Thursday, January 3, 2019

Dvar Torah - Voeiro - Rabbi Yitzchok Wolpin

This week we are privileged to read the portion of Voeiro. In the end of last weeks portion, Moshe complained to Hashem, why he sent him on this mission, for since he came to Pharaoh the situation went from bad to worse.  The portion begins with Hashem rebuking Moshe for complaining. Later Hashem reaffirms that he will take the Jewish nation out of Egypt and He will bring them to the land, which He promised to their forefathers. We learn about the first seven plagues, brought upon the Egyptians, which was the beginning of the redemption of klal Yisroel (the Jewish nation). Before each plague there was a warning period whereby Moshe informed Pharoh about the coming plague, giving him the chance to release the jews from Egypt, and avoid the plague. Hashem informed Moshe that Pharaoh will be stubborn and he won’t send the Jewish nation out of Egypt.

The beginning of the portion is rather difficult to understand. Here Moshe left Midyan and came back to Egypt, risking his life, only to fulfill the request of G-d. He goes to Pharaoh, who considered Moshe to be a convicted felon. He warns him that he must send his brothers and sisters, the Jewish nation out of Egypt, and not only was his request not granted and in his eyes, his mission was a total failure, things got "worse" for the Jews. What's so terrible about Moshe's complaint ? Doesn't it sound like legitimate complaint from someone who was deeply concerned with the living conditions of his brethren.

The Chassidic commentaries and the Baalei Musar say a very similar concept. One needs to know that nothing Hashem does is "bad". If we see somethings that look bad it's because we lack clear vision we lack proper insight into what's taking place. The rebuke was not for requesting better conditions, that's acceptable. The rebuke was to the wording of Lomo hareioiso - why did you make it worse ( bad). Everything Hashem does is for the good, in fact the reason they were freed earlier after 210 years instead of 400 years), was because of the greater difficulty that made up for the remaining years.

A farmer's child woke up early every morning even before the sun would rise. He would look around as the sun was rising and wonder on the opposite side of the farm there was a house with gold Windows. He would marvel every morning at that home wondering who lived there. One day he decided he's gonna head out in that direction and although it's far he's determined to see that house. He heads west for hours, and it's nearing sunset and he just doesn't seem to find the house with the gold Windows, instead he sees an old broken house. As it was getting late, he knocked on the door and a little child opened the door and he asked him, maybe you know where the house with gold Windows are ? Sure, said the young child come on to the porch and look in the direction you came from. As he looks in the direction of his farm, he sees the gold Windows are by his farm. What we see is what we want to see, and from where we approach what we are looking at.

A lecturer in a rehab center once demonstrated to his patients the danger that overconsumption of alcohol can cause. He took a worm and put it into a cup of whisky and in seconds the worm became crumbs. The crowd was amazed, some wanted to see the demo again. Then the presenter asked the attendees, what conclusion do you draw from what you saw ? One of the attendees got up and said that he gets it, the conclusion he drew was that people who drink a lot of alcohol don't have bugs/worms in their stomach. No one got the simple message, that overconsumption of alcohol can tear the body apart. Because everyone sees what they want to see. If one wants to see good, one can see good in the midst of misery, G-d forbid. If one doesn't focus on seeing the good, they will never appreciate it.

This is the lesson for us, of course we are not on the level of Moshe, but the Torah writes this so that we should learn to program ourselves to see good in everything. May Hashem grant us good that's easy to comprehend!
Gut Shabbos!

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