Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Eikev

On Cue

Volume 3 Issue 47

by Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky

Not often does G-d Almighty tell anybody to leave him alone. But then again, Moshe isn't everybody.

This week, Moshe recounts the sad tale of the Golden Calf. Moshe had promised to return from Mount Sinai after receiving the Torah in forty days, but the Jews miscalculated. According to their calculations, he was late. Fearing that Moshe would never return from his celestial mission, the Jews made themselves a golden calf and worshipped it while proclaiming, "this is our god that took us out of Egypt." Obviously, the calculations and miscalculations of the Jewish People are not as simple as they appear on the surface. That, however is an entirely different issue.

I'd like to focus in on the aftermath of the calamity of the Golden Calf. Hashem actually wanted to destroy the Jewish Nation and rebuild a new folk with Moshe, as its patriarchal leader. "Release me," said G-d, "and I will destroy them and build a new nation from you" (Deuteronomy 9:14)). Immediately after the words, "release me" Moshe sprung into action. In the Book of Exodus, it details how Moshe pleaded, cajoled, and reasoned with Hashem with a multitude of persuasive arguments that calmed His wrath. The Jews were spared.

What is troubling is Moshe's chutzpah. Didn't Hashem specifically tell him, "leave me alone"? What prompted him with the audacity to defy a direct command of Hashem?

Herbert Tenzer served as a distinguished congressman from New York in the 1960s. More importantly, he was an observant Jew who was a proud activist and was instrumental in providing relief for many Holocaust survivors. A few months before his passing, some years ago, he related to me the following story:

The energetic and often outspoken Rabbi Eliezer Silver of Cincinnati, Ohio was a prominent force in the Vaad Hatzallah Rescue Committee. He worked tirelessly throughout the terrible war years and their aftermath to save and place the victims of Nazi depravity. In addition to his prominence in the Jewish world, Rabbi Silver enjoyed a personal relationship with the very powerful Senator Robert Taft of Ohio.

Rabbi Silver had a very difficult request that needed much political pressure and persuasion to accomplish. He asked Mr. Tenzer to accompany him to the Senator.

"Shenator Taft!" he exclaimed, mixing his distinct accent in which the s would sound as sh, with a high pitched intoning of emotions. I have a very important and difficult requesht!"

Rabbi Silver went on to plead his case of obtaining a certain number of visas for some refugees who may not have met all the criteria. Senator Taft looked nonchalant and non-committal. The Senator thought for a while then grimaced. He slowly and carefully stretched his response. "It would be arduous and burdensome," he began. "but technically," he continued, implying all the while that he was not the least bit anxious to get his hands dirty, " it can be done."

But Rabbi Silver did not hear anything except the last three words.

"IT CAN BE DONE?" He shouted with joy. "SHO DO IT!" Needless to say the stunned Senator got to work immediately and obtained the visas for the beleaguered Jews.

Moshe heard one line from Hashem, "leave me alone, and I will destroy them." That was his cue. The Talmud in Berachos explains that hearing those words, Moshe knew that now it all depended on him. The only way Hashem would destroy His people was if Moshe left him alone. And he didn't. Moshe badgered, cajoled, and pleaded with the Almighty and we were spared.

My Rebbe once quoted legendary slugger Ted Williams, the last player to achieve a batting average of over .400. "Every player gets one pitch that he definitely can hit. To hit .400, don't miss that pitch." Instead of recoiling at the words "release me" or "leave me be," Moshe saw his pitch. And he hit it awfully hard.

In life there are many cues. This week Moshe teaches his nation that when you get your cue, don't miss it. Even if it takes a little chutzpah.

Dedicated by B. David & Shani Schreiber in memory of Naomi BasSheva Bas Rav Boruch Yosef of blessed memory

Good Shabbos!

Copyright © 1997 by Rabbi M. Kamenetzky and Project Genesis, Inc.

Rabbi Mordecai Kamenetzky will be a featured guest speaker at the Homowack Hotel for the Shabbos of Labor Day Weekend (1997). For reservations Call the Homowack Hotel 1-800-243-4567 and mention Project Genesis.

If you enjoy the weekly Drasha, now you can receive the best of Drasha in book form!
Purchase Parsha Parables - from the Project Genesis bookstore - Genesis Judaica - at a very special price!

The author is the Associate Dean of the Yeshiva of South Shore.

Drasha is the e-mail edition of FaxHomily, a weekly torah facsimile on the weekly portion
which is sponsored by The Henry and Myrtle Hirsch Foundation


 






ARTICLES ON NOACH:

View Complete List

Language Barrier
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5760

When the Illegitimate Becomes Legitimate
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5758

The Excitement of Every Day
Shlomo Katz - 5775

ArtScroll

Too Perfect
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759

The Name of HASHEM
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

From Life
Rabbi Label Lam - 5773

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Back To The Daily Grind
Shlomo Katz - 5765

The Day Falsehood Married Destruction
Shlomo Katz - 5761

Great In His Own Times
Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein - 5768

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Perceptions - Noach
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5769

The Ideal Way of Life
Shlomo Katz - 5768

Worlds Apart
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5764

> People In Stone Houses Should not Cast Bricks
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5774

Parshas Noach
Shlomo Katz - 5772

What Goes Around Comes Around
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5760

Not Just Despite, but Because of!
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5759



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information