Sunday, November 30, 2008

Parshas Toldos - "Bless me FATHER"

Q: Why does the Torah mention that Yitzchak was Eisav's father, (27:39) a fact which is quite obvious from the entire story until this point?

The Ohr HaChayim teaches that Yitzchak had no plans to give Eisav a blessing at this point. However, upon hearing Eisav cry (27:38), Yitzchak's compassion for his son emerged and he decided to bless him. The words HIS FATHER explain why Yitzchak chose to give this blessing to Eisav.

* Courtesy of Rabbi Dov Lipman Shlit"a

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Parshas Vayeira - "Open Door Policy"

After Maariv on Thursday nights I usually meet up with a Lubavitcher friend of mine and we trade divrei Torah. This week he told me a very nice one bisheim the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

He asked, why in Parshas Lech Lecha are Lot's guests referred to as angels, whereas in Parshas Vayeira these same angels are called men?!

The Rebba beautifully answers that in the story involving Lot, the Torah refers to his guests as angels because that was the only reason why Lot invited them into his house, because of their prestige. By Avraham however, he was known for having a tent with four doors. His reputation was that of an ish chesed, therefore regardless of who his visitor was he was without a doubt going to bring them in. Not wanting to diminish Avraham's chesed it refers to his guests as "men" because Avraham would have brought anyone in need into his home.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Parshas Lech Lecha - "Math of the Week"

The Baal Haturim says that the first words in Parshas Lech Lecha are foreshadowing what is to come at the end of the Parsha. At the beginning of this weeks Parsha we are introduced to Avraham and his many fascinating characteristics but he seems to be missing one thing, fatherhood. After years and years of searching and looking for meaning in his life he lacks the one thing that he wants most, a child.

The Baal Haturim tells us that the words Lech lecha in this weeks Parsha hint to Avrahams eventual bracha of becoming a father. If one were to add up the words lech lecha. It would equal 100 which is the age at which Avraham was zoche to have Yitzchak. The problem is however that Yitzchak was Avraham’s second child not the first!? He answers that that too is hinted to in the words “Lech Lecha.” If we count up the nekudos (dots equaling 10 each and lines equaling 6) then they add up to 86, which was Avraham’s age when Yishmael was born.

Parshas Noach - "Bon Apetit"

In this weeks Parsha we learn of Noach’s teiva (ark). Noach takes his progeny with him onto the ark to seek a safe haven for them so they too will not be decimated by the tumultuous flood. Noach did not go on the ark as a measure of panic, but strictly because Hashem told him too.

Rav Weiss from Kfar Roeh writes that, on Shabbos we have a chiyuv to eat three meals. The first meal is on Friday night after a long week we are famished and looking forward to a delicious and warm meal. On Shabbos day as well, after a long Shacharis and Mussaf in Shul we are anxious to get home to fill our stomachs with the fine delicacies that have been prepared. The third meal however, is different from the previous two meals. It occurs shortly after the second meal when our stomachs are full of food. Nevertheless we still eat this meal because Hakadosh Baruch Hu tells us to. Therefore we don’t call this meal Shalosh Seudos to reflect that even though it appears that we ate the first two meals in order to satiate our own palates we infact ate them for the same reason why we ate the third meal, because Hakadosh Baruch Hu asked us to.

Just like Noach who could have used the teiva as a safe haven but instead enters it because Hashem tells us to. We eat our meals on Shabbos not only because we have delicious food but primarily because Hakadosh Baruch asks us to.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Parshas Bereishis

Bereishis 1:1 "Bereishis Bara Elokim Es Hashamayim V'Es HaAretz"

The the Lubavitcher Rebbe, poses the following question:

Why does the Torah start with a "Beis" [Breishis]? Wouldn't it make more sense for it to start with an "Aleph"?

In his introspective and profound manner the Rebba answers that the reason for why the Torah starts with the letter "beis" is because reading the Torah is the second thing that we are supposed to do. The first thing that we are supposed to do is reflect on the year past. We should internalize the Tishrei season that we just experienced and try to carry it with us into the coming year. Only once we have done that, can we restart the Torah by chanting the famous words, "Bereishis Bara Elokim Es Hashamayim V'Es HaAretz"

You are Sorely Missed!

You are Sorely Missed!