Torah Tidbits

21 August 2014 / 25 Av 5774

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Issue 1026
Shabbat Parshat Vayigash
December 20, 2012
Lead Tidbits
Lead Tidbit

AFTER THESE MATTERS...

In addition to the forward march of time, we Jews live with two cycles of stories and events - the yearly cycle of weekly Torah reading and the yearly cycle of the Jewish Calendar.
Furthermore, we relate to both of those cycles so strongly, that the events of which we are reminded and which we review are not once-upon-a-time types, but - if we have done our job properly - they are fresh, personalized and internalized, and have become part of who and what we are.
So let’s take a look at where we are holding now (to use the vernacular).

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Sedra Stats

Vayigash Stats

11th of 54 sedras;
11th of 12 in B’reishit
Written on 178.07 lines in a Torah (34th)
Vayigash is composed of 3 parshiyot, all closed, one VERY closed.

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Aliya-by-Aliya Sedra Summary

Aliya by Aliya Sedra Summary

[P> X:Y (Z)] and [S> X:Y (Z)] indicate start of a parsha p’tucha or s’tuma. X:Y is Perek:Pasuk of the beginning of the parsha; (Z) is the number of p’sukim in the parsha.

Kohen - First Aliya 13 p’sukim - 44:18-30
[S> 44:18 (52)] The sedra begins with the dramatic confrontation between Yehuda and Yosef. Yehuda risks his life when he approaches the “Egyptian leader” in an attempt to save Binyamin. The first Aliya ends with the emotion- filled description by Yehuda of the feelings between Yaakov and Binyamin - “V’nafsho k’shura v’nafsho”, and his soul is bound with his soul.
SDT Yehuda confronted the as-yet- unrevealed Yosef as an equal. It can be said, that whenever one approaches a confrontational situation, it is best to think in terms of facing one’s adversary on equal footing. Thinking oneself inferior will often create a self-fulfilling disadvantage. One will tend not to fight with sufficient confidence because of the expectation of defeat. Feeling superior to one’s adversary will often lead to over-confidence. Remember not to under-estimate your enemy… or yourself.
THE TORAH NOTES on the opening words of the sedra explain what was going on.

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Other Tidbits
Word of the Month

Word of the Month

A weekly feature of Torah Tidbits to help clarify practical and conceptual aspects of the Jewish Calendar, thereby better fulfilling the mitzva of haChodesh HaZeh Lachem…

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Vebbe Rebbe

Vebbe Rebbe

The Orthodox Union - via its website - fields questions of all types in areas of kashrut, Jewish law and values. Some of them are answered by Eretz Hemdah, the Institute for Advanced Jewish Studies, Jerusalem, headed by Rav Yosef Carmel and Rav Moshe Ehrenreich, founded by HaRav Shaul Yisraeli zt"l, to prepare rabbanim and dayanim to serve the National Religious community in Israel and abroad. Ask the Rabbi is a joint venture of the OU, Yerushalayim Network, Eretz Hemdah… and the Israel Center. The following is a Q&A from Eretz Hemdah…

Finding Money in One’s Pocket on Shabbat

Question: Last Shabbat I wore a suit that I had not worn in a while. On Shabbat morning I happened to check an inside pocket and found a $20 bill. Upon making that discovery, what should I have done?

Answer: There are few questions one has to ask. While the money is muktzeh, does it make the suit jacket muktzeh?

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Chizuk and Idud

CHIZUK and IDUD for Olim not yet Olim respectively

When Yaakov beholds the royal chariots that Yosef had sent to bring him to Egypt, he was overcome with fear as a result of the realization that the protracted Egyptian Exile would now begin. Yaakov is afraid of what will happen to his descendants in the coming years.
The Almighty appears to Yaakov and tells him not to be afraid to descend to Egypt. The Almighty says “I will make you into a great nation.” How does this ease Yaakov’s fears? The Sforno explains as follows: Were they to stay in Canaan the Jews would not multiply; rather, they would assimilate and intermarry with the Canaanite peoples. In Egypt, however, as a result of the fact that the Egyptians would not eat the bread of slaves, nor would they interact with them, the Jews could continue to grow maintaining their distinct national identity. (From this perspective, Jewish spiritual life in Muslim countries was perhaps better than that which we can witness today in modern Western countries where the rate of intermarriage is so high).
G-d then says to Yaakov (B’reishit 46:4): “I will descend with you into Egypt and I will surely bring you back up”.

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Parsha Points to Ponder

Parsha Points to Ponder

1) Why does the Torah report the obvious and irrelevant fact that Yehuda’s sons, Er and Onan, died IN THE LAND OF CANAAN (46:12)?
2) Why does Yosef tell his brothers that he will tell Par’o that they are shepherds BECAUSE THEY ARE MEN WITH FLOCKS (46:32)? Why the need for those words of explanation?
3) Why did Yaakov launch into a description of the difficulties in his life when Par’o simply asked him his age (47:8-9)?

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Portion of the Portion

Crying - a Real Jewish Response

This past week my kids were sitting on the couch with their cousin talking to her friend Siri. They asked her all kinds of questions and they got so excited when she was able to answer all of them appropriately.  Then one of them asked her, “Do you like me?” and she answered “Siri, doesn’t have feelings”, an answer that brought on lots of laughter at the truth, that Siri, an intelligent personal assistant and knowledge navigator which works as an application for Apple’s iOS does not have and can’t express any emotions.
That can not be said about Yosef. Just in the Torah portions of Miketz, VaYigash, and Vaychi we see him crying seven times (B’reishit 42:24, 43:30, 45:2, 45:15, 45:16, 46:29, 50:17). Why does the Torah make a point of telling us that Yosef cried? And why did he cry so many times? This doesn’t seem to be the behavior we would expect of such a powerful leader. It doesn’t seem so “masculine”. What is the Torah trying to teach us about Yosef and about crying in general?
What are some of the emotions that Yosef exhibited with his tears? Yosef brought up tears of happiness (42:24) when he realized that his brothers were on the path of teshuva for their having sold him into slavery (Rashi).
When Binyamin is brought down to Egypt and is presented to Yosef (43:30), Rashi says that Yosef asked him about his family.

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"From Machon Puah"

Uterine Transplants - Who is the Mother?

Last week we concluded our discussion of the potential halachic barriers to undergoing uterine transplants from one woman to another. This week we will ask how this treatment will affect the question of motherhood. Woman A donates her uterus to Woman B who then gets pregnant and delivers a baby. Who is considered the mother of the baby, Woman A who donated the uterus, or Woman B who gave birth to the baby?
This is not a new question and, as we have seen previously, was discussed over a century ago when it was raised in a Hungarian halachic journal.

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Divrei Menachem

Divrei Menachem

Every year, when we read Parshat Vayigash, we are touched by Yehuda’s valiant attempt to extricate his young brother Binyamin from slavery, thus to assuage his con- science and to save his father Ya’akov’s sanity.
Yehuda’s soliloquy consists of three stages - a recap of past events, a description of the consequences of the current state of affairs, and a proposal and a plea. His impassioned speech is the longest recorded in Sefer B’reishit - and its very length and structure teach us a very important lesson.

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TTriddles "Report"

TTriddles

TTRIDDLES…
are Torah Tidbits-style riddles on Parshat HaShavua (sometimes on the calendar). They are found in the hard-copy of TT scattered throughout, usually at the bottom of different columns. In the electronic versions of TT, they are found all together at the end of the ParshaPix-TTriddles section. The best solution set submitted each week (there isn’t always a best) wins a double prize a CD from Noam Productions and/or a gift (game, puzzle, book, etc.) from Big Deal

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In This Issue of Torah Tidbits

Candle Lighting and Havdala

Candle Lighting Sponsored By:

Sedra Stats

11th of 54 sedras;
11th of 12 in B’reishit
Written on 178.07 lines in a Torah (34th)
Vayigash is composed of 3 parshiyot, all closed, one VERY closed.

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Word of the Month

Hopefully, we will merit much blessed and beneficial rainfall in the coming weeks. This will be good for everyone and everything, except perhaps, Kiddush L’vana. There is no given that we will see the moon on Motza’ei Shabbat right after Maariv. If we do - fine. But if not, we each should make an effort to check on the sky periodically, to hopefully catch a clear op to say KL. Last opportunity for KL this month is all night THU,
December 27th (until dawn of Friday, the 28th).
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Asara b’Tevet - Sunday, December 23rd - 5:18am (dawn) to 5:10pm (stars-out)
One of the Four Fasts related to the Churban specifically, marks the beginning of the siege of Yerushalayim
by the Babylonians prior to the first Churban
In our time, it also serves as YOM KADDISH K’LALI, a day to mourn the victims of the Holocaust whose yahrzeits are not known. As such, it also mourns the Sho’a in general.