Week of Parshas Va-era

Sunday – December 30, 2019:

Got up from Shiva for my mother.

Tuesday – January 1, 2019:

Walked along the Lakefront and then went to Anshe Sholom for Mincha/Maariv. Compare the pictures one year apart:

January 1, 2019:
image1

December 31, 2017
image2

Thursday – January 3, 2019:
image3
Took Naftali Glenner for Mincha / Maariv.

Shabbos – Friday night January 4 – 2019:

First Shabbos of the New Year. Ate by the Glenner’s Friday night. Wore my blue suede shoes in honor of the king, Elvis Presley’s birthday.

Saturday – January 5, 2019:

Got up- at 5:00 AM and learned the Sedra. Below are the items I thought about, and comments on the Sedra. I let my house at 8:15 AM, walked to Anshei Sholom and got there at 9:50 AM. Eli met me for Kiddush at the Shul. Went to the Kiddush. We stayed for the guest speaker. At 1:30 PM attended Dr. Leonard Kranzler’s Bible class. Dr. Kranzler is in Florida, so Paul facilitated the discussion.

The following is my Torah on Parshas Va’era:

1) עֲרַ֥ל שְׂפָתָֽיִם: – Closed Lips:

Chapter 6, Verse 12:

יב. וַיְדַבֵּ֣ר משֶׁ֔ה לִפְנֵ֥י יְהֹוָ֖ה לֵאמֹ֑ר הֵ֤ן בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ לֹא־שָֽׁמְע֣וּ אֵלַ֔י וְאֵיךְ֙ יִשְׁמָעֵ֣נִי פַרְעֹ֔ה וַֽאֲנִ֖י עֲרַ֥ל שְׂפָתָֽיִם:

12. But Moses spoke before the Lord, saying, “Behold, the children of Israel did not hearken to me. How then will Pharaoh hearken to me, seeing that I am of closed lips?”

What does Closed Lips mean? Standard explanation is Moshe had difficulty talking; he stuttered and spoke with a speech impediment. Moshe attributed his inability to be the messenger because of his speech impediment and no one would understand him.

Obviously by the time of Har Sinai, Moshe overcame this inability to talk and was able to give over Torah to the Jewish people in a clear manner.

Rashi in Verse 13 says – Because Moshe had said, “I am of closed lips, “the Holy One combined Aaron with him to be for him as a speaker and an interpreter.

Rashi is saying that only because Moshe said I am of closed lips did God partner Aaron with Moshe. Moshe could have accomplished his mission even without Aaron.

Chapter 7; Verses 1 and 2 explicitly say that Aaron is the speaker, interpreter.

There is another meaning of Aral Sephasium – having closed lips. It is the inability to answer people, to think on your feet, to deflect criticism.   I think the best of people and situations, I think with Chesed, and people fail to understand where my words are coming from – a good place. I can be insulted and am not able to defend myself meetings I seem to not to be able to answer questions properly and afterwards I stress out and criticize myself thinking. “what and how I should have answered.” I cannot answer people properly when they have questions about the Jewish religion. There was a Seinfeld episode where George stressed out because he could not have the correct retort. I saw a movie with George Clooney where he walked into every meeting confident and always said the right thing. I want to be George Clooney. However, I want to be Rabbi Ben Sugerman. He says a beautiful Daf Yomi Shiur in God’s Shul at BRS in Florida. Rabbi Sugerman’s ability to explain is outstanding. On Chullin 32 and 33, he gave 10 minute introductions to the Blatt. My goal is to be able to explain Torah like Rabbi Ben Sugerman.

2) Reuben, Israel’s firstborn

Chapter 6- Verse 14:

  1. 14. These [following] are the heads of the fathers’ houses: The sons of Reuben, Israel’s firstborn:

Enoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Karmi, these are the families of Reuben.

Why does the Torah say Reuben was Israel’s first born? We know this. I believe the answer is that Yaakov criticized Reuben and took away the double rights of Firstborn: given to Yosef. Priesthood: given to Levi. Royalty: given to Yehuda. Despite this, we still have to give honor to Reuben as he is still the firstborn. We have no right to judge Reuben and lower his status. We have to honor him and defer to him when appropriate.

In Kotzk, the oldest brother always had the rights to step into the father’s position after the death of the father and be Rebbe. If the firstborn does not want it, then the next brother becomes the leader of the family. When this lack of respect occurs, you have brothers taking each other to court, you have fights, and you have Torah Scholars fighting with each other.

3) Moshe is to give Pharaoh Respect:

In Chapter 6 – Verse 13 Rashi says that Moshe was instructed to give Pharaoh respect. Even thought Pharaoh was evil and Moshe had God’s protection and was Pharaoh’s judge, enforcer, and chastiser, per Rashi on Chapter 7 – Verse 1. Moshe should have treated Pharaoh with utter contempt, however, God said, No, show Pharaoh respect. This is also important to show respect to leaders despite there being evil. Perhaps it is respect for the office and the country. As Rabbi Weinschnieder said, in the Army, you salute the General’s car even if the General is not in the car.

4) And Pharaoh also called his wise men:

Chapter 7, Verse 11:

ן מִצְרַ֛יִם בְּלַֽהֲטֵיהֶ֖ם כֵּֽ חַרְטֻמֵּ֥י וַיִּקְרָא֙ גַּם־פַּרְעֹ֔ה לַֽחֲכָמִ֖ים וְלַֽמְכַשְּׁפִ֑ים וַיַּֽעֲשׂ֨וּ גַם־הֵ֜

The first “גַּם” appears to be extra. I believe the explanation is that is was not enough to show that Moshe’s turning the staff into a snake could be nothing special, Pharaoh had to mock Moshe. He was saying. Moshe your trick is the work of an amateur. Not only can I, Pharaoh, the God King duplicate but Pharaoh also called his wise men and other to show, Moshe, you are insignificant trickster.

5) Pharaoh behaved no different than any despot.President Truman had to drop the H bomb. Emperor Hitherto would never have surrendered. He would have caused the death of millions of Japanese and tens of thousands of American troops. After Gettysburg, there was no way the South could win the war, yet the Civil war went on for 2 more years, killing over 200,000 men.

So the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron: Because Moses had said, “I am of closed lips,” the Holy One, blessed be He, combined Aaron with him to be for him as a “mouth” [i.e., speaker] and an interpreter.

Walked to Anshei Sholom. Got there at 9:50 AM.

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