Chassidism

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Vayechi II

Click here for a printable version.

In this week’s Torah portion, Vayechi, we are told that[1] “the sons of Mochir, the son of Ephraim (Yosef’s great-grandchildren), were born on Yosef’s knees.” Rashi teaches us that this means, as Targum renders it, that Yosef brought them up. According to Rashi’s explanation, the words of the verse “were born” retain their simple meaning. The Torah’s words “on Yosef’s knees” teach us that Yosef brought them up.

When does the Neshomah begin its entrance into the body of a baby boy? The Alter Rebbe writes that this happens at the time of his Bris. The Shulchan Aruch itself does not note a source for this. However, we do find a source in the words of our Sages. Targum Yonoson explains that “they were born on Yosef’s knees” means that they were circumcised on Yosef’s knees after they were born.  Their Bris on Yosef’s lap was their spiritual birth, i.e., the entrance of their G-dly soul.

We derive another Jewish law involving Torah study from here. One is obligated to teach the Torah to his children and his grandchildren. However, as far as great-grandchildren are concerned, as long as there are more qualified teachers than him, he has no obligation to teach them. Nevertheless, from both Rashi and Onkelus, we see that Yosef taught his great-grandchildren. He taught them, even though he was not responsible for doing so. Yehudah had founded and headed a Yeshiva full time before the arrival of all of the Jews in Egypt. Thus, he may very well have been a more significant scholar than Yosef. Yosef was the leader of all of Egypt. Therefore, he was in the category of one who is “occupied with the needs of the community.” Accordingly, he would be exempt from the obligation of teaching. Nevertheless, from Rashi’s commentary, we see a responsibility to teach one’s great-grandchildren.

The above teaches us a great lesson. If one merits having great-grandchildren, he must teach them Torah. If he is not capable, he must support the Torah institution in which they study. 

Have a great week and a wonderful Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 20, Page 243ff.


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 50:23.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Vayechi

Click here for a printable version.

In this week’s Torah portion, Vayechi, the Torah tells of our forefather Yaakov’s passing. The Torah tells us that[1] “Yaakov called for his sons and said, ‘Gather, and I will tell you what will happen to you at the end of days. Gather and listen, sons of Yaakov, and listen to Yisroel, your father.'” Rashi comments on the words “and I will tell you,” that “He attempted to reveal the end[2], but the Shechinah withdrew from him. Therefore, he began saying other things.”

How does Rashi know, according to Peshat, that Yaakov attempted to reveal the End of Days? The Torah only tells us that he wanted to tell them something; it does not indicate what he wanted to tell them.

This can be explained by looking at the original Hebrew text of the Torah. We translated the Torah’s words ואגידה לכם, “and I will tell you.” There are three ways to write the word “tell” to relate something to another in Hebrew. One is “Dibbur – דיבור – speaking.” Another is “Amirah – אמירה – saying.” The third is “Haggadah – הגדה – telling.”

The difference between these words is explained both in the holy Zohar[3]and in Chassidic philosophy[4]. Dibbur, or speaking, refers to saying something merely with one’s mouth, without necessarily believing it. Amirah, or saying, is something which one believes superficially.

Haggadah, or telling, is called by the holy Zohar “words of wisdom.” This refers to words that come from the depths of one’s heart.

The same is true regarding the Holy One blessed be He, as so to speak. When the Torah uses the word Haggadah, it conveys that He is drawing down His deepest, innermost secrets.

Yaakov told his children, “הֵאָסְפוּ וְאַגִּידָה לָכֶם – gather, and I will tell you.” He used the word “Haggadah,” which tells us that he wanted to tell them the most hidden, most profound secret, i.e., the time of the ultimate Redemption. At that time, the innermost, most concealed part of the soul will connect with Hashem’s innermost part through the innermost part of the Torah.

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 10, Page 167ff.


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 49:1-2.

[2]. “The End” refers to the end of days, the time of the Messianic Redemption.

[3]. See Zohar Section 1, Page 236, b.

[4]. See the Chassidic discourse of the Rebbe Maharash beginning with the words Nachamu from 5626 (1866), and that beginning with the words Mahaichan Zachu from the year 5627 (1867).

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Mikeitz

Click here for a printable PDF

In this week’s Parshah, Mikeitz, we learn that there was a famine throughout the world. In Canaan[1], “Yaakov saw that they were selling grain in Mitzraim. He said to his sons, ‘Why do you appear satiated?'”

What was the meaning of Yaakov’s question, “why do you appear satiated?” Rashi explains that his problem was, “Why do you show yourselves before the sons of Yishmoel and the sons of Aisov as if you are satiated? For at that time, they still had grain.”

Yaakov was not concerned that the other nations would question why his children were satiated when everyone else was hungry. He was worried that it would appear to them as if his children were the only full ones. They did have grain, as Rashi writes, but they only had enough grain for that time. Why would Yaakov’s children make it appear that they were full when they did not have food for the future.

The explanation is that this indicates the total trust that they had in Hashem. They were confident that Hashem would not abandon their holy father. Just as they had enough grain for now, so too would they have in the future. Hashem would continue to take care of them. If they could not naturally have food, Hashem would give it to them miraculously.

It is natural to be concerned with “putting away something for a rainy day.” Unless one knows that he has enough to eat tomorrow, he may feel hungry today. Real trust in Hashem, Bitachon, precludes that feeling.

Emunah, belief, means that one believes that ultimately Hashem will help; in any case, everything He does is for good. Conversely, Bitachon implies that I know that Hashem is taking care of me now. With real Bitachon, one will never be hungry. He will feel satiated, and that is how he will appear to others.

We must learn from Yaakov’s children, the Tribes of Israel, to have constant trust in Hashem. We must always know that he will not forsake us for even one second.

Have a great week and a wonderful Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 30, p. 190 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 42:1.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Vayeishev II

Click here for a printable PDF.

In this week’s Parshah, Vayeishev, Yosef tells his father and his brothers of two dreams. Both dreams indicate that he will rule over his brothers. The Torah writes that[1] “We were binding sheaves in the field…” Rashi cites the words binding sheaves and explains that “its meaning is as Targum translates, ‘me’asrin esarin[2], ”omarin[3].'” Rashi then cites two proofs. First, he cites a verse from Tehillim, “bearing its sheaves.” He then cites additional evidence from a Mishnah, “and he takes the sheaves and makes a public proclamation.”

What spiritual lesson can we learn from this? The Alter Rebbe explains the Torah’s words as follows.[4] The spiritual service of “binding sheaves” gathers the different sparks of holiness found in this physical world and unites them with Hashem. We must do this in the same manner that separate stalks of grain are brought together and bound into a bundle.

This service of Hashem applies to each of us individually. Each of us has our unique character, our portion in this world. We all must gather the disparate elements of our personality and unite them with Hashem.

We learn the above from Yosef’s dream. Aside from our service of binding and elevating the holy sparks, we must “go out in the field.” We must unite all of the elements of holiness scattered throughout the world. We must bring others back to G‑d and the observance of Torah and Mitzvos, and to the light of Torah[5] – its inner dimension — the “Tree of Life[6].”

This is what Rashi means when he says that “tying sheaves” means “binding bundles,” i.e., that elevating the sparks of holiness must be done in a way that binds them permanently to their source. In other words, it must be similar to something that is tied and bound. This will guarantee that our work will have a lasting effect.

Rashi then explains that we must learn a lesson from “sheaves of grain to accomplish this.” Seeds of grain yield future crops. The same is true of our reaching out to our fellow Jews. We must do this so that the one to whom we reach out will positively impact others.

Have a great week, a wonderful Shabbos, and a happy Chanukah!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 10, p. 115 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 37:7.

[2]. This is Aramaic for tying bundles.

[3]. This is another word for sheaves.

[4]. See Torah Ohr, Parshas Vayeishev, 28a.

[5]. See the beginning of Eichoh Rabbah.

[6]. Zohar, Vol. III, p. 124b. See also Igerres Hakodesh, Section 26.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Vayeishev

Click here for a printable PDF.

In Parshas Vayeishev we read of Yosef’s two dreams. First, he dreamt that he and his brothers[1] “were binding sheaves in the field. My sheaf arose and stood upright, and your sheaves encircled it and bowed down to it.” His second dream was that[2] “The sun, the moon, and eleven stars were prostrating themselves to me.”

After telling his brothers and his fathers these dreams, the Torah says that “his brothers were jealous of him, but his father awaited the matter.” What was his father, Yaakov Avinu, waiting for? Rashi explains that “He was waiting and looking forward in expectation of when it (the fulfillment) would come, Similarly, the prophet writes[3], ‘awaiting (שׁוֹמֵר) the realization (of Hashem’s promise).'”

Everything in the Torah provides all of us with a lesson for every time and place. This Parshah tells us an inspiring story. However, what does this have to do with us?

All of the actions of our forefathers provide us, their children, with special lessons[4]. However, this Parshah carries it a step further. It does not speak about Yaakov, Yosef, and his other children (solely) as individuals. Rather, it is discussing us, their children[5].

Rashi’s words, that Yaakov was “awaiting the realization (of Hashem’s promise),” refers to something which is incumbent upon each one of us. We must all constantly be waiting for, and anticipating the arrival of Moshiach, and our redemption from Golus. This is further emphasized by Rashi’s quote from the prophet, “awaiting the realization.” In the book of Yeshayahu, Rashi comments on that phrase, and explains as follows. The Jews are waiting for, and yearning for, the realization of Hashem’s promise to redeem us from exile.

Each of us must learn to yearn for the redemption from our forefather Yaakov. In that merit we will certainly bring Moshiach now!

Have a great week, a wonderful Shabbos, and an illuminating Chanukah!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 35, p. 161 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 37:7.

[2]. Ibid, ibid. 37:9.

[3]. Yeshayahu 26:2.

[4]. See the Ramban’s commentary to Parshas Lech Lecho, Bereishis 12:6.

[5]. See the Akeidah’s commentary to our Parshah.

Perlas de Rashi: Parshas Vayishlaj

Click aquí para una version imprimible.

Parshas Vayishlaj nos habla del épico encuentro entre Yaakov y Eisav. La Parsha comienza diciéndonos como Yaakov Avinu se preparó para este encuentro[1]. “Yaakov envió Malajim delante de el a su hermano Eisav, a la tierra de Seir, el campo de Edom.”

La palabra hebrea[2] “Malajim מלאכים”, tiene dos posibles traducciones; puede significar mensajero o un ángel[3]. Rashi nos ensena que aquí su significado es “literalmente ángeles”; en otras palabras, Yaakov envió ángeles a su hermano.

Varios de los comentarios hacen una obvia pregunta sobre las palabras de Rashi[4]. Sabemos que Rashi explica el significado simple de la Torah; ¿qué le motivo a explicar que Yaakov literalmente ángeles a Eisav? Decir que el envío emisarios, humanos, parecería estar más de acuerdo con el Peshat.

¿Cuál es la Halajah si un mensajero sufre daños mientras esta en su misión?; aquel que lo envió debe hacer Teshuvah[5].

Yaakov sabía que su hermano quería matarlo y él no hubiese dudado en matar a cualquier emisario de “carne y hueso” que Yaakov enviase. Por ende, Yaakov no podía enviar un Sheliaj regular, él podía enviar solo un ente espiritual al cual Eisav no podría dañar.

Esta Shabbos, observaremos un gran festival Jasidico, el festival de Yud Tes Kislev (19 de Kislev). El Alter Rebbe, fundador del Jasidus Jabad, había sido encarcelado en la Rusia Zarista y en dicha fecha conmemoramos su libertad. Al mismo tiempo desde el cielo, se nos permitió el publicar y pregonar las enseñanzas Jasídicas, los secretos de la Torah, a todas las audiencias.

El 19 de Kislev tambien marca el Yahrtzeit del mentor y maestro del Alter Rebbe, Rabbi Dov Ber, el gran Maggid de Mezritch. El Maggid explico que lo que Rashi quiso decir con “literalmente ángeles”;
el enseno que “Yaakov envió solo ‘la forma/materia’ de los ángeles. Su componente espiritual se mantuvo con Yaakov.”

Debemos aprender de nuestro patriarca Yaakov que aun cuando nos enfrentamos al malvado Eisav en su dominio (este mundo y sus deseos), debemos retener el aspecto Divino en todo lo que hacemos, transformando así este mundo del territorio de Eisav a, una morada para Hashem el territorio de la santidad Divina.

Una Buena semana, un hermoso Shabbos, y un significativo ¡Yud Tes Kislev!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Rabbi Yochanan Salazar Loewe- traductor

Adaptado de Likutei Sijos Volumen 5, pag. 389

DEDICADO EN HONOR DEL 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]. Esta Parshah, Bereishis 32:3.

[2]. Singular Malaj – מלאך – Angel.

[3]. Esto es porque el propósito de un ángel es servir como emisario de Hashem, la palabra Malajim tambien significa mensajero.

[4]. ver Mizraji, el Gur Aryeh y otros sobre este verso.

[5]. Ver Be’er Heiteiv al Shuljan Aruj Oraj Jaim, final del cap. 603.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Vayishlach II

Click here for a printable PDF.

In this week’s Torah Portion, Vayishlach, The Torah tells us that[1] “Dinah, the daughter of Leah whom she had borne to Yaakov, went out to look about among the daughters of the land.” Rashi cites the words from this verse, “The daughter of Leah,” and explains the following. She was the daughter of Leah, “and not the daughter of Yaakov. Because she was in the habit of going out, she was called the daughter of Leah. Leah was also in the habit of going out, as it says, ‘and Leah went out to greet him (referring to Yaakov).’ “Rashi concludes with the words, “The allegory regarding her (Dinah), was used, ‘like mother like daughter.”

The result of Dinah’s “going out” marked the beginning of a series of tragic events. These events lead to the assault of Dinah, the daughter of Yaakov, our forefather.

The Torah refrains from speaking of anyone or anything in a derogatory manner. Abstaining from harmful speech applies even to a non-kosher animal[2]! The only exception to this is to teach us a life-lesson. Yet here, from Rashi’s explanation, it appears that the Torah is telling us something negative about both Leah and her daughter Dinah. It must be that this teaches us a very positive lesson. How can we understand this?

The explanation is as follows. Generally, we say that[3] “the entire glory of a princess is within” and that a woman is the “mainstay of the house.” That is because a woman’s primary job is to build a Jewish home. However, there are circumstances under which a woman must leave the house and “go out.” A woman who can influence others must modestly use this ability for the sake of heaven. In this manner, they can bring women who are “on the outside” and draw their hearts to Hashem’s service. 

A woman must “go out” in a manner befitting a Jewish woman. She must do so with the utmost modesty. By carrying this out properly, even when she “goes out,” it will be apparent that her true glory is within. G-d endowed women with a more remarkable ability than men to draw others near to the service of Hashem. The result of a woman’s effort will have a longer-lasting and more severe effect than that of a man, who by nature may argue and debate, etc. Since G-d granted women the ability to draw others close to Hashem, they are obligated to use it. Their obligation is not only to conduct the household. Instead, it also extends to drawing other women close to their Father in Heaven.

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 35, Pages 150-155.

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 34:1.

[2]. See Parshas Noach Bereishis 7:8 and Tractate Bava Basra 127b.

[3]. Tehillim 45:14.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Vayishlach

Click here for a printable PDF.

Parshas Vayishlach tells us of the epic encounter between Yaakov and Aisov. The Parshah begins by telling us how Yaakov Avinu prepared for this meeting[1]. “Yaakov sent Malochim ahead of him to his brother Aisov, to the land of Seir, the field of Edom.”

The Hebrew word [2] “Malochim – מלאכים“ has two possible translations; it can mean either a messenger or an angel[3]. Rashi teaches us that here it means literal, actual angels; i.e., Yaakov sent angels to his brother.

Several of the commentaries ask an obvious question on Rashi’s words[4]. Rashi explains the simple meaning of the Torah. What compels him to explain that Yaakov sent actual angels to Aisov? Saying that he sent human messengers seems to be much more in keeping with Peshat.

What is the Halachah if a messenger suffers damage while performing his mission? The one who sent him must do Teshuvah[5].

Yaakov knew that his brother intended to kill him. He would not hesitate to kill any “flesh and bones” messenger that Yaakov would send. Hence, he could not send a regular Shliach; he could only send a spiritual being who Aisov could not harm.

This Shabbos, we will observe the tremendous Chassidic festival of Yud Tes Kislev, the 19th of Kislev. The Alter Rebbe, the founder of Chassidus Chabad, had been imprisoned in Czarist Russia. On this day, we commemorate his release. At the same time, from Above, we were permitted to publicize Chassidic teachings, the Torah’s mysteries, to the broadest possible audience.

The 19th of Kislev also marks the Yahrzeit of the Alter Rebbe’s mentor, Rabbi Dov Ber, the great Maggid of Mezritch. The Maggid explained what Rashi means by “actual angels.”
He taught that Yaakov only sent the “actual” aspect of the angels. Their spiritual component remained at all times with Yaakov.”

We must learn from our forefather Yaakov that even when we face wicked Aisov, we must retain the Divine aspect of everything we do.

Have a great week, a wonderful Shabbos, and a meaningful Yud Tes Kislev!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 5, p. 389 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 32:3.

[2]. Singular Maloch – מלאך – Angel.

[3]. Because an angel’s total purpose is to serve as a messenger of Hashem, the word Malochim also means messenger.

[4]. See the Mizrachi, the Gur Aryeh and others on this verse.

[5]. See the Be’er Haiteiv to Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim, at the end of chapter 603.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Vayeitzei II

Click here for a printable PDF.

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.