Thursday, January 14, 2010

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

In Va'era 6:6 the Torah recounts Hashem's message to Moshe to tell the Jewish people that he will take them out of the "Sivlos" of Egypt. While the word sivlos is generally translated as burden, Rabbi Frand had a different p'shat this evening.

Rabbi Frand quoted the sefer Tiferes Shlomo who stated that the sivlos is actually the key to how the Jews survived in Egypt. As explained by the Tiferes Shlomo - the word sivlos is similar to the word savlanus - patience. The Jews were able to withstand the oppression in Egypt because they had patience and knew that it all came from Hashem. The Jews knew that if this is correct in His eyes, it is proper for them.

Rabbi Frand then quoted a sefer Bei Chiya which recounted a story in the gemara Berachos about Hillel HaZaken. Hillel was returning to his town when he heard a great scream. Hillel remarked, I am sure that it is not coming from my house. The gemara then remarks - one who is correct of heart has faith in Hashem.

The problem with the literal interpretation of Hillel's statement is that it is contrary to understanding of bitachon. We believe that everything Hashem does is for the best. This does not mean that Hashem does everything that we want Him to do, or that Hashem's idea of what is the best for us is the same as our own personal idea. So how could Hillel be certain that it was not coming from his home?

Rabbi Frand answered that Hillel was saying that I am certain that the screaming is not coming from my house because I have taught my family not to scream when something which appears to be troubling occurs. While it may be difficult to comprehend the reason that something occurred, Hillel's family knew it was not proper to cry out. As such, this man of faith was certain that the cry was not coming from his home.

The Bei Chiya then drew a parallel to Hillel's view of Corech. The haggada instructs that one is to take matza and marror and put them together and say that it is remembrance for Hillel, who during the times of the Temple would bring together matza and marror...

The concept of Corech seems to be illogical. The matza is a sign of freedom while the marror is a sign of slavery. Why would the two be combined?

Rabbi Frand answered that the Corech sandwich teaches that there is galus and there is geulah and the lesson of the Corech is that both come from the same source, as such they can be eaten together.

Rabbi Frand then made reference to a Rambam in Hilchos Chametz u Matza (8:8) who writes that we dip the matza in the charoses. The Raivid writes that this is error. The Tur explains that matza is a sign or freedom and charoses represents the mortar of slavery, so they should not be joined.

However if it is problematic to join the charoses with the matza, then how can we have the Corech sandwich?

Rabbi Frand answered that when one eats the matza with the marror they do not blend or merge. (I can recall many a pesach when my Corech would wind up on my kittel as the pieces of the matza fell away from the marror). On the other hand, if one dips matza in charoses they will blend together.

The difference in the combinations is that when one eats the Corech, there is a cognizance that these are two distinct items which are being taken together. As such, we see that both come from the same source, but are still distinct. However, when eating the matza with charoses, the separation is blurred.

Rabbi Frand closed by telling over a poem which was sung by Jews as they were marching to the gas chambers. He attributed the poem to a R' Tzvi Wolner who recounted that his aunt who was in the camps told him the poem. The poem was recited in Yiddish and then translated into English. As I do not speak Yiddish, I am only providing the English version.

G-d in His judgment is right
No one can say that G-d is bad
G-d knows what he does
He never does evil
G-d in his judgment is correct

I apologize, but it truly does lose something in English. Although I do not speak Yiddish it was much more powerful when read and linearly translated.

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