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Pearls of Rashi – Mikeitz II

In Parshas Mikeitz, which we read this week, we are told a very exciting story. But just as all of the stories in Torah, it comes to teach us important lessons.

Paroh had two most unusual dreams. The magicians upon whom he relied were not able to interpret the dreams to Paroh’s satisfaction. Paroh heard that Yosef the Tzaddik was talented in this regard, and Yosef was summoned to appear before Paroh. Yosef explained that the dreams predicted that Egypt would have seven years of plenty, followed by seven years of famine. He suggested that Paroh appoint someone to watch over the food supply, saving enough food during. the seven years of plenty in order that they lack nothing during the famine. Paroh immediately appointed Yosef to this position; he was made the viceroy of Egypt, second only to Paroh himself.

When the years of famine began, and the nation turned to Paroh for food, he told them to go to Yosef; as it is written[1] “when the entire land of Egypt hungered, the people cried out to Paroh for bread.  Paroh told them, ‘Go to Yosef; and do whatever he tells you.’”

The Torah tells us the main points of their conversation. Rashi goes into the details. He says that “Yosef had ordered them to circumcise themselves. When they came to Paroh and told them what he said, Paroh said to them, ‘Why didn’t you save grain during the seven years of plenty? Didn’t he say that years of famine were coming?’ They answered, ‘We did gather, and we gathered a lot, but it rotted.’ Paroh answered, ‘If so, do whatever he tells you. He issued a decree upon the grain, and it rotted. What if he issues a decree upon us and we die?’”

Why did Yosef demand that the Egyptians circumcise themselves? They weren’t Jews, and only Jews are commanded to have a Bris Milah!

The explanation is, that when Hashem gave Avrohom the Mitzvah of circumcision, He said that[2] “those born in your house and those purchased for money (slaves) shall be circumcised …” In other words, Avrohom Avinu was commanded not only to circumcise himself and his family, but also those over whom he had control. Therefore, Yosef, who was in control of the entire population of Egypt, demanded that they be circumcised.

This teaches us that we must bring Torah and Mitzvos, to everyone who we can influence. This includes those who are not Jewish. We must introduce them to the seven Noachide laws.

Wishing everyone a good Shabbos and a happy Chanukah!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 10, Page 136

IN LOVING MEMORY OF OUR MOTHER
Mrs. Brocha bas Reb Tzvi Nechemiah Hacohen O.B.M. Cohen
Passed away on 8 Shevat, 5778
May Her Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
*
DEDICATED BY HER FAMILY
* * *
לעילוי נשמת
מרת ברכה בת ר’ צבי נחמי’ הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטרה ביום ח ‘שבט, ה’תשע”ח
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
*
יוצא לאור ע”י בני משפחתה שיחיו

[1]. Our Parshah, Bereishis 41:55.

[2]. Parshas Lech Lecho, Bereishis 17:13.

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Pearls of Rashi – Mikeitz

In this week’s Torah portion, we read how Yosef saved Egypt from the world-wide famine. In fact, Mitzraim was the only nation which had a supply of food during that time. This caused the rest of the world to come “knocking on Egypt’s doors,” desperately seeking grain. Specifically, the one that handled all requests was Yosef, who had been appointed viceroy over the Egyptian nation.

What did the Jewish nation, i.e. Yaakov’s children who were in Egypt do? The Torah tells us that[1] “Yaakov saw that there was grain being sold in Egypt. (Therefore,) Yaakov said to his sons, ‘Why do you appear satiated?’” He then told his sons to travel to Mitzraim in order to obtain grain.

What did Yaakov mean when he said “why do you appear satiated?” It would appear from his words that they actually had food, however, he did not wish to have trouble from the surrounding nations. This seems to be in accordance with Rashi’s explanation. Rashi cites the words “why do you appear satiated,” and explains as follows. “Why do you show yourselves before the sons of Yishmoel and the sons of Aisov as if you are satiated? For at that time they still had grain.”

Rashi writes that they appeared “as if they had grain.” This seems to imply that in actuality they did not have a great deal of grain. It was only as if they were full. This requires explanation. Why would the Jews show themselves, meaning behave, as if they were full if such was not the case?

The explanation is, that this was due to the tremendous trust that Yaakov’s children had in Hashem. They had no doubt, and were absolutely certain that Hashem would never forsake their father Yaakov. This was true even during the time of a famine which plagued the entire world. Granted, the grain which they actually had was just sufficient for “that time.” Nevertheless, they were certain that G-d would always take care of them. That was the reason that they “appeared satiated.” They had no concern whatsoever about what will be; they knew that it would be good.

We always discuss living with the weekly Parshah, meaning living with the week’s Torah portion. We are descendants of Yaakov. May we learn from his sons the sort of faith that each of us must have in Hashem, despite all odds.

Wishing everyone a good Shabbos and a happy Chanukah!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 30, Page 190

IN LOVING MEMORY OF OUR MOTHER
Mrs. Brocha bas Reb Tzvi Nechemiah Hacohen O.B.M. Cohen
Passed away on 8 Shevat, 5778
May Her Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
*
DEDICATED BY HER FAMILY
* * *
לעילוי נשמת
מרת ברכה בת ר’ צבי נחמי’ הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטרה ביום ח ‘שבט, ה’תשע”ח
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
*
יוצא לאור ע”י בני משפחתה שיחיו

[1]. Our Parshah, Bereishis 42:1.

Pearls of Rashi – Vayeishev II

We learn in this week’s Parshah, Vayeishev, of a dispute between Yosef and his brothers. The Torah tells us that[1] “Yisroel (Yaakov) loved Yosef more than all of his other sons, because he was a son of his old age. He made Yosef a fine woolen coat.”

Ultimately the brothers threw Yosef into a pit[2]. They did not want their father to know what they had done; therefore, the Torah tells us as follows[3]. “They took Yosef’s coat, slaughtered a kid, and dipped the coat in the blood. They sent the fine woolen coat, and brought it to their father, and said, ‘We have found this; recognize whether this is your son’s coat or not.’ He recognized it and said, ‘It is my son’s coat; a wild beast has devoured him; Joseph has surely been torn up.’”

Rashi cites the words “a wild beast has devoured him,” and explains as follows. “(Even though the brothers did not tell Yaakov, one would think that Hashem would tell him.) Why did He not do so? Because the brothers excommunicated and cursed anyone who would reveal this, and they included Hashem in their court.

We need to understand why the brothers felt the need to make the Almighty a part of the excommunication and the curse which they issued. After all, they themselves constituted a Bais Din – meaning a Jewish ritual court. One explanation for this is that they were afraid that one of them might come to regret their actions.

There is a Halachic method to annul a vow. However, if Hashem is part of the court which issued the excommunication, it could not be annulled without His approval. None of them could “back out.” In fact, we see that ultimately the “secret” was revealed to Yaakov. Further on the Torah tells us that[4] “Yaakov saw that there was grain being sold in Egypt …” Rashi questions the use of the word “saw.” How can we say that Yaakov saw that there was grain in Egypt? Rashi explains that “What then is the meaning of ‘saw?’ He saw with the divine “mirror” that he still had hope in Egypt. However, this was not true prophecy. It did not explicitly inform him that this was Yosef.”

Once they received this Divine “sign,” they went to look for Yosef. When the finally found him, they knew that the time had come to tell their father.

Everything has its proper time. It may seem frustrating, but occasionally we must wait for the right time.

Wishing everyone a good Shabbos.

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 35, Beginning with Page 161

IN LOVING MEMORY OF OUR MOTHER
Mrs. Brocha bas Reb Tzvi Nechemiah Hacohen O.B.M. Cohen
Passed away on 8 Shevat, 5778
May Her Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
*
DEDICATED BY HER FAMILY
* * *
לעילוי נשמת
מרת ברכה בת ר’ צבי נחמי’ הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטרה ביום ח ‘שבט, ה’תשע”ח
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
*
יוצא לאור ע”י בני משפחתה שיחיו

[1]. Our Parshah, Bereishis 37:3.

[2]. There is much more to this story than meets the eye; Yosef’s brothers were righteous. They would not try to kill hm out of mere jealousy. Rather they formed a rabbinic court, and judged him for what they perceived were sins. They then sentenced him to a death penalty. See Rashi’s comments to our Parshah, Chapter 37 in detail.

[3]. Our Parshah, Bereishis 37:31-33.

[4]. Parshas Mikeitz, Bereishis 42:1.

Pearls of Rashi – Vayeishev

Until this week’s Torah portion, the Torah has taught us fundamentals which lead to the ultimate formation of the Jewish nation. The Torah begins by telling us of the creation of the world and Hashem’s dominion over it. We are then introduced to the fathers and mothers of the Jewish nation. This leads us to the birth of Yaakov’s children, the twelve tribes of Israel. Finally, we reach this week’s Torah portion. Here we are told of the interaction of Yaakov’s children among each other.

We are taught that the actions of our patriarchs provide us, their descendants, with the empowerment to perform our Divine service[1]. However, that which is discussed in our Parshah is far stronger. It is a direct allusion to the service of the Jewish nation throughout all generations[2].

At the beginning of our Parshah, Yosef tells .his brothers of two dreams which he had. Both dreams indicate that at some point he would have a position of authority over them. The Torah tells us that they were not pleased, but their father had a different approach to his son’s dreams. That is why the Torah tells us that[3] “his brothers envied him, but his father awaited the matter.” Rashi cites the words “awaited the matter,” and explains as follows. He (Yaakov) was waiting and looking forward to when the fulfillment of the dream would come. Similarly, it says “awaiting the realization …[4]

This can all be explained as follows. The fact that Yaakov our Forefather was “was waiting and looking forward to when the fulfillment of the dream would come,” is a description of what all of his children, the Jews, are awaiting throughout this long and bitter exile. Each of us is awaiting the ultimate redemption through our righteous Moshiach.

This is why Rashi follows this by telling us that “similarly, it says ‘awaiting the realization.’” On that verse in Yeshayahu, Rashi explains that the Jews are “a righteous nation, awaiting. They waited and longed throughout their exile many days for the faith of the Holy One, blessed be He, that He fulfill His promise through His prophets, to redeem them.” This demonstrates, from Rashi’s own words, that despite the fact that this Golus has lasted so long, Yaakov’s children never stop waiting for Moshiach. For this merit alone, may Hashem send Moshiach now!

Wishing everyone a good Shabbos.

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 35, Beginning with Page 161

IN LOVING MEMORY OF OUR MOTHER
Mrs. Brocha bas Reb Tzvi Nechemiah Hacohen O.B.M. Cohen
Passed away on 8 Shevat, 5778
May Her Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
*
DEDICATED BY HER FAMILY
* * *
לעילוי נשמת
מרת ברכה בת ר’ צבי נחמי’ הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטרה ביום ח ‘שבט, ה’תשע”ח
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
*
יוצא לאור ע”י בני משפחתה שיחיו

[1]. See the Ramban’s commentary to Parshas Lech Lecho, Bereishis 12:6.

[2]. See the commentary of the Akeidah to our Parshah, Section 28.

[3] Our Parshah, Bereishis 37:11.

[4]. Yeshaya 26:2.

Pearls of Rashi – Vayishlach

In this installment of “Pearls of Rashi,” I have decided to do something a bit differently than usual. As a rule, we point out a difficulty in understanding a Rashi in the weekly Torah portion. We offer an explanation given by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, together with a positive lesson.

Here, my idea is to present a lesson which teaches us the importance of learning Torah in general, and Chumash in particular. We will also see how this is connected to the study of Chumash with Rashi’s commentary.

This week’s Torah portion, Vayishlach, tells us of Yaakov Avinu’s travails while returning to Israel from Lavan’s home. On his way, he had to meet up with his brother Aisov. This is the same brother who 20 years earlier had declared that he wanted to murder him. The Torah tells us how Yaakov and his family were miraculously saved.

The Parshah continues, telling us that Hashem reveals Himself to Yaakov. He tells Yaakov to travel to Bais El; and there to build an alter to Hashem. The Torah tells us that[1] “they traveled, and the fear of G-d was upon the cities that were around them. Therefore, no one pursued Yaakov’s sons.”

The Torah uses an unusual word for fear, “חתת – Chitas.” We can understand the reason for the use of this word from the following story told by the Tzemach[2].

“In the year 5603 (1843) I was asked to attend a rabbinic conference in S. Petersburg. I stopped to pray at the resting place of my saintly mother (the Rebbetzin Devorah Leah) in Liozna. She told me, that due to her self-sacrifice for Chassidus and Chassidim, she would merit to enter the heavenly chamber of the Baal Shem Tov, in order to request mercy on my behalf. My mother asked the Baal Shem Tov for something that I could use to stand up against the opposition.

The Holy Baal Shem Tov told her, ‘your son is versed in each letter of the Chumash, the Tehillim and Tanya. These three works are an acronym for Chitas; Chumash, Tehillim and Tanya. With this knowledge one can break through any concealment of G-dliness.”

This is certainly related to the Previous Rebbe’s institution, that everyone learns Chitas, Chumash, Tehillim and Tanya, every day. The daily study of Chumash is Chumash with Rashi’s commentary from the weekly Parshah. Sunday one is to learn the first aliyah of the Parshah, Monday the second, etc. By following these instructions, we will certainly be able to transcend all limitations and bring Moshiach now!

Wishing everyone a good Shabbos.

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Kitzurim and Hearos Lesefer HaTanya, Page 127

IN LOVING MEMORY OF OUR MOTHER
Mrs. Brocha bas Reb Tzvi Nechemiah Hacohen O.B.M. Cohen
Passed away on 8 Shevat, 5778
May Her Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
*
DEDICATED BY HER FAMILY
* * *
לעילוי נשמת
מרת ברכה בת ר’ צבי נחמי’ הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטרה ביום ח ‘שבט, ה’תשע”ח
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
*
יוצא לאור ע”י בני משפחתה שיחיו

[1]. Our Parshah, Bereishis 35:5.

[2]. See Kitzurim and Hearos Lesefer HaTanya, Page 127.

Pearls of Rashi – Vayeitzei II

In this week’s Torah portion, Vayeitzei, we read how Yaakov Avinu worked for his uncle Lovon for seven years. His object was to wed Lovon’s daughter, Rochel. Lovon, who did not have a reputation of being honest, deceived him; he gave him his older daughter Leah instead of Rochel. Yaakov agreed to work for an additional seven years, in order to wed Rochel.

When the seven years came to an end, Yaakov told his father-in-law[1], “Give me my wife (Rochel), for my days are completed, in order that I may come to her.’ ” Rashi cites the words from this verse “for my days are completed.” He explains Yaakov’s seemingly immodest talk as follows. “… My days are completed, for I am already eighty-four years old. When will I raise up twelve tribes? This is what he meant by saying ‘that I may come to her.’ Now, isn’t it true that even the most degenerate person would not speak like that? But Yaakov meant that his intention was to father generations.”

In other words, Yaakov knew prophetically that he would father the twelve tribes of the Jewish Nation. The entire Jewish people would descend from these tribes. He was already quite old. He exclaimed that he needed to marry already in order to be able to fulfill his destiny.

One may ask, that despite Rashi’s explanation, Yaakov’s words appear to be quite inappropriate. How did he speak that way; the Torah commands us to always speak in the nicest and most proper way possible.

This can be understood based on what the Alter Rebbe writes in Tanya regarding the Patriarchs[2]. “They were completely holy and detached from matters of this world … throughout their lives.”

In other words, the Avos’ lives were totally focused on serving Hashem; there was nothing else. Therefore, when Yaakov said the words “that I may come to her, he saw one thing only. All that it meant to him was fathering the Tribes of Israel, and ultimately the entire Jewish People. In his eyes there was nothing improper or immodest about it.

As is the case with every word of Torah, it must teach us a lesson. Certainly, Hashem does not expect us to reach the level of Avrohom, Yitzchok and Yaakov. However, we must strive to focus on the service of Hashem with every fiber of our being.

Wishing everyone a good Shabbos.

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 5, Page 111

IN LOVING MEMORY OF OUR MOTHER
Mrs. Brocha bas Reb Tzvi Nechemiah Hacohen O.B.M. Cohen
Passed away on 8 Shevat, 5778
May Her Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
*
DEDICATED BY HER FAMILY
* * *
לעילוי נשמת
מרת ברכה בת ר’ צבי נחמי’ הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטרה ביום ח ‘שבט, ה’תשע”ח
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
*
יוצא לאור ע”י בני משפחתה שיחיו

[1]. Our Parshah, Bereishis 29:21.

[2]. See Likkutei Amorim Chapter 23.

Pearls of Rashi – Vayeitzei

In this week’s Torah portion, Vayeitzei, we read of the marriage of Yaakov to Lavan’s two daughters, Rachel and Leah.

Many of the commentaries question this. We are taught that even before the Torah was given, our forefathers kept all of its commands[1]. One of those commands is the prohibition against marrying two sisters; as the Torah says[2] “you shall not take a woman with her sister in marriage …” This being the case, how was Yaakov, our forefather, permitted to marry Rachel and Leah, who were sisters?

Each of the commentaries answer this question in their own manner. However, Rashi does not deal with this question.  He explains the simple meaning of the Torah; everything which is needed in order to understand the entire Torah. Yet he disregards this question. In other words, according to Peshat there is no question. How can that be?

The status of the Patriarchs and their descendants prior to the giving of the Torah, was that of a special family among all of the children of Noah. The entire population of the world was commanded to follow seven commandments. After the Torah was given to the Jewish Nation, the Jews acquired a special status, and were obligated to fulfill 613 Mitzvos.

In addition to the seven universal commandments, the population of the world accepted upon themselves other commandments for the benefit of society. These were equally binding upon one and all. For example, it was accepted not to deceive another. Accordingly, we find that Yaakov scolded Lavan[3], “why have you deceived me?”

These commandments which were binding upon everyone, took precedence over the 613 commandments of the Torah. For our forefathers keeping the Torah’s Mitzvos was something extra which enhanced their service of G-d. If the fulfillment of any the 613 commandments would render it impossible to observe one of the binding commandments, it could not be fulfilled. Yaakov had already promised that he would marry Rachel, hence he was obligated to do so.

There are times that helping our fellow Jew, and keeping our word must take precedence over another law. May we all take care (after checking with a competent Rabbi) that we are not being too religious, and remember to help our fellow Jews.

Wishing everyone a good Shabbos.

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 5, Beginning with Page 141

IN LOVING MEMORY OF OUR MOTHER
Mrs. Brocha bas Reb Tzvi Nechemiah Hacohen O.B.M. Cohen
Passed away on 8 Shevat, 5778
May Her Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
*
DEDICATED BY HER FAMILY
* * *
לעילוי נשמת
מרת ברכה בת ר’ צבי נחמי’ הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטרה ביום ח ‘שבט, ה’תשע”ח
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
*
יוצא לאור ע”י בני משפחתה שיחיו

[1]. This is cited in a number of places in the Midrash. Among them, see Bereishis Rabbah, Chapter 95, 3.

[2]. Parshas Acharei, Vayikroh 18:18.

[3]. Our Parshah, Bereishis 29:25.

Pearls of Rashi – Toldos II

In this week’s Torah portion, Toldos, we find a story filled with great intrigue. Yitzchok had aged; before his passing he wanted to bless his first born, Aisov.

However, Yitzchok did not have all of the facts. Firstly, he was not aware that Aisov had already sold the rights and responsibilities that came together with being the first-born (bechor) to his brother Yaakov. Secondly, Yitzchok was under the impression that Aisov was righteous, and as such deserved his blessings. Aisov had managed to fool his father, as we discussed in the previous installment[1].

As an introduction to blessing his son Aisov, we read that[2] “It came to pass when Yitzchok was old, and his eyes were too dim to see, that he called Aisov his elder son, and said to him, ‘My son.’ Aisov replied, ‘Here I am.’”

In his comments to this verse, Rashi offers a number of explanations as to why Yitzchok’s eyes had dimmed. The final explanation which Rashi offers is that it was “in order to allow Yaakov to take the blessings.”

This poses a question. Why did Hashem blind our Patriarch Yitzchok in order to enable Yaakov to receive the blessings (which were in fact his)? It seems that there was a much simpler way. G-d could have let Yitzchok know that Aisov was wicked! Had He done that, naturally the blessings would have gone to Yaakov.

The explanation is, that Hashem follows that which He commands us to do. Just as we are forbidden to speak ill of another Jew, so too did Hashem refrain from doing so. The one option to assure that Yaakov would receive the Berochos, was for  Yitzchok to become blind.

Think about that. Hashem withheld information from Yitzchok in order to avoid speaking badly of Aisov. Keep in mind that Aisov and his descendants were to be enemies of the Jewish Nation throughout our long exile. Furthermore, as a result of this, Yitzchok was like a prisoner in his own house for 57 years!

How much more so is it true that each of us must never say anything which even hints at something negative regarding a fellow Jew.

The cause of our long exile is baseless hatred for our fellow Jews. The way to combat this, and thereby bring the redemption, is by baseless love.

Wishing everyone a good Shabbos and a good month,

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 15, Page 215

IN LOVING MEMORY OF OUR MOTHER
Mrs. Brocha bas Reb Tzvi Nechemiah Hacohen O.B.M. Cohen
Passed away on 8 Shevat, 5778
May Her Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
*
DEDICATED BY HER FAMILY
* * *
לעילוי נשמת
מרת ברכה בת ר’ צבי נחמי’ הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטרה ביום ח ‘שבט, ה’תשע”ח
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
*
יוצא לאור ע”י בני משפחתה שיחיו

[1]. The source for this is Rashi’s comments to our Parshah, Bereishis 25:27.

[2]. Our Parshah, Bereishis, Bereishis 27:1.

Pearls of Rashi – Toldos

This week we read the Parshah of Toldos. It tells us that our matriarch Rivkah gave birth to twins, our forefather Yaakov, and his brother Aisov; as we are taught[1] “her days to give birth were completed, and behold, there were twins in her womb.”

These twins were not identical in any way, shape or form. This was clear even before Rivkah gave birth to them. The Torah tells us that even when she was still carrying them[2] “the children struggled within her …” The struggle between the offspring of Yaakov and Aisov has indeed lasted until our time; it will continue until the ultimate Redemption.

In describing both sons, the Torah says that[3] “the youths grew up. Aisov was a man who understood trapping (hunting), a man of the field, whereas Yaakov was an innocent man, dwelling in tents.” Rashi cites the words from this verse “who understood trapping,” and explains as follows. “He knew how to trap and to deceive his father with his mouth. He would him, ‘Father, how do we tithe salt and straw?’ As a result of this his father thought that he was scrupulous in his observance of Mitzvos.”

As we have written many times, Rashi’s focus is to teach the beginning student the simple meaning of each verse. This being the case, many of the commentaries who explain Rashi raise a question. Why does Rashi not explain the verse according to its simple meaning? Why does Rashi explain Aisov’s understanding of trapping to mean that he trapped, or fooled his father. It would seem that he could just as well explain it to mean exactly what it says, that he was knowledgeable in hunting!

The Rebbe explains this by looking at the verse itself. First it says that “Aisov was a man who understood trapping.” Only then does it tell us that he was “a man of the field.” In order to trap and hunt animals, one must first go out to the field. The fact that the Torah first tells us of his ability to trap, means that the Torah is discussing a different type of trapping, i.e. tricking his father.

We each have an Aisov, an evil inclination within ourselves. Each of us must go “out into the field,” into the world, in order to bring G-dliness into it. At every turn the evil inclination tries to deceive us, to cause us to forget our mission as Shluchim, Hashem’s emissaries in the world. We need ceaseless vigilance in order to reach our goal despite Aisov’s trickery. In that manner will we bring Moshiach now!

Wishing everyone a good Shabbos.

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 25, Page 116

IN LOVING MEMORY OF OUR MOTHER
Mrs. Brocha bas Reb Tzvi Nechemiah Hacohen O.B.M. Cohen
Passed away on 8 Shevat, 5778
May Her Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
*
DEDICATED BY HER FAMILY
* * *
לעילוי נשמת
מרת ברכה בת ר’ צבי נחמי’ הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטרה ביום ח ‘שבט, ה’תשע”ח
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
*
יוצא לאור ע”י בני משפחתה שיחיו

[1]. Our Parshah, Bereishis 25:24.

[2]. Our Parshah, Bereishis 25:22.

[3]. Our Parshah, Bereishis 25:27.

Pearls of Rashi – Chayei Soroh II

This week’s Torah reading is called by the name Chayei Soroh, meaning “The Life of Soroh.” This is despite the fact that at the beginning of this Parshah we read of Soroh’s passing, as we explained earlier.

Soroh and Avrohom had been married, yet Soroh remained childless. She told Avrohom to marry her handmaiden, Hagar, in order to father children. Hagar indeed gave birth to a son named Yishmoel. Later Soroh bore a son to Avrohom named Yitzchok.

At the end of our portion, we read that Avrohom later remarried and had more children. The Torah says that[1] “Avrohom took another wife, and her name was Keturoh.” Who was Keturah? Rashi tells us there that Keturoh “is Hagar. She was called Keturoh because her deeds were as beautiful as incense (Ketores – קטורת in Hebrew) …” In other words, he remarried the woman who had born his first son.

We need to understand how Rashi knows this. There doesn’t seem to be any allusion to this in the Torah!

The explanation is as follows. We learned earlier that Hashem commanded Avrohom to leave his father’s house. The Torah tells us that[2] “Avrohom (who was then called Avrom) took Soroh (whose was then Sorai) his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all of their possessions which they acquired; and the people they had acquired (literally made) in Choron.”

What is the meaning of “the people they had made?” Rashi explains there that it refers to those “whom he had brought under the wings of the Shechinah. Avrohom would convert the men, and Soroh would convert the women. The Torah considers it as if they had made them.”

Avrohom had great success in reaching out to others. He had drawn many people close to Hashem and His service. How much more so is that true regarding his own family! How could one possibly say that one who was married to Avrohom returned to her previous ways of idolatry?

That is why the Torah now calls her Keturah; it tells us that “her deeds were as beautiful as incense.” That is why Avrohom took her again as his wife.

The same is true of all of one’s obligations; whether we feel up to the task or not. We must follow the example of Avrohom, thereby bringing Moshiach now.

Wishing one and all a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 15, Page 174

IN LOVING MEMORY OF OUR MOTHER
Mrs. Brocha bas Reb Tzvi Nechemiah Hacohen O.B.M. Cohen
Passed away on 8 Shevat, 5778
May Her Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
*
DEDICATED BY HER FAMILY
* * *
לעילוי נשמת
מרת ברכה בת ר’ צבי נחמי’ הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטרה ביום ח ‘שבט, ה’תשע”ח
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
*
יוצא לאור ע”י בני משפחתה שיחיו

[1]. Our Parshah, Bereishis 25:1.

[2]. Parshas Lech Lecho, Bereishis 12:5.