פ’ וארא – תשע”ה
Volume 7, Issue 2
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, and Growth Through Torah by Zelig Pliskin.
וידבר אלקים אל משה ויאמר אליו אני ה’
“And Hashem spoke to Moshe and He said to him: ‘I am Hashem.’” (6:2)
This Parsha inaugurates the episode of revelation, preceded by the Ten Plagues. Hashem presents Himself by His Full Name: “I am Hashem” stating that He never revealed Himself to the Avos in this way. He relates His promise to give Bnei Yisrael the Land of Canaan and now, having heard the groaning of Bnei Yisrael, He recalls His Covenant. He invokes His Full Name in regard to saving His people and taking them out of Egypt: Tell the Children of Israel that I am Hashem and I shall remove you from the slave labor of Egypt. (6:6)
Hashem also invokes His Name regarding the choice of Bnei Yisrael as a chosen people: I shall adopt you as a nation and be for you a G-d and you will know that I am Hashem (6:7); and He also mentions His name once more regarding the giving of the Land: I shall give it to you as a heritage. I am Hashem. (6:8).
The main point of these verses is that Hashem makes known that He will reveal Himself through His Full Name through three events; Exodus from Egypt, the Revelation at Har Sinai and the inheritance of the Land. (Torah Gems)
והבאתי אתכם אל הארץ…ונתתי אתה לכם מורשה אני ה’
“I shall bring you to the land…and I shall give it to you as a heritage; I am Hashem. (6:8)
The Torah usually refers to an inheritance by the term nachalah. Why here does the Torah deviate and use the word morasha, a heritage?
Let us understand the difference between the two terms. A nachalah, inheritance, becomes the compete property of its heirs. It is theirs to do with as they wish. Morasha, a heritage, is a limited ownership, and its inheritors may use it only in accordance with set stipulations. The Torah calls our relationship with Eretz Yisrael one of morashah, a heritage. We have been granted Eretz Yisrael only to use in accordance with Torah and to pass it on to future generations to do likewise.
The only other occasion when the Torah uses the term morashah is in Devarim 33:4: תורה צוה לנו משה מורשה קהלת יעקב”, The Torah that Moshe commanded us is the heritage of the congregation of Yaakov.” The same is true of Torah. It is not ours to do with as we wish, and we have no right to change any part of it. It is a heritage which we must closely guard and pass on to our children in the same manner in which we received it. We bear a great responsibility. Only by preserving the purity of these gifts can we pass them to our children in a manner that guarantees our nation’s continuity. (Rabbi Gifter, Pirkei on the Torah)
הוא אהרן ומשה אשר אמר ה’ להם הוציאו את בני ישראל מארץ מצרים על צבאתם הם המדברים אל פרעה מלך מצרים להוציא את בני ישראל ממצרים הוא משה ואהרן
“These were the same Aaron and Moses to whom G-d said, ‘Take the Children of Israel out from the land of Egypt by their hosts.’ These were the ones who spoke to Pharaoh, king of Egypt, about taking the Children of Israel out from Egypt, these were Moses and Aaron.” (6:26-27)
Rashi points out that in certain places Aaron is mentioned before Moses, while in others, Moses precedes Aaron. This is meant to show that they were considered as being equal. Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik explains that there is a very judicious reason for the precedence of one over the other in their respective places. To our minds, Moses played a leading role with regard to the actual Exodus, and Aaron, a leading role in the negotiations with Pharaoh. And yet, in the verse speaking of the Exodus, Aaron is mentioned first, while in those detailing the negotiations with Pharaoh, Moses comes first. Clearly, they were equals.
(We find a similar usage with regard to honoring parents. A person is more inclined to fear his father than his mother, while with honor it is exactly the opposite. Therefore, the Torah tells us to “fear your mother and father”, but to “honor your father and mother”. This teaches us that both are equal.) (Torah Anthology)
והרביתי את אתתי ואת מופתי בארץ מצרים
“And I will multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt.” (7:3)
The Chazon Ish comments that the Torah’s purpose in relating G-d’s miracles and wonders is not to establish the veracity of the Jewish faith in the eyes of nonbelievers. Rather, the intent is to chronicle these events for the benefit of those who believe already.
This is really quite obvious, continues the Chazon Ish. The nonbeliever will continue to disbelieve even after the Torah has related all these wonders, for inasmuch as he does not believe in Divine origin of the Torah, he will deny also the factuality of what is written in it. And the believer, of course, who believes already, has no need for additional proofs to bolster his faith. Clearly, then, the purpose of these accounts is for the edification of those who believe, that they might know of the events that took place so long ago. (Torah Anthology)
ויקרא פרעה למשה ולאהרן ויאמר העתירו אל ה’ ויסר הצפרדעים ממני ומעמי
“Pharaoh summoned Moshe and Aaron and said: ‘Pray to G-d and let Him get the frogs away from me and my people’…” (8:4)
The Chafetz Chaim comments: In the plague of the frogs, Moshe’s tefilos to Hashem had an immediate effect. In contrast, when Bnei Yisrael was bitten by fiery serpents in the desert (Bamidbar 21:5), Moshe’s tefilos were not effective and he was commanded to take action as it states: And Hashem said to Moshe, make a fiery serpent and set it upon a pole (Bamidbar 21:8).
The reason for this, expounds the Chafetz Chaim, is that for every affliction, tefilah is beneficial, except for lashon hara which has no amendment. In this area, man is treated midah k’neged midah. One who judges his friend with the benefit of the doubt, is judged in heaven with the same consideration. One who speaks evil of others, is judged in heaven meticulously and with no consideration, since there is no sin greater than this. (Torah Gems)
חטאתי הפעם ה’ הצדיק ואני ועמי הרשעים
“I have sinned this time, Hashem is the righteous one and I and my people are wicked.” (9:27)
We do not find Pharaoh making such concessions after any of the other plagues. Was makas barad, the plague of hail, so “enlightening” that Pharaoh was inspired to condemn himself and his nation, while simultaneously offering plaudits to Hashem?
Harav Aharon Rotter, Shlita, offers an very pragmatic response. Rashi explains that the physical composition of the hail was unique in that two chemically opposed substances mixed together. Indeed, the hail was viewed as a neis b’soch neis, miracle within a miracle. Fire and hail, which is essentially water, made “peace” with each other to do the will of Hashem. The symbolism of two opposite extremes cooperating in a harmonious relationship, melding together to perform the will of Hashem evoked within Pharaoh a feeling of respect and admiration for Hashem. This is the uniqueness of the mitzvah of shalom! (Peninim on the Torah)
This week’s divrei Torah is dedicated in honor of the marriage of Dena Rosenfeld to Daniel Fromm and for a refuah sheleima for Leah Freida bas Fruma Golda. For future sponsorship opportunities or to receive this publication, please call Steve Zuckerman at 516 652 5266 or email email@example.com or Rabbi Lichter at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sponsorships in memory of or in honor of someone are $50.00 per issue.