VOLUME 98 NUMBER 7
November 12, 2021
Kislev 8, 5782
Candlelighting Time 4:28 PM
Rashi quotes the Midrash that when Yaakov left Ber Sheva to return to his parents, the splendor, magnificence and grandeur departed as well from the city. Certainly, our Sages are describing the attrition of the city’s situation due to Yaakov’s leaving. However, it is not exactly clear what they mean. Maharal explains that the magnificent nature of a tzadik like Yaakov is the infusion of fear of Heaven which entails adherence to the mitzvos of the Torah. When Yaakov left, they lost that role model that so influenced them to serve Hashem properly. The splendor or brilliance of Yaakov was his ability to transmit wisdom with a degree of profundity that would expand the minds of the townspeople also adding to their capacity to envision greater heights in their lifestyle. Furthermore, the grandeur or dignified manner with which Yaakov conducted himself impressed those around him as he displayed a level of refinement and elegance that motivated others to emulate.
Of course, the question that we must ask is why is this relevant for us to know? Certainly, the tzadik is aware that his presence in the city is respected and appreciated. However why is it so important for us to realize this? Even if we were not attentive to the specific advantages that the tzadik offers nonetheless we would be drawn to gain from him as much as possible. Therefore, why must we know exactly what we will gain from his being in the city?
S’fas Emes has an incredible insight into this parsha. He writes that not only does the tzadik impart to his surroundings of his greatness, but he actually infuses into the very essence of his residence his incredible gifts of wisdom and demeanor. Indeed, this is actually suggestive of the nature of the world. Hashem brought the world into existence from nothingness and even though during the actual time of creation Hashem was ‘present’, however after the completion of everything, His presence wasn’t as pervasive as when He was actively involved in the creation of the world. Still, we realize that the world has ongoing existence due to Hashem’s willing that the entire universe should continue. And therefore, this is the lesson that we can realize from this episode. Certainly, we are not on the level of piety and dedication to Hashem as they were. Nonetheless, to the extent that we can invigorate our actions when we perform mitzvos, that will determine how much we can infuse our own personal sanctity into our homes, shuls and wherever we may frequent.
The Talmud states that when we sin, the stones of our walls and the beams in the ceiling will testify about what we have done wrong. Of course, the stones and beams cannot talk but the effect that our actions had on the walls and ceiling will serve as testimony to how we conducted ourselves. It stands to reason that when we study Torah in our homes and excel in performing mitzvos, that sanctity is infused into the very structure that we live in!
When Adam was created, Ramchal cites the Midrash that Hashem took him around the Garden of Eden and pointed out how beautiful everything is. He cautioned him that if he sins, then he will have corrupted not only himself but the world in general. And if he successfully overcomes his evil inclination, then not only will he elevate himself, but additionally, the entire world will become resolved. Should we desire, we can affect the entire world with our actions, we must just focus on that goal and with Hashem’s help we will be effectual.
A BYTE FOR SHABBOS
Yissochor was born as a result of the special herbs that Reuven found and gave to his mother. They were beneficial for Rochel who was barren. Rochel traded her night with Yaakov to get the herbs and gave it to Leah. Yissochor, the icon of those immersed in Torah was born due to that gift. Torah continues to flourish in our nation with the assistance of those who understand its importance and support it. CHOFETZ CHAIM