Illuminations #191, Tevet, 5779, Parshat Beshalach

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Illuminations #191, Tevet, 5779, Parshat Beshalach

Torah Gems

In the beginning of the Parsha, the verse states, “And the children of Israel were armed when they went up from the land of Egypt.” The Targum Yerushalmi explains as follows: “The Jews left Egypt armed – with many good deeds.” This, however, is difficult to understand. The opposite appears to be true. It is because the Jews were bereft of Mitzvot before they left Mitzrayim that Hashem had to give us two mitzvot in order to merit leaving Mitzrayim. One could answer from a Mishnah in Pirkei Avot which says when you do one mitzvah it will lead you to another to do more Mitzvot. Therefore by performing even two mitzvot, this gave them the impetus to continue going up the ladder.

By looking at the two mitzvot deeper we can further understand the answer. The first Mitzvah given was to slaughter a lamb which was an Egyptian god. By doing this act they were showing that they wanted to distance themselves from anything to do with Idolatry. The second mitzvah was Brit Milah, circumcising themselves for Hashem. Therefore, through these two mitzvot they were basically committing themselves to a lifestyle of Torah and Mitzvot. This essentially is what Hashem wants. More than the actual deed done is the attention we have towards it. With a desire to want, eventually we will do many, many more mitzvot. We should always remember the value of doing even one mitzvah.

Parsha Pearls

How could Moshe Rabbeinu ask Pharaoh for three days to go into the desert? It didn’t appear that he had any intention of keeping to his word as it says in the verse, “And it was told to the king that the people had fled.” The Arizal says had they not gotten redeemed at this moment they would have entered into the fiftieth level of impurity which they would have never been able to get out of. The Ohr Hachaim says this was only because they had not received the Torah. However, once we received the Torah we could get out of anything. Moshe Rabbeinu realized that after 210 years in Mitzrayim they could not survive without the Torah. He planned to take a three day trip to Mount Sinai, get the Torah, and return to Mitzrayim to finish the 400 years that were supposed to be fulfilled in galut. Therefore, Moshe had every intention of returning, but in the end Pharaoh told them to leave, get out now, and never return.

Glimpses of Greatness

The following story demonstrates the great Ahavat Yisrael Rav Eliyahu Moshe Shisgal had for every Jew.  There was a mentally ill man who liked to visit Rav Shisgal. The man thought he was a professor and high ranking army personnel. Once, while visiting Rav Shisgal, the man brought a radio and played it very loudly. Rav Shisgal did not want to offend the man by asking him to turn it off so he cleverly asked the man if it was military secrets that he was listening to. The professor replied that it was. Rav Shisgal responded that if it was military secrets, than Rav Shisgal should not be listening to them. The professor agreed and promptly shut off the radio.

Halacha Weekly

Q. Can a medical professional receive payment for work on Shabbat?  [I OCH-6-76]

A. Eliah Raba (306, R. Eliyahu Spira Z”L) writes that it is permitted to receive payment for a mitzvah [even though] it  gives a person satisfaction to perform the action and he would perform it regardless even without payment. For this reason, it is not called payment [for work done] on Shabbat. Mishneh Berurah (306-24) writes it is permitted for a midwife to receive payment on Shabbat for the reason that she will [thereby] not be lax in [doing her job and it is] a matter involving

danger to life. It follows that the payment [she receives for doing her job on Shabbat] is payment [also] for a mitzvah, [the mitzvah] of saving a life, as it is written in Mahari Bruna (114, R. Yisrael Bruna Z”L). It follows that a medical professional in general can receive payment for doing work on Shabbat.

However, does this apply also to healing non-Jews? Shearim Metzuyanim Behalachah (90-7, R. Shlomo Zalman Braun, Z”L) writes in the name of Pekudat Eliezer (29, R. Rafael Eliezer HaLevi, Z”L) that it is permitted to take payment even on Shabbat for healing a non-Jew. The reason is because there is a mitzvah of healing a non-Jew in order that there should not be hatred engendered amongst the non Jews for Israel, G-d forbid. It therefore follows that it is [also] a mitzvah matter.   Tzitz Eliezer(8-15-13, R. Eliezer Waldenberg Z”L) writes likewise.