Posts Tagged ‘Shemot’

24
Dec

The Psalm of Redemption XI: Pirkei D’Rabbi Eliezer

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Portion of the Week, Prayer

Singing Psalms

After Adam sinned late in the afternoon of the sixth day he was expelled from the garden of Eden and he fell vulnerable to many forces of evil. Finally the holy Sabbath arrived and its sanctity protected Adam from these evil powers. Indeed, this Sabbath saved Adam from death, because when God wanted to kill Adam for his sin the Sabbath argued, “Master of the Universe, no man was killed on the first six days of creation. Why should killing begin on my day? Is this my sanctity? Is this my blessing?” When Adam realized why he had been spared he gave praise to the Sabbath day. Chapters of Rabbi Eliezer 20

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.


Share
24
Dec

The Psalm of Redemption X: Rabbi Samson R Hirsch

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Portion of the Week, Prayer

Singing Psalms

“How great are your works O God how infinitely profound Your thoughts!” (Verse 6) The scope of all that God has done in both nature and history reaches far beyond any existing human conception of wisdom and might. But surpassing even this in grandeur is the profoundness of God’s thoughts which are at the basis of all the phenomena of nature and of all the events of history.

This is always true, even in those instances where we think ourselves capable of surmising the thoughts of God. These “thoughts” are the consequences, the aims, purposes and intentions which God seeks to fulfill through everything that He has created or has brought to pass and which represent the results of the combined impact of everything that happens in the world.

And as for the ability to understand and regard both the realm of nature and the events of history as a world of Divine thoughts and aims that are real and turned into living actualities, this is a gift given us by Shabbat. Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch – The Psalms



Machberes Avodas Hashem

How interesting it is to compare the 19th Century historical perspective of Rav Hirsch to ours, as we live in the 21st Century, after the huge shifts in history and science in the more than 100 years since Rav Hirsch passed away!

How much more interesting it is to compare Rav Hirsch’s perspective “after” so much history, to that of Moshe when he taught these words to slaves in Egypt who lived, from our perspective, at the beginning of history!

The only constant between Moshe, Rav Hirsch and us, in terms of historical perspective, is Shabbat.

Perhaps Moshe used this Psalm to give to his generation, and to us, a gift they could share with all the generations of the past and future; the gift of Shabbat – Our connection with the direct lives of all generations of Jews.

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.

Share
23
Dec

Moshe the Faithful Shepherd by R’ Shlomo Carlebach

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week

Imagine today, we would look for somebody to save the world, who would we look for? Someone who looks very intelligent, very good looking, a good speaker… a real polished personality. But you see what it is, G-d is looking for somebody to take the Jews out of Egypt, he was looking for something else.

You know why Moshe was chosen?

Listen to this. Moshe was a Sheppard, he used to take his father-in-law’s sheep to Mount Sinai, because Yisro lived on Mount Sinai. One day a little sheep ran off. Moshe Rabbeinu is running after the sheep, calls it all kinds of sweet names, saying ‘please come back, please come back’.

The sheep ran all the way up to the top of Mount Sinai. There was a tiny little lake, and it was drinking from the lake. So Moshe Rabbeinu was waiting until it finished drinking. Then he took the sheep, put it over his shoulders and he says to the sheep ‘you must be so tired of running’.

Then he says ‘oh, my sweetest sheep, I wish we could talk to each other’.

G-d mamesh says to the angles ‘if he is taking such good care of sheep, can you imagine how much he will take care of my children as well?’.

So at that moment G-d appeared to him at the burning bush.

Share
23
Dec

The Psalm of Redemption IX: Tefillah L’Moshe

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Portion of the Week, Prayer

Singing Psalms

“A righteous man will flourish like a date palm, like a cedar in the Lebanon he will grow tall.” (Verse 13) The Talmud (Ta’anit 25a-b) teaches: R. Hiyya b. Luliani expounded: What is the meaning of the verse, The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree; he shall glow like a cedar in Lebanon? If it is said, ‘Palm-tree’ why is also said ‘Cedar’? And if ‘Cedar’ why also ‘Palm-tree’? Had it been said, ‘Palm-tree’ and not ‘Cedar’ I might have argued that just in the same way as the stem of the Palm-tree does not renew itself so too the stem of the righteous, Heaven forfend, does not renew itself; therefore it is said ‘Cedar’. Had it been said, ‘Cedar’ and not ‘Palm-tree’, I might have argued that just in the same way as the Cedar does not yield fruit, so too the righteous do not yield fruit; therefore it is said, ‘Palm-tree’ and ‘Cedar’.

When the Talmud discusses how the righteous bear fruit, it parallels the Palm, which does not offer shade directly underneath, but only in the distance. So too, the Righteous often do not directly benefit from their own righteousness, but bring that benefit to others in the distance. Tefillah L’Moshe – Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum



Machberes Avodas Hashem

Moshe and his predecessors had to speak to many of the slaves of a future redemption, or, in the words of the Tefillah L’Moshe, no direct benefit to them but  to the generations in the distance.

It is important to note that simply having the slaves in Egypt think of future generations, Moshe was reminding them that there would be a future. That realization, especially when Pharaoh was drowning all the Jewish male babies, was an act of redemption.

We often feel like slaves to our jobs and responsibilities, but we can use Shabbat to focus on the future in this world and the next. Reminding us that there is a future is one of Shabbat’s gifts.

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.

Share
23
Dec

Evil Exposed At Its Highest

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week

Brilliant Strategies

Brilliant Strategies

We have left many questions unanswered in The Future, The Mouth, Back To The Garden and The Informant. A few people mentioned that they are frustrated when I leave unanswered questions, and end a post with To Be Continued. I apologize. My intentions are to allow people to reflect on the issues and have an opportunity to offer their own answers first, as some people brilliantly did in their comments to each of the posts. I thank them, and now offer my take on all of the open questions:

This is a portion about the loss of identity and how to regain it at a higher level. Shemot, means names, and although the portion begins with a list of names, the text soon switches from names to titles: Pharaoh, Shifra, Puah, a man from Levi, the daughter of Levi, the daughter of Pharaoh, his sister, the baby etc. The first question that Moses, named by a converting Egyptian (The Conversion), not his Jewish name, Tuviah, asked God was, “Which of Your Names shall I tell them?”

The Children of Israel were losing their sense of identity while in Egypt and the portion, in fact, the entire Book of Shemot – Exodus – describes how God led them through a challenging process of regaining their sense of identity, the one they could share with the Patriarchs and Matriarchs.

It is not only the Children of Israel that develop their sense of identity. Evil, in the form of Pharaoh, does as well. This is also a story of the Evil Inclination and its strategies. (See Spiritual Matters and Job Descriptions) It is my contention that whenever the Bible describes an evil person it is teaching us some of the strategies of the Yetzer Harah.

We are familiar with the Evil Inclination at its most basic level. We experience it empirically, and we grow up knowing the Pharaoh was a wicked king. Yet right from the beginning of the story we learn that there are subtle levels to Pharaoh’s evil – Gratitude.

I am convinced that Pharaoh knew exactly what he was doing when he allowed his daughter, whom he knew had converted, to raise a Jewish child in his own palace. Pharaoh, the one who exposes (as in Periah in a Brit Milah – which also appears in this portion,) wanted to confront a great enemy and saw in Moshe his greatest adversary and looked forward to doing battle with someone who could challenge him at his best.

The crown and hot coal test was not to determine whether baby Moshe was a threat, but to determine how powerful an adversary the baby would grow up to become. Pharaoh understood that many people would assume that he was testing whether the baby would become a threat, and Pharaoh, as does the Evil Inclination, is perfectly happy when people treat him as an unsophisticated enemy. As long as we perceive the Yetzer Harah as basic we will be unprepared for his brilliant strategies. That’s fine.

Pharaoh immediately recognized that baby Moshe would test the king’s mettle at its toughest. Only a Divinely guided baby would choose the hot coal and be able to grab the burning coal and place it in his mouth.

Pharaoh certainly knew that his “son” went out to “see his brothers’ suffering.” The king’s son could not go out to visit the Jews without the king immediately knowing. Pharaoh knew that Moshe killed the Egyptian. That wasn’t a threat. He wasn’t worried that Moshe would go around chanting God’s Name and wiping out all of Egypt. The young man had a speech impediment! (Interesting to note that one of the key words in the story is Davar – as in Word – for the man who says, “I am not a man of words,” yet who ends his life by writing the Book of Devarim – words!)

Pharaoh was waiting to see what Moshe would next do. When he saw that “Moshe was frightened,” he assumed that the young man could not possibly be the great challenger that Pharaoh desired. That is why he wanted to kill Moshe. That is why he didn’t even want to listen to him. He no longer considered Moshe to be a worthwhile adversary.

The Yetzer Harah strives for excellence in evil just as the Yetzer Tov strives for excellence in good. He wants to be tested at the highest levels, which is why the Talmud teaches that the greater the person, the greater his Yetzer Harah.

This portion definitely takes us Back to the Garden and the initial confrontation between Good and Evil. We lose all sense of the battle when we treat the Pharaohs of the world and our internal Pharaoh as simple and basic. Just consider how many “good” people become evil monsters. They are unprepared for the sophisticated strategies of the enemy. How much evil is done in the name of religion? There are bad things on the internet; Prohibit all internet access. There are immodest advertisements in New York City; Prohibit going to the city. Sex is evil; Repress all urges! Simplistic approaches for sophisticated issues. Pharaoh and his cohorts can handle it.

My father zt”l used to warn that the thrill some Rabbis got when they would see thousands of people rising in respect was more dangerous than any sexual urge, as was being referred to as “Gaon.” The subtle attack of honor will eat away at the insides of the “good” person, and potentially destroy his growth.

Look at what the “Kavod” of God asking Pharaoh to “let My people go,” did to the king: He believed that he had some power in the situation.

Pharaoh sets out to fight his greatest adversary so that we can see him in his full glory and influence. The only way we will truly achieve our highest sense of identity is to understand the greatness and sophistication of our adversary.

Winston Churchill once praised General Rommel’s – The Desert Fox – brilliance in Parliament. People rose to protest the prime minister’s praise of Rommel’s genius. “We can only defeat the enemy by appreciating his greatness!”

Let’s pay attention!

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.

Share
23
Dec

Informers

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week

The Informant

The Informant

“He went out the next day, and behold! Two Hebrew men were fighting. He said to the wicked one, ‘Why would you strike your fellow?’ He replied, “Who appointed you as a dignitary, a ruler, and a judge over us? Do you propose to murder me, as you murdered the Egyptian?’ Moses was frightened and he thought, ‘Indeed, the matter is known!’ Pharaoh heard about this matter and sought to kill Moses, so Moses fled from before Pharaoh and settled in the land of Midian.” (Exodus 2:13-15)

I don’t know about you, but if the adopted son of Pharaoh spoke to me, I would be careful with my response. I would not provoke someone who killed an Egyptian the previous day.

“Who appointed you as a dignitary?” Pharaoh!

“A ruler?” Pharaoh.

“A judge?” The fact that I can kill you as I killed the Egyptian!

And such an aggressive response to the question, “Why would you strike your fellow?”

“Pharaoh heard about this matter.” Which matter? That Moshe killed an Egyptian or the confrontation with Datan and Aviram?

Was this the first Egyptian killed? Why didn’t Pharaoh hear about earlier? The entire Egyptian palace is in turmoil: An Egyptian taskmaster is missing! Pharaoh is raging at the supper table and young Moshe is sitting at the table with a perfectly innocent face. Two Jews, Datan and Aviram run to the palace with information. They expect great rewards for this information. “We know who killed the Egyptian! Your adopted son, Moses! We will show you where he is buried.”

“Really? How did he kill him?

“Well, he said something, some Holy Name or something and the guy just died.”

“And why did you wait until today to tell me?”

“Because Moses asked me why I was hitting someone else.”

Who will Pharaoh believe? I can tell you what I would have done had I been Pharaoh. Young Moshe would have been safe.

I believe the key is that “Moshe was frightened.”

To Be Continued..

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.

Share
23
Dec

Back To the Garden?

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week

Snake Trick

Snake Trick

A snake! Echoes of the Garden…in a portion about heroic women…something is going on.

A snake? Leprosy? All because Moses questioned whether the Jews would believe him.

Wasn’t that kind of drastic?

It was Miriam’s fault! Moshe’s sister, was a formidable woman.

Amram and Yocheved divorced when they heard of Pharaoh’s decree to kill all the babies. Why should we have more children only for them to be murdered?

Miriam was furious! “You are worse than Pharoah. He is only killing the males. You are killing male and female!” Good argument.

“Besides, I had a prophecy that if you remarry you will bear the redeemer of Israel!” Even better argument.

Was it necessary? Her first line of reasoning seemed pretty solid.

She received her prophecy only because she retained a clarity that all others had lost. Miriam received her prophecy because she did not lose faith in the future.

Things did not seem to be turning out her way when Yocheved had to put her baby son into a basket on the Nile and watch him float away. Amram, the father, was furious, he slapped the back of Miriam’s head, and said, “What happened to your prophecy?” Interesting, isn’t it? He does not mention her logic, just the prophecy. He did not retain his faith as did Miriam.

The girl would not let go. She watched as the daughter of Pharaoh pulled the basket form the water and the rest, as they say, is history. Miriam did not stop believing. She never surrendered her clarity. She earned her prophecy and had so much clarity that even when all seemed to be going wrong, she did not let go.

She is the paradigm of belief and faith. She was there from before Moses was born until he was delivered back to Bitya after he was weaned. Moses was born, lived, grew up on Miriam’s clarity and faith. He should never have doubted the people’s ability to believe. The brother of Miriam had to confront evil at its source; the snake, because his doubt could have undone all that Miriam had accomplished.

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.

Share
23
Dec

Job Descriptions

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week

Job Descriptions

Job Descriptions

The Sages teach us that the Egyptians gave everyone jobs at which they were not skilled in order to increase their frustration and prevent them from having any sense of accomplishment. How did the Sages know?

The Foundation Stone™ did some serious research on this issue and found an interesting article from the Egyptian News Pyramid. We post the following with their permission:

Pharaoh Speaks At Annual Conference of Jewish Midwives Association of Egypt

Our great, wonderful, wise and beloved king Pharaoh honored the Jewish Midwives Association of Egypt by agreeing to be the honoree and guest speaker at their annual conference. The Egyptian News Pyramid is honored to offer a transcript of his majesty’s speech:

********************************************************************************

Thank you very much for this great honor, of which I am definitely deserving.

I come today to honor you who take care of the future of your people by caring for the newest members of your nation, and my newest subjects, the newborn.

I speak for all my people, the citizens of Egypt, in thanking you for the work you do for the babies you deliver.

Many describe your heroic efforts on behalf of the mothers delivering these babies. They speak of the terrible hours at which you must leave your homes to care for these women. They honor your efforts to ease their pain during delivery. People are impressed by all you do to protect the mothers during the difficult hours of delivery.

I, however, your great, beloved and humble king, focus instead on what you do for the future, for the children you bring into the world. I know how hard you work to soothe the babies and clean and dress them for their parents. I do not consider your work to be that of midwives, people who help women give birth, but rather on your contribution to Egypt’s future as Baby Soothers and Baby Decorators. I hereby officially decree that the name of your organization be changed to the Association of Jewish Baby Soothers & Dressers of Egypt. I bestow upon you new titles consistent with the new name of your organization: Shifra – Official Baby Dresser, and Puah – Official Baby Soothers.

There is no need to thank me, your infinitely kind king, for these great honors. Why should you be honored for helping these helpless women who always cry during this beautiful event? Why should people speak of all you do to protect the lives of mother and child? Do they not appreciate your task of being baby dressers and soothers?

Know that your great and glorious king understands what you do and honors you for these important tasks. I commit myself to be personally involved in your efforts and plan to meet privately with the new Shifras and Puahs as soon as possible.

***************************************************************************************

The response to the king’s wonderful and generous speech was overwhelming.

There were a few women, respected in the Jewish community, who were less than thrilled with Pharaoh’s speech. They claimed that our wise king was belittling their work rather than honoring their efforts. “I am not honored by being renamed a baby dresser,” said one, obviously ungrateful woman, who spoke from behind a veil and could not be identified. Another woman, young enough to be the daughter of the first, laughed, “Baby soother! Is he nuts? I save lives!” The Egyptian Internal Security will investigate these treasonous comments.

This newspaper will report to you on the private meeting between Pharaoh and the leaders of the new organization.

PS. The Palace Authorities confirm that Pharaoh met with the Shifras and Puahs in a private meeting but will not comment on any of the details of the meeting. Do you think these women have something to hide? Rumor has it that they are taking better care than ever of the children. Obviously, our wise and gracious king has inspired them!

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.

Share
22
Dec

The Psalm of Redemption VIII: Alshich HaKadosh

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Portion of the Week, Prayer

Singing Psalms

“Upon the Assor and upon the neivel,” (Verse 4)The Assor was a 10 stringed instrument which produced 10 different tones. According to theTalmud (Arachin 13b) the Kinor, the harp of the Temple, had seven strings, but in messianic times the harp will have eight strings, and in the World to Come it will have 10. The Alshich explains that when Adam sinned, God punished him with 10 curses. All of these will be turned into blessings by the inspiring music of the final redemption.

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.

Share
22
Dec

The Psalm of Redemption VII: Redak

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Portion of the Week, Prayer

Singing Psalms


I. “It is good to give thanks to God.” (Verse 2) The Sabbath day is more suitable for giving thanks to the Lord than the other days of the week, because man is free from his mundane pursuits and his soul is clear from physical distractions, thus enabling him to engage in wisdom and divine service.

II. “To declare in the morning Your kindness,” at the time of Redemption. “And your faith at night,” during the distress of the exile, to believe in You that You will keep Your promise, all this is beautiful and good.

III. “For You have made me happy,” on the Sabbath day, when I studied Your works and the works of Your hands, which are the world and that which is within it. On the Sabbath, when I have time to meditate upon this matter, I am happy.

IV. “I shall exult,” when I meditate on it and achieve a certain degree of knowledge, I rejoice and exult in my heart. Since thus exultation is relative to each individual sage according to his own achievement, the singular form is used.

V. “But You remain on high,” although the wicked prosper, let no one say that God does not supervise people’s deeds, as those of little faith believe. On the contrary, God sees everything. God is on high forever and sees what everyone does. Eventually, the time will come when everyone will be rewarded according to his deeds. (Rabbi David Kimchi)



Machberes Avodas Hashem:

I. Moshe entirely changed the emotional focus for the slaves in Egypt when he focused them on using Shabbat as a time to express gratitude to God for the good in their lives; especially their ability to continue to “engage in wisdom and divine service,” despite their servitude during the week.

We can use Shabbat to study Torah and enhance our Divine Service as a form of expressing gratitude for all the blessings of the past week.

II. Moshe taught the slaves that we relate to different God differently during of exile than we do in times of Redemption. We focus on God’s kindness when we live during times of redemption. During exile we relate to God’s reliability; expressing our trust that He will keep His promise of redemption. The slaves had to learn that our relationship with God can adjust to what we emotionally and spiritually need at specific times.

There are times when our learning and service should be focused on love: Experiencing God’s love for us, and nurturing our love for God. There are also times when our learning and service should be focused on God’s promises, and reliability, and on our commitment to be reliable in our relationship with God.

III. I can picture Moshe, as an essential part of his spiritual guidance of Israel, inviting prominent scientists to lecture each Shabbat on the wonders of creation, and I recall the stories of the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto who continued to lecture, study, write plays and perform under the most horrific circumstances. It was for the slaves in Egypt, as it was for those in the ghetto a statement of the unbreakable soul within us.

I have found that the more I fought to learn new languages, read books, and study new topics while spending months in the hospital, nourishes my spirit and allows me to rise above particular circumstances, no matter how challenging. The more difficult the circumstances; the more I studied.

IV. Rejoicing in our Torah study and spiritual growth is as liberating for us as it was for Moshe’s students in Egypt. Finding no joy in our Torah study and Divine Service can make us feel that we are no more than slaves. Moshe is teaching us to celebrate the Shabbat as just such a day of rejoicing.

V. Moshe taught the slaves in Egypt to experience Shabbat as a reward, which is what is meant when we say that Shabbat is the Taste of the World To Come.

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.

Share