Illuminations #107, Shvat 5777, Parshat Bo

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Illuminations #107, Shvat 5777, Parshat Bo

Torah Gems

The pasuk says, “You must tell your son on that day, saying, ‘Because of this Hashem did for me when I came out of Mitzrayim.'” We learn that “because of this” is referring to the matzah and marror laid out before you at the seder table. It seems as if because of matzah and marror we were redeemed from Mitzrayim. Yet later on during the seder we say, “Why do we eat this Matzah? Because the dough of our avos didn’t have time to rise.” So is it because of the matzah and marror that we were redeemed, or is it because we were redeemed that we eat the matzah and the marror?
Rav Schwab explains that Hashem commanded bnei Yisroel the mitzvos of karbon pesach with matzah and marror on Pesach night while they were still in Mitzrayim. At that time they didn’t know they were going to get redeemed. They did not understand the reason for these mitzvos, so they are called chukos pesach. Chok is a mitzvah for which we don’t understand the reason. Yet, bnei Yisroel did the mitzvos anyway. Why? Because they trusted Hashem, they believed in Him and that He would take them out of Mitzrayim in the future. Rav Schwab is explaining that we merited the redemption from Mitzrayim because of the mitzvos of karbon Pesach, matzah and marror. Because bnei Yisroel had such simple faith and they followed these mitzvos without understanding the reason, yet trusted they would be redeemed, we were zoche to be redeemed. So “because of this” is referring to the complete trust and faith bnei Yisroel had when they did the mitzvos.
It says that the geulah shleima will be similiar to our exodus from Mitzrayim. We learn from this pasuk that it will be in the merit of those that do all the mitzvos, even the ones they don’t understand, and have complete trust in Hashem that will bring out the geula bmeheira vyameinu.


Parsha Pearls

The pasuk says, “And it will be when your son asks you tomorrow, saying, ‘What is this?’ And you will answer to him, ‘With a strong hand Hashem took us out of Mitzrayim, from the house of slaves.'”
Rashi comments that the four times the Torah talks about sons questioning yitzias mitzrayim refer to four different personalities of a child: wicked, smart, simple minded and one who doesn’t even know how to ask. The Torah is teaching us that each son must be answered, and the answer must match the personality of the son. But what makes a son so wicked? The wicked son asks, “What are these commandments FOR YOU?” This implies that these commandments are not for him. Rav Wolbe explains that it is not that the son thinks he is not commanded. The son just doesn’t identify with these commandments. Rav Wolbe says that this kind of ‘wickedness’ is something many of us are guilty of. He says that we learn Torah and we may remember it but we don’t make it a part of our lives. What makes Torah a part of our lives? Learning mussar. Mussar is the conduit to allow the Torah to impact daily life. When bnei Yisroel sent the meraglim, the Torah tells us, “The wicked  men saw and did not learn mussar from it.” The Torah is referring to how bnei Yisroel saw that Miriam got tzaras from speaking loshon hara and yet the meraglim did the same thing. Why would they do the same thing? Rav Wolbe says surely they learned the halachos of shmiras halashon after/while Miriam had tzaras. But, says Rav Wolbe, they failed to integrate it into their lives. A person who learns Torah but does not allow it to impact his life according to chazal is considered a wicked person.
So Rav Wolbe teaches us how to learn mussar so as not to be wicked. He says learning mussar is not just reading a mussar sefer. To learn mussar properly, one must read a line of a mussar sefer and then measure himself and his personality against what the mussar sefer says. If there is anything that does not match, one must fix it so that they match.

Glimpses of Greatness

Rav Moshe Feinstein was a very modest tzaddik. He never felt that something was below his dignity, especially if it involved helping another yid. One year the elderly shamash of the yeshiva was putting up the sukkah. When he got the schach he had a hard time doing it himself. He went to the Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Moshe, to ask for Rav Moshe to find some bochurim to help him finish up. But Rav Moshe did not look for bochurim. Instead, he came down to the yeshiva himself to help the shamash put up the schach. If a gadol like Rav Moshe can take time to help someone with something that clearly anyone could have done, how much more so are we muchayav to help someone in need.

Halacha Weekly

Q. Is it Permitted for a Jew to Hunt Animals? (I-578)

A. Terumat Hadeshen (Pesakim 140) writes that it is permitted to cause suffering to living creatures for the sake of human welfare. He brings proof from Baba Metzia 80b that it is permitted for one to place a heavy burden on his animal to take him from place to place even though this causes suffering to the animal. He brings further proof from Shabbat (110b) permitting castration of rooster, and from Chagigah (14b) regarding castration of a dog. Nodah BeYehudah (Yoreh Deah 2 Simon 10asks if it ipermitted for a Jew to hunt or trap animals for sport, and  argues that there is no issue of baal tashchit (causeless destruction), because there is benefit (he receives) from the skin of the animal, and also he does not do this in a manner which is (purely) destructive. Similarly, in this case there is not loss to anyone and it is not appropriate to say there is baal tashchit (causeless destruction involved).

However, he writes further, “This is the essential ruling, however, it is not proper for the Descendants of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov to do a disgusting thing like this. Also, there is another prohibition involved here of ushmartem et nafshoteichem, ‘protecting one’s self from bodily harm,’ because all that are involved in this [activity] need to enter into the wilderness and place themselves in danger in a place where there are all manner of wild animals.

Sefer Chassidim (44) writes that it is permitted to ride on an animal, but one that strikes the animal with spurs will in the future be judged for it. Also, he writes (666), ‘One who places a burden on an animal which is more than it is able to bear will in the future be judged for it,’ and it is not permitted except in a time of (great) need.

This week’s Illuminations is sponsored in honor of
Ribihai d’mikrei Robert Ben Roza Zargarov, ז”ל

By Zavulonov Mishpacha