Thursday, December 7, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vayeshev

The following is a brief summary of some of thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening along with the summary of a Chanukah vort he said last week. 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.

Rabbi Frand's parsha vort was more of a discussion of a Medrash than a traditional parsha vort. The Medrash in Parshas Vayigash asks Mi Haya Michaceh - who would have waited or anticipated and then poses the question about various people. [For purposes of this vort I will just refer to the introductory statement about each person as "Who would have anticipated "].

The first subject was Avraham and Sarah and the Medrash asked, who would have anticipated that they would have a child when Sarah was 90 years old. The next was Ya'akov and the question was, who would have anticipated that he would go from being penniless to having a large family and possessions. The next subject was Yosef and the question was, who would have anticipated that he would have gone from the prison to being Pharaoh's number 2. The next was about Moshe and who would have anticipated that Moshe would have gone from being put in a basket in the river and became the leader that would lead the Jews out of Egypt. Similar discussions were made as to David, Ruth and Chananya, Mishael and Azaryah.

R' Frand remarked that the Medrash is a nechama (consolation) for the Jews that even when it appears that times are bad, there will be an unanticipated positive result. R' Frand remarked that 2017 was the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration and who would have anticipated that Israel would be what it is today. [I kept expecting a Trump/Jerusalem reference, but R' Frand did not make one]. He referenced how the Ottoman Empire which had ruled the land for hundreds of years had an unanticipated rapid collapse which led to the possibility of a Balfour Declaration. He also referenced how small yeshivos in America in the 1930s and 1940s grew into Lakewood and Ner Israel and how that in the shadows of the Holocaust, who could have anticipated this success.

R' Frand then quoted R' Elya Svei (sp?) who had a different explanation of the Medrash. He answered the question as if it was not rhetorical --- Yosef anticipated this result. Yosef knew from his own dreams that he would one day rise to leadership. When Yosef heard the dream of the Sar Hamashkim he heard Hashem speaking to him. The three sarigim were a reference to the three leaders who would take the Jews out of Egypt and through the desert - Moshe, Aharon and Miriam. Yosef knew that the four references to Kos Pharaoh were a message that the Jews would undergo four exiles and Hashem would redeem them from each one.

Similarly, there was someone who was anticipating Moshe rising to prominence--Miriam. She had a dream that her parents would have a son who would lead the Jews out of Egypt. When Moshe was born and the house filled with light, Amram kissed Miriam on the head and lauded her prophesy...and when Moshe was put in the river, Amram hit her on the head and questioned the prophesy. But Miriam was anticipating Moshe's greatness.

I also wanted to do a brief summary of part of the Chanukah vort said by R' Frand last week. He referenced a Rashi in Behalosecha which mentioned that Aharon was saddened when he saw that every tribe was contributing nedavos and the tribe of Levi was not. Hashem then told Aharon, yours will be greater, because you will have the opportunity to light the menorah every day.

R' Frand quoted the Ramban who said that the lighting of the menorah transcended every generation and did not only refer to the menorah in the Beis HaMikdash. It referred to the mitzva that even to this day we continue to light the candles at Chanukah.

R' Frand then asked -- but how is this an answer to Aharon's concern? He was upset that he was not making a nedava, he was not making a contribution. How is the lighting of the candles an answer to his concerns?

R' Frand answered that Aharon's children and grandchildren saw his devotion to the act of lighting and that this became a part of them and they too would be moser nefesh for this act. There is a famous Rashi that says that he had the same enthusiasm on the first and last day that he lit the menorah.

By seeing his excitement and energy and the way that he gave of himself to light the candles, it insured that his grandchildren and great grandchildren would have this dedication to the mitzva of lighting the candles. This was more than just a one time donation to the Mishkan. Aharon understod this and that is why the answer was accepted by him.

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