Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Terumah I

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This week we read Parshas Terumah. It tells of Hashem’s complex commands to Israel to build the Mishkan – Tabernacle; this was the “portable” Temple with which the Jews traveled for the forty years during which they wandered in the wilderness.

The Jewish people built the Mishkan from materials they donated in the desert. Hashem told Moshe to[1] “speak to the Jewish Nation, and have them take for Me an offering….” Rashi cites the words “and have them take for Me” and explains as follows. “for me, (in other words) dedicated to My name.”

There is a well-known question that many commentaries ask regarding this verse. Why were the Jews told to “take for Me an offering?” It would seem to have been more appropriate to command them to “give Me an offering!” They were not taking the donations for Hashem’s sake; they were giving them!

We can answer this question and understand our verse together with Rashi’s comments in a more profound way. We are all aware that we must give Tzedokoh for Hashem’s sake, i.e., for the sake of the Mitzvah. However, it seems counter-intuitive for one to take, to receive a donation for Hashem’s sake. After all, he accepts the donation to feed himself and his family. The Torah is telling us here that we must also receive Tzedokoh for the sake of the Mitzvah.

It is written in holy books[2] that Hashem created the world so that the poor must receive from the wealthy so that Tzedokoh and kindness should exist in the world.

That is why one who is impoverished must receive money from one who is wealthy. The wealthy person must do this for Hashem’s sake. Only in this manner is it assured that we will fulfill G-d’s purpose in creation; there will be goodness and kindness in the world.

May we all share what we have with those around us. Then we can be sure that the redemption will come in the merit of Tzedokoh.

I wish one and all a good month and a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 3, Beginning with Page 908


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE

IN LOVING MEMORY OF
DR. MINDEL RIVKA (MURIEL) BAS REB MENACHEM MENDEL SHLOMO ע”ה STITT
PASSED AWAY ON SHABBAT PARSHAS LECH LECHA, 10 MAR-CHESHVAN, 5782
MAY HER SOUL BE BOUND IN THE ETERNAL BOND OF LIFE

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


[1]. Our Parshah, Shemos 25:2.

[2]. See Sefer Hamaamorim 5628 (1868) the discourse beginning with the words “Tiku.” See also Shemos Rabbah Chapter 31, 5, and the Midrash Tanchumah, ibid.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Mishpotim II

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This week’s Torah portion is Mishpotim. The Parshah begins by telling us that Hashem told Moshe[1], “these are the ordinances (Mishpotim) which you shall place before them (meaning the Jewish Nation).” We need to understand why the Torah says that Moshe shall “place the ordinances before” them? It would seem more appropriate for the Torah to have said that these are the ordinances which Moshe shall teach them?”

Rashi cites the words from this verse “that you shall place before them and explains as follows. “Hashem said to Moshe, do not think of saying, ‘I will teach them the chapter or the law two or three times until they know it well, just as it was taught (to me). However, I will not trouble myself to enable them to understand the reasons for the matter and its explanation.’ That is why the Torah writes, ‘you shall place before them.’ You shall set the Torah before them like a table, set and ready to eat from.”

Rashi is telling us how Hashem told Moshe Rabbeinu to teach the Jews. Moshe must care about his students and not just fulfill Hashem’s task assigned to him. He must make sure that his students understand the Torah he is teaching them. It is not enough for him to present the material two or three times and presume they understood what he taught them.

This itself presents us with a great lesson. Unfortunately, some teachers teach Torah to their students without concern whether the students understand the material. We must learn from Moshe to make sure that we present the Torah in a manner that the students understand. Otherwise, we must explain it repeatedly, always looking for clearer ways of expressing the lesson, new allegories, etc., with which the students can connect.

A difficulty remains in Rashi’s words. Why does he write “two or three times?” We know that Rashi’s choice of words is exact; he certainly did not choose these numbers randomly!

The explanation is based on what the Talmud says[2]; “one must teach his students a lesson four times.” In other words, generally speaking, four times is enough for the student to comprehend and retain what he learned. However, according to the words of the Talmud, two or three times would not suffice. From this we can see just how precise Rashi’s words are.

Wishing one and all a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 9, Page 38


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE

IN LOVING MEMORY OF
DR. MINDEL RIVKA (MURIEL) BAS REB MENACHEM MENDEL SHLOMO ע”ה STITT
PASSED AWAY ON SHABBAT PARSHAS LECH LECHA, 10 MAR-CHESHVAN, 5782
MAY HER SOUL BE BOUND IN THE ETERNAL BOND OF LIFE

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


[1]. Our Parshah, Shemos 21:1.

[2]. Talmud Erchin, 53, b.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Mishpotim

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This week we read Parshas Mishpotim. Mishpotim are a specific type of Mitzvah; those commandments which we find logical. Even without a command, we would have found them necessary. For the most part, these are the Torah’s civil laws. Hence, most of this week’s Torah portion deals with civil law.

Among other laws in our Parshah, the Torah teaches us what happens when one’s property cause damage. We read what happens[1] “if a bull gores a man or a woman and they die …” Rashi cites the words from the verse “if a bull gores” and explains that this law does not only apply to a bull. Instead, it means “either a bull or any domestic animal, beast, or bird. However, the Torah spoke of what usually occurs[2].”

In our Torah portion, Rashi cites this rule several other times[3]. Rashi’s commentary, as he writes, explains the simple meaning of the Torah to a beginning student. However, he also alludes to more in-depth explanations of the Torah, including lessons for the service of Hashem. What is the deeper meaning behind this rule? What can we learn from this regarding our Divine service?

As we have seen in the Torah portions of the past few weeks, some miracles are totally beyond the laws of nature. We have learned of the departure of the Jews, several million people, from Egypt. Egypt was a superpower from which not even one slave had ever escaped. We read of the splitting of a sea. We read of food raining down from heaven. These, and more, are events that we can only see as miraculous. There is no possible way to look at them and think that they were random things that took place without Divine intervention.

However, more often than not, the world seems to follow the laws of nature. One can witness occurrences and believe that they are merely following the natural way of the world, or one can think that Hashem is not intervening.

Therefore, Rashi says, and emphasizes by repeating it more than once, that “the Torah spoke of what usually occurs.” Even when looking at “what usually occurs,” we must be aware that it is the Torah speaking. We must look at everything which takes place in our lives and see beyond the veneer. Whatever takes place is G-d “running the show” for our benefit. The above applies even when we do not witness a sea splitting.

I wish everyone good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 6, Beginning with Page 141


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE

IN LOVING MEMORY OF
DR. MINDEL RIVKA (MURIEL) BAS REB MENACHEM MENDEL SHLOMO ע”ה STITT
PASSED AWAY ON SHABBAT PARSHAS LECH LECHA, 10 MAR-CHESHVAN, 5782
MAY HER SOUL BE BOUND IN THE ETERNAL BOND OF LIFE

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


[1]. Our Parshah, Shemos 21:28.

[2]. The literal translation of Rashi’s words is that “the Torah speaks in the present tense.” In other words, the Torah speaks of the most common occurrence, and most often bulls that gore.

[3]. In our Parshah, Shemos 22:17, ibid. 21, ibid. 30.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Yisro II

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The name of this week’s Parshah is Yisro. The reason for this is because Yisro, Moshe Rabbeinu’s father-in-law, features prominently in our Torah portion. He traveled from his home in Midian to visit his son-in-law and the Jewish nation.

Yisro objected to the way things were done in the wilderness. The Torah tells us that[1] “it happened on the next day that Moshe sat down to judge the nation, and the people stood before Moshe from the morning until the evening.” Yisro objected to the fact that Moshe alone judged the people.

He suggested a hierarchy of judges from among the most significant people of the nation; they should only bring the most complex cases before Moshe. In this manner, the people would not have to wait for judgment “from the morning until the evening.” Not only did Moshe agree to his father-in-law’s suggestion, but G-d Almighty himself agreed. This is the procedure that we have followed throughout history.

The Torah is not a history book; it only tells us about an event if it teaches us a lesson in the service of Hashem. Why does the Torah specify that Yisro suggested “the next day?” Furthermore, the Torah does not even tell us when “the next day” was. Which day did it follow?

Rashi cites the words “it happened on the next day” and explains it as follows. “This was the day after Yom Kippur … Now, what is meant by “on the next day”? On the day after Moshe descended from the mountain.”

From this, we can learn an essential lesson in our Divine service. No matter how great we are, no matter how lofty a level we have reached, there is always room for us to improve. Yom Kippur had just passed, and G-d forgave the Jews. Our leader had just come down from Mount Sinai. Yet we were able to soar to even greater heights! Yisro brought about a (seemingly) new aspect of the Torah. Even after Yom Kippur, it was possible to attain an even greater level.

This brings to mind the story with the Rebbe Rashab. He was asked what our service of Hashem must be after Yom Kippur. This follows ten days of Teshuvah, anointing Hashem as our King, and attaining forgiveness. The Rebbe answered that “now we must first do Teshuvah.”

Whatever level we have reached, we must constantly strive to go even higher wherever we are.

I wish one and all a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel MendelsohnAdapted from Farbrengen of Tu Bishvat, 5742


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE

IN LOVING MEMORY OF
DR. MINDEL RIVKA (MURIEL) BAS REB MENACHEM MENDEL SHLOMO ע”ה STITT
PASSED AWAY ON SHABBAT PARSHAS LECH LECHA, 10 MAR-CHESHVAN, 5782
MAY HER SOUL BE BOUND IN THE ETERNAL BOND OF LIFE

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


[1]. Our Parshah, Shemos 18:13.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Yisro

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This week we read Parshas Yisro. It continues where the past few readings left off. First, we read of the Jew’s oppression in Egypt; the Torah then told of their deliverance through many miracles, including the splitting of the sea. Finally, in this week’s portion, we read of the Jews receiving the Torah from Hashem. The entire nation heard the “Ten Commandments” directly from the Almighty Himself.

Initially, when Hashem commanded Moshe to take the Jews from Egypt, He told him[1], “… when you take the people out of Egypt, you will worship G-d on this mountain.” In other words, the entire purpose of the exodus from Egypt was for the Jews to ultimately receive the Torah.

The Torah repeats the “Ten Commandments.” After this week’s Torah portion[2], the Torah repeats these commandments at the end of our forty years of wandering. There Moshe tells them to the Jews who are on the verge of entering the Holy Land[3].

There are several differences between both versions of these commandments. That most noticeable difference is regarding the commandment of keeping Shabbos. Here it says[4], Remember the day of Shabbos to sanctify it.” At the end of the forty years[5], it says, “Keep the day of Shabbos day to sanctify it….” How can we reconcile these two versions? Which word did Hashem say; remember or keep? Rashi explains that Hashem said both words with one utterance.

This can be understood with a story of one of the Alter Rebbe’s Chassidim. This Chossid was extremely pious, nevertheless he was also unlearned. He would daven each of the three daily prayers at great length, reciting each word with great love and care. This was true, despite the fact that it was unclear whether or not he even understood the meaning of the prayers.

One of his fellow Chassidim asked him to explain this. Davening at length means that one prays while thinking about profound concepts contained in the prayers. What was he concentrating on?

He responded that he once heard his Rebbe say the following. “The words remember and keep were both said with one utterance (word). With each and every word we utter, we must both remember and keep the oneness of G-d.”

That was how he prayed. My we all learn from him, to fill the oneness of Hashem in every aspect of our lives.

Wishing one and all a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 14, Page 224


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE

IN LOVING MEMORY OF
DR. MINDEL RIVKA (MURIEL) BAS REB MENACHEM MENDEL SHLOMO ע”ה STITT
PASSED AWAY ON SHABBAT PARSHAS LECH LECHA, 10 MAR-CHESHVAN, 5782
MAY HER SOUL BE BOUND IN THE ETERNAL BOND OF LIFE

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


[1]. Parshas Shemos, Shemos 3:12.

[2]. Our Parshah, Shemos 20:2-14.

[3]. Parshas Vo’eschanan, Devorim 5:6-18.

[4]. Our Parshah, Shemos 20:8.

[5]. Parshas Vo’eschanan, Devorim 5:12.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Beshalach

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This week we read the Torah portion Beshalach. It tells us of the incredible miracle of the splitting of the Red Sea. The Jewish nation had left Egypt a week earlier, and Pharaoh had a change of heart. He decided to capture the Jews and restore them to their former status as slaves. The Egyptian troops were coming closer to the Jews from behind; all they could see was the sea in front of them. It seemed hopeless. What did the Nation of Israel do?

The Torah tells us that[1] “Pharaoh drew near, and the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold! The Egyptians were coming after them. They were terrified, and they cried out to Hashem.” Rashi, explaining this verse, tells us why they cried to Hashem. “They grasped hold of their ancestor’s trade (meaning that they prayed).” Rashi then gives examples to demonstrate that each of our forefathers prayed.

We have discussed several times how precise Rashi is with his language. Why would he refer to prayer as a trade? One is regularly engaged in his trade. On the other hand, prayer, a request for one’s needs, would seem to apply only when one has a need. This instance is a perfect example. The Jews felt that they were facing certain death, so of course, they prayed!

The explanation is that our perception of prayer is not entirely correct. We think of worship solely as a request for our needs, which implies that the purpose of prayer is for the individual’s benefit. One needs something; G-d supplies his need.

However, the fact is that Tefillah – Prayer is not merely for the individual’s needs. The Rambam writes that[2] “the positive commandment to pray is to serve Hashem every day through praying.”

The Rambam’s description of prayer teaches us that Tefillah is much more than a way of receiving our needs. Instead, it is a way to serve G-d, thereby coming closer to Him.

This is why Rashi specifically uses the word “trade” to describe prayer. We must continuously pray because we need to draw ourselves closer to Hashem. It is not merely something we do to obtain our requirements; it is one of the most important ways to connect to Hashem.

Prayer also serves the purpose of reminding ourselves that the only One Who can supply our needs is Hashem. One constant need that we all have is the coming of Moshiach and our redemption from this exile. We should all pray for this, and Hashem will undoubtedly answer our prayers.

I wish one and all a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 11, Page 52


[1]. Our Parshah, Shemos 14:10.

[2]. See the heading to the Rambam’s Laws of Prayer. It is. known that he wrote the headings himself.

This week we read the Torah portion Beshalach. It tells us of the incredible miracle of the splitting of the Red Sea. The Jewish nation had left Egypt a week earlier, and Pharaoh had a change of heart. He decided to capture the Jews and restore them to their former status as slaves. The Egyptian troops were coming closer to the Jews from behind; all they could see was the sea in front of them. It seemed hopeless. What did the Nation of Israel do?

The Torah tells us that[1] “Pharaoh drew near, and the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold! The Egyptians were coming after them. They were terrified, and they cried out to Hashem.” Rashi, explaining this verse, tells us why they cried to Hashem. “They grasped hold of their ancestor’s trade (meaning that they prayed).” Rashi then gives examples to demonstrate that each of our forefathers prayed.

We have discussed several times how precise Rashi is with his language. Why would he refer to prayer as a trade? One is regularly engaged in his trade. On the other hand, prayer, a request for one’s needs, would seem to apply only when one has a need. This instance is a perfect example. The Jews felt that they were facing certain death, so of course, they prayed!

The explanation is that our perception of prayer is not entirely correct. We think of worship solely as a request for our needs, which implies that the purpose of prayer is for the individual’s benefit. One needs something; G-d supplies his need.

However, the fact is that Tefillah – Prayer is not merely for the individual’s needs. The Rambam writes that[2] “the positive commandment to pray is to serve Hashem every day through praying.”

The Rambam’s description of prayer teaches us that Tefillah is much more than a way of receiving our needs. Instead, it is a way to serve G-d, thereby coming closer to Him.

This is why Rashi specifically uses the word “trade” to describe prayer. We must continuously pray because we need to draw ourselves closer to Hashem. It is not merely something we do to obtain our requirements; it is one of the most important ways to connect to Hashem.

Prayer also serves the purpose of reminding ourselves that the only One Who can supply our needs is Hashem. One constant need that we all have is the coming of Moshiach and our redemption from this exile. We should all pray for this, and Hashem will undoubtedly answer our prayers.

I wish one and all a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 11, Page 52


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE

IN LOVING MEMORY OF
DR. MINDEL RIVKA (MURIEL) BAS REB MENACHEM MENDEL SHLOMO ע”ה STITT
PASSED AWAY ON SHABBAT PARSHAS LECH LECHA, 10 MAR-CHESHVAN, 5782
MAY HER SOUL BE BOUND IN THE ETERNAL BOND OF LIFE

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


[1]. Our Parshah, Shemos 14:10.

[2]. See the heading to the Rambam’s Laws of Prayer. It is. known that he wrote the headings himself.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Bo II

Click here for a printable version.

In our Parshah, Bo, we learn of the exodus from Egypt. The Torah tells us that[1] “It will happen when your son asks you tomorrow, saying, ‘What is this?’ you will say to him, ‘With a mighty hand Hashem take us out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.’” The Torah uses the Hebrew word “מחר – Mochor,” which we usually translate as tomorrow. However, Rashi cites the words from the verse “if your son asks you tomorrow,” and explains that “sometimes the Hebrew word ‘מָחָר – Mochor’ means ‘now.’ Sometimes the word ‘מָחָר – Mochor’ means ‘at a later time,’ such as it does here.”

Rashi teaches us an important lesson by saying that we do not always understand the word “Mochor” literally. Each child is “Mochor,” i.e., from the next generation. With some children, we can say that “sometimes the Hebrew word מָחָר – Mochor means now.” He is indeed a child; he is a member of the next generation. However, he is living the life of now, the same sort of life that his father does. His essence is that of Torah and Mitzvos, and he is a direct continuation of his father. We must strive to answer his questions, and only through answering his questions can he maintain his service of Hashem with joy.

However, there is also a child that is in the category which Rashi refers to as “sometimes the Hebrew word מָחָר – Mochor means at a later time.” He is part of a new generation, a new era, and his questions do not merely stem from a lack of knowledge. A life of Torah and Mitzvos is strange to him. and such a life is not suited to how he is currently living.

Rashi teaches us that we must also answer this child’s questions because he is your child! It is both your responsibility and your merit to answer his questions. We must draw the generation that lives “at a later time” under the Shechinah’s wings[2].

As a result of busying ourselves with all Jewish children, we will merit establishing Hashem’s army[3]. We will merit now to the complete redemption through our righteous Moshiach.

I wish you a wonderful Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 31, Page 61ff.


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE

IN LOVING MEMORY OF
DR. MINDEL RIVKA (MURIEL) BAS REB MENACHEM MENDEL SHLOMO ע”ה STITT
PASSED AWAY ON SHABBAT PARSHAS LECH LECHA, 10 MAR-CHESHVAN, 5782
MAY HER SOUL BE BOUND IN THE ETERNAL BOND OF LIFE

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


[1]. Our Parshah, Shemos 13:14.

[2]. See Midrash Tehillim Chapters 46 and 110.

[3]. Our Parshah, Shemos 12:41.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Bo I

Click here for a printable version.

This week we read the Torah portion Bo. The Parshah begins with Hashem’s command to Moshe[1], “… Come to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, so that I may place My signs among his nation.” Rashi explains why Hashem commanded Moshe to come to Pharaoh with the words “and warn him.” In other words, Hashem commanded Moshe to come to Pharaoh to warn him of the consequences of not listening to Hashem.

We need to understand this; in the very same verse where Hashem tells Moshe to come to Pharaoh to warn him against his negative actions, the Torah tells us that Hashem has hardened his heart. It would seem that the purpose of warning him is to change his attitude and do Teshuvah for his past misdeeds. However, if Hashem hardened his heart, how could he possibly do Teshuvah?

The explanation is based on a teaching in Tanya[2]. There are several instances regarding which the Sages say that one is not given the opportunity to do Teshuvah[3]. The Sages are particular with their language. They do not say that he is prevented from doing Teshuvah; they do not say that the power of Teshuvah is withheld from them. Instead, they say that he is not granted the opportunity to repent. “However, if he pressed forcefully and overpowered his evil impulse and did repent, his Teshuvah is accepted.”

Although Hashem hardened Pharaoh’s heart, he still had the free will to strengthen himself and do Teshuvah. By writing that Moshe’s purpose of coming to Pharaoh was to “warn him,” Rashi teaches us that even Pharaoh could do Teshuvah; after all, the reason for warning someone is so that he heeds the warning.

This teaches us that one must never feel too far gone to return to Hashem. Pharaoh, the wicked king of Egypt who enslaved the Jews and refused to listen to Hashem and allow the Jews to leave, was able to repent, i.e., return to G-d. How much more so is this true of every one of us. The Rambam tells us[4] that when the Jews do Teshuvah, they will immediately be redeemed. So may we see the immediate redemption now.

Wishing one and all a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 6, Page 65


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE

IN LOVING MEMORY OF
DR. MINDEL RIVKA (MURIEL) BAS REB MENACHEM MENDEL SHLOMO ע”ה STITT
PASSED AWAY ON SHABBAT PARSHAS LECH LECHA, 10 MAR-CHESHVAN, 5782
MAY HER SOUL BE BOUND IN THE ETERNAL BOND OF LIFE

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


[1]. Our Parshah, Shemos 10:1.

[2]. For the following, see Igerres Hateshuvah, end of Chapter 11.

[3]. See Talmud Yoma 85, b.

[4]. Laws of Teshuvah, Chapter 7, Paragraph 5.

פניני רש”י: פרשת וארא

בפרשת השבוע שלנו, וארא, אנו קוראים שה’ ציווה את משה לדבר עם פרעה. משה טען שהוא לא הבחירה הטובה ביותר[1]. “הן אני ערל שפתיים (אני לא יכול לדבר ברור), ואיך ישמע אלי פרעה?” ה’ השיב לטענה זו באומרו , [2]“ראה, נתתיך אלקים לפרעה, ואהרן אחיך יהיה נביאך”. רש”י מסביר ש”אלקים לפרעה” פירושו שמשה יהיה “שופט ורודה לרדותו במכות ויסורין”.

כל מילה בתורה מלמדת אותנו הוראה לכל זמן ומקום. איזה לקח אפשר ללמוד מזה?

למה מתכוון רש”י כשהוא אומר שמשה יהיה “שופט ורודה לרדותו במכות ויסורין”? מוסבר בספרי חסידות[3]  שיש כוחות של רשע בעולם, המכונים קליפות[4]. הם אינם חס ושלום בלתי תלויים בה’. הכול תלוי בו! עם זאת, ה’ נותן להם כמות מוגבלת של חיות כדי לשרת את מטרתם, כלומר לספק לנו בחירה חופשית, ולאפשר לנו לשבור אותן. אולם, בכל פעם (חס וחלילה) שאחד מאיתנו נכנע לפיתוי, קליפות אלו שואבות חיוניות נוספת. מגיע השלב שהם הופכים לחזקים עד כדי כך שאפילו צדיק חסר אונים נגדם.

בכל דור, יש אדם אחד שיכול להרוס אותם; ה”משה” שבדור, מנהיג כל דור. זאת המשמעות של “ראה (קריאה של תדהמה)! עשיתי אותך אדון על פרעה”. אף על פי שפרעה היה במלוא כוחו, רק משה היה מסוגל להיות שופט שלו ומיסר ולייסר אותו במכות ובייסורים. אם רק אהרן דיבר עם פרעה, למה משה צריך להיות שם? כי רק משה הצליח לנצח אותו.

כשם שזכינו לגאולה ממצרים, כך גם נוכל לזכות לגאולה מגלותנו הנוכחית.

אני מאחל לכם שבת נפלאה!

רבי שמואל מנדלסון

עיבוד מתוך ליקוטי שיחות כרך 16, עמוד 60 ואילך.


[1] פרשתנו ו’, ל’

[2] שם ז’, א’

[3] ראה אור התורה על פרשתנו, עמ’ 231. ראה גם מאמר חסידי ד”ה “ראה כי עשיתי אותך”, מהשנים תשמ”א, תשנ”ז ותשמ”ה. כך מבואר גם בצורה כזאת בפלח הרימון. על פרשתנו עמ’ 64.

[4] המשמעות של השם הזה היא שהם חוסמים את האור היצירתי האלוקי שנמצא בתוך העולם.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Vo’eiro II

Click here for a printable version.

This week’s Torah portion, Vo’eiro, begins the discussion of the ten plagues which Hashem brought upon Egypt.

Hashem told Moshe to deliver His message to Pharaoh. Moshe responded, “… I am of closed lips[1]; how will Paroh listen to me?” Hashem responded that[2] “You will speak all that I command you, and Aharon, your brother, will speak to Pharaoh …” Rashi cites the words “you will speak” and explains as follows. “You will speak “each message once, as you have heard it from My mouth. Then Aharon, your brother, will interpret it and explain it in Pharaoh’s ears.”

Rashi’s words imply that Moshe was present with his brother Aharon when they approached Pharaoh. However, Moshe repeated Hashem’s words once, verbatim in Hebrew; Aharon translated Moshe’s words and explained them clearly.

We see from Rashi’s words that Aharon translated Hashem’s words from Hebrew to Egyptian. Rashi uses the expression that “Aharon, your brother, will interpret it and explain it in Pharaoh’s ears.” The Hebrew word interpret is “ימליצנו – Yamlitzenu.” We find elsewhere that the same word with the meaning of “an interpreter.” Yosef’s brothers came to Egypt to request food from their brother, who they thought was the Egyptian ruler. They spoke Hebrew among themselves, assuming that the ruler would not understand them. The Torah says that[3] “They did not know that Yosef understood them, because the interpreter (המליץ – Hamailitz; from the same root as Yamlitzenu) was between them.”

Rashi writes that Aharon needed to explain Moshe’s words. A simple explanation was not enough. Rashi says that Aharon’s words should reach “in Pharaoh’s ears.” What does this strange expression mean? We found earlier that Yehudah approached Yosef to speak with him, and he said that his words should reach[4] “into my master’s ears.” Rashi explains there that “my words should enter into your ears.” In other words, Aharon’s words had to finally persuade Pharaoh to let the Jews leave exile.

We must all reach out to all those around us. However, our words must reach “into their ears.” We must speak to others in a way that penetrates their core. Then we will succeed in persuading them of the urgency to bring Moshiach now!

I wish one and all a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 16, Page 82


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE

IN LOVING MEMORY OF
DR. MINDEL RIVKA (MURIEL) BAS REB MENACHEM MENDEL SHLOMO ע”ה STITT
PASSED AWAY ON SHABBAT PARSHAS LECH LECHA, 10 MAR-CHESHVAN, 5782
MAY HER SOUL BE BOUND IN THE ETERNAL BOND OF LIFE

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


[1]. I have a speech impediment.

[2]. Our Parshah, Shemos 7:2.

[3]. Parshas Mikeitz, Bereishis 42:23.

[4]. Parshas Vayigash, Bereishis 44:18.