Chasidic Insights

on the Weekly Parsha

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 12, v. 2: "Veh'yeih brochoh" - Rashi says that this refers to the blessing "mo'gein Avrohom." This is a most unusual blessing in the "amidoh." No other blessing refers only to the past. However, we can say that the concept of this brochoh is very relevant today. Just as Hashem was Avrohom's Shield and protected him when he would not deny that Hashem is the Master and the only Master, so too, Hashem safeguards this spark of belief in the heart of every ben Yisroel for all generations. (Chidushei HoRi"m)

Ch. 12, v. 8: "Va'yaa'teik mishom hohoroh mi'kedem l'Veis Eil" - One must remove haughtiness (the mountain) from himself before he comes to the house of prayer. (Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vizhnitz in Tzemach Tzadik)

Ch. 12, v. 10: "Va'y'hi ro'ov bo'oretz va'yei'red Avrom" - When there was a spiritual hunger in the land Avrohom rose to the occasion and taught Hashem's mastery ("va'yei'red" from the same word source as "ro'deh"). (Nirreh li)

Ch. 12, v. 11: "Hi'nei noh yodati ki ishoh y'fas ma'reh ot" - Thoughts of the beauty of his wife were beyond Avrohom. It was only now, when they came close to Egypt, the "ervas ho'oretz," a country that reeked of immorality, and had a negative influence upon Avrohom, causing him to take note of his wife's physical beauty, that he told her it was necessary to take steps to safeguard her from the Egyptians. (Baal Shem Tov)

Ch. 14, v. 15: "Va'yeicho'leik a'lei'hem layloh" - The word "va'yeicho'leik" can be split (as is the translation of the word itself) into two, "vai," and "yeicho'leik." Woe is to him whose allegiance is split. "A'lei'hem layloh," for them it is night. (Elef Hamo'gein)

Ch. 15, v. 6: "V'he'emin baShem va'yach'sh'vehoh lo tzedokoh" - Avrohom's merit was not that he believed in Hashem, but rather that he taught others to believe in Hashem. This is literally the meaning of the word "v'he'e'min," that he caused belief, the "hifil" (causative) verb form. Rambam in hilchos avodoh zoroh writes that Avrohom taught the world that it has but One Master. The Kesef Mishneh explains that Avrohom was greater than Shem and Eiver, who also taught belief in Hashem, in that Shem and Eiver only taught those who came to them, while Avrohom publicized it. This is "v'he'emin." (Nirreh li)

Ch. 16, v. 13: "Hagam halome ro'isi" - Great Torah scholars in Russia were forced to send their works to the censor, a Torah educated "enlightened" Jew who strayed from the true path. The most virulent and nastiest of these proofreaders was one joshua steinberg shr"y. He offered Rabbi Chaim haLevi Brisker an insight into these words of our verse. Based on the words "holame po'am" (Yeshayohu 41:7), he suggested that likewise here we are discussing footsteps. Hogor stated that she was in such a desolate place in the desert that there were no footsteps in the area.

Rabbi Chaim strongly disagreed, stating that the word "hagam" is never found where the statement it precedes did not take place, but rather, that it means "surprisingly YES." (Ishim V'shitos)

We might add that steinberg's mistake was that he overlooked "hagam," whose numerical value is 48. He lacked the 48 attributes that are necessary for acquiring the Torah (Pirkei Ovos chapter #6).


See also Sedrah Selections and Oroh V'Simchoh

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