Thursday, November 24, 2016

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 23:2 the Torah writes that Avraham came L'spod - to eulogize Sarah. R' Frand quoted the sefer Meorei Ohr who noted that there are only two people in the Torah who had hespedim - Sarah and Yaa'kov. Although the Torah writes that the Jews cried after the death of others, including Aharon and Miriam, but only Sarah and Ya'akov are the subject of eulogies. But the obvious question is - why?

R' Frand prefaced the answer by quoting the gemara in Sanhedrin which asks whether a eulogy is for the dead or for the living? The gemara analyzes whether saying a eulogy serves to benefit the dead as an honor to their memories, or perhaps the eulogy is said to inspire others and reveal things about them which others did not know..

R' Frand did not reach the result of the gemara, but instead digressed to state a ma'amar chazal that the Aishes Chayil, although written in Mishlei, was actually the text of the hesped said by Avraham after Sarah died. He then stated that the reason why Avraham made a public hesped for Sarah was because she was so private (hine'i b'ohel) that no one knew her greatness, so he explained her deeds after her death.

R' Frand next told a story about R' Yerucham Levovitz who was in a city and heard that a woman had passed away and that people were worried that there would not be a minyan at the funeral. He decided that even though he did not know her, it would be almost like attending to a meis mitzvah and he decided that he would attend personally. However, when he arrived at the funeral he saw that it was filled with people, both from the city and from other towns. It was revealed that the woman had lived a life of doing chessed for others, but privately. In fact, each beneficiary thought that they were the only one for whom she did chessed. But in fact she had done chessed for many people in many different cities.

R' Levovitz later returned to the Mirrer Yeshiva and told the boys in a shmooze that it is the way of people not to hide their every day items. Your regular dishes and glasses are out in the open, but fine china and silver are locked in the breakfront and the gold is in the safe. This woman held her chessed as a valuable commodity, so she locked it away, out of sight of others.

This is why Avraham felt the need to be maspid Sarah. Everyone knew Avraham, everyone knew Yosef, and Moshe and Aharon were public and well known. But because of Sarah's great privacy and middah of tznius, Avraham had to let the world know what she was all about.

So why did Ya'akov merit a funeral? R' Frand quoted the answer given by the sefer, but then gave his own answer. The pasuk in Bereishis 50:10 states that they came to Goren Ha'Atad to eulogize him.   The gemara in Sotah teaches that the residents of Canaan came to the funeral and hung their crowns in a show of respect. This funeral was said for the living so that they could benefit from the words about Ya'akov. 

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