Noach 5780

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Children of good deeds[1]

אלה תולדות נח נח איש צדיק תמים היה בדרתיו את-האלקים התהלך-נח
These are the offspring of Noach – Noach was perfectly righteous in his generation; Noach walked with Hashem [2]

This week’s parsha begins by introducing Noach and his family. However, when the Torah starts to list Noach’s offspring, it immediately changes topic and sings his praises. The Torah tells us that Noach was perfectly righteous, and walked with G-d. Only afterwards[3] are his children’s names mentioned. Why did the Torah introduce these praises by saying “These are the offspring of Noach”? Rashi explains[4] that “the main offspring of the righteous are their good deeds”. Rashi didn’t fully explain himself. Why indeed are good deeds called “offspring”?

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Vayeilech 5780

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Childish matters[1]

הקהל את-העם ואנשים והנשים והטף וגרך אשר בשעריך למען ישמעו ולמען ילמדו ויראו את-יקוק אלקיכם ושמרו את-כל-דברי הורה הזאת: ובניהם אשר לא-ידעו ישמעו ולמדו ליראה את-יקוק אלקיכם כל-הימים אשר אתה חיים על-האדמה וגו’‏
Gather the nation, the men, the women, the taf, and the stranger in your gates. [This is] in order that you listen and in order that you learn and fear Hashem your G-d, and that you observe all the words of this Torah. And your children that don’t understand, they will hear and learn to fear Hashem your G-d, all the days that you are alive on the earth…[2]

One of the last mitzvos described in the Torah is the mitzvah known as Hakhel[3]. On the Sukkos following the Shemittah year[4], all Jews are commanded to come to the Temple[5] and hear the King read from the book of Deuteronomy[6]. The Torah says that this is so the people will learn to fear Hashem, and follow His commandments. The Torah stresses that all Jews are meant to be there, men, women, and children. The second verse clearly mentions children, and says they’re of an age where they don’t understand. The first verse, after mentioning men and women, says the “taf” are also meant to come. Who is this referring to?

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Vayikra 5778

In the merit of the children[1]

ויקרא אל-משה וידבר יקוק אליו מאהל מועד לאמר

[Hashem] called to out to Moshe; Hashem spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting, saying[2]

The first verse in the book of Leviticus tells us that Hashem called out to Moshe from the Tent of meeting. He was going to teach him the laws of the Temple offerings. Hashem’s voice emanated from between the Keruvim, the Angel-like statues on top of the Aron HaKodesh, the Holy Ark[3]. Only Moshe could hear the voice of Hashem, and only until the entrance of the Tent of Meeting[4]. The verse which introduces this idea is written unusually: the א of ויקרא is written small, making it look like the word ויקר. This implies Hashem happened upon Moshe; it indicates a lack of intent. There are many suggestions given as to why the Torah wrote this word this way[5]. The following is a unique approach.

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