אמרי-נא אחתי את למען ייטב-לי בעבורך וחיתה נפשי בגללך
Please say that you are my sister, so that it will be good for me for your sake, and my life will be spared because of you
Due to a severe famine in the land of Canaan, Avraham and Sarah journeyed to the land of Egypt. Knowing full well the morality of such a place, Avraham was very concerned. His wife was tremendously beautiful, and if the Egyptians knew they were a married couple, they would have no problem killing Avraham and taking Sarah for themselves. However, if the couple represented themselves as siblings, they would be safe. The Egyptians would assume Avraham, as Sarah’s “brother,” was her protector, and could be persuaded to give her away in marriage.
Continue reading “Lech Lecha 5784”
ויהי מקץ ימים ויבא קין מפרי האדמה מחנה ליקוק: והבל הביא גם-הוא מבכרות צאנו ומחלבהן וישע אל-הבל ואל-מנחתו: ואת-קין ואל-מנחתו לא שעה ויחר לקין מאד ויפלו פניו
And it was at the end of some days that Kayin brought from the fruit of the land as an offering to Hashem. Hevel also brought from the firstborn of his flock and from their fats, and Hashem accepted Hevel and his offering. [Yet] Hashem didn’t accept Kayin nor his offering, and this upset Kayin very much, and his face fell
Our Sages note the contrast between the offerings brought by Kayin and his brother Hevel. Hevel brought from the firstborn of his flock, and the fattiest parts of them, as a slaughtered offering to Hashem. On the other hand, Kayin simply brought from the produce of his land. Why didn’t he also bring an animal offering, like his brother did?
Continue reading “Bereishis 5784”
Smashing the evil inclination
ולכל היד החזקה ולכל המורא הגדול אשר עשה משה לעיני כל-ישראל: בראשית ברא אלקים את השמים ואת הארץ
And for all the mighty hand and all the great wonders that Moshe did before the eyes of Israel. In the beginning of G-d’s creating Heaven and Earth
Our Sages tell us that the final verse of the Torah is an allusion to Moshe breaking the tablets. When he came down from Mount Sinai with the two stone tablets, those that were literally engraved by G-d Himself with the Ten Commandments, he saw the Jews worshipping a Golden Calf. In a rage, he broke the tablets by smashing them to the ground. Our Sages tell us further that Hashem was pleased with this reaction, and told him “Yesher Koach!”
Continue reading “VeZos HaBeracha 5784”
The elevation retention celebration
בסכת תשבו שבעת ימים וגו’ למען ידעו דרתיכם כי בסכות הושבתי את-בני-ישראל בהוציאי אותם מארץ מצרים וגו’
You shall dwell in Sukkos for seven days…In order for your generations to know that I placed the Children of Israel in Sukkos when I took them out of Egypt…
During the weeklong Festival of Sukkos, we leave our permanent homes and enter temporary huts. The Torah says the reason for this is so that we shall know that Hashem placed us in Sukkos when He took us out of Egypt. One opinion is that this refers to the Ananei HaKavod, the Clouds of Glory, that Hashem surrounded us with. They were like a protective forcefield, keeping us safe from the elements. It was climate controlled, and even cleaned the garments of the Jewish people. It would seem then that the holiday of Sukkos is to commemorate this miraculous environment that Hashem placed us in. However, one could ask why this miracle in particular merited its own weeklong holiday. As well, the famous question is if this is the purpose of Sukkos, why do we celebrate it in Tishrei, when the Jews left Egypt in Nissan?
Continue reading “Sukkos/Shemini Atzeres/Simchas Torah 5784”