Monday, April 18, 2016

Monday's Matza Crumbs - the Second Section of the Seder Dvar Torah

On Thursday Night I started to blog a shiur from R' Mansour on the Hagaddah but could not complete it at that time. The following is a continuation of those thoughts. The same rules as usual apply - I have attempted to reproduce this vort to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistencies are the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Mansour.

R' Mansour noted that when Yosef collected funds and land from the Egyptians in exchange for food, in Bereishis (47:22) he made an exception for the Egyptian priests and did not take their land in exchange for food. 

Working on the belief that the Jews could take the money of slaves like them because they belonged to Pharaoh - the Jews were not allowed to ask for money from the Egyptian priests - because their money did not belong to Pharaoh. This is why the Torah uses the word Re'ehu - the plain Egyptian was like the Jew - they were both slaves and their money was owned by Pharaoh.

Referring back to the question from the first half of the shiur -when the Jews left Egypt the sea did not want to split as it said - the Jews are thieves like the Egyptians. This sea did not split until it saw Yosef's coffin and was thus reminded that Yosef had caused all  the money to become Pharaoh's. Since the Jews had taken money from Pharaoh as compensation for their wages, it was not stealing.

R' Mansour then asked - why is it that Yosef was benevolent towards the Egyptian priests? R' Mansour answered that Yosef knew that the Jews were going to be in Egypt for many years and that they would need chizuk in order to withstand the exile. He also knew that the Torah was an etz chayim - a tree that would keep the Jews alive while in Egypt. Yaakov had already prophesied that Levi would be the ones who would teach the Jews Torah in Egypt. Yosef knew that whomever would be the Jews' priests would be able to keep them alive, so he made a rule that priests would be treated differently so that the Jews' priests would be treated differently as well.

We see that Moshe recognized this because he was personally involved with Yosef's coffin. The gemara states that a Chacham Lev takes mitzvos. Moshe involved himself in taking Yosef's coffin because it was important to him to do the miztva of taking the coffin, but also to do the mitzva of HaKaras HaTov - to show gratitude for what someone has done for you.

R' Mansour demonstrated this point by noting that there are four pesukim in Parshas Ki Savo which summarize the redemption from Egypt - Devarim (26:5-8) which recites how the Aramean tried to destroy our father and the Jews went down to Egypt and the Egyptians afflicted the Jews until we cried out and Hashem took us out of Egypt. But these pesukim are not stated in Shemos - they are read by the farmer who brings up his Bikurim (first fruits) to the Beis Hamikdash. In so doing the farmer joins together his thanks for the fruits of his harvest and then adds in all of his thanks for getting him where he is now. R' Mansour analogizes this to a speech given for an award - the recipient may thank his co-workers, but often he will also thank his parents or spouse who got him there.

On the night of the seder we recognize the concept of HaKaras HaTov because one who does so is a Chacham Lev - as the one who gives such thanks does so from his (smart) heart.

On the night that the Jews left Egypt, everyone was being involved in mitzvos as the Jews had been commanded to go to their neighbors and ask for the gold and silver. But Moshe chose this mitzva instead, even though he was very busy that night and could have asked the Chevra Kadisha to be involved with Yosef's coffin. Because this was KaKaras HaTov for him - Moshe was from the tribe of Levi and Yosef had exempted him from the hard work in Egypt - so he felt a personal responsibility to bring Yosef's bones out with him.

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