Vayeitzei 5775

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Despite her apparent tension with her sister Rachel and their relationship with Yaakov, Leah continued to look out for her. The Gemara in Brachos (60a) mentions that through prophecy, Leah had known that there would be 12 tribes of Israel. She was pregnant with her seventh child and calculated out that if it was a boy, only one available tribe would be left to Rachel (Leah had 6 sons already and the maidservants had 4). She prayed to Hashem to give her a daughter so that Rachel could have another son. Hashem answered and gave her Dinah.

Toldot 5775

Thursday, November 20, 2014

At the very end of the parsha, the posuk mentions that Rivkah is the mother of Yaakov and Esav. If this is something we have known since the beginning of the parsha, why is the posuk repeating it? Rashi notes that he doesn't know what this is coming to teach. Some commentators explain that Rashi did not like the possible answers given. My rebbe R' Shmulewitz explains that Rashi is teaching us a valuable lesson: It is ok not to know an answer. One should not be embarrassed to admit a lack of knowledge. This creates a sense of humility within a person and encourages him/her to seek the truth.

Chayei Sarah 5775

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

When Eliezer brings Rivkah back to Yitzchak, Rashi notes that he tells Yitzchak of all the miracles that occurred during his searching for Rivkah. In the next verse, Onkelos explains that Yitzchak saw that her deeds were good and proper like Sarah's. Why was it necessary for Yitzchak to do so? Wasn't it enough to recognize those deeds through the miracles that occurred to Eliezer? The Brisker Rav answers that miracles don't testify for a person's nature and character; one can only see and experience those things firsthand with him/her.

Vayeira 5775

Friday, November 7, 2014

After the Akeidah, Hashem blesses Avraham that his descendants will be numerous like the stars and the sand on the beach. The Kli Yakar mentions that the Jews are compared to these items, as well as dust, depending on their situation. When we are successful and living in peace, we are compared to stars. When our oppressors try to destroy us, we are compared to sand on the beach; the sand prevents waves from reaching any farther than the shore and stops them. When we are at an all-time low and our enemies tread on us, we are compared to dust. But whenever this is so, Hashem always promises us that we will rise to the top again.
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