Thursday, November 2, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vayera

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 discussing the people of Sodom's attempts to get at the angels who came to visit, the Torah notes in Bereishis 19:11 that even though the people had been struck blind while attempting to get into Lot's house, they persisted in trying to gain entry after being blinded.

R' Frand quoted the Sforno who explained that the people were so driven by their desire to get at the angels that they did not recognize the miraculous event which occurred and were undeterred from trying to reach the angels. He gave an example of a person who is on his way to do something that he should not do and then gets into a massive car accident. The person should realize that this is a message of deterrence, not try to get a cab to get him to where he had wanted to go in the first place.

R' Frand next quoted R' Elya Svei, who explained that this is the power of desire and is yet another proof to the ma'amar chazal that jealousy, desire and honor remove a person from this world.

R' Frand tied this into Bilaam and his desire for the $$ for cursing the Jews. Bilaam met all sorts of hurdles and had the open miracle of his donkey talking to him. Yet, his desire to be paid for cursing the Jews blinded him from seeing the evil of his ways.

[This is yet another example of the "daf laughing at you" as this week in Chelek we learned about Bilaam and Sodom].

R' Frand also tied this back to Lot. When Lot separates from Avraham initially he goes to Sodom because of the lavish greenery. But soon thereafter it becomes apparent that Sodom is a "sin city" and Lot eventually gets captured in battle. But after Avraham saves him, Lot goes right back to Sodom, because Lot's desire for money gets the best of him.

R' Frand also said a second vort which related to the Akeidah. R' Frand quoted the gemara in which it states that when a Jew wants to do a mitzva and is prevented from doing so, Hashem credits him for the mitzva. Meanwhile, when an akum intends to do a good deed, but is prevented, he does not have the same credit. But why is there a difference?

The Meshech Chachmah explains that this a result of the Akeidah. Avraham wanted to perform the act, but was prevented from doing so. This desire became part of our spiritual DNA and is another example of the concept of Sefer Bereishis being ma'asei avos siman l'banim.

R' Frand also cited to the Meshech Chachmah who noted that Avraham called the mountain (known as Moriah) as Har Yeraeh. This was a desire that Hashem look out and be reminded about how much the Jewish people want to do the right thing.

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