Illuminations #53, Cheshvan 5776, Parshat Vayishlach

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Illuminations #53, Cheshvan 5776, Parshat Vayishlach

Torah Gems

כּה אמר עבדך יעקב אם לבן גרתי ואחר עד אתה
 
Rashi explains on the word גרתי  (in the 2nd pshat) that Yakov was telling Eisav that despite the fact that he lived with לבן he still kept all the 613 mitzvos and he did not learn from לבן’s ways. 
Rav Shlomo Wolbe explains that it was just that Yakov managaed to live with לבן and not learn from his ways, but he made a plan to ensure he wouldn’t learn from לבן. We learn that he had a plan from the word גרתי . The root of the word גרתי  is גר, meaning stranger. Through Yakov acting like a “stranger” when he was with  לבן he was able to detach himself from לבן, the society and the surroundings. By not feeling at “home” he was able to keep his focus on what Hashem wanted from him and never lose sight of that goal.
We find this idea again later on in the parsha with the story of Dina. When שׁכם  wanted to marry Dinah, Shimon and Levi devised a plan to stop this from happening. Part of the plan was to kill out the entire city. After they did this, Yakov said to them, “Why did you such a thing? Now everyone will want to kill us out.” Shimon and Levi responded, “Such an action (שׁכם marrying Dina) is intolerable, now matter what we would have to do to stop it.” Shimon and Levi were saying that in order for בּני ישראל to exist, we must always remain in solitude. We must never mingle with the nations of the world. That is why, under no circumstances, could Dina have married שׁכם, which would be the epitome of  mingling with the nations of the world.
From here we see that in order for בּני ישראל to accomplish our goal we must always remain separate from all the other nations. The Torah tells us בחוקתהם לא תלכו, a prohibition to follow any customs of the goyim. While on the surface celbrating a goysiha holiday may look like no big deal, in and of itself it isn’t a big deal, it shows that in a sense that person is part of the society.  And that is what we see in this weeks parahs. That in order for us to endure galus we must remain solely focused on our goal by keeping ourselves separate from the goyim.
 

Parsha Pearls

ויאמר שלחני כּי עלה השחר
 
After Yakov fought the malach of Eisav, the malach said he had to go. Rashi explains that it was the malach’s turn to go sing shira. Targum Yonason ben Uziel says that up until this point this malach had never said shira. Why was it precisely then that it was time to say shira? 
Reb Muttel Dick explains that the malach who Yakov fought was the yetzer hara. Peopel think the yetzer hara’s job is to get people to sin. But in reality this is not his job. Rather his job is to tempt the person to sin so that the person can get greater reward for overcoming the temptation. As long as the yetzer hara tempts the person to sin and the person does not overcome the temptation the ultimate goal of the yetzer hara did not come to fruition. It is precisely when the yetzer hara is defeated that the goal has come to fruition. When the yetzer hara saw he was not able to defeat Yakov, at that point he had met his goal to perfection. Therefor this was the appropriate time for the malach to go sing shira to Hashem since he had reached his goal to perfection. 

Glimpses of Greatness

During World War II the Mir Yeshiva had to relocate to Shanghai. When the opportunity presented itself for the yeshiva to move to America they all went on a boat to New York. On the way they were passing by San Fransisco. Everyone was able to see the Golden Gate Bridge. Everyone went on to the deck to see the landmark. Everyone except for Reb Shmuel Berenbaum. He was sitting and learning. People went over to him and asked why he would pass up a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the Golden Gate Bridge. Reb Shmuel answered, “How can I pass up on a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn at a time when I could’ve seen the Golden Gate Bridge?”

Halacha Weekly

Q. At What Ages Should One Educate Children in Which Mitzvot?
A. A child from the age of 3 should be educated to wear a tallit kattan (tzitzit).  Different customs exist regarding wearing tefillin before the age of Bar Mitzva. Ashkenazim begin 2-3 months before the boy actually turns 13 years of age, but some Sepharadim begin 1-2 years before his turning 13 as long as the child can take care of his tefillin properly.
Children under the age of 3 do not have to wait the appropriate time in between eating meat and dairy meals. However, one should try to clean their mouth out in between eating meat and milk. After the age of 3, they should be slowly educated to wait in between consumption of meat and milk until they are able to reach the appropriate 6 hours in between.
Children under the age of 13 (for boys) and 12 (for girls) are exempt from fasting on all fast days; 17th of Tammuz, 9th of Av, Fast of Gedalia, Fast of Esther. They are not obligated to fast for even a few hours. Even on Yom Kippur, it is not necessary for a boy under the age of 9 to fast at all. However, children that are 9-11 years of age may be allowed to fast for a few hours. According to Sepharadim, boys from the age of 12 and girls from the age of 11 are obligated to fast as long as there is no health danger for them to do so. Ashkenazim do not require children of that age to fast until they reach the age of 13 (for boys) and 12 (for girls).

 


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in memory of Moshe Esral, ז”ל.