Illuminations #15, Tevet 5775, Parshat Vayechi

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Torah Gems

When reading the parsha from the Torah every Shabbos, we realize that there is a spacing pattern between each parsha that indicates a new weekly portion. However, in parshas Vayechi there is no spacing marking the end of parshas Vayigash that came before.
What is this closed sidra portraying? Rav Yerucham Levovits says that after the death of Yaakov the eyes and hearts of Klal Yisrael were closed because the Egyptian ‎were starting the oppress the Jews. This closed sidra is coming to teach us that not only were the eyes and hearts of the Jews closed but also the very fountains of Torah were closed.
We learn from here a beautiful lesson. There is a one-on-one relationship between Klal Yisrael and the Torah. When we are open to the Torah, the Torah is open to us and the wisdom of Torah just flows into our hearts. When our hearts are closed the flow of the Torah is also closed.
When the Ohr Samei’ach could not understand a concept in the Torah, he would pray not for wisdom but for his heart to be filled with the love of Torah.
He gave an example of a mother whose heart is filled with love for her baby. When he cries, for whatever reason, it is the intense love that she has for him that gives her the sensitivity to interpret his cry.
It is the same with us. If we will open our hearts to love the Torah, we will have the sensitivity to understand the most subtle messages the Torah has for us. Then, the wisdom of Torah will flow into our hearts.

Parshah Pearls

We bless our sons every Friday night after Kiddush that they should be like Efraim and Menashe. The question is what is so special about Efraim and Menashe that we bless our children to be like them?

Are they better than our Shevatim or our forefathers? The answer is that Efraim and Menashe were in Egypt which is a makom tuma (a place of spiritual impurity) and still they remained holy and didn’t let the Egyptians influence them. That’s the blessing we give to our children: that in the exile in which we find ourselves, we and our children can be like Efraim and Menashe to make it through the exile without being influenced negatively by the society around us.

Halachah Weekly

Q: Is one permitted to walk into a shul or a building that is monitored by TV for security purposes on Shabbat?
A: It is permissible and a mitzvah to monitor shuls, schools or any building that could be in danger. These buildings need to be secured at all times.
There are two situations involving video monitoring:
1) When the guard is sitting inside so that when he sees someone approaching through the video he pushes a button and opens the door.
2) When there is no guard, people could go in and out of the building freely. However, the video records  a picture of the people entering and exiting, or there is a guard sitting inside just watching the video of people.
In the first situation it is not advisable to enter or exit the building on Shabbat, since there are too many halachic complications.
 The second situation is permissible provided the following conditions are met:
1) The video system has to be working from Erev Shabbat or through a Shabbat timer.
2) The people entering or exiting the building should not make any contact/gesture to the guard or anyone else through the video monitor or stand in front of it as a joke.

Glimpses of Greatness

A number of great talmidei chachamim spent their summer in vacation in Sea Gate. Among them were ‎Rabbi Shlomo Heiman, Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner, Rabbi Dovid Bender and Reb Moshe.
One afternoon Reb Moshe and Rav Shlomo Heiman were talking in learning. When Reb Moshe left, Rav Heiman turned to Rav Bender and said, “Do you know why Reb Moshe is becoming the Gadol Hador? Because his back never touches the back of the chair while he learns!”
To Rav Heiman, Reb Moshe’s posture indicated greatness. He never leaned back to relax while learning. He always leaned forward, his brow furrowed, straining to uncover the true meaning of the Torah’s holy words.

In appreciation for the opportunity to spend Chanukah together with our grandson Yaakov Meir in Jersualem (and his parents too!)
JoAnne and Shel Donner