Showing posts from November, 2015

Boundless chesed

In Parshas Vayishlach Yaakov declares "katonti mikol hachasadim" [I'm diminished from all the kindness] and then requests that Hashem save him from Esav.
My grandfather asks, if Yaakov pointed out that his merit is already diminished, how does that help build his case to get Divine help for salvation?  If he is relating in terms of din there are no grounds for requesting anymore. However, as the relationship is one of chesed, there is no set cap, and he can ask for more chesed.

Along the same lines, we say in the prayer of Nishmas, "ad hena azarunu rachamecha velo azavunu chasadecha, veal titeshenu Hashem Elokim lanetzcah" [until now your mercy has helped us and your kindness has not left us, and don't leave us Hashem, our G-d forever] for there are no boundaries to what flows from chesed. 

Related posts:

Leah's Thanksgiving

Here's a connection between this week's parsha and the upcoming event next Thursday. What is a Jewish Thanksgiving? We learn that from Leah.

Leah named her first three sons for how she perceived her relationship with her husband, Yaakov. But when it came to her fourth son, she named him Yehudah, expalining, "hapa'am odeh es Hashem" this time I will thank G-d. This is considered a tremendous thing by Chazal. In Brachos 7b it record that R' Yochanan said in the name of Rav Shimon bar Yochai that from the day that Hakodesh Baruch Hu created his world there was not a single person who thanked Him until Leah did with "hapa'am odeh es Hashem."

My granfather points out that on the same page of the Gemara Rav shimon ben Yochai is quoted as saying that from the day that that Hakodesh Baruch Hu created his world there was not a single person that called Him that Hakodesh Baruch Hu created his world there was not a single person[master] until Avraham came …

Toldos: Torah reveals motivations

The Torah records that Yitzchak loved Esav kitzayid bepiv  because the product of the hunt was in his mouth. He extra affection born of gratitude to the son who supplied him with food.

My grandfather comments as follows: Without a doubt, Yitzchak our father had many lofty and spiritual reasons to explain his preference for Esav over Yaakov. But the Torah text states that, ultimately, this was the what motivated him, in spite of all the reasons he could provide. That is the proof to hashochad yaver eyney chachamim [bribes will blind the eyes of wise men]. Likely Yitzchak would be most disconcerted by reading in the Torah that his love for Esav was kitzayid bepiv.

The footnote on this refers to the Midrash about 3 people in TaNaCh who might have acted differently if they had realized their actions were recorded:
R’ Yitzchak said: When a person does a mitzvah, he should do it with all his heart… Had Reuven known that Hashem would record [in the Torah] that he had saved Yosef from his bro…

In retrospect: Chaye Sarah

When Eliezer recounts his experience in discovering Rivka, he provides her family with the full background of his mission. In telling the story, he says when Avraham charged him to find a wife for Yitzchak, he warned him that under no circumstances was he to be taken out of Eretz Yisroel. Eliezer raised the question of the bride-to-be not wanting to leave her home, and put in terms of "oolay lo telech haisha acharay" [perhaps the woman would refuse to follow me]. The word for perhaps there is written with a missing vav so that it may be read elay [to me], Rashi explains that Eliezer had a daughter of his own that he hoped Yitzchak would marry, and that's what is signfied by the Freudian slip of elay. Understanding that personal motivation, Avraham assured him that his son with his blessed status would not be marrying his servant's daughter whose status is the opposite of his, for ayn arur medavel bevaruch.

Here's the thing: the text doesn't show Eliezer sayin…