Author Archives: Ira Bedzow

All the Days of Your Life

by R. Ira Bedzow When one first reads Rabbi Eleazar ben Azariah’s statement, “Behold I am about seventy years old, and I have never been worthy to [find a reason] why the Exodus from Egypt should be mentioned at nighttime until ben Zoma expounded it,” the first thought is to consider the focus of this section to be on the ...

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Ha Lachma Anya

by R. Ira Bedzow In Ha Lachma Anya, we immediately show the matzah that our forefathers ate, in order to help us look back and personally experience the Exodus at the present moment.  Yet, the remainder of the paragraph serves a much greater purpose than simply reminding us of what our forefathers ate.  Like the four cups of wine, this ...

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Cups of Redemption

by R. Ira Bedzow One is obligated to drink four cups of wine at the Pesach Seder in a manner that is demonstrative of being free (BT Pesachim 108b).  The Jerusalem Talmud (JT Pesachim 10a) provides a number of reasons for why we drink specifically four cups of wine. Rav Yochanan said in the name of Rav Benaya that they ...

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Reuven’s Loss of Status

by R. Ira Bedzow Whichever way one understands Reuven’s actions and the motivations behind them,1 the consequences of what he did are that, while he maintained his status as bechor, he lost any power or influence that it entails.  In his blessing to his children, Yaakov calls Reuven his bechor, but declares that he shall no longer have superiority over ...

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Yaakov’s Vow

by R. Ira Bedzow After Yaakov wakes up from his dream, afraid because he realized that he slept in a place where God’s presence rests, he makes a vow (neder) to Hashem that upon his return he will build a house of God and will give a tithe from everything that Hashem gives him.  Yaakov states, אִם-יִהְיֶה אֱלֹקִים עִמָּדִי, וּשְׁמָרַנִי ...

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Eliezer the Damascene

by R. Ira Bedzow Rabbi Acha said, “The ordinary conversation of the servants of the Patriarchs is more beloved before the Omnipresent than the Torah of their sons, for the section dealing with Eliezer is repeated in the Torah, whereas many fundamentals of the Torah were given only through allusions.” This statement may seem troubling since one would think that ...

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Avram HaIvri

by R. Ira Bedzow After Chedorlaomer and his allies attacked Sodom and Gomorrah, capturing Lot along with the rest of the population, a fugitive came to tell Avram HaIvri what had occurred.1 According to Rashi, citing the midrash, the fugitive did not come out of a sense of loyalty or goodwill. Rather, he assumed that Avram would go to save ...

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Noah’s Generations

by R. Ira Bedzow The account of how the generations of the Flood began their institutional depravity begins, וַיְהִי כִּי-הֵחֵל הָאָדָם, לָרֹב עַל-פְּנֵי הָאֲדָמָה, which uses similar language to the beginning of the account given for the previous generation’s fall into idolatry (אָז הוּחַל, לִקְרֹא בְּשֵׁם ה’),1 the beginning of the account of Nimrod’s rise to power (הוּא הֵחֵל, לִהְיוֹת ...

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