Category Archives: Braishis

Parshas VaYaitzai

וַיַּחֲלֹם וְהִנֵּה סֻלָּם מֻצָּב אַרְצָה וְרֹאשׁוֹ מַגִּיעַ הַשָּׁמָיְמָה וְהִנֵּה מַלְאֲכֵי אֱלֹהִים עֹלִים וְיֹרְדִים בּוֹ: בראשית כח/יב-

He had a dream; a ladder was set on the ground and its top reached to the sky, and angels of Hashem were going up and down on it. (Braishis 28/12)

He had a dream; a ladder was set on the ground and its top reached to the sky, and angels of God were going up and down on it. (Braishis 28/12)

The Medrash Rabbah (68/12) comments on this:

behold, a ladder was set on the ground– (this is referring) to the ramp of the mizbaich (alter ) in the Bais HaMikdash

its top reached to the sky– (this is referring) to the sacrifices

and angels of Hashem were going up and down on it– this is referring to the kohannim

Rabbanin explain this possuk differently; that it is referring to Har Sinai at the time that we received the Torah:

behold, a ladder– (this is referring) to Mt. Sinai (Sinai and “sulam” (ladder in Hebrew) have the same numerical value of 130)

set on the ground– (is referring to) the Jewish Nation that stood on the ground underneath the mountain

its top reached to the sky– (is referring to) The mountain that was ablaze with flames to the very skies (at the time of the giving of the Torah) (Devorim 4/21)

Zera Shimshon asks how are these two ideas, korbonos and Har Sinai, even remotely related to Yakkov’s leaving Yitzchok’s house to go to Lavan’s that Hashem showed them to him in a dream?

He answers by first explaining a different Medrash.

It is written in the end of last week’s parsha right before Yaakov left Yitzchok’s house (Braishis 28/1), “And Yitzchok called for Yaakov to come and he blessed him…”. The medrash explains that the blessing that he blessed him was “the beracha of exile”. Zera Shimshon asks what does it mean “the beracha of exile”? Exile is usually a punishment and not a blessing!

He answers in light of a third medrash (Braishis Rabbah 44/21) that says that at the Bris Bain HaBesarrim Hashem gave Avraham the choice of how his future generations will be cleansed from their impurities and sins. He could choose that they will suffer in Gehenim or they will suffer bondage under the nations of the world. Avraham chose bondage which was more gentle than the punishment of Gehenim.

Besides showing Avraham these two things Hashem also showed him the Torah and korbonos and Hashem told him that although both gehimom and exile are very difficult if they learn Torah and bring korbonos, Hashem will lighten these punishments.

According to this, the meaning of “the blessing of exile” is that Yitzhok blessed Yaakov that they will suffer exile which is milder than Gehenim.

Zera Shimshon continues and explains that after Yaakov left Yitzhok and was on his way to Lavan’s house he was thinking about this “beracha” and became very concerned and distressed about the exile that his future generations will suffer.

Therefore, to console him, Hashem showed him in a dream that his children will not necessarily have to suffer in exile. It is not a “closed deal”. If they will bring korbonos and keep and learn the Torah then they will be spared the suffering of exile.

———————————2————————————-

וַיִּקַּח אֶת הָאֶבֶן אֲשֶׁר שָׂם מְרַאֲשֹׁתָיו וַיָּשֶׂם אֹתָהּ מַצֵּבָה וַיִּצֹק שֶׁמֶן עַל רֹאשָׁהּ.-בראשית כח/יח

On the possuk, “And he (Yaakov) took the stone that was under his head…” Pirkei D’Rebbi Eliezer comments, “What did Hashem do? H. stretched H.s right foot and sunk this stone into the depths of the earth and H. made it a part of the Earth just like a person makes a doorpost to support the lintel (a horizontal support of timber, stone, concrete, or steel across the top of a door or window). Therefore it (this rock) is called “even shesia” because this (stone) is the core of the world and from this stone the world expanded.

(On that stone) the Palace of Hashem (Bais Hamikdash) stands like it says, “… and this rock that I (Yaakov) made an alter, will be the Dwelling Place of Hashem.”

We see from the Pirkei D”Rebbi Eliezer that until Yaakov took the stone and placed it under his head, the foundations of the world were not yet complete.

Zera Shimshon asks why did Hashem put on the finishing touches of the world  specifically now, before Yaakov arrived at the house of Lavan? Why couldn’t it have waited until Yaakov left Lavan’s house with his wives and children?

He answers by first asking a similar question on a different Medrash. The Medrash says that Hashem first created the food for mankind and only after that did H. create people. He asks why was this order so important? Why couldn’t Hashem first create mankind and after that their food?

He explains in light of the halacho that a person is allowed to do whatever he wants to do on his own property even if his neighbor will eventually be damaged. (For instance, he can plant a tree in his yard even though that the roots will eventually spread and damage his neighbor’s field.)

However he is not allowed to do something that will cause immediate and direct damage. For instance, he is not allowed to  dig a pit in his field if the digging will weaken his neighbor’s wall. He can dig a pit on his own property only if he distances himself far enough away from his neighbor’s property not to cause any damage.

In actually, people and the physical world really damage each other. We damage the world by doing sins (like what happened at the time of the Flood in the days of Noach).  The world damages us by enticing us to do avairos through forbidden pleasures. However there is a fundamental difference between the way we damage each other.

The world damages us immediately. Almost involuntary, we see something and the heart yearns for it. However, our damage to the world doesn’t come right away. Hashem warns us and gives us time to do teshuva. Only then, if we don’t heed the warnings, does Hashem punish the world.

According to this, reasons Zera Shimshon, we can understand why Hahem created our food before H. created us.

The world needs both people and food for people in order to exist. If mankind was created first,  Hashem wouldn’t be able, so to speak, to create our food since the physical world directly and immediately damages us.

However since our actions don’t damage the world immediately, therefore there is no problem that Hashem creates us, just like it is permitted to plant a tree in your own property even though the roots will cause damage later on.

Yaakov Avinu didn’t just go to Lavan’s house. He went there to bring into this world the 12 tribes who’s existence is the basis and root of all of mankind. (This is symbolized by the fact that there are twelve tribes  which is parallel to the 12 Zodiac signs, the 12 months, and the 12 combinations of the name of Hashem).

If Hashem would have waited to finish creating the foundation of the world until Yaakov returned from the house of Lavan and after he gave birth the the twelve tribes, H. would not have been able to finish the creation of the world, since the world directly and immediately damages mankind.

Therefore right before Yaakov arrived at the house of Lavan and begot the Twelve Tribes, Hashem put on the finishing touches of our world.

—————————————-3————————————-

וַיִּפְגַּע בַּמָּקוֹם וַיָּלֶן שָׁם כִּי בָא הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ וַיִּקַּח מֵאַבְנֵי הַמָּקוֹם וַיָּשֶׂם מְרַאֲשֹׁתָיו וַיִּשְׁכַּב בַּמָּקוֹם הַהוּא:-בראשית כח/יא

On the possuk “and he (Yaakov) lied down in that place (Har HaBayis) because the sun set” the Medrash (Pirkei D’Rebbi Eliezer perek 35) comments that Hashem said to Yaakov that since he has enough to eat and drink he should now rest in this place (Har HaBayis). Yaakov replied that the sun has not completely set (it went down only 5 measures) so the time for him to sleep has not come yet. Hashem therefore made the sun go down. When Yaakov saw the sun in the west he went to sleep.

Zera Shishmon asks a number of questions on this Medrash.

Firstly, why did Hashem preface the request that Yaakov should sleep with the fact that he had enough to eat and drink? What does having enough to eat have to do with his sleeping?

Secondly, why did Hashem want Yaakov to sleep there specifically when it was still day?

Thirdly, why didn’t Yaakov immediately comply with Hashem’s wishes to sleep there? What did he see wrong in sleeping when it was still day?

Fourthly, if Yaakov didn’t want to sleep in the day why then did he sleep before sunset, when the sun was still in the west?

Zera Shimshon answers these questions in light of two ideas found in two different sources.

The Kli Yakar explains that Hashem showed Yaakov the Beis HaMikdash in his dream in order that in the merit of the Bais HaMikdash he would be saved from Eisav.

How is this?

Firstly, the fact that no metal was used in the building of the Beis HaMikdash counters Eisav’s strength which is connected to weapons. And, secondly, the fact that not only does the sun have no effect on the Bais HaMikdash but the Bais HaMikdash actually dimmed the sunlight! This therefore weakens Eisav since he lives under the influence of the sun (for instance, he counts his calendar according to the sun) and he gets his power through the sun.

The second idea is found in a Medrash in the beginning of Breishis. The Medrash asks why in the beginning of creation is the moon referred to as one of the “the BIG shining objects” (the other one is the sun) but it is later referred to as the “SMALL shining object? The Medrash answers that the moon was punished because it “entered into the domain of the sun” (the moon is sometimes seen in the day) and as a punishment was made small. Even though that it shines in the day with permission, it was still damaged.

According to these two ideas, Zera Shimshon explains the dialogue between Hashem and Yaakov.

Hashem wanted Yaakov to sleep in the place of the Bais HaMikdash only exclusively in the day when the sun shines because this is time when Eisav is strongest and it is when Eisav gets his power. Hashem wanted Yaakov to davven there and in the merit of the Bais HaMikdash which overpowers and dims the sunlight, Eisav’s strength would be weakened. Yaakov, however, was scared to trespass on Eisav’s domain for fear of being hurt (like what happened to the moon at the time of Creation).

To discredit Yaakov’s argument Hashem prefaced the request to sleep in the place of the Bais HaMikdash by saying that you already have food and drink. Hashem intended to point out to Yaakov that since this world is under the rule of Eisav by taking pleasure from this world which was given to Eisav he is already trespassing. Therefore there is no need to worry to weaken the influence of the sun.

Yaakov didn’t accept this argument. He held that since no one can live with eating and drinking “one cannot bring a proof from something that is impossible to something that is possible”

Hashem accepted Yaakov’s argument and therefore made the sun begin to set. After it was mostly all the way down Yaakov understood that it is alluding to the end of Eisav’s rule and was no longer afraid of trespassing and therefore laid down to rest!

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......
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 VaYairo

Parshas Vayairo

וַיִּקַּח חֶמְאָה וְחָלָב וּבֶן הַבָּקָר אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה וַיִּתֵּן לִפְנֵיהֶם וְהוּא עֹמֵד עֲלֵיהֶם תַּחַת הָעֵץ וַיֹּאכֵלוּ: בראשית יח/ח

He took curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared and set these before them; and he waited on them under the tree as they ate. (Breishis 18/8)

The Gemorro in Babba Metzia (daf 86b) explains, “R. Tanchum bar Chanilai says: A person should never deviate from the local custom, (a proof of this:) … the melachim (that came to Avraham) descended down to this world, and they ate bread. (The Gemorro asks,) Did they really eat (bread)? Can it enter your mind that they actually ate food? Rather, they merely appeared as though they ate and drank.

Tosfos quotes the Seder Eliyahu Rabah  that says that it didn’t just look like they ate but they actually did eat! After he quotes the Seder Eliyahu Rabah Tosfos adds a phrase, “and this argues on (what is written) here (in our Gemorro)”.

Zera Shimshon asks what is Tosafos adding with this phrase? It’s pretty self evident that they argue. In our Gemorro it says that they didn’t really eat but only looked as if they ate and Seder Eliyahu Rabah says that they actually did eat. How could one think that they agree?

He answers that this phrase is not referring to their opinions of what exactly the melachim did; did they actually eat or it just looked like it. Rather it is referring to the fact that there is also a  machlokes in halacha between them which is a derivative of the first machlokes.

The Mishna in Pesachim (beginning of the fourth perek, daf 50a) says that there are some places that the minhag is not to work Erev Pesach and there are some places that the minhag is to allow work Erev Pesach.

The Mishna continues to say that if one travels from a place where people are accustomed to do work to a place where people do not work, or from a place where people do not work Erev Pesach to a place where people do work, Chazal impose upon him the stringencies of both the place from which he left and the stringencies of the place to which he came. (In both cases, he is prohibited to do work.) The Mishna concludes that the reason for this is so there will be no disputes and arguments.

The Ran holds that since the reasoning behind this prohibition  is to avoid disputes then in a situation where no one knows what he is doing, for instance if he does it in private, he does not have to follow the minhag of the place where he is, but he can follow his own minhag

Tosafos, in essence, agrees with the Ran but he holds that work, even if it is done in the privacy of his own home, will eventually “leak out” and therefore it is prohibited to do work even in private. (However a minhag that is not connected with work even Tosafos agrees that it is permitted to do it in private.)

Zera Shimshon suggests that even though that surely according to our Gemorro this is the halacha, the Seder Eliyahu Rabbah argues and holds that one must follow the minhag of his surrounding community even if they do now know what he does.

Zera Shimshon explains that each of their opinions is based on their understanding of what the melachim did when they came to Avraham.

Our Shas explained that they didn’t really eat, and only acted “as if”. From this we can learn that one can follow his own minhag (like the melachim’s not eating) as long as no one realizes that he is not following the surrounding community’s minhag (since they made “as if” they were eating.)

Correspondingly, Erev Pesach a person who has the custom to do work, even if he goes to a place that doesn’t do work, can do work in private since no one knows what he is doing. (According to the Ran. According to Tosafos this halacha only applies to minhagim that are not connected with work.)

Seder Eliyahu Rabbah explained that the melachim really did eat and deviated from their custom of not eating because he holds that it is prohibited to not follow the custom of the surrounding community (in the case of the melachim; that mortals eat) even if he could have done it without anyone knowing (pretending “as if”

Correspondingly, a person who has the custom to work cannot work, even in the privacy of his own home, when the surrounding community has the custom not to work.

To allude to this machlokes in halacha Tosafos adds “and this argues on (what is written) here (in our Gemorro)”

—————————————–2——————————–

וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֵלָיו אַיֵּה שָׂרָה אִשְׁתֶּךָ וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֵּה בָאֹהֶל. בראשית יח/ט

And they (the Angles) said to him (Avraham), “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said, Behold! She is in the tent.”

The Gemorro in Babba Metzia (87A) explains that this dialogue was written to make known that Sarah was a modest woman.”

Zea Shimshon asks why did the Torah find it so important to make special mention that Sarah was modest? Since it is well known that she was tremendously righteous, obviously she was also modest! Besides this, Avraham Avinu already realized that she was modest before they went down to Mitzrayim right after they entered Eretz Yisroel! ( Rashi mentions this on the possuk, “I know that you are a very beautiful lady…”)

He answers that the Torah isn’t telling us that she was simply modest. This was obvious. Rather the Torah is telling us that she reached a remarkably high level of modesty.

However the second question still remains, Avraham already knew this.

He answers in light of the Gemorro in Shabbos (53B), “The Rabbis learnt: A certain man was once married to a woman with a stumped hand, yet he did not notice it until the day of her death. Rebbi Yosef observed: How modest this woman must have been, that her husband did not know her! R. Chiya replied, For her it was natural; but how modest was this man, that he did not scrutinize his wife!”

From here we see that a wife is not the only one who creates modesty between a couple. It could be the result of the combined effort of the husband and his wife.

According to this, the fact that Avraham didn’t recognize her beauty all the years of their marriage is not a proof that Sarah was exceptionally modest. It could be that the modesty in their home was the outcome of both of their modest behavior.

If this is true, however, then what exceptional modesty did Sarah Imainu display by staying in the tent?

Zera Shimshon answers that the main reason for a woman not to mingle with men is to make it easier for men, who have a strong yetzer horra, not to sin. Sarah and Avraham knew that their guests were really angles and that therefore that they have no yetzer horra (as Rashi points out on the possuk (18/5), “And I (Avraham) will take (for you) a little bread, and sustain your hearts…”). Since even with beings who have no yetzer horro Sarah acted modestly and stayed in the tent to be away from them, we see that she was intrinsically very modest!

—————————————-3——————————–

The Medrash in the beginning of the parsha comments that after Avraham Ovina circumcised himself he said that many gentiles will come to attach themselves to this sign of the covenant (between Avraham and his descendants and Hashem) and convert.

Zera Shimshon asks how can we understand Avraham’s reasoning? Before Hashem commanded Avraham to make milah,  a person could convert painlessly, just keeping Hashem’s commandments.  After Hashem gave the mitzvo of mila a person has to suffer the pain of circumcision to convert. Why then did Avraham feel that there would be more converts now?

Zera Shimshon answers that Avraham always felt uncomfortable about his sinful beginning. (According to Rebbi Yochannon Avraham only recognized his Creator at the age of 48!) He was afraid that Hashem didn’t look at him like a total tzaddik but rather slightly blemished. He felt that Hashem looked at him  like a dirty garment that even after it gets dry cleaned, it doesn’t look completely new but  small remnants  of dirt always remain on it.

This changed, however after he circumcised himself.

In the parsha we see that Hashem sent three types of remedies to heal Avraham after his milah.

Firstly, “the heat of the day”. the Medrash explains the reason that Avraham sat near the entrance of his tent “in the heat of the day” is because heat helps to heal.

Secondly, Hashem sent the Malach Rephael to heal him.

And thirdly, Hashem payed Avraham a bikkur cholim visit. Chazal teach us that the mitzvo of bikur chollim helps a sick person  recuperate.

Why did Avraham need all three remedies?

Zera Shimshon explains that the heat of the day was simply to heal the physical wound of the mila.

The Malach Rephael added to Avraham’s recovery. Avraham didn’t only get back his strength like he was  right before he did the milah. Rather, he became to make him strong like when he was much younger. This was in order that he would be able to have more children.

Hashem’s visit was in order that Avraham wouldn’t only recover physically be he become completely clean from all of his sins!

It says in the Gemorro Nedarim (41a) Reb Alexandri said in the  name of Reb Chiya bar Abba, “A sick person doesn’t recuperate until he has been forgiven for all of his sins….” Rav Hammuna said “He returns to his youth…” Rashi explains, “He returns to his youth: like a young child who never sinned.”

In other words, in the merit of  milah, Avraham not only merited to become stronger than he was prior to the milah but he also merited to be completely and totally cleansed of any remnants of sin that tainted his soul.

After realizing the huge benefit of mila we can now understand why Avraham felt that the mitzvo of mila would cause more people to convert.

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: