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Vayechi 5777


And I will tell you – ‫ואגידה לכם‬ Did you know? Even you are worthy of receiving prophecy many times! So states the Vilna Gaon in his commentary on Mishlei, for when there were prophets, everyone would go to the prophet (navi) to ask and request of him the way to serve Hashem, and the navi would then tell him what he needed to do to correct his neshama. Today, however, when we have no prophet or seer (chozeh), then how does a person know the correct way to serve? How does he know how to correct himself to the root of his neshama? Therefore, the Gr”a ztvk”l responds with a deep novel approach that applies to every Jew, that he himself feels something missing in his heart, he knows that this is in the category of prophecy, according to the feelings in the heart of a person he knows what must be corrected in the world. Before his passing, Yaakov Avinu called his sons and said, '‫– 'האספו ואגידה לכם את אשר יקרא אתכם באחרית הימים‬ ‘Assemble yourselves and I will tell you what will befall you in the End of Days’. Rashi explains that ‘He wished to reveal the end to them but the Shechina departed from him, and he began to say other things’, a moment before we are troubled for the lost revelation, come let us consider what was revealed to us, and perhaps this is the very secret of the end that our forefather wanted to reveal to us: Sometimes a person feels as if the Shechina has left us and we are leaving in a time where Hashem is very hidden from us, and then what we must do is simply not do anything at all, however, Yaakov Avinu teaches us that even if a person feels that the Shechina has left us and at the present time he is not able to elevate to great levels in spirituality and to attain greatness in Torah and Fear of Heaven, even then a person should not feel broken from this, rather, he should begin with what he is able to, ‘and he began to say other things’, as Moreinu v’Rabeinu shlit”a states many times in the name of his Rav, HaGaon HaTzaddik Rebbe Binyamin Rabinovitch ztvk”l that a person is never exempt from learning Torah and if he finds himself in a place where it is difficult to study Gemara in depth, then he should learn Gemara in a cursory manner, and if this is also difficult for him, then he should study mishnayos, or else Midrash and Aggados (stories) of Chaza”l, and even if he cannot actually learn, then he should think about Torah topics. Then, when that feeling that the Shechina has left comes back, you should remember that at times like this you are worthy of actual prophecy, just think about the feelings that you are lacking, and that is all! Exactly this that is sent to you from Heaven, this sensation is your prophecy. - Tiv HaTorah - Vayechi

"‫"ועתה כתבו לכם את השירה הזאת‬ “And now write for yourself this song” I hired a sofer, someone who fears Heaven, a man with a good reputation, to write a Torah for me, a beautiful one to fulfill the mitzvah of ‘now write for yourself’ (Devorim 31:19) that everyone write a sefer Torah for himself. I hired him without knowing where I would donate the sefer Torah when he finished writing it. When I visited my good friend, I asked him what is written around the wooden posts of the sefer and he turned me to his chavrusa [study partner] who was sitting in the room bent over his Gemara. The chavrusa asked a number of questions and prepared the writing as an expert and he returned to his Gemara. A week later I attended a chanukas habayis [dedication] for a large office and who was the Rav? That chavrusa!!! I asked my friend about the chavrusa and what he does, and my friend told me that he was a Rav and teacher and an important leader of a large congregation. Now, I marveled at his simplicity and how he answered every question pleasantly and he greeted everyone with a smile. Two weeks later I attended a bris and who was the mohel? That chavrusa!!! After the bris, I went to him for a bracha and he blessed me warmly. I could not restrain myself and I asked him what other roles he carries on his shoulders?! He smiled and he said he also reads the Torah in the Bais Midrash. My friend turned to me and asked if I found a place for the sefer Torah and he suggested that I donate it to the Bais Midrash of this Rav. The congregation is already large and they do not own a sefer Torah. I was amazed that the Rav himself did not ask for it and my friend said that this Rav never asks for anything. I was pleased with the idea that this Heaven-fearing man would read from my sefer but there was a small matter that needed clarification, that is of honoring it and not talking during the reading. He explained that there is no talking during the reading and if there is talking (usually by an outside guest) the Rav stops the reading and waits for patiently for silence and only then continues to read. Now I knew where I would bring the Torah despite having no connection to the congregation at all and there were plenty of places that I was connected to and could bring it but once HaKadosh Baruch Hu connected me repeatedly with this Rav I understood that Heaven was hinting to me to bring the Torah there. The congregation celebrated for two weeks since they did not have a Torah of their own and could not afford one and now they brought the Torah in with much splendor as hundreds of congregants sang and rejoiced with the joy of the Torah. .‫ד‬.‫ד‬

‫שוב יום אחד לפני מיתתך‬ Repent one day before your death ‫ויחי יעקב בארץ מצרים שבע עשרה שנה ויהי ימי שני חייו שבע שנים‬ )‫כט‬-‫כח‬:‫ (מז‬:'‫ ויקרבו ימי ישראל למות וגו‬:‫וארבעים ומאת שנה‬ Yaakov lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years, and the days of Yaakov, the years of his life, were one hundred and fortyseven years. The time approached for Israel to die… (47:28-29) We can say that with these posukim the Torah hints as to how Yaakov was able to remain righteous while in the land of Egypt which was a place of tumaah – impurity and was called ‘the abominable land’. The answer is ‘the time approached for Israel to die’ that all the years he spent there he kept in mind that the day of his death was drawing near, and in the merit of his constant reminder of the day of his death he was aroused with awe and he held himself back from the pleasures of Egypt. Even though this matter was not relevant at all to Yaakov who was the choicest of the Forefathers, and not that embedded in Egypt that he needed the day of his death to arouse him to awe, nevertheless, since the Torah is eternal, there are hints that apply to every generation and to every individual in particular, and we are well to say that since the Torah comes to teach every person, whatever his position, on this matter to arouse awe in a person at all times since the Inclination is always standing at the door to his heart and arouses him to sin chas v’chalilah, for then he will be reminded of the day of death and with this he will strengthen himself to stand with strength opposite it without stumbling before it. A person must constantly keep in mind that his end of days is drawing near, and this should be beneficial for him whether in the category of ‘turn from bad’ or in the category of ‘do good’. I remember that I was once with a group of boys and we were being addressed by the chairman of Hanhalas Ha’Eidah Hachareidis )‫ (הנהלת העדה החרדית‬, and he was stimulating us by discussing an amazing gift called ‘time’ and it is up to the person to be involved with mitzvos as long as Heaven has given him the merit. Then he told us that the world is mistaken by thinking that a person leaves the world in one day, rather, the truth of the matter is that a person begins to leave this world from the day of his birth and all through his life on earth, every moment that passes is considered as leaving, for this moment will never return to him, and we find that if a person does not utilize this moment for the service of Hashem Yisbarach we find that he has lost that moment forever, and only after the death is complete the person loses the neshama from his life. However, the reality is that every moment is an eternal world that is lost if the person does not utilize it as needed, and when a person remembers this then he will surely save every moment as ‘do good’. It is related regarding HaRav HaKadosh of Bluzhav zy”a, that on the day when one of his children entered the chuppah he would tell them a parable in order to arouse them and inform them that from now on they were preparing for the day of death. This was his parable: One citizen loved his king very much and he always yearned to do good for the king. One day he was told that the man who was in charge of heating the palace had died and the officers of the king were looking for someone to fill his position. Immediately, he offered his services for the job and he was accepted with honor, and since he very much wanted to benefit the king, he performed his job with trustworthiness and alacrity, and every day he was meticulous in supplying the right amount of

firewood needed to keep the palace comfortable on any given day so that it would not be hotter or colder than necessary. One day the king realized that the temperature in the palace was always perfect and he was curious to find out why this was so, and he asked for an explanation. His aides told him that the man who did this until now had died and they placed another man in his position who held the king in very high regard, and he very much wanted to benefit the king, therefore, he did his job faithfully. When the king heard this, he wanted to benefit the benefactor, and when the man was brought before him the king asked him how he could repay him for his service. The man replied, ‘I don’t need anything, however, there is something that I would request of the king, that he make a hole in the wall that separates my room and the palace and then anytime I want I will be able to look through and gaze at the glow of the face of the king.’ The king ordered that this be done, and they fulfilled his request. This man performed his job for several years, and when he realized that his strength was leaving him, and because he was afraid that he would not be able to carry out his task as previously, he began to look for someone who wanted to fill his position, in order to train him in how to arrange the firewood perfectly. To his dismay, he could not find an appropriate worker, for whomever he found for the position pushed him away with both hands saying that they were busy with their own affairs and they had no time to carry out this task. Upon seeing this, he realized that the public had no appreciation for the greatness of the king, and they did not appreciate at all the great opportunity that presented itself before them. However, because of his deep love for the king, he could not fathom that there was no one to take his place. When he saw that no one felt as he did, he realized that he had no choice but to marry a woman and have a son with her, and he would raise him and show him the many advantages there are to serve the king, and in this way he would arouse in the heart of the boy the strong desire to stand and serve before the king. With this HaRav HaKadosh of Bluzhav ended his parable, and he began to arouse the chassan with the parable by saying: Behold, we, the Children of Israel, know and recognize the great merit of standing and serving the King of the World and to give satisfaction before Him, and to increase the awareness in Israel until we do not even want to be paid, only to behold the sweetness of Hashem Yisbarach. However, we know that this world is like a stream of water, and the day will come and our neshama will rise to the Celestial storehouse. It is incumbent on us to look for a replacement for us who could fill our position after us, however, there is no nation or language that understands the great benefit of this service, therefore, every Jew is forced to marry a woman and bear children and impart them with understanding about the advantage of the service of Hashem Yisbarach, so that they fulfill his appointment after him. We find – HaRav HaKadosh concluded – that the purpose of marriage is only a preparation for the day of death. With these words HaRav HaKadosh wanted to arouse the heart of the young one, that he not think that life is still before him, and there is still a long way before him, for then he will forget about his last day, and the Inclination will find a path into his heart, rather, he should understand that his end of days is near, and already at this point he must prepare for that day, and when he remembers this the awe will always be aroused before his eyes, and he will be involved in the battle of the Inclination all his days.

Torah Wellsprings

1 TorahWellsprings

Parshas Vayechi Dovid of Lelov zt'l R ebbe once traveled to his

After relating the two lessons the old man disappeared. It rebbe, Rebbe Elimelech of was then that Rebbe Dovid of Lizhensk zt'l, for Shabbos but Lelov realized that the old along the way he got lost in a man was Eliyahu Hanavi. forest. He wandered around Let's take a look at the first and couldn’t find his way out. counsel: There are knobs in He sat down and cried other people, they have their copiously. Suddenly, he saw rough edges and bad middos. an old man who showed him Instead of trying to fix them, the way out. When they took fix yourself. Make an indent in leave from each other, the your heart to accept the elderly man said, "I will to imperfections of your fellow teach you two lessons and I man, and then you will live want you to remember them: peacefully with everyone. "When there's a protruding There's a parable that teaches knob in a plank of wood, that us this lesson: plank can't be used for construction, because it can't There was a deer that enjoyed lay evenly with the plank next running through the forest but to it. A carpenter can cut away its antlers were big and he was the knob, and then it can be constantly getting entangled in used. But a more intelligent the foliage. Sometimes, its solution would be to carve an antlers got entangled in a indent in the good plank so it grapevine; other times he got can accommodate the caught in a thorn bush and so protruding knob. on. Each time, the deer had to "My second counsel is, focus struggle to free itself. The deer on your own faults rather than was mad with the foliage for on the faults of other people." disturbing him. "Why can't TorahWellsprings- Vaye chi


Torah Wellsprings - Vayechi

they keep their branches tame Reb Yisrael Yaakov Fisher so they don’t disturb the zt'l. Reb Yisrael Yaakov ruled public?" that the purchase is valid because he can be buried One of the wise animals of the deeper into the ground and forest said to the deer, "I then it won't be considered suggest that you cut off your between two women. antlers and then you can run Reb Avraham Genichovsky zt'l without any hindrance." (Rosh Yeshiva Tchebin) The nimshal is obvious. repeated this episode to his Instead of trying to fix others, students, and said, "This man's fix yourself. People have problem was resolved by faults that bother us, but it's burying him deeper in the So too, many hard to fix them. The right ground. thing to do is to become a problems are resolved when person who isn't angered by we bury ourselves deeper in other people's faults. Find it the ground. When people within your heart to forgive mistreat you, allow the them, and then you won't be injustices and mistakes to pass over your head. Humbly bury angered by their crudeness. yourself in the ground and Someone once bought himself don’t answer back. This will a burial plot from the chevrah save you from many disputes and problems." kadishah but later discovered that his plot was between two Pure Thoughts women and according to minhag, it isn't proper for a Reb Ahron Gradiya was a man to be buried between famous doctor who did two women. He wanted to teshuvah under the influence back out of the purchase, so of the Maggid of Mezritch zt'l. he brought the chevrah (The Maggid was also his kadishah to a din Torah, to patient. When the Maggid's

Torah Wellsprings - Vayechi


feet were ill, Reb Ahron "When your bad thoughts Gradiya would treat them.) come, tell them, 'You've come to the wrong address. I am no Reb Ahron once told the longer the doctor you knew. Maggid that although he had I've done teshuvah. These done teshuvah and improved thoughts aren't appropriate for his ways, his thoughts were me anymore." still not as they should be. At times, his thoughts were Someone came to the Or similar to the way he would HaMeir also complaining that think when he still wasn't he wasn't able to control his religious. thoughts. The Or HaMeir advised him to go to the Magid of Mezritch zt'l. It was snowing and very cold when the man knocked on the Maggid's door, but the Maggid didn’t answer it. He knocked some more and he couldn’t understand why the Maggid wasn't opening the door for him. Finally, the Maggid answered the door and said, "In this house, I am baal habayis. Whoever I choose to let inside, can come The man opened his window inside. Whoever I don’t and said, "You're at the wrong permit, can't." address. This is no longer a tavern. Now this is a fabric The man understood that he store. You have nothing to had received the answer to seek here anymore." his question. How does one The Maggid concluded, control his thoughts? He The Maggid answered with a mashal: There was once a man who owned a tavern, but the drunks, the fights, and the vomit took their toll on him and he decided to close shop. He turned the tavern into a clothing and fabric store. But the drunks kept coming back. They knocked at his door, banging with all their might: "Yid, open up and give us a drink! We're thirsty!"


Torah Wellsprings - Vayechi

should tell himself, "I am the baal habayis. I choose which thoughts I want to think about and which thoughts I want to ignore. No one can force me to think about what I don’t desire." 1 Beginnings

hamashkim began, ïôâ äðäå éîåìçá éðôì, "In my dream, there was a grapevine in front of me…" The first word he said to Yosef was éîåìçá, which also means healthy and strong. Since he began with a positive word, Yosef interpreted his dream for life. The sar ha'ofim began his dream with óà, as he said, éîåìçá éðà óà. óà can mean anger. He started with a negative word; Yosef therefore understood that the sar ha'ofim was not destined to live.

The sar hamashkim and the sar ha'ofim told their dreams to Yosef. Yosef told one of them that he would live and to the other one Yosef said he would die. How did Yosef know? Chazal say that it was because of the first word that The determining factor here they said to Yosef. The sar was the first word because like 1. The Rebbe of Husiaten zy'a was once walking with his chassidim in

Vienna. A non-Jew saw them and asked, "Who is that rabbi?" "He is a Wunder Rabiner" one of the gabaim replied. "What is a Wunder Rabbiner?" the man asked. (Literally, a Wunder Rabbiner is a rebbe that performs wonders.) The Rebbe heard the man's question, and chose to answer him himself. "There are different types of rebbes," the rebbe explained. "Some preside over an entire country, some a city, others only a community. A Wunder Rabbiner is someone who rules over himself." Regarding a nazir, it states, ‫( איש כי יפליא‬Bamidbar 6:2). The Ibn Ezra explains that ‫ יפליא‬means wonder. He writes, "He is doing something wondrous, because most people go after their temptation [and the nazir refrains from pleasures]." When a person controls his thoughts, he is also doing something wondrous, and like a Wunder Rabbiner, he will also be able to do wonders with his tefillos.

Torah Wellsprings - Vayechi



so many areas, the a firm decision of what he beginnings are significant. wants to accomplish in Torah that day. For example, one The Baal Shem Tov zt'l should think, today I want to taught that the first mitzvah study this Gemara, this section one performs each day will of Chumash, etc. This thought, remain with him throughout first thing in the morning, will the day. certainly help him attain his Beginnings have a very strong goals. Reb Chaim Volozhiner influence; it creates the writes, "It is äñåðîå ÷åãá, tested and proven." imprint on which everything follows. We should always strive to make the beginnings The Gemara (Menachos 29) good. The beginning of the teaches that Hashem created day, the month, the year, the this world with the letter 'ä, project, the mesichta etc. and Olam HaBa was created should start out on good with a 'é. The Gemara says, footing because it will "Why was this world created influence what happens with a 'ä? Because [it is open afterwards in a very on the bottom and] whoever significant way. wants to leave [to go on the path of sin] can do so. Why Hashem cursed the snake is its foot hanging? [Why is (which represents the yetzer there an opening between the hara), ùàø êôåùé àåä, "Man will 'ä's foot and the top of the crunch you on the head." We 'ä?] If someone does crush the yetzer hara by teshuvah, he can return taking advantage of the ùàø, through that opening. Why the beginnings. can't he return through the Reb Chaim Volozhiner zt'l other opening [at the bottom taught that upon awakening in of the 'ä]? He won't succeed the morning one should make to return from there…"


Torah Wellsprings - Vayechi

What is the Gemara's answer? Why can't one return from the same exit he left? The Yosher Divrei Emes explains: A person tends to return to his old routine and when a person was accustomed to sinning, he is at high-risk of returning to those ways again. The solution therefore, is to change the entire setting. He has to change his lifestyle, his friends, and sometimes even where he lives, and then he can succeed with his teshuvah. Therefore, he cannot return through the same exit he left, because passing

through that familiar route will lead him to sin again. He needs a brand new start, with a new entrance and then he can succeed in his teshuvah. This also explains the specialness of a new day. A new day is a brand new start. It's not a continuation of yesterday; it's a new beginning. Now he can abandon his past ways and succeed in starting anew. 2 The Light of Moshiach

Did you ever wonder why Klal Yisrael are called íéãåäé?

2. In Tehillim (63) it states, ‫לי אתה אשחרך צמאה לך נפשי‬-‫אלקים א‬. Rebbe

Yisrael of Ruzhin explained: ‫אשחרך‬, I rise early in the morning, ‫צמאה‬ ‫לך נפשי‬, because by doing so, it is certain that his soul will thirst for Hashem (he will have a holy pining for Hashem). In the middle of the day, he may fall from this level, as the passuk states, ...‫בארץ ציה ועיף‬, but he will pick himself up again, as it says, ‫כן בקודש חזיתיך‬... The Gemara taught that this world was created with a heh. It is open at the bottom, to imply that if one desires to leave this world via sin, he is able to do so. Reb Chaim Kreiswirth zt'l asked, why is sinning called leaving this world? Isn't sin part and parcel of this world? It would make sense to say that he is leaving Olam HaBa, but how is he leaving Olam HaZeh? Reb Chaim Kreizwirth answered that sinners lose Olam HaZeh too, because happiness is the lot of those who keep the Torah and mitzvos. Those who choose the lifestyle of sin, are, in a sense leaving Olam HaZeh.

Torah Wellsprings - Vayechi

What is special about Yehudah that all Yidden are named for him? Even a cohen or a levi or anyone from any other tribe, is always called éãåäé and this needs explanation. (Yidden or Jews are variations of Yehudah or Judah.) Targum Yonoson in this week's parashah teaches that this is Yehudah's reward for admitting and saying éðîî ä÷ãö, regarding the story with Tamar. As it states, äãåäé øëéå åðîî ä÷ãö øîàéå, "Yehudah recognized [the signet ring and the staff] and said, '[Tamar] is correct. [She is with child] from me…" (Bereishis 38:26). He confessed, even when it was embarrassing for him and as a reward, the entire Jewish nation are called Yehudim, for him. Targum Yonoson writes on the words, êéçà êåãåé äúà äãåäé (49:8) as follows: ìò àúéãåà úðà äãåäé êçà ïåãåäé êì êë ïéâá øîúã àãáåò êîù ìò ïéàãåäé ïåø÷úéå, "Yehudah, you admitted in regards to Tamar, and therefore your


brothers praise you and are called íéãåäé for you…" The Sfas Emes elaborates. He explains that Yehudah's uniqueness was that he was able to elevate himself even after falling. He didn’t feel doomed forever after the story with Tamar. He was ready to start anew. The Jewish nation, who also exemplify this attitude, are therefore also called íéãåäé. The Midrash says, "Yaakov was busy mourning for Yosef, Reuven was occupied doing teshuvah. What was Yehudah doing? He was busy bringing the light of Moshiach into the world." How was Yehudah bringing the light of Moshiach in the world? Some explain because Yehudah married and begot children (as discussed in Bereishis chapter 38) and Moshiach will be from his descendants. Rebbe Bunim of Peshischa zt'l explains that Yehudah was bringing the light of Moshiach


Torah Wellsprings - Vayechi

into the world because he picked himself up again even after he fell, and that is the light of Moshiach. The attitude of never allowing oneself to despair and to just continue serving Hashem despite his faults is the light of Moshiach.

remains strong like a lion, ready to stand up again.

Yehudah always views himself as a lion. He doesn’t consider himself weak and unable. He knows that he is a Yid, and he has immense potential. This is the reason he is always Yaakov's blessing to Yehudah prepared to begin anew, even represents Yehudah's positive after falling down. and persistent nature. For example, Yaakov Avinu said When Nasan HaNavi rebuked to Yehudah, êáéà óøòá êãé, David HaMelech for the story Bas Sheva, Dovid "Your hand smites at the nape of of your enemies." In war, the HaMelech responded, 'äì éúàèç, worst thing a soldier can do "I sinned to Hashem (II is to sit down to cry and Shmuel 12:13). He didn’t say mourn. There is no time for more because Nassan HaNavi this in the midst of a war. He interrupted him and said, 'ä íâ must go out and fight the úåîú àì êúàèç øéáòä, "Hashem next battle. This is the has removed your sin. You strength of Yehudah, óøòá êãé shall not die." Hashem saw Dovid HaMelech's êáéà, he is always prepared to that fight on, no matter what repentance was sufficient, and therefore Hashem had Nassan happened beforehand. HaNavi interrupt him. Hashem Yaakov Avinu also said to didn’t want him to dwell on Yehudah, äéøàë õáø òøë, "He his sin any longer. A person kneels and crouches like a has to be able to repent and lion." This means even when move on. Not remain in a Yehudah falls and kneels, he dejected state forever.

Torah Wellsprings - Vayechi

The Chidushei HaRim zt'l similarly taught that one shouldn’t prolong the viduy on Yom Kippur. There is a mitzvah of viduy; one must admit and regret his sins, but it isn't good to remain there for too long – especially when this causes one to feel sad. Regardless of what occurred, one must be able to move on. This is the greatness of Yehudah and the greatness of every single Yid.

‫טוב מאד‬

is the Yetzer Hara

Yosef told his brothers, óñåé éðà äîéøöî éúà íúøëî øùà íëéçà, "I am Yosef your brother, who you sold to Mitzrayim" (Bereishis 45:4). The Sfas Emes writes that øùà here is from the root of çë øùé. Yosef was saying, "Thank you for selling me to Mitzrayim. This helped me reach my greatness," because one grows through tests. Tests are also risky because there is a chance that a person will fail. Therefore we pray that we shouldn’t be tested,


ïåéñð éãéì àìå ...åðàéáú ìàå. However, when one passes tests, he rises to a far higher level, because one must garner all his inner strengths to succeed. This is how Yosef reached his great levels. The brothers told Yosef, àù àðà êåìîâ äòø éë íúàèçå êéçà òùô àð, "Please forgive the sins of your brothers because they have treated you badly." (50:17). This passuk is difficult to understand, because they said that Yosef should forgive them äòø éë êåìîâ, because they treated him badly. Isn't that a reason for Yosef not to forgive them? The Rebbe of Kishenov zt'l (author of Gvuras Ari) answered this question and he told his explanation to the Apter Rav zt'l, who praised it immensely. The Rebbe of Kishenov said the following: Four faces are engraved on the Kisei HaKavod (Hashem's holy throne): the face of an eagle, of an ox, of a person, and of a lion. The words àð àù


Torah Wellsprings - Vayechi

are roshei teivos of these four species (íãà ,øùð ,äéøà ,øåù). The ox represents Yosef, as it says, åì øãä åøåù øåëá (33:17). The brothers told Yosef, "You merited to be represented on the Kisei HaKavod because éë êåìîâ äòø, of all the bad and hardships that we gave you. If it weren't for all of the struggles you went through, you wouldn’t have reached this level." The passuk continues, àù äúòå êéáà é÷ìà éãáò òùôì àð, "and now forgive the sins of the servants of the G-d of your father…" The Rebbe of Kishonov taught that êéáà é÷ìà is roshei teivos for àëéà óñåé äîë àîåé éàä åàì éà à÷åùá, "If it weren't for this day, how many Yosefs would there be in the marketplace." Rav Yosef, of the Gemara (Pesachim 68), said those words in praise of Shavuous

and Mattan Torah. The Gemara says that Rav Yosef requested special food to eat on Shavuous, and explained, "if it weren't for this day, there are so many other Yosef's in the marketplace." Rashi explains, "If it weren't that I studied Torah and became exalted, there are many other people in the market who are named Yosef. What would be the difference between me and them?" Rav Yosef's words are alluded here, because the brothers were telling Yosef the same message. They were saying, "Recognize the good side of what happened because of all your hardships. You became Yosef HaTzaddik! You reached great levels. This wouldn’t have happened had you remained home. Therefore, please forgive us for our wrong deeds." 3

3. All circumstances in life can cause a person to go up or to descend,

depending on how one reacts to them. If a person approaches the quest for parnassah with bitachon and emunah, the ordeal will elevate him. If he thinks that he earns money by his own skills, the pursuit will cause him to fall to low levels. The same is regarding all matters. They can

Torah Wellsprings - Vayechi

In the introduction to Shev Shamatsa (6) it says: "People with straight minds aren't very sharp (óéøç). A genius mind is the result of some fault in the thinking process (àúùáù áâà àìà åðéà úåôéøçä). Being that there's something that disturbs the mind from thinking properly, when the mind overcomes the barrier, it is with ingenuity (ìåãâ úåôéøç). An example of this is fire. When one pours a few drops of water over a fire, the fire becomes larger. The same is with the mind; if a drop of foolishness disturbs it from thinking properly, one's intelligence will combat it and overcome it, and through



process the mind becomes sharper.

"We are now able to explain the Chazal on the passuk, äðäå ãåàî áåè (Bereishis 1). 'áåè is the yetzer tov. ãåàî áåè is the yetzer hara.' [How can we understand this? Why is the yetzer called ãàî áåè?] The answer is, the foolishness of the yetzer hara conflicts the wisdom of the yetzer tov, and the struggle elevates one to higher levels…" Let us therefore recognize the value of trials and tribulations. They are our opportunities to get to places that we couldn’t reach without them. 4

elevate the person or lower him, depending on his intention and actions. This can be compared to a heavy package. If it's on the back, it causes the person to bend over, closer to the ground. But if he puts the package on the ground and stands on top of it, he becomes elevated. The same is with parnassah. If he thinks that he carries the yoke of parnassah alone, on his back, he will descend lower towards the ground. But if he elevates himself above the challenges, it will elevate him. This is also true concerning all worldly pleasures; a person's attitude determines whether he will go up or down. 4. Chazal tell us, "In the place where baalei teshuvah stand, the greatest tzaddikim can't stand." They had a great battle, and no one can


Torah Wellsprings - Vayechi

‫ויחי יעקב‬ Every parashah begins after a space that separates it from the preceding parashah. (In the sefer Torah.) The exception is parashas Vayechi. Rashi, at the beginning of the parashah writes, äîåúñ åæ äùøô äîì, why is this parashah closed [without a separation]? Because when Yaakov died, the eyes and hearts of the Jewish people became closed because of the hardships of slavery…" The closed beginning of this week's parashah depicts suffering and galus, yet the first word of the parashah is éçéå, which means life and indicates vibrancy, joy and happiness. Reb Tzaddok HaCohen explains that this is because a Yid is always

happy, no matter what happens to him. He can be in galus, he can be suffering, yet he believes that everything is for the good. éçéå, the Yid remains vigorous and joyous in all circumstances. Reb Shamshon Refael Hirsh zt'l explains that Yaakov Avinu lived a very hard life. He suffered with Eisav and Lavan and was troubled because of what happened to Yosef and Dinah. The last seventeen years of his life in Mitzrayim were the most tranquil years of his life. The parashah begins, õøàá á÷òé éçéå äðù äøùò òáù íéøöî, "Yaakov lived in Mitzrayim seventeen years…" and there is no separator before it. We would assume that there

compete with the high levels that they've reached through those struggles. The Rambam (Hilchos Teshuvah) writes, "The baal teshuvah's reward is even greater, because he knows what sin tastes like and left it. Therefore Chazal say, the place where baalei teshuvah stand, the greatest tzaddikim can't stand." The Tanya explains that it can be compared to a rope that tore and the two ends are tied together again. The rope is now firmer and stronger than it was before. Likewise, a baal teshuvah becomes better than before.

Torah Wellsprings - Vayechi

should be a separation because the last seventeen years of his life were so dissimilar to the preceding years. But there is no separation and that indicates that in Yaakov Avinu's eyes, his entire life was good and the same. The challenging years and the tranquil ones were equally good because Yaakov grew from each struggle and challenge. Victory

Every day, and even every moment, there are tests. We pray that we shouldn’t be tested – and this tefillah helps that we shouldn’t be confronted with severe and difficult tests but there are tests constantly. We cannot avoid them because they are the purpose of our existence and the purpose of life. And since we are always being tested, we must be prepared for battle.


Torah and mitzvos – but that isn't sufficient. Avodas Hashem means to battle with the yetzer hara and to pass the tests that come our way. We are being tested – and some of the tests are hard to pass – and effort is needed to win. The Baal HaTanya once asked a soldier, "Soldiers who go out to war know that there's a chance they won't return, so why do they take the risk? An ill person does everything he can to save his life, why do soldiers go to war willingly?" The soldier replied, "The joy of ïåçöð, victory, is greater than life itself." The Baal HaTanya appreciated this reply because it's a lesson in avodas Hashem. We should put up a fight against the yetzer hara, and our greatest joy should be each time we win because the joy of nitzachon is very great.

Chazal say, è"äöé íãà æéâøé íìåòì Some people think that avodas ø'äöé ìò, "One should always Hashem is passive. They think goad the yetzer tov to battle it means to live a lifestyle of with the yetzer hara." There's


Torah Wellsprings - Vayechi

always a battle going on. Avodas Hashem is never passive. But each time we overcome the yetzer hara it's a moment to rejoice. Hislahavus

Rashi writes, ïî úãøåé ùàù ô"òà èåéãää ïî àéáäì äåöî íéîùä, "Although fire came down from heaven, there is a mitzvah to bring man-made fire [to the mizbeiach, to consume the korbanos]."

In the Mishkan, and afterwards in the first Beis HaMikdash, there was a constant fire on the mizbeiach, which was sent down from heaven. The Gemara (Yoma 21) writes, "Five things were said about this [heavenly] fire: (1) éøàë äöåáø, It sat like a crouched lion, (2) äîçë äøá, it shone like the sun, (3) äá ùé ùîî, the fire had substance [unlike fire that isn't tangible], (4) ïéùáéë ïéçì úìëåà, it consumed wet as dry [the fire could consume even wet wood, wet meat, etc.] (5) ïùò äìòî åðéà, it didn’t create smoke.

The Toldos Yaakov Yosef explains this concept. Fire represents fervor, love, and passion to Hashem. This fervor is created by humans, and it also comes down from Heaven. The Yid makes the first overture. He must indulge in Torah, tefillah and mitzvos, until he feels in his heart love and passion for Hashem, and afterwards, Hashem will send a fire from heaven into his heart to increase his fervor and love to Hashem. Like in the Beis HaMikdash, a fire came down from heaven but that didn’t exempt the cohanim Yet, every day the cohanim from bringing a man-made fire would bring a regular fire to onto the mizbeiach. the mizbeiach, as it says, åðúðå çáæîä ìò ùà ïäëä ïøäà éðá, "the The Gemara (Pesachim 54) children of Ahron HaCohen tells us that Hakadosh Baruch should bring fire to the Hu desired to create fire on mizbeaich " (Vayikra 1:7). erev Shabbos, but in the end it

Torah Wellsprings - Vayechi


was created on motzei Shabbos. "Hakadosh Baruch Hu gave Adam HaRishon divine knowledge and he took two stones and rubbed them together and fire came forth." On motzei Shabbos we therefore say a brachah over fire, because that's when it was created, when Adam rubbed two stones together.

own fire, and Hashem gave him a fire from heaven (similar to the two fires that burned on the mizbeiach). Figuratively, this reminds us we must develop our own fire and passion for Hashem, and then Hashem will send down a fire from heaven, which will help us rise to greater levels of love and fear of Hashem.

The Pirkei d'Reb Eliezer (20) however says that fire came about in a different manner. It states, "On Shabbos, at around sunset, Adam was sitting and thinking, 'Woe to me! Perhaps the snake which caused me to sin on erev Shabbos will [bring on my destruction]. Hashem sent him a pillar of fire (ùàä ãåîò) to protect him and to give him light. Adam saw the pillar of fire and he was happy. He said, 'Now I know that Hashem is with me.' He put his hand to the fire and said the brachah, àøåá ùàä éøåàî."


It is written, àåää íåéá íëøáéå øîàì, "[Yaakov] blessed [Efraim and Menasheh] on that day…" (48:20). We can explain, Yaakov blessed them that they should always focus àåää íåéá, on that day. They shouldn’t think about the past, nor about the future.

It says, éîé úúð úåçôè (Tehillim 39). Rebbe Bunim of Peshischa zt'l explained: A person can be holding a very long rope that's seventy amos long, but in his hand there's only one tefach. In life too, there's a long life ahead of us, These two versions can be be'ezras Hashem, but keep reconciled. Adam created his your focus on that one tefach;


Torah Wellsprings - Vayechi

on the day that's in your hand this by causing people to think today. Make today good. about the past.'" Focus on each day individually and you will The Binyan Dovid writes this story and explains with it, êøãá succeed in life. æîø, the words of the Gemara, Reb Moshe Yosef Teitelbaum éøáã êìéàå ïàëî ø'äöé éøáã ïàë ãò zt'l, the son of the Yeitev Leiv è'äöé, "Up until here are the zt'l once traveled to the Divrei words of the yetzer hara. Yechezkel of Shinov zt'l for From here further are the Shabbos. On motzei Shabbbos, words of the yetzer tov" Reb Moshe Yosef paced in (Shabbos 63). When we think front of the Rebbe's home, about what happened until contemplating what he could now, it's the yetzer hara, take home with him from this because it depresses us. We remain with morose thoughts inspirational Shabbos. of, I should have done more. I As he was pacing, the should have been better. When Shinover Rav came out of his we focus on the future, 'from house, greeted him, "When I here on,' it's the yetzer tov was a young man, I traveled to speaking. The past was and is the Sar Shalom of Belz zt'l. gone, now it's time to make the present good. After Shabbos, I was pacing in front of the Sar Shalom's ‫שכל את ידיו‬ house and I was wondering, 'What can I take back home The Torah tells us, ìàøùé çìùéå with me?" As I was thinking, úàå ...íéøôà ùàø ìò úùéå åðéîé úà the Sar Shalom opened his åéãé úà ìëù äùðî ùàø ìò åìàîù, door and said, "Yungerman, "Yaakov put his right hand on you must know that the yetzer Efraim's head… and he put his hara works very hard to make left hand on Menashe's head. people 'cold,' (uninspired) in With wisdom, he crossed his their avodas Hashem. He does hands…" (Bereishis 48:14).

Torah Wellsprings - Vayechi

The meforshim ask, if Yaakov wanted to put his right hand on Efraim, why didn’t he simply rearrange them in the order he desired? The Noam Elimelech answers, "The Torah is teaching us derech eretz, how to respect a person. Yaakov could have rearranged Efraim and Menasheh to his right and left side as he desired, but he was careful not to embarrass Menasheh [the older son, who received the weaker brachah]…" 5


Yaakov didn’t want to rearrange them because it would spur a disagreement with Yosef. The holy sefarim explain that Menasheh represented one form of avodas Hashem and Efraim a different form. Yaakov and Yosef were debating which of the two was correct, and should therefore receive the best brachah.

Yaakov understood that Efraim had the correct approach and therefore he placed his right hand on Efraim's head. He didn’t Reb Menachem Mendel want to rearrange them Mendelson zt'l, the Rav of because why should he rouse Komimius, answered that Yosef to a debate. Yaakov 5. Yaakov blessed them, ‫בך יברך ישראל לאמר ישימך אלקים כאפרים וכמנשה‬,

"The Jewish nation will bless their children and say, 'Hashem should make you like Efraim and like Menasheh" (48:20). What was special about Efraim and Menasheh that all parents will desire their children to be like them? The Bnei Yissaschar (in Igra d'Kalah) explains that although Menasheh was older, he didn’t feel ashamed, jealous, or slighted when Yaakov put his left hand on his head. And Efraim didn't become proud, when Yaakov put his right hand on his head. They had emunah that everything is exactly as Hashem desires it, and therefore there is no reason for pride or jealousy. Parents bless their children that they too should acquire this beautiful level of unity and achdus, without feeling jealousy or pride.


Torah Wellsprings - Vayechi

had his view; he understood that Efraim's path was correct so he gave him the preferred brachah, without raising the controversy. Reb Mendelson added that we should learn from this that it isn't always necessary to convince others of your opinion. Sometimes you can act yourself on your opinion without trying to convince others of your opinion, and without rousing a dispute and disagreement. What are the two forms of avodas Hashem that Efraim and Menasheh represented? The Divrei Yechezkel of Shinov zt'l explained it in the following way: It states in Tehillim, ùéàä éî áåè äùòå òøî øåñ ...íééç õôçä, "Who is the person who desires life? … remove bad

and do good." These are the two steps for improving one's ways. To leave bad and to do good. But where should one begin? Should one begin with òøî øåñ (repentance/leaving sin) or with áåè äùò, (doing more mitzvos)? One school of thought is that a person's first focus should be on øåñ òøî, to repent and leave sin, because it isn't proper for a person to do mitzvos when he is still sullied with sins. After he is pure, he can start doing good deeds. The other approach teaches that one should begin with doing good deeds because if he waits until he does teshuvah, he is at risk of falling back to his old, negative ways. He should do good deeds, and gradually, the teshuvah and the purity will occur. 6

6. The disagreement is whether one should follow the order written in

the passuk: first ‫ סור מרע‬and then ‫עשה טוב‬. Or the passuk should be read like this: ‫סור מרע‬, go away from sin. But how can one do so? By ‫עשה‬ ‫טוב‬, by doing good deeds.

Torah Wellsprings - Vayechi

The Divrei Yechezkel taught that this was the disagreement between Yosef and Yaakov. Menashah means to forget, and Efraim means to increase (see Bereishis 41:51). Menasheh, which means forgetting, indicates that one should forget and remove all his bad deeds. Efraim, which means to increase, implies that one should increase his good deeds. Yosef wanted Yaakov to place his right hand over Menasheh, because Yosef understood that one should purify himself first, and then do mitzvos. Yaakov however thought that Efraim, increasing good deeds, should come first because then the bad will automatically fall to the wayside. This is the reason Yaakov put his right hand on Efraim's head.


his fellow's left side, and his left side faces the other's right side. What does this teach us? Reb Chaim of Volozhin zt'l answered that it illustrates common, human behavior: People like to focus on fellow man's faults troubles and ignore fellow man's goodness successes.

their and their and

As we know, the right side represents strength, and the left side represents weakness. A person's right side is opposite his fellow man's left side, this means that his stronger focus is on his fellow man's faults.

His left side faces his fellow man's rights side. This indicates that he isn't interested in seeing his fellow man's successes. He only We conclude this section with looks at them weakly. a wonderful lesson, taught in the name of Reb Chaim Yaakov switched his hands, because he wanted his main Volozhiner zt'l: focus to be on the successes When two people face one and good and the weaker focus another, one's right side faces should be on the faults.


Torah Wellsprings - Vayechi Rebbe Moshe of Lelov zy'a

The thirteenth of Teves, is the yahrtzeit of Rebbe Moshe of Lelov zy'a, therefore, let's take a few moments to study the ways of this great tzaddik. Towards the end of his life, Rebbe Moshe traveled to Eretz Yisrael with mesirus nefesh. He said that if he davens by the Kosel HaMaravi, it will hasten the kibutz galiyus and the coming of Moshiach. Before he began his journey, he went to gezeigen (take leave) from several tzaddikim of his generation. When he came to Rebbe Yisrael of Rizhin zy'a, the Rebbe said, "Wait for me. I want to go with you."

travel with a group of ten people. He put away money for this cause but whenever he had enough money, he ended up giving it to tzeddakah and then he would start saving up money for the trip again. Once, a childless woman came to Rebbe Moshe, and asked for a brachah for children. Rebbe Moshe told her that if she gives him a certain amount of money (the amount he needed for his trip) she would have a child. She was ready to give the money, but Rebbe Moshe Lelover told her that she must ask permission from her husband first. It was a large amount of money, and she couldn’t give it without her husband's consent.

Rebbe Moshe Lelover pointed to his white beard, implying that he was getting older and Her husband was a chassid of didn’t have time to wait. 7 "The Gitte Yid" of Neistadt, Rebbe Moshe planned to and he asked his Rebbe 7. The Rebbe of Ruzhin said that if the Yidden in Poland were wise, they

wouldn’t permit their great Rebbe to leave them. He found this alluded in the Mishnah in Shabbos ‫אין פולין לאור הנר‬, "the Polish Yidden aren't wise. They had one brilliant light, and they let him leave."

Torah Wellsprings - Vayechi


whether to give the money. "The Gitte Yid" replied, "You should give the money. However, since you need a miracle to bear a child, I recommend that you tell Rebbe Moshe of Lelov that you will only give the money if the Rebbe promises that the child will live long. Because when a child is born with a miracle, he often doesn’t live long."

When Reb Moshe Lelover was on the boat, he kept repeating, "yom leshanah – a day for a year." People didn’t know his intention. It was later understood that he was praying to live one day for each year of his life. He was seventy-four years old then, and he lived in Eretz Yisrael a corresponding seventy-four days. He was niftar in the year 5614/1852.

(This doesn’t apply in our generation, since Rav Wozner zt'l ruled that in our generation no one is considered barren because of the medical treatments that are available today.)

Many wondrous stories are told about his voyage to Eretz Yisrael. One is that there was a hole on the boat and water began to seep in! Rebbe Moshe placed a cloth over the hole, and this miraculously stopped the influx of water. (This cloth is still extant, and is used as a deck tichel [veil] by the kallahs of his descendants.)

When she returned with the money, she stipulated her condition. Rebbe Moshe Lelover replied, "The years of your child's life will be as many as the days I live in Eretz Yisrael." Rebbe Moshe Lelover lived seventy-four days in Eretz Yisrael, and the child lived for seventy-four years.

Another problem was that the ship stopped at an island where everyone got off and when it was time to return to the ship, his gabai still hadn’t come back. The ship departed,


Torah Wellsprings - Vayechi

leaving the gabai stranded on the island! That Friday night, before Kiddush, Rebbe Moshe announced, "I will not make Kiddush until the gabai is here." Immediately they heard a loud boom. The gabai arrived. The gabai told them, "I was captured by the other side (demons). I heard them say, 'The old tzaddik is saying that he won't make Kiddush until his gabai returns, but he can't do anything because the gabai is with us.' Afterwards, their chief came and said, 'This isn't a joke. If the old tzaddik said that he isn't saying Kiddush until the gabai is back, we must listen.' And they sent me here." This story has a continuation. My grandfather, Reb Moshe Mordechai of Lelov zy'a, lived in Germany before WWll. It was dangerous for a Yid to walk on the streets in those tense times, but on Friday afternoon my grandfather wanted to go to the mikvah.

(Rebbe Dovid, the first Rebbe of Lelov, said that a Yid must have mesirus nefesh to go to mikvah.) Some Germans saw my grandfather and began to beat him. Fortunately, just then, Reb Avraham Frankel z'l passed by. He was a powerful man and without any trouble at all, saved my grandfather from their hands. But the police arrested Reb Avraham Frankel! That Friday night, before making Kiddush, my grandfather, Reb Moshe Mordechai, related the story that happened to his grandfather, Rebbe Moshe of Lelov, how he said that he wouldn’t make Kiddush until his gabai returns, and miraculously the gabai returned. When my grandfather finished telling the story, Reb Avraham Frankel walked in. He was saved. He said that at the police headquarters an interrogator asked him what he did and why he was arrested. Reb Avraham answered that he

Torah Wellsprings - Vayechi


didn’t do anything. He simply helped a Yid who was being beaten up and the police let him free. 8

and it was impossible to continue. The family returned. Unfortunately, he never reached the Kosel. On the seventy-fourth day of his The ship docked in the north arrival to Eretz Yisrael, on of Eretz Yisrael. Rebbe Moshe the thirteenth of Teves, he visited the tzaddikim who was niftar. lived in Tzfas and Teveria and the holy kevarim in the area He said great things about his before going up to yahrtzeit. He said that the day Yerushalayim because he said of his demise is mesugal for that after he gets to rain and therefore, it is Yerushalayim, he will not unnecessary to proclaim a fast want to leave. day for rains before his When he finally came to the yahrtzeit passes. Reb Shmuel Old-city of Yerushalayim, he Salant, the Rav of was ill. His children debated Yerushalayim zt'l kept this whether they should bring counsel, and wouldn’t decree a him to the Kosel HaMaaravi fast day for rains until the in this condition. They thirteenth of Teves passed. decided that since his primary purpose for coming to Eretz He also said that those who Yisrael was to go to the will dedicate a meal on his Kosel to bring Moshiach, they yahrtzeit in his honor (it can should. As they were bringing be just cake and bronfen) will him towards the Kosel, Arabs have a salvation for whatever began throwing rocks at them he needs. 8. There is a concept, that when one repeats the story of a miracle, this

causes that miracle to occur again. Rebbe Moshe Lelover miraculously helped his gabai, and therefore his descendent, Rebbe Moshe Mordechai repeated this story to bring about a similar miracle.


Torah Wellsprings - Vayechi

We conclude with the following story: Someone came to Rebbe Moshe of Lelov and said that his parnassah isn't stable. Sometimes he succeeds, and then a week or a month can pass, without any success at all. His parnassah has many ups and downs.

Gemara (Tanis 25.) which says, àì ì÷ùéî éáäé áäéîã éøéîâã éì÷ù, "we have a tradition that [Heaven] gives, and doesn’t take away."

Rebbe Moshe Lelover advised the man to have fixed times to study Gemara. éøéîâ is similar to àøîâ. Rebbe Moshe Lelover explained, "Learn Gemara, and Rebbe Moshe Lelover's then Heaven will give, and response was based on the will not take away."

‫פרשת ויחי‬ ‫תשע"ז‬ Parshas Vayechi 5777 Year 6 • #288

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

YAAKOV AND YOSEF: DIFFERENT PUBLIC ROLES )‫ (מ''ז כ''ח‬:‫ַ ַוי ְִחי ַי ֲעקֹב ּבְ אֶ ֶרץ ִמצְ ַריִם ְׁשבַ ע עֶ ְׂש ֵרה ׁשָ נָה‬ Jacob lived in the land of Egypt for seventeen years Yaakov Avinu and Yosef HaTzaddik were so tightly bound that if the Torah HaKedosha were a conventional history book, we might expect it to inform us of the length of Yosef's residing in Mitzrayim, as well as that of Yaakov Avinu. But it does not. While both were tzaddikim, needless to say, Yaakov, in light of his venerated status, was in a position to conduct a righteous Jewish life openly and publicly, for all to see. Yosef, on the other hand, was still Viceroy of Egypt. His avoda was more concealed from the masses, with the Targum (on 49:24) describing this as ‫" דקיים אורייתא בסיתרא‬he fulfilled the Torah in secret.". Our posuk teaches that during his years in Mitzrayim, Yaakov was a visible tzaddik, with open and total Torah fulfillment. In other words, he led a publicly-visibleTorah life, proudly and fully, the only kind of life a Yid can lead. The posuk tells us how long that enviable state endured, in keeping with Hashem's plans. Yosef's situation was different than his father's, owing to his public role. )‫ליסקא‬- ‫(אך פרי תבואה‬ THE FOCUS OF YAAKOV'S BROCHO TO HIS GRANDSONS

(ַ‫ (מ''ח ט''ז‬:֒‫ָל־רע יְבָ ֵר ְ֘ך אֶ ת־הַ נְּעָ ִרים‬ ֗ ָ ‫הַ גּ ֨ ֵֹאל א ִֹ֜תי ִמכּ‬

֩‫המַּ לְאָ ְך‬

May the angel who redeemed me from all harm bless the youths, (48:16)

to apply the term "na'ar" is perhaps surprising, FishnessorsinceYaakov it is usually pejorative in tone and carries a tone of foolor childishness. Proof is from Rashi on 37:2 ‫והוא נער את‬ ‫ עושה מעשה נערות‬-- ‫" בני בלהה‬He behaved childishly". The truth is that Yaakov's intention was solely positive, and coming from his mouth, the impact is undiluted brocho. The intent is that even in their old age, Yosef's sons should retain their youthful energy and strength. We see the same notion in the Gemara (Chulin 24b), ‫אמרו עליו על רבי חנינא שהיה בן שמונים שנה והיה עומד על רגלו‬: "Rav Chanina at age eighty retained the power of a man in his youth." The continuation of the brocho likens the lads to fish, and a Gemara in Avoda Zara (30b) conforms well:... ‫שלשה כל זמן שמזקינין גבורה‬ ‫" מתוספת בהן אלו הן דג‬Three creatures grow stronger as they age: fish [...]" Hence, the intention: "May the lads grow from strength to strength as they mature." )‫ יאסטמאן‬-‫(חיי יצחק‬

COULDN'T YOSEF SPEAK FOR HIMSELF? ‫אתי חֵ ן‬ ִ ָ‫ַויַּעַ בְ רוּ יְמֵ י בְ כִ יתוֹ ַויְדַ בֵּ ר יוֹסֵ ף אֶ ל־בֵּ ית פּ ְַרעֹה לֵאמֹר ִאם־נָא מָ צ‬ )‫ (נ ד‬:‫בְּ עֵ ינֵיכֶם דַּ בְּ רוּ־נָא בְּ אָ זְ נֵי פ ְַרעֹה לֵאמֹר‬ hen the days of his weeping had passed, Joseph spoke to Pharaoh's household, saying, "If now I have found favor in your eyes, speak now in Pharaoh's ears,...(50:4) The Medrash Rabbah (100:4) wonders quite naturally why Yosef, who in the past never needed a go-between in his conversations with Paroh, now dispatched emissaries to deliver an important message. The Medrash replies that it was not respectful for a bereaved mourner, even after the bitterest weeping had


ceased, to personally petition the ruler. Rav Michoel Pressbuger, Rav of Papa, Hungary offers an insight from an earlier period of Yosef's career: ‫ֹלתיו ַויָּב֖ ֹא‬ ָ ֔ ‫ת־יוֹסף ַוי ְִריצֻ ֖הוּ ִמן־הַ בּ֑ וֹר ַו ְי ַג ַלּ ֙ח ַויְחַ ֵלּ֣ף ִשׂ ְמ‬ ֵ֔ ֶ‫ַויּ ְִשׁ ַל֤ח פּ ְַר ֹע ֙ה ַויּ ְִק ָר֣א א‬ )‫אֶ ל־פּ ְַרעֽ ֹה (מא יד‬ So Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they rushed him from the dungeon, and he shaved and changed his clothes, and he [then] came to Pharaoh.(41:14) Why did Yosef get personally groomed and respectably clothed? Rashi answers: ‫מפני כבוד המלכות‬, "out of respect for the monarchy." Long hair would have been totally out of place, and Yosef had a very long growth, since seventy days had elapsed after Yakkov's passing during which, as a mourner, he was forbidden to cut his hair. Yosef's sackcloth garments would have also been problematic, according to the sefer ‫פַעַ נֵחַ ָרזָא‬, who recalls ֥ ַ ֶ‫ֵ ֥אין לָב֛ ֹוא א‬ Mordechai HaTzaddik: (‫ל־שעַ ר הַ ֶ ֖מלְֶך בִ לְב֥ וּשׁ ָ ֽשק(אסתר ד ב‬ One may not enter the king's gate dressed in sackcloth." (Esther 4:2) So we see that Yosef had two aspects of his personal grooming and wardrobe which combined to compel him to send a messenger to Paroh, rather than go himself. )‫(בית ישראל השלם למוח''ז האדמו''ר ממאטטערסדארף זצוק''ל‬


THE BROTHERS FORESAW FUTURE TRAGEDY ‫ֹאמרוּ לְיוֹסֵ ף אָ נָּא שָׂ א נָא פֶּשַׁ ע אַ חֶ יָך וגו' וְ עַ תָּ ה שָׂ א נָא ְלפֶשַׁ ע עַ בְ דֵ י אֱ ֹלקֵ י‬ ְ ‫כֹּה־ת‬ )‫ (נ י''ז‬:‫אָ בִ יָך ַויֵּבְ ךְּ יוֹסֵ ף בְּ דַ בְּ ָרם אֵ לָיו‬ So shall you say to Yosef, "Please, forgive now your brothers' transgression .... Now please forgive the transgression of the servants of the G-d of your father." Yosef wept when they spoke to him.(50:17) We notice, and seek to explain, a shift in terminology: at first the Brothers reference their own sin, and then "the transgression of the servants of the G-d of your father." Indeed, does it not seem presumptuous of them to enwrap themselves in the mantle of "servants of Yaakov's G-d"? In truth, the shift in reference teaches a lesson which totally escapes simple logical analysis. The Brothers were well aware that they had committed a grievous sin by selling Yosef, from whose punishment it would be difficult to escape. What is more, they foresaw the gruesome martyrdom of the Ten "Harugei Malchus" in Roman times, speciously attributed to the Sale. But they hoped that the Tzaddik Yosef, through the power of his forgiveness and prayer could effect at the very least, a more lenient punishment for themselves. At first, they begged forgiveness in their personal capacity as brothers. Then they beseeched Yosef to cancel or at least soften the decree against the future Ten Martyrs, who were most certainly in the category of "the servants of the G-d of your father." But alas,Yosef wept,‫ַויֵּבְ ךְּ יוֹסֵ ף בְּ דַ בְּ ָרם‬ ‫אֵ לָיו‬, seeing that there was forgiveness for the Brothers, but that the decree against the Martyrs could not be annulled. Tragically, the Piyut of Eleh Ezkerah of Yom Kippur Musaf reminds us what the judgement from Shomayim was, "You must accept this, my righteous, beloved ones..."‫יקים וִ ִיד ִידים‬ ִ ‫"קַ בְ לוּ ֲעלֵיכֶם צַ ִד‬ (‫)אמרי יצחק מהגאון ר' שאול הלוי אב''ד קאברין‬

Please refrain from reading this Gilyon during davening and Krias Hatorah ("‫(מ)ללמוד בעת חזרת הש"ץ‬ ...‫ "יש ליזהר‬:‫)ע' ש"ע א"ח קכד ס'ד מ"ב ס"ק יז‬


or many years, the Holy Brothers Rav Elimelech of in learning. The tzaddik informed Zusya that immediLizhensk and Rav Zusya of Anipoli wandered from ately after Ma'ariv, they would be transported back to town to city "pravenen galus", that is, personally tasting his lowly hut, but warned Zusya not to reveal to a soul the bitter experience of exile and homelessness, as a re- what he had experienced, on pain of a stringent punishdemption for their self-defined "aveiros". They traveled in ment. And thus it was, that Zusya took his leave of his tandem, but when it came to Shabbos, they took different host, from his shack, with wishes for a "Gute Voch." The approaches. Rav Elimelech sought out a well-to-do host traveling brothers resumed their journeys together on so as to conduct the Shabbos meals comfortably and fully. Sunday morning, but Rav Elimelech noticed a change in Rav Zusya, on the other hand, preferred a pauper as his Rav Zusya. There was a palpable increase in holiness and Shabbos host. refinement -- intermixed with glowing simcha -- which ne Shabbos, their paths diverged, Zusya remaining called out for explanation. Zusya remembered in a certain village, while Elimelech the warning the Hidden Tzaddik had continued on to a different town where a delivered to him. Elimelech cajoled wealthy householder resided. Zusya's him repeatedly to share his reason for staying in the village was that EVEN A TZADDIK LEARNS A LESSON Shabbos experience, but Zusya he wanted to spend Shabbos there with demurred. Finally, he could no THE HARD WAY: one of the thirty-six hidden Lamed-Vav longer hide the story from his WHEN NOT TO SPEAK! Tzaddikim, whose collective merit closest confidante and told him sustains the world. Zusya knocked on the everything that he saw in the course Tzaddik's impoverished shack and asked the of that other-worldly Shalosh Seudos. lady of the house if he might lodge over Shabbos. She The Holy Pair continued their wanderings gladly consented, but stipulated that they had not a scrap and reached a kretschma/country inn where they could of extra food to share with him. Zusya assured her that spend the night. Their practice was to rise before dawn, he was carrying enough food in his pack to tide him over daven shacharis at the first permissible moment, and for Shabbos. Both agreed and Zusya took to preparing his continue on their way. On that particular night, the inn place and himself for the Holy Day. The ba'al ha bayis had a wealthy visitor -- a poritz/gentile landowner from returned home, disheveled and bedraggled, with torn a neighbouring province who was traveling with a pouch clothing, little better than rags. He took not the slightest of gold coins. Being a light sleeper, he heard the brothers notice of Zusya, not even glancing in his direction. After stirring early morning and how they left quickly on their davening that night, Zusya retuned to the hut, hoping to way. He rose and checked the hiding place where he had observe the tzaddik's exalted divine service at his Shabbos left the gold -- and found it empty. He raised a hue and table. Such was not to be. Not only did the host not so cry that the two brothers had departed stealthily because much as acknowledge his guest with a "Gut Shabbos!" they had absconded with his gold! He dispatched his greeting, but the meal passed without any special distinc- servants to chase down the brothers and return them tion. Zusya knew that the man was a tzaddik, but did not to the inn, forcibly if need be. The servants' horses were fathom the extreme degree of his concealment from the swift and well-rested, so they caught up with the two world. Matters took yet a more sobering turn at Shalosh brothers on the road without much difficulty. Back at the Seudos time. Zusya's head began swimming. He felt that inn, the poritz demanded that Rav Zusya return his pouch he had been transported to a large empty field, with no of gold. Of course, Zusya knew nothing of the matter. house or its master in sight, and also devoid of his food! His denial enraged the poritz, who had him bound and Zusya felt crushed, since he had come to witness the beaten in an attempt to extract a confession. Nothing but divine service of a tzaddik but was left with nothing but denials, each one more pitiable than the last, poured forth the clothes on his back. In fact, he knew not even where from Zusya -- and caused more and harder thrashing. he was. But with the firm belief -- no, knowledge -- that Suddenly, the door opened and in strode a second poritz, whatever the Borei Oilam sends his way is for his absolute even better-dressed and formidable than the first, with good, he took to strolling around the field and exploring it. a larger clump of servants. "What's going on here?" he He stumbled upon a hole in the ground which led to a thundered. When the first poritz told him in a nutshell subterranean cave. Peering inside, he was astounded to of his "certain" suspicions, the new poritz looked Zusya view a circle of all Thirty Six Lamed-Vav-niks, with his full in the face and shouted, "You fool! This man is no host at the head as Rosh Chabura, dressed in splendifer- thief. Untie him and send him on his way immediately!" ous white garments l'kovod shabbos, his face aglow with Sheepishly, the accusing poritz complied. On his way out, transcendent shine. One of the Lamed Vav gestured to the second poritz, Zusya's saviour, called him over to Zusya that he should wash and join their circle. The words whisper in his ear. "When they tell you not to reveal of Torah drawn from the deepest hidden wells, together something, you don't reveal it. Period!" Now Zusya with the elevated zmiros drove Zusya to spiritual heights understood well what had happened to him. Chastened, of which he had never dreamed. His simcha was inde- he and Elimelech resumed their travels. scribable. After Shalosh Seudos, the Rosh Chabura, his host, for the first time, greeted him and the two spoke



Parshas Vayigash5777, #288 Our editor, Mr. Rose ‫ תשואת חן חן לן‬is reachable at, 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 or - hours 11-7:30 Subscriptions: - Gilyon is available by email or on, or or

Please refrain from reading this Gilyon during davening and Krias Hatorah ("‫בעת חזרת הש"ץ‬ ‫ (מ)ללמוד‬...‫ "יש ליזהר‬:‫)ע' ש"ע א"ח קכד ס'ד מ"ב ס"ק יז‬


PARASHAS VAYECHI IN THE PATHWAYS OF FAITH A Sick Person Just Has to Think About Repentance (‫ לא‬,‫”וישתחו ישראל על ראש המטה“ )מז‬ “From here they said (Shabbos 12b) that the Shechinah is above the head of a sick person.” (Rashi) Why does the Shechinah rest above a sick person’s head? Rabbeinu Yonasan Eibeshitz explains: A healthy person can do absolute teshuvah by bettering his actions and pledging not to sin in the future. But a sick person who is bedridden cannot do teshuvah with his actions. Therefore, the Shechinah rests above his bed, and the minute he even thinks about doing teshuvah, his repentance is immediately accepted by the Shechinah above his bed. Tiferes Yehonasan

Baruch Sheptarani on Ephraim and Menashe (‫ ח‬,‫”וירא ישראל את בני יוסף ויאמר מי אלה“ )מח‬ “And he said who are these – where did these two emerge from that they are not worthy of a brachah?” (Rashi) Harav Benzion Halberstam of Bobov, Hy”d, explained according to the Midrash (Bereishis Rabba, 63 10, and see Magen Avraham Orach Chaim 225 5) that on the day that a son turns thirteen years of age, the father needs to recite the brachah of “Baruch Sheptarani mei’onsho shel zeh.” That is because until the son reaches the age where he is obligated to do mitzvos, his father is punished for his sins, and from now on, the father is exempt from punishment for his son’s sins. According to this, we can explain that when Yaakov saw the piety of his grandsons, the sons of Yosef, he wondered, ‘Where did these two emerge from’, that because they had not sinned they were not worthy of the brachah of ‘Baruch Sheptarani,’ because their father did not need to be punished for them. Kedushas Tzion

Yehei Shemi Rabba in the Bais HaMikdash “‫”האספו ואגידה לכם את אשר יקרא אתכם באחרית הימים‬ (‫ א‬,‫)מט‬ In Maseches Pesachim (56a), Chazal describe the emotional moments that preceded Yaakov Avinu’s passing from this world: “Yaakov wanted to reveal to his sons the end of days, and the Shechinah left him. He said, ‘Perhaps there is a flaw in my bed [offspring]’

Divrei Torah About Amen and Tefillah in the Parashah

like Avraham, ham, from whom Yishmael emerged, and my father Yitzchak, h from whom Eisav emerged?’ His sons told him: ‘Shema Yisrael Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echad.’ They said: ‘Just like there is only One in your heart, there is only One in our heart.’ At that moment, Yaakov Avinu said, ‘Baruch Shem Kevod Malchuso l’olam va’ed.’” This sequence of events is also cited in the Targum Yerushalmi (Devarim 6:4) where the words ‘Baruch Shem Kevod Malchuso l’olam va’ed’ are translated to the praise we say several times each

The Geulah in the Merit of Amen (‫ כד‬,‫”ואלקים פקד יפקד אתכם והעלה אתכם מן הארץ“ )נ‬

The acronym of “pakod yifkod eschem” is numerically equivalent to amen. From here we allude to the words of Chazal (Yalkut Shimoni Shemos 240): “Our fathers in Egypt were only redeemed in the merit of the amanah that they believed in, as it says (Tehillim 31:24): ‘Emunim notzer Hashem’.” Vayaaminu B’Hashem, p. 38

Sefer Bereishis and the Secret of Amen Chumash Bereishis has 91 parshiyos (stumos and pesuchos), which is numerically equivalent to amen. This alludes to the connection between this Chumash, which contains the root of the faith, the emunah, of Am Yisrael to the end of days hidden in its parshiyos, and the mitzvah of replying amen, whose essence is emunah that HaKadosh Baruch Hu is “Kel Melech Ne’eman.” Shevet MiYehudah

day ‘Yehei Shemei Rabba mevarach l’olam.” Thus the Mashgiach of Slabodka, Harav Moshe Tikochinski, explains the Gemara in Brachos (3a): “When Yisrael enter the shuls and batei medrash and reply ‘Yehei Shemei Hagadol Mevorach,” HaKadosh Baruch Hu shakes His Head, and says, ‘Fortunate is the king Who is praised so much in His home.” Rashi there explains: ‘It was fortunate when this praise was offered in the Bais HaMikdash.” There is an obvious question: Where do we find that they replied ‘Yehei Shemei Rabba’ in the Bais HaMikdash?’ Knowing the explanation of the Targum Yerushalmi, we can now understand this: Chazal say (Taanis

16b) that in the Mikdash they would not reply amen after one who made a brachah, but rather ‘Baruch Shem Kevod Malchuso l’olam va’ed,’ which means, as stated, ‘Yehei Shemei Rabba…’ B’Ikvos Moshe

The Kohein Recited the Words of the Targum (‫ י‬,‫”לא יסור שבט מיהודה“ )מט‬ Maseches Taanis brings the nusach of the tefillah that the Kohein Gadol would say on Yom Kippur in the Kodesh HaKodashim, which concludes with the words of the Targum on this passuk: “Lo ya’adi avid sholtan mid’Beis Yehudah.” Why didn’t the Kohein say the words of the passuk itself, “Lo yassur shevet miYehudah”? The Yismach Moshe of Alexander offers an answer: When the Kohein Gadol entered the Kodesh HaKodashim he could not hold a sefer in his hand, because his hands were filled with the machtah and the ketores. Therefore, he did not say the words of the passuk itself, because Chazal said (Gittin 60b): “Things that are written one is not permitted to say them by heart.” Instead, he said the words of the Targum. Oros Rabboseinu Me’Alexander, p 104

This Is How We Thank Hashem for a Miracle (‫ טו‬,‫”ויראו אחי יוסף כי מת אביהם ויאמרו לו ישטמנו יוסף“ )נ‬ The Midrash (Tanchuma Vayechi 17) explains that Yosef’s brothers’ fears stemmed from the fact that when they returned from burying their father, and passed near the pit where they had thrown Yosef so many years earlier, Yosef stopped to make the brachah: “Baruch She’asah li ness bamakom hazeh.” From here, the brothers concluded that the incident was still alive in his heart. Harav Chaim Shmuelevitz, Rosh Yeshivas Mir, asked: Why did the brothers conclude from this fact that Yosef was still angry at his brothers? Wasn’t he obligated by halachah to make the brachah? He explained: The brothers knew how pious Yosef was, and were aware that before he went to make the brachah on the miracle, he probably had stood and replayed in his mind the trouble that he went through in those long ago days. He continued to do this until he could actually feel as though he was experiencing the pain right at that moment, so that he could offer praise from the depths of his heart. Therefore, their fears were justified that perhaps the feelings of animosity towards them would arise again. Mizmor Lesodah p. 187

The Custom of Holy Tzaddikim

It was told that Harav Aryeh Leibish Lipschitz, author of Aryeh Debei Ila’i (passed away on 17 Teves, 5606/1846 ) did the following:

“Every day seven children came to his roo m Hashachar before him, and he replied ame and said Birchos n after them em..”” Ari Shebachaburah, Pesakim Uminhagim, Tefillah

asurvahcceB rahccahsaaH sohhcriBB eticeer oslaa I

Prayer of Faith

A Glance at the Seder Hatefillah

Nishmass Kol Chai Ch Tevarech The Source of Nishmas In the next few articles, we will discuss the lofty tefillah we recite on Shabbos, Yom Tov and any other time one wishes: “Nishmas Kol Chai.” Rishonim and Acharonim have written prolifically about the holiness and special virtues of this tefillah, and we will cite an encapsulation of what they say. The song of Nishmas has very holy origins. In the Gemara (Pesachim 118a), Rabi Yochanan explains that this was the meaning of Birchas Hashir that is recited on Pesach at night, as the Mishnah says (ibid 117b). It is called Birchas Hashir because it is said on Shabbos after Pesukei Dezimrah (Tosafos ibid). Likewise, the Zohar (Terumah 138 1) expounds on its secrets. The Rishonim (“Mordechai” there, and others) explain that the Anshei Knesses Hagedolah composed this song, and in the explanation on the Siddur of the Rokeach, he explains that it was composed before Birchos Hashachar. That is why some of the praises that we say in Birchos Hashachar are included there, such as “Hashem lo yanum velo yishan,” which corresponds to the brachah of Elokai Neshamah; “Hame’orer yesheinim vehameikitz nirdamim etc” correspond to the other Birchos Hashachar. At the time, they recited Nishmas each day, instead of Birchos Hashachar.

‫ עיצובים‬shay

The Virtues of Nishmas We can learn about the lofty holiness of this tefillah from the enthusiastic words of the Rokeach in his Siddur: “Every person who is infused with the breath of life should concentrate on Nishmas with all his might, because it is the praise of Shir Hashirim, and praiseworthy is the one who concentrates on each and every word, reciting it aloud and pleasantly.” The Shelah Hakadosh wrote similar words, and also added: “The praise of Nishmas is very great, it speaks of the virtue of the soul, the spirit and the soul that illuminate inside us…and although we don’t have the power to praise and glorify even one tiny part out of hundreds of tens of thousands….for all this, our bones will say…Because the body is the case for the soul, and is sanctified by its holiness, therefore we need to sanctify all our limbs…That is the general concept of the praise in Nishmas.” (Siddur Hashelah) Lofty words in praise of this song were written by the Baal Yesod Veshoresh Ha’avodah (Shaar 8, Shaar Ha’elyon chapter 8): “This praise is very great, a person should peruse the holy Zohar (Terumah 138 1) where he lists all the words of this song of praise, and

calls them all by name corresponding to the number of Holy Names of the upper worlds. Here, your eyes see how the Anshei Knesses Hagedolah focused with this praise on the lofty virtues in the holy upper worlds… “It is certainly worthy to enthuse the soul of a person like a consuming fire, to speak the words with great strength and to infuse a person with joy when he recites these words, a tremendous joy in His G-d, may His Name be Blessed, so much so until it will overrun the physicality.”

Why Do We Recite Nishmas on Shabbos? As cited above in the name of the Tosafos in Maseches Pesachim (118a, Rabi Yochanan) already in the time of the Mishnah, the tefillah of Nishmas was recited on Shabbos. But from the words of Rabbeinu Yona (Brachos 34b) it appears that the source of this custom was established by the Gaonim. We found a few explanations for this. 1. In Teshuvos Hagaonim Hachadashos (36), it says that Nishmas is similar to Birchas Hallel, and it is recited as praise for the tremendous gift Hashem gave us, the gift of Shabbos. (See Shabbos 10b) 2. The Shittah Mekubetzes (Brachos 34b) writes that these are praises we add in honor of Shabbos. The Sefer Hatamid (by the rav of the Me’iri, Harav Toledano, p. 29) explains that this passage is said on Shabbos because it has a neshamah yeseirah, and most of the praises in Tefillas Nishmas refer to the neshamah, the soul. Furthermore, “it is worthy to add and subtract on this day from the tefillos and brachos so that they should be different from other days, and a person should notice that it is a different time, just like he becomes aware by the change in clothing and food.” The Siddur Hashelah writes: “The time to say it is Shabbos, because that is when there is a neshamah yeseirah.” The sefer Chessed L’Avraham (Maayan 2 Nahar 49) adds that when the chazzan says Nishmas Kol Chai at Shacharis of Shabbos, that is when the neshamah yeseirah enters the person. 3. Rabbeinu Chaim Vital (Shaar Hakavanos 1) writes that we recite it on Shabbos in place of the mitzvah of tefillin that we have all week. He added that one who recites Krias Shema on Shabbos without reciting Nishmas is like one who recites Shema without tefillin.

A Story of Faith

A Weekly Story About Amen and Tefillah

The Envelope that Waited Ten Years The Envelope that Waited Ten Years “Mr. Gershon Davidowitz, I regret to tell you that because of the devaluation of the shekel you will have to add NIS 80,000 to the total.” Reb Gershon, a machine engineer in a small factory, was not a wealthy man. For many years, he had saved up money until he was able to realize the dream of his life: to purchase a large apartment in the center of Jerusalem. But now, with this new amount, he felt his dream slipping away again. He woefully trudged back through the familiar streets of the Geulah neighborhood, to the Zichron Moshe shul, where he wanted to daven Minchah and Maariv. As he walked, thoughts began to flash through his mind… He remembered the first moments of his arrival in Eretz Yisrael, years ago, with a wife and two little kids, without knowing what the future held for them. After spending a few days in an absorption center, it was clear that this was no place for him…Even though his Jewish knowledge was meager, he knew that the way his neighbors were behaving did not go hand in hand with a Jewish lifestyle, and the latter was the reason he had come to Eretz Yisrael in the first place… With great effort, Gershon was able to find a small, one room apartment, near one of the frum neighborhoods in Jerusalem, where he hoped to rebuild his life. Even though in his native Soviet Union he had served in a senior position, when Gershon was offered to work as a caregiver for senior citizens, he did not refuse. Fortunately, right at the beginning of this new job, he was assigned to work with an older man named Reb Zalman Hershberg, who was suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s. His condition had deteriorated so much that it was hard to believe that in his prime, he had been a wealthy businessman. Reb Zalman’s children were very happy when Gershon became their father’s caregiver. In addition to his physical strength, they were impressed by his honesty, which was very important to them, because their father’s home was full of valuable items. Reb Zalman was not quite as pleased. He was a Holocaust survivor, and he saw Gershon as a figure that threatened to undermine the tranquility he had built in life, and to return him to times he’d prefer to forget. From time to time, he would express is concerns aloud, which created some very awkward situations for Gershon, to be sure. But there were also pleasurable moments for Gershon. During those rare moments when Reb Zalman’s mind was lucid, Gershon would lead him to the bench in the local park, and they would have deep discussions on weighty subjects. Gershon basked in these moments; his soul longed for spirituality, and these conversations were like watering a tiny shoot, which ultimately began to grow and thrive. Now, when Gershon saw the shul building from afar, he remembered the turnabout in his life. His thoughts carried him years back to the first time in his life that he stepped into a shul, accompanying Reb Zalman. Even though many years had passed since then, Reb Gershon still felt a chill go down his spine when he remembered the utter embarrassment he’d felt when he realized how different he was from the other mispallelim. At those moments, he simply wanted the earth to swallow him up. But then an older

man with kind eyes came over to him and asked, “Why are you not davening?” The friendly tone in which the question was asked touched Gershon’s heart and made him feel like he belonged. Suddenly, he didn’t just feel like the outsider, the caregiver, but rather as part of the eternal nation. His eyes were lowered when he answered the man: “I don’t know how to daven!” “No problem, we’ll teach you,” the friendly man replied, his smiling eyes growing serious. That is how Gershon’s journey to Yiddishkeit began. It was a slow, yet determined, journey during which he uncovered beautiful diamonds in his heart that had been hiding beneath a thick layer of distortion. His endless thirst for spirituality led him to devote more and more of his time to learning Torah and doing mitzvos. Even when Reb Zalman passed away and Gershon found a new job as a machine engineer in a newly opened factory, he continued to feel like part of the family of mispallelim in the shul. Due to the fact that he had first taken his steps towards Yiddishkiet in the shul, it was natural that tefillah was something extremely close to his heart. Whenever he needed a yeshuah, even in the smallest matter, he would bury his head between the pages of the Siddur and ask, with his plain words, that his Creator send him the help he needed. Before his request, however, he would first offer heartfelt thanks to Hashem for all the good he had merited to date. Now, too, before making any hishtadlus, Gershon lingered for a few long moments after davening. He offered a prayer from the depths of his heart: “Father in Heaven, I want very much to purchase this apartment, that will be a comfortable, suitable place to raise my children. Please, if it is Your will, help me succeed.” When he finished davening, Gershon felt a sense of utter calm spread through his body. He returned home in peace, confident that his tefillah would not be rejected. In the small kitchen, supper was waiting for him. The children were in their pajamas, waiting patiently for their father to finish his meal and put them to sleep. But even before he washed his hand, there was a knock at the door. One of the children came into the kitchen, “Abba, there’s someone at the door for you!” At the door was a courier with a brown envelope. “Sign here and here and here…” he said, and dashed back down the stairs, leaving Gershon holding the brown envelope. Only then did Gershon look at the sender. “Hershberg family,” it said in black letters on the back. Gershon’s hands trembled when he opened the envelope. A small slip of paper fell out, attached to a bank check for the sum of … eighty thousand shekel. The black letters shook in front of his eyes as he read the note: “Dear Gershon, The lawyer finally finished executing our father’s will. The will stated that he wanted to give you eighty thousand shekel as a token of appreciation for your dedicated work. We hope you enjoy the money in good health. In appreciation and gratitude, the Hershberg family.” The money had waited ten years for a fervent tefillah to realize its potential, and when that tefillah arrived, the delay was lifted and the money arrived at its destination. (Heard from the person this story happened to.)

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