Parshas Vayishlach 5777
Candle Lighting Time: 4:19 pm
December 16, 2016
Volume 13 Issue 7
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Dvar Torah

A Deeper Message
 By Rabbi Yosef Prupas

The Gemara in Baba Basra (123a) teaches us the right perspective in understanding the language of the Torah. The Talmud oftentimes makes the observation, "Dibra Torah b'lashon binei adam," the Torah expresses itself in the language of people. That is in matters of din (justice). However, when recounting the "stories" of our holy ancestors we are told: "If the Torah did not speak disparagingly of an unclean animal, for it is written, "of the clean animals and of the beasts that are not clean" would Scripture speak disparagingly of the righteous!?" For example, when the Torah describes Leah's eyes as "tender," it is no to expose her lack of beauty in contrast to Rachel, rather it is to hint that there was a noteworthy reason why Leah had this physical "defect." She had been constantly crying and beseeching G-d not to be given to Esav in marriage.

This week's parsha has many surprising and episodes that are difficult to understand. In light of the above Gemara, how is it possible that the Torah mentions any of the sins of our righteous forefathers? Regarding Dina, why do we need to know of this "outrage done to [a daughter] in Yisrael." From this Gemara it seems that the Torah should focus only on the positive, not on the negative?

The answer is that there is always a cause and effect. Not to mention the sins of our ancestors would deprive us of the lessons learned there from and would take away from the completeness of Torah. Rashi notes that when Yaakov takes his wives and eleven sons, there is no mention of Dina. Rashi explains that this was because Yaakov had hidden Dina away from the desirous eyes of Eisav. For that he was punished, and Dina fell into the hands of Shechem. It is possible to understand why the Medrash learns that Dina was hidden, but how does one understand learning the cause for punishment from this very same verse? The answer is that speaking of punishment is not casual degradation of our ancestors, rather it demonstrates G-d's great love for them. "The righteous are judged within a hairsbreadth," that is, with a higher standard. To mention punishment without mentioning its cause would take away form the "Toras Hashem temima," the completeness of G-d's Torah. For this one must search deeply and carefully for the Torah's subtle hints of inequity.
At the same time, it is the completeness of Torah that can use the starkest terms to describe the sin of Reuven when he moved his mother Leah's bed to the tent of Yaakov. Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler, in a masterful essay entitled "The Sins of Great Men," uses this incident as an example of the unbiased attitude of our holy Torah. What we may perceive on the surface as an extremely "light" sin, the Torah, seeing into the true capabilities of our righteous leaders, describes the sin in a way that conveys the gravity of the sin when performed by men of such stature.

We can appreciate how fortunate we are to have a "complete" Torah, for a complete Torah calms the soul. The Torah is comprised of that which we have some understanding of, and what we don't understand at all. This is a parable to life. We have moments which we ask "why," and times when everything makes sense. Calmness of the soul comes only from a deep understanding that everything in Torah is positive, whether understood or not. Let us always remember there is no crude description of something seemingly negative. That would go against the very fabric of Torah. There is always something more meaningful beneath the surface. The Torah of G-d is complete and we are lucky to have it to guide and preserve us tribulations of life's journey.

 
Dvar Halacha
Laws of Chanuka
By Rabbi Yochanan Eskenazi
 
If one is lighting inside, the main parsumei neisa (publicizing the miracle) is for the people inside the house.  Therefore, one may l'chatchila light [even with a brachah] inside as long as at least one person is awake (Rama 672:2).  It is important to note, that even when lighting inside, it is still preferable to light within the time period that people are still found outside (Rama 672:2).  The reason is, that even while lighting inside, we are still displaying the menorah for the people outside and we try to be mifarseim haneis (Be'ur Halachah 672:2 s.v. u'mikol makom).  Therefore, if one did not light within the time of "ad shetichla regel min hashuk", one may light until alos hashachar [without a brachah] (Mishneh Berurah 672:11).  However, if one is lighting inside, as long as someone else is awake and present he may recite the brachah. If one returns home in close proximity of this time, it is proper to wake someone up in order to be able to light with a brachah (Mishneh Berurah 672:11).
 
It is important to note, if one is lighting inside, in a situation where one's wife is not home, it is preferable to wait for her return rather than light at the preferred time ["shalom bayis" comes first] (Emes L'Yaakov 678:ftnt. 592 & Koveitz Halachos 3:7).
 
On Friday afternoon, one may light as early as plag hamincha.  However, one should be careful to have enough oil that it will be able to last until after 30 minutes after tzais hakochavim (Mishneh Berurah 677:2).  It is preferable to daven Mincha before lighting the menorah (Mishneh Berurah 677:2).  The reason is it appears as tartee d'sasri (contradictory behavior) to light the neiros Chanuka [of Shabbos]and then daven Mincha of Friday (Shaar Hatziyon 677:7).  There is a machlokes haposkim, if one is in a place that does not have an early Mincha minyan, if it is better to daven individually without a minyan and then light or light and then daven b'tzibbur (Shloshim Yom Kodem Hachag pg. 283 ftnt. 126).  If one is lighting both neiros Shabbos and neiros Chanukah, it is preferable to light neiros Chanukah first(Shulchan Aruch 677:1).
 
On Motzei Shabbos there is a machlokes if one lights menorah before havdalah or not.  Either way a person chooses to do is fine (Mishneh Berurah 682:3).  One who is careful throughout the entire year not to end Shabbos before the tzais hakochavim of "Rabbeinu Tam", if one is lighting inside, should wait until Rabbeinu Tam has ended to light (Igros Moshe OC 4:62 s.v. v'chain). 

 


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