3:25 AM

Parshas Tzav

Posted by Scholar

  • "An earthenware vessel in which it was cooked shall be broken" (Vayikra 6:21)

Rashi explains that the reason for this is that the absorbed meat becomes "notar"(flesh from an offering which remains uneaten after the designated time),

When a vessel is not used for more then 24 hours, whatever is absorbed becomes pagum(spoiled). So why can't we use this vessel after 24 hours?

Pirkei Avos lists the miracles that took place in the Beis HaMikdash. One of these miracles was that "the meat of the sacrifices never spoiled." Therefore, the absorption in the vessel was always fresh, and since earthenware vessels can't be made kosher, the meat remains "notar" and the vessel can never be used.

  • "And Aharon and his sons did all the things which G-d commanded through Moshe." Vayikra 8:36
Rashi writes, "This declares their praise that they did no turn to the right or to the left." What kind of praise is this, if they were great spiritual luminaries?

Often, when a person is asked to be a shliach tzibur or deliver a Torah thought, he humbly shakes his head, expressing a sense of unworthiness. By moving his head to the left and right he is saying, "Who am I to perform such an important task?"
The praise of Aharon and his children, therefore, was that when they received a command, they immediately set out to do it without moving their heads "to the right and left," demonstrating pseudo-humility and expecting to be prevailed upon a second time.

4:12 AM

Parshas Yisro

Posted by Scholar

  • Why is the giving of the Torah recorded in Parshas Yisro?
Regarding the Torah it is written: "The true good is only Torah." Pirkei Avot goes on to state, "I have given you a good teaching-the Torah." The word "Tov" which means good has the numerical value of 17. Counting from the first Parsha of the Torah (Bereishit) 17 parshas we get to Yisro. Therefore it is more appropriate to have the ultimate good be expounded in the 17th parsha.

  • "And G-d descended upon Mount Sinai" (Shemos 19:20)

In the Haggadah we say, "Had He brought us before Mount Sinai and not given us the Torah, it would have been enough (dayeinu)." Of what value would Mount Sinai be without the Torah?
The Torah contains 613 Mitzvot, the numerical value of Torah is 611. Unlike the rest of the Torah, which was given to us by Moshe Rabbeinu, the first 2 commandments were uttered by Hashem Himself. The meaning of the Haggadah is that had we come to Mount Sinai and heard only those 2 commandments from Hashem Himself, it would have sufficed for us.

  • "I am G-d your G-d, who brought you out of the land of Egypt" (Shemos 20:2)

Why didn't Hashem just introduce Himself as the Creator of Heaven and Earth? Why specifically as "He Who brought you out of the land of Egypt"? The answer is that the redemption from Egypt is something that every Jew had just experienced and therefore it has a personal and unique meaning to each and every one of us.
Also, the word for Egypt in the Torah is "mitzrayim" which Chassidus explains can also be read as "meitzarim", or "limitations and boundaries". Torah gives a person the power to elevate himself over all physical limitations. By taking us out of "Mitzrayim" (or "meitzarim"), and giving them the Torah, Hashem is telling us that we have the ability to leave behind our spiritual and physical limitations. Through the study and practice of Torah, a Jew can control heaven and earth, instead of his being subject to their control.

4:13 AM

Parshas BeShalach

Posted by chanie

  • "And it came to pass when Pharaoh sent out the people." (Exodus, 13:17)
The Gemora in Megilla states that whenever the word "vayehi" is used, it denotes a time of distress. If this is so, then why was it used in this case? It would seem to be that this was a joyous occasion- the Jews were waiting for many years for this freedom. Moshe pleaded with Pharaoh to free the Jews, but Pharaoh kept refusing, until Hashem performed many miracles and finally, the Jews left. However, there were still some Jews who thanked Pharaoh for his "kindness" in letting them go. This is why the Torah uses the word "vayehi"- to indicate the sad situation that after all the suffering under Pharaoh, some still gave Pharaoh credit for sending them away, instead of thanking Hashem.

  • "And Moshe took the bones of Yosef with him." (Exodus, 13:19)
The Gemara (Sotah 13a) says that while all the Jews were occupied with acquiring the gold and silver of the Egyptians, Moshe was occupied with the mitzvah of the "bones of Yosef." The Gemara connects this with the pasuk "chacham-leiv yikach mitzvot" (the wise-hearted takes mitzvot) (Proverbs 10:8).

What wisdom did Moshe show here? Moshe was considered a Kohen (for the 40 years the Jews were in the wilderness, or at least until after the seven days of inauguration, (Zevachim 102a). It is forbidden for a Kohen to defile himself by contact with a corpse. However, a corpse no one is taking care of, is considered a meit mitzvah (a mitzva to take care of it), and even a Kohen is allowed to defile himself for its sake. Since all the Jews were occupied with gathering the gold and silver of the Egyptians, no one took care of the bones of Yosef. Moshe, in his wisdom, occupied himself with this mitzvah of caring for the bones, since it was a case of meit mitzvah, for which even a Kohen may defile himself.

9:46 AM

Parshas Bo

Posted by chanie

  • "And he turned his back and left Pharaoh." (Exodus, 10:6)
Why, before the plague of locusts, does the Torah tell us that Moshe left immediately after giving Pharaoh the warning? The midrash says that Moshe always thought Pharaoh was simply stubborn, and therefore spent a lot of time pleading with him. When Hashem sent him to Pharaoh for the plague of locusts, Hashem told Moshe that He had hardened Pharaoh's heart. Moshe then realized that it was Hashem Who had hardened Pharaoh's heart with the previous plagues, as well. Therefore, he realized there was no purpose in pleading with Pharaoh to let the people go, and did not waste time doing so, but rather, left right away after warning him.

10:13 AM

Parshas Va'eira

Posted by Scholar

  • "Aharon threw down his staff in front of Pharaoh...and it became a snake" (Exodus 7:10)
What message did Aharon and Moshe want to give Pharaoh? Pharaoh claimed that the Jews sinned and didn't deserve to be set free. Aharon and Moshe wanted to show that one's enviroment plays an important role in one's life. In front of Pharaoh, the staff became a vicious snake, but in front of Aharon and Moshe, it returned to its true state of being a staff.

7:30 AM

Parshas Shemos

Posted by Scholar

  • "The midwives feared G-d" (Exodus, 1:17)
The words, "And they caused the children to live," seem to be extra. If the midwives didn't obey Pharaoh, isn't it obvious the children would live?!

In every hospital with a maternity ward, a small percent of children die at birth. The Jewish midwives feared that should a child die, they would be blamed for listening to Pharaoh's decree. Therefore, they prayed, and Hashem granted them a miracle, so that even the children who were meant to die at birth continued to live. Thus, through their righteousness, they caused the children "to live."

  • "She called him Moshe" (Exodus, 2:10)
Why was this Moshe known as Moshe Rabbeinu (Moses Our Teacher), while the Rambam (Maimonides) was known as Rabbeinu Moshe (Our Teacher Moshe)?

We know that Moshe had many names. The name his parents gave him at birth was not Moshe, but Tuvya. So the question becomes: Why did he keep specifically this name for his entire life, if it was not his real name (and, in fact, only received it 3 months after he was born)?

Even though Moshe knew that this was not his real name, he retained it and used it out of gratitude, so as not to forget the one who acted kindly towards him. Whenever he was called Moshe, it reminded him of being drawn from the water by Batya, Pharaoh's daughter. This is why the word Rabbeinu follows the word Moshe- to show us that Moshe is Rabbeinu- our teacher. It is a lesson in humanity, humility, and recognizing goodness.

On the other hand, the Rambam was known as a scholar, and through his works, he educated many generations in Torah. For this reason, he became known as Rabbeinu Moshe, Our teacher Moshe Ben Maimon.

Moshe Rabbeinu is numerically equal to the number 613. This is because he gave us the Torah, which consists of 613 mitzvot (commandments).

Numerically, Rabbeinu Moshe equals the same thing, alluding to the fact that the Rambam wrote the Mishne Torah, explaining all 613 mitzvot

  • He turned here and there but saw nobody. (Exodus, 2:12)
If Moshe turned around in order to see who was watching, why did he not see the person who replied, "Do you think you will kill me like you killed the Egyptian?"

When Moshe saw a Jew being beaten, he could not believe it. Why was nobody protesting the fact an innocent Jew was being beaten for no reason? Immediately, Moshe "turned here and there", he went to the police, government and even to the "humanitarians". "Do something!" he said.

After turning to all sides and "saw nobody" he realized that the world doesn't consider Jewish blood human. Therefore, he had no choice but to take the law into his own hand and kill the Egyptian.

6:26 AM

Parshas VaYechi

Posted by Scholar

  • Why does the Parsha which discusses the death of Yaakov start off with the words, "And Yaakov lived"?

The numerical value of "vayechi" (translation: and he lived) is 34. Yaakov lived 147 years, the best of which were 34 years. The 17 years from the birth of Yosef, until he was sold as a slave, and the 17 years he was in Egypt with his son Yosef, add up to 34. These are the "vayechi", the best 34 years of Yaakov's life.

  • "Assemble yourselves and I shall tell you what awaits at the end of days."

This was a message just before Yaakov passed away. In the Torah, "koreh" (happens) is written with an alef, changing its meaning to "call". Why? Yaakov gathered all his children around his bedside, in order to tell them what would be the "call of the Jews". In order for them to bring Moshiach closer, they would need to know what to do. We, in turn, should take a lesson from Yaakov's call, and gather in unity to study and listen to Torah. Through this, we will be able to greet Moshiach.

  • In this week's Parsha, we learn about the death of Yaakov. This itself is a slight problem, since the Gemora in Taanis says that Yaakov never died. The Ramban asks how the Sages could say such a thing, but Yaakov himself spoke of his death, "Behold I am about to die."

The Ramban answers that perhaps Yaakov didn't know that he wasn't going to die. He also provides a second reason: that perhaps Yaakov didn't want to glorify himself with the fact he wasn't going to die. From the Ramban's words it seems that all of his children thought he had indeed passed away- except for Yosef, who knew that he hadn't.