Thursday, January 3, 2013

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Shemos

The following is a brief summary of thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this 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.
The parsha contains an introduction to Pharaoh by which the parsha writes that there was a new Pharaoh who did not know Yosef. The mefarshim argue as to whether this means that there truly was a new Pharaoh or whether it was the same Pharaoh and he forgot who Yosef was.
R' Frand commented that people don't recognize how truly terrible Pharaoh was. The Medrash states that Pharaoh was a leper and he treated his disease by bathing in the blood of Jewish children.
[Ed. Note - R' Mansour has a great shiur on Shemos where he compares Pharaoh to Yosef by demonstrating similarities in how the two attempted to portray Jews as subhuman and to desensitize their people to the treatment of the Jews. R' Mansour commented that people see Pharaoh as a nebbish, someone who is afflicted by frogs here, frogs there, and other maladies. However Pharaoh is truly evil].
Given all that Yosef did for Pharaoh and the people of Egypt, Pharaoh should have shown some compassion for the Jewish people as without Yosef, Egypt would have starved. However, Pharaoh had no sympathy for the Jews in Egypt as R' Frand explained by comparing him to Yosef.
R' Frand quoted the Ramban in Parshas Vayeshev which comments on the pasuk which states that Yosef left his garment in the hand of the wife of Potiphar. The Ramban asks - why did Yosef not grab the garment from her hand so that there would be no prop to serve as "evidence" for her accusations? The Ramban answers that it would not have been nice for Yosef to grab this from her hand since she was the wife of his master. Because of this, Yosef was willing to risk his future and endure years in jail, rather than act poorly towards the wife of his master. This is the meaning that Pharaoh did not know Yosef. Pharaoh did not know how to act like Yosef and instead returned good acts with punishment.
R' Frand then asked on the next pasuk - why would anyone believe that the Jews would be willing to be a Fifth Column and join another country which would potentially attack Egypt?
R' Frand answered by making reference to a line that he used a number of weeks ago - what Peter says about Paul says more about Peter than it does about Paul. Because Pharaoh had no capacity for recognizing and repaying good acts, he truly believed that given the opportunity, the Jews of Egypt would support an invading army and betray the Egyptians.
R' Frand then quoted some stories from Shas which demonstrate the same principle. R' Frand quoted a story from the Gemara Avodah Zara wherein Issur the Ger said that before he converted, he never thought that Jews kept Shabbos. Why? Because he never saw any wallets in the street and he believed that the Jews must have violated Shabbos to carry their belongings if they were dropped.
R' Frand explained that Issur could not believe that people would give up money for Shabbos. To Issur it was impossible that someone could drop something and let it stay until after Shabbos.
R' Frand quoted another Gemara from Sanhedrin where a non-Jew said - I don't believe that a husband can sleep in the same room with his wife when she is a niddah. Of course the halacha is that they can share a room as they will be able to stand up to their desires. However to this man who could not stand up to his own urges, he did not believe that anyone else could.
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