Halacha for Friday 2 Shevat 5781 January 15 2021

Parashat Vaera - Knowing Your Limits

From HaGaon Rav Zevadia HaCohen Shlit”a, The Head of the Batei Din in Tel Aviv
(translated by our dear friend Rav Daniel Levy Shlit”a, Leeds UK)

This week we will read Hashem’s request of Moshe that he approach Paro, king of Egypt and ask that he release the people to go and offer sacrifices to Hashem.

Moshe, who found it difficult to find the right speech and language (Shemot 4:10), replied to Hashem, that for these reasons he shouldn’t be sent to Paro. As the passuk says: “Moshe said to Hashem, I do not have the self-confidence to speak. How will Paro ever pay attention to me?” (Shemot 6:30).

Hashem responded to Moshe Rabbeinu and said: “You must announce all that I order you to, and your brother Aron will relate it to Paro. He will then let Yisrael leave his land” (Shemot 7:2).

This means to say that there was a division of duties between Moshe and Aron. Moshe will hear directly from Hashem and relate the matters once briefly to Paro. And Aron will repeat those matters in more detail. In Rashi’s words, “Aron your brother will interpret it and explain to Paro”.

It is related about Rabbi Avraham Dweck zt”l, who was a Dayan and posek in Aleppo, Syria, was a gifted speaker and all his halachic d’rashot were beautifully seasoned with stories and analogies, and all the congregation was thoroughly entertained and would laugh from his entertaining d’rashot. Of course, they came away with a wealth of knowledge in both halachah and aggadah.

One evening the rav was particularly exceptional and told an especially entertaining story and all the congregation absorbed his words enjoying them. One of the listeners returned home and all the way his eyes were sparkling and his face smiling. His wife asked him why, to which he answered that the rav told a very funny story and as such he is still elated and happy from what he had heard. His wife said, if so tell me the story and I too will be happy and laugh from the rav’s d’rasha. He began to tell his wife, laughing while he told her, yet his wife listened and couldn’t understand what is so funny in what the rav said.

“Why aren’t you laughing?” Asked the husband. And his wife responded, “What is funny here?”

The husband who had heard the rav and saw all the congregation breaking out in laughter didn’t understand his wife, and began to get angry with her and said, “Are you trying to anger me! You are purposely suppressing your laughter to portray me as a foolish and derided person!” She responded truthfully, “I just don’t understand what is funny in what you have related!”

And with this a huge argument erupted between them, they racked up memories about each one’s failings and previously forgotten mistakes, they opened previously healed wounds, until they decided they will divorce.

They immediately got up to go the rav’s Bet Din to divorce.

The rav examined the husband: “What have you seen to divorce your wife of your youth?” The husband began to tell him what had happened, “I enjoyed the d’rasha yesterday and repeated it to my wife, but she supressed her laughter and made a fool out of me.”

The rav heard this, understood, and said to the wife, “Come and I will repeat yesterday’s d’rasha.” He had just begun, and the wife was triggered with laughter, which could be heard from a distance. Now the husband was doubly offended, for him she did not laugh but for the rav she laughs incessantly!

The rav turned to the husband and said to him, “Know! Moshe Rabbeinu also spoke briefly to Paro, yet Aron HaCohen explained in more detail to Paro!”

This means that Paro couldn’t truly fathom the information from Moshe in the way that Aron HaCohen explained it to Paro!

Not all people are the same and no two people have the same ability. Each one has his unique qualities which Hashem invested in him. We must accept this with love and to understand that no person is perfect and to utilise our qualities as we have been blessed.

Shabbat Shalom!

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