These divrei Torah were adapted from the hashkafa portion of Rabbi Yissocher Frand’s Commuter Chavrusah Tapes on the weekly portion: CD #959 – The Case of the Mixed Up Wedding Ring. Good Shabbos!
The Blessings Are There Waiting…But We Have To Pray For Them And Appreciate Them
The pesukim in the second chapter of Sefer Bereishis say, “These are the products of the heavens and the earth when they were created on the day of Hashem G-d’s making of earth and heavens. Now any tree of the field was not yet on the earth and any herb of the field had not yet sprouted, for Hashem G-d had not sent rain upon the earth and there was no man to work the soil.” [Bereishis 2:4-5]
A very important Rashi on this pasuk teaches us two novel ideas:
On the words “for Hashem G-d had not sent rain”, Rashi comments: “And what is the reason that He had not sent rain? Because ‘there was no man to work the soil’ and there was none who could recognize the goodness of rain.” Up until this point, there was no vegetation. There was no vegetation because there was no rain and there was no rain because there was no human being to appreciate the rain!
The Maharal in the Gur Aryeh elaborates: Why not bring rain anyway (even though there was no one to appreciate it)? The answer is because it is forbidden to do a kindness for a person who does not recognize it as a favor. Therefore, as long as there was no man, no rain fell. It is not worth giving a gift or favor to someone who does not even have the ability to appreciate what you are doing for him.
Most of us would have assumed the opposite from the Maharal. Our natural instinct would be to say, “No, give the favor anyway, even if it will not be appreciated. Be a nice guy and do the tova [favor], even though it is not appreciated! The Maharal infers a principle of proper behavior from this Rashi: Do not do a favor for a person who cannot appreciate it.
Rashi then presents another idea: “When Adam came and realized that they (i.e. – the rains) are a necessity for the world, he prayed for them and they came down, and the trees and types of vegetation sprouted.” Rav Shimshon Pincus, z”l, in his wonderful sefer, She’arim B’Tefilla, makes the following comment: All this vegetation was right there – the shrubs, the trees, the grass, the plants, the flowers, the beautiful earth – but it was necessary for someone to pray for it. Once Adam prayed for it, then that tremendous favor (of rainfall) comes automatically.
The lesson is that sometimes the Master of the World is ready to shower a bounty on us, but unless we pray for it, we will not receive it. That was the situation over here. The Ribono shel Olam intended that there should be a creation with plants and trees and shrubs and grass and flowers, but He was not prepared to “release them” until someone was there to (a) appreciate them and (b) actually pray for them. There are tremendous favors from Heaven that may await us, but we need to ask for them, we need to daven that G-d’s favors be “released” to us.
The Secret To Building A Bayis Ne’eman B’Yisrael
Following the creation of Chava, Adam states: “This time it is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. This shall be called Woman (isha), for from man (ish) was she taken”. [Bereishis 2:23]. Then the Torah writes “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and cling to his wife and they shall become one flesh.” [Bereishis 2:24]. This last pasuk is the basis of the institution of marriage throughout the world.
Not long ago, I read the autobiography of Rav Yisrael Meir Lau, who has held different Rabbinic positions in Eretz Yisrael, among them the Ashkenazik Chief Rabbi. He has had a fascinating life and wrote an autobiography entitled Do Not Raise A Hand Against the Boy (in the original Hebrew “Al Tishlach Yadcha El Ha’Naar“) [based on Bereishis 22:120].
Rav Herschel Schachter (1918-2013) –- who was an Orthodox army chaplain with the U.S. Army during the liberation of the camps — found the young Rabbi Lau among a pile of dead bodies. Rabbi Lau became a “poster child” for liberation from the concentration camps. His picture was seen throughout the world — the five-year-old child who survived the concentration camps! He was one of the youngest survivors when the camps were liberated – a five year old child in Buchenwald! Both his parents had been killed. Rabbi Lau had a sixteen-year-old brother who saved him during all the trials and tribulations and horror of the concentration camp. It is a very poignant book.
Rabbi Lau traces his whole history of how he got to Eretz Yisrael and how he was taken in by an aunt and an uncle; how he went to Cheder and then how he went to Yeshiva Kol Torah and later the Ponnevezh Yeshiva in Bnei Brak. It is a fascinating book.
Rabbi Lau writes that it came time for him to get married. He was and is a very charismatic, capable, and talented individual. He must have had quite a reputation as a single Yeshiva bochur. There was a Jew at the time who was the Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv, Rav Yitzchak Yedidyah Frankel. He was interested in Rav Lau as a son-in-law. He invited Rabbi Lau over for a meal, took him out to the balcony of his home, and began telling him a “vort” [a brief Torah thought]:
Rav Frankel asked him – what does the pasuk mean, “Therefore a man will leave his father and his mother”? The Torah appears to be rubbing the idea that people leave their parents when they get married into people’s faces. What kind of business is this? Parents put in 20-25 years of blood, sweat, and tears in raising their child. Then comes the wedding and it’s “bye, bye!” It is almost as if the Torah makes it an obligatory commandment to leave one’s parents after getting married. Why does the Torah write this?
I have personally had the privilege of being under many Chupahs; inasmuch as I am often asked to be mesader kiddushin [officiate] at the weddings of my students. There is a universal emotion that I invariably notice. The Chosson and Kallah are all smiles and the parents are bawling their eyes out. I always think of telling the young couple: “Wait, 20+ years from now, you are going to be the ones who are bawling your eyes out!” What is the reason for this ubiquitous emotion?
Of course, there is an element of these being “tears of joy”; but there is so much effort and so much emotion put into the endeavor of raising a child that invariably there is sadness at the event marking the child’s permanent departure from the parental home. In a certain sense, the parents have the feeling – “It is over.” That stage of life has now ended.
So what is the purpose of this pasuk (al ken ya’azov ish es aviv v’imo)? Why does the Torah emphasize it?
Rav Yitzchak Yedidyah Frankel told his future son-in-law, homiletically, that while in Hebrew the root of the word “azav” means leave, the Hebrew word for ‘inheritance’ is also the word izavon. Therefore, he suggested that the interpretation of the pasuk “al ken ya’azov…” is that everyone should leave their parents, but that he should take with him the izavon – the heritage of his parents. The pasuk is not talking about the monetary inheritance of one’s parents, but rather the values of what he saw in his parents’ house. To be successful in building a new Jewish home, a man must take with him the values he has seen in his own parental home.
Why did Rav Frankel tell the young Rabbi Lau this vort? He told him, “You are a fine eligible young man; but you are an orphan. You were raised in an institution. My only worry about you is that you won’t have a tradition from your parents of how to build a home. You were not old enough to appreciate how your father treated your mother, to see how your mother treated your father, to see how you treat siblings, and so on and so forth. This is my worry about you.”
Rabbi Lau writes that he almost chocked up on the spot when Rabbi Frankel told him this and I do not understand why Rabbi Frankel needed to tell this to his future son-in-law. The concept is a beautiful concept: Every Jewish child, in order to be able to build a new home, must take with him the izavon, the heritage of his family. This is the precondition for being able to successfully cling to one’s wife and to build a new home on one’s own. This is the secret to success in building a Bayis Ne’eman B’Yisrael.
Transcribed by David Twersky; Jerusalem [email protected]
Technical Assistance by Dovid Hoffman; Baltimore, MD [email protected]
This week’s write-up is adapted from the hashkafa portion of Rabbi Yissochar Frand’s Commuter Chavrusah Series on the weekly Torah portion. A listing of the halachic portions for Parshas Bereishis is provided below:
- CD# 026 – Adoption: Problems and Solutions
- CD# 068 – Artificial Insemination
- CD# 117 – Inducing Labor: A viable option?
- CD# 164 – Weddings in Shuls: Is there a Problem?
- CD# 210 – Is Marriage a Mitzvah?
- CD# 254 – Truth Tellings and Shidduchim
- CD# 300 – A Mamzer’s Obligation in Mitzvos
- CD# 344 – Marriage and the Birchas Airusin
- CD# 388 – The “Kedushai Ketanah” Controversy
- CD# 432 – Choices in Marriage Partners
- CD# 476 – Melacha of Planting
- CD# 520 – Kavod and Oneg Shabbos
- CD# 564 – You and Your Wife – Ishto Kegufo
- CD# 608 – The Tefilah of Modeh Ani
- CD# 652 – The Tefilah of Asher Yatzar
- CD# 696 – The Bracha on the Havdala Candle
- CD# 740 – When Exactly Does Shabbos Start?
- CD# 784 – The Beautiful Essrog – How Much More?
- CD# 828 – The Baal Teshuva and Pirya Ve’Rivya
- CD# 872 – Marrying Someone With The Same Name As Your Mother
- CD# 916 – Not Having Children?
- CD# 959 – The Case of the Mixed Up Wedding Ring
- CD#1003 – The Case of the Missing Shabbos Bathroom Tissue
- CD#1047 – Mogen Avos on Friday Night – When and Why?
- CD#1090 – Bracha on Havdalah Candle: Before or After?
- CD#1133 – Bracha of ELokai Neshama She’Naasaata Be
- CD#1176 – Chupa: Inside or Outside? In a Shul or Not In A Shul?
- CD#1220 – Forgetting Mashiv HaRuach on Friday Night
A complete catalogue can be ordered from the Yad Yechiel Institute, PO Box 511, Owings Mills MD 21117-0511. Call (410) 358-0416 or e-mail [email protected] or visit http://www.yadyechiel.org/ for further information.