Oneg shemos

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  • OnegShabbosNorth West London's Weekly Torah Sheet

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    Complete ItWe find many instances in the Torah where strangers, seemingly

    bystanders who are unconnected to the main characters and events of the narrative, play a pivotal and decisive role in the unfolding of the story. In a sense, they become the catalyst for all that occurs later.

    The escaped refugee who comes to tell Avraham about the capture of Lot, the man who finds Yosef wandering lost in the fields in search of his brothers are but examples of this recurring theme throughout biblical narrative. In this weeks parsha the daughter of the Pharaoh plays this unknowing role in Jewish history and world civilization.

    Going down to the Nile with her maidservants she espies the small floating crib of the infant Moshe and she reaches out for it before the crocodiles can get to it. She thereupon sees the crying infant and even though the baby is from the Jewish slaves she takes pity upon him and secures a wet nurse for him and eventually brings him home to the palace where she raises him as her son.

    And out of this strange and unlikely sequence of events, the great Moshe emerges to eventually lead the Jewish slaves out of Egyptian bondage and to bring them to Torah and eternity at the revelation at Mount Sinai. And though it is certainly God that oversees the unfolding of all human scenarios, it is through human beings making choices and decisions and behaving according to those choices that the story of humankind continues to unfold.

    Nothing compelled the Pharaohs daughter to be compassionate towards a defenseless Jewish child in danger. It was her choice and out of that choice the fate of all humanity is allowed to take a positive turn.

    The tradition of the Jews is that this daughter of the Pharaoh was named Batya the daughter of God Himself, so to speak. She is remembered in that her name has been given to myriad Jewish women over the thousands of years of Jewish existence. The continuing custom of naming Jewish women after her expresses the gratitude of the Jews for her life saving act and her human compassion.

    The Talmud teaches us that the crib floating in the river was seemingly out of her reach and yet she stretched forth her hand to attempt to bring it to her. When human beings do all that they can for a noble cause or kind deed then many times Heaven takes over. Her hand somehow became elongated sufficiently to bring the crib into her reach and the babys salvation.

    Again, it is this almost mystical combination of human choice and Heavens guidance that accomplishes this forward thrust in the story of humankind. And the Torah emphasizes that it was not sufficient for Batya to temporarily save the infant from death but that she pursued the matter of the childs welfare to the utmost, finally raising him as her son in the royal palace of the Pharaoh.

    Many times we do good and compassionate deeds but we do them partially not really completing the task. The Talmud teaches us that If one begins a mitzvah we say to him: Complete it. Batyas immortality is assured amongst all of Israel for her complete and voluntary act of compassion, goodness and mercy.

    Rabbi Berel Wein

    10th Jan 15

    ' " "-' " ' :

    London 3:55 pm Manchester 3:55 pm

    London: 5:10 pm Manchester: 5:13 pm

    The Commuters Chavrusa .............................................2

    MiYemini Michoel ............................................................3

    Weekly Halacha Conversation .......................................4

    Home Grown .....................................................................5

    Weekly Nach ......................................................................6

    The Davening Discussion ..............................................7

    Sparks of Chassidus........................................................8

    Eretz Hatzvi ........................................................................9

    Rabbi Frand .................................................................... 10

    Jewish Classics .............................................................. 11

    Rambam .......................................................................... 12

    Quiz Time?? ??????? ????????????????

    Answers can be found on the back page. Taken from the 1001 Questions & Answers Series by Rabbi Eli Brunner.1. What is the shortest in the ?

  • 2The Commuters ChavrusaReb Howard Jacksonon the Train from Yerushalayim to Tel Aviv

    www.divreitorah.co.uk

    Whos Jealous?

    God says to Moshe after appointing him as leader

    and redeemer: Behold, he [Aharon] is setting

    out to meet you [Moshe] and when he sees you he

    will be glad in his heart (Shemot 4:14).

    The Midrash (Rut Rabbah 5:6) teaches that if Aharon had known

    that God would write about this event of Aharon meeting Moshe,

    then Aharon would have gone to meet him with great fanfare, such as

    timbrels and choruses!

    How are we to understand this Midrash? Did Aharon not fulfil this

    Mitzvah properly because he thought it wouldnt be recorded in the

    Torah? Surely if timbrels and choruses were required then Aharon

    would have brought them; and since Aharon didnt bring them they

    surely were not required!

    The Kohelet Yitzchak explains, but not without first inquiring:

    Why was Moshe chosen ahead of his older brother Aharon to lead

    the Jewish People since, according to Rashi (on Shemot 6:26) , they

    were equally great?

    Gemara Taanit 25b relates a fascinating episode concerning a time

    of drought. Rabbi Eliezer led the communal prayers for rain but was

    not answered. Rabbi Akiva followed and was answered! A Heavenly

    Voice then proclaimed: Its not because this one is greater than the

    other, but this one is Maavir Al Midotav and the other is not Maavir

    Al Midotav.

    Chochmat Manoach asks what does Maavir Al Midotav mean

    in this context and, if Rabbi Akiva is Maavir Al Midotav and Rabbi

    Eliezer isnt, then doesnt that mean Rabbi Akiva is greater?

    In truth, they were equally great. The difference was that Rabbi

    Akiva was descended from converts and Rashi comments on Gemara

    Horayot 13a that the Yeitzer Hara (innate Evil Inclination) of a convert

    is naturally more evil than the Yeitzer Hara of one who is born Jewish.

    Therefore, the convert has to fight harder against his Yeitzer Hara to

    overcome it and will achieve a greater reward due to his greater effort.

    Although it was Rabbi Akivas father who was the convert, Rabbi

    Akiva grew up with the same struggle. So, even though Rabbi Eliezer

    was just as great, it was Rabbi Akiva whose prayers were answered

    because he had also overcome his natural character traits, i.e. Maavir

    Al Midotav.

    The Kohelet Yitzchak applies this rationale to Moshe and Aharon.

    Aharon knew only holiness and righteousness, growing up in the

    home of Amram and Yocheved; whereas Moshe grew up in Pharaohs

    palace and needed to control his less sociable tendencies, only

    making use of them on appropriate occasions. For instance, when the

    Jewish People sinned with the golden calf, Moshe needed to exercise

    some of the trait of cruelty when he said to the Levites: Every man,

    put his sword by his side and kill his brother, his friend and his

    neighbour (Shemot 32:27) . By contrast, Aharon had only said to the

    rebels: break off the golden earrings from the ears of your wives

    (Shemot 32:2) , because he could not stand up to the rebels since

    cruelty was alien to him.

    After Moshes appointment by God, Moshe was naturally

    concerned that perhaps his older brother Aharon might be jealous.

    That is why Aharon had to come to meet him to show that, on the

    contrary, he was delighted for Moshe. Therefore, God said to Aharon:

    Go to meet Moshe in the desert (Shemot 4:27) . Timbrels and

    choruses were appropriate to emphasise to Moshe that Aharon was

    delighted for him and not jealous of his younger brother. However,

    Aharon, Gods holy one (Tehilim 106:16) , was so removed from bad

    character traits that he had never even considered being jealous of

    Moshe and was completely unaware that he was now supposed to

    allay Moshes concerns by bringing fanfare.

    In conclusion, we can now understand the Midrashs deeper

    meaning. If Aharon would have known that God wanted him to

    emphasise, for Moshes benefit, Aharons lack of jealousy for his

    younger brothers new appointment then he would have gone to

    meet him with timbrels and choruses. We can now also appreciate

    the Gemaras statement (Shabbat 139a) of Rabbi Malai: Aharons

    reward for when he sees you he will be glad in his heart (Shemot

    4:14) was that he merited to wear the breastplate which would rest

    on his heart. Since Aharons heart was so pure, containing no

    bad qualities, he deserved to be the first Kohen Gadol and wear the

    breastplate close to his heart.

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