Illuminations #106, Tevet 5777, Parshat Va’eira

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Illuminations #106, Tevet 5777, Parshat Va’eira

Torah Gems

“Anyone among Pharoah’s servants who feared the word of Hashem brought his slaves and livestock into the buildings” (Vaeira 9:20). 

Targum Yonasan ben Uziel interprets the words, “Who fears the word of Hashem,” as referring to Iyov, a person who is described as one “who fears Hashem” (Iyov 1:1)

Chazal teach us (Sota 11a) that Pharoah took counsel with three of his advisors to make a plan for Bnei YisraelBil’am advised Pharoah to enslave and kill people of YisraelIyov stayed silent. The Eitz Yosef explains that Iyov could not decide whether or not Jews deserved what Pharoah and Bil’am wished to impose on them. This seems ironic. How could a just, G-d fearing Iyov even consider treating Jews with such cruelty? 

The Malbim explains that although Iyov was just and G-d fearing, the good deeds he performed were not for the sake of what was right and just. His actions were based on desire for peace and tranquility and it was a means of protecting himself and his family from Hashem’s anger. In response to this attitude of performing good deeds only for personal reasons, Iyov was stricken by Hashem and in one swoop, lost all his children, all his possessions, and his health. May Hashem help us to do good deeds and even more so with proper intentions!


Parsha Pearls

“He Made His Heart Stubborn” (8:11)

Pharoh’s reaction to the plagues is hard to believe. He suffered through a week without water, only blood; and a week with frogs; followed by a third week of terrible lice. He hardened his heart and in return he underwent a week of brutal wild animals destroying his kingdom and then a week of livestock dying. Yet, after all this passed, he hardened his heart once again. 

The key to success in avodas Hashem is the ability to have our Torah and Avodah penetrate our hearts. It is not enough to learn and perform the mitzvos; Hashem’s words must be firmly rooted in our hearts. 

The entire shema revolves around the idea that a person’s “heart” plays an essential role in avodas Hashem. In the first part of shema we say, “And you shall love Hashem with all your heart… and you shall place these words upon your heart.” In the second part we say, “And to serve Him with all your hearts.” “Be careful, lest your heart be swayed and you deviate and serve other G-ds.” “And you shall place these words upon your hearts.

This is where Pharoh failed. He suffered miserably through every single one of the plagues but as soon as the danger passed, he put up a tough front and simply did not allow the pain to reach his heart. Let us take a lesson from Pharoh and start serving Hashem with heartfelt avodah

Glimpses of Greatness

Rebbetzin Kanievskya”h, once spent a Shabbos with her parents and shared a fascinating collage of stories about the incredible mofsim and supernatural yeshuos performed by her father-in-law, the Kehillos Yaakov, zt”l

Nu, Tattevos zogstu? Nu, father, what do you say to these stories?” she asked eagerly when she was finished.

Rav Elyashiv answered, “It says in Tehillim, ‘Pi Tzaddik yehege chachmah uleshono tedaber mishpatToras Elokav belibo, lo simad ashurav.’ If the mouth of the tsaddik speaks only words of wisdom and his tongue utters only words of justice, and there is only the Torah of his G-d in his heart, is it possible that ‘simad ashurav,’ he will hesitate? It can’t be! It’s an explicit pasuk– of course all the brachos that emerged from his holy lips were fulfilled.”

Halacha Weekly

Q. Is it permitted to make copies of Sefarim? (I-554)

A. Devarim 19-14 states, “You shall not move (lo Tasig) a boundary of your fellow which the early ones marked out in your inheritance that your shall inherit, in the land that Hashem your G-d gives you to possess it.”  Mishneh Halachot (1-279, R. Menashe Klein, Z”L) notes, “…According to the simplistic understanding  of the matter, if a person buys an item, it belongs to him and he can do with it what his heart desires. This is also true with a copy [of a sefer] . But if he makes the copy to sell,  there is a prohibition of heseget gevul (moving boundaries of one’s neighbor).”

Shevet HaLevi (4-202, R. Shmuel Wosner, Z”L) writes that it is permitted to make copies of pages from within a sefer for the sake of a student who is not able to purchase the complete sefer, since it is not the complete sefer.  It is not like entering into competition with business of his fellow, rather withholding from him additional profits, and he is not publishing for the sake of selling to the public. Likewise, Tzitz Eliezer (8-80, R. EliezerWaldenberg, Z”L) writes  that it is permissible to make copies of statements… from a sefer…or from anything which the goal is for the sake of learning or personal use, but not for the sake of resale, and also it is not in order to…conceal the source of the teaching [by pretending that the statement is his own].