Beshalach 5775

Friday, January 30, 2015

One of the main messages of Parshas Beshalach is "bitachon," trust in Hashem. The more you trust Him equates to the amount of individual Divine Providence you receive. We see that when Bnei Yisroel question Hashem's Presence around them, Amalek immediately appears and attacks them. My rebbe from KBY, Rabbi Friedman, quotes a verse showing the power of bitachon: "Many are the sorrows for a wicked person, mercy surrounds one who trusts in Hashem" (Psalms 32:10). Shouldn't the opposite of a wicked person be a righteous person? We see that even if one isn't a full righteous person, he can be subject to a high level of Divine Providence through his faith in Hashem.

Bo 5775

As Moshe commands Bnei Yisroel to bring the Korban Pesach, he tells them to "draw forth and take a sheep" for sacrifice. The Midrash explains that Moshe was telling them to draw forth their hands from idolatry and only then can they do the service of Hashem. This idea is also expressed by King David in Psalms 34: stray from evil and do good. This is an important lesson for improving oneself. In order to serve Hashem in a genuine way, one must first remove the bad from his/her life.

Va'era 5775

We all know the acronym for the 10 plagues of Detzach, Adash, Be'achav (groups of 3, 3, and 4). Why is the grouping as such? The Kli Yakar explains that each group disproved Pharaoh's claims against Hashem. The first 3 plagues were to show that there is a G-d above everything: Hashem turned the Nile, their god, into blood. He then brought frogs from that very river who sanctified His name by leaping into furnaces. With lice, the magicians said "it is the finger of G-d." The next 3 plagues showed Hashem's Divine Providence over individuals by just attacking the Egyptians and their cattle. The last 4 plagues showed that there is only one G-d. Hashem blocked out the sun, which was considered a god, with locusts and darkness. The goat was also considered a god as well as the firstborn of all gods; Hashem killed the firstborns throughout Egypt with the last plague.

Shemot 5775

Saturday, January 10, 2015

When Moshe sees an Egyptian hitting his Jewish brother, he steps in and kills the Egyptian. The posuk mentions that Moshe saw that "there was no man around" when he did so (2:12). Rashi explains this phrase as saying through prophecy Moshe saw that there would be no convert coming from this Egyptian's family. Moshe teaches us an important lesson: to calculate each and every action one does and its future consequences. The Ramchal in "The Path of the Upright" talks about this at length. He says that one should think before doing anything in order to make sure it is the right decision.

Vayechi 5775

Friday, January 2, 2015

In this week's parsha, Yaakov blesses each of his sons before he dies. Rashi goes through each blessing and explains how they are carried out in the future. Is this how blessings work? Are they some kind of prophecy that will come true? My rebbe, Rabbi Shmulewitz, explains that blessings don't really work; one must put his/her own effort into the blessing for it to work. A blessing is merely a goal for one to reach.

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