Thursday, December 26, 2013

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Va'era

The following is a brief summary of some of the 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 first pasuk of this week's parsha (Shemos 6:2) states that Hashem came to Moshe and told him that He was Hashem. This comes immediately after the end of Parshas Shemos (5:22-6:1) where Hashem tells Moshe (in response to Moshe's questioning) that now Moshe will see what Hashem will do to Pharaoh. 

The mefarshim ask why is this necessary as it appears on the surface to be redundant. The mainstream answer is that the difference between the two pesukim is that in this week's parsha, Hashem speaks to Moshe sternly by saying it with the middah of din. 

R' Frand then stated that beyond the simple pshat, we can learn from the parsha that there are things in life which occur which are extremely painful and may provoke a reaction or feeling that Hashem has abandoned the person. However, Hashem has not abandoned the person and (however difficult) the person must use his emunah and bitachon to understand that Hashem has a master plan and that everything will work out for the best.

Hashem's message to Moshe in Va'era is that you may think that I am being harsh, but everything comes from the same source and it all comes from the middas harachamim. 

The twin concepts are seen in the Shema which R' Frand remarked that a Jew says almost like a pledge of allegiance. The language of Shema has a middas hadin and a middas harachamim component, but we must know that Hashem is one.

Similarly, the Jews who went through the crucible of Egypt were being given a message that although there are times that one would question, it is all for the good.

R' Frand quoted the Sanzer Rebbi who cited to the gemara in Berachos where we learn from Rebbi that one should cover the eyes when saying Shema. Why do we do this? The Sanzer Rebbi explained that the lesson is that Hashem is both middas harachamim and din and they all come from the same source. We can't see now that it is all for the good, so we cover our eyes. When going through troubles, we can't see that it is all for the best. Thus we cover our eyes to demonstrate our acceptance that it is all for the best.

R' Frand quoted the introduction to the Sefer Kol Aryeh which discusses how Ya'akov was afraid to go down to Egypt because he foresaw the slavery of Egypt. Hashem had to convince Ya'akov to go down to Egypt and that in the end, it will be the salvation of the Jews. The Torah explains in Bereishis 46:4, that Hashem convinced Ya'akov by making reference to Yosef covering Ya'akov's eyes. The symbolism was - just as the story of Yosef seemed like a terrible thing, in the end it all worked out for the best. So too you, Ya'akov, although you see that there will be travails in Egypt, "Yosef" will cover your eyes and when the Jews leave Egypt they will be better off because of the experience.

R' Frand next said a different vort where he noted that the four languages of geula are in the parsha (Shemos 6:6-7) - v'hotseisei, v'hitsalti, v'ga'alti, v'lacachti. The Rashbam in Pesachim teaches that the four cups at the Seder corresponds to these four languages of geula.

R' Asher Weiss notes that a person can eat and drink between the first and second and between the second and third cups, but no one can drink between cups three and four. Why? Because the first three languages of geula are all about freedom from enslavement, things that everyone approves of. But the fourth language requires the Jews to submit to Hashem being their king. The message of eating/drinking between any of the first three cups is that there is no problem with drinking or otherwise separating between the cups because they are all the same. But once the freedom has been completed, there cannot be any separation between the freedom and accepting Hashem. Why? Because there cannot be freedom on its own as that would be anarchy. The freedom of Egypt must include an acceptance of the will of Hashem.

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