Vort from the Rav

Vort from the Rav: Vayechi

Gen. 50:10 וַיַּעַשׂ לְאָבִיו אֵבֶל שִׁבְעַת יָמִֽים- and he made for his father a mourning of seven days. Basing their opinion on this verse, many Rishonim and early Geonim maintain that all seven days of mourning (shivah) are Biblical in origin (de’oraisa). Maimonides, on the other hand, maintains that only the first day of mourning is de’oraisa, while the remaining ...

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Vort from the Rav: Vayigash

Gen 46:29 וַיִּפֹּל עַל־צַוָּארָיו וַיֵּבְךְּ and he wept on his neck. The Midrash relates that while Joseph kissed Jacob, Jacob did not reciprocate; instead, he recited the Shema. If Jacob had kissed Joseph, Joseph might have misconstrued his intention. During the anointing of Saul as king of Israel, Samuel first poured the oil on Saul’s head and then kissed him ...

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Vort from the Rav: Mikeitz

Genesis 42:9: מְרַגְּלִים אַתֶּם לִרְאוֹת אֶת־עֶרְוַת הָאָרֶץ בָּאתֶֽם and he said to them, “You are spies, – you have come to see the nakedness of the land.” When Moses sent spies into the land of Israel, he asked them to determine the nature of the land itself …whether it is fat or lean, whether or not there are trees… (Num. ...

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Vort from the Rav: Vayeshev

Genesis 37:29 וַיָּשָׁב רְאוּבֵן אֶל־הַבּוֹר And Reuben returned to the pit. Reuben had earlier declared that no blood should be spilled, with the intention of saving Joseph. Strangely, however, during the actual sale of Joseph, Reuben had disappeared. Where was Reuben during Joseph’s sale? R. Eleazar said: He was taken up with his fasting and sackcloth, and when he became ...

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Vort from the Rav: Vayishlach

Genesis 32:8 וַיִּירָא יַֽעֲקֹב מְאֹד וַיֵּצֶר לוֹ Jacob became very frightened and was distressed  Rashi comments that וַיִּירָא יַֽעֲקֹב suggests that Jacob expressed fear that he might be killed, while וַיֵּצֶר לוֹ conveys Jacob’s concern that he may have to kill others. Jacob, recognizing that this conflict with Esau would continue until the Messianic era, was afraid that his descendents ...

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Vort from the Rav: Vayeitzei

Genesis 28:13 אֱלֹקֵי אַבְרָהָם אָבִיךָ וֵֽאלֹקֵי יִצְחָק the God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac. Abraham’s belief in God’s existence solidified when he was forty years of age. Yet God did not reveal Himself to Abraham until He ordered Abraham to enter the land of Canaan, at the age of seventy-five. Imagine the difficulties Abraham faced during ...

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Vort from the Rav: Toldos

Genesis 26:18 וַיָּשָׁב יִצְחָק וַיַּחְפֹּר | אֶת בְּאֵרֹת הַמַּיִם אֲשֶׁר חָפְרוּ בִּימֵי אַבְרָהָם אָבִיו And Isaac again dug the wells of water which they had dug in the days of his father, Abraham, Isaac’s birth was connected with laughter. “And Sarah said: ‘God has made laughter for me; everyone that hears will laugh on account of me.’” (v. 21:6) Rashi and ...

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Vort from the Rav: Chayei Sarah

Genesis 24:63 וַיֵּצֵא יִצְחָק לָשׂוּחַ בַּשָּׂדֶה And Isaac went forth to pray in the field. Isaac originated the Mincha prayer.  Abraham originated the Shacharis prayer, as described in the verse, Abraham got up in the morning where he stood (v. 19:27). The Torah emphasizes Abraham’s erect posture during prayer. In Isaac’s case, the term לָשׂוּחַ parallels a phrase used in ...

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Vort from the Rav: Lech Lecha

Genesis 15:4 כִּי אִם אֲשֶׁר יֵצֵא מִמֵּעֶיךָ הוּא יִירָשֶׁךָ This one will not inherit you, but the one who will spring from your innards-he will inherit you. This promise is the culmination of a long and frustrating journey for Abraham. When Abraham received God’s command of lech lecha, he also received a promise that the Almighty would make him a ...

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Vort from the Rav: Noach

Genesis 9:23 וַיִּקַּח שֵׁם וָיֶפֶת אֶת הַשִּׂמְלָה …וַיְכַסּוּ אֵת עֶרְוַת אֲבִיהֶם – And Shem and Japheth took the garment…and they covered their father’s nakedness. Rashi explains the use of the singular וַיִּקַּח emphasizing that Shem initiated the activity of covering his father, with Japheth later joining him. Our sages indicate that as a reward for covering their father’s nakedness, Shem ...

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