Illuminations #144, Tevet 5778, Parshat Shemot

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Illuminations #144, Tevet 5778, Parshat Shemot

Torah Gems

The Parsha starts off by recounting the names of every one of the original group of Jews who descended to Mitzrayim. Rashi explains that this demonstrates that Hashem’s love for the Jews is comparable to His love for the stars,  because he counted each Jew by name just like he counts each star by its individual name.  The question arises, why is Hashem’s love for the Jews compared to his love for the stars? Additionally, why does he love the stars  so much anyway? They weren’t even part of the original plan for creation. It was only after the moon complained and was made smaller that Hashem added the stars to “assist” and appease the moon. The answer is that any creation which exists solely for the purpose of comforting another creation is especially beloved to Hashem. This also explains the comparison between the Jews and the stars. Just like the stars were created solely for the purpose of assisting and comforting the moon, so too the Jew was created in order to assist and comfort his fellow Jew in his time of need.

Parsha Pearls

The Parsha states, “Pharaoh commanded his entire nations that all first-born sons must be thrown into the river.” Rashi explains that Pharaoh’s astrologers predicted that the savior of the Jews was to be born on that day, but since they weren’t sure if he was born to a Jewish family or to an Egyptian family, Pharaoh commanded his entire nation, even the Egyptians, to throw their first-born sons into the river. The question arises: it seems that Pharaoh’s astrologers were pretty on the mark with their predictions, so why were they unclear about this specific point? Rabbi Eliyahu Romm answers that the Gemorah (Sanhedrin 19:) quotes a Pasuk in Divrei Hayamim that states that Batyah the daughter of Pharaoh gave birth to Moshe Rabeinu. The Gemorah is puzzled by how this can be, for we know that Yocheved gave birth to Moshe. From here the Gemorah derives that one who raises an orphan in their home is considered as if they gave birth to them. Hence, the Pasuk considers it as if Batyah had given birth to Moshe because she raised him in her home. Now we understand that since, in a sense, Moshe was considered born in both a Jewish home and an Egyptian home, the astrologers had difficulty with their prediction of this detail.

Glimpses of Greatness

Rav Moshe Feinstein was the Gadol Hador, the giant of the generation, but not in the physical sense. He was actually quite short, a full head shorter than the average high school student. Once he was bending over to take a drink from the water fountain in his yeshiva and a passing student mistook him for another student and slapped him on his back as sort of a prank on the “student” who was drinking from the water fountain. Rav Moshe realized what had happened and he did not flinch. He remained bent over the water fountain for several minutes until the student had disappeared in order to spare him the embarrassment of having slapped the Rosh Hayeshiva and Gadol Hador.

Halacha Weekly

Q. Too What Extent Should One Be Concerned About Physical Appearance In A Shidduch? [2-10-263]

A. A prospective couple are required to physically meet each other. Sefer Chasidim (389) writes that a man who wants to marry a woman needs to actually see her and she must see him. We do not bring a proof from Isaac who did not see [Rivkah] because he was not able to leave the land of Israel. Nodah BeYedhudah (Even Haezer  77, R. Yechezkel Landau Z”L) holds that the prohibition of betrothal  without seeing the shidduch is based on the concern that she could be found undesirable in his eyes.  [If so, one might ask what if he finds something undesirable about her– would he then be unable to marry her? ] If it is decided he wishes to marry her even though he may find something undesirable in her, there is no prohibition [in marrying her] since it all depends on his decision.

Igros Moshe (Yoreh Deah  1-4, R. Moshe Feinstein, Z”L) asks regarding two singles who desire to meet each other for the sake of marriage, to what extent may they go to examine each other? He concludes by saying it is not appropriate to act this way. One should not be overly wise. Rather, what one should look for in a shidduch is that he find favor in her appearance, in her family, and in her good reputation that she is a observant. This is the basis to marry her on which one should rely, with the hope that she is designated for him from Heaven and it is not necessary to examine her [for faults] from the outset.   It will not accomplish anything and one should be simple in one’s faith in G-d, as it says Tamim Tiyeh Im H’ Elokechah (Devarim 18-13).