Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Lech Lecha

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 inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

This week's parsha contains a description of Sarah's selfless act (Bereishis 16:1-3). When Sarah realized that she was unable to bear children, she told Avraham to take Hagar and have a child with her. The Torah relates that Avraham listened to Sarah.

In describing the interplay between Avraham and Sarah, the Torah states that Sarah says "Ulai Ebaneh Mimenah" which Rashi interprets Sarah as saying - perhaps in the z'chus of taking a tzarah (rival) into the home, I will be zocheh to build.

Rabbi Frand then asked - what is the z'chus that Sarah is referring to? He answered the question that it is the z'chus of being a m'vater which is best translated in English as one who forgoes.

Rabbi Frand then told a story in the name of R' Shach about a chazan who had davened for the amud in Ponovitch. The chazan had gotten older and could no longer be heard over the din of the air conditioning, however he still wanted to daven for the amud on the yamim noraim. He suggested that they turn off the air conditioning, but those davening there for the yamim noraim were not interested. He then approached the Rav who told him to give up the amud, as no one ever loses by being m'vater.

Rabbi Frand then linked the story to a story he had read in the sefer Ohel Moshe from R' Moshe Sheinerman (sp?). There was a couple who got engaged and were soon to be married. Three weeks before the wedding the couple found out that the Chassan had cancer and would soon need chemotherapy. They went searching for direction as to whether they should go forward with the wedding but were unable to get clear p'sak. They then went to R' Kanievsky who asked each individually what they felt was appropriate. The Chassan said that the Kallah should break off the engagement because it was not right that her first year of marriage would be with someone who was undergoing chemotherapy. The Kallah said that she did not want to break the engagement as it was not right for the Chassan to undergo chemotherapy alone.

R' Kanievsky counseled the couple that they should go forward with wedding. He even attended the wedding (a rare event for him according to Rabbi Frand). When R' Kanievsky arrived he danced with the Chassan and Kallah and they all escorted him out when he was done.

On the way back from the wedding, R' Kanievsky's driver asked him how he knew that this was the right course of action. R' Kanievsky answered that he had a proof from a Medrash. The Medrash (on Parshas Noach) tells the story of Alexander the Great who visited a king because he wanted to watch the king judge his people. Two litigants came before the king in relation to a land purchase. The buyer indicated that he had paid a bargain basement price for the land because it was poor quality, however he found a great treasure in the land which he felt it would be inappropriate to keep and as such he wanted the seller to take it back. The seller also indicated that he did not want it as the deal was the deal. The king asked the seller - do you have a son. The seller answered in the affirmative. He then asked the buyer - do you have a daughter? Yes, the buyer answered. The king then said that the children should be married and that way the treasure could stay in both families. Alexander then indicated to the king that in his land the government would have killed them both and taken the treasure.

R' Kanievsky said to his driver - the Chassan and Kallah were both willing to be m'vater in order to help the other. If this was their attitude there was no way the marriage could fail to be successful.

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