Parshas Va'era 5777
Candle Lighting Time: 5:56 pm
January 27, 2017
Volume 13 Issue 11
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Dvar Torah

Changing Our Minds
 By Rabbi Yochanan Eskenazi

Before bringing the Ten Plagues upon the Egyptians, Hashem reassures Moshe Rabbeinu that He has heard the cry of the Jewish people and they will be redeemed (Shemos 6:2-8). The Medrash [Shemos Rabbah 6:4] comments on the four expressions of redemption used by Moshe, "V'hotzaisi"-"V'hotzalti"-"V'goalti" and "V'lokachti", that he was predicting the different progressive stages of the redemption. It is based on these four words that our Sages enacted drinking four cups of wine on Pesach night.
What is the meaning of these phrases?  Ramban explains, "I shall take you out from under the burdens of Mitzrayim" is a promise that He will take them out of Egypt and no longer bear the weight of the burden. "I shall rescue you from their service" means the Jewish people will no longer be ruled by the Mitzri'im at all, even to the extent that they would no longer be required to pay taxes. "I shall redeem you" is referring to that Hashem will inflict judgements on the Egyptians until they would proclaim to Him, "Here is the Jewish people as redemption of ourselves."  In other words, redemption means to exchange one object for another, and they were proclaiming in it to our benefit to offer them freedom in exchange for ourselves. "And I shall take you to Me for a people" is referring to when the Jewish people accepted the Torah at Har Sinai. The Seforno understands the fourth expression slightly differently, that it is referring to when the Egyptians drowned in the sea, for once the oppressors died, there were no longer slaves being chased.
Harav Henoch Leibowitz, zt"l, asks: either way you understand, it is unclear what the last expression of redemption is adding over the previous, for after the third redemption they were already freed and no longer on Egyptian territory. How does either accepting the Torah or their persecutors dying add to their actual freedom?
Suggests Rav Henoch, we see from here even after the Jewish nation were physically freed, in their own eyes they still perceived themselves as being slaves. Therefore, in order to break this mindset, Hashem added an additional dimension of freedom, to instill a new reality in the Jewish nation; you are no longer slaves to the Mitzri'im who are no longer alive, you are only servants of Me, which was solidified through the giving of the Torah.
We learn from here, how difficult it can be for a person to change his self-perception.  The implication is, even though the Jewish people were fully aware they were no longer in captivity, without Hashem bringing about this additional expression, they would have forever remained with their slave mentality.  This is one of the reasons why it is essential to imbue into our children an accurate perception about who they are. For once a person becomes convinced of a certain ideology, be it good or bad, it is exceedingly challenging to break, even more so if these ideas have been a part of him since his youth.
Perhaps this is one of the messages we are supposed to convey to our family on Seder night, to imbue into them our praiseworthy status of being children of Hashem [Devarim 14:1] and that we descend from such great lineage, the Avos and Imahos. For the more we view ourselves in this proper light, the more exalted lives we will live; lives focused on serving Hashem to the fullest extent possible. May we merit giving over correct ideologies to our families, Seder night and throughout the rest of the year, and merit speedily in our days the fulfillment of the fifth expression of redemption [Shemos 6:8] of "V'havaisi", "I shall bring you to the land about which I raised My hand to give it to Avraham, Yitzchok and Yaakov; and I should give it to you as a heritage."

Dvar Halacha
Laws of Borer part 2
By  Rabbi Yochanan Eskenazi

Last week we explained that the melachah of borer is only relevant if one is selecting an item from [at least] two types of foods or the like, which are mixed together. However, any mixture that contains only "one type" is not called sorting (Rema 319:3), even if they are slightly different from one another [e.g. different in size], and thus would not be an issue of borer.
The Pri Megadim [A"A 319:5 & 19] writes, the defining factor to determine what is classified as the same type or a different type is any time there is a distinction between two items; even merely in taste, or their defining characteristics (i.e. their function). As a general rule, any difference of color, shape, or size is classified as two separate types, since generally speaking, people care about these differences (The 39 Melachos pg. 399). Similarly, two of the same type of item but of different quality, in many cases will be considered two different types. For example, if there are two apples, one which is good and one which is rotten, it would be prohibited to remove the bad one (Rema 319:1 & MB 319:8).
Other examples quoted by the Poskim of what would be categorized as two separate types include two types of fish [e.g. salmon and tuna] (Rema 319:3), or types of meat [e.g. beef and chicken] (Mishneh Berurah 319:15). Additionally, two different flavors of meat, for example, different types of deli, are also two different types. Similarly, two different flavored candies are two separate types. Other factors can also classify two similar items as two distinct types, for example, if you have two pieces of the exact kind of fish, however, one is burned and one is not, or if they are prepared differently [e.g. cooked and fried] (Mishneh Berurah 319:15), or if one is raw and one is cooked (Shivisas Hashabbos: Borer: 5). If one has one type of fruit, however, one is ripe and the other not, it is considered two separate types (Mishneh Berurah 319:16). For instance, red and green grapes or red plums and Victoria Plums are considered two different types. Similarly, white bread and whole wheat breads or wheat and spelt breads and different types of cakes, even if they just differ in their icings or fillings are two different types (Zachor V'shamor pg. 278).
Non-food items include different types of silverware or cutlery, since they serve different purposes (e.g. plates and bowls or forks and knives). Additionally, two of the same utensil that each have distinct designs [e.g. a fork from a Shabbos and weekday set] are two different types (The 39 Melachos pg. 399). Similarly, different articles of clothing (e.g. shirts and pants) or even the same type of clothing but two different colors (e.g. blue shirt and white shirt or Shabbos and weekday clothing) are considered two different types, since they serve different purposes (Shu"T Igros Moshe OC 4:74:10). Likewise, dirty clothes and clean clothes, since most people are careful not to wear dirty clothes, are considered two types (Sefer Aiyal Meshulush 2:19).  Even two different types of seforim, for example, nusach Sefard and nusach Ashkenaz siddurim or different volumes of Chumashim (e.g. Bereishis and Shemos) since they serve different purposes. Regarding toys, different pieces, or even the same type of piece that are different colors (e.g. black and red checker pieces) are two different types, since they serve different purposes.

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