How does one water the sheep when a great stone is in the way? How do the nations drink from the well when there is no Rabbi to teach them the way of Torah? There are many secrets that must be revealed in this weeks Torah portion and only Chazal have the answers. Their students are waiting for the sheep to gather and in the meantime, many Rabbi’s are watering them from the well and there they are kissing each other and bring chesed to the world.
י וַיֵּצֵ֥א יַעֲקֹ֖ב מִבְּאֵ֣ר שָׁ֑בַע וַיֵּ֖לֶךְ חָרָֽנָה׃
יאוַיִּפְגַּ֨ע בַּמָּק֜וֹם וַיָּ֤לֶן שָׁם֙ כִּי־בָ֣א הַשֶּׁ֔מֶשׁ וַיִּקַּח֙ מֵאַבְנֵ֣י הַמָּק֔וֹם וַיָּ֖שֶׂם מְרַֽאֲשֹׁתָ֑יו וַיִּשְׁכַּ֖ב בַּמָּק֥וֹם הַהֽוּא׃
יב וַֽיַּחֲלֹ֗ם וְהִנֵּ֤ה סֻלָּם֙ מֻצָּ֣ב אַ֔רְצָה וְרֹאשׁ֖וֹ מַגִּ֣יעַ הַשָּׁמָ֑יְמָה וְהִנֵּה֙ מַלְאֲכֵ֣י אֱלֹהִ֔ים עֹלִ֥ים וְיֹרְדִ֖ים בּֽוֹ׃
Chayei Sarah | חיי שרה | “Sarah’s life “
And Yitzchak said to Avraham his father, and he said, “My father,” and he said, “Here I am, my son.” And he said, “Here is the fire, and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” And Avraham said, “God will provide Himself a lamb for the burnt offering.” And they went, both of them, together. (Bereishit 22:7-8)
Life is so very short and yet the days can seem to last for an eternity with no hope in sight. So many ups and downs in this life, who can make sense of them all?
Yitzchak’s life was so short it seems. Yet, he outlived all the Patriarchs. Yitzach was 180 old when he went to sleep with our forefathers. There are only five chapters devoted to Yitzchak’s life compared to Abraham and Ya’accov’s lives. Avraham 13 chapters and Ya’accov 20 chapters.
How can a life seem, so short, and yet, be so long? The pains of life can be as a fire and the counsel of men can be as crackling wood in the fire. The flames of this life can seem to be overwhelming at times. So, how can one walk through this fire and not be burned?
How can I see the fire and the wood and yet trust that everything is going to be good?
Know that my Torah is like a fire that brings you warmth in the cold and as a flaming fire that goes before you in the times of trouble and anguish to make you bold before the enemy. Trust that my (Hashem’s) counsel is superior to your wisdom and the counsel of fools. For the Torah is a flame and the tree of life to those who hold on to it and all its path are peace. And like Rivkah, the ewe/ lamb was found watering the camels until they had all drank from (Mayim Hayim) living waters, so may your soul be quenched in this day as we are lead by Hashem.
Nechama Leibowitz offers an interesting interpretation of a verse from the consolation of Yishayahu: “While those who wait upon God will renew their strength; they will rise up with wings like eagles, they will run and not be weary; they will walk and not faint” (Yishayahu 40:31):
This verse raises a question: as we know, the general rule in Tanakh is that the two parallel parts of a verse proceed from the lighter form or scenario to the more intensive one. Thus, this verse should read, “They will walk and not faint, [and even if] they will run – they will not be weary.” Why, then, is the order here reversed?
In moments when we are raised up on waves of enthusiasm, we are all capable of one-time acts of heroism. We are able to elevate ourselves to great heights; we can gallop forwards. It is far more difficult to fulfill one’s daily obligations, to follow the beaten track even after the initial excitement has worn off, when the glorious glow of the vision has grown dim, when we encounter challenges and obstacles. It is difficult to remain consistently steadfast in the face of all of this without tiring. Therefore, the order of the verse is correct: “They will run [with galloping enthusiasm] and not be weary,” but even when they have to walk, to continue, without racing, “they will not be faint.” (Nechama Leibowitz, Daf le-Tarbut Yehudit11, Tevet 5734)
Continue to walk chaverim carrying the fire and the wood of Hashem and let us go together as one and may Hashem find the Rivkah/lamb in you that will not faint at watering the world.
Parashat Hayei Sarah
Genesis 23 – 25
א וַיִּהְיוּ֙ חַיֵּ֣י שָׂרָ֔ה מֵאָ֥ה שָׁנָ֛ה וְעֶשְׂרִ֥ים שָׁנָ֖ה וְשֶׁ֣בַע שָׁנִ֑ים שְׁנֵ֖י חַיֵּ֥י שָׂרָֽה׃
ב וַתָּ֣מָת שָׂרָ֗ה בְּקִרְיַ֥ת אַרְבַּ֛ע הִ֥וא חֶבְר֖וֹן בְּאֶ֣רֶץ כְּנָ֑עַן וַיָּבֹא֙ אַבְרָהָ֔ם לִסְפֹּ֥ד לְשָׂרָ֖ה וְלִבְכֹּתָֽהּ׃
ג וַיָּ֙קָם֙ אַבְרָהָ֔ם מֵעַ֖ל פְּנֵ֣י מֵת֑וֹ וַיְדַבֵּ֥ר אֶל־בְּנֵי־חֵ֖ת לֵאמֹֽר׃
Rosh HaShana 16a MISHNAH. AT FOUR SEASONS [DIVINE] JUDGMENT IS PASSED ON THE
WORLD:11 AT PASSOVER IN RESPECT OF PRODUCE; AT PENTECOST IN RESPECT OF FRUIT;
AT NEW YEAR ALL CREATURES PASS BEFORE HIM [GOD] LIKE CHILDREN OF MARON, 12 AS
IT SAYS, ‘HE THAT FASHIONETH THE HEART OF THEM ALL, THAT CONSIDERETH ALL THEIR
DOINGS’;13 AND ON TABERNACLES JUDGMENT IS PASSED IN RESPECT OF RAIN.
The prayer for dew is said in the Mussaf Amidah on the first day of Pesach;14 the prayer for rain is said in the
Mussaf Amidah on Shemini Atzeret,15 which is also the last day of Succoth, and also the day on which the stores of
dew in heaven were opened.16 There is one difference between our prayer for dew and our prayer for rain: We start
praying for rain at the end of the holiday of Shemini Atzeret, but for dew at the beginning of the holiday of Pesach.
Sephardic practice is a little different. We hesitate to interrupt the Amidah for any purpose, so rain and dew are
recited just before the silent Mussaf Amidah. This pattern is norm in Israel for all but Hasidic congregations.
Sephardic practice also varies from Ashkenazi by replacing “the rain to fall and the wind to blow” with “You cause
the dew to fall” to thank HaShem for dew in summer months.
What then will we say that Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh, has found? For if Abraham was justified by his personal attempts to please God (works), he would have something to boast about, but not even Abraham could boast before God.36 For what does the scripture say?37 “And Abraham faithfully obeyed God, and as a result Abraham called Him (God) a Tsaddiq (just).”38 Now the one who earns his wages does not rely on chesed, but he relies on what he has earned.39 But to the one who does not make personal attempts to please God apart from of what the Torah commands, but who trusts in the One who justifies (forgives) the those who sin,40 His (God’s) faithfulness is attributed as justice, just as David also speaks about the blessing of the person to whom God credits righteousness apart from personal achievements:
Ellul 04, 5774a “Until when will despise Me”
There is no “redemption and atonement” apart from the gift of G-d, i.e. the Torah. Redemption and atonement cannot be produced without obedience to the “Oracles of G-d” i.e. The Oral Torah. When we read of the “works of the Torah/Nomos,” we need some clarity as to what “works” are being discussed. The proper way to understand the phrase “works” in the present conversation on Adam and Chavah’s covering themselves with “fig leaves” is, as we have stated “human attempts to please God.” If we accept that, no human works devoid of the Torah can please G-d we have a perfect understanding of Hakham Shaul’s intention in the Igeret to the Romans below. In other words, when we hermeneutically understand these words aright, we understand that we must join G-d’s gift of the Torah with the idea of “being made whole” (redemption). Works that men contrive or imagine apart from the Torah can NEVER produce “redemption,” bring a man to “spiritual wholeness” or bring us into connection with G-d.
Septennial (Shmita – שמיטה) Torah Cycle By Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David (Greg Killian)
“The object of the whole Torah is that man should become a Torah himself.”
“Every living soul is a letter of the Torah, wherefore all souls taken together make up the Torah.”
The Triennial Torah cycle is a miraculous way of reading the Torah, in three and a half year, that provides a prophetic insight into the events that will happen during the week that it is read!
The Septennial (Shmita) Torah cycle is two, three and a half year periods. This seven year Torah reading schedule matches the Sabbatical cycle described in the Torah.