142   ff.

DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE
מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

IN HONOR OF
The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morri
DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris


לזכות
חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס
*
נדפס ע”י הוריהם
הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס


[1]. Our Parshah, 12:1.

[2]. Ibid, ibid, 4.

[3]. Ibid, ibid, 5.

[4]. There are several Mitzvos which the Jews also fulfilled before the giving of the Torah. These are mentioned explicitly in the Torah. One such example is circumcision.

Pearls of Rashi – Parshas Lech Lecho

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In this week’s Torah Portion, Lech Lecho, the Torah tells us how Avrom went into battle in order to save Lot, his nephew. Despite being vastly outnumbered, we read that he miraculously won the battle and saved his nephew[1].

Immediately after this, Hashem told Avrohom[2], “After these events, Hashem appeared to Avrom saying, ‘Do not be afraid. I am your Shield, and your reward is exceedingly great.’”

Rashi cites the words “after these events” and explains that “After this miracle, that he slew the kings, he was worried. He said, “Perhaps I have received reward for all my righteous deeds.” Therefore, Hashem said to him, “’Do not be afraid Avrom, I am your Shield’ from retribution. I will not punish you for all those you have slain. As far as your being worried about receiving reward, your reward is exceedingly great.”

This means that Avrom was concerned that after benefiting from such a great miracle, he had used up all of his merits and would not receive reward.

This is difficult to understand. The Rambam writes that[3] “one who learns Torah and performs Mitzvos out of love for Hashem, does not do so for the sake of a reward. Rather he does so because it is the true path. This lofty level characterizes that of Avrohom Avinu.” This being the case, why was Avrom worried that he might not receive his reward?

One explanation is, that he did not want reward for his benefit. Rather, he wanted it in order to sanctify Hashem’s name in the world. He wanted to demonstrate to everyone that Hashem repays whomever fulfills His will with the greatest reward imaginable. In that manner Hashem’s name would be made great and sanctified in this world.

            We should all take this lesson to heart. In this merit, we will surely merit the ultimate redemption through our righteous Moshiach.

Have a wonderful Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 20, p. 45 ff.

DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE
מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

IN HONOR OF
The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris


לזכות
חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס
*
נדפס ע”י הוריהם
הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס


[1]. See our Parshah, Bereishis, chapter fourteen.

[2]. Ibid, ibid, 15:1.

[3]. Laws of Teshuvah, Chapter 10, 2.