Simi Mandelbaum Bar Mitzvah
Sara Wolkenfeld’s Sister’s Passing
Or Hachaim on Genesis 15:15
Friday night I davened by Sidney Glenner at the Base Ment Minyan. I wore my light blue jacket I purchased from the Brown Elephant for $14. I love the jacket and how it looks on me. I also wore my Rose Gold Fossil watch also purchased from the Brown Elephant.
Shabbos morning davened with Mayer Chase at the Adas. Simi Mandelbaum made a Bar Mitzvah for his son. Cholent was great. Simi’s father TZL was a well known Rebi in Philadelphia for years, loved by everyone. I wanted to get a bracha from Simi’s mother, but she was not yet at the simcha. Spoke to Simi’s brothers, especially Shmuel. I saw Avi Goldfeder who was MC at Keshet dinners for many years. I described my granddaughter, Tiferet, who is autistic and the need to give her respect and told him of my dialogue with Michelle.
Caption for picture – Tammy took Tiferet for a waxing and out to Lunch.
My response – Being clean and neat and sitting with her drink at a restaurant speaks to me.
Michelle’s Answer – I know. She has a lot in her if she’s just respected.
My response – I sent $100
Michelle’s response – Thanks. She looks like such a beautiful young lady. She loves doing this stuff.
At the Bar Mitzvah I met many friends.
I worked on the Sedra and saw beautiful Torah. I always recall that Rabbi Shmuel Bowman of Efrat said that at CUFI events there are signs that say Genesis 12:3, which is the Pasuk וַאֲבָֽרְכָה֙ מְבָ֣רְכֶ֔יךָ – I will bless those that bless you.
I saw the Or Hachaim on Lot and the fight between the shepherds of Lot and the shepherds of Avrohom. I also saw a Pshet that Hashem did not want Lot to go with Avrohom, but that Lot attached himself to Avrohom. I also saw the Orach Chaim on Avrohom going down to Egypt. I saw beautiful Torah from Rabbi Riskin.
This is from Anshei Sholem:
We regret to inform you of the passing of Debra Tillinger, sister of Sara Wolkenfeld. (My cousin’s daughter, Amy Gross-Tarnor, went to school with Sara Wolkenfeld through high school and college at Penn. The funeral will take place this Monday, at 11 AM EST at Gutteran & Musicant Funeral Home (402 Park Street in Hackensack, NJ), followed by burial at Beth El Cemetery (735 Forest Avenue in Paramus, NJ).
Shiva will be observed at the Wolkenfeld home in Chicago (745 W. Buckingham Place) Wednesday 4:00 – 8:00 PM (Mincha/Ma’ariv at 4:20 PM); Thursday 9:00 – 11:00 AM & 4:00 – 8:00 PM (Mincha/Ma’ariv at 4:20 PM); and Friday 9:00 – 11:00 AM.
My Vort I want to take from this week’s Sedra.
In this week’s Parsha the Torah says in Verse 17:20:
וּֽלְיִשְׁמָעֵאל֮ שְׁמַעְתִּ֒יךָ֒ הִנֵּ֣ה ׀ בֵּרַ֣כְתִּי אֹת֗וֹ וְהִפְרֵיתִ֥י אֹת֛וֹ וְהִרְבֵּיתִ֥י אֹת֖וֹ בִּמְאֹ֣ד מְאֹ֑ד שְׁנֵים־עָשָׂ֤ר נְשִׂיאִם֙ יוֹלִ֔יד וּנְתַתִּ֖יו לְג֥וֹי גָּדֽוֹל׃
And in Verses 17:24 – 17:26
וְאַ֨בְרָהָ֔ם בֶּן־תִּשְׁעִ֥ים וָתֵ֖שַׁע שָׁנָ֑ה בְּהִמֹּל֖וֹ בְּשַׂ֥ר עׇרְלָתֽוֹ׃
וְיִשְׁמָעֵ֣אל בְּנ֔וֹ בֶּן־שְׁלֹ֥שׁ עֶשְׂרֵ֖ה שָׁנָ֑ה בְּהִ֨מֹּל֔וֹ אֵ֖ת בְּשַׂ֥ר עׇרְלָתֽוֹ׃
בְּעֶ֙צֶם֙ הַיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֔ה נִמּ֖וֹל אַבְרָהָ֑ם וְיִשְׁמָעֵ֖אל בְּנֽוֹ׃
Rashi does not say anything on Verse 20 and is rather disparaging that Yishmael’s princes will amount to nothing. We do know that the descendents of Yishmael will be a thorn in Israel’s side. I do not know if Avrohom knew this but in regards to Yishmael, Avrohom in Verse 20 is given a blessing for Yishmael that Yishmael will have a large family, will have 12 princes and be a great nation. If Hashem is giving Yishmael a blessing because Hashem listened to Avorhom it has to be good. The Or Hachaim explains this beautifully.
ולישמעאל שמעתיך וגו’. הכונה להיות שאברהם לא התפלל על ישמעאל אלא לצד שהוא לבדו זרעו מה שאין כן אחר שנתן לו ה’ זרע משרה אז לא יבקש עוד על ישמעאל לזה אמר לו הקב”ה ולישמעאל שמעתיך פי’ קבלתי דבריך והוא על דרך אומרם ז”ל (מכות יא.) קללת חכם אפילו על תנאי מתקיימת ומרובה מדה טובה ממדת וכו’ ולפי מה שפירשתי שתפלת אברהם על ישמעאל היתה שיהיה צדיק רמז לו ה’ שיחזור בתשובה כאומרו הנה ברכתי אותו שיחזור בתשובה שהברכה הוא שיהיה נכלל בברוך וברוך הוא מקור הקדושה. ואמר לשון עבר ברכתי וגו’ הוא מה שרמז באומרו (טו) תקבר בשיבה טובה, וכן היה כאומרם ז”ל (ב”ר 59:7) שעשה תשובה:
Look at Artscroll’s translation on שהברכה הוא שיהיה נכלל בברוך וברוך הוא מקור הקדושה.
The Torah tells us twice that Yishmael was circumcised, even telling us that it was on his Bar Mitzvah day. Looking at this Pasuk and projecting what a father feels when his son puts on Tefillin at his bar Mitzvah and is called up to theTorah, Avrohom must have felt great pride in his son and rejoiced. Avrohom’s joy was complete. This Is the image that Avrohom had of his son Yismael always, the image of Yishmael willingly going through a painful circumcision at the request of Hashem.
Every Pasuk in the Torah is be interpreted in 3D and in “living color”.
We know that Avrohom loved Yishmael. He never gave up on him. I heard a speech on this from Rabbi Zecharya Wallerstein, ZL, who mentioned a magnificent Midrash Tanchuma, which I subsequently saw, that Avrohom went to visit Yishmael twice. This love from Avrohom was felt by Yishmael and was one of the catalysts bringing Yishmael back to Avodas Hashem. The Torah testifies (per Rashi) to us twice; once when Avrohom died and a second time when Yishmael himself died that Yishmael was a Tzadick. Not only that but Avrohom never gave up on Yismael. Perhaps he became a student of Yitzchok in the later part of their lives. Not only that but in this week’s sedra which was during the Bris Bein Habesarim the Pasuk 15:15 says:
Explains Rashi – וְאַתָּ֛ה תָּב֥וֹא אֶל־אֲבֹתֶ֖יךָ בְּשָׁל֑וֹם תִּקָּבֵ֖ר בְּשֵׂיבָ֥ה טוֹבָֽה׃
.תקבר בשיבה טובה. בִּשְּׂרוֹ שֶׁיַּעֲשֶׂה יִשְׁמָעֵאל תְּשׁוּבָה בְּיָמָיו,
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks TZL explains that after Sarah’s death, Yitzchok went and brought Hagar back. Not only did he bring Hagar back but he brought Yishmael back.
Based on a Vort I said that Yismael not only did Tshuva and was a Tzadick, but during his lifetime, his influence impacted his entire family and they were likewise good people.
To answer the question that Yishmael descendents were destructive to the Jews, all I can answer is what Hashem told Chizkiyahu when Chizkiyahu prophesied that his son would be very evil and bring idol worship to Yehuda. Chizkiyahu refused to have children. Hashem told Chiziyahu, you do what you have to do, do not worry about heavenly matters.
Perhaps this can be a hopeful sign that ultimately the children of Yishmael will again become partners with the Jewish people to bring good into this world.