Monthly Archives: 6 Heshvan 5775

Parshas Lech Lecha 5775

The Medrash Raba on the opening possuk of our parsha, points out that even though it says in the last parsha that Terach died he really didn’t die then. He actually died maby years after Hashem commanded Avraham, “Lech lecha“. Therefore, the Medrash interprets “Terach died” not that he physically died but he was considered dead because wicked people, even when they are living, are considered dead.

The Medrash continues that Avraham was afraid to leave his father. He said to himself that if he leaves his father, he will cause Hashem’s name to be disgraced. People will attack and “bad mouth” Avraham (and Hashem) for leaving his elderly father. Hashem therefore told Avraham, “I will exempt you from honoring your father and mother. However I will not exempt others from honoring their parents…”

Zera Shimshon asks what does the Medrash mean that Hashem exempted only Avraham from honoring his father and not other people. Terach was a rosho and worshipped idols. The halacha is that NO ONE is commanded to honor a parent who is a rosho! It would seem, then, that anyone in Avraham’s situation is exempt from honoring their parents and not only Avraham.

Zera Shimshon explains by first asking a very basic question: Why did the Torah write Terach’s death out of order, before Hashem told Avrahamlech lecha” and not when it actually happened? True, the Medrash explains that “and Terach died” is not to be understood literally but that he was a rosho. However, why didn’t the Torah just write about his death in the proper chronological order, after Hashem told Avraham, “Lech Lecha” and we will understand the posuk literally?

The answer to this question, Zera Shimshon reasons, is that his wickedness (his death) is the REASON that Hashem told Avraham to leave Ur Kasdim. Therefore, it was written before the command of “Lech Lecha“.

However, it wasn’t so simple! Terach, even though that initially he was wicked, he began to do teshuva! We learn this from the possuk, “And Terach took Avram his son and they left Ur Kasdim…”.

Therefore Avraham was in a dilemma. On the one hand his father was wicked and to stay close to him would affect him negatively. On the other hand, if he leaves him, he will cause a chillul Hashem. People will look down and find fault with Avraham leaving his father and not help him in his path of teshuva.

Even more than this. Avraham reasoned that if he takes him with him to Eretz Yisroel, the merit of living in Eretz Yisooel will actually help his father in the teshuva process just like it helped Avraham to have children!

The Medrash concludes that Hashem told Avraham, your concern is valid and other people in your situation, whose parents have began to go on the proper path, should honor their parents and stay with them to help them along. However things are different in your case. In the Bris Bein HaBessarim I promised you that Terach will do teshuva (ref. to Rashi on the possuk, “and you will go to your fathers in peace”) so there is no reason for you to stay with him to help him along. He will do ex teshuva even without your being close to him.
This d’var Torah is dedicated to Beracha Bas Menucha Shaina. In the merit of  the  learning Zera Shimshon’s divrai Torah, Hashem should answer her prayers and she should quickly find her proper match along with all the other members of Clal Yisroel who are also looking for their zivug hagun
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Parshas Noach 5775

Concerning Noach’s building the ark, the Medrash comments:

For 120 years Noach planted ceder trees and cut them. (People who passed by) asked him, What are you going to do with all this wood. He answered them, The Master of the universe is going to bring a flood on the world. They replied, If H. brings a flood, H. is going to bring it only on your house!

Zera Shimshon asks in the name of the Meforshim, why did the people of Noach’s generation think that Noach deserved to be punished more than they? Didn’t they realize that Noach was a bigger tzaddik than they were?

Zera Shimshon explains the people’s thinking based on the Medrash that points out that Noach was different than Moshe. After the incident of the Golden Calf Moshe davvened that Clal Yisroel be saved. Noach, however, not not only did he not davven to save his generation from being destroyed , but he build the ark only to save his own family!

Someone who only thinks of themselves and ignores the rest of the population deserves to be punished.

For instance, in Megillas Esther, Mordechai told Esther that if she wouldn’t go before Achashvarous and plead to save Clal Yisroel then, “relief and rescue will come to the Jews from some other place, and you are father’s house will be destroyed.” The same idea, if Esther won’t try to help the rest of the people she will be punished.

Similarly, the Gemora in Makkos tells us that the mother of the Cohen Gadol brought food and clothing to the people who ran away to the Orei Miklat so that they would davven that her son, the Cohen Gadol, would not die. What was his sin? The Gemorro explains that his sin was that he didn’t davven that the people of his generation would not kill by accident.

This is also what the people in Noach’s generation thought. Since he didn’t davven for the rest of the people to be saved, but only cared about his own family, he therefore deserved to be punished.

Their reasoning was wrong, however. Firstly, Noach didn’t have merits of his ancestors (z’chus avos) like Moshe. Therefore his prayers wouldn’t be so powerful like Moshe’s, Esther’s, and the Cohen Gadol’s. Therefore it was not such a big sin that he didn’t davven for them to be saved. Secondly, Noach reasoned that his generation was so immoral his prayers wouldn’t help.

This d’var Torah is dedicated to Beracha Bas Menucha Shaina. In the merit of  the  learning Zera Shimshon’s divrai Torah, Hashem should answer her prayers and she should quickly find her proper match along with all the other members of Clal Yisroel who are also looking for their zivug hagun
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