Shmini

שביעי של פסח – תשע”ו

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.                                         

7th Day Laining

ואתה הרם את מטך ונטה את ידך על הים

“Take up your staff and raise your arm over the sea…” (Shemot 14:16)

            The splitting of the Sea of Reeds was a miraculous and supernatural event. Yet there had to be a natural action to “ignite” the miracle: G-d instructed the people to journey forward and Moshe to lift his staff over the water. G-d always demands some human act first and only then does He perform miracles. This is because events that occur without our involvement do not truly affect us. Only when we expend some effort do we appreciate G-d’s miracle. The same applies in all areas of life. Asking for G-d’s blessings is not sufficient; we must make some effort to serve as a conduit for the blessing.                                                        (Lubavitcher Rebbe)

ויבאו בני ישראל בתוך הים ביבשה

“And the Children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry land…” (Shemot 14:22)

One of the great miracles of Krias Yam Suf was the fact that every tribe had its own private path. Why was this necessary? On a practical level we can understand that this certainly helped to achieve order and organization among the crowds. But there is a deeper message here. A person’s mazel – his nature, personality, kochos, and even middos – are given to him at birth. Generally, these cannot be changed, but they can be channeled or redirected. Some enjoy learning b’iyun; others find it very dissatisfying. They love to learn b’kiyus instead. Is one greater than the other? No! The greatness of a person is finding out who he is and developing his individuality to the fullest.

Rav Shmuel Rozovsky tz”l said. “A yeshivah is nisht a zekel kartufel (a yeshivah is not a sack of potatoes)!” You can’t just throw everyone together into one room and expect them to all learn the same way and succeed. Chanoch l’na’ar al pi darko – “Educate them according to his way” (Mishlei 22:6) means that we must educate and cater to the individual needs of every child and help him develop his strengths and take pride in his accomplishments! We must all realize that we each have our own unique and individual path in avodas Hashem, and this is the lesson we learn from the fact that each shevet had its own path through the Yam Suf.                                                                                                                                                     (Torah Tavlin)

ותקח מרים הנביאה אחות אהרן את התף בידה ותצאן כל הנשים אחריה בתפים ובמחלת

“Miriam the prophetess, sister of Aharon, took the drum in her hand, and all the women followed her with drums and dancing.” (Shemot 15:20)

            There were seven prophetesses: Sarah, Miriam, Chana, Devorah, Chulda, Avigail, and Esther. The Torah refers to Miriam as Aharon’s sister. Why was Moshe not mentioned as well, since she was also Moshe’s older sister? Miriam was three years older than Aharon and she was Aharon’s sister even before Moshe was born. At that time she prophesized that a child would be born that would redeem Bnei Yisrael and now her prophecy came true, whereas she was called: Miriam the prophetess.                                                                                    (Torah Gems)

8th Day Laining

            נתון תתן לו ולא ירע לבבך בתתך לו

“You shall surely give to him, and let your heart not feel bad when you give him.”                   (Devarim 15:10)

            QUESTION: Why is the money given to the poor called tzedakah (צדקה)?

            ANSWER: Tezadakah is one of the noblest mitzvot of our Torah, and everyone should make an effort to set aside at least ten percent of his earnings for charitable causes. The Gemara (Kesubos 67b) says that even one who wants to be more extravagant in his giving, however, should still not give away more than one-fifth (twenty percent).

            This is hinted to in the word צדקה itself. The numerical value of “ק”  is 100, and “צ” is 90. The numerical value of “ה” is 5, and “ד” is 4. If one has ק – 100, one should give away ten percent of it, leaving for himself צ – 90. One who wants to be extravagant may give one portion from each ה – 5, with ד – 4 remaining, which amounts to giving twenty percent.                     (Maharal)

            QUESTION: Why does the verse repeat “naton titien lo” which literally means “give you shall give to him”? It could have just said “tein lo” – “give to him.”

            ANSWER: Some have an inner struggle when it comes to giving tzedakah. In their heart they rationalize “I worked very hard to earn this money; why give it away?” The way to overcome this hesitancy is through “naton titein” – “continuous giving.” Thus, besides instructing us to give tzedakah, the Torah is also suggesting a method to facilitate fulfilling the mitzvah. By continually practicing giving tzedakah, one will become accustomed to it and not only will his heart not grieve when he gives, but he will enjoy giving and be pleased to put his resources to good use.                                                                                            (Kli Chemdah)