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Shabbat Morning Class - Parasha Vayeira

Rabbi Mansour 2012
Shabbat Morning Class
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This past week we’ve experienced a mighty storm that displaced many, and caused much damage, destruction, and flooding in our local areas, and to the homes, and businesses of some of our community members.
Whenever we see the waters rise up, and come upon the shore it brings to mind the important symbolism of water and the deep concepts it represents.
"?????? ??? ???? ?????? ????? ?? ???? ????? ?'" –"Hashem on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, than the mighty waves of the sea".
When Hashem gave us the Torah he summoned witnesses to insure that we will always be faithful to it. These eternal witnesses are the heavens, and the earth. They are also known as "?? ???" -father and mother, and they see all of our iniquities and when it comes time for us to receive punishment ?''? it is they who deliver the punishment first. This is just like the Pasuk says "?? ????? ???? ?? ??????? ?????" -"the hand of the witnesses should be the first ones to kill him" (when a person is convicted guilty to be stoned, the first people that throw stones at him are the witnesses who testified against him). The heaven and earth testify against us - so it is they who deliver the punishment first.
The ??? ???? (addressing flooding that had been occurring in his time) had said that this flooding is an example of the ?? ??? -the heaven and earth combining to deliver their punishment.
How do we neutralize and stop the ?? ??? -heaven and earth from delivering their punishment?? This is accomplished through the merging of a different ?? ??? , and that is; Hashem and the ???? ????? (the Jewish
nation). Hashem is the ?? ,and the Jews are the ?? , and when we "meet" Hashem in the ???? or synagogue we unite ?? ??? and this serves to nullify the potential evil effect of the other ?? ??? -the heaven and earth.
This is seen from the words in Tehilim "???? ????? ?? ???? ????? ?'"
(Hashem is mightier than the mighty waves of the sea). The first letters of these words spell ???-??? - and refer to the ??? ??? (heaven and earth) that carry out these punishments. We find however another Pasuk that speaks of the gathering of the Jews to the Bet Hamikdash for the holidays "?????
???-?? ????? ?' ?? ??? ?????" - the first letters of these words also spell ???-
??? , and they refer to the Jewish people coming to the Bet Hamikdash to "meet Hashem" for the holidays (the word ???? -holiday also can mean "meeting place"). This serves to mitigate the judgment of the other ??? ??? -the heaven and earth!
The heaven and earth are loyal witnesses-as the Pasuk continues "????? ????? ???" (your witness are very loyal) but our gathering in the synagogues, and holy places is so powerful it protects us from them harming us.
This past week we endured flooding waters that overflowed from the ocean and rivers, into our cities. There is great significance attached to the waters of the sea, and important messages associated with them.
The Zohar writes that on the second day of creation Hashem divided the upper waters from the lower waters. When this happened the lower waters felt bad that they were left in this world as opposed to being up in the heavens, near Hashem, just like the upper waters. The lower waters exclaimed "??? ????? ????? ??? ????" -"we want to be in front of our king"!
In order to appease the lower waters, Hashem commanded us to perform the Misvah of "????? ????" . This was a Misvah done in the times of the Bet Hamikdash during the time of Succot, when the Jews would pour water down the two holes of the alter. This ceremony would serve to appease the lower waters, and elevate them to be in front of Hashem.
When the Bet Hamikdash was destroyed, and we lost this Misvah of "????? ?????" the waters were left without this annual elevation to be close to Hashem! The appeasement for being separated from the upper waters was
now gone, and the lower waters were very broken and sad about this. This is why the Pasuk describes the pain of Jerusalem in exile " "?? ???? ??? ???? -"for your being broken is like the sea". Just as the sea is "broken" and sad over the loss of its elevation to be close to Hashem, so too we are broken over being put in exile.
This also explains the Pasuk in Tehilim which describes the Jews as they were being sent to exile after the destruction of the temple: "?? ?????
??? ?? ????? ?? ?????" -"on the river banks of Bavel-there we sat and also we cried". Why does it say ?? ????? and also we cried? Implying there was someone else crying as well?? Now we can understand that it was the river itself that was crying! It was crying over the loss of being close to Hashem! It was screaming "??? ????? ????? ??? ????" -"we want to be close to our king"! We joined the river in tears and wept over the destruction of the temple.
This is why the sea has salt water. Salt water is like the salty tears of one who cries. This is also why we find that the ocean has waves. The waves of the ocean go up and down and it is the waters way of trying to "climb up" towards Hashem but Hashem pushes them back down as if to tell them "it’s not the time yet for you to come back up to me"!
This is why we perform the ceremony of Tashlich (when we "throw away" our sins on Rosh Hashanah) specifically by a sea or river, we confess our sins by the water because the water inspires us to yearn to be close to our creator, and leave our evil ways! The Midrash says that Hashem who will ultimately heal the sea, will heal the Jewish people as well.
When the waters come ashore it serves as an intense reminder to awaken us from our slumber, and they demand from us to yearn to be close to Hashem just as they yearn!! They bring their message onto dry land, and this must motivate us to examine our ways, and change what needs to be changed in order to start elevating ourselves spiritually!
"???? ???? ????? ????" -"and Hashem appeared to him in the plains of Mamreh"
Rashi explains "??? ???? ??? ?? ?????" - it was Mamreh that gave Avraham Avinu advice regarding the Milah. Therefore Hashem appeared to him in the area of Mamreh.
Avraham Avinu had three close friends ???, ?????, ???? . He had asked all three what they thought of Hashem’s command of the Berit Milah. ??? answered "don’t do it", it will cause you a lot of pain and it is forbidden to cause oneself pain, ??? ’s name stands for ????? ??? ?? (afflicting oneself is evil). ????? also responded "don’t do it’. His logic was that Avraham Avinu had many enemies and if he were to perform the Berit Milah, this would weaken him and make him vulnerable to attack from his enemies. ????? ’s name stands for ??? ?????? ????? ?? (my brother, you have mighty enemies). ???? advised Avraham Avinu to perform the Milah, ???? stands for ?? ??? ???? ?-? (circumcise quickly, Hashem will heal).
Another explanation of what Rashi meant by saying that ???? gave Avraham "??? ?? ?????" is that really Avraham was not asking if he should circumcise himself, it was obvious that he was going to do it. His only question was what Berachah should be made on this Misvah?! Some opinions say the Berachah should be "???? ?? ???" and others say it should be "?? ?????" . Abraham asked ???? what Berachah to make, and he answered him to make "?? ?????" (which is indeed our custom today) and this is what Rashi meant "???? ???-?? ?????" , his advice was to say the Berachah ?? ????? !
In a different vein, the ?????? ???? explains why ??? & ????? were hesitant to give Avraham support to do the Milah, and why ???? was rewarded for supporting Avraham (his reward was that Hashem appeared to Avraham in ???? ’s portion). He explains that ??? & ???? knew that once Avraham fulfilled this Misvah of Berit Milah, he would be on an entirely
different level of holiness. The Misvah would catapult him so far up in holiness that they would "lose" him, and no longer be able to connect to him! They didn’t want to lose their Rabbi, and instead advised him not to do it so that they could still enjoy his holiness, and associate themselves somewhat with him.
???? however had only the best interests of Avraham in mind. He knew that he will very well "lose" Avraham, and that Avraham would grow to such incredible spiritual heights that he will no longer be able to associate with him, but he overcame these feelings and instead advised Abraham to go ahead with this Misvah.
What was his reward for this?
We find ???? ’s reward for this selfless act manifested in a Gemarah in Taanit (Daf ?? ).
The Gemarah says that every Erev Yom Kippur a voice came out from heaven to greet the great Rava. For Abaye this voice came out every Erev Shabbat, and for a man called ??? ????? this voice from heaven came down every day to greet him!
Abaye (the great Tanna and Rosh Yeshiva) felt bad that he did not merit a daily greeting from heaven just like ??? ????? but he was told not to take it personal because he could not do the things that ??? ????? did.
What was so special about ??? ????? in that he merited a daily greeting from heaven??
He was a doctor, and in his office he had separate waiting rooms for men and women. He gave the people specially made gowns that covered their bodies properly only revealing the small area in which he had to draw blood from.
When the patient was done with is treatment, he left a box in a private area, and if the patient had money he deposited some money in the box but if the patient was poor, he would be able to leave without paying with no shame.
If a Rabbi came to him for a bloodletting treatment he would actually give the Rabbi money and instruct him to go buy food and eat, because bloodletting makes a person dizzy and weak! (This actually the origin of the
swirly red pole found outside barber shops- in the old days one would blood let along with his haircut making him woozy and dizzy hence the swirling spinning sign symbolizing dizziness). These were great actions on the part of ??? ????? and were acts that ???? -being a Rabbi - could not imitate.
Rav Menachem Azariah Mipano explains that ??? ????? was actually a reincarnation of ???? ! ???? was also a doctor, and came back again as the doctor ??? ????? . ???? (281) is the same numerical value as the word ??? (doctor)!
This was also a reward for the deeds of ???? . ???? sacrificed his own coming close to Hashem. He encouraged Avraham to do the Milah even though he would thereby lose the Rabbi that brought him closer to Hashem. In return, Hashem greeted him every day and in a way was closer to him than the great Abaye!
One can be close to Hashem even if he is not a big Sadik. As a matter of fact, sometimes the distant ones can be even closer to Hashem than great Rabbis! Hashem loves us, and is so merciful with us that he comes close to inspire us!
Now that we know ???? was a doctor it sheds light on another question Avraham asked ???? , and that was for his medical advice on performing the Berit Milah.
???? revealed to Avraham the medical benefits of ????? ??? -drawing the blood up with ones mouth. The Mohel sucks up a little blood from the Milah, and this is healthy for the baby. Not only is it necessary for the baby’s health, but it is absolutely necessary for the removal of the impurities of the ???? .
The Berit Milah serves to remove the impurities of the baby. However some of the impurities actually remain on the spot of the Milah in the blood, and only the ????? (suction of the Mohel) can remove it. This is why when a baby is born ???? (with a Berit Milah) we still make a small cut to make him bleed; this removes the impurity that is found in the blood.
???? (281) plus the name of Hashem of ???? (26) equals 307. ??? ??? - also equals 307.
"???? ?' ???? ????? ????" - we put together the name of Hashem with ???? , and this reveals the advice of ???? (????? ??? ) and the reason he is rewarded with Hashem appearing in his portion!
As a result of his medical advice, ???? came back as the expert doctor ??? ????? and merited daily greeting from Hashem.
When we hear of the current attempts make by government to stop this holy practice of ????? ??? we come to the conclusion that the devastation that was recently visited upon his state comes at least partially as a result of his opposition to this sacred practice.
The first letters of the words; "?????? ??? ???? ??????" ("from the sound of the mighty waters") spell ???? !
The waters rushed in and delivered the message of ???? that ?????
??? is a must.
They delivered a wakeup call to us all to examine our ways, and return to Hashem. They remind us of the message of ???? -??? ????? that no matter how far we are, we are always very close to Hashem and we should never give up! We must yearn like the waters to be close to Hashem and to serve him to the best of our abilities.

Parashat Behaalotecha- Rectification is Always Possible
Parashat Naso- Emuna First
Shavuot- Celebrating the Eternal Torah
Shavuot- The Challenge – and Rewards – of Torah Commitment
Parashat Behar- Experiencing the Sweetness and Delight of Torah
Parashat Emor- Keter Shem Tob 'The Crown of Good Reputation'
Parashat Ahare Mot- Planting Our Spiritual Trees
Parashat Shemini- Respect and Reverence in the Synagogue
Pesah: Redemption Then and Now
Pesah- Its A Mirage
Parashat Vayikra- The Triple Sin of Dishonesty
Parashat Pekudeh- Counting the Things That Matter
Parashat Ki Tisa- The Sanctity of Every Jew
Purim and the Sale of Yosef
Parashat Terumah- The Torah’s “Footsteps”
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