Jewish Thought

Pearls of Rashi: Mikeitz II

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In this week’s Parshah, Mikeitz, we learn of 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. As Rashi writes, they did have grain, 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 their total trust in Hashem. They were confident that Hashem would not abandon their holy father. Just as they had enough grain for now, so 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 he has enough to eat tomorrow, he may feel hungry today. Absolute 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, which 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, a wonderful Shabbos, and a very happy Chanukah!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 30, p. 190 ff.


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, Bereishis 42:1.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Mikeitz I

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In Parshas Mikeitz, the Torah tells us that Pharaoh had two most unusual dreams. The magicians upon whom he relied were not able to interpret the dreams to Pharaoh’s satisfaction. Pharaoh heard that Yosef the Tzaddik was talented, and he summoned Yosef to appear before him. Yosef explained that the dreams predicted Egypt would have seven years of plenty, followed by seven years of famine. He suggested that Pharaoh appoint someone to watch over the food supply, saving enough food during the seven years of plenty to lack nothing during the famine. Pharaoh immediately appointed Yosef to this position, making him the second in charge of Egypt. He was second only to Pharaoh himself.

When the years of famine began, and the nation turned to Pharaoh for food, he told them to go to Yosef; as the Torah writes,[1] “when the entire land of Egypt hungered, the people cried out to Pharaoh for bread.  Pharaoh told them, ‘Go to Yosef; and do whatever he tells you.'”

The Torah tells us the main points of their conversation. Rashi goes into the details. He says that “Yosef had ordered them to circumcise themselves. When they came to Pharaoh and told them what he said, Pharaoh said, ‘Why didn’t you save grain during the seven years of plenty? Didn’t he say that years of famine were coming?’ They answered, ‘We did gather, and we gathered a lot, but it rotted.’ Pharaoh answered, ‘If so, do whatever he tells you. He issued a decree upon the grain, and it rotted. What if he issues a decree upon us and we die?'”

Why did Yosef demand that the Egyptians circumcise themselves? They weren’t Jews. Hashem only commanded Jews to have a Bris Milah!

The explanation is that when Hashem gave Avrohom the Mitzvah of circumcision, He said that[2] “those born in your house and those purchased for money (slaves) shall be circumcised …” In other words, Hashem did not only commanded Avrohom to circumcise himself and his family. He also commanded Avrohom to circumcise those over whom he had control. Therefore, Yosef, who was in control of the entire population of Egypt, demanded that they be circumcised.

From this, we learn that we must bring Torah and Mitzvos to everyone we can influence, including those who are not Jewish. We must introduce them to the seven Noachide laws.

I wish everyone a good Shabbos and a happy Chanukah!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 10, Page 136


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, Bereishis 41:55.

[2]. Parshas Lech Lecho, Bereishis 17:13.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Vayaishev I

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In Parshas Vayaishev, 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 father 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. However, what does this have to do with us? This Parshah tells us an inspiring story.

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. Instead, it is discussing us, their children[5].

Rashi’s words that Yaakov was “awaiting the realization (of Hashem’s promise)” refers to something incumbent upon each of us. We must all constantly be awaiting 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 it 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 Redemption from our forefather Yaakov. In that merit, we will indeed 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

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, 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.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Vayishlach II

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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 which led to the assault of Dinah, the daughter of our forefather Yaakov.

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. By doing so, they draw women who are “on the outside” to the service of Hashem. 

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 greater 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 significant effect than that of a man, who by nature may argue and debate, etc. Since G-d granted the ability to women to draw others close to Hashem, they are obligated to use it. Their obligation is not only conducting 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

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, Bereishis 34:1.

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

[3]. Tehillim 45:14.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Vayishlach I

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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.

Next week, 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

IN LOVING MEMORY OF
MRS. 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, 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

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

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

Rashi does not deal with this question.  He explains the simple meaning of the Torah, everything a student needs to understand the entire Torah. Yet, he disregards this question. In other words, according to Peshat, there is no question. How can that be?

Before Hashem gave us the Torah, we were considered a unique family among all of the children of Noach. We were commanded to follow the same seven commandments that Hashem commanded the entire population of the world. After He gave us the Torah, the Jews acquired a special status and were obligated to fulfill 613 Mitzvos.

In addition to the seven universal commandments, the world’s population accepted upon themselves other commandments for the benefit of society. These were equally binding upon one and all. For example, it was accepted not to deceive another. Accordingly, we find that Yaakov scolded Lavan[2], “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 that enhanced their service of G-d. If the fulfillment of any of the 613 commandments would render it impossible to observe one of the binding commandments, they could not fulfill it. Yaakov had already promised that he would marry Rachel. Hence, he was obligated to do so.

Sometimes 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 everyone a good Shabbos.

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 5, Beginning with Page 141


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE

IN LOVING MEMORY OF
MRS. 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 Acharei, Vayikroh 18:18.

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

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Vayeitzei

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In this week’s Torah portion, Vayeitzei, we read how Yaakov Avinu worked for his uncle Lovon for seven years. His object was to wed Lovon’s daughter, Rochel. Lovon, who did not have a reputation for being honest, deceived him; he gave his older daughter Leah instead of Rochel. Yaakov agreed to work for an additional seven years to wed Rochel.

When the seven years came to an end, Yaakov told his father-in-law[1], “Give me my wife (Rochel), for my days are complete, so that I may come to her.'” Rashi cites the words from this verse “for my days are complete.” He explains Yaakov’s seemingly immodest talk as follows. “… My days are complete, for I am already eighty-four years old. When will I raise twelve tribes? This is what he meant by saying ‘that I may come to her.’ Now, isn’t it true that even the most degenerate person would not speak like that? But Yaakov meant that his intention was to father generations.”

In other words, Yaakov knew prophetically that he would father the twelve tribes of the Jewish Nation. The entire Jewish people would descend from these tribes. He was already quite old. He exclaimed that he needed to marry already to be able to fulfill his destiny.

One may ask that despite Rashi’s explanation, Yaakov’s words appear to be inappropriate. How did he speak that way; the Torah commands us always to talk most nicely and properly.

We can understand this based on what the Alter Rebbe writes in Tanya regarding the Patriarchs[2]. “They were completely holy and detached from matters of this world … throughout their lives.”

In other words, the Avos’ lives were totally focused on serving Hashem; there was nothing else. Therefore, when Yaakov said the words “that I may come to her, he saw one thing only. It meant that he needed to father the Tribes of Israel, and ultimately the entire Jewish People. In his eyes, there was nothing improper or immodest about it.

As is the case with every word of the Torah, it must teach us a lesson. Each one of us must perform the same actions as our forefathers. However, Hashem does not expect us to reach the spiritual level of Avrohom, Yitzchok, and Yaakov. However, we must strive to focus on the service of Hashem with every fiber of our being.

I wish one and all a good Shabbos.

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 5, Page 111


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE

IN LOVING MEMORY OF
MRS. 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, Bereishis 29:21.

[2]. See Likkutei Amorim Chapter 23.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Toldos II

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In this week’s Torah portion, Toldos, we find a story filled with great intrigue. Yitzchok had aged; before his passing, he wanted to bless his firstborn, Aisov.

However, Yitzchok did not have all of the facts. Firstly, he was unaware that Aisov had already sold the rights and responsibilities that came together with being the firstborn (bechor) to his brother Yaakov. Secondly, Yitzchok was under the impression that Aisov was righteous and deserved his blessings. Aisov had managed to fool his father, as we discussed in the previous installment[1].

 As an introduction to blessing his son Aisov, we read that[2] “It came to pass when Yitzchok was old, and his eyes were too dim to see, that he called Aisov his elder son, and said to him, ‘My son.’ Aisov replied, ‘Here I am.'”

In his comments to this verse, Rashi offers several explanations for why Yitzchok’s eyes had dimmed. The final explanation which Rashi offers is that it was ” to allow Yaakov to take the blessings.”

This poses a question. Why did Hashem blind our Patriarch Yitzchok to enable Yaakov to receive the blessings (which were his)? It seems that there was a much simpler way. G-d could have let Yitzchok know that Aisov was wicked! Had He done that, naturally, the blessings would have gone to Yaakov.

The explanation is that Hashem follows that which He commands us to do. Just as we are forbidden to speak ill of another Jew, so too did Hashem refrain from doing so. The one option to assure that Yaakov would receive the Berochos was for Yitzchok to become blind.

Think about that. Keep in mind that Aisov and his descendants were to be enemies of the Jewish Nation throughout our long exile. Furthermore, Yitzchok was like a prisoner in his own house for 57 years as a result of this! Hashem withheld information from Yitzchok to avoid speaking poorly of Aisov.

How much more so is it true that we must never say anything that even hints at something negative regarding a fellow Jew.

The cause of our long exile is baseless hatred for our fellow Jews. The way to combat this, and thereby bring redemption, is by baseless love.

Wishing everyone a good Shabbos and a good month,

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 15, Page 215


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE

IN LOVING MEMORY OF
MRS. 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]. The source for this is Rashi’s comments to our Parshah, Bereishis 25:27.

[2]. Our Parshah, Bereishis, Bereishis 27:1.

Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Toldos I

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This week we read Parshas Toldos. It tells us that our matriarch Rivkah gave birth to twins, our forefather Yaakov, and his brother Aisov; as the Torah writes[1], “her days to give birth were complete, and behold, there were twins in her womb.”

These twins were not identical in any way, shape, or form. This was clear even before Rivkah gave birth to them. The Torah tells us that even when she was still carrying them[2], “the children struggled within her ….” The struggle between the offspring of Yaakov and Aisov has indeed lasted until our time; it will continue until the ultimate Redemption.

In describing both sons, the Torah says that[3] “the youths grew up. Aisov was a man who understood trapping (hunting), a man of the field, whereas Yaakov was an innocent man, dwelling in tents.” Rashi cites the words from this verse, “who understood trapping,” and explains as follows. “He knew how to trap and to deceive his father with his mouth. He would ask him, ‘Father, how do we tithe salt and straw?’ As a result of this, his father thought that he was scrupulous in his observance of Mitzvos.”

As we have written many times, Rashi’s focus is to teach the beginning student the simple meaning of each verse. This being the case, many commentaries raise a question. Why does Rashi not explain the verse according to its simple meaning? Why does Rashi explain Aisov’s understanding of trapping to mean that he deceived his father? It would seem that he could just as well explain it to mean that he knew how to hunt!

The Rebbe explains this by looking at the verse itself. First, it says that “Aisov was a man who understood trapping.” Only then does it tell us that he was “a man of the field.” To trap and hunt animals, one must first go out to the field. The Torah first tells us of his ability to trap, which means that the Torah discusses a different type of trapping, i.e., tricking his father.

We each have an Aisov, an evil inclination within ourselves. At every turn, the evil inclination tries to deceive us, to cause us to forget our mission as Shluchim, Hashem’s emissaries in the world. We need ceaseless vigilance in order to reach our goal despite Aisov’s trickery. In that manner will we bring Moshiach now! Each of us must go “out into the field,” into the world, to bring G-dliness into it.

I wish everyone a good Shabbos and a good month.

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 25, Page 116


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE

IN LOVING MEMORY OF
MRS. 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, Bereishis 25:24.

[2]. Our Parshah, Bereishis 25:22.

[3]. Our Parshah, Bereishis 25:27.

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.” This is even though at the beginning of this Parshah, we read of Soroh’s passing, as we explained earlier.

Soroh and Avrohom had been married, yet Soroh remained childless. She told Avrohom to marry her handmaiden, Hagar, to father children. Hagar indeed gave birth to a son named Yishmoel. Later Soroh bore a son to Avrohom named Yitzchok.

At the end of our portion, we read that Avrohom later remarried and had more children. The Torah says that[1] “Avrohom took another wife, and her name was Keturoh.” Who was Keturah? Rashi tells us there that Keturoh “is Hagar. She was called Keturoh because her deeds were as beautiful as incense (Ketores – קטורת  in Hebrew) …” In other words, he remarried the woman who had born his first son.

We need to understand how Rashi knows this. There doesn’t seem to be an allusion to this in the Torah!

The explanation is as follows. We learned earlier that Hashem commanded Avrohom to leave his father’s house. The Torah tells us that[2] “Avrohom (who was then called Avrom) took Soroh (whose name was then Sorai), his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all of their possessions which they acquired; and the people they had acquired (literally made) in Choron.”

What is the meaning of “the people they had made?” Rashi explains there that it refers to those “whom he had brought under the wings of the Shechinah. Avrohom would convert the men, and Soroh would convert the women. The Torah considers it as if they had made them.”

Avrohom had great success in reaching out to others. He had drawn many people close to Hashem and His service. How much more so is that true regarding his own family! How could one possibly say that one who was married to Avrohom returned to her previous ways of idolatry?

That is why the Torah now calls her Keturah; it tells us that “her deeds were as beautiful as incense.” That is why Avrohom took her again as his wife.

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.

I wish one and all a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 15, Page 174


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE


IN LOVING MEMORY OF
MRS. MINDEL RIVKA (MURIEL) BAS REB MENACHEM MENDEL SHLOMO ע”ה STITT
PASSED AWAY ON SHABBAT PARSHAT 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, Bereishis 25:1.

[2]. Parshas Lech Lecho, Bereishis 12:5.