small vorts on the parsha you can fit anywhere
ספר בראשית

Sefer Bereishis

Yakov’s Berachos
by R’ Elimelech Margolis

The pasuk in Vayichi states that the beracha Yakov gave to Efrayim and Menahe was “b’cha yivarech yisroel“. Rashi on this pasuk says that this means that a when a Jewish father bentches his children he should give them the bracha that they should be like Menashe and Efrayim specifically as apposed  to the other avos or anybody else. The question is: What was unique about Efrayim and Menashe that for all generations the minhag is to bless our children through them. Rav Eliyah Baruch Finkel Zt”l answers that Efrayim and Menashe were unique in the sense that despite the fact that they were raised while being exposed to the tumah of mitzrayim they still held a lofty madreiga and were counted as one of the shevatim. As the pasuk states that Yakov said that Efrayim and Menashe were like Reuven and Shimon. So it is the hope of every father that no matter what circumstance his child finds himself, he should always retain his spiritual level. Additionally, R’ Eliyahu Baruch says, that even though Menashe was the bechor and his younger brother got the main beracha, he was not jealous of him. So too, he says, a father should bentch his child that he too should never be jealous or hateful to a sibling no matter what that sibling has or gets. Ah gut Shabbos.

סםר שמות

Sefer Shemos

A Childs Potential
by R’ Elimelech Margolis

The Shulchan Aruch (YD 21:7) states that it’s preferable to nurse a baby from a Jewish woman. This is because milk from a non-jew is metamtem es halev (causes spiritual harm). The Vilna Goan brings the Rasba who explains that the source for this is based on the story in Parshas Shemos in which Moshe Rabeinu did not want to nurse from an Egyptian woman. The Question which we may ask is: How can we learn from Moshe Rabeinu – Moshe Rebeinu would eventually speak directly with Hakadosh Baruch Hu and therefore required a higher level of purity? Rav Yakov Kaminetzky Zt”l in his sefer Emes L’yakov says that we see from here a fundamental and amazing idea in chinuch. Every parent has to raise their children with the foundation that would allow them to potentially be on the level of Moshe Rabeinu who spoke to Hashem directly!

Angers Destruction
by R’ Elimelech Margolis

In this weeks parsha it says “Vatal Tzfardeia“. Rashi explains that the word tzefardeia is written in a singular sense because originally only one frog came out of the river. Only after the Egyptians  kept on hitting the same frog in anger, more and more frogs came out. This continued until the entire Egypt was full of frogs. The Steipler Zt”l in his sefer Birchas Peretz asks: If the Egyptians saw more and more frogs coming out, why didn’t they stop before they were totally overrun by frogs? He explains this is the illogical tendency of one who gets angry. He tries to fight back the most he possibly could even if it ends up hurting himself. A story is said about one of the gedolim that he would never hit his child at the moment his child misbehaved. This was because he did not want any possible feelings of anger involved in the punishment of his child.

Who’s The Real Boss
by Shmuel Katz

In this weeks Parsha, when Hashem tells Moshe that he will bring makos b’choros – the plague of the first born – he adds that because of this the Egyptians will cry out in anguish. Rav Shmuel Bernbaum Zt”l in the sefer B’karei Shemo asks: Why was it necessary for Hashem to add this? Wasn’t it self understood that if every Egyptian first born died then the entire country will certainly cry out in pain? In addition, asks R’ Shmuel, The Posuk says that when the firstborn Egyptians started dying Paroh woke up in middle of the night to look for Moshe and Aharon. Rashi on that posuk explains that this was in contrast to normal kings who woke up after three hours of the day. The question is why was it necessary for Rashi to point this out? If a country is in the middle of the biggest disaster wouldn’t it’s leader wake up in the middle of the night? R’ Shmuel Zt”l answers that when two countries are in the midst of a war and one side is beginning to lose, it doesn’t show the enemy that it was hit. This would show weakness. Paroh, until makos bechoros, saw himself as an equal to Hashem and the exchange between him and Moshe as a war between them. Therefore, he would have issued a decree that no one was allowed to express weakness when they were dealt a blow. He would have also woken up at the regular time as long as he doesn’t show weakness. Hashem was telling Moshe that when makos bechoros comes even Paroh would realize that Hashem is the boss and there is no one else besides him. With this explanation we can understand why Rashi pointed out that he woke up earlier than usual. Paroh came to the realization that he was nothing and Hashem was everything.

Crazy Money Hungry

R’ Elimelech Margolis

The pasuk in this weeks parsha tells us that the Egyptians said “ma zos usinu ki shilachnu es yisroel m’avdeinu – What have we done that we freed the Jewish people from our enslavement?!” Rashi on that pasuk says that the Egyptians changed their minds about letting the yidden go because they wanted all their money they lent to the yidden back. Rav Shalom Shwadron Zt”l in the sefer Lev Shalom asks: Why did Rashi change the Torah’s stated reason for the Egyptians changing their mind – because they lost their slaves – to that they wanted their money back? Rav Shalom answers that Rashi was bothered by two questions. One, the yidden hadn’t been working for the Egyptians for the last full year already, so why would wanting them back as their slaves be the rational for their change of mind? Secondly, It says in az yashir that the Egyptians were running after the yidden to kill them. If they wanted them as slaves why would they try to kill all of them? Rashi therefore said it must be that the real motive the Egyptians were running after the yidden was because of their lost money. Rav Shalom explains that when someone has a thirst for money he could come up with the most irrational reasoning for it as we  see from the Egyptians. 

“There is nothing to feel but fear itself”

R’ Elimelech Margolis

In this weeks parsha the Torah instructs us lo sachmod – not to be jealous of others. The Beis Haleivi brings from the Even Ezra a question: How can the Torah instruct us not to be jealous if jealousy is a feeling? The Even Ezra answers that a person has to train himself to see other peoples belongings in a way were it so removed from him that he will never be jealous of them. The Beis Haleivi offers his own answer to this question as follows: If a person develops a high level of yiras shamayim – fear of heaven – then all the other feelings, including negative ones, will automatically disappear. He explains this with a mashal. If someone is running to fulfil a certain taivah and along the way slips on ice and gets badly hurt he totally forgets about the taivah and can only feel his pain. So to in our case of jealousy. If someone has a proper fear of heaven he won’t be able to feel anything else.

Torah For It’s Own Sake
by R’ Elimelech Margolis

In this weeks parsha it says that the Yidden accepted the Torah by saying na’aseh v’nishma. The gemorah in Shabbos states that in reward for the yidden saying na’aseh before nishma, myriads of angels placed two crowns on the heads of the Jewish people. The Beis Haleivi asks: What was the connection between the two crowns and the yidden saying na’aseh first? The Beis Haleivi quotes a Zohar that the word na’aseh was referring to ma’asim tovim – good deeds, and the word nishma was referring to limud hatorah – Torah study. He explains that there are two forms of Torah study. One form is to to learn in order to know how to preform Hashem’s mitzvohs. The second is to learn Torah as a mitzvah in it self. Based on this we could understand that if the Yidden were to say nishma – learn torah – before na’aseh – doing mitzvohs, the two would be of one purpose – doing mitzvohs. Now that they said na’aseh – we will perform mitzvohs first, the nishma – learning torah – was a whole new purpose – to learn Torah for it’s own sake. This is why the Yidden deserved two crowns instead of one.

Our Goals
by R’ Elimelech Margolis

In this weeks parsha, the pasuk says: Hayu hakruvim porseihem kanfeihem l’malah u’peneihem ish el achiv -The kruvims‘ wings were raised upward and their faces were facing each other. Rav Yitzchok Elchonon Spektor Zt”l explains that there are two important points of yiddishkeit symbolized in this pasuk. The first being that our goal in life is to be constantly striving to gain in yiras shamayim and spirituality. This is symbolized by the kruvims’ wings being spread upward. The second point is that we should constantly find ways to help our fellow yid. This is symbolized by the fact that their faces were turned toward each other. 

The gemaroh asks why does our pasuk say that the kruvims‘ faces were toward each other and the pasuk in Divrei Hayamim say that they were toward the “bayis” (beis hamikdash)? The gemaroh answers that when the yidden are doing the will of Hashem the faces are toward each other, but when they’re not, the faces are turned toward the wall. R’ Yitzchok Elchanan explains that from here we see that when a person is “facing his brother” – looking out for his fellow yid – he is doing the will of Hashem. When a person is “facing his house” – worried only about his own affairs – he is not.

ספר ויקרא

Sefer Vayikra

Everything’s Important
by R’ Elimelech Margolis

The pasuk in this weeks parsha says that the Kohanim must bring salt with every Karbon. Rashi explains that the reason for this is because when Hashem created the world, he separated the waters in to two parts – the upper and lower. The lower part – the oceans – complained to Hashem for being separated from the waters in the heavens where it was closer to Hashem. So Hashem made a “treaty” with the salt, which comes from the water by requiring all karbonos be brought with salt and also the nissuch hamaim -pouring of water – on Succos.

Rav Yakov Kamenetzky Zt”l asks: Why did Hashem make the “treaty” with the salt and not the water itself? He answers and explains that the “treaty” was a compensation for the water because it felt it was losing out in serving and being close to Hashem. By using the salt, Hashem was showing that even the by-product of the oceans, the “lowest part”, is cherished by Hashem.

Love Your Fellow
by R’ Elimelech Margolis

Rashi in this week’s Parsha brings a Medrash which says: R’ Chiya says: Parshas Kedoshim was said during Hakhel – the yearly Torah reading which was said to the wall the yidden – because it contains all the mitzvohs. R’ Levi says because it contains all of the aseros hadibros. An example of this he brings is that the pasuk of V’ahavta L’reiacha Kamocha references Lo Sachmod. The question is: How do we see in that pasuk Lo Sachmod. R’ Elya Baruch Finkel Zt”l explains that the way a person combats and works on Lo Sachmod starts with Loving your friend like yourself. This answers the question we were dealing with in Parshas Yisro as to how can a person be commanded not to have jealousy when jealousy is a feeling, not an action. From this midrash, we see that the “feeling” of jealousy is eradicated and diminished when we love every jew like ourselves and this is what Hashem wants from us.

The passuk in the beginning of this weeks parsha says emor veamarta. Rashi famously addresses this repetition by saying that the emor veamarta is telling us that the gedolim should teach the ketanim these halachos. In the sefer zahav mishva from rav Moshe Shmuel Shapiro ztl he asks that nowhere in the Torah does it mention the azhara t the ketanim it only mentions the warning to the adults twice. So he answers from rav a shlezinger who says that the best way to impact children is through adults setting the example. it comes out that the warning to the children is by warning the adults to set the tone by behaving properly and keeping these halachos to the tea. The Maggid of dubna quoted the gra who brings a very powerful Mashall. hesays that if you take a big vessel and surround it with small vessels after filling up the big vessel the small vessels will automatically get filled from the overflow of the big cup. so too the gra explains is the way of hashpaa the more a person fills himself up and perfects himself the more he will impact those surrounding him. good shabbos
 
 
 
ספר במדבר

Sefer Bamidbar

The pasukim in this week’s parsha talks about a very interesting phenomenon that occurred with the leviim. The Bechoros were really supposed to do the avodah in the mishkan but since they participated in th eigel hazahav and the leviim didnt hashem swapped the kedusha from the bechoros to the leviim. The problem is that there were 273 extra bechoros- so what did they do. The pasuk speaks out that the extra bechoros would redeem themselves by paying five shekalim. The question arises that how would they ever get any of the bechoros to pay the money, they could always just say that they were from the bechoros who’s kedusha was transferred without paying. Rashi brings a medrash to answer this which says that they drew out 22000 slips that said ben levi on it and 273 that said 5 shekalim and whoever drew the ones that said ben levi had to pay money. Rav Zalman Sorotzkin, the Lutzker Rav zt”l asks that the pasukim speak about the generosity and the endless flow of donations that people were bringing to the mishkan without the bat of an eyelash why all of the sudden now were the bechoros to pay 5 shekalim. So Rav Zalman Sorotzkin answers that earlier there was a bandwagon movement to contribute to the mishkan; there was a lot of fanfare associated with giving. Now, most of the tzibur wasn’t giving so it didn’t have the glitter associated with the donation; for this people were more recalcitrant in their giving. The lesson is we always have to do what’s right even when it doesn’t provide the glory and glitter. Good Shabbos.

The Most Important Construction Worker


The posuk in Perek Vav,Chof says “Veachar yishteh haNazir Yayin”, and afterward the nazir drinks wine. The posuk is discussing after the nazir has already concluded his nezirus and if so why does the Torah call him a nazir, he is back to being a regular Joe. So I saw in a sefer from a choshuve talmid chacham that the Torah is coming to highlight by calling him a nazir that even after he has completed his “nezirus” , this person remains on the elevated status which he earned during his nezirus stint and therefore the Torah is referring to the new aspect of Nazir within him. The Torah testifies that the Nazir is “Kadosh Hu LaHashem” and in the same vein that tashmishei kedusha have to be buried aftrer usage because the kedusha remains even after their usage so too the kedusha remains on this Jew long after he ended the nezirus tekufah. I think we can learn a very important lesson here. A person in his or her lifetime does many mitzvos and withstands a lot of trials. These circumstances are not just trivial small details of our life. These circumstances build us into who we are. If we do good things, then we have enhanced our status as human beings and if we do bad chas veshalom then it also affects who we are. Let’s take this message to constantly shteig and realize no actions are isolated but rather are bricks in the building of a mentch. Good Shabbos!

It’s not only about the potch

The Torah interrupts the parsha of the yidden complaining and the departure from Har Sinai with the Parsha of Vayehi B’nesoa HaAron. Interestingly this parsha has upside-down nuns preceding and following it. Rashi explains that the two nuns are coming to indicate that this parsha is out of place and was placed here to separate between puraniyos lepuraniyos. The Gemara in Shabbos explains that the pasuk earlier says vayisoo meihar Hashem (klal yisrael traveled from the mountain of Hashem) and the gemara darshens that they turned away from Hashem; Tosfos explains that Klal Yisrael left Har Sinai like a child who runs away from school. The second puraniyus was the punishment klal yisrael received for complaining when Hashem sent out a fire to the camp. The question is what is this idea of separating between one punishment to the next. Rav Shimon Schwab Zt”l explains the idea of separating between the two punishments by first explaining what it truly means that Klal Yisrael ran away from Har Sinai like school children. He says that Chazal darshened that Klal Yisrael left Har Sinai in this manner because the Pasuk says Vayisu MeiHar Hashem. Har Sinai was the place where Hashem rested his Shechina and it was supposed to remain this way until Klal Yisrael would leave and the Mishkan would be the new home for the shechina. The pasuk is saying that when klal yisrael left, they left from Har Hashem which means that they wanted the kedusha to remain on the mountain and not accompany them; So too, a child leaving school leaves with the hope that his teacher doesn’t follow him. This is very sad but how can it be said that this was a puraniyos, this wasn’t a punishment by any means? Rav Schwab explains that the Torah is coming to teach us that sometimes the aveirah itself is the biggest punishment. For example, he says if someone reads shema and when he reaches the pasukim of veahavta es hashem….he doesn’t feel any sense of love for hashem then that is the biggest punishment. This covering of the heart is also a punishment. This fleeing from Har Sinai and not recognizing its supreme importance was the punishment in and of itself. However the punishment of the complainers was a punishment in the conventional sense; Hashem sent out a fire to burn them. The Torah separates these two separate types of punishments. One punishment is the pain and anguish involved in not achieving higher and one is a tangible punishment. May we always be zoche to strive higher and steer far away from all forms of punishment. Good shabbos.

Let’s Be Real

The pasuk says that Moshe Rabeinu changed Yehoshua’s name from Hoshea Bin Nun to Yehoshua with the addition of the letter yud. Rashi quotes the Gemara that Moshe Rabbeinu davened on Yehoshua’s behalf that Hashem should save him from the plan of the Meraglim. The Kehillas Yitzchak quotes the Dubna Maggid who asks that from this that Moshe Rabbeinu davened for Yehoshua specifically and not for any of the others we can see that Yehoshua needed special siyaata dishmaya; the question is why did Yehoshua need more heavenly assistance than all the other meraglim. He explains that there are two types of aveiros. The first group of aveiros are the type that even though someone may stumble on them it is clearly an aveirah. The second group of aveiros are those which do not seem like an aveirah. The Dubna Maggid explains that the second group of aveiros are much worse because there is much less of a chance that the sinner will do Teshuva because he may not even realize that he’s doing an aveirah and even worse he may think he’s doing a mitzvah. With this, we can now explain Moshe Rabeinu’s Tefilah. The Zohar says that the Meraglim said lashon hara about Eretz Yisrael because they didn’t want to lose their status as Nesiim in Eretz Yisrael and therefore they wanted to prevent Klal Yisrael from entering Eretz Yisrael. The Medrash says that for every single one of the Meraglim Moshe Rabeinu consulted with Hashem; They were all holding on tremendous levels in their tzidkus. The difference between the other Meraglim is that even though Moshe Rabeinu was aware that they might sabotage Klal Yisrael’s entry into Eretz Yisrael he figured the aveira would be so blatant that they would for sure do teshuva. However, by Yehoshua, Moshe Rabeinu was concerned about a different issue. When Eldad and Meidad said a nevuah that Moshe Rabeinu would die and Yehoshua would bring Klal Yisrael into Eretz Yisrael Yehoshua said that they both have to be incarcerated; Yehoshua at all costs stood up for the kavod of his rebbe Moshe Rabeinu. Moshe Rabeinu was much more concerned that Yehoshua would try to dissuade Klal Yisrael from entering because he wanted to keep Moshe Rabeinu alive and this he thought was a mitzvah. For this type of thinking Moshe Rabeinu was much more concerned because nothing would stand in the way of what Yehoshua perceived as a mitzvah. Everyone should have a great shabbos and maybe think a little if there are any areas in our lives which we think are mitzvas but really are coming from some other motivation.

Good Shabbos

What are you really angry about

In the first Pasuk in this week’s parsha, Rashi writes that this parsha is darshaned very nicely in Medrash R’ Tanchuma. Rav Moshe Shternbuch Shlita asks in his sefer Ta’am VaDaas that Rashi is the quintessential man of pshat, so why is Rashi leaving us hanging and not expounding any further on the Parsha. So he explains very beautifully that the first thing you have to know about Korach was that he was upset and when you’re upset you start conjuring up all these arguments and problems but really it’s all just the scheme of the yetzer hara. So he explains that it is true that there may be specific arguments that Korach had and if you want to find that out what they are Rashi says to look in the Medrash Tanchuma; Rashi who is committed to pshat is saying that the most pashut level of what happened doesn’t need an explanation because the story was motivated by anger and the reasons after that are irrelevant. Anger blows everything out of proportion and doesn’t allow a person to think properly. We should internalize the story of Korach and realize that if we get angry to take a breather because anger is a wildfire that doesn’t allow us to think properly.

Good Shabbos!

Narrow Cliff

In this week’s Parsha, the Yidden complained and were bitten by venomous snakes. The pasuk when referring to the snakes, calls them Hanechashim Hasrafim-THE poisonous snakes. Rav Shamshon Rafael Hirsch Zt’’l asks why is the Torah referring to the snakes with a letter Hay alluding to the fact that we are familiar with these snakes; what snakes do we know about? Rav Hirsch explains that the pasuk is referring to the snakes that were always in the midbar all 40 years of Klal Yisrael’s encampment and Hashem kept them far away from us. Following Klal Yisrael’s complaints, Hashem released the snakes which were always there. There is such an important message that we have to take from this story. Throughout our lives, we have to realize that Hashem is saving us from countless dangers which we may never know about. Life is like driving alongside a narrow cliff and Hashem is constantly making sure we don’t fall off the road. We have to be thankful for every breath Hashem gives us and realize it’s all a matana. We shouldn’t wait until something bad happens to thank Hashem from being saved but we have to realize how Hashem is constantly guiding us through every step of our lives.

Good Shabbos!

Yakov’s Berachos
by R’ Elimelech Margolis

The pasuk in Vayichi states that the beracha Yakov gave to Efrayim and Menahe was “b’cha yivarech yisroel“. Rashi on this pasuk says that this means that a when a Jewish father bentches his children he should give them the bracha that they should be like Menashe and Efrayim specifically as apposed  to the other avos or anybody else. The question is: What was unique about Efrayim and Menashe that for all generations the minhag is to bless our children through them. Rav Eliyah Baruch Finkel Zt”l answers that Efrayim and Menashe were unique in the sense that despite the fact that they were raised while being exposed to the tumah of mitzrayim they still held a lofty madreiga and were counted as one of the shevatim. As the pasuk states that Yakov said that Efrayim and Menashe were like Reuven and Shimon. So it is the hope of every father that no matter what circumstance his child finds himself, he should always retain his spiritual level. Additionally, R’ Eliyahu Baruch says, that even though Menashe was the bechor and his younger brother got the main beracha, he was not jealous of him. So too, he says, a father should bentch his child that he too should never be jealous or hateful to a sibling no matter what that sibling has or gets. Ah gut Shabbos.

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