Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Shoftim

Although it is only the 28th of August, it is also the first Thursday Night of Elul and R' Frand has begun the new season of Parsha shiurim. The following is a brief summary of a thought said over by R' Frand on the parsha 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.

The Torah states at Devarim 17:9 that if there is a dispute, the litigants should go to the Shofet of your days and he will paskin for you.

The Gemara in Rosh Hashanah asks - why does the Torah have to add that the Shofet is of your days? Can a person go to a Judge from a prior generation who is already in the Olam Ha'Emes? The Gemara answers that a person CAN only go to the Shofet in his days and that he should not attempt to compare him with the judges of yesteryear.

R' Frand then linked this to the Siyum HaShas which runs every seven and half years. Invariably, some of the Rabbanim who were on the dais at prior events do not live to see the next siyum. People speak nostalgically about how R' Moshe Feinstein and other rabbanim attended prior siyumim.

R' Twersky mentions in one of his seforim that Avraham Avinu brought thousands of people to teshuva, but what happened to the "nefesh asher asu b'Charan" mentioned in Bereishis 12:5, where did they go? The speculation is that the ba'alei teshuva did not want to go Yitzchak because they remembered him when he was young and did not see him as a proper person to visit with for questions.

R' Frand talked about visiting the grave of the Chasam Sofer. He told a story that when the Chasam Sofer died the very first person to speak at the funeral said that he accepted his son as the Rav for the community and wished him a mazal tov. One does not normally (perhaps ever) hear a mazal tov at a funeral, but this speaker wanted to make sure that everyone understood that there was a new Rav who would be making p'sak for the community.

R' Frand next quoted R' Chaim Shmulevitz who quoted a Gemara wherein Rebbi was giving a shiur and there was a foul smell from garlic which someone had eaten. Rebbi said - whoever ate the garlic should leave. R' Chiya got up and left. Thereafter, everyone else left. The next day R' Shimon B'Rebbi saw R' Chiya and said did you eat garlic? No, he responded. Why did you do this? Because I learned from R' Meir HaKatan. The Gemara then explores R' Meir's story and asks where he got this concept from and he says R' Shmuel HaKatan and then traces the act back to Yehoshua who learned from Moshe.

R' Chaim asks - why is it that the Gemara did not just say that the concept of not embarrassing was learned from Moshe? He answers that Moshe was not R' Shmuel's rebbi and he did not learn directly from Moshe. Its important to have a Rav and to learn and act based on the teachings of your Rav and not hearken back or try to compare with Rabbanim of yesteryear.

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