Friday, January 18, 2019

Dvar Torah & Podcast (#75!) for Parshas Beshalach


      Parshas Beshalach follows the Bnei Yisrael on their first journeys leaving Mitzrayim and generations of slavery. Between the splitting of the Yam Suf, the miracle of the Manna, and finding water in the desert, the first few days after their exodus were not uneventful. Throughout their travails through the desert, the leadership of Moshe was on display as a steady hand guiding the young nation on their journey towards spiritual fulfillment.
       This idea is on display again at the end of the parsha with the battle against Amalek. This would be just the first of many encounters with Amalek over the course of history. This nation, descended from Esav, hated everything the Bnei Yisrael stood and continue to stand for: purity, both spiritual and physical, and righteousness. It became and continues to be our responsibility to eradicate Amalek and all those who follow his path, from the world; until this point, we remain unsuccessful.
       But at that time, it was just the first and only battle in the desert between these two nations, with Amalek trying to stop the Bnei Yisrael in their tracks. While Yehoshua, Moshe’s pupil, led the army into battle, Moshe took charge of the spiritual aspect. He climbed up to the top of a mountain overlooking the battle and raised his hands towards the heavens in prayer. This inspired the nation to pray, and their spiritual fervor quickly changed the tide of the battle. After a time, Moshe’s arms tired. So his brother, Aharon, and his nephew, Chur, held his hands aloft so the Bnei Yisrael would continue to be motivated to daven. Eventually, thanks to Moshe’s leadership, they were successful in battle.
       When describing the assistance of Aharon and Chur, the Torah uses an interesting phrase. “וַיְהִ֥י יָדָ֛יו אֱמוּנָ֖ה עַד־בֹּ֥א הַשָּֽׁמֶשׁ“(As a result of their assistance) He (Moshe) was with his hands in faith until the setting of the sun” (Shemos 17:12). The Kli Yakar focuses on the usage of the “setting of the sun”; while the simple explanation is that the battle lasted the entire day, he uses it in a more poetic way. The setting of the sun refers to the end of Moshe’s life.
       Until the end of his life, Moshe was dedicated to protecting Bnei Yisrael in any way he could. In Sefer Bamidbar, the Bnei Yisrael battled the Midianite nation before entering Eretz Yisrael (Chapter 31). Hashem told Moshe at the time that upon the conclusion of the battle, he should prepare for his death. Chazal teach us that even with this knowledge, Moshe did not hesitate to go out and lead the Bnei Yisrael through the conflict. He didn’t think of his own situation for a second, the continued success of Bnei Yisrael was foremost on his mind.
       This idea is hinted at here by the first battle of the nation of Yisrael. The Torah tells us Moshe dedicated himself to the success of the army until the sun went down. Not just here, but by every conflict and every time of need, Moshe would dedicate himself to the good of the people. Until his sun set, he would be there whenever and however he was needed.
Shabbat Shalom!


Click here for last year's Dvar Torah for Parshas Beshalach

Click here to listen this this week's Podcast (Also available on iTunes)

For any questions, comments, or to subscribe to our email list, please email is at AIMeMtorah@gmail.com.

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Don't forget to check out hashkafahandbook.com to learn about my book,Reality Check. And Like it on Facebook.

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AIMeM


Friday, January 11, 2019

Dvar Torah for Parshas Bo


       Dear Readers, Thank you so much for your patience and understanding over the last few weeks. We are happy to be back sharing new Divrei Torah with you!    
   
       This week’s parsha, Parshas Bo, contains the last three of the Ten Makkos. Even with the increasing intensity of each Makkah, Paroh continued to refuse to allow Bnei Yisrael to leave Mitzrayim. Hashem had told Moshe that He would harden Paroh’s heart so he would not let the Bnei Yisrael leave, in order to make sure Paroh received his just desserts and would recognize Hashem as the true God. However, in certain aspects, Paroh didn’t need any help from Hashem and denied Moshe’s requests of his own volition. And after a point, Moshe had had enough.
       At the beginning of the Parsha, Moshe is sent to warn Paroh about the upcoming plague of locusts, the eighth plague to hit the country of Egypt. After declaring that this plague would be so incredible, the likes of which would never be seen again, the pasuk says, “וַיִּ֥פֶן וַיֵּצֵ֖א מֵעִ֥ם פַּרְעֹֽהAnd he (Moshe) turned and left Paroh” (Shemos 10:6). Understanding the proper context in the pasuk, this was a very big deal. Throughout Moshe’s interactions with Paroh, he had always gone to great lengths to treat him with the respect befitting a king. Numerous examples of this appear throughout these parshiyos, including the first pasuk in this week’s parsha when Hashem Himself tells Moshe, “בֹּ֖א אֶל־פַּרְעֹ֑ה”, “come to Paroh” (ibid: 1). (This verbiage is a sign of respect towards the office of a monarch, regardless of whether he might deserve it on a personal level.) What caused Moshe to finally snap?
       The Ohr HaChaim explains that that this was indeed the last straw for Moshe. He had tried so hard to continue to show Paroh respect even after his continued denial of Hashem’s wishes; and at this point, Moshe thought he had finally made a breakthrough. At the end of last week’s parsha, following the Makkah of Barad (Hail), Paroh had admitted to his wrongdoings, “חָטָ֣אתִי הַפָּ֑עַם יְהֹוָה֙ הַצַּדִּ֔יק וַֽאֲנִ֥י וְעַמִּ֖י הָֽרְשָׁעִֽים“I have sinned this time. Hashem is righteous and I and my people are the guilty ones” (9:27). Paroh asks Moshe to daven for him, which he does, but then Paroh immediately returns to his previous attitude; prompting the Makkah of Arbeh, and Moshe’s disrespectful exit.
       The Ramban explains a bit differently. The Makkah of Barad was extremely frightening; while the wild animals of Makkas Arov might appear more dangerous than some extreme weather conditions, the fact remains that they were still natural beings. However, the icy hail mixed with fire of Barad went against all laws of nature; a truly frightening sight! But the Egyptians had survived; still, not without cost. The Barad knocked out half of the Egyptian crops, and with the locusts threatening to eat the rest, the Egyptians would soon starve. Moshe felt he could play on this, and instead of allowing Paroh time to respond to the threat of locusts like he’d done by other Makkos, he turned and left immediately to allow Paroh to stew in his dread. His tactic worked as Paroh’s servants convinced him to call Moshe back in to negotiate, but ultimately, Paroh continued to allow his heart to be hardened.
Shabbat Shalom!


Click here for last year's Dvar Torah for Parshas Bo

Click here to listen this this week's Podcast (Also available on Apple Podcasts) 

For any questions, comments, or to subscribe to our email list, please email us at AIMeMTorah@gmail.com.

Please Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter: @aimemtorah

Don't forget to check out hashkafahandbook.com to learn about my book,Reality Check. And Like it on Facebook.

Don't forget to check out the Dvar Torah on parshasheets.com!

Check out our other AIMeMTorah project, Nation's Wisdom!



AIMeM

Thursday, January 3, 2019

No New Dvar Torah this Week

Our deepest apologies, but once again there is no new Dvar Torah this week. We fully expect to have a brand new Dvar Torah next week for Parshas Bo. But in the meantime, please enjoy this Dvar Torah for Parshas Vaeira.
Shabbat Shalom!

Click here to listen this this week's Podcast (Also available on Apple Podcasts) 

For any questions, comments, or to subscribe to our email list, please email us at AIMeMTorah@gmail.com.

Please Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter: @aimemtorah

Don't forget to check out hashkafahandbook.com to learn about my book,Reality Check. And Like it on Facebook.

Don't forget to check out the Dvar Torah, available on parshasheets.com!

Check out our other AIMeMTorah project, Nation's Wisdom!



AIMeM