Illuminations #187, Tevet, 5779, Parshat Vayechei

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Illuminations #187, Tevet, 5779, Parshat Vayechei

Torah Gems

Before Yaakov Avinu left this world he told Yosef to bury him in Eretz Yisrael. Due to the hardship Yosef would endure in the burial process, Yaakov gave Yosef the city of Shechem as a present. The words he expresses this with are, “ I have given you Shechem as an additional portion..Which I have captured from the Emori with my sword and my bow.” Rashi offers anexplanation of the words ‘my sword.’ ‘My sword’ refers to Yaakov’s wisdom because just like a sword is sharp, so too the words of wisdom hit the nail on the head. The words ‘my bow’ refers to prayer because just like a bow makes the arrow go far, so too our mouths make our prayers go far. If a person would really put his mouth and heart to prayer it could take him a long way. This can be illustrated with a story. Once a Russian man in a university was troubled by many questions about the world.He had a deep desire to know the truth and would do whatever it took to find the answers he was searching for. To find out the truth he prayed, cried, and fasted. One time during his prayers he fell asleep and had a dream where many of his questions were answered. Eventually he converted to Judaism. A real prayer hits the mark just like a straight arrow. This is also the meaning of the verse, “Hashem is close to all whose who call out to Him, to all who call out to Him sincerely.” This is what Yaakov Avinu was telling Yosef, that the real reason they defeated Shechem was because of prayer.

Parsha Pearls

In the blessings Yaakov Avinu gave to his sons before he passed away, we find that Zevulan came before Yissachar. Besides the fact, it is out of the order of how they were born. The blessing of good business that was given to Zevulun comes before the blessing of Torah which was given to Yissachar. The Sforno explains that without one’s material needs being met, you cannot effectively learn Torah. Therefore if one provides his friend his material needs so that the friend could learn Torah, the supporter is credited with a share in his friend’s Torah. This should not be taken as an exemption to study Torah, rather it gives a person merits who cannot study as much as others due to his responsibility to provide for his family. All of us should not take lightly the power and the merit of supporting Torah.

Glimpses of Greatness

There is a beautiful story of a time when Rabbi Moshe Feinstein and Rabbi Yaakov Kaminetzky traveled together by car. R’ Yaakov sat in the front with the driver and R’ Moshe sat in the back.  The Rabbanim planned it this way because Rav Moshe ‘s destination was the first stop and when he would leave the car it would look like the driver was merely a chauffeur if Rav Yaakov was in the back and the front was empty.  We can all learn from the incredible sensitivity of our Gedolim!

Halacha Weekly

Q Is one Required to pay a Matchmaker who offers services for free? [II-10-236]

A. Pitchei Teshuva (Even Haezer 7-50-16, R. Yisrael  Y. Isserlein Z”L) brings Chut Hashani (2, R.Moshe  Shimshon Bacharach Z”L) who writes regarding the customary practice of the world that people believe that in the case that a matchmaker says they will find a shidduch for so-and-so with so-and-so for free they don’t believe the shaddchan.  [Instead, people believe that] even though the shaddchan says this [that they will do it for free], they are nevertheless still obligated to pay them.  This does not have a source in the Talmud or in any rulings of the poskim (halachic rulings).  Rather, one does not [have to] give him payment in any formAnd [we act] similarly, for an intermediary …and for other workers the law is likewise if they say they will do something for free without payment.

 Mishpatei Eliyahu (1-47) writes that, in the case of a matchmaker who promises his fellow a shidduch at no cost, and then after the match retracts and says they want payment for their effort, his fellow is exempt from paying him the value of the shidduch, and he is able to claim that the match was on the condition that he not have to pay for the shidduch.  See also Aruch Shulchan (Even Haezer 50-42).