Parshas Va”airo

וַיְדַבֵּר אֱלֹהִים אֶל משֶׁה וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו אֲנִי יְדֹוָד: וָאֵרָא אֶל אַבְרָהָם אֶל יִצְחָק וְאֶל יַעֲקֹב בְּאֵל שַׁדָּי וּשְׁמִי יְדֹוָד לֹא נוֹדַעְתִּי לָהֶם:וְגַם הֲקִמֹתִי אֶת בְּרִיתִי אִתָּם לָתֵת לָהֶם אֶת אֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן אֵת אֶרֶץ מְגֻרֵיהֶם אֲשֶׁר גָּרוּ בָהּ: וְגַם אֲנִי שָׁמַעְתִּי אֶת נַאֲקַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר מִצְרַיִם מַעֲבִדִים אֹתָם וָאֶזְכֹּר אֶת בְּרִיתִי:-שמות ו/ב-ה

It is written in the beginning of our parsha “And Elokim spoke to Moshe and said to him, “I am Hashem“. I appeared to Avraham, Yitzchok and Yaakov as Keil Shakai, but I did not make Myself known to them by My name, “Hashem” (Yud Kay Vuv Kay). I also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Kanaan, the land in which they lived as sojourners. I have now heard the moaning of Bnei Yisroel because the Mitzriyim are holding them in bondage and I have remembered My covenant. (Shemos 6/2-5)

The author of Zera Baruch in his sefer Ta’am Man (printed 1739) writes that these four pessukim correspond to four arguments that Bnei Yisroel used to convince ax Hashem that they will be redeemed from Mitzrayim.

The first argument; Hashem gives reward to people who walk in His way. Since our Forefathers were great servants of Hashem then it was very reasonable that their children will reap the rewards of their ancestor’s obedience to Hashem.

The second argument; Hashem promised to redeem us.

The third argument; that Hashem made a covenant and swore that He will redeem us from Mitzrayim.

And the fourth argument; Bnei Yisroel own merits, independent of the merits of their forefathers.

The first possuk in which Hashem said, “I am Hashem” alludes to the first argument that Hashem rewards people who go in His ways. (Rashi in a few places in Chumash explains that the phrase, “I am Hashem” means that Hashem rewards people who follow his commandments.)

The second possuk that mentions that Hashem appeared to our forefathers as Kail Shakai alludes to the second argument that Hashem promised to redeem us like Rashi on this possuk points out.

The third possuk obviously refers to the third argument that Hashem made a covenant to take Bnei Yisroel out of Mitzrayim.

And the fourth possuk that says that Hashem heard our moaning refers to the fourth argument that Bnei Yisroel had their own merits to be redeemed.

Zera Shimshon asks why were all of these arguments needed? Wouldn’t any one of them been enough?

He explains that the argument that we should be redeemed in the merit of our forefathers was actually very weak because we didn’t go in the way of Avraham Yitzchak and Yaakov. We worshipped idols in Mitzrayim and we didn’t do milah. It is only reasonable that children reap the rewards of their ancestors when they act like those ancestors. Therefore the second argument was needed.

The second argument was also weak because even though Hashem promised to redeem us, Hashem is perfectly just, and therefore His attribute of Justice would constantly contest this promise.

This argument, though, was stronger than the first one because even though the promise could be disputed because of our bad conduct, Rashi (Shemos 3/11) writes that Hashem promised to give us the Torah and that it was this future receiving of the Torah that made this argument stronger.

However this still wasn’t strong enough to secure redemption because we were only promised to be redeemed after four hundred years of bondage. And since we were already on the forty ninth level of impurity and tummah, therefore if we would have waited for the promise to take hold we would already have been lost in the tummah of Mitzrayim and the promise would never have been able to take effect.

Because of this they had to argue that there was also an oath. The benefit of having an oath to be redeemed over only a promise can be understood according to the following halachos.

The halacha is that if a person makes an oath to pay a person by a certain day and that day is Shabbos he must pay the loan a day earlier, on Friday (Chosen Mishpat 73/7).

And even more that this. The Rema (Yorah Dayah 232) paskens that if a person made an oath to do something on a certain day or within a year, he must do it immediately or in the morning of the designated day of the oath in order that he won’t forget to do what he swore to do or he will not be able to fulfill his oath due to circumstances beyond his control.

Therefore the third argument that Hashem made an oath was needed in order that Hashem will redeem us before we reached the fiftieth level of tummah (just like one can not wait for the last minute to fulfill an oath).

We are still left to understand why the fourth argument, that we should be redeemed in our own merit, is needed?

To answer this question the Zera Shimshon asks another question.

If the oath that Hashem swore to redeem us was enough of a reason to be redeemed earlier than the four hundred years that was originally decreed in the Bris Bein Habesorrim, why do Chazal tell us that the severity of our suffering made it as if we were in bondage for the full four hundred years? Why isn’t the fact that there was an oath enough of a reason to be redeemed early?

He answers that even though the oath secured our leaving Mitzrayim early, the Mitzriyim would not have been punished and destroyed. In the Bris Bein Habesorrim Hashem promised the oppressors of Bnei Yisroel to be punished only after four hundred years. And if Mitzrayim would not have been destroyed then our redemption would have not been complete.

Therefore the fourth argument, that we deserve to be redeemed in our own merit, was needed in order to have the Mitzriyim punished for their actions so that we could have a total redemption.

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(יב) וַיְדַבֵּר משֶׁה לִפְנֵי יְדֹוָד לֵאמֹר הֵן בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֹא שָׁמְעוּ אֵלַי וְאֵיךְ יִשְׁמָעֵנִי פַרְעֹה וַאֲנִי עֲרַל שְׂפָתָיִם:-שמות ו/יב

Behold B’nei Yisroel didn’t listen to me, so why will Paroah listen to me, and I have blocked lips. (Shemos 6/12)

Rashi explains that this is one of 10 kal v’chomers that are mentioned in the Torah. Meaning, Moshe tried to convince Hashem that there was no purpose for him tell Paroah to free the Jewish nation because if B’nei Yisroel who were suffering, and would gain by being redeemed, didn’t believe Moshe  likes it says, “and Bnei Yisroel didn’t listen to Moshe (because) of their short breath and difficult labor” (Shemos 6/9) , then surely Paroah, who will lose by B’nei Yisroel being redeemed, won’t believe him.

Zera Shimshon asks that  the kal v’chomer seems to be faulty. The reason that B’nei Yisroel didn’t listen to Moshe was because of “shortness of breath and difficult labor”. Paroah, on the other hand, didn’t work hard at all. Why, then, should he not believe Moshe?

To answer this, Zera Shimshon points out something very interesting; whenever  the Torah mentions that Hashem will redeem us, the difficulty and pain of the enslavement is also mentioned.

“Why does the Torah do this?”, he asks. Hashem decreed at the Bris Bein HaBesarim that we would be slaves for 400 years. Therefore, if we were already slaves for 400 years then regardless of the fact that we suffered we are entitled to be saved? And if we weren’t yet slaves for 400 years, why will the fact that the servitude was so hard help to shorten the decree?

Zera Shimshon answers, that although according to the literal wording of the decree B’nei Yisroel should suffer enslavement for four hundred years, Hashem doesn’t only run the world according to pure justice. If H. would, then the world would not survive. Rather Hashem also manages the world with the Attribute of Mercy.

The Attribute of Mercy contends that the severity of the bondage should be taken into account and be used to reduce the four hundred year decree. The severity of the bondage is mentioned in connection with the redemption, because the tremendous suffering is what enabled to be redeemed and leave Mitzrayim after two hundred and ten years of bondage- 190 years early!

You shouldn’t make a mistake, though, and think that Hashem rules the world ONLY with the Attribute of Mercy. Hashem ALSO rules the world with the Attribute of Jutstice. Only Hashem really knows when and how to use both of these contridictory Attributes, but both are constantly being used.

According to this, Zera Shimshon explains  the kal v’chomer in the following way.

Hashem’s Attribute of Mercy argues that the difficulty of the enslavement can complete the decree of four hundred years of enslavement even though in reality we were slaves only for 210 years.

On the other hand,  Hashem’s Attribute of Justice claims that according to the strict letter of the promise we have to be slaves for 400 years- 365 days times 400.

B’nei Yisroel didn’t know which of these two attributes Hashem will chose to redeem them. However since they suffered so much and they still weren’t redeemed they figured that for some reason Hashem was judging them solely with the Attribute of Justice.

This, then, is the meaning of the posuk “and Bnei Yisroel didn’t listen to Moshe (because) of their short breath and hard work”. It doesn’t mean, like we orginally thought, that they didn’t listen to Moshe because of difficult emotional state caused by “shortness of breath and hard work”.

Rather Moshe argued that they didn’t beleive that they would be redeemed early BECAUSE of the pain and torture of  “shortness of breath and hard labor” but would have to wait until all four hundred years of slaverly finished.

This then is  the kal v’chomer; if B’nei Yisroel, who would benefit from the redemption, reasoned that Hashem was judging them with Attribute of Justice, then Paroah would cerntainly feel that Hashem will judge them with H.s Attribute of Justice and therefore there is no reason for him to set them free. It has nothing to do with their emotional state!

In short, Hashem runs the world with two contradictory attributes; the Attribute of Mercy and the Attribute of Justice. Moshe told Bnei Yisroel that they are going to be redeemed early because Hashem’s Attribute of Mercy took all of their suffering into account. But they didn’t believe Moshe and reasoned that they were being judged with Pure Justice. Therefore Moshe told Hashem that if they think like that, certainly Paroah will think like that and there is no reason for him to go to Paroah and try to convince him to liberate B’nei Yisroel before the 400 years pass.

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וַיָּשָׁב משֶׁה אֶל יְדֹוָד וַיֹּאמַר אֲדֹנָי לָמָה הֲרֵעֹתָה לָעָם הַזֶּה לָמָּה זֶּה שְׁלַחְתָּנִי:וּמֵאָז בָּאתִי אֶל פַּרְעֹה לְדַבֵּר בִּשְׁמֶךָ הֵרַע לָעָם הַזֶּה וְהַצֵּל לֹא הִצַּלְתָּ אֶת עַמֶּךָ:-שמות ה/כב-כג

“So Moshe returned to Hashem and said, “O Hashem! Why have Y-u harmed this people? Why have You sent me? 23. Since I have come to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he (Pharaoh) has harmed this people, and You have not saved Your people.” (Shemos 5/22-23, end of last week’s parsha, Shemos)

And Elokim spoke to Moshe, and H. said to him, “I am Hashem . I appeared to Avrohom, to Yitzchok, and to Yaakov with [the Name] Kail Shakai, but [with] My name YHVH, I did not become known to them.” (Shemos 6/2-3, beginning of this week’s parsha)

Rashi explains that the last possuk (possuk 5/3) mentioned above teaches us that the promises that Hashem made to the Avos were given when Hashem manifested H.mself with the Name Kail Shakai and not when H. manifested H.mself with the name Y-H-V-H.

RE. Mizrachi explains that there is usually a difference between a promise made by Hashem when H. appears with the Name Kail Shakai and a promise made when H. manifests Himself with the name Y-H-V-H. In the latter case Hashem carries through with the promise even if we sin. On he other hand, a promise made when H. appears with the Name Kail Shakai is given on condition that we deserve it and that we do not sin.

Concerning Hashem’s promise to redeem Clal Yisroel from Mitzrayim, however, it was different. Even though it was promised to the Avos when Hashem manifested H.mself with the Name Kail Shakai, Hashem promised to to redeem us no matter what we do, regardless if we sin or not. The reason for this is that in addition to the promise Hashem also made a covenant (bris) to redeem us.

Zera Shimshon asks that since there is no difference, why indeed did Hashem promise with the Name Kail Shakei and not with the Name Y-H-V-H!

Secondly, since they are both the same, how is mentioning the difference considered reprimanding?

He answers that in the dialogue between Hashem and Moshe we find the answer!

Moshe complained that from the time that he came before Pharoah, the situation of the Jewish nation was worse than it was beforehand. In other words Moshe argued that Clal Yisroel shouldn’t have to suffer so much.

Hashem’s reprimanded Moshe for complaining about the harsh situation of Bnei Yisroel and that he should have been able to understand the reason for this by himself.

He should have noticed that H. didn’t promise to the Avos with the Name Y-H-V-H but with the Name K.Sh. He should have then asked himself, “since there is no difference, why indeed did Hashem promise with the Name Kail Shakei and not with the Name Y-H-V-H since there is no difference! (The same question that Zera Shimshon asked)

He then should have arrived at the conclusion, Y-H-V-H is used when Hashem relates to the world with mercy, the Name Kail Shakei, when H. deals with the world harshly, with stern judgement.

He should have then realized that since the original promise to the Avos was made when Hashem appeared in the Name Kail Shakei, there was some intrinsic needed reason for the suffering so there is no reason to complain.

HaRav Shimshon Nachmaini, author of Zera Shimshon lived in Italy about 300 years ago in the time of the Or HaChaim HaKodesh.

The Chida writes that he was a great Mekubal and wrote many sefarim including sefarim about practical kabbolo but asked that all of his sefarim be buried after he passes away except for Zera Shimshon and Niflaos Shimshon on Avos.

He had one child who died in his lifetime (hence the name Zera Shimshon) and in the preface he promises for people who learn his sefarim after he dies ... And your eyes will see children and grandchildren like the offshoots of an olive tree around your tables, wise and understanding with houses filled with all manner of good things... and wealth and honor......

If you are interested in buying your own copy of the Hebrew version of Zera Shimshon

Call 05271-66-450 in Eretz Yisroel

or

347-496-5657 in the U.S.A.

You can now  HEAR shiurim of Zera Shimshon on Kol Halashon:

In E. Yisroel: 073-2951-727 or 03-617-1111 and then press 1,1,3,24

In U.S.A. (718) 395-2440 and then press 2,6,4,24

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Parshas VaYigash

וַיֹּאמֶר יוֹסֵף אֶל אֶחָיו גְּשׁוּ נָא אֵלַי וַיִּגָּשׁוּ וַיֹּאמֶר אֲנִי יוֹסֵף אֲחִיכֶם אֲשֶׁר מְכַרְתֶּם אֹתִי מִצְרָיְמָה: בראשית מה/ד

When Yosef proclaimed to his brothers that he is Yosef and not only the second in command in Mitzrayim they jumped back out of astonishment. The Torah goes on to say what happened next, “And Yosef said to his brothers, “Please come close to me.” And they came close to him. And he said to them, “I am your brother Yosef, who you sold me to Mitzrayim.””(Braishis 45/4)

Rashi comments, “PLEASE COME CLOSE TO ME- He saw that they shied away from him and he said to himself, “Now my brothers feel ashamed.” He therefore called to them in a gentle manner and showed them that he was circumcised”.

Zera Shimshon asks in the name of the mefarshim that Rashi previously explained (41/55) that after the famine began, whoever came to get food from him had to be circumcised. Therefore since all the Mitzriyim were circumcised, how is the fact that Yosef was also circumcised a proof that he is their brother? Maybe he was a regular Mitzri who was circumcised to be able to receive rations?

Secondly, why did Yosef choose specifically this mitzvah for everyone to do to get rations and not some other Mitzvah?

He answers by asking and answering another question. It is written in Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Dayo 263/5) that one is not permitted to circumcise a gentile if it is not for the purpose of conversion. If so, asks Zera Shimshon, how was Yosef permitted to order all of the Mitzriyim to circumcise themselves? Yosef had no intention to convert them!

He answers this question in the name of the Yeffa Toar that in Mitzrayim at that time, a circumcised man was considered flawed and because Yosef was obviously circumcised he was made fun of by the other Mitzriyim.

He wanted to circumcise everyone in order that they would stop ridiculing him but he had a problem with the aforementioned Shulchan Aruch.

Therefore he came up with a great idea; he circumcised the Mitzriyim in such a way that it looked like a milah but in truth it was not  halachiky valid – he didn’t completely cut off the foreskin (He made chaticha but not preeya).

By doing this Yosef was saved from ridicule (since everyone also looked circumcised) but didn’t do anything against the Shulchan Aruch.

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וַיִּגַּשׁ אֵלָיו יְהוּדָה וַיֹּאמֶר בִּי אֲדֹנִי יְדַבֶּר נָא עַבְדְּךָ דָבָר בְּאָזְנֵי אֲדֹנִי וְאַל יִחַר אַפְּךָ בְּעַבְדֶּךָ כִּי כָמוֹךָ כְּפַרְעֹה: בראשית מד/יח

On the opening possuk of our parsha, “And Yehuda approached him (Yosef)…” the Medrash comments that this meeting between Yosef and Yehudah is alluded to in a possuk in Tehilim. It says there (Tehilim 48/5), “Behold the kings assembled, they came together”. “Behold the KINGS (plural) assembled”, the Medrash explains, is referring to Yosef who ruled Mitzrayim like the king and Yehuda who was the king of the Brothers. The second part of the possuk, “they came together” is written in Hebrew “ovru yachdov” which litterally means, “they passed over together”. However, there is another meaning for the word ovru. It can also mean, “they got angry”. The Medrash explains the possuk according to this alternative translation that the possuk is teaching us that Yosef was angry at Yehudah and that Yehudah was angry at Yosef.

Zera Shimshon asks why did they BOTH get angry. It is easy to understand why Yehuda was angry at Yosef. Yosef prevented Binyamin from returning to Yaakov Avinu in Eretz Yisroel. Before they left for Mitzrayim, Yehudah told Yaakov Avinu that he accepts responsibility for Binyamin’s return. Yehudah therefore understandably was angry at Yosef. But why was Yosef angry at Yehuda?

Zera Shimshon explains that we can understand his anger by examining what happened immediately before Yehuda approached him.

In the end of last week’s parsha the head of Yosef’s house “discovered” Yosef’s goblet in Binyamin’s sack. He then told the Brothers that they could all return to their father in Eretz Yisroel and only Binyamin has to stay behind in Mitzrayim and become a slave to Yosef.

The brothers were in agony and returned to the palace of Yosef to protest this verdict. They offered that they will all become slaves. Yosef replied that, G-d forbid, he wouldn’t do something so harsh because he only judges according to the letter of the law and not worse.

Zera Shimshon asks why is immediately enslaving Binyamin “judging according to the letter of the law”? The punishment for stealing is only to pay double (kaiffel). He is sold as a slave only if he doesn’t have the money to pay. Therefore, to straight away take him as a slave is much harsher than the straight law!

However, continues Zera Shimshon, Yosef justified his verdict by saying that only when one steals from a “commoner” does he pay kaiffel is he not sold as a slave. However, when one steals from royalty, a more stringent punishment is appropriate.

After Yosef said this, “And Yehuda approached him” and counter argued that he knows that he came to Mitzrayim as a slave and that according to the law of Mitzrayim a slave cannot become the king! Therefore Binyamin didn’t steal from royalty and there is no reason to be extra harsh on him.

Zera Shimshon concludes that Yehuda’s argument that Yosef wasn’t worthy to become a king is what made Yosef angry at Yehudah!

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אמֶר יוֹסֵף אֶל אֶחָיו אֲנִי יוֹסֵף הַעוֹד אָבִי חָי וְלֹא יָכְלוּ אֶחָיו לַעֲנוֹת אֹתוֹ כִּי נִבְהֲלוּ מִפָּנָיו: בראשית מה/ג

“And Yosef said to his brothers, “I am Yosef! Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him because they were startled in his presence.” (Braishis 45/3)

On this possuk the Medrash comments, “Wow is to us from the Day of Judgement! Wow is to us from the Day of Rebuke! (The proof) If the brothers were so tremendously embarrassed and startled in front of their young brother, how much more so will we be embarrassed and startled from Hashem when Hashem judges and rebukes us!”

Zera Shimshon asks why does the Medrash bring a proof that we will be embarrassed from Hashem when H. judges all that we did? Seemingly this is obvious and there is no need to prove it from the incident of Yosef and his brothers!

He explains that when Yosef wanted to reveal his real identity, he was concerned that his brothers would not recognize that he was really him but rather someone else pretending to be him. After all, based on the interaction between Yosef and his brothers, the Gemorro paskens that  a person is believed that he doesn’t recognize someone who says that he is his brother when the one who made the claim left home when he was young and didn’t yet have a beard and came back many years later with a beard.

Because of this concern the first thing that Yosef asked after he revealed himself was if his father was still alive. It would seem that this question really makes no sense (since a Yehuda already mentioned that Yaakov, their father, was still alive).

Zera Shimshon explains though, that he mentioned his father as if to say, “Even if you don’t recognize me, bring our father here and he will surely verify that I am Yosef.” Yosef reasoned that Yaakov would be able to recognize him more than his brothers for one of two reasons. Either because any father knows his son better than a brother or because Yaakov had  ruach hakodesh.

The truth though was that even though that in the beginning the brothers didn’t recognize that he was Yosef, after he said that he was Yosef they really did realize that it was him  and wanted to acknowledge this but they were so startled and embarrassed of themselves that they didn’t realize the obvious resemblance  sooner, they simply “lost themselves” and were not able to say anything.

Concludes Zera Shimshon, this is exactly what will happen to us on our Day of Judgement. Not only will be scared of the punishment that we deserve for not conducted ourselves properly according to what Hashem wants from us. But we will be embarrassed of ourselves that we didn’t catch and notice the obvious- that we fooled ourselves to think that our actions were pleasing to Hashem when in reality we really did what we wanted to do and ignored Hashem’s demands.

 

HaRav Shimshon Nachmaini, author of Zera Shimshon lived in Italy about 300 years ago in the time of the Or HaChaim HaKodesh.

The Chida writes that he was a great Mekubal and wrote many sefarim including sefarim about practical kabbolo but asked that all of his sefarim be buried after he passes away except for Zera Shimshon and Niflaos Shimshon on Avos.

He had one child who died in his lifetime (hence the name Zera Shimshon) and in the preface he promises for people who learn his sefarim after he dies ... And your eyes will see children and grandchildren like the offshoots of an olive tree around your tables, wise and understanding with houses filled with all manner of good things... and wealth and honor......

If you are interested in buying your own copy of the Hebrew version of Zera Shimshon

Call 05271-66-450 in Eretz Yisroel

or

347-496-5657 in the U.S.A.

You can now  HEAR shiurim of Zera Shimshon on Kol Halashon:

In E. Yisroel: 073-2951-727 or 03-617-1111 and then press 1,1,3,24

In U.S.A. (718) 395-2440 and then press 2,6,4,24

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To have new D’vrei Torah sent directly to your inbox fill in boxes below: