Illuminations #145, Tevet 5778, Parshat Va’eira

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Illuminations #145, Tevet 5778, Parshat Va’eira

Torah Gems

The Pasuk says, “This was the Aaron and Moshe to whom Hashem said, ‘Take the children of Israel out of Egypt according to their legions.’” (6:26Rashi says, “In many places Aaron is mentioned before Moshe, and other places Moshe is mentioned before Aaron. This teaches that both were equally Great.”

As we see, Aaron is mentioned first. Why precisely this time is Aaron mentioned before Moshe? The Chatam Sofer explains  that, only in our Parashah, Aaron is mentioned before Moshe, even though Moshe was greater than Aaron and he was the leader. Ithe end of Parashat Shemot it says, “When he sees you he will rejoice in his heart,” and because of that Moshe and Aaron had become equally great. This teaches us that good Middot can make a person be on a higher level. Because of the good heart of Aaron, he received The Hacoshen. The Torah tells us a person needs to be happy when the other is happy, and needs to care about someone and feel his sorrow when someone is hurt.

There is a story about Rav Hezekiah Yosef Mishkovsky, the spiritual supervisor of Yeshivat Arachot HaTorah. When he was young, he studied at the Hebron Yeshiva and had a friend that had learning problems. When the Rabbis discussed the student, they decided to move him to different Yeshiva which contains a smaller group of students with better learning. The Roshei HaYeshiva were Rav Chaim Aharon Turczyn and Rav Yitzchak Chaim Krasnicki. The Rabbis told Rav Turczyn about the student, so then the Rav accept him on condition that, if the student does not learn properly, he would have to return to his first Yeshiva. The Rav added that this was his opinion, and they needed to ask Rav Krasnicki. The Rabbis went over to Rav Krasnicki and told him everything, and Rav Krasnicki accepted and told them they needed approval from Rav Turczyn. In the beginning the Rabbis did not understand, but later on they realized and were amazed to see how the heads of the Yeshiva respected each other as it says in the Pasuk, “He will rejoice in his heart.”

Parsha Pearls

It’s written in The Parashah, “Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frog infestation ascended and invaded the land of Egypt.” (8:2) Rashi says, “There was one Frog. When the Egyptians hit the frog, it divided to more Frogs.”

When the Egyptians saw that by hitting the frog it cloned itself to many small frogs, we would expect them to stop hitting in order to stop multiplying the creatures, so why did they continue?

The Steipler explains that this is so we can see a reason to condemn the anger, that even though they saw the frog throwing up more frogs, they still wanted to revenge and hit the big frog; that’s the behavior of an angry person. If by being despised, he would  bear his shame and not respond, his anger would settle down.  But here he thinks that he must answer, and even though he sees that, the more he argues, the more his opponent continues to reply and despise him, the anger does not allow him to stop and that’s how he is humiliated more and more.  

Glimpses of Greatness

In the village of Farmishlan there were a Tzadik, Rav Meir. There was a high mountain on the way to the Mikveh, and in the winter after the snow, the way was slippery and the mountain was covered with ice, making it impossible to climb the mountain without slipping. Nearly everyone used to go around the mountain, except one person, the Tzadik Rav Meir. He would walk on the mountain and never ever slip! One day a group of young men that did not believe in miracles arrived in the village and saw the Tzadik climbing the mountain without stumbling. One of them said, If he could do this then it’s probably not dangerous and also I can do this.” The man tried climbing the mountain but very quickly slipped and was badly injured. When he recovered, he turned to the Rav and asked him, “Rabbi, no one can climb this frozen mountain, everyone slips and falls, how come you climb it and you do not slip?” The Rav replied, ”When you are connected to Heaven, you never fall down! I’m connected upwards to Hashem and that’s why I never fall down. If we will strengthen our connection with Hashem, if we will be “connected upwards,” we will never ever fall.

Halacha Weekly

Q. Is it permitted to send mail on Erev Shabbat when it cannot reach its destination before Shabbat? [2-7-154]

A. Pri Megadim (Orech Chaim 247-7 simon 100-3, R. YosefTeumim Z”L) says that, given that the mail is under the king’s authority and  is delivered for needs of the government, officers and merchants, and it is sent on a fixed schedule, even in a place that one knows it is impossible for a letter to arrive before Shabbat without them traveling on Shabbat, they are not acting as the agent of a Jew and it is thus permitted [to send something by the mail]. Shvut Yaakov (Orech Chaim  2-42, R. Yaakov Ben YosefReischer Z”L) writes also that it is permitted to send a letter by mail on Erev Shabbbat since the non-Jew goes for his own purposes,  and it is explained in the Shulchan Aruch (247-5) that it is permitted.

Magen Avraham (there, R. Abraham GombinerZ”L) is particular that, since they are doing the work for the sake of a Jew, [it should be prohibited], but one can make a distinction that [in this case] the Jew is not speaking with the non-Jew that sends the mail,  and is instead communicating with the postmaster. The messenger [who delivers the mail ] does not go for the sake of the Jew but for his master [the postmaster].  Furthermore, it is normal postal procedure that many packages are exchanged in the post office, so it is a shvut deshvut (which is permitted [since two Rabbinical prohibitions cannot be superimposed]).  We also find the ChavotYair (simon 44,R. Yair Bachrach Z”L) permits it because there is reason to say that [in this case] the non-Jew instructs another non-Jew to do the work. However, even so, the Chavat Yair in simon 49 brings an opinion that prohibits this as well.  Indeed, Baer Yaakov (247, R. Chaim Yaakov Kroser Z”L) at the end brings the Chatam Sofer (60, R. Mosher Sofer [Schreiber] Z”L) that says even one who prohibited this (a non-Jew instructing another non-Jew to do an action prohibited for a Jew to do) is only when it occurs on Shabbat itself, but on the weekday (Erev Shabbat when the package is sent) there is no prohibition. Shvut Yaakov also gives  additional reasons to be lenient .