Thursday, October 22, 2020

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Noach

The following is a brief summary of some of thoughts on the parsha that R' Frand spoke about in his first shiur back after recovering from COVID, BH. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand. 

R' Frand began the parsha vort by quoting the Medrash on the pasuk in Bereishis 9:12 - וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֗ים זֹ֤את אֽוֹת־הַבְּרִית֙ אֲשֶׁר־אֲנִ֣י נֹתֵ֗ן בֵּינִי֙ וּבֵ֣ינֵיכֶ֔ם וּבֵ֛ין כָּל־נֶ֥פֶשׁ חַיָּ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר אִתְּכֶ֑ם לְדֹרֹ֖ת עוֹלָֽם . The word L'Doros is spelled without its usual Vuvs and the Medrash comments that there will be two generations which will not have rainbows because those generations will have tzadikkim because of whom Hashem will not become angry enough to want to destroy the world.

The two generations referred to are the generations of Tzidkiyahu and the Anshei Knesses HaGedolah. Tzidkiyahu is referred to a Tzaddik Yisod Olam - a Tzaddik who was the foundation of the world. Hashem wanted to make Tzidkiyahu the Mashiach and due to his righteousness, Hashem never was angered enough to want to destroy the world.

Similarly, the Anshei Knesses HaGedolah were particularly righteous in that they authored the prayers which we still say to this day.

However a different opinion quoted by the Medrash is that the second generation was R' Shimon Ben Yochai. The Medrash tells a story involving Eliyahu HaNavi learning with R' Yehoshua Ben Levi when they reached a statement of R' Shimon Ben Yochai. Eliyahu went to ask R' Shimon Ben Yochai about it and he asked Eliyahu - who is with you? Eliyahu responded, the Gadol HaDor - R' Yehoshua Ben Levi. R' R' Shimon Ben Yochai asked - did he see a rainbow in his lifetime? Yes, Eliyahu responded. Then he cannot come in to me, replied R' Shimon Ben Yochai.

R' Frand quoted a similar gemara in Kesubos when R' Yehoshua Ben Levi passed away and they announced in Shamayim - clear the way for the great Tzaddik. But then it was asked - was there a rainbow in his days? Yes, was the answer. Well then he is not a great Tzaddik.

R' Frand then quoted the famous dispute as to whether Noach was a true Tzaddik or just a Tzaddik in his time. R' Frand quoted R' Yosher Ber Soloveitchik who said that this Medrash supports the concept that Noach was not a true Tzaddik. Since there was a rainbow in Noach's times, it must mean that he was not a true Tzaddik and could not protect his generation.

R' Frand quoted the Zohar which relates Hashem's questioning of Noach as to why he did not daven for his generation and why he did not try to convince them to repent. Noach responded that it was because he did not think they were capable of repenting.

R' Frand quoted R' Meir Shapiro who said that if you don't think that a person is capable of doing Teshuva, you will never be able to influence him. This is why Noach was not successful.

R' Soloveitchik said that this is the symbolism of the rainbow. Hashem is teaching Noach that no matter how dark the day is, even to the point that the light meters come on, there can be light in the middle of the darkness - that is the rainbow. And Noach did not get it - people have some light inside of them.

This is why the flood is called Mei Noach in Isaiah - because Noach did not do enough for his generation.

R' Frand connected this to another statement of R' Soloveitchik showing that you cannot give up on people. 

He referred to the Gemara in Berachos which discusses how R' Gamliel was removed from being the Nasi and R' Elazar Ben Azarya became the Nasi. That day they removed the guard who kept people out of the Beis Medrash under R' Gamliel's view that only people who were tocho k'baro could come in to learn. That day, they had to add benches to the yeshiva to accommodate all the extra students.

R' Gamliel was depressed about this -seeing all the students that he prevented from attending. So he had a dream that night wherein he saw white vessels full of ashes - as if to say that he was right as the students appeared white, but were full of ash. But the Gemara says otherwise - that was only to make him feel better.

The Chiddushei HaRim asks - why was R' Gamliel depressed? He had seen their "applications" and knew that they were not tocho k'baro, so why be upset? He answers that yes, R' Gamliel saw that they were deficient, but he also saw how they changed when they entered the Beis Medrash and the amazing power of Torah to change people. In order to appease R' Gamliel they showed him the white vessels filled with ashes, but he was wrong.

R' Soloveitchik explains - this is the symbolism of the vessels filled with ashes. Ashes appear to be burnt up and useless, but when you blow on ashes, the fire can be relit. 

R' Frand said that this is the same lesson to Noach - although you think that these people are hopelessly wicked, there can be a return, much like there can be light on the darkest day. It is never without hope.

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Sunday, October 18, 2020

Sunday Night Suds - Saranac Hoptoberfest IPA


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Saranac Hoptoberfest IPA.

This fall, Saranac continued to roll out new beers, with their 2020 German Roots mix box. This includes long time standard Black Forest (reviewed here https://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2010/01/sunday-night-suds-saranac-black-forest.html); 1888 Octoberfest (which was introduced in 2017, but never reviewed here) and two new beers for 2020, the Festival Pils and the Hoptoberfest IPA.

The Hoptobefest IPA bills itself out as an IPA, but it is not a traditional IPA. The color is an orange which tends towards rose and the most prominent taste is the octoberfest spice note. Their are some piney hops, but they tend toward the metallic and the breadiness screams lager, not IPA. 

I tried this beer on Shabbos with chulent and it did not stand up to the hearty beef and potato stew. I tried it again tonight by itself with my daf and I was able to taste more of the individual elements of the beer, it still did not make sense to me as it seemed like a clash of tastes more than a bonding.

At 6% abv the beer is not light on alcohol, but if you are looking for bitters, consider looking elsewhere.

The Hobtoberfest IPA is under the Kosher Supervision of the Va'ad of Detroit as is every other beer produced at the Matt Brewery plant in Utica, NY. Keep in mind, Saranac brews some varieties off site, so check the cans/bottles for kosher certification from the Va'ad of Detroit.

To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about the brew, click you can search on  https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/99/500161/

As always, please remember to drink responsibly and to never waste good beer unless there is no designated driver.

If you've tried this beer or any others which have been reviewed on the kosher beers site, please feel free to post your comments (anonymous comments are acceptable).

Lastly, if you have seen this post being carried on another site, please feel free to click www.kosherbeers.blogspot.com to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Bereishis

Although this post is generally a summary of vorts from R' Yissachar Frand, he was unable to give his Thursday Night Parsha shiur this week as he is still recovering from Covid. However, his son R' Yaakov Frand gave the shiur in his place and I have summarized some of the thoughts he said over on the parsha evening. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

In this week's parsha we have a discussion of the fight between Kayin and Hevel, but not of the argument itself. In Bereishis 4:8, the Torah states וַיֹּ֥אמֶר קַ֖יִן אֶל־הֶ֣בֶל אָחִ֑יו וַֽיְהִי֙ בִּֽהְיוֹתָ֣ם בַּשָּׂדֶ֔ה וַיָּ֥קָם קַ֛יִן אֶל־הֶ֥בֶל אָחִ֖יו וַיַּֽהַרְגֵֽהוּ. 

The pasuk is interesting as it mentions that Kayin said something, but then it does not repeat what was said. Instead it describes that they were in the field and that Kayin killed Hevel.

Rashi explains that the conversation between the brothers was an argument, but even he does not give the details about what they fought over.

The Medrash offers three views on the subject of the fight. The first is that they were arguing about the division of assets of the world - who would receive the land and who would receive the movable items. The second opinion was that they had a fight over whose land would have the Beis HaMikdash built on it. The third opinion was that the fight was about a woman - the extra sister who was born to one of them.

R' Frand said as an aside that a famous person (not identified by him) said that all the fights in the world can be derived from these three theories. People fight over possessions, or religion or women.

But the question is, why does the Torah not tell us the reason that they fought? There are many medrashim where the entire story is left out of the Torah, such as Avraham being thrown in the fiery furnace. But here the Torah says that Kayin said something, but not what was said that caused the fight.

If the fight was important then tell us what they were fighting about. And if its not important, then why even mention the fight?

R' Frand quoted R' Bukspan from Miami who offered a novel take on the reason why the story was never told - because it does not matter. Many times, a person will get into a fight with another person and the fight itself will carry over long beyond the item they are fighting over. Sometimes a fight will carry on so long that neither person can even remember why they were fighting.

This is what the Torah is telling us - they got in a fight. What they fought about does not matter. In fact, what the fight is about never matters. What matters is that there was a fight.

The Torah then continues and tells us that Kayin was punished. The Torah is not punitive and what follows is a consequence, because it is a sequence. The punishment for Kayin was that he would be a nomad and would constantly be on the move. Why is this middah k'neged middah? Because a person gets into a fight because they don't want to move. I am standing on my position and not going to budge.

The Torah tells us that if you get into a fight because you are standing your ground, you will never have serenity and will not be at peace. This is why Kayin's punishment was to be a nomad.

R' Frand said a final thought on this theme. Kayin had many grandchildren. Shes also had many grandchildren. And many of these grandchildren had the same name, like Lemech and Chanoch and other names that there were similar, but not identical. Why? Because the Torah tells us that a person who gets into arguments can do the exact same thing as someone else who succeeds. But he will not succeed, because for him, everything is about the fight. From the time that he wakes up in the morning until he goes to sleep at night, he is thinking about the fight. And if the fight consumes his every thought while he does his daily tasks, he will not be successful.

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Monday, October 12, 2020

Post Sukkos Recap - my favorite vort from Sukkos

 Over chol hamoed, I heard a number of incredible vorts which I combined into one vort when I spoke on Simchas Torah. The vorts came from Rabbi Shraga Kallus and Rabbi Etiel Goldvicht and had inspiration from Rabbi Zev Cohen. 

Rabbi Kallus told a story about a man who was travelling through Berdichev right before Sukkos. That year, there were no lulavim and esrogim to be found in Berdichev, but this man had one. The people of the town begged him to stay, but he refused. They offered to pay him to stay, but he said that he needed to get home as his family would be worried. They then suggested that they could send a messenger to his family, but still was not enough.

Finally, in order to convince him to stay, the Berdichiver Rebbi told him that if he stayed for Sukkos, he would have a spot next to the Rebbi in Olam Haba. Well, this was something that he could not turn down. He agreed to stay in the town for Sukkos...but on the first night of Sukkos when he was going out to the Sukkah from the home that he was being boarded at, he saw that there was a table set in the dining room. As he was about to enter the Sukkah, he was told that he was not permitted to enter and that table in the dining room was for him. 

The man went to another home and asked to eat in their Sukkah and was similarly declined. He went to a third and fourth home and after being rebuffed, he realized that the Rebbi was behind it, so he went to the Rebbi and asked to eat in the Sukkah. The Rebbi said to him - you need to make a choice - you can agree to give up being with me in Olam Haba or you won't get to eat in the Sukkah. Weighing his options one against the other, he agreed to give up the right to be with the Rebbi in Olam Haba.

At the close of the holiday, he came to say good bye to the Rebbi at which point the Rebbi had a conversation with him and explained his thought process, but before getting there, lets talk a little about Sukkos.

We know that Sukkos comes as a consolation for the Jewish people after the Yimei HaDin of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. As Rabbi Zev Cohen is fond of saying, the Sukkah is Hashem's way of giving us a reassuring hug and we embrace that by putting our entire body into the Sukkah. 

But R' Etiel Goldvicht had a bit more expansive view of the concept of Sukkah. He talked about how to elevate the mitzva of Lulav & Esrog by taking them into the Sukkah and blessing and waving them there. The Lulav & Esrog are a combination of four species, some which have taste and smell (Esrog) another which has taste but no smell (Lulav) a third which has smell but no taste (Hadas) and the fourth which has no taste or smell (Aravah). These symbolize different kinds of Jews - some who have Torah and mitzvos, others which have Torah or mitzvos and some who have neither. 

The concept of the Lulav & Esrog brings all these kinds together, because we need all kinds of Jews to be as one nation, and the taking of the Lulav & Esrog in the Sukkah is symbolic of Hashem's embracing all kinds of Jews.

But back to the story. The Berdichever told the man - you will still get to be with me in Olam Haba. But it can't be a business transaction. You don't earn Olam Haba by buying it, you get it because you want to be close to Hashem for his sake.

So on this year when so many of the usual ways to come close to Hashem for Simchas Torah are not present in that we did not get to dance together and circle the Amud and embrace the Sifrei Torah, we need to remember that the point is to want to draw close to Hashem for his sake and not for ours. And everyone who does what they can in this enforced distanced 2020 to still draw close to his fellow Jew and come close to Hashem, shows that they are doing it for His sake on His terms and not simply because it feels good to keep the mitzva.

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Thursday, September 24, 2020

Rabbi Frand's Teshuva Derasha - 5781

The following is a summary of some of the thoughts said by Rabbi Frand in his teshuva derasha played tonight live from Baltimore. Same rules as usual apply. I have attempted to summarize many of the thoughts (but not every thought said during the hour long shiur) to the best of my abilities. Any inconsistencies are the results of my transcription and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

R' Frand began by noting that there would be no surprise that the Teshuva Derasha would discuss the impact of the pandemic on our lives and Teshuva.

R' Frand began by noting that in previous years when a person said Avinu Malkeinu Mena Mageifa, it would not provoke much of a strong reaction from the tzibur, but this year "the walls will be shaking" when the people say this line.

R' Frand then noted that we did not know last year how our prayers would be answered when we said "U'VChen Tein Pachdacha" because this year everyone is aware and in fear on Hashem and what will be. And perhaps we have become accustomed to it, but in March and April, we were all afraid. We see that all nations are aware and afraid, and they say this is G-d talking to us.

R' Frand said that in the early days of the pandemic he heard people saying "G-d has brought the world to its knees." This is the Aleinu, a prayer that people say "halfway out of shul." But we hope that the rest of the line will come true this year.

R' Frand remarked that at Neilah we say "L'Shana HaBa'ah B'Yerushalayim." On Pesach we said it and we believed it, but we say it and we really mean it. Jews have become less comfortable in this country and we have seen the torching of the Chabad House at the University of Delaware. And the highway sign on the 405 which states "The Jews Want a Race War" alongside a sign that says "Honk if you agree."

R' Frand quoted the Gemara in Baba Basra about people who were on a boat and landed on an island...or so they thought. It was a whale and when it was too warm for the whale it turned over and were they not too close to the other ship they would have drowned.

The Maharsha says that this is parable for the Jews of Galus. Whether in Spain or in Europe, there was a time that we felt comfortable in Galus and then we realized it was Galus. And now in the US we are starting to feel this and we will say the L'Shana HaBa'ah and mean it.

R' Frand then said - you may have anticipated the topic of the derasha, but it could be summed up in three words - Have We Changed? If we came out of this and are exactly the same as when it began, then we have failed to understand the significance of this world wide event.

R' Frand quoted a Rashi in Parshas Shelach which asked what the connection was between the story of Miriam speaking Lashon Hara about Moshe and received leprosy and then the story of the Meraglim? He answers that it was that the Meraglim saw her get punished for Loshon Hara and they did not learn. We need to learn as well.

R' Frand also quoted a Rashi on Berishis 9:20 where the Torah states וַיָּ֥חֶל נֹ֖חַ אִ֣ישׁ הָֽאֲדָמָ֑ה וַיִּטַּ֖ע כָּֽרֶם. The use of the word VaYachel means Chullin and Rashi explains that this was an opportunity to do something elevated, but he chose mundane. R' Frand quoted R' Wein who explained that Noach's choice transformed him from a man of G-d to a man of the earth. He had the ability to do something significant when he came out and he chose to make wine.

R' Frand said that we cannot go back to our trivial pursuits that have occupied our lives until now. We survived this and need to change how we live our lives.

R' Frand told a story from R' Wein about his grandfather in the 1940s in Chicago. A man came to his house to paint his house, but his grandfather said - we can't have our house painted when Jews are being slaughtered in Europe. He asked the painter - how much was my daughter going to pay you and the man replied $80. His grandfather took out his checkbook and paid the man the $80 so that he did not lose his parnasah. R' Frand said - there are no Jews being slaughtered in Europe and I am not saying that we should not have our houses painted, but we need to change the way that we do things.

R' Frand told another story about the Gerrer Rebbi as a younger man visiting the Kotsker Rebbi. The Kotsker Rebbi could be very ascerbic and sharp and asked the younger man - have you ever answered a question that Tosafos asks or the Rashba asks? He said yes. The Kostsker then asked - have you answered the question of the captain? What do you mean? The captain of the ship that Yonah was on. Everyone was praying and Yonah was sleeping on the boat. The captain asked him - how can you sleep through this if we are about to die? How can anyone "sleep" and not be impacted.

R' Frand told another story about R' Neuwirth, the author of the Shmiras Shabbs K'Kilchosah. He explains in the introduction to the sefer that he wrote it because of his family's story. They fled Germany to Holland and then to France, The entire way, his father was makpid to never desecrate the Shabbos. But when R' Neuwirth had an opportunity to go to what at the time was Palestine, he had to board the boat on Shabbos and desecrate the Shabbos on the boat as well. He decided that in order to honor the Shabbos he would write a sefer about contemporary Shabbos halacha, because he wanted to atone for his actions. R' Frand remarked that this is an example of taking the opportunity to improve as a result of an important event.

What can we do to change as a result? Some people have said that since we were locked out of shul for so long, we need to treat our shuls with more respect. He mentioned that someone told him that he entered the shul for the first time by saying Mah Tovu, but then added the second pasuk - I will come to the shul because of Your Chesed and I will bow there in awe of you. 

Some people took on to not look at their cellphones in shuls. Others have accepted on themselves to not speak about secular topics in shul.

R' Frand also mentioned the lesson that some of taken about how to make a Bar Mitzva or how to make a wedding. He mentioned the countless videos of brides walking down the street or driveway to their chuppahs in a backyard. Maybe the lesson is that these don't need to be lavish affairs, to borrow $100,000 to make a simcha. He said that he is not advocating making only backyard weddings, but maybe they should be limited to the family and the close friends of the bride and groom, with a reception for friends afterwards.

R' Frand remarked that there are three relationships - between Man and Hashem, between Man and his friend and between Man and himself. The first suggestion of changing the way one acts in shul is between Man and Hashem. The changing of the standards for weddings is between Man and his friend, because this way the pressure will be off everyone to make lavish weddings, especially when they can't afford them. But there is also between Man and himself - we were together with our families for a long time - what kind of spouse were you, what kind of parent were you? Were You happy with the way that you treated your spouse or child? And if you saw flaws in yourself, will you improve?

In the Seder we mention that your child will come to you and say Mah Zos? What is this? But in the future, your grandchild will say why are you machmir? Why are you doing this above and beyond? And you will answer - because there was a pandemic and many people died, and I decided, I am going to do things differently, because I survived and I learned from this.

R' Frand said that he is not going to suggest what people should do as he is not a prophet, but he wanted to share things that he learned and what we wanted to put into action. He said that during the first three months he started to think about things that we take for granted. Our health - the first time of a cough or sneeze, we asked is this it? Good health is a gift, don't take it for granted.

R' Frand remarked that he and his wife missed their children and grandchildren terribly, especially at Pesach. He said that this was the first time in sixty years that his wife asked the Mah Nishtana. And this was the first time in 25 years that they made their own Pesach. They had given away all of their Pesach keilim. So their children in Baltimore made all of their Pesach food for them. Their children from Brooklyn and Lakewood drove down and stood in their parking lot for half an hour and then drove back, without even using the background.

R' Frand talked about how after the three day yom tov, they ventured out to talk to people on Yeshiva Lane and how much he appreciated it, even from six feet or fifteen feet away.

But the real takeaway is that he learned that you can't take anything or anybody for granted.

R' Frand told a story about a man who was very sick and was on a ventilator for three days, but evenntualy came home. Later he got the bill and began crying. His family asked him, are you crying because of how high the bill is? He said no, I am crying because I see how much they charged me to breathe and I realized that I never thanked Hashem for the ability to breathe. A person takes 23,000 breaths on average a day, do you thank Hashem for this?

R' Frand suggested paying more attention to the parts of davening where we thank Hashem for what we have received, such as Modim, or the Asher Yatzar where we thank Hashem for our body's ability to work. Or the Birkas HaShachar where we thank Hashem for our ability to see. He mentioned a student of his who had a detached retina and more recently, a second detached retina and how thankful we should be for the ability to see. He mentioned that he himself suffered a back injury and could not straighten up and now says the Beracha of Zokef Kiffufim with more concentration.

R' Frand also talked about being more appreciative of the people around us who we take for granted - our spouses, our children, our parents, our teachers, our Rebbeim and our Rabbanim - who were pulled in many directions and guided us.

R' Frand said that he never learned Daf Yomi, but had decided to begin when Daf Yomi started Meseches Shabbos on March 8th, when the pandemic was just beginning in the United States. And when things began closing and many social connections disappeared, there was still the daf, or chumash with Rashi or Tehillim. R' Frand said that he thought about the line from the davening on Yom Kippur - we have nothing but HaTorah HaZos - he had the daf and the parsha, even when everything else was disappearing.

R' Frand quoted the Gemara in Yevamos talking about R' Gamliel who was on a boat and saw another boat with R' Akiva on it and it sank. When he started his Beis Din and R' Akiva appeared before him, he asked - who saved you? And he answered, I had a board (a daf) and I held onto it and it saved me when each wave was crashing over me. The daf pulled me through.

R' Frand said that we thought that this was done, but now there may be a second wave. He quoted R' Schlesinger from Monsey who said that this is common. He does not know why this is happening, but maybe Hashem is saying - I potched you because you did not behave and then I gave you a chance to learn from it, but did you learn from it? The clock is ticking.

What should a person do to change as a result? After 120, you will come to Shamayim and Hashem will ask what did you do? And even if its not the change that Hashem wanted, you can at least say - I tried! There are no prophets here, but I chose this as a way to impove and maybe Hashem will say OK - at least you tried. But you can't sit and do nothing.

R' Frand closed by saying that we should take the line at the end of that part of Ne'ilah to heart and say - Hashem, please have mercy on the remainder of the Jewish people and forgive them.

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Thursday, September 17, 2020

Thursday's Pre-Rosh Hashana Vort

The following is a brief summary of some of thoughts on Rosh Hashanah that R' Frand spoke about in place of a parsha vort tonight. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand. 

The Gemara in Rosh Hashanah quotes R' Avohu who asks - why do we blow a Shofar made of a ram's horn on Rosh Hashanah? It answers that Hashem is saying - blow this before Me so that I remember the Akeidah of Yitzchak the son of Avraham where the ram was offered in his stead and I will treat you as if you sacrificed yourselves before Me.

R' Frand then asked - what is unique about the Akeidah that it must be remembered by Hashem on Rosh Hashanah? The Avos did many great acts, yet this is the singular event which is remembered.

R' Frand then quoted a pasuk from the Akeidah where Avraham states וַיִּקְרָ֧א אַבְרָהָ֛ם שֵֽׁם־הַמָּק֥וֹם הַה֖וּא יְהֹוָ֣ה | יִרְאֶ֑ה אֲשֶׁר֙ יֵֽאָמֵ֣ר הַיּ֔וֹם בְּהַ֥ר יְהֹוָ֖ה יֵֽרָאֶֽה . Why did Avraham call the place "Hashem will see?" and what was it that Hashem should see?

R' Frand answered these questions by quoting the Meshech Chachma who explains that the Akeidah changed the DNA of the Jewish people. By voluntarily going on the Akeidah, Yitzchak said - my will is nothing, I am adopting the will of Hashem and making it mine. Following this event, the Jews gained the ability to make Hashem's will their own and to want to do things because Hashem wants them to.

R' Frand gave the example of the man who does not want to give his wife a get and the halacha of Kofin Oso Ad She Omer Rotzeh Ani. A get is not valid if it is coerced, but a proper Beis Din can compel the giving a get, because the man truly wants to do the right thing.

R' Frand next quoted the Bnei Yissaschar who in turn cites a Medrash Tanchuma which states that teshuva is a unique process which only the Jews possess. From a logical standpoint, if someone eats something not kosher or injures or kills someone, there is no way to "unring" the bell. Yet teshuva does allow us to be forgiven for an act. Why? Because the person did not want to sin and it was only because his desire or anger overcame him that he sinned. Since he did not really want to sin, teshuva allows him to be forgiven for allowing something else to overtake his will.

This is why we remember the Akeidah, because Yitzchak did Hashem's will and made Hashem's will his own. By invoking the Akediah on Rosh Hashanah, we tell Hashem that we want to do His will as well. This is also why Avraham says that Hashem will see - we want Him to see that we desire to do His will.

R' Frand closed the vort by quoting the Abir Ya'akov who answers the question of the Aruch LaNer of why specifically the ma'amar chazal states Yitzchak the son of Avraham - is there any other? Because the Avraham who said Hashem see this - this act that shaped the Jews, he is mentioned as well.

R' Frand then gave a last thought on the year 5780 and how we are not sad to see it leave. People talk about the Gemara that says the year of troubles should end and the new year should begin with Berochos, but this year people really think this.

R' Frand then said that people are looking for Zechusim and he mentioned a vort from R' Shapiro based on a Ba'al HaTurim in Vaeschan. When Moshe davened in the beginning of Vaeschanan to enter the Land of Israel, what act did he say was his merit? The Ba'al HaTurim connects it to the last statement of Moshe in Parshas Devarim - where Moshe encouraged the Jews to not to be afraid. He did not cite to accepting the Torah and spending 40 days and nights on the mountain, or to taking the Jews out of Egypt or praying that they would not be destroyed. It was the Chizuk of the Jews that he asked be remembered as a merit.

R' Frand noted that there are a lot of people who are hurting in many ways due to the pandemic, financially, emotionally and in many other ways. A kind word costs nothing, but saying something nice about the person or their child, or reaching out to someone who is alone and could use some Chizuk - this is priceless. If Moshe used this as his Zechus to ask Hashem to reverse His decree, we should do the same.

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