DECEMBER 14-15, 2007 5 TEBET 5768
The fast of Asarah B’ Tebet will be on Wednesday, December 19.
“Yosef harnessed his chariot” (Beresheet 46:29)
The great reunion of Jacob and Yosef takes place in our perashah. Yosef, the great, powerful ruler prepares his chariot to go to greet his father. Yosef had many servants that were able to do this task, but Yosef chose to do it himself. The Midrash says that he did this out of respect for his father. The Gemara (Kiddushin 41a) says that although any misvah can be done by an agent, it is better if one does the misvah himself. Rashi explains that this is because if one does it himself he has to exert himself more than if he gives the job to someone else. Rabbi Mordechai Gifter z”l gives another reason. Yosef performed the misvah of honoring his father himself because it would give his father greater pleasure to know that his son cared enough to take the effort to perform the act himself. Yet this is true of all misvot, whose performance gives honor to Hashem. Here, too, a misvah performed by the obligated individual himself renders a greater honor to his Father – Hashem. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah
"And Ya'akob saw the wagons that Yosef sent him." (Beresheet 45:27)
Rashi tells us that Yosef sent his father, Ya'akob, a sign that he still remembers the Torah that he was taught, and he reminded Ya'akob of the last subject they had learned together. When Ya'akob saw that, he knew that his son was truly alive in a spiritual sense, and he rejoiced! Similarly, when Ya'akob sent his son, Yehudah, to Egypt before the whole family, he instructed him to establish a Torah academy so that they could study Torah in Egypt. We see from here how important the Torah was to our forefathers. Although we only read of their deeds and their character in the perashah, the Midrash is teaching us how pivotal the study of Torah was to them. They were engaged in it constantly, and this is what kept them alive. Ya'akob mourned very deeply for his son for twenty-two years, yet the only thing that kept him strong was Torah study. Yosef was in a very difficult position for many years in Egypt, spending twelve years in jail, yet his faith and trust never wavered because he was constantly reviewing the Torah he learned.
This should be an inspiration for us to strengthen our Torah learning, especially when the going gets tough. The more we are connected to Hashem through Torah study, the more we can endure all of life's challenges. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka
A quick tip to boost the power of your prayer. Hazal tell us (Masechet Baba Kama Daf 92A) that Hashem loves the tefilot of one Jew for another so much that anyone who prays on behalf of a fellow Jew with similar needs will have his prayer answered first. A special service has now begun to provide people with names of others who find themselves in a similar predicament. You can call with complete anonymity and get the name of someone to pray for and give the name of someone that needs our prayers. The name of the service is Kol Hamitpalel. Categories include: Marriage; Income; Health; To have children etc.
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