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"This beach sure is beautiful, Avi."
"Yes, and so relaxing, Chaim. The waves keep rolling in and breaking on the sand. I could lay here for hours."
"Me too. This beach helps me appreciate the wisdom of Shlomo HaMelech."
"Really? In what way?"
"The verse (Melachim I, 5:9) states that Hashem gave wisdom and considerable understanding to Shlomo, and a heart as broad as the sand on the beach."
"That is beautiful, Chaim, but what does it mean?"
"The Ha'amek Davar explains. In this week's parasha, Yosef advises Pharaoh to find a man who is understanding and wise to govern (the years of plenty and famine in) Mitzraim, (Bereshis 41:33)."
"What is the difference between wisdom and understanding?"
"Wisdom is the gathering of knowledge and ideas. In order to be truly wise, one must have a lot of knowledge. The next step is understanding. One must spend time thinking about what he knows, and learn how to apply it. To weigh, compare and use his knowledge."
"There is another level of understanding, which the verse refers to as 'navon'. A 'navon' is one who knows how to apply the knowledge that he has acquired. One application is knowing when to keep quiet. A person may have a wealth of knowledge and information. He may also have 'seichel' (common sense) and discernment to understand many subjects and issues. Therefore he may wish to express his opinion on everything."
"That's only natural."
"Brilliant Avi. The Ha'amek Davar comments that this is the nature of a person. A 'navon' knows that his opinion may not always be appreciated. People may not be interested in what he has to say, although he is very wise. Therefore, he keeps quiet in those situations."
"Wonderful. How does that relate to the sand on the beach?"
"The sand keeps the water from crossing its boundary and entering the dry land. So too, understanding keeps a person from speaking in places where his words will not be heard."
"Chaim you are so wise. I am always ready to hear what you have to say."
Kinderlach . . .
"The bus is coming in three minutes, Imma! I must say 'Bircas HaMazone' very quickly and then run to the bus stop." Imma thinks to herself, "She wasted so much time this morning. She could have finished eating fifteen minutes ago and had plenty of time for proper blessings and a relaxed walk to the bus. I must tell her this. Not now, however. She is under a lot of pressure to make the bus. She will not accept what I have to say." Kinderlach, Shlomo HaMelech himself said, "There is time for everything under the sun. A time to be silent, and a time to speak." (Koheles 3:7). A "navon" knows when to keep silent.
"It happened at the end of two years to the day: Pharaoh was dreaming" (Bereshis 41:1). The Noam Elimelech has an exotic interpretation of this verse. The word shenatayim (two years) hints to two aspects of every mitzvah. The mitzvah itself is a holy act, and engaging in performing it brings additional holiness from Heaven to a person. The word yomim (days) refers to kedusha (holiness) which is called yom (day). A person may think that he has reached the pinnacle in his performance of mitzvos. He has performed it in perfect holiness and brought down the kedusha from Heaven. This is only a deception, foisted upon him by the body. "Pharaoh was dreaming." The word Pharaoh has the same letters as the word oref, which hints to the body, which is full of fantasies. If you think that you have reached perfection, you are dreaming. There is always room for improvement.
Kinderlach . . .
"I washed my hands and said the blessing before I ate bread. What more can I do?" Much more. You can learn the halachos (laws) of washing and blessing to make sure that you are doing the mitzvos 100% properly. You can learn the perushim (explanations) of the words of the blessing. You can study the reasons behind this mitzvah and blessing. Can you imagine how much better you will perform the mitzvah, and how much deeper you will appreciate and understand it? You have plenty to do!
"And behold, seven ears of grain were sprouting on a single stalk - healthy and good" (Bereshis 41:5). The Keli Yakar explains that the good healthy grain, which represented the years of plenty, all grew on a single stalk. This represents unity. Similarly, the seven lean cows, symbolizing the years of famine, are referred to as acheiros (others). Each one distanced himself from his friend. Therefore, we see that the years of plenty are characterized by unity and the famine is fraught with separation.
This is not so difficult to understand. When people are unified, they can accomplish much more. Additionally, they get more Siyata Di'shmaya (Heavenly assistance) because Hashem loves unity and rewards those who humble themselves to get along with others. The opposite is also true. Working alone, you accomplish much less. And lack of unity and fighting is the source of much trouble with the Jewish people.
Kinderlach . . . The seven years of plenty in Mitzraim were filled with prosperity and blessings. Wouldn't we all love to receive those types of blessings? Let's begin with unity. Let us all work together this Shabbos, serving the meal and clearing the table. Let Imma assign a job to everyone. Then do your jobs cheerfully without fighting. See if that does not increase the peace and unity at the Shabbos table. Remember, prosperity and unity go together.
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