Mikeitz 5775

Thursday, December 18, 2014

As Yosef interprets Pharaoh's dreams, he advises to hire a "discerning and wise man" over Egypt (41:33). The Ramban explains that this person has a twofold job. He is to ration out the food to the Egyptians accordingly and sell the rest for profit for the country. Secondly, he is to find a way to preserve the food in the graineries. Yosef was the only person qualified to do both and was given the title. We learn from here that there are different types of wisdom and knowledge; by coming together and teaching each other his/her strengths and expertise, we all can potentially reach an intellectual level like Yosef's.

Vayeishev 5775

Thursday, December 11, 2014

We learn an important lesson from the story of Tamar and Yehuda. When Tamar is found to be pregnant from an illicit relationship, she is sentenced to death. She quickly sends a secret message to Yehuda, telling him that he is the father. He admits to this in public and she is spared. Based on Tamar's actions, the Gemara in Sotah (10b) teaches that it is better to throw yourself into a furnace than to embarrass your friend in public.

Vayishlach 5775

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The story of Dina's kidnapping is explained by the Ramban. The 11 brothers had agreed to join and intermarry with the people of Shechem on condition that the city's men get circumcised. The brothers assumed that the city would refuse and give Dina back; but if they did follow through, the sons would take back Dina on the third day (when everyone was recovering). However, Shimon and Levi wanted full revenge and killed the entire city. Yaakov cursed them because the city of Shechem had put trust in the brothers. Yaakov saw it as an opportunity for the city to do teshuvah and follow in the ways of Hashem. Shimon and Levi's actions ruined that idea and betrayed the city.
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