Thursday, November 5, 2015

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Chaye Sarah

The following is a brief summary of some 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. 

In Bereishis 24:1 the Torah writes that Hashem had blessed Avraham - Bakol. The simple translation of this word is "with everything", however Rashi does not give a simple translation. Instead Rashi writes that Bakol in gematria is the word ben as each word is 52. 

R' Frand noted that Rashi typically gives the simple explanation and that in this case, the simple explanation would be the one given by the Radak, who states that Avraham had everything that he needed and the only thing he needed to do was find a wife for Yitzchak. So why did Rashi take this other route?

R' Frand answered in the name of the Tolner Rebbi who explained that Rashi was actually coming to answer an entirely different question. Rashi was addressing the question - how can it be that Avraham was blessed with everything?

After learning the last few parshios it is clear that Avraham had a hard life. He was thrown in the furnace in Ur Kasdim, he traveled to Canaan and then his wife Sarah was kidnapped twice. He stayed with Sarah for many years when they could not have children and it must have been a real stress on the marriage. He is given Hagar, who soon thereafter begins to treat Sarah poorly. He has Yishmael and then sends him away. He finally has Yitzchak and has the test of the Akeidah, followed immediately thereafter by coming home to find Sarah dead. And then he has to negotiate with Ephron to buy land that Hashem promised to him in the first place.

So with all of these troubles, how can Avraham have everything? This is the question that Rashi is answering - he had everything because he had a son and he was grateful for having that. 

R' Frand noted that even before Yitzchak came into the picture, Avraham was thanking Hashem for having Yishmael as he said in Bereishis 17:18 - Lu Yishmael Yichyeh Lifanecha. Avraham was genuinely happy with just having Yishmael.

R' Frand next quoted a Medrash to emphasize Avraham's level of Hakaras Hatov as the Medrash takes the pasuk from Tehillim - Kol HaNishamah T'Hallel Kah and learns it as meaning - on each and every breath (Nisheema) a person should thank Hashem.

R' Frand asked - other than someone with asthma, does anyone thank Hashem for breathing? We say various berachos in the morning for being able to see or stand up, but do people really recognize that Hashem gave us the ability to do these tasks?

R' Frand closed the vort by quoting to the pasuk about Avraham's death where the Torah writes in Bereishis 25:8 that Avraham died Saveah - content. The pasuk does not write that he died as a ba'al chessed - rather that he was content. Because this was Avraham - he did not expect anything nor did he feel entitled. He was simply happy with what he had.

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