Parshas Toldos person, and (2) it will make you precious to Hashem.
ouldn’t it be wonderful to serve Hashem without a yetzer hara? Wouldn’t it be preferable to serve Hashem with perfection, without the constant battle between our yetzer hara and yetzer tov? But the skirmish is for our benefit, for two primary reasons: 1) the battle makes us into better people, because it forces us to use all our powers to win. If it weren't for the tests, people would serve Hashem dispassionately and think that it's sufficient. When one fights the yetzer hara he needs to dig deeper into himself to find his hidden strengths in order to win. The yetzer hara and all life challenges are for our benefit, because when we pass the tests, we become better people and better Yidden.
In the beginning of this week's parashah, Rivkah Imeinu wanted to know why she was suffering a very difficult pregnancy. She went to the beis medresh of Shem. Shem prophesized that she's carrying twins who will be rivals. åãøôé êéòîî, "from the womb, they will depart." Shem added, õîàé íàìî íàìå, "one nation will become stronger than the other." What do these words mean? Rebbe Yehoshua of Belz zt’l explained, “One nation will become stronger because of the other one.” As we explained before, opposition and challenges result in growth. Yaakov will become a better person because of the tests and struggles that Eisav puts his way. The Jewish nation also grows from the tests that the gentiles and the yetzer hara, place before them. 2) Passing tests make us precious to Hashem. Avodas Hashem only has value when there are challenges. If it would be Someone said to the Chofetz Chaim zt'l, simple and easy to serve Hashem, it "Every day, the yetzer hara confronts wouldn’t be significant. But when a yid me, and always with new tactics. Even is confronted with a test and he passes it, if I managed to win the yetzer hara one Hashem is extremely proud of him and day, he then comes back the next day praises him in front of all the malachim. with greater force. What can I do?" Hashem says, "See how incredible this The Chofetz Chaim told him not to person is! He serves Me despite his complain so much about the yetzer challenges and difficulties! He hara, because the yetzer hara is helping overlooked all interferences, and devotes him serve Hashem. To explain this, the himself to My service." This wouldn’t Chofetz Chaim gave a mashal from the happen if it was easy to serve Hashem. old-fashioned wind-up watch. The watch When being confronted with the yetzer has two sets of wheels (gears) that turn hara, don’t be upset. Realize that this in opposite directions. One wheel turns situation will (1) make you a better to the right, another wheel turns to the TorahWellsprings - Toldos
Torah Wellsprings - Toldos
left and together they show the correct time. Similarly, the yetzer hara pulls the person in one direction, the yetzer tov pulls in the other direction, but with the correct choices he will only grow from it.
asks, if Eisav wanted to go to avodah zarah even before he was born, it means that he was thoroughly corrupt. If so, how can we hold Eisav accountable for his sins? Whatever he did isn't his fault, since his essence was corrupt?
Wealthy people often own a vacation home. The vacation home is a lot smaller than the house they live throughout the year. Sometimes, it's even cramped; the kitchen is smaller and some children may even sleep on the floor because there aren't enough beds, etc. Nevertheless, those families have fond memories of their vacation home. In a way, they like it more than the house they live in the entire year. Rebbe Pinchas of Koritz zt'l discussed this phenomenon and said it's the same with avodas Hashem. Years ago, Hashem had many great tzaddikim who served him with perfection. Hashem had immense pleasure from their service. But in our generation, people aren't as perfect. They have many tests and challenges and don’t always win the yetzer hara. But in a way, Hashem has more pleasure from them, then from the righteous of generations ago. It isn't as perfect as before (like the summer home, which isn't as nice as the permanent residence) but because of all their challenges, their service is particularly special in Hashem's eyes.
Moshe asks question:
The Torah says, úæçà åãéå åéçà àöé ïë éøçàå á÷òé åîù àø÷éå åùò á÷òá, "Afterwards, his brother came out; his hand was holding onto Eisav's heel. He called his name Yaakov." Who named him Yaakov? Rashi writes that Hakadosh Baruch Hu called him Yaakov. The Yismach Moshe asks: What is the significance of Yaakov holding on to Eisav's heel, and why did Hashem name Yaakov for this episode?
The Yismach Moshe answers that Yaakov was originally totally pure and Eisav totally evil, but at the moment of their birth, when Yaakov held on to Eisav's heel, they shared their essence with one another. Yaakov was somewhat affected by Eisav's bad, and Eisav was influenced by Yaakov's goodness. Now Yaakov and Eisav were no longer entirely good or totally bad; now each one had a certain degree of good and bad within him. Eisav can now be held The Torah tells us, äáø÷á íéðáä åööøúéå. accountable for his deeds, because he has Rashi explains, "When Rivkah passed the an element of good inside him, which tents of Shem and Ever, Yaakov wanted directs him on the good path. to leave her. When she passed the doorway of an avodah zarah, Eisav was This moment was significant, and trying to get out." The Yismach Moshe Hakadosh Baruch Hu named Yaakov https://telegram.me/Publications_MM
Torah Wellsprings - Toldos
Avinu for this episode because it is the moment when Yaakov Avinu's life received purpose. If Yaakov would be entirely good, Hashem wouldn’t have pleasure from his avodas Hashem, and everything he did wouldn’t have too much meaning. The value of avodas Hashem is overcoming the bad inclination and influences and choosing to serve Hashem. Therefore, keviyachol, Hashem rejoiced when Yaakov held
Eisav's heel, because now his avodas Hashem would have purpose. 1 Eisav's obligation was to follow the element of Yaakov that was in him. Eisav didn’t keep his obligation, as the passuk says,äøåëáä úà åùò æáéå (25:34), he despised Hashem's service. 2 Yaakov Avinu's obligation in life was to cleanse himself from Eisav's influence.
1. The parashah begins, ( אלה תולדות יצחק25:19) Rashi writes, יעקב ועשו האמורים בפרשה. The
Toldos Yaakov Yosef zt’l explains that a Yid is always standing by a ,[ פרשת דרכיםfork in the road], because he has two paths to choose from: He can follow the path of Yaakov Avinu, of Torah and mitzvos, or he can tread on the path of Eisav, of sin. This is alluded to in Rashi's words, יעקב ועשו האמורים בפרשה. Everyone has the path of Yaakov and Eisav before him. האמורים בפרשה, he stands by a פרשת דרכים, a fork in the road, and he must choose which road he wants to follow. 2. The holy sefarim teach that the value of one's good deeds is dependent largely on how much value he attributes to them. If he values his avodas Hashem and considers it precious, he will be rewarded immensely in Olam HaBa. But if he doesn’t value his avodas Hashem, rather, ויבז עשו את הבכורה, then it loses its value, and he will receive less reward for his deeds. To demonstrate this point, we share the following story: A poor person came to the Baal Shem Tov for a salvation. The Baal Shem Tov zy'a said to him, "Invest in the first opportunity that comes your way." The man set out to travel home. At nighttime, he needed a place to stay. He only had a hundred rubles, which he was saving for the first business opportunity, so he slept in the hotel's restaurant, sitting at a table. He woke up by the laughter of uncouth people, who had come to the restaurant. He overheard one of them say, "One thing I am certain of; my olam haba isn't worth much. If someone would offer me a hundred rubles for my entire olam haba, I would sell it to him." His friends laughed raucously. The person (who the Baal Shem Tov advised to buy the first opportunity the presents itself) stood up and went over to this rowdy group, "I overheard one of you say that you want to sell your olam haba for a hundred ruble. I want to buy it." The group laughed some more. The man said, "I will sell it to you gladly." "But I want a contract." "I will give you a contract." He wrote "I hereby sell you my olam haba for a hundred ruble…" and he signed it. When (this person who sold his olam haba) came home, he told his wife about his travels, https://telegram.me/Publications_MM
Torah Wellsprings - Toldos
He succeeded in his life's mission, as it says, íéìäà áùåé íú ùéà á÷òé (25:27). He studied Torah in the yeshiva of Shem and Ever and purified himself from Eisav's influence.
In any event, we learn from this commentary that one needs to have a mixture of good and bad within him so his life will have purpose. So whenever we find ourselves struggling with the
and what happened in dealings abroad. He added with a small laugh, "Oh, and another thing happened. I was at an inn, and I sold my olam haba for a hundred rubles. So in addition to all the money I earned, I just earned a hundred rubles as well…" His wife turned white, and then she turned red with anger. "You sold your olam haba for one hundred rubles?” She was incredulous. “I don’t want to be married to someone who doesn’t have olam haba. Get your shtar (contract) back, or I want a divorce." She was serious, and her husband knew it. He realized that he had a problem, so he went back to this Yid. "I want to back out of the deal. Please give me the contract and I'll return the hundred rubles." He didn’t agree. "I'll buy it for two hundred rubles." "I'm sorry. I buy olam haba, I don’t sell it." "Will you sell it to me for five hundred rubles? I need to buy it back." "No. As I told you, I only buy olam haba. I am not in the line of selling it." "Tell me how much you want. State your price, and I will pay it.” "In my opinion, your olam haba is worth 250,000 rubles.” The man was a successful businessman, and he had a lot of money, but he didn’t have 250,000 rubles. But knowing that he has no other choice, he sold some of his assets to buy it back. That was his only way to restore his shalom bayis. Let us acknowledge the emunash peshutah, pure belief that this man had in the Baal Shem Tov's counsel. He invested his last pennies in a deal that didn’t seem to be lucrative at all. It wasn't a business opportunity; it was buying someone's olam haba. And because of his emunah peshutah, he earned immense wealth. But now he feared that this money is stolen money. He returned to the Baal Shem Tov and said, "I bought the man's olam haba for a hundred rubles, and I bought it back for 250,000 rubles. It seems that ממה נפשך, I dealt dishonestly. Because if his olam haba is really worth 250,000, why did I trick him into selling it for one hundred rubles? And if his olam haba is worth only one hundred ruble, why did I buy it back for 250,000? Something here seems dishonest." The Baal Shem Tov replied, "The value of one's olam haba is in accordance to how much value he attributes to it. When the man sold you his Olam HaBa for a hundred rubles - that was its worth. And when you bought it back for 250,000 rubles - that was its worth. Because the value and the worth of Olam HaBa is according to the importance that one considers it." Eisav sold his bechurah (first born rites) for nezid adashim, a bowl of lentils. Since ויבז עשו את הבכורהit really wasn't worth more. But Yaakov understood its true worth. https://telegram.me/Publications_MM
Torah Wellsprings - Toldos
yetzer hara, realize that this is how things should be. For this battle, Hashem created the world. If Hashem wanted perfection He would have made us all angels. Hashem desires imperfect people to serve Him to the best of their abilities. He wants people with shortcomings, with a yetzer hara and difficult tests, to strive to overcome all that and do Hashem’s will. הקול קול יעקב והידים ידי עשו
The Midrash (65 11-15) writes that when Yaakov came in to Yitzchok to receive the brachos, he “bent over and crying. His heart was melting like wax.” Yaakov Avinu was very embarrassed that he had to pretend to be Eisav in order to receive the brachos. 3 The meforshim ask, why did Yitzchok desire to bless Eisav and not Yaakov? The Yismach Moshe zt'l answers that Yitzchak Avinu's brochos had the potential to enable a person overcome his yetzer hara. Yitzchak therefore wanted to bless Eisav because he figured that the wild and uncouth Eisav needs the brachah, but Yaakov who was always studying Torah (as it says, áùåé íú ùéà á÷òé íéìäà) doesn’t need them.
Yaakov was saying, “I also have an element of Eisav in me. I also have a yetzer hara. Things are not perfect by me. I also need the brachos.” Yitzchok replied, åùò éãé íéãéäå á÷òé ìå÷ ìå÷ä (27:22). Yitzchak understood that although Yaakov was learning Torah (á÷òé ìå÷ ìå÷ä) he still had an element of Eisav in him (åùò éãé íéãé). He realized that Yaakov also needs the brachos. Eisav shouted, äæ éðá÷òéå á÷òé åîù àø÷ éëä éúëøá ç÷ì äúò äðäå ç÷ì éúøëá úà íéîòô, "Perhaps this is the reason he is called Yaakov, because he cheated me twice. [First]He stole my first-born rights and now he took my blessings" (27:36). Yitzchak was happy when he heard Eisav proclaim that Yaakov acted with deceit, because this reinforced his understanding that Yaakov Avinu also needed the brochos. Yitzchok therefore replied, íâ äéäé êåøá, the brachos are appropriate for Yaakov too. Embarrassment Embarrassment
It isn’t an embarrassment to have a yetzer hara. It is an embarrassment when one doesn’t have one. 4
Hashem called Himself, ÷çöé é÷ìà (Bereishis 28:16) even when Yitzchok was still living, but Yaakov Avinu didn’t Yaakov Avinu said to his father, åùò éðà want to say it. Instead, Yaakov said, ãçô ÷çöé (31:42). êøëá, "I am Eisav your first born" (27:19). 3. The Kozhiglover Rav zt'l, in his sefer Eretz Tzvi, explains that this humble experience
was important for Yaakov Avinu, because it made him worthy to receive the brochos. 4. Someone praised a certain bachur to the Chazon Ish zt'l. "He mamash doesn’t have a yetzer hara." The Chazon Ish replied, "Then he is a baal mum, blemished," because everyone should have a yetzer hara. https://telegram.me/Publications_MM
Torah Wellsprings - Toldos
Rashi writes, “We never find Hashem calling His name on tzaddikim who are alive, because it states, ‘Hashem doesn’t trust even his holy ones.’ [No one is guaranteed that he'll never sin, and therefore Hashem doesn’t want to confer His name on live tzaddikim.] However, during Yitzchak's lifetime, Hashem [nevertheless] called Himself ÷çöé é÷ìà because Yitzchok’s eyes were weak. He was confined to his home, and it was as though he was dead and the yetzer hara already left him.”
hara of simple, regular folk. A lowly person may be tempted to steal, to lie or do other severe sins, while the tzaddik has overcome these temptations long ago. The tzaddik's tests will be more delicate. As the Baal Shem Tov said, "Fortunate are the people who forgetting Hashem [for a moment] is viewed to them as a sin." Everyone is tested according to their level, but it is essential that everyone have a yetzer hara and challenges, because that is the purpose of life.
But Yaakov didn’t want to say ÷çöé é÷ìà. He said ÷çöé ãçô instead. The Divrei Dovid (the Ta'z's commentary on Chumash) zt'l explains that it wouldn’t be derech eretz for Yaakov Avinu to say ÷çöé é÷ìà. ÷çöé é÷ìà implies that Yitzchak Avinu didn’t have a yetzer hara anymore, and that is a disgraceful thing to say, because everyone should have a yetzer hara. To say about someone that he doesn’t have a yetzer hara is almost equivalent to saying that he doesn’t have a purpose in this world. As a son, Yaakov couldn’t say ÷çöé é÷ìà. Instead he said Pachad Yitzchak.
The Midrash says, “On the day that Avraham died, Nimrod died. On the day that Yaakov died, Eisav died. On the day that Moshe Rabbeinu died, Bilaam died.” What is this Midrash teaching us?
The Beis Yisrael of Gur zt'l explains that from this Midrash we see that the resha'im were placed in the world for the tzaddikim's sake. Hashem created Nimord to challenge Avraham, and Hashem put Eisav in the world to test Yaakov. Therefore, when Avraham and Yaakov died so did their adversaries. Their antagonists (Nimrod and Eisav) were only living for their sake, so We understand from this commentary when they were niftar, the opponents that the reality is the opposite of how died as well. people see it. People think that the yetzer hara is an embarrassment, something that The Beis Yisrael explained that it they wished they didn’t have. However, seemed that Nimrod, Eisav, and Bilaam, the truth is that the yetzer hara gives us were disturbing these great tzaddikim, but in actual fact they were helping purpose in life. them. They came to the world just for The yetzer hara of tzaddikim will them. If it weren’t for the challenges obviously be different than the yetzer that these resha'im placed before them, https://telegram.me/Publications_MM
Torah Wellsprings - Toldos
these tzaddikim couldn’t have attained Therefore, each person should view their their greatness. 5 challenges as blessings. They are 5. There was a person who always opposed the Rebbe of Gustantin zt'l. The Rebbe
suffered immensely from him. Yet, when he became ill, the Rebbe of Gustantin davened for his recovery. Someone asked the Rebbe, "Do you really need him? Why are you davening for him?" The Rebbe replied, "If it's destined for me to have an opponent, I will have one, and if it won't be this person it will be someone else. I'm accustomed to this man's opposition so I prefer that he lives. I prefer opposition that I'm familiar with, then having to deal with a new person and new challenges." An elderly person asked Rebbe Ahron of Belz zt'l whether he was permitted to daven Shemonah Esrei while sitting down. Rebbe Ahron replied, “According to halachah, you may sit. However, my father (Rebbe Yissacher Dov of Belz zt'l) would say, "A person shouldn’t give in." Don’t turn yourself into an invalid, into someone who needs to find shortcuts. One should always be prepared to overcome all challenges." An elderly Yid used to pass by the Belzer cheder in Tel Aviv, in his wheelchair almost every day to speak with the children. He wasn't religious but was brought up in a religious home. The children spoke to him about emunah, and encouraged him to keep Shabbos and mitzvos. He said, "Don’t speak to me about emunah, because I believe in Hashem more than you do," and he told them his story: “When I was young, I wanted to join the army. My father brought me to Rebbe Yissacher Dov of Belz zt'l. The Rebbe told me, 'You want to join the army? O.K. I will not try to stop you. But I demand from you one thing: You must always keep Shabbos.' There were crutches in the Rebbe's room. The Rebbe pointed to them and said, 'Just a few moments ago, an invalid came in wearing those crutches. I told him to leave my room without them. He doesn’t need them anymore. But if you won't keep Shabbos, those crutches are waiting for you.' “I was afraid, and therefore I always kept Shabbos. I wasn’t religious but I kept Shabbos. Eventually, I came to Eretz Yisrael and I was a general in the Six Day War. When the war ended I was invited to tour and see the new borders. The tour was long, and would be on Shabbos too. In the euphoria of the moment I didn’t think much about it and joined the tour. I was riding on a tank. I didn’t allow myself to think about Shabbos. "On Friday night, the moment Shabbos began, the door of the tank suddenly opened and I fell out. Since then I'm in crutches. So don’t speak to me about emunah. I experienced the truth of emunah.” The children asked him, "So if you believe, why don’t you keep all of the mitzvos? Why only Shabbos?" The man pointed to his heart and said, "the treifa heart!” His impure heart didn’t permit him to act as he knew he should. This man certainly had his challenges, and we can't judge him. But we must realize that there isn't any valid excuse. Challenges were given to us for us to overcome them. https://telegram.me/Publications_MM
Torah Wellsprings - Toldos
opportunities for growth, and they bring considered everything found, because he the greatest pleasure to Hashem. knew that the abundance wasn’t the product of his work. Everything that he הכל מאתו יתברך owned was Hashem’s blessings.” It states in this week's parashah, ÷çöé òøæéå 'ä åäëøáéå íéøòù äàî àéää äðùá àöîéå àéää õøàá, “Yitzchak planted in that land and he found that [the crops grew]… a hundred times more [than expected]…” (26:12). The passuk is difficult because it begins with Yitzchak planting (÷çöé òøæéå) and concludes with him finding (àöîéå). When one plants, he doesn’t find. It is natural that if one plants, the crops will grow. Why then does it say that Yitzhak found? The word àöîéå, found, doesn’t seem to fit. The Kedushas Yom Tov zt'l answers that Yitzchak understood that everything we have is found. We don’t earn by the ‘power of my hand.’ It isn't because I planted, or because I worked, that I have parnassah. For Yitzchak Avinu, and for all those who have this emunah, all money he earns is found because it's a gift from heaven, unrelated to the work invested. The Kedushas Yom Tov writes, “He
A similar lesson is stated in Zera Shimshon on the passuk, åðá ìà ÷çöé øîàéå éðôì êé÷ìà 'ä äø÷ä éë øîàéå éðá àöîì úøäî äæ äî, “Yitzchak said to his son [Yaakov], ‘How did you find [the animal] so quickly?’ [Yaakov] replied, ‘Hashem placed it before me’” (27:20). But did Hashem place the animal before Yaakov? Didn’t Rivkah give him two sheep to bring to his father (see 27:9). Was Yaakov chalilah lying when he said that Hashem placed them before him? The answer is Yaakov knew that even when one takes from the animals that he owns, Hashem prepared it for him. The Zera Shimshon writes, “Everyone should know, regarding all his deeds, that he can’t do anything if it isn’t Hashem’s will…. All earnings… is because of Hashem’s kindness…” Therefore Yaakov Avinu told the truth, éðôì êé÷ìà 'ä äø÷ä éë, Hashem prepared the sheep for Yaakov to take. Although he took it from his mother's savings, he saw it as Hashem preparing it for him.
The Ritvah explains that Yaakov and Eisav were born twins to demonstrate that the choice to be either a tzaddik or a rasha is entirely up to each individual. When people are born from different parents, they can excuse themselves and say: “If I were born into that home, with that father and mother, etc. things would be different.” There are always excuses to explain why other people are better than them. Even two children from the same home can explain that his brother or sister was born with a better mazal. However, Eisav and Yaakov had the same parents, and they were born with the same mazal. How did it happen that Yaakov became a tzaddik and Eisav a rasha? The answer is that it's all up to the individual. Life is filled with challenges and opportunities, and it is totally up to the person whether he wants to stand up to the challenge, or not. https://telegram.me/Publications_MM
Torah Wellsprings - Toldos
On the words éðôì êé÷ìà 'ä äø÷ä éë, Unkelos writes, éîã÷ ê÷ìà 'ä ïéîæ éøà, "Hashem your G-d prepared it for me." Several times in the Chumash, Unkelus translates äø÷ä as ïéîæ, prepared. äø÷ä generally means something that happens by chance, by accident. But Unkelos translates it as ïéîæ, prepared, because even those matters that seem to happen by accident are also prepared by Hashem.
“Don’t be so impressed,” the stationmaster said. “I am just a simple worker. I earn a small amount of money. The people who own the trains are making all the money.” The Chofetz Chaim said that we should realize that the person helping you is merely a small pawn in Hashem's hands. It's not he who's doing things. It's Hashem who is really running the world.
When people go through hard times, they often go to people for help. Sometimes, they go to wealthy people, other times they go to community activists and they ask them to help them out with their struggles. However, they must remember that it is never this person or that person who helps. Ultimately, it is Hashem who is helping them. They do hishtadlus, but it is always Hashem who does everything. To explain this, the Chofetz Chaim gives the following mashal:
Someone came to a train station for the first time in his life and he saw the stationmaster blow a whistle, indicating that the train is leaving soon. Many people climbed aboard. Five minutes later, the man blew his whistle again. All the people who dallied and didn’t board the train by the first whistle, quickly scrambled onto the train. By the third whistle the train began to move. He went over to the whistle blower and said, “I feel privileged to speak with you because I see that you are in charge of the train station. The train and all of the passengers are dependent on you. Without you, nothing would happen…”
The Chofetz Chaim gave the following mashal: There was a man visiting a distant city. Shabbos morning, he went to the community's beis kneses and watched the gabai give out the aliyos. He felt that it was done unjustly. He thought, the aliyos should go to the scholarly, the people who are seated by the front wall. Or, if they want everyone to have a chance for an aliyah, then the aliyos should be given in order that the people are seated in the beis kneses. But this gabai is giving out the aliyos without any order at all. He called up a bachur for the first aliyah. Someone from the right side of the beis kneses was called for the second aliyah. An older person from the front of the beis medresh was called for shlishi. A middle age man, seated at the middle of the beis medresh, was called for revi’i. It seemed all wrong. It seems that the gabai was giving out the aliyos to his friends, and not to anyone else. After the tefillah, he said to the gabai, “You need to improve the way you run this shul. I watched how you gave out aliyos – and it wasn’t fair. Why do you only give your friends aliyos?...” https://telegram.me/Publications_MM
Torah Wellsprings - Toldos
The gabai told him, “You are new here and that’s why you don’t understand. There is an order and the aliyos are given out very fairly. In fact, every Friday afternoon, I carefully plan the aliyos, to give the aliyos to everyone who needs it. The young man who received the first aliyah is a cohen, so obviously, he deserves the first aliyah. The person, from the middle has yahrtzeit, so he also got an aliyah this Shabbos. I called up a scholar for shlishi, as you saw. I didn’t call up the person seated next to him, because his grandson is getting married in ten days and next Shabbos will be the kiddush. He will get an aliyah then… So you see, everything has a well thought out order, only you don’t know all the details and that’s the reason you didn’t understand.” The Chofetz Chaim said that the world is also run with an order; a very fair order. We shouldn’t ask questions about the way Hashem runs the world, because our questions are solely because we don’t know all the details, and because we don’t see the entire picture. It often seems like there's no order. People don’t understand why one person has money and another person is poor; why some are healthy, while others are ill. Why some people suffer from one problem, while others are exempt from the problem. It doesn’t seem fair, but that is because we don’t know the entire picture. If we would know all the details, we would know that everything is exactly as it should be. In
Mussaf, there is a piyut which discusses the úåëìî éâåøä äøùò, the ten Tana’im who were killed al kiddush Hashem. It states there that the resha’im chose to kill Reb Yishmael Cohen Gadol by skinning him alive. “The angels in heaven shouted bitterly, ‘Is this the reward for Torah study?’ A bas kol replied, ‘If I hear one more complaint, I will turn the world into water and into nothingness (åäáå åäú).’” The malachim wanted to know, ‘Is this the reward for Torah study? How can a Torah scholar, who studied so much Torah, have such a terrible end?' But what did the bas kol answer? It seems that the bas kol only warned them not to speak about this question anymore. Reb Shlomo Kluger zt’l said that the bas kol answered the malachim’s question in a beautiful manner. Reb Shlomo Kluger explained it with a mashal: A prince invited government officials and his wealthy friends to a party he would be throwing. The prince bought expensive material, gave it to a Jewish tailor together with threads of gold and silver, and said, “Turn this into a beautiful suit for me to wear by the party.”
The Jewish tailor put his heart and soul into the project and he produced a beautiful suit for the prince. By the party, the prince was very proud of his clothes, and everyone admired it, but they were also jealous. They said, “You gave the Yid much more material than we see in your suit. Do you think that he stole it? by It was expensive material. Also, there are https://telegram.me/Publications_MM
Torah Wellsprings - Toldos
several gold and silver strings that are missing. I think you were robbed. The tailor took a large portion for himself. If he would have put it into the clothing, it would appear far better.”
just. If you don’t understand it, it is only because you don’t know all the details. If you refuse to believe, Hashem will return the world back to the beginning of creation, and show you how everything is exactly as it should. You don’t see the The next day, the prince summoned the complete picture. If you would see more, tailor, and angrily he asked, “Where is all you would understand that everything is the material that I gave you? And where just and correct.” are all the gold and silver thread?” “Everything is in your clothes,” the tailor In Ashrei, we say, úàå åéáäåà ìë úà 'ä øîåù explained, “because a tailor needs to ãéîùé íéòùøä ìë “Hashem guards all the make several folds in the garment, in people whom He loves, and He destroys order to make a garment. I folded the all resha'im.” The Chofetz Chaim zt’l material several times. It seems that there said, imagine what would happen if a is material missing, but it is all within person entered the beis medresh and your clothes.” heard someone say this passuk, but missed the first two words. It will sound “You are lying,” the prince declared. to him like this, íéòùøä ìë úàå åéáäåà ìë úà “You stole it.” ãéîùé, “All the people who Hashem loves, The tailor took a knife and began and all resha’im, Hashem destroys.” He will ask, “Is this justice? Why does opening the seams. Hashem destroy the tzaddikim?” “What are you doing?” the prince Imagine what would happen if someone shouted. “Before you stole and now you heard someone say the passuk, but he are ruining my garment.” missed the final word. It would sound The tailor explained, “You don’t believe like this: íéòùøä ìë úàå åéáäåà ìë úà 'ä øîåù, my explanation, so I have no choice but “Hashem protects the people whom he to show you that all the material and loves, and the resha’im.” He will ask, threads are here. I am opening the folds, “Why does Hashem protect the so you can see them.” resha’im?” They ask these questions because they Using this mashal, Reb Shlomo Kluger didn’t hear the entire passuk. Similarly, explained the bas kol’s answer. The all questions in life are only because we malachim asked, “Is this the reward for don't know the entire story. If we know studying Torah? How could such a thing all the details, we won’t have any occur to Reb Yishmael Cohen Gadol?” questions at all. The bas kol replied, “If you won’t be quiet, I will return the world to the Everything's for the Good beginning of creation…” The bas kol was saying, “Everything Hashem does is Reb Nissan Shtitzberg z'l (a chassid of https://telegram.me/Publications_MM
Torah Wellsprings - Toldos
the Yesod HaAvodah of Slonim zy’a) was extremely joyous by the chasunah, when his daughter married a talmid chacham. But his joy didn’t last for long because tragically, during sheva brachos the chosson died. To make matters worse, the chosson had only one brother, who was four years old. This brother would need to do chalitzah for the almanah before she can remarry, but he couldn’t do it until his bar mitzvah. This meant that his daughter would remain an almanah for the next ten years, until her four-year-old brother-in-law becomes bar mitzvah, to be able to do chalitzah. Reb Nissan Shtitzberg said to his rebbe, the Yesod HaAvodah, “Why did this happen to me?” The Yesod HaAvodah replied, “Hashem’s plan for your daughter is that she should build her family in ten years from now, and not before. This is Hashem's will for reasons only Hashem knows. Imagine how you would feel if this first marriage didn’t occur. Since it was decreed that your daughter should remain single for another ten years, you would need to wait ten years before she marries regardless. During those ten years, you will be wondering in anguish, ‘Why isn’t my daughter engaged yet? What is preventing it?’ People would begin speaking lashon hara about your daughter. They will say that apparently something is wrong with her since no one is taking her. You would be looking for all segulos possible, so your daughter can have a yeshuah. You would be very anxious and worried. But now you know that she cannot get married for ten years.
You will be calm and relaxed. You know that this is her destiny, and there is nothing you can do to change it. You will wait patiently for the ten years to pass, until she will be able to build a family at the time that heaven intended.” An orphan was brought to Rav Shach zt’l for encouragement. Reb Shach told him, “When I was a child, I was also an orphan. When I was engaged to be married the kallah’s family didn’t give me a dowry. I had no parents to demand a dowry, so I was engaged without any financial promises and without financial support. “After the vort (engagement celebration) I returned to my yeshiva in Lithuania, where I learned. My friends told me that I made a mistake. “You are a talmid chacham. You should have asked for a house and more. We recommend that you break the shidduch…” Rav Shach replied, “This is what Hashem arranged, so it is certainly for the best.” His friends didn’t agree. Rav Shach said that when the Nazis came close to Lithuania, he and his wife escaped before the mass murder. He said, “The people who owned homes didn’t want to abandon the city because they feared that the Nazis would take away their homes and wealth. They stayed on and the Nazis destroyed everything. In retrospect, I was saved because I didn’t have a home. “Similarly, you should know,” Rav Shach told the orphan, “no matter what https://telegram.me/Publications_MM
Torah Wellsprings - Toldos
happens, everything is for the best…” 6
inside. Within a few moments the child came to his door and said, “Good day, Even at five-years-old, the Baal Shem of honorable count.” Michelstadt zt’l was known as a wonder-child because of his sharp mind. “How did you know I was here?” People were speaking about the child's wisdom, and even the count (local ruler) “I looked at the castle from the outside heard about it. He wanted to see the and saw that this is the only room with child's wisdom with his own two eyes, so the curtains closed. All other rooms have he summoned for the child to visit him the curtains open to let in the sunlight. That is how I knew that you were here, at the castle at a set date and time. hiding behind the curtains, watching me This was a test. The castle had many come to the castle.” rooms, and the count would be in one of The Baal Shem Tov of Michelstadt zt’l them. He wanted to see whether the repeated this story years later, and added wonder child can find him without that the same process is used to find anyone directing him. He told his staff to Hashem. When the curtains are closed remain concealed in their rooms so the and Hashem is concealed, that is where child wouldn’t have anyone to ask Hashem is. Where there is darkness, and directions. life is difficult, Hashem is hiding there and waits to see if you will find Him. 7 The count looked out of his window and watched the child as he approached the The Rabbeinu Yonah (Sharei Teshuvah courtyard. He saw the child focus on the 2:5) teaches, “One should believe that in castle for a few moments and then go the midst of the greatest hardships, the
6. In Baranovitch, there was a Slonimer chassid called Reb Motel Kopolovitz z'l. He was a
plumber, but he didn’t always have work. One Thursday night, he still didn’t have money to buy for Shabbos. Before going to sleep he said with a broken heart, "Ribono Shel Olam! If you want me and the six people of my family to be hungry this Shabbos, then this is what I want too." Later that night, people came to awaken him. A pipe from the local bathhouse burst and since it was erev Shabbos, it needed to be fixed immediately. He was paid double because he worked at night and had plenty of money for Shabbos. His salvation came because he accepted Hashem's decree. The Nesivos Shalom of Slonim zt'l said, "Reb Motel's krechtz had the power to burst all the pipes of the bathhouse, not only one," because his krechtz went straight up to heaven. 7. At their meeting, the count asked the five-year-old lad, “What would you do if some people from my staff would tell you that I am in one place and others would tell you that I am in a different room? Where would you go?” The boy replied, “The Torah tells us אחרי רבים להטות, one follows the majority opinion.” https://telegram.me/Publications_MM
Torah Wellsprings - Toldos
darkness will turn to light. As it says, éë éì øåà 'ä êùåçá áùà éë éúî÷ éúìôð “When I fell, I got up. When I sat in darkness, Hashem is my light (Michah 7:8). Chazal explain éúî÷ éúìôð éë, If I didn’t fall, I wouldn’t get up. If it weren’t for the darkness, I wouldn’t reach the light.’” Whatever happens to a person is for his
own good. The darkness is a pathway that leads to the great light that follows it. The end of the night is considered the darkest point of the night. From there, morning comes. So too, when a person is in darkness, he should believe that light will soon come and illuminate his life. 8
The count asked, “So why do you remain in your religion. Don’t you know that the majority of the world has a different faith?” The boy replied, “We follow the majority when we're in doubt. But when we are certain, we don’t follow the majority. If I knew where you are in the castle, your entire staff can tell me to go to a different room and I wouldn’t listen to them. I wouldn’t follow the majority, because I know where you are. Similarly, all Yidden believe in Hashem and they have no doubts. Therefore we don’t follow the majority opinion." Tzaddikim said, “Belief is greater than seeing.” Reb Yissachar Dov of Belz said to his son, “Do you know why we fill the כוס של אליהוby the Seder? It is because Eliyahu HaNavi comes to every home on Pesach night. There are tzaddikim who see him…” Rebbe Yissacher Dov raised his eyes to heaven and added, “It is even greater when one doesn’t see him, but believes that he comes.” The Chidushei HaRim zt’l was speaking about the greatness of the Noda b’Yehudah. The Chidushei HaRim said that by the Seder, after opening the door for שפך חמתך, the Noda b’Yehudah would walk with Eliyahu HaNavi down the stairs, to the street below. The Chidushei HaRim explained that the Noda b’Yehudah didn’t actually see Eliyahu HaNavi, but he believed that he was there, and belief is greater than giluy Eliyahu. 8. The Beis Yisrael's zt'l once asked the youngest son of the Rav of Pietrikov who suffered in the concentration camps during the war, "Did you see the crematoria there?" He answered that he did. "Did you see the mass murder, and the burning of the bodies?" "Yes." "And did you also see Hakadosh Baruch Hu in the camps?" Because even where there is immense darkness, Hashem is there, too.
פרשת תולדות תשע"ז Parshas Toldos 5777 Year 6 • #283
The new design of Pardes Yehuda has been sponsored by David P. Rose לעילוי נשמת אביו מרדבי בן ראובן ואמו שרה לאה בת אביגדור ע"ה
The skeptics: scoffers, but not really wicked
) (כה יט:ן־א ְב ָרהָ֑ם ַא ְב ָרהָ֖ם הוֹלִ֥יד ֶאת־יִ ְצ ָֽחק ַ ְואֵ֛לֶּ ה ֽתּוֹלְ דֹ֥ת יִ ְצחָ֖ק ֶבּ And these are the generations of Yitzchak the son of Avrohom; Avrohom begot Yitzchak.(25:19) hy does the posuk draw attention to, and emphasize Yitzchak's patrimony? Rashi informs us of the scurrilous nature of the contemporaries: לפי שהיו ליצני הדור אומרים מאבימלך נִ ְת ַע ְב ָרה שרה שהרי כמה שנים שהתה עם אברהם ולא נתעברה הימנו "because the scoffers of the generation were saying that Sarah had conceived from Avimelech for she had lived with Abraham for many years and had not conceived from him. ... The Holy One, blessed be He, shaped the features of Yitzchak's face to resemble Avrohom's, and everyone attested that Avrohom had begotten Yitzchak.." It would seem that Rashi let these scoundrels off easy, by terming them merely "scoffers", and not the "wicked ones" of that generation. The Chida provides an answer by elaborating on Rashi. The scoffers of the generation were not truly wicked, but actually perceptive men who spoke the truth -- but with a twist. Rashi (on 21:1), explaining the juxtaposition of Hashem's remembering Sarah for a child, next to Avrohom's entreaties in prayer (in 20:17) teaches: - כל המבקש רחמים על חבירו והוא צריך לאותו דבר הוא נענה תחילה "whoever begs for mercy for his friend, when needing the same thing, is answered first." Because Avrohom prayed on Avimelech's behalf, he was answered before Avimelech. Hashem remembered Sarah's plight before He healed Avimelech. One could admit that the scoffers actually spoke the truth, albeit in a twisted way: yes, Sarah conceived on account of Avimelech, but strictly owing to Avrohom's entreaties on behalf of Avimelech. But the dregs of society, hearing the skeptics' statement, could have taken it on face value -- that Avimelech sired Yitzchak biologically. To refute this preposterous gaffe, Hashem caused Yitzchak to mirror Avrohom's facial features exactly -- thus silencing the lower-grade scoffers. () נחל קדומים
True love is constant; the beauty of Yaakov's voice
( (כה כח:ת־י ֲע ֽקֹב ַֽ ֶ֥בת ֶא ֶ ת־עשָׂ֖ו כִּ י־צַ֣יִ ד ְבּפִ֑יו ְו ִר ְבקָ֖ה אֹה ֵ ַ)ו ֶֽיּ ֱאהַ֥ב יִ ְצחָ֛ק ֶא Yitzchak loved Esau because [his] game was in his mouth, but Rivka was loving Yaakov.(25:28) ven on grammatical grounds, Yitzchak's love was in the past, and terminated; Rivka's was in the present, and ongoing. The Mishna in Avos (5:16) is a point of reference: אינה, ושאינה תלויה בדבר. בטלה אהבה, בטל דבר,כל אהבה שהיא תלויה בדבר בטלה לעולם.
ANY LOVE THAT IS DEPENDENT ON SOMETHING--WHEN THE THING CEASES, THE LOVE ALSO CEASES. BUT A LOVE THAT IS NOT DEPENDENT ON ANYTHING NEVER CEASES.
Our posuk, with its varying verbal tenses, dovetails perfectly: Yitzchak's love for Esav hinged on a reason -- "the game in his mouth." No venison, no love -- a shallow and fleeting love indeed. Rivka's love did not stem specifically from anything Yaakov had done; rather it was a steady and constant love, expressed in a present-tense verb. [We might call it the prototype of a Yiddishe mama's love. [DPR]] ()'של''ה הק A Medrash Rabbah (Beraishis 63:10) bears on the Shelah's observation about Rivka's love.
LINK to 3-year colection of Pardes: https://db.tt/eZ07wooe מֹוס ֶפת לֹו אהבה על אהבה ֶ כל שהיתה שומעת קולו היתה "Hearing his voice in and of itself increased her love." This insight points directly to understanding the well-known subsequent posuk: ֶ ַ֗)ויִּ גַּ֧שׁ ַֽי ֲעקֹ֛ב ֶאל־יִ ְצחָ֥ק ָאבִ֖יו ַויְ ֻמשֵּׁ֑הוּ ַויּ ( (כז כב:ֹאמר ַהקֹּל֙ ק֣וֹל ַֽי ֲעקֹ֔ב ְו ַהיָּ דַ֖יִ ם יְ דֵ֥י ֵע ָֽשׂו So Yaakov drew near to Yitzchak his father, and he felt him, and he said, "The voice is the voice of Yaakov, but the hands are the hands of Esav." Why does the Torah mention "Yaakov's voice" not once, but twice? Recalling our Medrash, we can see what happened here. Hearing Yaakov's voice added to Rivkah's love. The sweet holiness of Yaakov's voice instilled love for him in anyone who heard it. We know that Yitzchak was unable to see ר"ל. When Yitzchak experienced this phenomenon, i.e. when the Voice aroused his love, he concluded that the voice's owner must have been Yaakov, beloved by his wife Rivkah -- her love spurred on by that voice. Therefore we see twice: the first "KOL": "Oh, that Voice I'm hearing!", (which stimulated love in his heart), told Yitzchak that this could only be the "KOL YAAKOV", a voice of sweetness and holiness, which he knew Rivkah loved. ( קליטניק.ז. י- )שמח זבולון
Was Esav twice the "ISH" that Yaakov was? Hardly! ) (כ''ה כ''ז:קב֙ אִ֣ישׁ תָּ֔ם ישֵׁ֖ב ֽא ָֹה ִֽלים ֹ ֵ֥ע צַ֖יִ ד אִ֣ישׁ ָשׂדֶ֑ה ְו ַֽי ֲע ַ ַֽויִּ גְ ְדּל֙וּ ַהנְּ ָערִ֔ים ַויְ הִ֣י ֵעשָׂ֗ו אִ֛ישׁ יֹד
The youths grew up, and Esav was a man who understood hunting, a man of the field, whereas Yaakov was an innocent man, dwelling in tents. (25:27) hroughout Tanach, the title " " אישusually indicates a person of righteous spirituality, or one of prominence without reproach. [Recall Mordechai's initial introduction in the Megilla :"[ "איש יהודיDPR]] Esav would seem to be a counterexample. And he carries the honorific title not only once, but twice, while Yaakov is termed ISH only once. [This question has launched extensive commentaries from Torah giants such as the Maharal and the Minchas Eluzer, and we cannot plumb those depths. [YZK]] The use of ISH for Eisav may escape us, but we can perhaps explain why it occurs twice. We would call Esav a split, binary personality, because he acted like two disparate beings. To his father, he presented himself as a pious Yid, careful and exacting about details of mitzvos. But this was a sham -- a mere posturing. This trait of this "man understanding hunting" consisted of entrapping Yitzchak in false pretensions. His other facet was indeed that of a "man of the field" -- where he was active as an evil murderer. Not so Yaakov, the "ISH TAM", the unsullied man of perfection. The title ISH need occur only once to capture that exalted state. . ()חיים ושלום מונקאטש
Why did Eisav turn to Yaakov for food?
לא- (כה כט:ת־בּכ ָֹֽר ְת ָ֖ך ִֽלי ְ ֹאמר ַֽי ֲעקֹ֑ב ִמכְ רָ֥ה כַ יּ֛וֹם ֶא ֶ ֖ן־ה ָאדֹ֤ם ַויּ ָֽ )הלְ ִעיטֵ֤נִ י נָ א֙ ִמ ַ Esau said to Jacob, "Pour into [me] some of this red, red [pottage], for I am faint"; he was therefore named Edom. Jacob said, "Sell me as of this day your birthright." f we understand the simple reason that Esav turned to Yaakov to supply him with rations, we will grasp the situation more clearly. Rashi explains (on 25:30) that Avraham Avinu was niftar on the day of that fateful encounter. The family was engaged in burial arrangements. Yaakov, the tent dweller, had to prepare a meal for the mourners as well as for the household. The "starving" Esav could hardly approach Yitzchak during his time of bereavement, and turned instead to Yaakov. Yaakov seized the opportunity to purchase the birthright for the paltry sum of a dish of lentils. ( רייך חסיד פחד יצחק באיאן. י.)אשכל הכפר ש
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he Avnei Nezer, the Holy Gaon Rav Avrohom miSochatschov frequently related these events to illustrate the central importance in a Yid's life of emunas chachamim: There was a wine merchant from Krakow who traded in fine kosher Hungarian wine from the famous Tokay region. He imported barrels and then repackaged the wine into bottles which sold very well in Poland. He had an unblemished reputation for honesty and integrity and managed to become quite wealthy from his wine business. But one Rosh Hashanah, it was decreed that his business should decline and a major investment of his turned sour. He lost most of his fortune, to the extent that he was forced to rely on loans to continue trading, but in just a few barrels at a time, with barely enough funds left over for basic living expenses. This sorry state continued for several years when he became aware of the great salvations wrought for Yidden by the great tzaddik Rav Hershele miRimanov זצ”ל. With fullfledged faith that the tzaddik would help him, he detoured through Rimanov on his next buying trip to Hungary. He skimmed off a bit of the borrowed money he was carrying and laid it on the Rebbe's desk along with his kvittl, to serve as a pidyon/redemption or his soul. But he was taken aback by the Rebbe's response: "If you want a potent and powerful bracha, I need pidyon money in the amount of 350 zlotys." The amount tallied to the penny with the amount the man had left in his purse -- borrowed funds all -- with which to conduct some minimal business in Hungary. Unhesitatingly, the merchant handed over his entire purse to the Rebbe, and was full of simcha, rooted in pure emuna/faith in a tzaddik, when the Rebbe assured him be'ezras Hashem, of great success in his upcoming venture in Hungary. In Tokay, the wine trade centered on a kind of exchange, or dealers' club where deals would go through the hands of experienced wine brokers, who brought buyer and seller together. Our merchant spent several days in the club, but without closing any deal. The exchange finally closed up shop for that season, but our merchant lingered in town after all the other traders had returned home. Before long, it came to his attention that a reliable broker was urgently seeking someone to close an unusual deal. He met with the broker, who assured him of a handsome profit if he managed to consummate the transaction. It seems there were two brothers who inherited a cellar full of barrels of
classic wines from their father. But as sometimes happens in estate settlements, the brothers had a bitter dispute which dragged on for twenty years without either speaking to the other. The feud was ended and as part of the peace settlement, the brothers sought a single buyer for the store of wines, and asked a below-market price, in the interest of a quick sale. The merchant waffled a bit since he had not a liquid penny with him, let alone the sum needed to finalize a large purchase, no matter how favourable the price. The broker -- eager to reap his commission, no doubt -- put him at ease: "You needn't worry. I assume that you have no liquid funds available after all of your trading here the past week. But you have a solid-gold reputation for honesty and I have a hunch the brothers would be willing to seal the deal with you on a line-of-credit basis." And so it was. The brothers had also heard good reports about the "man from Krakow" and that evening a sales contract, including a promissory clause, was written up. But before signing, the merchant asked to have a taste of the wine he was buying, to make sure it was still in good condition. The brothers agreed to this reasonable request, and broke the seals to the wine cellar so the buyer could sample the wares. His expert verdict: a taste of Gan Eden! The contract was signed on the spot, the brothers provided a team of wagons to haul the barrels to Krakow, and all sides -- broker included -- were satisfied with the unusual business deal. The dealer was overcome with awe at seeing the bracha of the Tzaddik from Rimanov unfold before his eyes. Back in Krakow, he spread the word that he had available an exceptional lot of rare, aged wines with a taste of Gan Eden -- but at prices which reflected their quality. The connoisseurs came a-running and snapped up the wine, some buying bottles and others entire barrels. The merchant quickly cleared enough profits to redeem the note the brothers in Tokay were holding, and to repay the other good friends who had loaned him money. He was able to resume his successful wine trading at even higher levels than before his reversal and became, hands down, the leading wine merchant in Krakow. he Avnei Nezer frequently retold this story, naming the wine merchant clearly, and held it up as a shining example of what can be achieved by pure and unsullied faith in tzaddikim, not only for an individual, but for his descendants. ) (ספר כהן גדול משרת.
STORY OF THE WEEK: The fruits of simple, pure faith in a tzaddik: wealth across generations
Parshas Toldos 5777, #283 Our editor, Mr. Rose תשואת חן חן לןis reachable at email@example.com, and is available for Anglo-Judaica editorial assignments. A publication of Seforim World . 1000’s of seforim: new and old; 4403 16 Ave. Brooklyn N.Y. 11204 U.S.A. 718 438 8414 718 633 5500 -www.seforimworld.com or firstname.lastname@example.org - hours 11-7:30 Subscriotions: email@example.com - hours 11-7:30. Gilyon is available by email or on Ladaat, or www. parshasheets.com or www.seforimworld.com. For sale rare sefer Hesped on Chafetz Chaim in Hungary $500. Handwritten Tzedaka ledger of Rav Henkin 1924, all rabbanim worldwide, $7000. 2 Kesuvos filled in by Reb Moshe Feinstein Zt’’l $500 Letter from Reb Yaakov Emdin to Reb Moshe Chagiz $85000. 57 page manuscript from Reb Mendel Meshklav Talmid of Vilna Gaon $100,000. Collection of Chidushei Torah 7 letters Chazon Ish, 2 Reb Mayer Simcha, Rogotchov, Brisk, Reb Elchanan, Reb Baruch Ber total of 42 letters $125,000. Many more for sale.
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Rabbi Pinches Friedman Parshas Toldos 5777 Translation by Dr. Baruch Fox
“The lads grew”—They Reached Bar-Mitzvah Age
The Father Recites the Berachah “”ברוך שפטרני after the Bar-Mitzvah Boy Fulfills the Mitzvah of Krias Shema and Is Called Up to the Torah In this week’s parsha, parshas Toldos, we read (Bereishis 25, 27): “ויגדלו הנערים ויהי עשו איש יודע ציד איש שדה ויעקב איש תם יושב ”—אהליםthe lads grew and Eisav became a man skilled at hunting, a man of the field; while Yaakov was a wholesome man, dwelling in tents. Rashi comments: As long as they were small, they were indistinguishable in their deeds; and no one could distinguish in them their true natures. Once they turned thirteen years old, this one set out for the Batei-Midrash, and the other one set out for idol-worship. Rashi’s source is the Midrash (B.R. 63, 10):
כל י”ג שנה שניהם הולכים לבית הספר ושניהם באים מבית...“ויגדלו הנערים . וזה היה הולך לבתי עבודת כוכבים, זה היה הולך לבתי מדרשות, לאחר י”ג שנה,הספר ברוך, מיכן ואילך צריך שיאמר,אמר רבי אלעזר צריך אדם להיטפל בבנו עד י”ג שנה .”שפטרני מעונשו של זה Throughout the first thirteen years, they both went to school, and they both returned from school. After the first thirteen years, this one went to the Batei Midrash, and this one went to the houses of idol-worship. Rabbi Elazar said: A man needs to take care of his son until the age of thirteen; thereafter, he must say, “Blessed is the One Who released me from this one’s punishment.” Indeed, this is the basis of the time-honored Jewish minhag brought down by the great possek, the Rama (O.C. 225, 2): “מי ברוך אתה ה’ אלקינו מלך העולם שפטרני מעונשו של,שנעשה בנו בר מצוה יברך ” וטוב לברך בלא שם ומלכות,—זהwhen someone’s son becomes Bar-Mitzvah, he should recite the berachah: “Blessed are You, Hashem, our G-d, King of the Universe, who released me from this one’s punishment.” And it is preferable to recite the berachah omitting the divine name and the description of kingship. The Rama cites as his sources the Midrash quoted above and the practice of the Maharil. As to why he concludes that
it is preferable to omit the name of Hashem and the words “King of the Universe,” his rationale is based on the writings of the Darkei Moshe (ibid. 1): I find it difficult to impose a berachah that is not mentioned in the Gemara or the “poskim.”
The Magen Avraham’s Explanation regarding the Berachah “”ברוך שפטרני The Magen Avraham explains the intent and significance of the berachah: ”“ברוך שפטרני מעונשו של זה--“Blessed is the One Who released me from this one’s punishment.” With this berachah, the father is expressing his gratitude to Hashem for being released from the obligation to educate his son; for the son is now independently obligated to fulfill and observe all of the mitzvos. Furthermore, from that day forward, the father is no longer punishable for his son’s transgressions. Notwithstanding, it is important to note the Mishnah Berurah’s (ibid. 7) warning concerning the father’s significant responsibility even after his son’s Bar-Mitzvah:
מכל מקום יש על האב מצות הוכחה,“ודע דאף על פי ששוב אין עליו ענין חינוך , וכשאינו מוחה בידיו נענש עליו דלא גרע משאר ישראל,כשרואה שאינו מתנהג כשורה כל מי שיש לו למחות באנשי ביתו ואינו,):וכידוע מה שאמרו חכמינו ז”ל (שבת נד .”’ וכל מי שיש לו למחות באנשי עירו ואינו מוחה וכו,מוחה נתפס בעון אנשי ביתו Know that even though he is no longer obligated with the boy’s “chinuch”; nevertheless, the father is still obligated by the mitzvah of reproof, in the event he sees that his son is not behaving properly. If he fails to object to his son’s actions, he is punished; for it is no different than for any other Jew. For, we are familiar with Chazal’s statement (Shabbas 54b): “Anyone who should reprove the members of his household and does not, is accountable for their transgressions; and anyone who should reprove the people of his city and does not, etc.”
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In truth, I have always been troubled by the Magen Avraham’s rationale. It seems inconceivable that Chazal would institute a berachah whereby a father expresses his gratitude to Hashem that from the day of the Bar-Mitzvah forward, the boy’s punishments will fall on his own head rather than on the father’s. After all, it is every father’s wish that his son will engage in Torah-study and serve Hashem properly and diligently, without the taint of sin. So, how can a father utter the words: ” ?“ברוך שפטרני מעונשו של זהSeemingly, he should lament that his son is now culpable not recite a berachah! Let us propose an explanation for the opinion of the Magen Avraham. The reason a father is obligated to teach his children Torah and mitzvos is so that they will become accustomed to serve Hashem while they are young. As a result, they will continue to serve Hashem throughout their lives. In the words of the wisest of all men (Mishlei 22, 6): ”—“חנוך לנער על פי דרכו גם כי יזקין לא יסור ממנהtrain the youth according to his way; even when he grows old, he will not swerve from it. Thus, it should be evident that if a father failed to inculcate in his children the ways of Torah and “yirah,” not only will he be punished for their childhood transgressions, but he will also be held accountable for their lifelong transgressions. For, it is ultimately his fault that they sinned, because he did not educate them properly in the ways of the Torah.
Now, let us examine that which is written in parshas Vayigash (Bereishis 44, 32): אם לא אביאנו אליך,“כי עבדך ערב את הנער מעם אבי לאמר ”—וחטאתי לאבי כל הימיםbecause your servant took responsibility for the youth from my father saying, “If I do not bring him to you then I will have sinned to my father for all time.” The Tiferet Shlomo views this passuk as an allusion to the mitzvah of educating one’s children. This is what a Jew says to his Father in Heaven: “Because your servant took responsibility for the youth.” Every Jew becomes a guarantor to HKB”H, accepting responsibility for inculcating in his child the ways of the Torah and service of Hashem. For, “if I do not bring him to you”—bringing him closer to his Father in Heaven by means of Torah and Mitzvos; “then I will have sinned to my father for all time”—all of my child’s transgressions, throughout his lifetime will be my fault, for not having taught him properly.
This then is the way to understand the words of the Magen Avraham. The father expresses his gratitude to Hashem with the berachah: ”—“ברוך שפטרניfor having had the privilege to educate his child in the ways of Torah and mitzvos throughout his childhood. Therefore, from this day forward, he should no longer be held accountable for his son’s sins. For, from the aspect of “chinuch,” this young man has been fully equipped to follow in the ways of Torah and “yirah”; and even should he sin, chas v’shalom, he will surely perform proper teshuvah, and Hashem will assist him and forgive him.
It Is Our Minhag to Recite “”ברוך שפטרני after the Boy Is Called Up to the Torah Now, the Rama does not indicate when the proper time for the father to recite the berachah of ” “ברוך שפטרניis. We learn from the Ben Ish Chai that it is the minhag of our Sephardic brothers to recite this berachah during the meal. Here is what he writes:
על כן ביום הראשון של שנת י”ד יתפוס,“הזכר יתחייב במצות בן י”ג שנה ויום אחד . ויהרהר שם ומלכות בלבבו, ויאמר ברוך שפטרני מענשו של זה,האב את בנו בידו וירבה בסעודה, ויזמין בה תלמידי חכמים,וישתדל לעשות סעודה לאוהבים וריעים שיאמרו, שמסעודה זו יהיה סניגוריא גדולה על ישראל,ושמחה כיד ה’ הטובה עליו רבונו של עולם ראה בניך כמה הם שמחים על אשר נכנסים,מליצי יושר לפני הקב”ה . וסעודה זו נקראת סעודת מצוה,בעול מצותיך והיושבים, ויאמר האב אותה בתוך הסעודה,והברכה הנזכרת בלי שם ומלכות והגדולים שבקרואים יניחו,יברכו את הבן שיזכה לתורה ויראת שמים וקיום המצות , ואם יודע הבן לדרוש בדברי תורה,ידיהם על ראשו ויברכו אותו בברכת כהנים ואם לאו ידרוש תלמיד חכם אחד מן, ואם לאו ידרוש האב,ידרוש דבר בעתו מה טוב .”הקרואים A male becomes obligated in mitzvos at the age of thirteen years old and one day. Therefore, on the first day of his fourteenth year, a father should grab his son by the hand and say: “Blessed is the One Who released me from this one’s punishment.” He should contemplate the divine name and Kingship silently in his heart. He should make an effort to make a meal for those dear to him and his friends; he should invite Torah-scholars; and he should indulge in the meal and in rejoicing, as is befitting the kindness Hashem has bestowed upon him. For, this meal should illustrate Yisrael’s tremendous merit. It will allow their heavenly advocates to say to HKB”H, “Master of the Universe, see how much Your children rejoice when they accept the burden of Your mitzvos.” Hence, this is referred to as a meal associated with a mitzvah. The berachah that is recited without the divine name and mention of Kingship is recited by the father during the meal. Those in attendance bless the boy that he will merit Torahstudy, fear of Heaven and the fulfillment of mitzvos. Those of higher esteem should place their hands on his head and recite the Birkat Kohanim. If the son knows how to expound on words of Torah, he should expound on a topic that is timely and appropriate. If not, the father should expound; if he cannot do so, one of the Torah-scholars in attendance should do so. It is our minhag, however, to recite this berachah after the BarMitzvah boy is called up to the Torah. Apparently, this practice is based on the words of the Maharil cited by the Rama. After all, the Parshas Toldos 5777 | 2 https://telegram.me/Publications_MM
majority of the minhagim established by the Rama are founded on the teachings of the Maharil. Apropos this minhag, the Maharil’s pupil attests to the fact that when his mentor’s son became a BarMitzvah and was called up to the Torah, he recited the berachah: .” “ברוך אתה ה’ אלקינו מלך העולם אשר פטרני מעונשו של זהHe does not, however, explain his underlying reason for doing so.
We can deduce the rationale for this minhag, however, from what the Magen Avraham (O.C. 225, 4) writes in the name of the Divrei Chamudos (Berachos 89, 30). It was customary to recite the berachah of ” “ברוך שפטרניeither after the young man prayed before the ark or after he was called up to the Torah. For, it was then apparent to the public that he was already a Bar-Mitzvah, obligated to perform and observe the mitzvos. We can add a praiseworthy reason for the practice of reciting ” “ברוך שפטרניafter the boy has been called up to the Torah based on what we have learned in the Gemara (Kiddushin 30b): “כך ואם אתם, בני בראתי יצר הרע ובראתי לו תורה תבלין,הקב”ה אמר להם לישראל ”עוסקים בתורה אין אתם נמסרים בידו-- Thus has HKB”H said to Yisrael, “My son, I have created the yetzer hara, and I have created Torah as its antidote. If you engage in Torah-study, you will not be delivered into its hand.” Here it states explicitly that it is impossible to overcome or withstand the yetzer hara except by engaging in Torah-study. It turns out, therefore, that the true test to determine whether or not the father educated his son properly is to see if he taught him to engage in Torah-study.
Hence, it is the time-honored Jewish minhag for the father to recite the berachah specifically after the boy has been called up to the Torah and proclaims with great joy the berachah: “אשר בחר בנו מכל העמים ונתן ”—לנו את תורתוWho chose us from among all of the nations and gave us His Torah. Subsequently, after having been called up to the Torah, the boy recites: ”—“אשר נתן לנו תורת אמת וחיי עולם נטע בתוכנוWho gave us the Torah of truth and instilled in us eternal life. After his son has praised HKB”H, the father can then rejoice and say: “ברוך ”שפטרני מעונשו של זה. He is confident that he will not be punished for his son’s transgressions, since he taught him properly to study and value the Torah. Thus, the young man is assured of being able to overcome the yetzer hara throughout his life.
Rabeinu HaKadosh Began Torah She’b’al Peh with the Mitzvah of Krias Shema
Following this line of reasoning, let us rise to the occasion and elaborate further on the rationale for our minhag of having the father recite ” “ברוך שפטרניonly after the Bar-Mitzvah boy has been called up to the Torah. The great author of the Chiddushei
HaRim, in sefer HaZakus (page 83, Maseches Berachos), explains why Rabeinu HaKadosh began Torah she’b’al peh with the mitzvah of the evening Krias Shema (Berachos 2a): “מאימתי קורין את שמע ”—בערביןwhen is Shema recited in the evenings? It is because the very first mitzvah a Jew fulfills upon becoming a Bar-Mitzvah is the mitzvah of Krias Shema, during the Arvis service, at the beginning of the night. This concludes his sacred remarks. This idea is also presented in the writings of the great Rabbi Tzaddok HaKohen of Lublin, zy”a, in Tzidkat HaTzaddik (4): הוא קריאת שמע של,“מצוה ראשונה שנתחייב האדם כשנעשה בן שלש עשרה שנה ”—ערביתthe first mitzvah that a man is obligated to perform upon becoming thirteen years old is Krias Shema of Arvis. At the end of the sefer Meishiv Tzedek, Rabbi Tzaddok writes that he expounded this chiddush on the day of his own Bar-Mitzvah. As mentioned, however, the Chiddushei HaRim adds that it is precisely for this reason that Rabeinu HaKadosh began Torah she’b’al peh with the mitzvah of Krias Shema of Arvis.
To expand on this explanation, let us add a spicy tidbit based on the following Mishnah (Berachos 13a): למה קדמה פרשת,“אמר רבי יהושע בן קרחה כדי שיקבל עליו עול מלכות שמים תחילה ואחר כך מקבל עליו עול,שמע לוהיה אם שמוע ”—מצוותRabbi Yehoshua ben Korchah said: Why does the passage of ״שמע״precede that of ?״והיה אם שמוע״So that a person should first accept upon himself the yoke of the sovereignty of Heaven and afterwards accept upon himself the yoke of mitzvos. This is why HKB”H, the grand orchestrator, arranged for a Bar-Mitzvah boy’s first mitzvah to be the mitzvah of Krias Shema. After all, turning thirteen years old and becoming a Bar-Mitzvah signifies that this young man has now accepted the yoke of mitzvos. Therefore, it is only fitting that he recite Krias Shema so that he “will first accept upon himself the yoke of the kingship of Heaven and afterwards accept upon himself the yoke of mitzvos.”
When a Child Can Speak His Father Should Teach Him Torah and Krias Shema I was struck by a wonderful idea concerning the minhag to recite ” “ברוך שפטרניafter calling the Bar-Mitzvah boy up to the Torah. Our blessed sages teach us a fundamental principle regarding the “chinuch” of our children. The first thing that a father should teach his child when he begins to speak is Torah and Krias Shema. We learn this in the Gemara (Succah 42a):
, לשמור תפילין, להתעטף חייב בציצית,“תנו רבנן קטן היודע לנענע חייב בלולב אמר, תורה מאי היא, אביו לומדו תורה וקריאת שמע, יודע לדבר,אביו לוקח לו תפילין , קריאת שמע מאי היא,ד) תורה צוה לנו משה מורשה קהלת יעקב- (דברים לג,רב המנונא .” “שמע ישראל ה’ אלקינו ה’ אחד:)ד- כלומר הפסוק הראשון (שם ו.”פסוק ראשון
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The Rabbis taught in a Baraita: A minor who knows how to wave is obligated in the mitzvah of lulav; to wrap himself with a tallit, he is obligated in the mitzvah of tzitzit; to protect the tefillin, his father should buy him tefillin; how to talk, his father should teach him Torah and Krias Shema. What is meant here by “Torah”? Rav Hamnuna said: The passuk ״ תורה צוה לנו משה מורשה קהלת יעקב״What is meant here by “Krias Shema”? The first passuk—in other words, the passuk: “שמע ”ישראל ה’ אלקינו ה’ אחד. To explain why Chazal chose these two mitzvos specifically— Torah and Krias Shema—let us refer to the Agra D’Kallah on this week’s parsha. He addresses Yitzchak Avinu’s remark to the wicked Eisav (Bereishis 27, 2): ”“ויאמר הנה נא זקנתי לא ידעתי יום מותי-- and he said, “See, now, I have aged; I know not the day of my death.” In his own, sacred way, he explains Yitzchak Avinu’s profound intent based on what we have learned in the Gemara (Berachos 5a):
שנאמר (תהלים, לעולם ירגיז אדם יצר טוב על יצר הרע,“אמר רבי שמעון בן לקיש שנאמר (שם) אמרו, ואם לאו יעסוק בתורה, אם נצחו מוטב.ה) רגזו ואל תחטאו-ד אם. שנאמר (שם) על משכבכם, ואם לאו יקרא קריאת שמע, אם נצחו מוטב.בלבבכם .” שנאמר (שם) ודומו סלה, ואם לאו יזכור לו יום המיתה,נצחו מוטב Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish said: A person should constantly agitate his yetzer tov to fight against his yetzer hara . . . If he vanquishes it, fine; but if not, he should engage it in Torah study . . . If he vanquishes it, fine; but if not, he should recite “Krias Shema” . . . If he vanquishes it, fine; but if not, he should remind himself of the day of death.
We learn from this passage that three strategies exist for overcoming the yetzer hara: a) Torah, b) “Krias Shema” and c) contemplating the day of one’s death. We find a very nice allusion regarding this teaching in the words of the wisest of all men (Mishlei 19, 21): ”—“רבות מחשבות בלב איש ועצת ה’ היא תקוםmany thoughts are in a man’s heart, but only the advice of Hashem will prevail. The Lachmei Todah provides us with the following interpretation of the passuk: ”—“רבות מחשבות בלב אישthe yetzer hara introduces many thoughts contemplating possible transgressions in a man’s heart; ”—“ועצת ה’ היא תקוםbut Hashem’s advice to overcome and thwart the yetzer is by means of — תקו”םwhich is an abbreviation for: “ת’ורה ק’ריאת ”—שמע ו’יום מ’יתהTorah, Krias Shema and the day of one’s death.
It Is More Effective to Overcome the Yetzer by Using Both Torah and Krias Shema The commentaries ask an obvious question. If the strategy of considering the day of one’s death is so effective—seeing as it works even when the first two suggestions fail—why don’t the
sages recommend utilizing this strategy immediately from the getgo? Seemingly, this would guarantee victory over the yetzer hara.
The Agra D’Kallah (Toldos) provides an answer. There is a concern that contemplating the day of one’s death will lead to sadness; this will prevent the person from serving Hashem in a state of “simchah”—joy and happiness—resulting in the loss of “ruach hakodesh.” Hence, it is preferable to try to eliminate the yetzer first by engaging in Torah study and by reciting “Krias Shema.” Both of these activities lead to service of Hashem with “simchah,” in keeping with the passuk (Tehillim 19, 9): מצות ה’ ברה,“פקודי ה’ ישרים משמחי לב ”—מאירת עיניםthe orders of Hashem are upright, gladdening the heart; the mitzvah of Hashem is clear, illuminating the eyes. If these two strategies fail to thwart the yetzer, then a person should resort to the third option—recalling the day of death—even if sadness ensues. For it is preferable to experience sadness than to succumb to the persuasions of the yetzer and violate the precepts of the Torah. Here are the sacred words of the Agra D’Kallah: נצחו, לעולם ירגיז אדם יצר טוב על יצר הרע,מה שאמרו בדברי חכמינו ז”ל , הוא רפואה בדוקה יותר מקריאת שמע ותורה, ואם לאו יזכיר לו יום המיתה...מוטב אך הוא בוודאי שאינו מהראוי.מה היא המניעה שלא יזכיר לו תיכף וינצל מכל רע אם לא על צד ההכרח שיראה שאין,לעורר יראה פחותה הלזו המביאה לידי עצבות .עוזר לו נגד היצר הרע
, ולא יעבור על התורה לשמוע לעצת היצר הרע,על כן מוטב לו לבוא לידי עצבות ירחיק את עצמו,אבל כל זמן שיש באפשרי לעמוד נגד יצר הרע באיזה תחבולה אחרת כי על ידי זה ירע לבבו, בכדי שלא יבוא לידי עצבות,מיראת העונש ומזכרון יום המיתה .” ויסתלק ממנו הרוח הקודש,ולא יעבוד את השי”ת בשמחה This then is the interpretation of Yitzchak’s remark to Eisav: ”“הנה נא זקנתי לא ידעתי יום מותי-- and he said, “See, now, I have aged; I know not the day of my death.” Now, it is well-known that Yitzchak Avinu served Hashem with fear and reverence, as it is written (Bereishis 31, 42): ”—“אלקי אברהם ופחד יצחקthe G-d of Avraham and the Dread of Yitzchak. Thus, we might have thought mistakenly that he achieved and maintained his attribute of “yirah”—fear--by constantly contemplating the day of death and the fear of punishment. Therefore, Yitzchak Avinu revealed to all future generations the source of his “yirah” with the following statement: “ויאמר הנה ”נא זקנתי לא ידעתי יום מותי. In other words, even though I have aged, I have successfully combated the yetzer hara without ever having to contemplate the day of my death; for that might have occasioned sadness. Instead, I overcame it by engaging in Torah-study and the mitzvah of “Krias Shema”—which are associated with the “simchah” of having performed a mitzvah. Both of these endeavors result in the service of Hashem with “simchah” and reverence.
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This is far more preferable than merely serving Hashem out of fear of punishment. This concludes his explanation.
“Length of days is at its right; at its left is wealth and honor”
As a loyal servant, in the presence of his masters, I would like to add a tidbit of my own to their magnificent explanations. Why did Yitzchak Avinu choose to allude to this matter specifically in this manner: “I know not the day of my death”? He alluded to the fact that he did not have to contemplate the day of his death in order to overcome the yetzer precisely at the moment that he intended to bestow the Berachos upon Eisav. As an introduction, we will interpret Shlomo HaMelech’s words of praise regarding the Torah (Mishlei 3, 16): ”“אורך ימים בימינה בשמאלה עושר וכבוד-- length of days is at its right; at its left is wealth and honor. Now, we have learned in the Gemara (Nedarim 64b) that a poor person is considered to be like a dead person. For, sometimes HKB”H cuts a person’s life short, chas v’shalom, so that he will envision the imminent day of his death. This daunting thought will motivate him to perform teshuvah, thereby overcoming the yetzer and correcting his ways. Similarly, HKB”H may see that a particular person will not be able to overcome his yetzer if surrounded by wealth, in keeping with the passuk (Devarim 32, 15): ”“וישמן ישורון ויבעט-- Yeshurun became fat and kicked, i.e. affluence causes people to become lax and even rebellious in the service of Hashem. This prompts HKB”H to subject him to poverty; as such, he will be like a dead person, so that he will contemplate the day of death, submit to the will of Hashem and avoid the temptations of the yetzer. Accordingly, if a person succeeds in overcoming the yetzer hara by means of Torah-study, he will no longer need to contemplate the day of death by means of shortening his life or becoming poor. This then is the message being conveyed by the wisest of all men with regards to the merits of the Torah: “Length of days is at its right”—a person who engages in Torah-study is privileged to live a long life, because his life does not need to be cut short in order to arouse him to perform teshuvah by contemplating the day of death. Furthermore: “At its left is wealth and honor”—because he does not need to be subjected to poverty in order to be considered like a dead man in order to overcome the yetzer.
This explains very nicely why Yitzchak Avinu chose to deliver this message to Eisav prior to giving him the Berachos: “See, now, I have aged; I know not the day of my death.” He wished to give him the Berachos, so that he would not suffer from poverty or neediness. This is only possible for someone on the level of Yitzchak Avinu, who
engages in Torah-study, and does not need to resort to contemplating the day of his death. Otherwise, he would need to experience poverty and be like a dead person in order to defeat his yetzer. Therefore, as a prelude to the Berachos, Yitzchak explained: “See, now, I have aged; I know not the day of my death”—I did not have to contemplate the day of my death, because I overcame the yetzer by studying Torah. He wished to teach Eisav this vital lesson--that receiving and maintaining the Berachos hinge on this condition. In the end, it was orchestrated from above that the wicked Eisav would not receive the Berachos. In his stead, Yaakov Avinu, who dwelled in the tents of Torah, was deemed to be the suitable recipient of the Berachos.
“And you shall choose life, so that you will live--you and your offspring”
Here is a precious gem from the writings of the Panim Yafos (Nitzavim). He focuses on HKB”H’s statement to Yisrael (Devarim 30, 15): ”—“ראה נתתי לפניך היום את החיים ואת הטוב ואת המות ואת הרעsee, I have placed before you today life and good, and death and evil. HKB”H concludes His statement with the words (ibid. 19): “ובחרת ”—בחיים למען תחיה אתה וזרעךand you shall choose life, so that you will live--you and your offspring. It seems unimaginable that a person would not choose to live. So, why does HKB”H have to request of man to choose life?
First he explains why it is preferable to overcome the yetzer by means of the first two strategies—engaging in Torah-study and reciting “Krias Shema.” For, engaging in Torah-study is a tremendous mitzvah. In fact, the Mishnah teaches us (Peiah 1, 1): ”—“ותלמוד תורה כנגד כולםand the study of Torah is equal to them all (all of the other mitzvos). Similarly, “Krias Shema” is an invaluable mitzvah; for it involves accepting upon oneself the yoke of the sovereignty of Heaven and the yoke of mitzvos. Having in mind the day of death, on the other hand, in and of itself, is not a mitzvah at all. It is merely a device for thwarting the efforts of the yetzer, which is about to overwhelm him.
Therefore, it is clearly preferential to overcome the yetzer hara by employing the first two strategies—engaging in Torahstudy and reciting “Krias Shema.” For, they themselves constitute valuable mitzvos. Nevertheless, our blessed sages added a third strategy for the masses—for those who are not capable of learning Torah with proper intent or reciting “Krias Shema” with proper intent. For them to overcome their yetzers, it is necessary to consider the eventuality of death. Based on this premise, he interprets the passuk as follows: ”—“ראה נתתי לפניך היוםI have provided you with two strategies
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for overcoming the yetzer. First of all: ”—“החיים והטובby means of Torah and “Krias Shema,” representing “life and good.” By employing them, it is unnecessary to recall the day of death; one need only consider life and good. Secondly: ”—“ואת המות ואת הרע contemplating the day of death and recognizing that HKB”H will mete out punishment in Gehinom for all of your wrongdoings. Hence, HKB”H requests: ”—“ובחרת בחייםthat you please choose the strategy involving life to overcome the yetzer, utilizing Torah and “Krias Shema”--" "למען תחיה אתה וזרעך.
“By the word of two witnesses or three witnesses shall the condemned person be put to death”
Here is another precious gem from the Panim Yafos (Shoftim), which explains magnificently the following pesukim (Devarim 17, 6): יד העדים,“על פי שנים עדים או שלשה עדים יומת המת לא יומת על פי עד אחד ”—תהיה בו בראשונה להמיתו ויד כל העם באחרונה ובערת הרע מקרבךby the word of two witnesses or three witnesses shall the condemned person be put to death; he shall not be put to death by the word of a single witness. The hand of the witnesses shall be upon him first to put him to death, and the hand of the entire people afterward, and you shall destroy the evil from your midst. It can be suggested that the holy Torah is alluding here to the three strategies employed to overcome the yetzer—Torah, “Krias Shema,” and contemplating the day of death. Here is the allusion: ”—“על פי שנים עדיםthe two witnesses alluded to are the two strategies of Torah and “Krias Shema”; “או שלשה ”—עדיםhere the passuk alludes to all three strategies, including recalling the day of death; this third method is employed when the person cannot overcome the yetzer by means of the first two strategies—Torah and “Krias Shema”; ”—“יומת המתin this manner, the yetzer hara shall die; however: ”—“לא יומת על פי עד אחדit is not recommended to eliminate the yetzer by means of the third method alone—recalling the day of death.
His interpretation continues: ”—“יד העדים תהיה בו בראשונה להמיתו first a person should rely on the two witnesses alone to exterminate the yetzer; ”—“ויד כל העם באחרונהbut for the majority of people who are incapable of overcoming the yetzer by means of Torah and “Krias Shema” alone, they have no other choice but to resort to the third and last strategy—contemplating the day of death. For, all of these strategies share a common goal: ”—“ובערת הרע מקרבךeliminating the yetzer hara from our midst. This concludes his explanation.
We have learned from this discussion that one should make every effort to overcome the yetzer by means of the first two strategies—Torah and “Krias Shema”—and not resort to the third strategy—envisioning the day of death. For, as the Agra D’Kallah explained, it is best to serve Hashem with “simchah” rather than sadness. Alternatively, as the Panim Yafos explained, when a person employs the strategies of Torah and “Krias Shema,” he is serving Hashem and performing mitzvos; he is not merely employing a strategy for overcoming the yetzer hara. Notwithstanding, if a person is unsuccessful in his efforts to thwart the yetzer by means of the first two strategies, he must resort to the third strategy—envisioning the day of death.
In summary, we have learned that it is imperative to make every effort to overcome the yetzer hara by means of the first two strategies proposed by the Gemara—Torah and “Krias Shema”—and not to resort to the third strategy—contemplating the day of death. If, however, a person fails to overcome the yetzer hara utilizing the first two methods, he has no choice but to resort to the third method.
Hence, it is with great joy and enlightenment that we can now appreciate the lesson Chazal taught us with regards to educating our children. When a child is able to speak, his father “should teach him Torah and Krias Shema.” For, these two strategies will provide him with a solid foundation for the rest of his life, enabling him to vanquish the yetzer hara without needing to contemplate the day of his death. As we learned, this was the message conveyed by Yitzchak Avinu with his remark: ”“הנה נא זקנתי לא ידעתי יום מותי. This explains very nicely why Rabeinu HaKadosh began Torah she’b’al peh with the mitzvah of Krias Shema. He wished to establish the magnificent partnership that exists between Torah and Krias Shema, with which a person can overcome the yetzer hara. It is with great pleasure that we can now comprehend the timehonored Jewish minhag discussed at the beginning of this essay. After fulfilling the mitzvah of Krias Shema the night before and in the morning as well, and after being called up to the Torah in the morning, it is evident that the Bar-Mitzvah boy’s father fulfilled his obligation in the fullest sense of the word. He dutifully and devotedly followed Chazal’s advice to teach his child, as soon as he was able to speak, Torah and Krias Shema. Therefore, that is the precise time for him to recite the berachah: “ברוך שפטרני מעונשו של ”זה. He will not be held accountable or punishable for not having educated his son properly. After all, his son is already equipped with two amazing weapons with which to vanquish the yetzer hara throughout the duration of his life—Torah and Krias Shema.
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דברי תורה לפרשת תולדות When One Annuls Himself To Hashem Yisborach, Tefilah Becomes An Easy Avodah!
Why Was It Necessary For The Avos To Suffer So Much? The verse states (Bereishis 25:21): “And Yitzchak entreated Hashem opposite his wife for she was barren.” Rashi and the Rashbam explain: “He prayed much and entreated with prayer. The Gemara (Yevamos 64A) tells us that Yitzchak too was unable to bear children – both Yitzchok and Rivkah were barren. We may ask: Why did Hashem Yisborach need to make Yitzchak and Rivkah naturally unable to bear children? Why did He create such a circumstance where they needed to pray so exceedingly in order to bear children? The Gemara in Yevamos continues: “Why were our Avos barren? Because the Holy One Blessed is He desires the prayers of the righteous.” The Medrash Tanchuma (Toldos 9) adds: Why were the Imahos barren? Because the Holy One Blessed be He desires their prayers. He said: They are wealthy. They are beautiful. If I would grant them children, they would not pray to Me. We may still ask several questions: 1. Why did Hashem need to send them such a terrible suffering? Chazal tell us that one who does not have children is considered as if he is dead. This is a tremendously painful circumstance. If Hashem desired their prayers, couldn’t He have sent a difficulty that is not replete with so much suffering? We actually find that Hashem was very careful not to send any pain to the Avos – as we find that He removed the sun from its shield in order not to trouble Avrohom Avinu with guests, but when He saw that Avrohom was pained by the lack of guests He sent angels in the guise of men to soothe his pain. Yet, in this case, He did send tremendous pain to Yitzchak and Rivkah. Why? 2. If He wanted them to pray to Him, He could have simply withheld children from them. Why did He make them physically unable to bear children? 3. The Avos were the ones who enacted the concept of set prayers. Why did Hashem say, “If I give them children they would not pray to me”? Of course, they would still have prayed! 4. Since Yitzchak and Rivkah were naturally unable to bear children, how could they pray for a miracle to occur to allow them to have children – as we know that one may not pray for a miracle (as is seen in Brachos 60B)? Is Prayer An Easy Or Hard Avodah?
In order to answer these questions, we must delve into the deeper meaning of the concept of prayer. The Medrash (Shemos Rabbah 38:4) states: “Take with you (devarim) words (Hoshea 14:3).” Words, I request, as it is said, ‘Take with you words and return to Hashem’, and I annul all your misdeeds.” These words are none other than words of Torah...They said to him, “We do not know.” He said to them, “Weep and pray before me and I accept it. Your ancestors, when they were enslaved in Egypt, wasn’t it for prayer that I redeemed them...in the days of Yehoshua wasn’t it for prayer that I made miracles for them…so too the men of Yerushalaim, even though they had angered me, because they wept before me I had mercy on them...I request from you not sacrifices and not offerings but words, as it is said, ‘Take with you words and return to Hashem.’” From this Medrash it seems that prayer is considered easier than offering sacrifices. In Sefer Divrei Yoel (Drashos for Hoshana Rabbah, Taf Shin Yud, page 3) on the words in Shemonah Esrei: “Hear our voice, Hashem our G-d, pity and be compassionate to us and accept with compassion and favor our prayers.” He notes that the prayer begins with the word “kol, voice”, but ends with the word “tefilah, prayer.” He explains that in earlier generations people would pray with genuine sincerity and would truly be connected to Hashem while they prayed with their entire hearts and soul. This connection through prayer went to such an extent that they shed their physical shells while they were immersed in supplication. A prayer such as this is called “tefilah”. In our times, however, there has been a spiritual descent and our prayers are not recited with our entire beings. They are almost not to be considered prayers at all. Rather, they are simply “voices” – uttered without any real intent, spiritual awakening, or clinging to Hashem. Still and all, we ask Hashem to “hear our voice” – even though it is merely a voice and not a genuine tefilah – and accept our prayers with compassion as if we had uttered a true tefilah with genuine intent. We can now explain the Medrash as follows: It is true that there are many levels of the quality of prayer. But Hashem Yisborach accepts the prayers of every Jew, on whatever level it may be. Therefore, prayers are considered easier than offering sacrifices. We still may ask that Chazal say (Tainus 2A): “What
is service of the heart? This is prayer.” This sounds as if prayer is no small thing. It is a great service, which the Torah refers to when it says to “serve Hashem with your entire heart”. How can it be referred to as a small thing? To Prepare The Heart Is A Difficult Avodah, But To Pray Is An Easy Avodah! We may answer by noting that the service of prayer is called a service of the heart. This indicates that a person’s duty is to prepare his heart and properly sanctify it to pray properly. Once one works on his heart and brings it to the proper level, the actual prayer is in fact a small thing. Everything begins with the heart. And one’s avodah must be to work on his heart and ensure that no such thoughts enter. One must plant in his heart the absolute knowledge that everything comes from Hashem and constantly bear this in mind and live perpetually without ever forgetting this vital fact. When a person comes to realize that he can do nothing on his own and everything he has comes to him from Hashem Yisborach, it is very easy and natural to pray to Him. For such a person, prayer is a small thing. He is a fulfillment of the words of a Rabenu Yona on a Mishnah in Avos. The Mishnah says (Avos 2:13): “When you pray, don’t make your prayer routine. Rather pray compassion and supplicate before the Omnipresent Blessed be He. The Rabenu Yona writes that one should utter his prayers like a pauper that is supplicating and asking for what he needs – not like someone who is asking for something he doesn’t really need who isn’t begging with a lowly heart and broken spirit. Every man must make requests for himself because everyone needs mercy. Hashem withholds His anger and has compassion to people – not because of their virtue. One must supplicate to Him for perhaps Hashem will stop holding back evil that is caused by one’s sins. For miracles do not occur all the time. This can be compared to someone who is dependent upon credit which he regularly receives from the bank. If the bank would stop giving him credit, his entire business would be in jeopardy. Such a person would be very careful to nurture his relationship with the bank and stay on good terms with them, since he knows he can’t survive without them. So too, Hashem Yisborach gives us all credit by withholding His anger that is created by our sins. He gives us time to repent, and, in the meanwhile, continues to provide for us when we turn to Him
and pray. Would He, Heaven forbid, withhold His “credit” from us, we would be left with nothing. Even whatever possessions we already have do not really belong to us. They are given to us by Hashem and He can take them back at any time. Therefore, everything depends upon our prayers. When one lives with this realization, his prayers will be uttered with perfect intent and concentration, as he well knows that everything depends upon them. The verse states (14:10): “And Pharaoh drew close. And the children of Yisroel lifted their eyes. And, behold, Egypt was traveling after them. And they were greatly scared. And the children of Yisroel cried out to Hashem.” Rashi explains: They grabbed hold of the occupation of their fathers. (As Avrohom, Yitzchak and Yaakov had all prayed to Hashem.) We may ask what the comparison is between the prayers of the nation at the sea – when they were in great danger with the Egyptians chasing after them and the desert and sea surrounding them – to the prayers the Avos enacted, seemingly not in times of danger. Rav Yeruchim Levovitz zt”l (Da’as Torah Parshas Beshalach) explains that the Avos were on a constant level of recognition that there is no option in times of distress other than to turn to Hashem Yisborach. Their prayers were always uttered with the feeling that there is no force besides Him and they are dependent upon His mercy and kindness. When Yisroel stood at the sea they were on this same level of recognition. They knew that the gentiles come against us with horses and chariots, but we trust solely in the Name of Hashem. That is what is meant by Rashi’s words, “They grabbed onto the occupation of their forefathers.” When one reaches this level of acceptance that no force in the world can help him besides for Hashem Yisborach, and one realizes that he is receiving His kindness every second, then prayer is, in fact, an easy thing. The Perfect Avodah Of Tefilah Is When One Depends Solely And Completely On Hashem Rabenu Yona writes on our Parshah: It seemingly should first have said: “And Rivkah was barren”, before saying: “And Yitzchok entreated Hashem because she was barren.” We can state that the reason the praying was mentioned first is because the verse wished to state the main thing first in order to teach us that the barrenness was not the cause of the prayers. Rather, the prayers were the
cause of the barrenness. This teaches us that they were only barren so that both of them would pray. This is as Chazal say that the Imahos were barren because the Holy One Blessed is He desires the prayers of the righteous. We learn from here that prayers are extremely powerful, to the extent of even being able to alter nature. As we explained, Hashem Yisborach desires the prayers of the righteous to be perfect and complete, and to come from the depths of their hearts. Therefore, it would not suffice to withhold children from them or to send some small suffering that would not be on the level of barrenness. Rather, He made them barren, physically unable to bear children with no natural hope. He was now assured that the prayers would emit from the very depths of their hearts, with no slight thought of depending on any other means for salvation. We find this conduct in several other places. For example, after Moshe Rabenu spoke to Pharaoh he ordered the nation to work even harder. The commentators explain that Hashem did this in order that the nation realize that He could be their only source of salvation, and to comprehend that Pharaoh would never agree to lighten their burden on his own. Once they realized that He was their only hope, they were forced to turn to Him and pray from the depths of their hearts. The Gemara in Shabbos (89B) says: In the future, the Holy One Blessed be He will say to Yisroel, go to your forefathers and they will rebuke you. We will say before Him, to whom should we go to? Should we go to Avraham, who was told "Yado'a Teda" (your descendants will be enslaved) and he did not request mercy for us? Should we go to Yitzchak, who blessed Esav "V'hayah ka'asher tarid” (when Yaakov declines, Esav will be master over him)? And he did not request mercy for us. Who should we go to now? The Holy One Blessed be He will say: Since you relied upon Me, if your sins will be like red thread, I will bleach them like snow. Hagaon Rav Nochum Ziv Braude zt”l, son of the Alter of Kelm, explains with a parable. A poor man once went to the home of a wealthy man and received a small donation. The poor man told him, “I had heard that when a poor man comes to you, you supply him with all his needs?” The rich man answered, “You are collecting from door to door. I’ll give you a little. The next house will give you a little. And so on. Between all the houses you’ll attain the amount you need. However, when a
respected man, who’s too embarrassed to go out knocking on doors, comes to me, I give him everything he needs in one shot because he has to rely solely on me.” The same is true of Hashem Yisborach. As long as a person thinks he has other means to get what he needs, Hashem will not help him. Once he realizes he has no other solution and cannot depend on anyone else besides Hashem, then Hashem says, “Since you relied on me I will save you.” People tend to fail in this area often in their daily lives by placing too much faith in their own efforts. Oftentimes, we can clearly see how these efforts not only are of no help, they actually are to our detriment. The reason for this is because Hashem desires our prayers, and wants us to see that we can only rely upon Him. Therefore, our efforts actually make matters worse, and the only true solution is to turn to Him with prayers and entreaties. This is all part of His design to show us that our efforts bear no fruits, and we must depend solely on His salvation, just as the Avos did. This is the answer to the question of how the Avos were allowed to pray for a miracle. This was not considered depending on a miracle because they were not truly barren. Rather, the barrenness was only a pretense to bring them to pray to Hashem in order to bear children. There Can Be No Despair In The World! Once we internalize the message that the true purpose of suffering is to bring one to pray to Hashem, we will understand that there is never a reason to despair. When one reaches this level of understanding, he will be infused with faith in Hashem and hope. He will realize that the suffering only was sent to him in order to bring him to pray, and will be confident that once he turns to Him the suffering will cease automatically. We find this concept in the story of Mordechai and Esther. The entire nation was facing grave danger, but they did not engage in physical efforts to save themselves. Rather, their first step was to gather the entire nation to fast and cry out in prayer. They understood that the danger was sent to lead them to pray, and they knew that the prayers would automatically annul the decree. Who knows how much pain and suffering – for ourselves individually, for the nation as a whole, and for the Shechinah in exile - could be avoided if we prayed properly? Certainly, we could accomplish much with a proper measure of tefilah.
And Yitzchak loved Eisav – ויאהב יצחק את עשיו There was a king who did not have any children and to his great dismay there was no one to inherit him and continue his reign. When he aged, the king was informed that a boy will be chosen from all the boys of the kingdom to be the prince and thus he would be the next king. All the boys of the kingdom were called to the town square on the designated day and on that day thousands of boys came. The king handed out seeds and flowerpots to all of them and he asked them to plant the seeds in the flowerpots and to cultivate it for three months, in three months they were to return to the same place with the flower pot and then the king would pick his successor. At the end of three months thousands of boys showed up holding their flowerpots, some of them large and some of them nice. The king walked among the boys and searched and searched when suddenly he spotted a boy with an empty flowerpot in his hand. The king approached him and asked him, ‘Why is your flowerpot empty?’ The boy replied, ‘My lord, I planted the seeds that I received from you and I watered it every day and every day I would pray over it that it would grow and flourish, but nothing happened.’ The king said, ‘This boy will inherit my crown’, and to everyone’s amazement he explained, ‘The seeds that they all received were cooked and therefore, could not germinate, all the boys exchanged their seeds with other seeds, and only this boy had the attribute of truth and did not exchange the seeds rather, believed every day that these seeds were proper.’ Yaakov was ‘a wholesome man, abiding in tents’ and despite this his righteous father specifically loved his brother Eisav who was a terribly wicked man, who already at his Bar Mitzvah had transgressed all the severe sins in the Torah, and seemingly Yaakov could have been broken by this and think that perhaps his way was not proper, perhaps it was better to follow chas v’chalilah in the ways of his wicked brother, but he was not broken and he clung to the true path. Sometimes we see that the wicked are successful, and this can depress us when we see the success of false and wicked people, however, we must remember that ultimately the truth will come to light, and then the great reward will go to the one who travelled his entire life on the path of truth, and this is hinted at in the posuk (25:28) ' 'ויאהב לצחק את עשיו- ‘And Yitzchak loved Eisav’ in the past tense, but, '‘ – 'ורבקה אוהבת את יעקבAnd Rivka loves Yaakov’ in the present tense, for in the end truth is eternal. Tiv HaTorah - Toldos
A Good Messenger 1 –1 שליח טוב On Thursday after the set shiur with my father, my teacher with the sons and grandsons, I was able to join our parents and spend an elevated Shabbos with them in Meron. All the packages were arranged for the trip. The boys helped organize the packages and they packed those going to Meron in one car and the packages that Savta prepared for the children and grandchildren every Shabbos were packed into a second car going to the house in Beit Shemesh. We arrived in Meron early Friday morning after 1:00 AM. My father, my teacher wanted to go up to the kever for twenty minutes before unpacking the car where we were staying and only after davening a Tefillah by Rebbe Shimon bar Yochai did we arrive at our host. When we parked at the kever, my brother-in-law from Beit Shemesh called saying that he could not find the bag of food and his Shabbos clothes. After he described it I realized that this was the bag that had been with me the entire trip because of a lack of space and it seemed that one of the boys mixed it up and packed it in our car instead of the other car. Now, how was I going to send the bag back to Beit Shemesh? I told my brother-in-law that in the morning I would find someone going close to Yerushalayim or Beit Shemesh and I will try to send the bag along, in the meantime I put the food in the refrigerator so that it would not spoil. I went up to the kever to daven and when I came out a neighbor approached and greeted me warmly. I asked him if was going to spend Shabbos in Meron as well, and he replied that he was leaving just then to return to Beit Shemesh. I told him about the mix up of bags and before I could finish he said, ‘I am going to bring the car around and I will gladly take the bag back home.’ By 3:00 AM the bag arrived home in an amazing way!!! .מ.ר
And brought us the time – והגיענו לזמן Three weeks ago, I made an appointment with a doctor for 1:30 in Boro Park. That morning I went to visit my mother in Williamsburg completely forgetting about the appointment. At 12:50 I remembered my appointment which was very important for me, and the next bus going from Williamsburg to Boro Park was leaving at exactly 12:50. I hoped to catch the bus and then I would only be ten minutes late to the doctor and I hoped that he was running late with other patients, despite knowing that this office runs on time and appointments are kept, I decided to try my luck. As I was leaving my mother’s house, my brother-in-law who lives in Monsey was coming in, and he asked me where I was running in such a hurry? To my surprise, he said that he was just about to go to Boro Park. Immediately after saying hello to my mother, he drove me to the doctor’s office and I arrived at 1:32 just as the patient before me was leaving the office. .ש.ל.א https://telegram.me/Publications_MM
The Complete Faith – האמונה התמימה :ויאמר יצחק אל יעקב גשה נא ואמשך בני האתה זה בני עשו אם לא )עא:(כז And Yitzchak said to Yaakov, “Come close, if you please, so I can touch you, my son, are you, indeed, my son Eisav or not?” (27:21) Rashi explains – Yitzchak said to himself, “It is not the practice of Eisav to have the Name of Heaven fluent in his mouth, yet this one said (v.20– כי הקרה ה' אלקיךBecause Hashem your G-d arranged it.” From the words of Rashi we see that the curiosity of Yitzchak was aroused when he heard Yaakov mention the Name of Heaven, and it is obvious from here that were it not for this Yitzchak was not aware of any difference between Yaakov and Eisav, as their voices were similar, and even the goatskins made them similar, and only because he verbally mentioned the Name of Heaven Yitzchak understood that perhaps this was not Eisav. My son, HaRav HaGaon R’ Dov shlit”a asked, apparently from the outset Yaakov was afraid of this for otherwise there was no reason that Yitzchak would have a doubt, and if so, it is fitting to understand what caused Yaakov to answer like this, he could have answered as Eisav was accustomed to answering and in this way he would have removed all doubt, and why did he respond specifically in this way and put himself in danger under Yitzchak’s scrutiny? My son answered that although Yaakov was prepared to change all his characteristics for the benefit of the blessings, however, Yaakov was not prepared to change his character regarding his faith, for when one conceals something relating to his faith then he demonstrates that the person is not honest in his faith, and for this Yaakov was not prepared for at all. Additionally, Yaakov’s purpose in wanting the blessings was faith, for he believed in his Creator and he wanted to fulfill the will of Yisbarach in practice, for his mother revealed to him that this was the will of the Omnipresent, that he take the blessings. That Tzaddik [righteous individual] also knew that with the strength of these blessings he would be able to establish the Twelve Tribes of Hashem, and through them establish the Jewish nation, and since was so, he did not want to conceal his faith specifically at a time like this when he was involved in extending faith for the generations, as this was in the category of carrying out the mission of the Omnipresent and how could it enter his mind to conceal his faith specifically at a time like this. This is a great teaching in the matter of faith, for sometimes a person is aroused to perform a certain great mitzvah for the sake of Heaven, and he sees that in order to put this into practice he must do something that is against the will of Hashem Yisbarach, and the Inclination entices him saying, ‘Do this, even if the spirit of the Omnipresent is not pleased with it, for although this action is not proper, still, through it you will benefit greatly spiritually and the benefit will exceed the loss of the sin manifold.’ However, anyone whose faith is true knows that these words are nonsensical, as one does not set his eye and heart on just the performance of the mitzvah, rather, he also focuses on to Whom he is doing this, and he knows that his Creator is waiting with anticipation for him to fulfill His will and bring him satisfaction by performing the mitzvah. That Creator is quite upset when His will is deflected even with a small sin in contrast to a large mitzvah that He wants him to fulfill. And so, with the strength of faith the Inclination is not able to entice him in this way. The person that is instilled with complete faith is rescued from many confusions expressed by the Inclination, for example, if the
Inclination comes to entice him to daven quickly as it is getting late and he has to hurry to get to work on time to earn his living, the person who does not have his faith instilled in his heart will heed its advice, and will rush through his Tefillah, and will not concentrate even in those places that Halacha obligates one to concentrate and without this concentration he has not fulfilled his obligation. However, the one who has faith instilled in him has another spirit in him, and says to himself: During the Tefillah I can converse with my Creator and through this I can arouse the influence to descend below and if I hurry through the Tefillah I will surely lose the influence that is bestowed from that Tefillah. And even if it seems to the person that only by rushing through davening I will earn my living, this is not true, for the Omnipresent has many messengers, and I do not know why I have to work for my livelihood, and on the other hand, if I rush through davening it is possible that since I did not daven properly I will lose these pennies that I earned by rushing, for it is quite possible that I do not deserve them since I did not daven properly, and because of this I will cause the loss of this money. We find that with the strength of faith the Inclination is not able to entice him. This was the view of the Gedolei Yisroel [Great ones of Israel] on this topic, faith was the light onto their feet, and all of them testified that they placed their eyes on this, they decided that nothing can come up against their faith, whether it was because of a spiritual purpose or whether it was because of a material purpose. It is told about the Chofetz Chaim, that once one of the great influencers of his generation came to him and he told him that he was offered the position of a mashgiach and mashpia [one in charge of the boys] in a certain yeshiva, and the administrators of the yeshiva agreed upon a specific salary as his wages, and he accepted the offer. However, he was requesting of the Chofetz Chaim that since he had a large family with many expenses, that he do him a favor and write a letter to the administrators of the yeshiva that it would be appropriate to increase his salary so that he would have free time for the holy service. The Chofetz Chaim heard his request, however, instead of writing a letter of recommendation, he immediately sent a telegram to the administrators of the yeshiva in it he wrote that he heard that they were considering this man for honorable position as mashpia in their yeshiva and so he was informing them that in his opinion he is not a good candidate for the position, and they should see fit to seek someone appropriate for this. When this became known, the relatives and family of the Chofetz Chaim were shocked by his action, how and why did he see fit to do something like this? The Chofetz Chaim replied and said: The role of a mashpia in a yeshiva is to instill the Jewish tradition in the boys of the yeshiva, and the basic principle of Judaism is faith, and in order for his words to make an impression his words have to come from his heart, and in order for them to come from the heart the words must be instilled in the heart of the mashpia very well. Since he showed me in my house and he expressed the request that I should try to get him more money, I realized that this man was not instilled with true faith, since this was so, I knew that he was not fit to influence the boys as his words would not have impact. Since this would be a spiritual loss to hundreds of students, I was forced to inform the administrators of the yeshiva. This was the view of Gedolei Yisroel, they decided in everything that it not go against faith and if it was proper to do it or not. We request that Hashem Yisbarach should be a help to us that we be able to act through pure faith. https://telegram.me/Publications_MM
בס"ד Erev Shabbat Toldot; 2 of Kislev 5777; Dec. 2 , 2016 #560 Editor Aharon Schmidt email@example.com nd
"No Farbrengen? Why Not?"
student at the time, just knew there had to be a reason behind all this. He managed to contact someone "in the know," who related the most wondrous story. It began a few months earlier. The mother of a boy in a Chabad school in New York sent the Rebbe a letter complaining about her son who, because of his unusual appearance, was being teased mercilessly by his classmates. The Rebbe advised the woman to speak to the principal, who would certainly intervene. A few weeks later, the woman wrote back. Apparently, the principal did little and the teasing continued.
It was late in November, 1974. Outside of 770 Eastern Parkway, Chabad headquarters crowds milled about, buzzing with casual conversation after the completion of the morning service. The synagogue attendant arose to make the usual announcements. The congregation at 770 waited perfunctorily, already expecting what to hear. According to system, the attendant would look to the Lubavitcher Rebbe while making the announcements. If the Rebbe walked away before the time for mincha, the afternoon prayer, was announced, it was understood that a farbrengen ("gathering" of chasidim) would take place, with mincha following afterward. If the Rebbe remained in his place, there would be no farbrengen that afternoon and the usual time for mincha would be announced. Although many years earlier the Rebbe had conducted farbrengens frequently, the gatherings eventually dwindled to either the monthly Shabbos before the New Moon or a special Shabbos on the Jewish or Chabad calendar. That particular year, 5735, the Rebbe had farbrengedmore often than usual, which was why the chasidim assumed a farbrengen would take place, and especially since this Shabbos was 9 Kislev, both the birthday and yahrzeit of the Mitteler (Second) Lubavitcher Rebbe, and the following day, Sunday 10 Kislev, would mark the commemoration of his release from prison. The attendant, too, was certain. He began making his usual announcements-mitzvah tanks that would go out Sunday to Manhattan-expecting the Rebbe to walk away from his place, the signal to announce that day's farbrengen at 1:30. But instead the Rebbe remained in his place. The attendant, still certain of a farbrengen, continued making announcements. He urged people to participate in all the Rebbe's mitzvah campaigns, mentioning those the Rebbe had initiated over the years. But after he had drawn out saying anything he could, he saw the Rebbe still standing there. The hint was clear: the Rebbe was not going to farbreng. The attendant gave one final look, then announced, "Mincha at four." The chasidim groaned in disappointment. Quietly the Rebbe left and went up to his room, followed by his chief secretary, Rabbi Chadakov. Please guard the sanctity of this publication
(painting: "Torah Minyan" by Elie Benzaquen) Groups of students gathered around, trying to find the reason why they didn't merit a farbrengen on that special Shabbos. Perhaps the Rebbe wanted to announce a new mitzvah, which he would save for the farbrengen that would surely take place the next day and could be broadcast the world over. At the same time the Chassidim were leaving 770, the morning service ended in the Franklin shul on the edge of Crown Heights. As Kiddushwas being prepared, a young and somewhat different-looking boy sat excitedly at the head of the table. It was his bar mitzvah, the day he was "now a man" and would be religiously responsible. Around him adults chatted about the farbrengen that day for 9 Kislev, urging everyone to finish before 1:00 so they could walk over to 770. As guests hurried past the boy and wished him mazel tov, the boy nodded and smiled back, yet sighed, resigned to a short ceremony. This significant event in his life would be finished in less than an hour. Just then a neighbor who prayed at 770 walked in. "Sorry, folks, no farbrengen today." The Franklin congregants were both shocked and disappointed. Nevertheless, now free of any rush, they raised their glasses in toast to the boy, and the Kiddush turned into a minifarbrengen that lasted almost until mincha. The bar mitzvah boy was delighted. The next day, Sunday, was 10 Kislev, so the Rebbe went as usual to the Ohel (burial place of his father-in-law and predecessor) that morning. The chasidim eagerly awaited his return. Naturally the Rebbe would go to his office for the afternoon prayer, then speak to Rabbi Chodakov about a farbrengen. To their dismay, the Rebbe returned in the late afternoon and went straight to the afternoon service. He left his office afterward without a word to Rabbi Chadakov. It was clear: no farbrengen that day, either. Rabbi Nachman Yosef Twersky, a young
The Rebbe called for Rabbi Chadokov. He asked his secretary to contact the school and ask, on the Rebbe's behalf, why this painful situation had not been corrected. "What are they waiting for?" the Rebbe demanded. "That I myself visit the school and handle this?" Rabbi Chodakov phoned the school. After hearing the Rebbe's instructions, the principal immediately took action, and the bullying stopped. That Shabbos, 9 Kislev, after the Rebbe finished mincha and went to his room, he again summoned Rabbi Chodakov and explained that the boy's bar mitzvah was taking place that Shabbos afternoon. "The boy must not feel cheated that his farbrengen ended earlier than usual because of mine," the Rebbe insisted. It was for this reason that the Rebbe chose not to farbreng. The next day, continued the Rebbe, would be the boy's bar mitzvah celebration. Had the Rebbe conducted his usual farbrengen, the hasty departure of so many guests would ruin the boy's celebration. So on 10 Kislev 5735, there was no farbrengen either. Connection: Seasonal--Anniversary of birth and of liberation and of death of 2nd Lubavitcher Rebbe Source: Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from an Avner Institute mailing Rebbebook@Gmail.com. Yerachmiel Tilles is the director of the AscentOfSafed.com and KabbalaOnline.org websites. His mailing list of 900+ weekly stories (firstname.lastname@example.org) is now in its 20th year. “Festivals of the Full Moon,” the second of a 3volume series of his best stories, is now available in Tzefat at Ascent and KabbalaOnline-shop.com.
S h a b b a t T i me s – T o l d o t Candlelighting
OUR "ISRAELI" FOREFATHER This week's Torah portion, Toldot, describes the life of our Patriarch Isaac. The Talmud teaches that in the Messianic Era, Isaac will be referred to as "our father," implying that it is Isaac from among our Patriarchs who has a special connection to the Messianic Era. As we now stand at the threshold of the Redemption of the Jewish people, it is important to understand what exactly Isaac's path and service mean for us. Isaac was the only one of our Patriarchs who lived his entire life in the Land of Israel. Abraham was born outside of Israel and also left Israel to go to Egypt when a famine threatened. Jacob, too, left Israel to work for Laban. However, when there was another famine in the Land during Isaac's lifetime, G-d commanded him to stay where he was and not to seek food elsewhere. "Do not go down to Egypt, but dwell in this land...and I will bless you." This is because after having shown his willingness to be sacrificed on the altar by his father Abraham, Isaac was considered a "perfect offering," too holy to dwell anywhere but in the Holy Land. Isaac, therefore, symbolizes the Jewish people as they were meant to be, and as they will exist in the Messianic Era, their
That my soul may bless you (Gen. 27:4) Why did Isaac want to bless Esau? Jacob was "a pure man, a dweller in tents (of Torah)" and even without a blessing he would stay away from evil. Esau, however, was very likely to fall into bad ways, and needed the assistance of his father's blessing. (Ohr HaTorah)
And they departed from him in peace (Gen. 26:31) Even after having partaken of a meal with the tzadik, Isaac, Avimelech still departed convinced of his own self-importance. This is something that a Jew would have been unable to do. A Jew, when in the presence of a tzadik, realizes his own shortcomings and is humbled. (Reb Bunim)
rightful place being in their land and not in exile in the four corners of the earth. During our present exile, we are like "children who have been banished from their father's table." We must therefore continue to demand that G-d send the redeemer now, so that we will be h oable mtoe emulate Isaac and live a full life of Torah and mitzvot in our own land, as we were meant to. Isaac's approach to the service of G-d is also especially applicable to us today. Even though Isaac continued in his father Abraham's path of spreading the belief in G-d throughout the world, he did so in a different manner from his father: Abraham wandered from place to place, including Egypt, spreading G-dliness wherever he went. Isaac, on the other hand, always remained in the same place, in Israel, yet others flocked to him because they were attracted by his holiness. In this way Isaac was able to influence others. For the most part, the Jewish people have followed Abraham's example during their long exile, wandering from country to country and causing G-d's name to be called on wherever they went. After Moshiach comes, however, we will follow in Isaac's footsteps, as G-d's holiness and light will emanate from the Third Holy Temple in
they aren't deserving, and I should let it be known to this wicked man, Esau?" (Sefer HaParshiot)
Esau and Jacob The name Esau is derived from the Hebrew word meaning done or completed. Esau felt whole, satisfied and comfortable with his spiritual status, and was thus lacking any desire to elevate himself. Jacob, by contrast, is derived from the word meaning heel. No matter how high a spiritual level Jacob achieved he considered it as nothing, and was consistently motivated to elevate himself further. (Shem MiShmuel)
And the children struggled together within her (Gen. 26:22)
He summoned his older son (27:1) Isaac intended to reveal to Esau the day Moshiach would come, in the hope that it would cause him to leave his evil ways. At that very moment G-d hid it from Isaac and said, "In the future I will conceal this information from Jacob's sons because
The struggle between Jacob and Esau began before birth, and ever since, there has been no peace. Indeed, it is a perpetual war that continues till this very day.
Jerusalem. And at that time, as happened in the days of Isaac, all the nations of the world will likewise flock to Jerusalem, as it states, "And all nations shall flow unto it...for the Torah shall go forth out of Zion." C hWe a bmust, adC o . o r gcombine in ather d meantime, aspects of both these approaches, refining our own personal spirituality, yet at the same time, not neglecting to spread holiness throughout the world at large. Adapted from the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe; Shabbos Table, From our Sages and Moshiach Now! reprinted from www.LchaimWeekly.org - LYO / NYC)
BECOMING THE REBBE'S SHLIACH Reb Mordechai the Tzaddik was a talmid of the Baal Shem Tov. Reb Mordechai had two close friends from his days in Yeshiva, and he wanted very much to share with them this new way in serving Hashem, but he was hesitant to leave his Rebbe. Besides, who knows whether he will find them, or if they will listen to him? The Baal Shem Tov once said, "One must have self-sacrifice to do a favor for even a single Yid in material and especially in the spiritual..." Reb Mordechai nearly resolved to begin the journey and seek his friends, but somehow he was unable to do so. After a few days, he thought of going to the Rebbe and asking his advice. Then, the Rebbe thru Ruach HaKodesh could tell him where his friends were. But then Reb Mordechai rejected the idea. Hadn't the Rebbe clearly said that "One must have self-sacrifice to do a favor for a Yid"? So why ask? And asking the Rebbe to use Ruach HaKodesh to save him some time – that’s the biggest chutzpa! Furthermore, if Reb Mordechai would know where they were, then his selfsacrifice would be less. No - he would not ask; he made the decision to take to the road and seek his friends. He rose very early, prepared himself for shacharit, and davened. After davening, he took up the bag containing his belongings and his tallis and tefillin, and began the journey. Reb Mordechai had already passed the city limits when the Rebbe's servant ran after him with the message that the Rebbe had sent for him. When he entered the Baal Shem Tov's room, the Baal Shem Tov said to him: "Baruch Hashem, you were victorious in your battle with yourself." The Baal Shem Tov gave him some instructions and a blessing to succeed. After a long journey, Reb Mordechai found his friends and brought to them the awareness of the Baal Shem Tov and his way of serving Hashem. (reprinted from Lma’an Yishme’u)
ome@ChabadCardo.org RELIVING THE PAST – TELLING hSTORIES The Value of Stories
Sippurim for Everyone
Sent by the Tzemach Tzedek to Ruzhin to take care of a public matter, the chossid and gaon Reb Aizik Homiler used the opportunity to observe the ways of the Ruzhiner chassidim and of their Rebbe, the tzaddik Reb Yisroel. At that time, two chassidim came to Ruzhin to receive the Rebbe's haskama for seforim they had written. One was filled with chiddushei Torah and the other recounted sippurim of tzaddikim and notable chassidim. The Rebbe instructed that part of each sefer be read aloud. After sitting in dveikus for some time, he proceeded to praise the telling of sippurei tzaddikim, an activity in this world that arouses echoes in the chambers of tzaddikim in Olam HaBa, and then delivered a pilpul on some of the chiddushei Torah that appeared in the first sefer. Having done that, he instructed his gabbai to write haskamos for the seforim, first for the sippurim and then for the chiddushim.
The Frierdiker Rebbe related: "It was a Shabbos afternoon in 5656 (1896). After my father finished davening, he went to the home of his mother, Rebbetzin Rivkah, to make Kiddush. There, my father asked his mother, "Do you recall how the picture of the Alter Rebbe was brought to the Tzemach Tzedek and what he said about it?"
Reb Aizik was impressed with the tzaddik's pilpul on the second sefer, but was puzzled by the precedence he had given to the sippurei tzaddikim. A few days later, at a Rosh Chodesh seuda, the tzaddik suddenly said, "This gaon is surprised at the priority I gave to the sippurim. In fact, this was addressed long ago by Rashi, who asks why the Torah begins with the story of the Avos, before listing the mitzvos. This is because the sippurim tell us about the greatness of HaShem's involvement in the world." Turning to Reb Aizik, he concluded, "I followed the same order the Torah used." The Rambam writes that speaking highly of the noble qualities of tzaddikim is beneficial, for it encourages one's listeners to want to follow their ways. Rabbeinu Yonah writes that by praising righteous tzaddikim one is praising HaShem, and doing so also brings out the good within the speaker.
"Sure," she replied, "I remember it clearly." My father then asked her to tell it to me, so that I would hear it from a first source. My grandmother readily agreed, and turning to me she said, "Come at a calmer time and I will tell it to you." She then added, "At one Seder I heard my fatherin-law, the Tzemach Tzedek, say: 'Mitzva lesaper biyetzias Mitzrayim' – by telling sippurim we can get out of Mitzrayim. 'Ve'afilu kulanu chachomim u'nevonim veyodim' – even a person who is a true Chabadnik (meaning a chossid steeped in the insights of Chassidus) is obligated to tell chassidishe sippurim, for these will take him out of his Mitzrayim (that is, out of his ruchniyusdike limitations)." My grandmother concluded, "Since then, I make a point of recounting sippurim only when I'm completely focused." In the year 5663, 1903, the Rebbe Rashab told his son, the Frierdiker Rebbe, "For a long time I have been complaining at the Ohel of my father, the Rebbe Maharash, about my lack of participation in chassidishe farbrengens, as a result of spending my time catering to the cause and avoda of Chassidus. I asked to receive this as a gift, and my father agreed. From then on, I began to hear sippurim at nighttime visions." Later on, the Frierdiker Rebbe said, "From that time on, I heard numerous stories from my father, the Rebbe Rashab, but I wouldn’t ask where he had heard them or when he had heard them."
Special Stories Before the Alter Rebbe relayed a Torah of the Baal Shem Tov, he would say, "The words of Torah from 'the Zeide' (as he called the Baal Shem Tov) are a segula to increase one's understanding and yiras Shamayim, and the stories of 'the Zeide' are a segula for long life and abundant parnasa." When the Tzemach Tzedek's daughter once fell ill with high fever, he suggested that someone read her stories of the Baal Shem Tov, for they are a superb segula to heal fever.
Living Redemption The Redemption relates to the essence of the Jewish people. The uniqueness of the Era of the Redemption, is that in that age, the essence will come into revelation; the essential qualities of the Jewish people will be openly apparent. Our bond with G-d will permeate every aspect of our consciousness, and will affect our thought, speech, and deed. All of
the revelations of the Era of the Redemption are dependent on our actions at present in the time. Accordingly, since the Era of the Redemption will be marked by an essential renewal of our being, it must also be prefaced by the revelation of that Jewish essence to the fullest extent possible in this time of exile. (The Rebbe, Kislev, 5752 - 1991)
The Rebbe Maharash once said: "People say that relating a story of the Baal Shem Tov on Motzaei Shabbos is a segula for parnasa. The truth is that these three points are not necessarily so – lav davka. It does not necessarily have to be about the Baal Shem Tov – it can be about any tzaddik; and it is not only applicable on Motzaei Shabbos – it can be at any time; and the segula is not only for parnasa – but for all good things as well. " Rebbetzin Rivkah related: "In 5609 (1849), when I was newly married, my father-in-law, the Tzemach Tzedek, called in all his daughters-in-law who lived in Lubavitch and instructed them to gather every Motzaei Shabbos and relate a sippur of the holy Baal Shem Tov. We asked whether it was enough to just mention the Baal Shem Tov's name. My father-in-law replied, 'Definitely –a story!' After that, every Motzaei Shabbos, one of the daughters-in-law would visit the Tzemach Tzedek, where she would hear a story of the Baal Shem Tov, and this she would then share with the rest of us." Reprinted from Lma’an Yishme’u
A Unique Yeshiva in Nachlaot The Yeshiva is currently located in the heart of Nachlaot, Jerusalem. The dorm has stood there for the past nine years and has alumni spanning back from 25 years ago and counting. The Rosh Yeshiva is Rabbi Gershon Avtzon. The R.A.P. stands for Rabbi Avtzon’s Program. Rabbi Avtzon was born in Detroit, coming from a long line of Shluchim. Not only is Rabbi Avtzon distinguish for successfully bringing over 250 young men to Yiddishkeit but also is accredited in helping and/or co-founding other programs and schools around the world. His alumni are just as successful in their shlichus with over 50 alumni with jobs as Rosh Yeshivos, Mashpiim, Rabbanim, published authors,
Here is a cholent that is filling and eliminates the need for extra side dishes. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil and brown 500 grams of ground meat (whatever you have). Drain any fat. Put the meat in your crock pot and stir in one chopped onion, one can diced tomatoes, two cups of pumpkin (dalaat) cubed, one can of chilli beans, one can of any other kind of bean (black?), one tbl of pumpkin pie spices (your favorite), one tbl chili powder and, if you must, three tbl of demarra sugar (but you can leave it out). Set to low and taste the "cholent" on Shabbat. Alizah Hochstead, email@example.com
etc. both in Lubavitch Yeshivos as well as other communities around the world. The list is too large to write down all his accomplishments and that of his alumni’s. The Yeshiva was created from a direct order from the Rebbe. Its design is unique, for nontraditional yeshiva students. Everyone is welcomed to come learn regardless of their background. This yeshiva is truly a safehaven where people can find a nonpressurized environment to learn where other options are challenging or none existent at best. The R.A.P. also offers a Smicha Program for English Speakers. If you ever wanted to become a Rabbi but felt that there was a “glass ceiling” due to a language barrier, have no fear. You too can become a certified Rabbi at the R.A.P. The R.A.P is currently taking applications for the start of the upcoming semester in midJanuary. The dorm is currently open for new students with a light seder. Space is available so apply now while you still can. If you know of someone who can benefit from the R.A.P. don’t regret it and kick yourself later for not telling them! Rabbi Moshe Chacham Moodie
Halacha Corner – Bracha before Tefilas Haderech (the Traveler’s Prayer) Someone told me that I must eat something and recite an after bracha before reciting Tefilas Haderech. Is this true? Chazal say that a bracha must open with the words "baruch ata," praising Hashem. In a series of brachos, the second bracha is covered by the baruch ata of the first bracha (such as the brachos of Shmoneh Esrei or "Ahavas Olam" in Birchos Krias Shema). Thus, a bracha lacking a baruch ata must be appended to another bracha. Rishonim are divided whether this rule applies to birkos hoda'a – blessings of thanks, such as "Elokai Neshama" (thanking Hashem for returning our neshama), and supplications, such as Tefilas Haderech. There is a further dispute within the stringent opinion whether it is an obligation or a hiddur. The Alter Rebbe writes that one should try to satisfy the stringent opinion and recite "Elokai Neshama" immediately after "Asher Yatzar" without interruption, and recite some bracha before Tefilas Haderech. What type of bracha should the first bracha be? Some require a bracha with a concluding baruch ata (i.e. Asher Yatzar or Al Hamichya). Others accept a short bracha, provided that it is not a bracha on food or smell since eating or smelling will constitute a hefsek. Others yet hold that any bracha is fine. The Alter Rebbe's seems to side with the first opinion. In his siddur by Tefilas Haderech the Alter Rebbe does not mention this practice. Furthermore, a story is recorded of how the Alter Rebbe once discussed the matter with his chassidim and concluded that Tefilas Haderech is an independent bracha and does not need to be appended to another. Similarly, when the Rebbe was offered a food to make a bracha before Tefilas Haderech, the Rebbe replied that it was unnecessary. By Rabbi Chaim Hillel Raskin Moreh Hora'ah - Beis Horaa Rechovot, reprinted from Lma’an Yishme’u
I do not know what to do with my 11 year-old daughter. She is constantly fighting with her siblings, chutzpadik, late for school and communicates through yelling. My wife and I have tried numerous approaches and nothing seems to work. I know this is not a lot of information, but we need help. Answer: All children are different and I do not think there is one approach that works for all children. Some children respond to one approach and others respond to another. However, as a general statement, the better a child’s relationship is with their parents the better their behavior will be. Children need to feel love and support from their parents. Love does not mean giving a child everything they ask for and letting them do whatever they want. Children that get whatever they ask for are usually not the happiest children. It is healthy for a parent to say “no” at times. Children want and need strength and boundaries from their parents. It makes them feel secure. At the same time, Rav Chaim Shalom Deitsch said that if you are going to err on the side of too much kindness or too much strictness, it is better to err on the side of too much kindness. So, what to do? The more a child respects and feels loved by his parents, the more he or she will behave appropriately. A parent should make time to spend with each child individually. It can be a short interval of 15 – 30 minutes twice a week. The time can be spent at home going over homework, reading or another activity that could be meaningful for the child. The main thing is that the parent dedicates time to spend with their child. The child needs this. It will improve the parent/child relationship and the child will feel loved. As a result, behavior should improve. While the general thrust of the home should be kindness, giving and acceptance there should also be clear rules and, according to some opinions, consequences for misbehaving. The child will have clarity as to what is not acceptable and the parents will not feel the need to act emotionally when a child misbehaves. For example, when your daughter hits one her siblings, you might feel like yelling at your daughter. However, if there are clear rules and consequences, you can calmly and firmly say, “that behavior is not accepted in this home” and then give the consequence. On the other hand, Rav Yitzchak Arad from Rechovot feels consequences/punishments should rarely be given. When a child hits he recommends telling the child that the behavior is not appropriate and comforting the child who was hit. As I said above, different approaches work with different children. However, it should be clear what is acceptable. In addition, although your child’s behavior might be extremely upsetting, it is important to stay centered and calm. More can be accomplished by speaking clearly, firmly and calmly. Also, be confident in your role as the parent, as the head of the family. The more confident you are as a parent and that what you are you doing is right, the more calm and effective you will be. It would also be good to consult with a therapist or psychologist for further guidance. Thus, in summary, I would suggest: 1. the home should be a place of kindness, giving and acceptance; 2. Have set times to spend quality time with your child; 3. Have clear rules and boundaries (consequences when the rules are broken will depend on your child’s nature); 4. Stay calm and centered; 5. Be confident; 6. Consult a therapist or psychologist. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org - Aharon Schmidt,
marriage & individual coaching and counseling; Jerusalem and Bet Shemesh; email@example.com, 052-5246528 https://telegram.me/Publications_MM
PARASHAS TOLDOS IN THE PATHWAYS OF FAITH Yitzchak Davened With Wealth ( כא,”ויעתר יצחק לה‘“ )כה The Midrash (Bereishis Rabba 63, 5) cites the words of Rabi Yochanan, who explained the term “vaye’etar”: “He poured out his tefillos with wealth” (atir is ashir in Aramaic, see Onkelos, ibid 14:23). One may ask, what is the purpose of so many tefillos—have we not learned (Brachos 5b): “One says more and one says less as long as he directs his heart to the Heavens”? Rav Eliyahu of Wiskit (Wiskitno), a disciple of the Kotzker Rebbe, explained in sefer Eizor Eliyahu: The intention of Rabi Yochanan was to say that Yitzchak Avinu offered all his tefillos with the sense that he was wealthy, and he lacked for nothing, so that they should not be interpreted that he had any complaints towards Hashem for not being blessed with children. The sefer Nachalas Yaakov Yehoshua further explains: Yitzchak offered his tefillos “lenochach ishto, in the presence of his wife” in other words, on behalf of his wife and for her honor. As Chazal said (Bava Metzia 59a): “A person should always be careful to respect his wife because blessing only comes to a person’s home because of his wife.” Therefore, Rabi Yochanan says that Yitzchak offered his tefillos ‘b’osher,’ that he was wealthy in the merit of his tefillos.
Yitzchak and Rivka Did Not Know Where to Direct Their Prayers “”לנכח אשתו “Lenochach ishto – he stood in one corner and davened and she stood in another corner and davened.” (Rashi) Why did Yitzchak and Rivka need to stand in two different corners? The early sefer, Mayim Chaim (Direnfurt 5450) explains Harav Chaim Halevi Horowitz in the name of his grandfather Rav Pinchas, zt”l: It says in Maseches Bava Basra (25a) that we have to be grateful to our forefathers for telling us which of the four directions one should turn to when davening—the east. Now it needs to be explained: Yitzchak and Rivka, who did not yet know in which direction to daven, chose to stand at two corners of the house, he in the southeastern corner, and she in the northwestern corner, this way they would know that they had certainly
Divrei Torah About Amen and Tefillah in the Parashah
directed their heir tefillah tefilla to the direction from which it would be accepted.
Tefillas Yekum Purkan “”כי עקרה היא “Rabi Yitzchak said: Why were our forefathers barren? Because HaKadosh Baruch Hu desires the tefillos of tzaddikim.” (Yevamos 64a) The Tiferes Shlomo of Radomsk explains this: By nature, the great burden and effort in raising children would mean that one has less time and energy for his avodas Hashem, and therefore, because Hashem wants the tefillos of tzaddikim and He wants them to pray calmly, without distress, He withheld children from them. The Tiferes Shlomo adds: For this reason, we ask in the tefillah of Yekum Purkan, ‘Zara chaya vekayama, zara di lo yifsok vedi lo yivtul mipsgamei Oraisa” that we merit that our children be healthy and whole and no trouble should befall them and then we will not have to desist from Torah and tefillah to care for them.
Amen Brings Abundance Into the World יעבדוך...”ויתן לך אלקים מטל השמים ומשמני הארץ (כט- כח,עמים“ )כז The acronym of “lecha haElokim mital hashamayim umishmanei ha’aretz” amounts to the numerical value of “amen” to teach us that in the merit of replying amen, abundance comes down upon a person and his enemies fall, as it says hence, “Yaavducha amim” the nations will serve you. Kikar Zahav, Maareches Beis
going out to an errant lifestyle. As such we find that if the birth of Yaakov and Eisav would have been delayed by five more years, HaKadosh Baruch Hu would not have had to subtract anything from Avraham Avinu’s life, because Eisav would not have strayed in his lifetime. Now we can understand why Yitzchak had to plead so much until Hashem acceded to his request. When this was told to Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, zt”l, he agreed and added that there is an allusion to this in the words of the passuk: “Vaye’etar lo Hashem” is numerically equivalent to “chamesh shanim”, five years. Kerem Chemed
The Prayer of a Tzaddik ben Tzaddik Hashem answered specifically the tefillah of Yitzchak, as it says, “vaye’etar lo, and He answered Him,” and not her. Rashi says, “him and not her, because the tefillah of a tzaddik ben tzaddik cannot be compared to the tefillah of a tzaddik ben rasha.” The Rosh Yeshivah of Ofakim, Harav Chaim Kamil, zt”l, explained: The reason that the power of the prayer of a tzaddik ben tzaddik is greater than a tzaddik ben rasha is not only because of the zchus avos, the merits of his forbears, that he has. It is also because of his own path in life: one cannot compare one who chose the path of righteousness because he saw firsthand the wicked ways of his followed and came to the understanding that he had to abandon these ways and become a tzaddik, to one who could have rested on his laurels and relied on his father’s spiritual attributes and bask in his presence. Instead, he toiled and worked until he reached the status of his father, and he is worthy of greater honor. Kovetz Basadeh Ubakerem p. 88
Yitzchak’s Tefillah Subracted Years From His Father’s Life
The Difference Between Tzeddakah and Tefillah
(”ויעתר לו ה‘“ )שם “Vaye’etar lo – nispatzer venispayes venispateh lo.” (Rashi) Why did Yitzchak have to daven and plead so much? One of the Maggidim explained: Chazal said (Bereishis Rabba 63, 12) that HaKadosh Baruch Hu subtracted five years from the life of Avraham Avinu, so that he should not witness his grandson
( כג,”הקל קול יעקב והידים ידי עשו“ )כז The tzaddik Harav Yaakov Yosef of Polnoa the Toldos Yaakov Yosef, would explain this passuk: “Hakol kol Yaakov” one who is involved in tefillah (kol) needs to do it l’Shem Shamayim, like “kol Yaakov.” However, even if one gives tzeddakah (yadayim, hands) lo lishmah, not solely for the sake of the mitzvah, meaning “yedei Eisav” the hands of Eisav, his actions are willingly accepted by Hashem. Chassidim Mesaprim Vol. III p. 178
A Rare Segulah for Protection from the Maharsha, zy”a (Passed away on 5 Kislev, 5392)
“Lu hikshavta lemitzvosai, vayehi kanahar shlomecha vetzidkascha kegalei hayam…” (Yeshayahu 48:18)
“Lemitzvosai” is derived from the word “tzeves vechaburah” (a group) and that means: “Had you listened, and waited to respond amen for every brachah that you hear from your friends, your fellows in shul, your reward would be peace flowing like a river…” r…” (Maharsha, Vol. I, Brachos 6a)
In these days, when we all need protection, let us undertake to recite ite achah Birchos Hashachar bechavrusa in shul, and then we will merit the brachah n. of “Vayehi kanahar shlomecha vetzidkascha kegalei hayam.” Amen. https://telegram.me/Publications_MM
Prayer of Faith
A Glance at the Seder Hatefillah
Asherr Yatzar – continued
A Segulah for Healing To complement the previous article, this section will address the uniqueness of the brachah of Asher Yatzar and its known segulah for healing and yeshuos. Let us begin by noting the fact that Asher Yatzar is unique because it has a connection to each and every part of the person’s body, as Chazal say (Tanchuma Shemini 8) by way of allusion that the words chalulim chalulim are numerically equivalent to 248, which is the number of organs in a person’s body. In light of the importance and uniqueness of Asher Yatzar, it is not surprising that Gedolei Yisrael have attributed great importance to reciting it from the written text, with great kavanah and emotion. Some have added that doing so is a segulah for a refuah. It is told that the Chafetz Chaim was very careful to say the brachah from the written text, with his finger following each word. (Mei’ayin Yavo Ezreinu, p. 17) The Shineva Rav’s Chassidim would come from far and wide to bask in his presence. Upon seeing how he made the brachah of Asher Yatzar, with tremendous kavanah, word for word, they would whisper to one another, “We can go home. Just watching the tzaddik make the brachah has infused us with enough holiness for an entire year.” It was known in those days that one who watched the way the Shineva Rav made the brachah would feel for the first time that he understand its true meaning. Many who needed yeshuos and refuos would come from all over to hear the tzaddik recite Asher Yatzar and responded amen as a segulah for a yeshuah. (Yesod Yosef – Taharas Yom Tov 88). When people would mention the name of a sick person who needed a yeshuah to Harav Meir’l of Premishlan, he would advise that he be strict about saying Asher Yatzar with intense kavanah, emphasizing that it was a tried and true segulah for a yeshuah. (ibid) The Mashgiach, Harav Yechezkel Levinstein, zt”l, would often say that when this brachah is said with kavanah, it is a great segulah for a physical healing. (Tefillas Chana, p. 66). The renowned maggid Harav Shimshon Pinkus, zt”l, would often speak about the greatness of this brachah and the obligation to recite it with kavanah. When someone noted to him the words of Gedolei Yisrael that it was a segulah for a refuah, he would reply: “Segulah?! And when you open the faucet and water comes out would you call that a segulah? It is a clear and simple fact that when one recites Asher Yatzar the right way, he opens the faucet of refuah in Heaven and brings down refuah and yeshuah to this world!” He added, “It is clear to anyone with common sense that if we would recite this brachah properly there wouldn’t be sick people at all. But because we are not careful to thank Hashem with the right solemnity and kavanah, we have illness around us.” (Tiferes Shimshon, Bereishis, Beshalach)
Miraculous Rescue on the Train There is a well known story that happened to the mashgiach, Harav Eliyahu Lopian. He was once traveling on the train and had to make the brachah of Asher Yatzar. He asked the passengers on the train car, among them those who were not Torah observant, to reply amen after his brachah, explaining to them the great power of this brachah for salvation and for being spared from trouble. Out of respect, many of the passengers complied, listening solemnly to the brachah,
which he recited with utmost kavanah, and emotionally replying amen, in unison. A big surprise awaited them just a few moments later when the train braked suddenly and halted just a few inches away from a powerful mine that Arab terrorists had hidden in the tracks. Their plan was to exact dozens, if not hundreds, of casualties from the train’s passengers. The mine was hidden in a way that it could not be detected, and it was a genuine miracle that the driver had been able to detect it from afar and to stop the train just in time. Thus the passengers were spared a terrible calamity in the merit of Asher Yatzar. (Lev Eliyahu – Chochmah Umussar, introduction).
The Best Brachah A wonderful story about the Chazon Ish is brought in the sefer Maaseh Ish (Vol. II, p. 156, 225): The Chazon Ish was especially scrupulous about the brachah of Asher Yatzar, reciting it with great concentration, slowly and with kavanah. He even donned his outer garment and gartel in order to say the brachah. One morning, while the Chazon Ish was in the midst of reciting Asher Yatzar, facing the wall and uttering the words, a young man dashed into the room and began screaming that his young daughter had fallen deathly ill. It was during the period of a polio outbreak, and all parents lived in terror of the dreaded disease. When this young man’s daughter suddenly got high fever and other symptoms that seemed to point almost undoubtedly to the disease, he hurried to the Chazon Ish to ask for a brachah. It appeared that, in his deep concentration, the Chazon Ish did not notice what was going on around him, but towards the end of the brachah, those present were surprised to see him turn his gaze to the young man and conclude with emphasis: “Baruch Atah…Rofeh kol basar umafli laasos.’ The man quickly replied amen, loudly and fervently, and before he could say another word, the Chazon Ish said, “You’ve heard the brachah already…” The man returned home happily. It was no wonder that by the time he arrived he was told that his daughter was recovering, baruch Hashem.
Asher Yatzar Through the Phone While Harav Itzikel of Pshevorsk was once in a resort town, he suddenly received news that his granddaughter had become very ill and needed Heavenly mercy. Reb Itzikel, famed throughout the world for his miracle works, calmed those around him that the yeshuah was at hand. A few moments later, he asked his attendant to dial the hospital. When a family member picked up the phone in the room, Reb Itzikel asked that the phone be placed near his granddaughter’s ear, and he began to recite Asher Yatzar with great kavanah. On the other end of the line, he heard a weak “amen.” Over the next few days, Reb Itzikel did this whenever he recited the brachah, giving the patient the merit of answering amen, until the child recovered completely. The family was not surprised when she defied all predictions by the doctors and was discharged a few days later, completely healthy. (Nifla’im Maasecha, Vol. II, P. 427) Fellow Yidden! We all need yeshuos, and every day we hear of more people who, tragically, fall ill. Let us undertake to be more careful about this brachah, to thank our Creator, and to recite it from the text, with kavanah, and may it be His Will that we merit to have all the harsh decrees annulled and may we return to Yerushalayim, healthy in both body and soul, speedily in our times.
A Story of Faith
A Weekly Story About Amen and Tefillah
A Sudden Storm That Realized a Dream This story was told by the Shefa Chaim of Sanz, zy”a, during one of his sichos about the power of sincere tefillah from the depths of the heart to effect yeshuos in all areas. The Jewish community in Krakow was established some 900 years ago, and from that point on it was one of the most prominent Jewish communities in Europe. It was home to numerous gedolei Yisrael, among them the Rem”a. There were two large cemeteries in Krakow, the old cemetery, where many of the gedolim who lived in Krakow during its first few hundred years as a Jewish community were buried. Then there was the new cemetery, which was the final resting place of many great people, but because it was established later, it was considered to be less holy than the older cemetery. When the old cemetery became overcrowded, the chevrah kaddisha stopped burying people there. Nevertheless, there were a few plots still left, and it was the heart’s desire of every one of Krakow’s eminent residents to merit to be buried alongside the kedoshim there, although few actually merited to have this happen. Due to the fact that so many people vied for so few plots, the chevrah kaddisha had no choice but to sell them for exorbitant prices, to the highest bidder, which obviously, far exceeded the price of a plot in the new cemetery. As such, it was no surprise that when Rechel expressed a wish to her neighbors and friends to be buried in the old cemetery, everyone just nodded at her with pity. Rechel was known among the residents of Krakow as “Rechel the Baalas Chessed,” and not for naught. She was definitely worthy of this title, because already as a young girl she would dedicate all her free time to doing chessed. Despite being widowed at a young age, and raising her four children alone, in poverty and constant lack, she always had room in her heart for those lonely, long suffering women who came to her home to find a balm for their misery. Each Erev Shabbos she would go from one wealthy home to another, and the residents would generously donate Shabbos food so she could distribute it to the needy of Krakow. Rechel earned the admiration of the city’s residents, which made them raise an eyebrow even higher when they heard her strange request: when her time came, she wanted to be buried in the old cemetery. So great was her desire that even as a baalas simchah, at the weddings of her grandchildren, when her acquaintances came to wish her mazel tov, she asked that they bless her that she merit to be buried in the old cemetery. Despite the initial shock that this request was met with, the well wishers complied, and she replied amen aloud and fervently after each such brachah. It quickly became the talk of the town in Krakow: why did Rechel the Baalas Chessed suddenly start talking about being buried in the old cemetery? Was she losing her mind? But as time passed, everyone got used the fact, and before she even asked, they would wish her warmly, “May you merit to be buried in the old cemetery.” Of course, she always replied amen. When her close family was asked why she wanted this, they had no answers, but they did say that in addition to the perakim of Tehillim she had been reciting daily for decades, she now added a few more chapters as a special prayer for this request, to be buried in the old cemetery. For the children of Krakow, it became
a source of entertainment. Whenever Rechel walked in the streets, they would run after her and cry: “Mumme, ihr zohlt ligen in dem alten Bais Hachaim! You should rest in the old cemetery!” Not only was Rechel not offended by this, she smiled at each child and replied warmly, “Amen, kein yehi ratzon, may it be that I indeed merit that!” Years passed and the old woman davened for this wish to come true every single day. Then the day came. One fine morning, Rechel told her family that she did not feel well, and a few hours later, returned her pure soul to its Maker. The streets of Krakow hummed as people streamed to the funeral of Rechel the Baalas Chessed. She was worthy of this honor because of her good deeds, but it was impossible to deny that many of the people came out of curiosity to see what would happen. Rumor had it that over the years, Rechel and her family had frequently asked the chevrah kaddisha to fulfill her request and promise her a plot where she wanted, but they demanded a huge sum and refused to compromise even the slightest. Now, too, the chevrah kaddisha absolutely refused, and prepared to begin the levayah, as usual, to the new cemetery. The family had already come to terms with the fact that their mother’s request would not be answered, and only Hashem knew why these things happened. The hespedim began with the eulogy of the town’s rav, who mentioned Rechel’s many great acts of chessed. But after just a few sentences, the skies turned black and cloudy, a brisk wind began to blow and rain began pouring down. The many people in attendance scattered to the nearby homes to take cover from the rain, and the mittah was taken into the nearest shul with the hope that the rain would stop soon and the levayah could proceed. A few minutes passed and the storm settled. The sun peeked through the clouds and it was clear that the funeral procession could go on. The maspidim spoke briefly and the people carrying the bier began heading down the muddy streets toward the new cemetery. But as they got closer to the cemetery they realized the extent of the storm. From the top of the hill they could see the tops of the headstones peeking out over the water that had flooded the entire new cemetery. The funeral halted at once. The pallbearers waited for the chevrah kaddisha, who, after a short consultation, motioned for them to turn back. It was clear that it was impossible to bury Rechel in the new cemetery in its current state. They had no choice but to bury her in one of the few plots left in the old cemetery. “This story was a “chiddush” for me,” the Shefa Chaim concluded the story. “How every Jew can work on his behalf before Hashem to get whatever his heart desires, even things not relating directly to avodas Hashem. HaKadosh Baruch Hu hears “tefillas kol peh, the prayers of every mouth,” in its simplest meaning, unless one is asking for forbidden things. Therefore, when a father and mother plead to Hashem when lighting candles, or during Shemoneh Esrei, or at any other time, that He help them raise their children to be Torah scholars, they will surely merit to receive help from Hashem who will fulfill their wishes for good.” Shefa Chaim, Drashos Chumash Rashi, Parashas Vayeitzei
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לר''ש יעקב בן שרה לאה
פרשת תולדות- Don’t give up! )'(כו' יט
אּו־שם בְ אר מַ יִם חַ ִיֵֽים ָ וַ י ְַחפְ רּו עַ בְ ֵֽדי־י ְִצחָ ק בַ נָחַ ל וַ י ְִמ ְצ
Yitzchok’s servants dug in the valley and found there a well of fresh water The story about the wells that Yitzchok Avinu dug is very interesting. Earlier the Possuk writes how all the wells that Avraham had previously dug were filled up by the Pelishtim and how Avimelech had chased Yitzchok away from them. So Yitzchok moved away to Nachal Geror and he dug new wells. Here too he was met with problems. The shepherds of Geror argued with Yitzchok’s shepherds and so Yitzchok had to move away and he went to dig yet another well. What can be learnt from this seemingly mundane story about digging wells? Harav Moshe Shternbuch brings from the Zohar that the hidden meaning to the story here is Emuna in Hashem. As Maminim, we know that whenever we are successful in life it is totally from Hashem and not because of our own work. When the servants of Avrohom first dug the wells they too didn’t credit themselves with their success. They understood that it was special Siyatte Dishmaye from Hashem in the Zechus of Avrohom. However the Goyim don’t see it that way at all. When Avrohom died, the servants of Avimelech came forward to claim ownership those wells; they didn’t see Hashem in the story at all. They believed that the success of the wells was the work of man and they wanted it for themselves. This has been the case for all of Jewish history, Rav Shternbuch continues. Often when the Yidden were successful and became rich, they would recognise that it came from Hashem and would be grateful to Him for that. The Goyim however, would ignore Hashem completely and would often try to steal the Yidden’s wealth from them, (wrongfully) claiming that they have rights to it. In short, this story of the wells is a lesson in Emuna. We ‘dig wells’ and Hashem decides our success. The Chofetz Chaim draws a different inspiration from this Parsha. How did Yitzchok react when his first efforts to dig the wells failed? He went to dig another well! And when that too failed? He tried again to dig another well! He simply did not give up. This is the message of this Parsha, explains the Chofetz Chaim. When someone starts to do something and it gets tough and his first efforts fail, whether it is a spiritual matter of a materialistic one, he should learn from Yitzchok - don’t give up!! In 1963, a young American Youngerman living in Eretz Yisroel started a Kiruv organization called Echad to reduce assimilation and intermarriage in America. It didn't work out. So he established a second organization. When he saw that this one wasn't working either, he disbanded it - only to start a third organization. Then a fourth, and a fifth. Within three years he founded five organizations! All of them failed. And yet he refused to give up.
In 1966, he opened a Yeshivah in Eretz Yisroel for secular Americans. He named it Mevasseret Yerushalayim and even managed to get funding from the Israeli government. A year later he had seventy students - but then the government dropped the funding, and when the debts grew, the Yeshivah closed. He travelled to America, where he took a job for a year to pay off his debts whilst his family stayed behind. When he returned, he started another Yeshivah, this time in Bnei Brak. This one too had to close. Undeterred, he started a third Yeshivah, which also closed. Then he opened a fourth Yeshivah with a partner. The Yeshivah blossomed but the partnership didn't work out, and so he pulled out. After five failed organizations and four unsuccessful Yeshivos, one could imagine that he finally raised his hands in surrender. He didn't. In 1974, he established a fifth Yeshivah, which he called Aish HaTorah. It started in an apartment in the Old City of Yerushalayim, and it has grown into a Kiruv empire with twenty-seven branches on six continents. The lives of thousands of Yidden have been changed forever because Harav Noach Weinberg had Emuna, did not give up and just kept on trying. https://telegram.me/Publications_MM
PIRCHEI Agudas Yisroel of America
November 26, 2016 - תשע"ז, כ״ה מרחשון- Vol: 4 Issue: 5 )ז:ב-א: (מלאכי א... משא דבר ה׳: הפטרה- תולדות:פרשה בבא מציעא ס״ח ברכי נפשי (מנחה) משיב הרוח ומוריד הגשם:דף יומי
TorahThoughts … and he ate and drank … and [ ]עֵ שָׂ וdespised the birthright … )לד:אשית כה ִּ (ב ֵר ְׁ …וַי ֺּאכַל ַוי ְֵׁש ְׁת… ַויִּבֶ ז ֶאת ַה ְׁבכ ָֺּׂרה Towards the end of the ’חָׂ פֵץ ַחיִּיםs life, a תוֹרה ָׂ בֶ ןwho was going through a difficult period of poverty, struggling even to feed his family with the bare basics, came to the ָׂחפֵץ ַחיִּיםwith the following proposition. “I am struggling each day to put food on the table. I really need to make my life easier, so I am thinking of making the following deal with ד׳. I would like to swap my reward in עוֹלָׂם ַהבָׂ אfor just one ִּמ ְׁצוָׂהfor a better life in the future. I realize that the reward for one ִּמ ְׁצוָׂהis worth far more than all the enjoyments of the entire world’s wealth since Creation. But I have lived a life full of ;מצְׁ וֹת ִּ missing just one ִּמצְׁ וָׂהwill be negligible.” The חָׂ פֵץ חַ יִּיםlovingly responded, “My beloved son, imagine a child walking into a grocery store and offering the owner a one-thousand-ruble bill for a small candy. Any honest storekeeper would smile and have pity on the child, but would never entertain the idea of trading a candy for such a large sum of money. Your ִּמ ְׁצוֹתare far more precious than a thousand-ruble bill compared to a candy!” The חָׂ פֵץ חַ יִּיםcontinued, “If you may wonder how it is possible that ד׳rewards ְׁרשָׂ עִּ יםfor their ִּמצְׁ וֹתin this world, I will explain. ְׁרשָׂ עִּ יםare rewarded based on the value they attribute to a מ ְׁצוָׂה. ִּ If a ִּמצְׁ וָׂהhas no value in their eyes, then they merit a small reward that one can receive in this world. Your ִּמצְׁ וֹתare priceless, and there is no currency in this world that can pay for even one מצְׁ וָׂה. ִּ Each of your ִּמצְׁ וֹתis worth one hundred times a regular ִּמצְׁ וָׂהsince you are going through such difficulty!”
ר׳ חַ יִּיםShmulevitz זַצַ ״לexplains that the sale עֵ שָׂ וmade by selling his בכ ָֺּׂרה, ְׁ birthright, should have been invalidated based on the ִּאסּוּרof וּמ ְׁמכָׂר ִּ )מ ְׁצוָׂה שלז( ֶשל ֺּא לְׁהוֹנוֹת ְׁב ִּמ ָׂקח, ִּ the prohibition to commit fraud when buying or selling. חֲ זַ״לteach (: )בָׂ בָׂ א ְׁמ ִּציעָׂ א מטthan any price fraud (lit: harm) by a buyer or seller that is above or below 1/6 of the value would invalidate a sale. How can you compare the value of a bowl of lentils to the ֲבוֹדה ָׂ עin the ר׳ ַחיִּים ?בֵ ית ַה ִּמ ְׁק ָׂדשoffers the same explanation as the חָׂ פֵץ חַ יִּים. עֵ שָׂ וdiminished the value of the בְׁ כ ָֺּׂרהin his own eyes. The תוֹרה ָׂ testifies (see )ר ִּש״י ַ to the wickedness of עֵ שָׂ וas seen from his belittling the ֲבוֹדה ָׂ ע, and therefore he reduced its value in his own eyes to a bowl of lentils. וּמ ְמכָר ִ ֶׁשל ֺּא ְלהוֹנוֹת ְב ִמ ָקח- ִמ ְצ ָוה שלז We are commanded not to defraud a fellow Jew in business, as it says אָחיו ִּ וְׁ כִּ י ִּת ְׁמכְׁ רוּ ִּמ ְׁמכָׂר… ַאל תוֹנוּ ִּאיש ֶאת, When you make a sale … do not defraud (lit: aggravate) one another (יד:) ַוי ְִּׁק ָׂרא כה. The rationale behind this ִּאסּוּרis very logical. It is improper to take people’s money by lying or cheating. Every individual should acquire the money that he merits through the grace of ד׳with hard work, truthfulness and uprightness. Just as the person cannot defraud others, so too other people cannot defraud him. Therefore, this ִּאסּוּרis of great benefit to society at large. ד׳created our world to be lived in (and enjoyed), and this ensures that the business world is stable. There is a separate ִּאסּוּרin ִּמ ְׁצוָׂה שלחnot to hurt a fellow Jew with words. חֲ זַ״לteach in the name of יוֹחאי ָׂ ( ר׳ ִּש ְׁמעוֹן בַ ר:)בָׂ בָׂ א ְׁמצִּ יעָׂא נח that the ִּאסּוּרof hurting a fellow Jew with painful words is even greater than hurting him with a fraudulent sale. Adapted from: ספר החנוך על פרשת השבוע
Yahrtzeits Gedolim of our
ר׳ חַ יִּים ִּמיכ ֵָאל דוֹבWeissmandl זַצַ ״לwas born in 5664 — 5718 Debrecen, Hungary, to יוֹסף ֵ ר׳, the local שׁוֹחט, ֵ and Gella. He 1903 — 1957 learned in Sered and Galanta, and later under ר׳ יוֹסֵ ף צְ בִּ י דוּשׁינ ְְס ִּקי זַצַ ״ל ִּ in Chust, before becoming a ַתל ְִּמיד מֻ ְב ָהקof מוּאל ָדוִּ ד ֵ ר׳ ְשׁ Ungar זַצַ ״לin Trnava, Slovakia. In 1931, ֶרבִּ יand ַתל ְִּמידmoved to Nitra. In 1937, he married ב ָרכָה ָרחֵ ל, ְ his ’רבִּ יs ֶ daughter. His activities during WWII saved tens of thousands of Jews. In 1946, he moved to the US, where, as ָרב and ר ֹאשׁ י ְִּשׁיבָ ה, he re-established the Nitra ְק ִּהלָהin Mt. Kisco, NY. He remarried to לֵאָהTeitelbaum. His writings include תוֹרת חֶ מֶ ד ַ and מן הַ מֵ צַ ר, ִּ his classic memoirs, which also document his lost opportunities to save at least one million Jews.
ר׳ חַ ִּיים ִּמי ָכ ֵאל דוֹב װײַ סמַ נדל זַצַ ״לlost his wife and five children in the Holocaust. His 2nd wife, Leah, bore him five children, each named after one of the children who had perished in the war. At the בְּ ִּריתof the 5th of these children, he instructed his living children by referencing the opening words of קדֻשָ ה: ְּ ְּנ ַקדֵ שׁ ֶאת ִּשׁ ְּמָך ישׁים אוֹתוֹ בִּ ְּשׁמֵ י מָ רוֹם ִּ — בָ עוֹלָם כְּ שֵׁ ם שֶׁ מַ ְּק ִּד [My children,] we must sanctify ’ד׳s name in this world, just as those [my first 5 children ]הי״ד sanctify His name in the Upper Heavens!
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לע״נ ר׳ ישראל בן אברהם ז"ל לע״נ הב׳ ישעיהו דוב ע״ה בן יבלחט״א יצחק צבי נ״י
This week's Pirchei Weekly is sponsored
in honor of the bar mitzvah of Dovid Lowy
(כב:אשית כה ִׁ ַוי ְִּׁתרֹצְּ צוּ ַהבָּ נִׁים ְּב ִׁק ְּרבָּ הּ … )בְּ ֵר And the children struggled inside her … The חֲ ַתם סוֹפֵרasks, why is it that when ִׁרבְּ ָּקהpassed the בֵ ית הַ ִׁמ ְּד ָּרש, ַי ֲעקֹבattempted to escape from her womb? After all, ( חֲ זַ״ל: )נִׁ דָּ ה לteach us that during the time a child is in its mother’s womb, a מַ לְּאְָךteaches it the entire תּוֹרה. ָּ Is it not better to learn תּוֹרה ָּ directly from a ?מַ לְּאְָך The חֲ ַתם סוֹפֵרanswers that it is true that ַי ֲעקֹבwas learning the entire תּוֹרה ָּ from a מלְּאְָך, ַ but he was still together with עֵ ָּשו. ַי ֲעקֹב preferred to learn תּוֹרה ָּ in a בֵ ית הַ ִׁמ ְּד ָּרש, free of the company of his wicked brother, than be taught the תּוֹרה ָּ directly from a holy !מלְּאְָך ַ A person is easily influenced by the company around him, whether for good or for bad. Sometimes, we are not even aware of the extent of the influence! ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ The ְּמנַהֵ לof Yesodei HaTorah School in Manchester, England, R' Yonason Yodaiken, was invited by a committee in Melbourne, Australia, to give a series of lectures on the topic of חנּוְּך. ִׁ He set out from Manchester on a Sunday morning. The first leg of his journey, from UK to Brussels, was miserable. The plane fought to stay on course as it was buffeted by strong winds. Not only that, but R' Yodaiken’s kosher meals were nowhere to be found. Due to the high winds, the passengers were forced to remain on the plane for eight hours. Passengers indulged in the drinks and snacks provided by the airline, but all R' Yodaiken ate was the sandwich and fruit that he had brought along for the trip. After leaving the plane, R' Yodaiken asked the flight attendant about the next leg of his trip, a flight to Singapore, and was informed that it was delayed until 2:00 p.m. the next day. R' Yodaiken realized that he would be waiting another 20 hours without hot food. He hoped to have kosher food on the next flight. Not long after the plane was airborne, the dinner carts came out. “A meal, sir?” The flight attendant extended a steaming tray. R' Yodaiken responded, “Thank you! But I ordered a kosher meal.”
“Oh, of course!” the flight attendant said. Ten minutes later, the flight attendant was back. “I’m sorry; we don’t have any kosher meals on board. Can I offer you anything else?” R' Yodaiken’s neighbor, a doctor, was watching the entire exchange quietly, waiting to hear R’ Yodaiken’s response. “No, thank you,” R' Yodaiken politely declined. “I only eat kosher.” And he turned his attention back to the open סֵ פֶרon his lap. The flight from Brussels to Singapore was long. The flight attendant returned repeatedly. “How about a vegetarian meal? Can I get you some peanuts? Sir, you haven’t eaten anything the entire flight!” “Thank you,” R' Yodaiken replied with a smile, “but I really can’t eat any of that. I appreciate your concern. I’ll be fine.” The doctor observed silently as R' Yodaiken refused the food offered to him again and again. “I’ve wanted to tell you something this whole flight,” the doctor began suddenly, turning toward his seatmate. “I had to build up the nerve, but it’s now or never. You see — I’m Jewish.” R' Yodaiken listened as the doctor continued. “After the war, my father gave me strict instructions never to tell anyone about my religion. And I didn’t. You are the first person I have shared this with in over fifty years. I’ve never been affiliated with anything even remotely Jewish. “But I’ve been watching you this whole time. You must be starving! Still you refuse every bit of food offered to you. Where do you get such tremendous self-control? It must be your religion.” Pulling out a pen, the Jewish doctor scribbled his address and phone number on a scrap of paper and handed it to R' Yodaiken. “I live in Melbourne, and I would like to learn more about Judaism. Let’s keep in touch.” And they did. R' Yodaiken heard about the doctor’s first ַשבָּ תand then his first ר ֹאש ַה ָּשנָּהin shul. “It’s a long journey,” the doctor wrote, “but I’m on my way back to my roots!” The doctor’s life was forever changed. He had been seated near a truly admirable person and now wanted to emulate his ways! Adapted from: Visions of Greatness VII (with kind permission from CIS)
Is Motti allowed to tell Srully that it was Chaim’s fault?
*Stories adapted from Guard Your Tongue, A Daily Companion, A Lesson a Day and various real-life situations.
Answer: Motti must not tell Srully about Chaim’s involvement in the confiscation of the pen. Motti is permitted to say only that he was not the guilty party. However, to avoid causing embarrassment for Chaim, it would be best for Motti to take the full blame, even if he was completely innocent.
1. ְׁשֹלמֹה הַ מֶ לְֶךdavened that any non-Jew’s request in the בֵּ ית הַ ִמ ְׁקדָ ש be accepted, even if he is unworthy. From where did he learn this? 1. ֹה הַ מֶ לsimilarity ְׁשֹלמdavened non-Jew’s in ֹבthe ָית הַ ִמ ְׁקדtoֵּב 2. ְֶך What was that thereany between the request dish that ש ַי ֲעקserved be accepted, even if he is unworthy. From where did he learn this? יִצְׁ חָ קand the ?מן ָ 2. What similarity was there between the dish that ַי ֲעקֹבserved to יִצְׁ חָ קand the ?מן ָ
1. יִצְׁ חָ קwanted ַי ֲעקֹב, who had complete faith, to get the בְׁ ָרכוֹתonly if worthy of them through דין.ִ עֵּ שָ ו, however, whose faith was lacking, was given an 1.ק ָ יִצְׁ חwanted ַיבְׁ ֲָערקכָֹבה, (ְָך who complete faith, to get the בְׁ ָרכוֹתonly if worthy of unconditional ֶּתן לhad ד״ה וְ ִי — 27:28). through עֵּ שָ ו, however, faith that wasחָ קlacking, was given like an 2.them The dish that יןֹב דק. ַי ִ ֲעserved ִיצְׁ חָ קhad whose every flavor ְׁ ִיצwished to taste, unconditional ָ בְׁ ָרכon (לְָךits ֶּתןeater’s — ד״ה וְ ִי 27:28). the ָמןwhich הtook desired taste ( — ד״ה וָ אֹכַ ל ִמכֹל27:33). 2. The dish that ַי ֲעקֹבserved ִיצְׁ חָ קhad every flavor that ִיצְׁ חָ קwished to taste, like the ָמןwhich took on its eater’s desired taste ( — ד״ה וָ אֹכַ ל ִמכֹל27:33).
ספר ח״ח הלכות לשון הרע כלל י׳ סעיף י״ז
*Srully and Motti were great friends, though they were in different classes. One day, Srully brought an expensive pen to school, which he let Motti borrow for one lesson. During that lesson, Chaim wanted to see the pen. He hissed loudly to catch Motti’s attention. The ֶר ִּביwas displeased at the noise and confiscated the pen until the end of the day. When Srully came to collect his pen, Motti told him that it had been confiscated, and he would only get it back at the day’s end.
ְׁ some The רוּרה ָ ְׁ ִמ ְׁשנָה בholds that if one realizes that he forgot וְׁ ֵתן טַ ל If one is concerned that he may forget in שמַ ע קוֹלֵנוּ, וּמָ טָ רafter completing בָ ֵרְך עָ לֵינוּeven תּוְֹך כְׁ דֵ י ִדבוּרbefore ְׁתּ ַקע בְׁ שוֹפָר, he should continue and insert it in ְׁשמַ ע קוֹלֵ נוּjust before ַכִ י ַא ָתּה שוֹמֵ ע.
say even the רוּרה ָ ְׁ ִמ ְׁשנָה בwould agree to adding וְׁ ֵתן טַ ל וּמָ טָ רbefore תּ ַקע בְׁ שוֹפָר. ְׁ
*Since we only discuss 1-3 הלָכוֹת, ֲ it is important to consider these ֲהלָכוֹתin the context of the bigger picture. Use them as a starting point for further in-depth study.
:י�וֹמא ָ ִענְ יָנֵ י ְד וְתן ַטל � ָוּמ ָטר ִל ְב ָר ָכה ֵ https://telegram.me/Publications_MM
FocusonMiddos Dear Talmid, ִּמיכָ ֵאל דוֹב ר׳ חַ יִּ ים Weissmandl זַצַ ״ל, affectionately known by the community at large as יכָאל בּעֶ ר ֵ ר׳ ִּמ, was renowned for his myriad הַ צָ לָהactivities during World War II, which would take volumes to describe. It is no exaggeration to say that there was not a Jewish community in Eastern Europe that ר׳ ִּמיכָ ֵאל בּעֶ רdid not try to help in one way or another. Thanks to the efforts of his "Working Group," which bribed German / Slovakian officials, mass deportation of Slovakian Jews was delayed for two years, from 1942 to 1944. In the meantime, negotiations were underway to save European Jewry as a whole. This program was called the Europa Plan. It is interesting to note that, as a בָּ חוּר, ר׳ ִּמיכָ ֵאל בּעֶ ר traveled at least twice to Oxford, England, to research old כְּ ָתבִּ ים, manuscripts, at the Bodleian library. On one occasion, an ancient כְּ ַתבwas brought to the library while he was there. The resident scholars incorrectly identified its author. ר׳ ִּמיכָ ֵאל בּעֶ ר told the chief librarian the name of the true author. From then on,
he was treated with great regard, and was also granted the rare privilege of using the library even when it was closed to the public. Having spent a considerable amount of time in Oxford, ר׳ ִּמיכָ ֵאל בּעֶ רwas able to assist with attempts to save Jews from the Holocaust. This occurred in 1938, when the Nazis gathered sixty ַרבָּ נִּים from Burgenland, bordering Slovakia. Czechoslovakia refused them entry and Austria would not take them back, leaving the ַרבָּ נִּ ים stranded on the border. יכָאל ֵ ר׳ ִּמ בּעֶ רflew to England, where he was received by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Foreign Office, as arranged by the Bodleian chief librarian. ר׳ ִּמיכָ ֵאל בּעֶ רsucceeded in obtaining entry visas to England for the רבָּ נִּ ים,ַ thus saving them from certain death during the Holocaust. My לְּמיד ִּ ת, ַ יכָאל בּעֶ ר ֵ ר׳ ִּמ taught כְּ לַ ל יִּ ְּש ָר ֵאלthe power of what one individual and his ֶרבִּּ י can succeed in accomplishing. Their legacy will be remembered and cherished ,גוֹאל צֶ דֶ ק ֵ עַ ד בִּּ יאַת !בב״א !יְּ ִּהי זִּ כְּ רוֹ בָּ רוְּך יְּדידוּת ִּ ְּבּ, Your ֶרבִּּ י Story adapted from The Jewish Observer (with kind permission)
Sage Sayings While still a young man in Nitra, ר׳ חַ יִּים ִּמיכ ֵָאל דוֹבWeissmandl זַצַ ״לwas asked to prepare and deliver a speech about the needs of the י ְִּשיבָ ה. He explained the request to his audience: "To what can this be compared? To a man who has a bad toothache and people tell him how to cry when the dentist hurts him! Does he need to prepare himself to cry? ! װײֵ נט מעֶ ן, ֵ — אַז ס׳טוּט װײWhen it hurts, you cry! The י ְִּשיבָ הhas no funds and it hurts! There is no need to prepare oneself to cry — it comes naturally!" Source: The Jewish Observer (with kind permission)
UnderstandingDavening … וְ עַ ל הַ נ ִִּּסים… וְ עַ ל הַ נֶּחָ מוֹת
[We thank You…] for the miracles … for the consolations (comforting)... What are we referring to when we thank ד׳for the consolations? The עָ רוְּך הַ שֻׁ לְחָ ן ()סימָ ן נ״ו ס' ו ִ explains that the word וְ נֶחֱ מָ ָתאin ַק ִדישrefers to the soothing prophecies of ְחוּמין ִ ַתנthat the יאים ִ ִנְב discuss regarding the world in the days of ַמָ ִשיח. Here too, in וְ עַ ל הַ נ ִִסים, the meaning is similar. We give thanks to ד׳not only for the miracles that we experience, but also for the consoling prophecies that help us to live through difficult times. When we remember that ד׳promises that we will never be destroyed and that He will always be watching over us, then we do not feel alone or lost, even during the most challenging times.
This Week in History 6 כִּ ְסלֵו5755/1994 — Yahrtzeit of ר׳ ְמשׁוּלָם יִּשָ שכָר Ashkenazi זַצַ ״לof Stamford Hill, London, the Stanislaver רבִּ י.ֶ He was born on 4 תמוּז, ַ 5662 / 1902, to R' Zvi Hirsch, הי״ד, the Stanislaver ֶרבִּ יin Vienna, and Gittel, daughter of ַ ר׳ יִּצְ חָ ק יְ הוֹשֻׁׁעKlieger, ָרבof Graidung (near Lvov), who gave him ְס ִּמיכָ הwhen he was just 15 years old. He also learned under ר׳ בֶ ן צִּ יוֹןKatz, ָרבof Dorostov, and ר׳ חַ יִּים יִּצְ חָ ק יְ רוּחָ םof Altstadt. He was close to ר׳ יִּשָ שכָר דוֹבof Belz, who was his relative, and יִּש ָר ֵאל ְ ר׳of Tchortkov, who resided at that time in Vienna. He took part in the כְ נ ִֶּסיָה גְ דוֹלָ הin Vienna in Elul 5683. He was active in חוּרים ִּ ָ חֶ בְ ַרת ִּתפְ ֶא ֶרת בin Vienna, convincing many חוּרים ִּ ָ בto go to י ְִּשׁיבָ ה. He married א ְס ֵתר, ֶ daughter of ר׳ ָקלוֹנְ מוּס ַקלְמַ ןUles, the Sambur רבִּ י.ֶ When the Nazis annexed Austria in 5698 / 1938, he fled to Stanislav, which saved him from near-certain death. He ended up in London, where he cared for the many refugees and helped others escape the Nazi inferno. His reputation as a scion of the dynasties of Alesk and Stanislav and as an עוֹבֵ ד ד׳ attracted large numbers of ידים ִּ חֲ ִּסto his London בֵ ית מ ְד ָרשׁ. ִּ He was known for his אַהֲבַ ת יִּ ְש ָר ֵאל, and London’s תוֹרה ָ leaders, including R' Yechezkel Abramsky and the Shotzer Rebbe, honored him. His mind was clear to his last day, with no change in his סֵ דֶ ר הַ יוֹםor עֲבוֹדַ ת ד׳. In accordance with his צַ וָ אָה, his oldest son, R' Uri, succeeded him. Another son is ר׳ צְ בִּ י ִּהירשׁ, and his sons-in-law are ר׳ מֺשֶׁ הSofer, son of the Erlauer ָ;רב ר׳ יִּצְ חָ קBabad, son of R' Aleksander, ָרבin Stropkov; and R' Naftali Horowitz, grandson of ר׳ ְשֺׁלמֺה זַ לְמַ ן Friedman of Rachov זַצַ ״ל, ָרבof Lugano.
לע״נ ר׳ משה בן הר׳ טוביה הלוי זצ״ל
Learning from our Leaders It began as a one-time request by Chacham Salmon Mutzafi before he visited a home-bound respected Chacham on Friday night. But it turned into a weekly routine... Rabbotai, Does anyone have a request that they want me to bring to the Chacham?
Kvod Harav! Yes, please! I need a brachah for a shidduch for Mazal bat Rivka.
Kvod Harav!, If I may be so bold as to ask a question…? I don’t understand- When Kvodo is Mevaker Choleh, at the same time he is keeping his family waiting!
Kvod Harav! please also ask for a refuah sheleimah for Nissim ben Gabriel.
At the Chacham’s home, together with a few of his mitpallelim... Thank you! I must repeat your beautiful devar torah at my derashah... As usual I am a shaliach mitzvah for the tzibbur to ask for the Chacham’s brachah.
Ah, good! Of course, of course. Please give me the names.
When the Chacham was healthy he would walk home on Friday night accompanied by his talmidim and members of the bet hamidrash. Your question is a good one. I will tell you what I discussed with my family...
He would share a devar Torah with one, give a blessing to that one, and greet the little children who ran to kiss his hand.
Quick, the Chacham is here!
Pirchei Agudas Yisroel of America
…So the Ramban uses the midrash to explain “Vayefatach” differently...
My family understands that the Chacham’s loneliness is greatest on Friday night, so that is when the mitzvah of bikur cholim is greatest too!
Shabbat Shalom! Shabbat Shalom! How is the Chacham feeling? Did we get a brachah too?
ר׳ סלמאַן מוּצפי זצ״לwas born in Baghdad, Iraq, to ר׳ ציוֹן מאירand פרחָא. As a youth, he was very close to the בן אישׁ חי, gaining much from his שׁבת שעוּרים. He learned in מדרשׁ בית זלקה. By the tender age of 16, he had already worked through the entire טוּר. At the age of 18, he was certified as a שׁוֹחטand מוֹהל. His teachers included ר ’ יהוּדה משה ישׁוּעה פתייא זצ״ל, and ר’ חיים שאוּל הכהןDweck זצ״ל. In 1935, he joined ר’ פתייאin ארץ ישראל. In 1948, he moved his ישיבה, בני ציוֹן, from קבר רחלto the “Tevig” Shul on רחוֹב רשב״םin ירוּשלים. ר’ פתייאgave him סמיכה, but ר׳ סלמאַןinsisted that he not to be referred to by any title. He authored ( בית לחם יהוּדהon the entire )עץ חייםin collaboration with ר’ פתייא. He immersed himself in the רש״שׁ סדּוּרfor a period of 40 years and never stopped discovering new novel insights in תּוֹרה. He was fluent in all four areas of תּוֹרה: פרדס, ( פּשטsimple meaning); ( רמזallusions/ ( דרוּשׁ ;)גימטריהteachings), and ( סוֹדsecrets/)קבלה. Throughout his life, ר׳ סלמאַןwas careful not to derive benefit from another Jew in any manner whatsoever.
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