Thursday, October 19, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Noach

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 referencing Bereishis 10:11 in which the Torah states "Min HaAretz Ha Hee Yatza Ashur" -- from that land Ashur went forth. The pasuk states that Ashur built four cities, including the city of Nineveh.

R' Frand quoted the Medrash Rabbah which explains that Ashur went out from the plot against Hashem which was being raised by the people of Babel. Ashur stated to those who were planning their fight that he was not interested in waging war against G-d. To this Hashem stated, since you went out from them, I will reward you with four --the four cities that you will build.

R' Frand next quoted the Chizkuni, who cites a different Medrash which states that the Zchus of Ashur standing up against this plot was the reason that Nineveh merited having a Jewish prophet (Yonah) come and tell them to do teshuva.

More amazingly, the Yalkut Shimoni explains that the teshuva done by Nineveh included acts which we would term as Lifnim M'Shuras HaDin. On the third day of their teshuva, people began returning lost objects which by halacha did not require returning. If a stolen brick was built into the King's palace, they destroyed the palace, even though by halacha the law of Takanas HaMorish would only require the building's owner to pay for the stolen brick and not destroy his own home.

However, in the end, the people of Ashur attacked the Jewish people and were involved in the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash. They were criticized for their actions in Tehillim which states "V'Gam Ashur Nilvah Imam". R' Frand quoted the Medrash on this pasuk in Tehillim which analogizes the people of Ashur to the regression of a bird, stating that yesterday you were a chick and today you are an egg. 

R' Frand quoted R' Leib Baktz (sp?) from Detroit who explained the Medrash as saying that they had regressed from doing heroic things and now what are you? You turned from people into inanimate objects. One of the worst things that can happen to a person is to regress and stop growing.

R' Frand remarked that as people get older its harder for them to keep growing. But even worse is to regress.

He also told a story of R' Chaim Ozer visiting the Chofetz Chaim when the Chofetz Chaim was advanced in age. R' Chaim Ozer remarked - look how much he has grown, I don't recognize him from last year. At this time, the Chofetz Chaim was advanced in age, not like a child who returns from being away at school. But this is what we are tasked with.

R' Frand told a second vort based on the end of Bereishis, where the Torah states in Bereishis 6:8 that Noach found "chen" in the eyes of Hashem. This means that Noach was not saved because of his righteousness, but because he found chen.

R' Frand quoted R' Elya Svei (sp?) who tied this into the story of Dina being violated by Shechem. How could this have happened? He quoted the Medrash Rabbah which states that it occurred because Yaakov put her in the box when he met Esav. But that does not explain why she was punished! The Chassam Sofer learns that this had to do with her missing out on the beracha of chen. When Yaakov was asked by Esav who are these people, Yaakov responds in Bereishis 33:5 that they are the children "asher chanan Elokim es avdecha". The Chassam Sofer explains that Dina was vulnerable because she lacked the beracha of chen, while Noach had it.

We see this one other time in Bereishis as when Yosef is thrown in the dungeon, the Torah writes in Bereishis 39:21 that Hashem was with Yosef when he was in prison and Hashem gave him chen in the eyes of the prison warden.

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