Illuminations #105, Tevet 5777, Parshat Shemot

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Illuminations #105, Tevet 5777, Parshat Shemot

Torah Gems

Hashem told Moshe: “ Go and gather the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘Hashem, the God of your forefathers, has appeared to me saying’… “I shall bring you up from the affliction of Egypt’” (Shemos 3:15). In contrast, when Moshe spoke to Pharaoh, he told him: “Thus Hashem, the God of Israel, said, ‘Send out my people…’” (Shemos 5:1). When speaking to the elders, Moshe mentioned the “God of your forefathers,” whereas when he spoke to Pharaoh, he said the “God of Israel.” What is the significance of this change in phraseology?
Avraham had a prophecy that his children would be enslaved for 400 years. Hashem in His great compassion redeemed them after 210 years. There are two types of compassion: justified and unjustified. Time off for good behavior is justified compassion. But to grant an early release to a prisoner who misbehaves is unjustified compassion.
The mercy Hashem showed to klal Yisrael was unjustified, undeserved mercy. It was “unjustified” because the Jews in Egypt worshiped idols.
Therefore, Moshe told the elders, “The God of your forefathers has appeared to me,” meaning, it is only in the merit of your forefathers that you are being freed after 210 years. Whereas when speaking to Pharaoh, He did not want to reveal that klal Yisrael lacked merit. Therefore, he said the “God of Israel”
Klal Yisrael was not violating some small subtlety of law; they were denying the very essence of Judaism, the belief in the One, eternal, non-material Creator. Nevertheless, despite the spiritual deprivation of His people, Hashem chose to show mercy. Regardless of how distant our generation is from the ways of Torah, there is always hope that Hashem will awaken compassion and redeem His people. (Based on Even Yisrael of Rav Yisrael Salanter)


Parsha Pearls

Suppose someone promises to do a favor for his friend in the future. When the time comes to perform the task, his enthusiasm has somewhat diminished. Ultimately he does the favor more out of a sense of duty than a feeling of benevolence.
In contrast, when God makes a promise to do something, He continuously anticipates and waits for the opportunity to fulfill His word. He delights in performing kindness.
God revealed to Avraham that in the future He would rescue klal Yisrael from the Egyptian bondage. For 210 years God looked forward, with intense longing, to the night when He would redeem His beloved people.
Yet, if God loved the Jewish people so dearly, why did He wait? If He loves us, and has the desire and power to redeem us, let Him intercede immediately on our behalf!
After the promise, the dynamics of divine intervention required that a waiting period precede the redemption. In fact, without this delay, redemption would not occur. The purpose of this lapse of time was to test the durability of our faith. Would we continue to be strong in our trust despite the delay?
Remarkably, the blossoming of our redemption depends on the faith of klal Yisrael. When Hashem told Avraham about the ultimate deliverance from Egypt, Avraham trusted that this would take place. God valued this steadfast faith of Avraham. This righteousness of Avraham was the merit needed for the promise to be fulfilled. It is the same with us today. Our faith is the water that germinates the seeds of the final redemption.

Glimpses of Greatness

When R’ Shach came to visit R’ Chaim Friedlander, who was very sick, he urged him to take advantage of every moment of life. At that point, R’ Chaim could no longer utter even a word, so intense were the pains he was experiencing. R’ Shach sat down next to R’ Chaim’s bed and pointed outside the window, where trees and flowers were growing, and said, “Look, R’ Chaim, at all the beautiful things blossoming in this world that Hashem created, and strengthen your mind with thoughts of emunah about the power of the Creator, about His great wisdom, about His control over all of existence, and about His desire to do good for His creations. Even these flowers we see outside the window were created for the benefit and pleasure of man.”

Halacha Weekly

Q. Can One Make Cosmetic Repairs To Make Old Merchandise Appear New?

A. The question is: does this involve the prohibition of overcharging (honaah) or genevat daat (deception)ShulchanAruch (Choshen Mishpat 228-9) writes, “One may not paint old vessels in order that they appear new.  Semah writes, “But it is permitted to make new vessels more attractive for buyers so they will appear new and of good [quality]. Shulchan Aruch HaRav (Baal HaTanyawrites, “Evemaking them cost an additional amount for the value that is added is permitted, since there is no possibility of a mistake or overcharge, and the addition to the price because of attractiveness a buyer is willing to forgive if he is aware of it.

Pitchei Choshen (4-15 Haarah 42, R. Yaakov Yeshaya Blau) writes, “Foall [changes] which do not involve changing the form of the vessel from old to new, there is no prohibition.  This is because it is a change from good to better quality but [not] a change from old to [brand] new. This [result] is similar to good quality, but less [than brand new] quality, and people are insistent on new vessels. It appears from the words of the Poskim that this is not a mistaken purchase (Mekach Taoot). And according to this, it appears this is for old vessels which are improved.  All [improvements] that do not appear as [brand] new are permitted [there is no issue of overcharging].

Iggerot Moshe (Yoreh Deah 1-31, R. Moshe Feinsteinwrites:[When] Butchers dip liver in blood in order that it appear more attractive,  there are several questions about this. One [question] is that there is a suspicion of overcharging and the like.” He writes: ” Also, when liver is immersed in blood, there is no change in appearance that shows that it is without doubt fresh, close to slaughter, rather it leaves an appearance showing it is has already been slaughtered to a general [attractive] appearance [and] that appearance does not prove anything … it remains [for] the buyer to be in doubt whether perhaps it is already slaughtered prior, and to ask and do research. And since he does not ask because he mistakenly thinks that it is recently slaughtered, it is he [the buyer] that makes the mistake and it is permitted.. And even though he (the butcher) causes him to make a mistake himself, even so, there is no  prohibition here of overcharging and genevat daat (deception).