Thursday, January 12, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vayechi

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.

R' Frand began the vort by noting that Ya'akov's beracha to Reuven implied that Reuven could have had both the role of priests (Kehuna) and kings (Malchus) but he lost these opportunities. As stated in Bereishis 49:3, Ya'akov said to Reuven that that he was his first born and "Yeser S'iais V'Yeser Az." Rashi explains that the word S'iais is an allusion to the priestly blessing and Az is an allusion to the might of being a king. However, in the next pasuk, Ya'akov tells Reuven that he lost these roles by being impetuous like rapidly flowing water in that he jumped to move Ya'akov's bed from the tent of Bilhah to the tent of Leah. 

However, when it comes to the blessing of Yehuda, he is given the beracha of malchus as it states in Bereishis 49:9 that although he was part of the conspiracy to murder Yosef and claim that he was killed by a wild animal, but he escaped it by changing his mind. Rashi explains that Ya'akov was also alluding to how Yehuda changed his mind from wanting to have Tamar killed, but after reviewing the evidence she presented, he took back his directive and admitted that he was wrong.

R' Frand quoted R' Bukspan from Florida (presumably from his sefer Classics & Beyond, Parsha Pearls) who says that the quality of being a leader does not lend well to someone who is impetuous and does not contemplate and rethink whether he is making the right decision. Reuven stood up for his mother's honor, but at the cost of embarrassing his father. Reuven did not think things through, he just acted. Meanwhile Yehuda also had reactions, but then he took a step back and said maybe this is not right - this is a quality that a king needs. But the attitude of shoot first and ask questions later is not the way of a king. And if you can't say "I was wrong, I made a mistake" you can't be a king.

R' Frand also quoted a Medrash which describes Reuven's teshuva and shows that he learned from his mistakes. The Medrash states that Reuven made for himself a mikveh and he immersed himself therein. R' Frand noted that there are two forms of mikvaos - a mikveh of collected rainwater or a ma'ayan - a spring of fast flowing water. When Reuven did teshuva he immersed himself in a collected water mikveh which showed that he realized that you need to slow down and think.

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