Vayeitzei 5772

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

After Yaakov awakes from his dream of the ladder, he vows to accept Hashem as his G-d if Hashem protects him (28:20-21). However, Hashem has just promised this to him a couple of verses before (28:15). At first glance, Yaakov seems to be C"V doubting Hashem. The Kli Yakar explains that of course he isn't. He knows Hashem will provide physical protection, he was just asking for spiritual protection from sin as well. The Kli Yakar goes on to show indications of this by comparing Yaakov's wording with Hashem's wording. This shows us that even when you're on such a high spiritual level like Yaakov was, you can never rule out the chances of sinning and making mistakes. The Torah teaches that even great leaders make mistakes, it's how you respond to them that matters.

Toldot 5772

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

As Rivkah plans to disguise Yaakov in order to receive a bracha from Yitzchak, Yaakov raises the issue that maybe Yitzchak will feel him and realize that it's not Esav he's talking to. The Gra points out the Hebrew word used here for maybe is "ulai," which connotates hoping that something happens (as opposed to "pen," which is hoping it won't). Why did Yaakov want this to happen? The Gra explains that in order for a bracha to take effect on someone, the one giving the bracha must either look at or place his hands on the receiver of the bracha. Since Yitzchak was blind, the only option was placing his hands. Yaakov wanted the bracha to take effect on him, but he knew it would only if Yitzchak touched him, which is why he was concerned of being caught.

Vayeira 5772

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

As Avraham negotiates with Hashem over Sodom and Gomorrah, Hashem promises that he will not destroy the cities if He finds there a certain amount of righteous people. The Ramban points out that Hashem doesn't tell Avraham that such a number doesn't exist in the cities; this is because they were still being judged in the Heavenly court. This shows us Hashem's mercy and wanting for us to do teshuvah. Even such evil people like the citizens of Sodom were given the opportunity to do teshuvah down to their last day.

Lech Lecha 5772

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Every day of our lives we recite the Shemoneh Esrei along with the first bracha of "Magen Avraham" (meaning Hashem is the Shield of Avraham). Why is it specifically Avraham that is mentioned? The Da'as Zekeinim of the Baalei Tosafos explain that the bracha is based on a pasuk in the parsha. Right after the war of the kings, Hashem tells Avraham not to be afraid, for He will protect Avraham. What was Avraham afraid of? The D"Z quote a Midrash Tanchuma that Avraham was afraid his number of merits decreased because he had killed the kings. Hashem then called to him saying, "Don't be afraid, you burned thorns in the vineyard, and I will protect you." Therefore, we say the Shield of Avraham because Hashem said this straight out only to Avraham.
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