Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Va'era

The following is a brief summary of a thought said over by R' Frand in his shiur this evening. I have attempted to reproduce this vort to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistencies are the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

In Shmos 7:1, the Torah states that Hashem told Moshe that He had made Moshe an "Elohim"over Pharaoh and that Aharon would be Moshe's spokesman. Rashi asks what does the pasuk mean when it states that Moshe will be "Elohim" ? He explains that the term can be used in a form other than divine - it means that he will be the master over Pharaoh and that you will teach him a lesson.

The Medrash Rabbah learns the pasuk in connection with the pasuk in Tehillim - Seu Sha'arim Rasheichem... What does that pasuk refer to? The gemara in Shabbos 30a explains that when Shlomo wanted to bring the aron into the Kodesh Hakadashim he had a problem as it would not fit. He then davened 24 tefillos, but still was unable to solve the problem. He then said this line in Tehillim Seu Sha'arim...V'yavo Melech HaKavod. The people thought that Shlomo was referring to himself. They wanted to kill him for the perceived arrogance. They asked him, who are you referring to (Mi Hu Zeh...). He responds that he is referring to Hashem who is the Melech Hakavod. Still the doors would not open. Then Shlomo invoked the name of his father Dovid and only then did the doors open.

The Medrash then asks why did Shlomo refer to Hashem as Melech Hakavod? Because Hashem gives kavod to those who fear him and walk in his path. Hashem is the Melech Hakavod not because he demands kavod, but because he gives it to others. A regular king has special rules as you can't sit in his seat or ride his horse. Yet Hashem has allowed humans to use his things such as his sceptre, horse and chair - thus giving kavod to others. The Medrash concludes that a human king does not permit others to use his name. When there was a Caeasar, no one else could be called by that name. Here, Hashem has given kavod to man as he has even given his name (in our situation to Moshe) to humans.

The Sefer Shemen Hatov explains that a melech who demands kavod is a slave to kavod. He must kowtow to the masses in order to receive more kavod. However, if kavod can be given to others, this is the melech al hakavod. He then writes that this is the same by humans. A person is worthy of kavod if he can give it to others. Pharaoh deified himself as he would not even go to the bathroom in public as he wanted to give the image that he was a god. Therefore Hashem calls Moshe "Elohim" to show Pharaoh what a true melech hakavod is - one who gives kavod rather than demands it.

R' Frand then supported the vort by making reference to a Rambam in Hilchos Ishus. The Rambam explains how a man is to treat his wife. A man is supposed to honor his wife and give her more kavod than himself. He should spend money on his wife according to his means. R' Frand then interjected that the Jewish institution of marriage is built on ahavah and kavod and that a marriage which lacks the giving of kavod to the wife is is not the paradigm of a Jewish marriage.

R' Frand then continued that a wife should give kavod to her husband and view him as a melech. The melech the Rambam refers to is not the one who demands kavod, but rather one that gives to others. This is not the dictator, but rather the Rambam explains that he should speak to his wife softly and not impose his will on her. This is the Melech Hakavod - the one who gives kavod rather than demanding it.

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