by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS LECH L'CHO 5770 BS"D
Ch. 12, v. 3: "Vaavorcho m'vorachecho" - And I will bless those who bless you - Targum Yonoson ben Uziel explains this to mean that Hashem will bless the Kohanim who spread out their hands in benediction (duchanen). On the words in parshas Nosso "vaani avoracheim" Rashi offers 2 explanations. One is that when the Kohanim bless the bnei Yisroel, Hashem will agree with them and proffer His blessing upon the bnei Yisroel, or that He will give His blessing to the Kohanim who bless the bnei Yisroel. It seems that the Targum Yonoson ben Uziel here follows the second explanation.
Ch. 15, v. 5: "Usfore hakochovim" - And count the stars - Tosfos Hasholeim says that these words would indicate that it was at night, when stars are visible. (This is not conclusive, as in verse 1 it says that this conversation took place through a "machazeh.") However, in verse 12 it says, "Va'y'hi hashemesh lovo," - And it was when the sum was coming, meaning that it was coming to the end of the day. (This translation is disputed by Targum Onkelos, who says "l'mei'al." Rashi at the beginning of verse 17 seems to agree with Tosfos.) If so, the time line seems out of order. Tosfos says that this is indeed so (gemara P'sochim 8). Tosfos goes on to explain why the Torah does not stick to a chronological order. The Kohein always has the first "aliyoh laTorah." He might well consider himself superior to the Yisroelim who receive later "aliyos." By not following a time line there are instances when the Kohein will have an "aliyoh" where his parsha happened later than that of the Yisroel who received a later "aliyoh."
Kabalists write that had Hashem organized the Torah in a chronologically accurate manner, anyone, even an evil person, would be capable of resuscitating the dead.
Ch. 15, v. 5: "Usfore hakochovim …… ko yi'h'Yehudoh za'recho" - And count the stars …… so will be your descendants - In what aspect are Avrohom's descendants compared to the stars?
1) In their numbers (Rabbi Shlomo Ashtruk)
2) Just as the stars have personal supervision through Hashem rather than through intermediaries, so too, the bnei Yisroel will have the unique personal supervision of Hashem. (Rabbi Shlomo Ashtruk)
3) Just as the nations of the world cannot annihilate the stars, so too, they cannot annihilate the bnei Yisroel. (Rabbeinu Tovioh)
4) Just as stars are extremely large but appear to us as small pinpoint dots of light, so too, each of the bnei Yisroel, even if he seems to be of a minimal stature, is spiritually enormous. (Sfas Emes)
5) In their levels of wisdom - Just as there are stars that emit more light and others that emit less light, so too, the bnei Yisroel will have varying levels of wisdom. (Rabbeinu Bachyei)
Ch. 15, v. 6: "V'he'emin baShem va'yach'sh'veho lo tzedokoh" - And he had faith in Hashem and He considered it for him righteousness - Rabbi Yechezkel Abramski was incarcerated by the Russians and was sent to Siberia to do hard labour. His conditions were appalling and he was oft times a hair-breadth away from death. One morning upon awakening he recited "Modeh ani l'fo'necho." Upon reaching the words "shehechezarto bi nishmosi" he stopped and contemplated his situation. He wondered if he could honestly recite these words as his spiritual situation was nil. He had no opportunity to daven, wear tefillin, etc., etc. his physical conditions were likewise close to nil, so he thought to himself that he was really not thankful that his neshomoh was returned to him. However, he recited the prayer to the end and when he reaches "raboh emuno'secho" he realized that this was untouched by the arurim. He not only had the opportunity to have faith in Hashem all day, but that his faith, especially when realizing that he avoided death time and again, was actually heightened. When he was eventually freed from prison he met the Admor Rabbi Yoseif Yitzchok of Lubavitch and told him this insight that came to him in Siberia as a result of his circumstances, the Rebbe responded that it could well be that Hashem orchestrated his stay in the Siberian prison just for him to come to this wonderful insight into "modeh ani."
In later years Rabbi Abramski said that once he was a free man he would no longer receive any reward for faith in Hashem, as he experienced open miracles time and again in Russia.
We might add that the words the Rebbe of Lubavitch told Rabbi Abramski might be alluded to in these words of our verse. "V'he'emin baShem," and he had faith in Hashem, but he had no other opportunities for mitzvos, "va'yach'sh'veho lo tzedokoh," and he considered it for HIMSELF as a justification for his situation, to realize that there is purpose in life even if limited to only this.
Ch. 15, v. 8: "Ba'meh eida ki iroshenoh" - With what will I know that I will inherit it - Rashi offers two interpretations, either that Avrohom asked for a clear indication that this would be so, or that he simply asked for which merit he would inherit the land. The gemara N'dorim 32a says that Avrohom was punished for asking "ba'meh eida." According to the second explanation of Rashi why was he punished? Yalkut Hageirshuni answers that Avrohom was punished for the semantics he used. Even if his intention was the second explanation in Rashi, he should have expressed himself in such a manner that there would be no room for the first explanation. We now have a deeper understanding of the words of our Chaza'l on the words in Shmos 11:2, "Da'beir noh b'oznei ho'om v'yishalu ……" Our Rabbis say that the word PLEASE is used to show that Hashem asked Moshe to PLEASE ask the people to ask the Egyptians for their gold and silver so that Avrohom would not have a complaint that Hashem had fulfilled the edict that his descendants would endure "vaavodum v'inu osom," but would not have the fulfillment of "v'acha'rei kein yeitzu birchush godol." In truth, the "r'chush godol" could surely mean the Torah that they would receive a short forty days later, so there was really no need for them to have physical "r'chush." However, since "r'chush godol" has a dual meaning, in the realm of the spiritual, the Torah, and also in the physical realm, gold and silver, so that specifically Avrohom would have no complaints about the other possible meaning of "r'chush godol," as he would be justified in saying that his intention was to only ask in which merit he would inherit the land, and nevertheless he was punished for expressing this in an ambivalent manner, Hashem also found it necessary to see to it that the bnei Yisroel receive physical as well as spiritual "r'chush godol."
Ch. 15, v. 15: "Tiko'veir b'seivoh tovoh" - You will be buried in a good old age - Rashi (gemara B.B. 16b) says that included in this blessing is that Avrohom would not suffer the pain of seeing his grandson Eisov turn to a bad path. This is why Avrohom died five years earlier than he would have otherwise died. On the day of Avrohom's demise Eisov overtly turned away from Torah values. Why was it necessary to orchestrate an early death for Avrohom? Why didn't Hashem control Eisov for five more years and allow Avrohom to live out his full life? Nachalas Yaakov answers that the gemara Megiloh 25a says that all matters are in control of the Heavens, save fear of Heaven. There was no choice but to let Eisov have free reign.
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