Children of good deeds
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 
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 are his children’s names mentioned. Why did the Torah introduce these praises by saying “These are the offspring of Noach”? Rashi explains that “the main offspring of the righteous are their good deeds”. Rashi didn’t fully explain himself. Why indeed are good deeds called “offspring”?
Continue reading “Noach 5780”
The dormant merit
ויאמר יקוק אל-משה אל-תירא אתו כי בידך נתתי אתו ואת-כל-עמו ואת-ארצו ועשית לו כאשר עשית לסיחן מלך האמרי אשר יושב בחשבון
Hashem said to Moshe: “Do not fear [Og], as I have given him, his entire nation, and his land into your hand. You shall [be able to] do to him as you did to Sichon, the Aramean King, who dwelled in Cheshbon
After forty years in the wilderness, the Jews had begun their final journey towards the land of Israel. They entered the land of Sichon, the King of the Amorites. They successfully conquered his land, and further journeyed towards the land of the Giant Og, King of Bashan. Hashem told Moshe not to fear Og, as their victory was guaranteed. Why was Moshe afraid of Og? There was no reassurance from Hashem before they battled Sichon. It must be that Moshe wasn’t afraid of him, only Og. Rashi brings an explanation from Chazal that Og had actually been alive since the times of Avraham. He informed Avraham that the latter’s nephew Lot had been taken captive during an intense civil war. This knowledge gave Avraham the chance to rescue his nephew, which he successfully accomplished. Moshe was worried that this merit from hundreds of years earlier would grant Og victory over the Jews. Hashem comforted him and told him not to worry, as the Jews would emerge victorious.
Continue reading “Chukas 5779”
The Holy Ark and the Torah
ועשו ארון עצי שטים אמתים וחצי ארכו ואמה וחצי רחבו ואמה וחצי קמתו
You shall make an Aron out of acacia wood: an amah and a half its width, an amah and a half its length, and an amah and a half its height
In the wilderness, the Jews were commanded to construct the Aron Kodesh, the Holy Ark, for the Mishkan, the Tabernacle. It was a golden box, with two angels carved out of its lid. Inside the Aron Kodesh was the Torah. Today, we no longer have the original Aron Kodesh. However, as a remembrance for the original, every shul contains its own Aron Kodesh. While there are differences between the two structures, they serve the same purpose: a designated place to store the Torah. Chazal instruct us regarding the tremendous kedusha, the holiness, contained within the Aron Kodesh. Where did this kedusha come from? The Aron Kodesh of today may be a pretty structure, but at first glance it’s simply a box.
Continue reading “Terumah 5778”