Parshat Vayechi - Seeing What's Real
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The Angel of Death in This Person's House (Heaven forbid)
Anyone who brings a "Radio" into his house, it is as if he brought the Angel of Death into his home, God forbid.
For, aside from the serious transgression and its terrible punishment, there is also the prohibition of "music in the house", about which our Sages said, the home with music will ultimately be destroyed...
Aside from this, his home becomes wide open for any prohibited matter, God forbid: to hear the nakedness of a woman's voice, to hear matters of scoffing, light-headedness, foolishness, profanity; to hear the voice of apostate preachers who influence with their words of apostasy, heresy, anarchy and abuse, God forbid.
To hear the "comedy" that they make from the reading of the holy Torah and the reading of the Megillah and the recitation of Selichot and from every holy matter, for this "comedy" uproots and weeds out any remnant of holy feeling in the heart of Israel, for the soul of a Jew used to wonder from trembling over the holiness of these matter when they were done in their [proper] holiness, in their time and place in an appropriate and customary manner. And this "comedy" blasphemies and extinguishes any spark of feeling of holiness, by transforming everything into an act of comedy and silliness for any religious ceremony; a mass "comedy:" that approaches the level of the conversation of those who sit in the gates and the melodies of drunks.
Sometimes this also causes the [gathering] of rabble-rousers and strangers in the house with the excuse of [wanting to] hear the "radio". The house loses in this manner the entire framework of life and any self-evaluation, because at the time that a person used to be free to think about his obligations in his world, instead he turns on the radio which chatters foolishness and nothingness - it sings and rings and confuses - and all the days in this home are like holidays and unadulterated joy which then leads to sorry, God forbid.
For this reason, anyone who cares about his soul and the souls of the people of his house will not allow this great destroyer to enter his home. "Leave, impure one!" he should say to it, and one who guards his soul will distance himself from it!
לג וַיַּכִּירָהּ וַיֹּאמֶר כְּתֹנֶת בְּנִי, חַיָּה רָעָה אֲכָלָתְהוּ; טָרֹף טֹרַף, יוֹסֵף. לד וַיִּקְרַע יַעֲקֹב שִׂמְלֹתָיו, וַיָּשֶׂם שַׂק בְּמָתְנָיו; וַיִּתְאַבֵּל עַל-בְּנוֹ, יָמִים רַבִּים. לה וַיָּקֻמוּ כָל-בָּנָיו וְכָל-בְּנֹתָיו לְנַחֲמוֹ, וַיְמָאֵן לְהִתְנַחֵם, וַיֹּאמֶר, כִּי-אֵרֵד אֶל-בְּנִי אָבֵל שְׁאֹלָה; וַיֵּבְךְּ אֹתוֹ, אָבִיו.33 And he knew it, and said: 'It is my son's coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt torn in pieces.' 34 And Jacob rent his garments, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days. 35 And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said: 'Nay, but I will go down to the grave to my son mourning.' And his father wept for him.
אין אדם יכול לקבל תנחומין על החי וסבור שמת, שעל המת נגזרה גזירה שישתכח מן הלב ולא על החי:A person cannot be consoled for someone who is living who he considers dead, for only on the dead was a decree issued that he should be forgotten from the heart, and not on the living.
Rashi's comment alludes to a critical story that appears in full in the Otzar Hamidrashim (Chanukah pp. 189-190) The Midrash relates:שגזרו יוונים על כל בתולות הנשואות להיבעל לטפסר תחילה, ועל יד אשה נעשה הנסFor the Greeks had decreed that every married virgin must first cohabitate with the [Greek] general. And, the miracle took place through the actions of a woman.
This incredibly powerful story speaks for itself. The brazen, almost unthinkable act of a single pious girl shook the Jews to their very core, forcing them once and for all to overcome their fear and rise up against the Greek oppression.כיון שראו יונים שאין ישראל מרגישין בגזירותיהם, עמדו וגזרו עליהם גזירה מרה ועכורה, שלא תכנס כלה בלילה הראשון מחופתה אלא אצל ההגמון שבמקום ההוא. כיון ששמעו ישראל כך רפו ידיהם ותשש כחם ונמנעו מלארס, והיו בנות ישראל בוגרות ומזקינות כשהן בתולות...והיו יונים מתעללות בבתולות ישראל, ונהגו בדבר הזה שלש שנים ושמונה חדשים, עד שבא מעשה של בת מתתיהו כהן גדול שנשאת לבן חשמונאי ואלעזר היה שמו, כיון שהגיע יום שמחתה הושיבוה באפריון, וכשהגיע זמן הסעודה נתקבצו כל גדולי ישראל לכבוד מתתיהו ובן חשמונאי שלא היו באותו הדור גדולים מהם, וכשישבו לסעוד עמדה חנה בת מתתיהו מעל אפריון וספקה כפיה זו על זו וקרעה פורפירון שלה ועמדה לפני כל ישראל כשהיא מגולה ולפני אביה ואמה וחותנה. כיון שראו אחיה כך נתביישו ונתנו פניהם בקרקע וקרעו בגדיהם, ועמדו עליה להרגה, אמרה להם שמעוני אחיי ודודיי, ומה אם בשביל שעמדתי לפני צדיקים ערומה בלי שום עבירה הרי אתם מתקנאים בי, ואין אתם מתקנאים למסרני ביד ערל להתעולל בי! הלא יש לכם ללמוד משמעון ולוי אחי דינה שלא היו אלא שנים וקנאו לאחותם והרגו כרך כשכם ומסרו נפשם על ייחוד של מקום ועזרם ה' ולא הכלימם, ואתם חמשה אחים יהודה יוחנן יונתן שמעון ואלעזר, ופרחי כהונה יותר ממאתים בחור, שימו בטחונכם על המקום והוא יעזור אתכם שנאמר כי אין מעצור לה' להושיע וגו' (ש"א =שמואל א'= י"ד). ופתחה פיה בבכיה ואמרה רבש"ע אם לא תחוס עלינו חוס על קדושת שמך הגדול שנקרא עלינו ונקום היום נקמתנו. באותה שעה נתקנאו אחיה ואמרו בואו ונטול עצה מה נעשה...When the Greeks realized that Israel was not affected by their decrees they rose and issued a bitter, ugly decree, that a bride on the first night [after her wedding] must leave her wedding canopy for [the bed of] the local hegemony. When Israel heard this their hands weakened and their strength abated, and they refrained from betrothing…and the Greeks would mistreat the daughters of Israel. They maintained this practice for three years and eight months, until the daughter of Matityahu the High Priest because engaged to a Hasmonean by the name of Elazar.
When the day of her joy[ous wedding] arrived, they seated her in a throne. At the time of the meal, all the elders of Israel gathered in honor of Matiyahu and this son of the Hasmoneans, for there were no greater in that generation than them. When they sat down to the meal, Chanah the daughter of Matityahu rose from upon her throne, clapped her hands together, and ripped her garment and stood revealed before all of Israel, her father, mother and her in-laws.
When her brothers witnessed this act they were embarrassed and looked towards the ground and tore their garments, and then began to approach her to kill her [for her terrible act]. She said to them, "Hear me my brothers and cousins! If you are zealous towards me for the fact that I stood naked before righteous people without committing any sin, yet, you are not zealous to hand me over to an uncircumcised heather to mistreat me!? We must learn from Shimon and Levi the brothers of Dinah, who were only two, but still zealously endangered their lives to destroy Shechem for the sake of God's name – and God helped them and did not shame them! And you are five brothers, Yehudah, Yochanan, Yonatan, Shimon and Elazar – and the young priests number over two hundred – place your trust in God and He will help you, as it is written, 'for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.'" (Shmuel 1 14:6) Then, she burst into tears and said, "Lord of the Universe – if You do not have compassion upon us, have compassion upon the holiness of your great Name by which we are called, and avenge our vengeance on this day!"
At that moment, her brother were zealous and said, let us gather and consider what course of action we should take…
מדרש תהלים (בובר) מזמור קה ד"ה [ה] ויקרא רעב[ה] ויקרא רעב על הארץ. אמר ר' יהודה בר נחמני בשם ר' שמעון בן לקיש ראוי היה יעקב לירד במצרים בשלשלאות של ברזל, ועשה הקב"ה כמה מנגנאות כדי להורידו בכבודו, לכך נאמר ויקרא רעב על הארץ, וכל כך למה ויבא (יוסף) [ישראל] מצרים (/תהלים ק"ה/ פסוק כג). אמר ר' פנחס הכהן [בר המא] משל לפרה שהיו מבקשין למשוך אותה למקולין שלה, ולא היתה נמשכת, מה עשו, משכו בנה תחלה, והיתה רצה אחוריו, כך קודם שבא יעקב למצרים כמה מנגנאות נעשו, שיעשו אחי יוסף כל אותן הדברים, כדי שירד יוסף למצרים, ואחרי כן ירד יעקב אחריו למצרים.
We understand why the brothers can’t eat with the Egyptians – they had just come from a foreign land. But why can’t Yosef eat with the Egyptians? He’s the Prime Minister! Apparently, he can be the Prime Minister of the country, but he can’t become an Egyptian. He never feels comfortable and integrated into Egyptian society. He lives a life alone – he is forever lonely in Egypt. They need him in Egypt – they tolerate him. But they never really accept him. He leaves instructions twice in the Torah to bring him out of Egypt after he’s already dead: once in ויחי, and again in בשלח. In the first instance he says, והעליתם את עצמותי מזה – take me out of this place. Yet, in בשלח he says, והעליתם את עצמותי מזה אתכם. What’s the difference between the two? The second time is Moshe’s interpretation: he realizes that Yosef wants to leave not for cultural reasons, to be connected to his father. But rather, because he wants to be buried with the Jewish people because he says אתכם – “I am one of you, and I belong to the Jewish people. Even while I was Prime Minister, the most powerful person in the entire nation of Egypt, and even when I accused you of being spies, I had never forgotten that I was אתכם – I never forgot where I belong.”בראשית פרק מג(לב) וישימו לו לבדו ולהם לבדם ולמצרים האכלים אתו לבדם כי לא יוכלון המצרים לאכל את העברים לחם כי תועבה הוא למצרים:
Ya'akov wants to have his cake and eat it too. He'll fight if he has to, to protect his family. But he's particularly disturbed about the prospect of having to kill others, no matter the justification.ויירא שמא יהרג, ויצר לו אם יהרוג הוא את אחריםHe was afraid of being killed, and he was distressed that he might kill others.
I opened Facebook this morning to find a wonderful message from friend in Michigan:שפעם אחת גזרה מלכות רומי הרשעה גזירה על ישראל שכל המניח תפילין ינקרו את מוחו והיה אלישע מניחם ויוצא לשוק ראהו קסדור אחד רץ מפניו ורץ אחריו וכיון שהגיע אצלו נטלן מראשו ואחזן בידו אמר לו מה זה בידך אמר לו כנפי יונה פשט את ידו ונמצאו כנפי יונה לפיכך קורין אותו אלישע בעל כנפים ומאי שנא כנפי יונה משאר עופות משום דאמתיל כנסת ישראל ליונה שנאמר (תהילים סח) כנפי יונה נחפה בכסף וגו' מה יונה כנפיה מגינות עליה אף ישראל מצות מגינות עליהן:And why is he called the man of wings'? Because the wicked Roman government once proclaimed a decree against Israel that whoever donned tefillin should have his brains pierced through; yet Elisha put them on and went out into the streets. [When] a quaestor saw him, he fled before him, whereupon he gave pursuit. As he overtook him he [Elisha] removed them from his head and held them in his hand. 'What is that in your hand?' he demanded. 'The wings of a dove,' was his reply. He stretched out his hand and lo! they were the wings of a dove. Therefore he is called 'Elisha the man of the wings'. And why the wings of a dove rather than that of other birds? Because the Congregation of Israel is likened to a dove, as it is said, "as the wings of a dove covered with silver:: just as a dove is protected by its wings, so is Israel protected by the mitzvot. (translation from here)
rabbi spolter,First of all, those messages really do help. We don't feel alone in this at all, but it's always nice to hear from friends. But if you want to help, I can think of two other ways (in addition to the davening and correcting information - both of which are important):
hope you and your mishpocha are doing well and the tumult ends quickly and safely. please let us know if there's anything (besides davening and correcting misinformation) we can do for for you.
I'm really sorry, but is this really the time to be raising money for a Sefer Torah? If people want to send money, perhaps they can do so to alleviate the suffering of the people in Sderot, the families of those killed in Kiryat Malachi, or the many other causes actually related to the rockets themselves. Where is this Sefer Torah even going to be housed? How is it helpful, other than in some kind of pseudo-mystical way that no one can really understand?
I could even accept sponsoring additional learning of some kind during this challenging time.
This really smacks of tzedaka opportunism, and leaves me with a very bad taste in my mouth. I was going to post this on my blog, but felt that you should have the opportunity to respond. If you want to raise money for chesed, that's great! But use it for chesed.
Dear Rabbi Spolter,
I appreciate your questions and the opportunity to respond.
First, I think that you should know that I made Aliyah 6 years ago and spent 4 of those years working for an amuta which connected Jews all over the world to both Chayalim and to families/children in Sderot. So I am sensitive to the needs of those groups.
The motivation behind this particular Sefer Torah is to honor the neshamot of terrorist victims. It was started about 3 months ago by an amuta: Ahavat Chinam, which provides services: education, dormitory, counseling etc to girls at risk and girls coming back from relationships with arabs, drugs, lack of observance etc. These problems exist before, during and after the current escalation of this 64 year ongoing war with the world around us.
While the project was started 3 months ago, the efforts have only resulted in a handful of complete Parshaot being sponsored. I was asked to assist in the effort 2 weeks ago.
Timing is such, but one can sponsor a psuk in the merit of our chayalim.
This is a time for us to do t’shuva, t’filla and tzedakah. Out right, this is a tzedakah opportunity, they have received p’sak that funds for this Sefer Torah can come from one’s Ma’aser Funds. In addition, since part of the funds will go to the amuta to assist these girls in their personal t’suva process and one of the things that these girls do is t’filla, supporting the writing of this Sefer Torah is a means to support all 3 things that we need to do every day, but especially during this particular Matzav.
One of the things that I have seen some Rabbis say is that we need to continue life as much to normal as we can as a means to show HKBH that we have emmunah and bitachon in Him and our enemy so that he sees that we trust in HKBH.
I know that Yad Binyamin is a lot closer to the missiles then Shiloh is, but travel to Shiloh has always been under attack and while, not missiles, the rocks and boulders that are thrown and the fire bombs that are tossed have increased in frequency on the roads to and from Jerusalem.
At the same time that we here in Israel are under rocket assault, our brethren in the Eastern US are pumping and digging out of Storm Sandy. So they also have a tremendous need for funds, even if only for a temporary fix as they all pack up and make Aliyah. Is it insensitive to ask them for help in writing this Sefer Torah? They need a connection with HKBH also. They lack both the walking, breathing and living in Eretz Yisroel as a z’scut as well as being outside of HKBH umbrella of protection, where He neither slumbers nor sleeps.
This particular Sefer Torah will be housed at the Kotel, the center of the world and the place that the survivors of Terror turn in their prayers. It is also a global fund raising effort, so for both these reasons, I believe that this is an appropriate location for this Sefer Torah.
Rabbi Spolter, we are not a lot of money for participation in this Sefer Torah only US$ 18 or 72 NIS, so one can participate in this project and other chesed projects as well.
One of my correspondents, on Moshav Shokeda, which is a lot closer to Aza then Yad Binyamin has asked for assistance to purchase a migunit-shelter which runs 70-80,000 NIS. Here is another opportunity to do Chesed: how much can you and your ‘community’ (local and on-line) raise for this project?
If you are going to post to your blog, please share this.
I'd like to focus on the phrase at the end of the verse: שני חיי שרה – "these were the years of the life of Sarah." Obviously, this phrase screams out for interpretation and clarification.וַיִּהְיוּ חַיֵּי שָׂרָה, מֵאָה שָׁנָה וְעֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה וְשֶׁבַע שָׁנִים--שְׁנֵי, חַיֵּי שָׂרָה.And the life of Sarah was a hundred and seven and twenty years; these were the years of the life of Sarah.
Why was Sarah greater than Avraham in Ruach Hakodesh?הוא מה שאדם מתבודד ומשרה עליו רוה"ק ויודע מה שרואה. אמנם לא דבר עמו ה'.This is where a person secludes himself and the spirit of God dwells upon him, and he knows what he is seeing, but the word of God is not with him.
Sarah, explains the Netziv, was a woman of חיים – she had a joy for life, a deep faith and a positive attitude. Thus, the meaning of the phrase, שני חיי שרה is, "the years of a life of joy of Sarah."הוא משני טעמים. א' שאברהם בצדקו היה מנהיג העולם ומדריכם לעבודת ה'...ומי שעסקו עם המון רבה אינו יכול להתבודד כ". משא"כ שרה היתה יושבת באהלה בקדושה וטהרה (וע' מש"כ הגאון חתם סופר בהקדמתו בזה דברים ראויים אליו ז"ל). שנית דאין רוה"ק חל אלא מתוך שמחה...ושרה זה צדקתה להפלא שהיתה באמונתה...ע"כ לא נתעצבה בכל ימי חייה והיתה שקועה ברוה"ק.For two reasons: First of all, Avraham in his righteousness, was a world leader who guided the people to the service of God…And one who deals with the masses cannot isolate himself that much, which is not true of Sarah who sat in her tent in holiness and purity. Secondly, Ruach Hakodesh only rests upon a person through joy, and Sarah was exceedingly righteous in that she had great and wondrous faith…for this reason, she was never saddened nor worried throughout her life for all of her days, and she was therefore immersed in Ruach Hakodesh.
|They didn't even pretend the sheet was about Torah|