פ’ מקץ – חנוכה תשע”ט
Volume 26, Issue 10
INSIGHTS from the SEDRA
Insights from the Sedra is a project of the Scholar’s Kollel of Great Neck. It aims to provide several questions and answers about the Sedra, culled from various commentaries, including the following: Baal Haturim, Darash Moshe, Vedebarta Bam by Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky, Torah Treasures by Dov Furer, Wellsprings of Torah by Alexander Friedman, and Kol Dodi by Rabbi Dovid Feinstein, Great Torah Lights by Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Goodman, Something To Say by Dov Wasserman, The Vilna Gaon, Growth Through Torah by Zelig Pliskin and The Call of the Torah.
ונחיה ולא נמות
“…that we may live and not die…” (42:2)
The root of the word ונחיה, that we may live is chaim, which means life, but chaim has a dual connotation. In its rudimentary sense, chaim means the most basic form of life as opposed to death. Seen from a wider perspective, chaim can also denote the good life, the life of comfort and luxury. Having always enjoyed a life of abundant prosperity in Yaakov’s house, his sons might think their instructions were to buy enough food to live in the comfort to which they were accustomed. In order to avoid any misunderstanding, Yaakov stated his wish in the most unambiguous terms, “that we may live and not die.” They were to buy this much and no more, for it is prohibited to live in luxury when the world is suffering famine. (Netziv)
ויבאו בני ישראל לשבר בתוך הבאים
“The sons of Israel came to buy provisions among the arrivals…” (42:5)
Hashem said, And I shall be sanctified among the children of Israel. This teaches us that in order to recite prayers that fall into the category of “matters of sanctity,” one must be among the children of Israel; that is a minyan of ten adult men. How do we know that the word betoch refers to ten men? Our verse states, The sons of Israel came to buy provisions among (betoch) the arrivals. Yaakov had twelve sons, two of whom – Yosef and Binyamin – were not among those who were now going down to Egypt, so our verse is speaking about ten men, and uses the word betoch. A gezeirah shavah teaches us that when the verse about sanctifying Hashem uses the word betoch, it is referring to ten men. (Yerushalmi Berachos 7:3)
ויאמר אלהם מרגלים אתם לראות את ערות הארץ באתם
“And he said to them: ‘You are spies! You have come to see the weakness of the land.” (42:9)
This accusation indicates a careful design and strategy on the part of Yosef. Had he charged them with any other crime they undoubtedly would have made inquiries about the identity of this unfair ruler who denounces innocent people. In the course of their inquiries, they would have learned about Pharaoh’s dream and the events that evolved from them, and Yosef’s true identity would undoubtedly have been revealed. By accusing them of spying, however, Yosef could rest assured that the brothers would ask no questions of anyone, for any such inquiries would only reinforce the accusation. (Mincha Belulah)
אך טוב וחסד ירדפוני כל ימי חיי ושבתי בבית ה’ לארך ימים
“Only good and kindness should pursue me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of Hashem for many days…” (Tehillim 23:6)
The gematria of tov plus chessed equals the same gematria as Chanukah (89). The days of Chanukah are a time for one to get close to Hashem through Torah and avodah. We should erit to pursue tov and chessed, all of our lives – and dwell in the house of Hashem forever. (Tiferet Shlomo)
כל המשתמש באור תורה אור תורה מחייהו
“Anyone who basks in the light of Torah, the light of Torah will provide him life.” (Ketubot 111a)
Torah Shebichtav is called “das” as it says in Devarim (33:2), מימינו אש דת למו – From His right hand He presented the fiery Torah to them. Torah She’ba’al peh is called “ohr” as it say sin Mishlei (6:23), ותורה אור – And the Torah is light. The Torah She’ba’al peh illuminates the Torah Shebichtav. One who learns the written Torah without the Oral Torah is one who is living in the dark. The gematria of דת and אור is equal to the gematria of תורה. Torah is comprised of both components – Torah Shebichtav and Torah She’ba’al peh. (Ben Yehoyada)
הנרות הללו קדש הם
“These lights are holy.” (Song after Lighting Chanukah Candles)
QUESTION: What lesson can we learn from the Chanukah candles?
ANSWER: 1) Candles represent Torah and mitzvot, as King Shlomo said, “Neir mitzvah veTorah ohr” – A mitzvah is a candle and Torah is light (Proverbs 6:23). The additions of a candle to the Chanukah Menorah each day teaches that in Torah and mitzvot, one should never be content with what was done yesterday. Each day one must strive to do more and improve in the study of Torah and observance of mitzvot.
2) The Chanukah lights commemorate the Menorah of the Beit HaMikdash. Yet there are major differences between them. In the Beit HaMikdash the Menorah was lit in the afternoon on the inside, whereas the Chanukah candles are lit by the entrance facing the street and after dark.
This teaches that a Jew must not only light up his house, as with the Shabbat candles, but he has the additional responsibility to illuminate the “outside” – his social and business environment. When times are “hard” spiritually, when it is “dark” outside and the Jews are in exile, it is not sufficient to light a candle alone and maintain it; it is necessary to increase the lights steadily. Constant growing efforts to spread the light of Torah and mitzvot will dispel the darkness of exile and illuminate the world. (Likutei Sichot)
Chanukah Sameach to all!!
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