Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vayeitzei

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 29:25, the Torah discusses Leah's expression of gratitude after Yehuda is born as it states that Leah conceived again and had a son and said this time let me praise Hashem, so she called him Yehuda and then she stopped giving birth/

R' Frand quoted a seemingly odd Perush HaTur who explains the confluence of events in the pasuk as Hashem telling Leah - since you have expressed gratitude for having four sons and did not ask for more children, you will cease having children.

This observation is counter intuitive. Leah is not being greedy, she is expressing thanks that she has been given four children. So why is she being punished?

R' Frand answered by quoting a Rambam which states "Klalo Shel Davar" - a person should cry out for the future while giving thanks for what he has. Thus, the person asks for more beracha while not seeming an ingrate as he thanks Hashem for what he has been given.

R' Frand brought a number of proofs to this concept. First he mentioned that in Modim D'Rabanan we thank Hashem but as the same time we ask for more later in the prayer.

Similarly, in Hallel which is a tefillah of praise, we close the tefillah with the expressions of Ana Hashem Hoshiah Na and Ana Hashem Hatzlicha Na.

Additionally, when a person makes a siyum on learning a mesechta or seder of mishnayos, the person recites the hadran which includes the prayer that Hashem should assist him in learning other tractates.

But why do we need to combine these concepts?

R' Frand answered by quoting a sefer whose name I did not catch, which explains by way of analogy to a lottery winner. A person can win the lottery and say - I have it all. I have my $25 million and I don't need anything else. But that money can disappear in an instant and the person could be left with nothing (as we often read about lottery winners).

A Jew however should not have such a reaction. The Jew recognizes that it all comes from Hashem, but it can also be fleeting. Therefore he recognizes what came from Hashem while still asking for more.

R' Frand closed by observing that the word Modeh has two possible meanings - one meaning is to show thanks but the other is to admit - I recognize that it is all from You, Hashem.

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