Posts Tagged ‘Chayei Sarah’

29
Oct

Eshet Chayil – Torah of Love

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week, Relationships

“She opens her mouth with wisdom, and a lesson of kindness is on her tongue.”

Rabbi Elazar asked, “Is there a Torah of Kindness and a Torah that is not of kindness? We must say that Torah studied “Lishma,” with love of God, is a Torah of kindness, and that Torah studied without love of God is a Torah without kindness.” (Succah 49b)

Rabbi Elazar understands this verse as describing a woman who constantly functions with a deep sense of love of God.

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Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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29
Oct

Eshet Chayil – True Majesty

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week, Relationships

“Strength and majesty are her raiment, she joyfully awaits the last day.”

There is a famous story about my great-uncle, Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer zt”l: He learned that there was an ancient debilitated widow who lived in his neighborhood in Jerusalem. She could not even get up from her bed. People brought food to her everyday, but she had no one to clean up. Rav Isser Zalman paid for a woman to clean the house and the widow every Friday, and would visit her immediately after she was cleaned up.

One day the woman said, “Rebbe, bless me!”

“With what shall I bless you,” he asked.

“With a long life.”

The great sage was shocked, “Do you want to continue living like this for a long time?”

“Rebbe, every Friday, right after the woman cleans me up, I ask her for a glass of water. It is the only time during the week when my body is clean enough for me to recite a blessing. I wait the entire week just to say that blessing. I want to have many years of reciting that once a week blessing.”

Rav Isser Zalman blessed her as she wished. She outlived him.

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Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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29
Oct

Eishet Chayil – Appreciating The Value Of Her Words

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week, Relationships

“She makes a cloak to sell, and delivers a belt to the peddler.”

Bar Kappara used to sell sayings for denarii. ‘While you are still hungry, eat; while you art still thirsty, drink; while your pot is still hot, empty it out.’ (Berachot 62b) The Imrei Noam explains that Bar Kappara would only say something that he knew people felt was valuable enough to pay to learn.

The Eishet Chayil only shares thoughts she knows are valuable.

The Gra elaborates that Bar Kappara would teach practical lessons in ethical behavior, symbolized by a cloak, as the Talmud (Bava Batra 57b) teaches, “R. Yochanan asked R. Bana’ah, ‘How long should the under-garment of a Talmid Chacham be?’ He replied: “So long that his flesh should not be visible beneath.” The cloak symbolizes modesty and careful behavior.

The cloak made by the Woman of Valor is one of modesty. She does not speak only to be heard or for people to pay attention to her. She speaks only when she sees that people will appreciate and use her wisdom.

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Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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28
Oct

Abraham the Matchmaker, by Prof. Gerald August

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week

Was Abraham a good matchmaker? At first glance, what is the question? After all, Eliezer does find a good match for Isaac.

If we look a little closer, Eliezer realized he needed more information about the woman. Abraham told him not to pick from a Canaanite woman because he did not like their ethical standards. So he sent Eliezer with a charge to pick from his family’s household in Nahor

So why doesn’t Eliezer just go to Nahor and ask someone where the family resides? Why does he go where everyone from the town congregates? Why does he ask for a sign? And why is the sign specifically an act of kindness? Kindness is a good thing. But maybe Isaac, being a sheltered person, needed a woman with street smarts.

Perhaps the answer is as follows. Abraham had been away from his hometown and family for many decades. He had a good situation in his family and his hometown and was away for a long time. However, not being in the town and with the family, he did not know what the situation was now. How could he? So, according to Abraham’s instructions, whoever was from the family would have been a good match.

However, Eliezer did not see it that way. He wanted a sign that whoever was chosen needed to be on the ethical level Abraham sought in a wife for Isaac.

But why did he pick kindness?

Because ethics deals with relations with other people. And people who are kind have an outer focus. They look and see what is needed for the other person, not for themselves, and they act accordingly. That is the type of person Eliezer understood would be good for Isaac. And why did Eliezer understand that very well? Because Eliezer was a faithful servant. And a servant is someone who is focused on the other person and is there to serve the other person. The same type of focus that is the essence of a kind person.

An important lesson we learn is not to idealize the past. We may have had a wonderful childhood in a particular city. And having not lived there for a while we continue to view the city in past terms. But perhaps this city devolved into a dangerous place.

The lesson is important. Those things and thoughts and ideas that have worked for us in the past may not be appropriate for our present situation. So we need to reevaluate what we are doing on a constant basis. One time we all do this is on Rosh Hashanah. But what about the rest of the year? How can we institute an ongoing review? It is too intense to do on a weekly basis.

But the calendar comes to our rescue. The new month. Once a month we can sit down for a few minutes and evaluate the last month. What has been working? What has not been working?

Ask a friend to help you with this. Just like Eliezer was a good friend to Abraham by realizing what needed to be changed, a good friend can help you.

Make a good match for yourself. Match yourself with a realistic and doable month.

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28
Oct

Eshet Chayil – The Dignifier

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week, Relationships

“Distinctive in the councils is her husband, when he sits with the elders of the land.”

Clearly, the Midrash credits the accomplishments of the great men of the bible to their wives. However, not every husband merits or deserves to sit among the elders of the land. Is the Woman of Valor defined by her husband’s position in the community?

The Midrash sees God bringing honor and dignity to the elders of the land: “Rabbi Avin said, ‘In the future, the Holy One, Blessed is He, will set up the elders of Israel in a semicircle, and He Himself will sit at the head of all of them.’ King Solomon said, ‘I saw Him sitting with them and judging with them, as it is stated, ‘Her husband is well-known at the gates, as he sits among the elders of the land.” (Tanchuma, Shemot #29)

The Woman of Valor raises her husband’s dignity, not only by virtue of her accomplishments and bearings, but by constantly treating him with dignity for who he really is.

I recall meeting the newly engaged bride of one of my father zt”l’s students, someone not known for his great scholarship or accomplishments. “You can ask my future husband any question and he’ll be able to answer you,” she said. I was about to accept her dare when I noticed the look on my father’s face, and chose to behave politely. I later asked my father what would happen when she found out that her husband was not the great scholar she believed. “Every spouse has to identify what makes their spouse special, and honor him or her for that quality. Either she will be more generous than you and see what makes him unique, or she’ll be sorely disappointed.”

Project Dignity must be part of every marriage. We have to identify the best qualities in the other and dignify them for who and what they really are.

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Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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28
Oct

Eshet Chayil – Raising Greatness

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week, Relationships

“Luxurious bedspreads she made herself, linen and purple wool are her clothing.”

Unless the verse means that the clothing make the woman, we have to wonder which quality is described in this verse.

“This refers to Sarah, whose children became Kohanim Gedolim (High Priests) and served in garments of linen and purple wool.” (Tanchuma, Chayei Sarah #4)

“This refers to Samson’s mother, who would weave and sell her work in the marketplace to support her son so he could sit and study Torah.” (Batei Midrashot 2)

“This refers to Batsheba, who merited that her son, Solomon would ascend to the throne dressed in linen and purple wool, and ruled the earth from one end to the other.” (Midrash Mishlei)

All the Midrashim understand this verse as describing a woman who raises her children for greatness. Maimonides speaks of the Kavanah (intention) we must have when we bring children in the world, as believing that this child will change the world.

The Woman of Valor is not the woman who believes and brags that her children are the best in the world. She is focused on nurturing the great and specific potential of each member of her household. She cares for the seeds of expansion in her husband and children. She is determined to raise greatness.

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Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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28
Oct

Eshet Chayil – Only the Best!

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week, Relationships

“She fears not snow for her household, for her entire household is clothed with scarlet wool.”

Uh oh! I’m not wearing scarlet wool! Our children are not clothed in scarlet wool. Neither is Pip. And here I was convinced that my wife is a perfect example of the Eishet Chayil. Even worse, my wife may not fear the snow, but she does resent the mess Pip makes when he is covered with snow.

The Midrash comes to Debbie’s rescue: “This verse describes Rahab, who did not fear the approaching Jewish army because she had her scarlet thread as a sign of the promise made to protect her.”

The Midrash understands this verse as describing a woman who does not fear life’s challenges because she trusts in her merit. She sees the best of her family. She focuses on their accomplishments and growth. She revels in their development as good human beings. She takes pride in their commitments. She is confident in their abilities and goodness.

The Woman of Valor’s perspective shapes the view of her entire household; they too, see the best in themselves and the family. They stand with her and face the future fearlessly in their garments of good and light.

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Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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28
Oct

Eshet Chayil: A Woman Transformed

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week, Relationships

“She spreads out her palm to the poor, and extends her hands to the destitute.”

“About whom is this verse written? The widow of Zarephath who sustained Elijah with bread and water.” (Batei Midrashot 2)

A strange example! The widow was only able to feed Elijah through the prophet’s miraculous blessing that supplied her with food. Of course she fed him; he brought food into her home.

Her great act seems to be trusting Elijah when he told her, “Fear not! Go do as you have said: but first prepare a small cake from it for me, and bring it out to me. And prepare for yourself and your son, afterward.” (Kings I 17:13) She had “only a handful of flour in a jug, and a bit of oil in a cruse.” She was preparing to, “Eat it and then we will die.” Elijah asked her to first feed him her final food before she ate her last meal. She trusted him, and “She ate, her and her household, for a year.”

Why would the Midrash understand her actions as charity rather than trust? Perhaps the Sages perceived that she did not share her food with Elijah because of his promised miracle, but as an expression of generosity by a desperate woman.

No wonder the story continues with a woman transformed: “The son of the woman, the landlady;” she is no longer as the widow, but as a woman, a landlady. She regained her dignity through her charity.

She transformed herself from the “widow” to the “landlady” by her act of generosity even as she prepared to eat the very last of her food.

Our verse is not describing a charitable woman, but a Woman of Valor who transforms herself through her generosity. She does not simply hand out food to the poor, nor simply drop some coins into a Tzedakka box; the Woman of Valor appreciates each charitable act as a transformation into a higher being. She is not the overwhelmed woman caring for the needs of her husband, children and guests. She understands that each time she extends her hand to help another, she is grabbing an opportunity to grow. She revels in the demands made of her. She does not resent them. She treasures each opportunity to become The Woman Transformed, the true Woman of Valor.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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28
Oct

Eshet Chayil – The Resourceful Woman

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week, Relationships

“Her hands she stretches out to the distaff, and her palms support the spindle.”

The common explanation of this verse is  that it describes the industrious woman who applies herself to the task of making clothing for her family, or to sell at a profit. (See “The Privilege of Purpose”) It seems to me that such a reading creates crushing demands on a woman who aspires to be a Woman of Valor.

The Midrash (Batei Midrashot 2) understands this verse as a warrior woman, Jael, who killed Sisera with a tent-peg rather than a weapon to demonstrate that she did not need a man’s weapon to slay the mighty general. The Woman of Valor is resourceful. She will use whatever she has at hand to deal with whatever comes her way. The Tanchuma (Chayei Sarah #4) describes Sarah, the original subject of the Eishet Chayil, as always finding a way to welcome guests into her home.

This verse is not a demand for more work; it is praise of resourcefulness, of managing the challenges of life with whatever is available.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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27
Oct

Eishet Chayil – Tasting Greatness

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week, Relationships

“She perceives that her merchandise is good; her lamp goes not out by night.”

The Midrash Mishlei applies this verse to Chana.  She tasted the power of her prayer. She knew that it was successful and would be granted. It was her taste of her prayer’s power that gave her the merit to have Samuel as her son, who is considered the equal of Moshe and Aaron in prayer. Samuel’s accomplishments, especially his anointment of David as the king, continues to shine until the coming of the Messiah, the son of David. Chana’s ability to taste her prayer, “Ta’ama [tasted] ki Tov sachrah,” empowered Samuel’s ability to shine through all the ages, even when dark and seemingly night.

We often have difficulty savoring our gifts and accomplishments. The Eishet Chayil does not hesitate. She appreciates and honors all she does, and by so doing, brings great strength to all she touches.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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