Category Archives: Parasha

14. VaEra–The Plague of Hail: Fire Within Ice

“And there was hail, and fire was flashing within the hail…” 1

The flax and barley have been destroyed...” 2

"Hail - The Seventh Plague" by Yoram Raanan. Image courtesy of YoramRaanan.com

“Hail – The Seventh Plague” by Yoram Raanan. Image courtesy of YoramRaanan.com

The first six plagues were not enough to make Pharaoh admit his mistakes. Hashem hardened his heart to allow him to dismiss every plague so far as a “natural disaster”. But the hail, with its terrifying and clearly unnatural fire contained within ice, frightens Pharaoh enough to make him cry out, for the first time, “…I am guilty! God is just! It is I and my people who are in the wrong! Pray to God! Enough of this supernatural thunder and hail…”3

Another lesson for life: the stalks of barley and flax were hardened and inflexible, so they were crushed by the hail. But the spelt and wheat were still young, sprouting and supple and therefore survived.4

Good Shabbos, Shabbath Shalom!

Show 4 footnotes

  1. Shemoth (Exodus) 9:24.
  2. Shemoth (Exodus) 9:31.
  3. Shemoth (Exodus) 9:27-28.
  4. Likutey Halakhoth, Orakh Chaim, Tzitzith 3:25.
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13. Shemoth 5776

13. Shemoth 5776 ~ The Treasure and the Bridge

Shemos 5776_City_Park_Bayou_Bridge_WikimediaOnce upon a time a man dreamed that a treasure was buried under a bridge in Vienna so he traveled there to find it. But when he arrived, a guard confronted him. Hoping to bribe the official into joining his quest, the traveler told the story of his dream, but the guard only laughed.

“I also dreamed about a treasure, but do I go chasing after it? Of course not!” He then told how, in his own dream, a treasure was hidden in a certain city at a certain address. Realizing that the guard had described his own home, the traveler rushed back and found the treasure!

In his parable Rebbe Nachman alludes to many secrets. One of them is that the treasure is our voice – a unique symphony of colors and resonances that has never been heard before, and will never be heard again.

We’ve used our voice all our lives but to discover that it is actually a treasure, we need to travel to the “bridge” spanning all worlds, the teachings of the Tzadik.1

“These are the names of the Children of Israel who arrived…”

ואלה שמות בני ישראל הבאים

Burning Bush by permission of YoramRaanan.com_Thumbnail

Parshath Shemoth — “Burning Bush” by Yoram Raanan. Courtesy of www.YoramRaanan.com

In this week’s parsha, Shemoth, rearranging the final letters of the opening words spells תהלים–Tehillim (Psalms). Hashem always sends the cure before He sends the illness, and so before the exile in Egypt began, the antidote was already prepared: Sefer Tehillim. 2

Through vocalization, even a whisper, the power locked inside the letters, words, and phrases of Sefer Tehillim is activated. This is the antidote to the exiles that began so long ago in Egypt. May we soon be free!

Good Shabbos — Shabbath Shalom!

A.M.

Show 2 footnotes

  1. Rav Yehiel Michel Dorfman ז”ל, oral tradition
  2. Lekutey Moharan Tanina 73
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34. BeMidbar

The order of Israel’s tribal encampment while traveling in the wilderness is described in this week’s parsha: “Camping to the east shall be the divisions under the banner of Yehuda…1

With the tribe of Yehuda corresponding to the month of Nissan, the camps parallel each of the twelve lunar months and were ordered, by Hashem, in a counter-clockwise fashion around the tabernacle.2

Nissan=Yehuda, Iyar=Yissachar, Sivan=Zevulun

Tammuz=Reuven, Av=Shimeon, Elul=Gad

Tishrei=Ephraim, Cheshvan=Menashe, Kislev=Benyamin

Teves=Dan, Shevat=Asher, Adar=Naftali

Each family camped within the boundaries indicated by the colored banners signifying their tribe. The colors of these banners were deeply significant and corresponded to the colors of the gemstones worn by Aaron during service in the tabernacle. 3

Encampment_00

 

The four sections of the encampment parallel the four letters of Hashem’s ineffable Name, the four aspects of Hashem’s throne, the four worlds (Atzilus, Briya, Yetzira, Asiya), and the four elements of creation: earth, air, fire, and water. 4

Show 4 footnotes

  1. BeMidbar (Numbers) 2:3
  2. Bnei Yissachar
  3. Midrash Rabba
  4. Lekutey Halachoth Choshen Mishpat 2, Hilchos Ganeyva, Halacha 5, Paragraph 19.
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