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Parshas Va'eira 5774
Candle Lighting Time: 4:24 pm
December 27, 2013
Volume 10 Issue 11
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Dvar Torah

"Let Freedom Ring"


By Rabbi Avraham Weiss


The awesome experience of our emancipation from Egyptian bondage and its exhilarating summit at the base of Mt. Sinai begins in this week's Parsha. The process starts with ten debilitating plagues that broke our oppressors' might and set the stage for our ultimate redemption. The ten plagues brought forth on the Egyptian people were not just an outpouring of divine wrath on those that had dared to subjugate the Jewish people. There was a much deeper purpose. The ten plagues enabled the nascent Jewish people to solidify their belief in Hashem as an omnipotent and omniscient Master that would not allow injustice.


At the very epicenter of it all stands God's chosen messenger, Moshe Rabbeinu. It is he who stands at the helm and nurtures the foundling nation from infancy to spiritual greatness. We are taught that the defining hallmark of Moshe Rabbeinu, the character trait which defined his very essence, was the middah of anivus, humility. The humility of Moshe Rabbeinu is something that deserves significant attention. We tend to think of humility as a self-effacing way of being, that the humble person shuns the limelight and disavows attention. Yet Moshe, it seems, was the exact opposite. He stood at the forefront of the Jewish people leading and directing. He took public stands whether they were popular or otherwise and never backed down even when threatened with great opposition. Moshe was certainly a great leader, but where does his humility lie?


The answer is that humility does not mean that one is not self-aware. Humility means that whatever gifts one has, be they material, physical, or spiritual, he or she is meant to use them as a tool to serve Hashem through personal devotion and sharing that talent with the Jewish people.  Moshe Rabbeinu was acutely aware of the nobility of his mission and the spiritual gifts he was given to carry it out to perfection. With it all, Moshe always saw himself as the consummate shliach tzibbur, the divine messenger whose every breath, whose every effort was dedicated to the sacred cause of uplifting, inspiring, and leading his brethren. In that respect, Moshe never considered himself more worthy than any other Jew.


Moshe's example calls out to us across the generations. True humility means to be aware of one's self and offer that which one has to the community. The humble person feels indebted to his or her Creator at having been chosen to carry out whatever mission is in store . He or she is grateful for the opportunity to draw close to Hashem through allocating whatever abilities they might have in the service of Hashem. When our divine service is carried out from a place of gratitude and indebtedness, when we take stock of the goodness that surrounds us and look for opportunities to share that goodness with others, our avodas Hashem becomes sweet and meaningful. When it is performed merely out of a sense of obligation, it becomes dull and meaningless. The message of the life of Moshe Rabbeinu is to remain ever fresh in our avodas Hashem through the realization that every moment of life is an opportunity for greatness and the chance to tap into inner reservoirs and become great through the experience.  



Dvar Halacha


Shenayim Mikra      part 2 



By Rabbi Yochanan Eskenazi


           There are numerous ways that one may fulfill this mitzvah in a le'chatchila (preferable)fashionOne may start learning the parshah of the upcoming week on Shabbos at Mincha time (Mishneh Berurah 285:7). For example, starting at Mincha time of this week [Parshas Va'eira] one may start learning Parshas Bo.  The reason is, since the congregation starts reading the following week's parshah it is considered as reading the parshah together with the congregation (Mishneh Berurah 285:7).  As an aside, regarding shenayim mikra, "Mincha" is referring to Mincha Gedolah [which is the earliest time one can davenMincha], since this is the earliest time one can begin the following week's leining (Shemiras Shabbos Ke'hilchasa 42:ftnt. 218).  If one is in question whether he already learned shenaiyim mikra, it is proper to go back to the place he for sure read (Chut Shani, Shabbos 4: pg. 113 s.v. me & Koveitz Halachos, Shabbos 1:19:37).



There are numerous opinions when one should finish the parshah.  Some Poskim are of the opinion that it is preferable for one to finish on Friday, while others hold before going to shul on Shabbos morning. Still others hold before leining in shul or by the time one starts his Shabbos morningmeal. Some say it should be done by ShabbosMincha (See Shulchan Aruch 285:4 & Mishneh Berurah 285:7-9).  If one did not finish on Shabbos, one should attempt to finish by the following Tuesday (Mishneh Berurah 285:11).  The reason is the Gemara [Gittin 77a] teaches that Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday are still connected to the previous week.



Ideally, one should make sure not to read targum first, before any mikra (Mishneh Berurah 285:6).  If he did he does not need to repeat what he learned (Shaar Hatziyon 285:10 & Aruch Hashulchan 285:3).


Most opinions hold that one has to actually read himself shenaiyim mikra v'echad targum, and it does not suffice to hear it from someone else (Mishneh Berurah 285:2 & Aruch Hashulchan 285:3).  One who knows how to lein with the trup, it is proper to learn shenaiyim mikra with the trup (Sefer Bekeurei Chaim 3:4 quoting Rabbeinu Yonah Sefer Ha'yirah 303).  One may quietly read the leining along with the baal koreh to count as one time mikra (Mishneh Berurah 285:14 & Aruch Hashulchan 285:3).  It is important to note, that one is also required to hear the leining, so one should be careful to hear the baal koreh while reading (Mishneh Berurah 285:14).  A baal koreh who is practicing leining, can count this for shenaiyim mikra (Sefer Bekurei Chaim 7:25).



One should be careful to read the parshah in order, and not skip around (Mishneh Berurah 285:6).  If one did accidentally skip, he may read the posuk that he missed [and is not required to go back to that point and continue straight] (Sefer Bekurei Chaim 3:2).



There is a machlokes whether one may interrupt [with talking] while he is in the middle of learning shenaiyim mikra [and not at a "stopping point," for example in between parshiyos].  The Chofetz Chaim [Shaar Hatziyon 285:11] holds it is prohibited, however the Aruch Hashulchan [285:7] holds there is no problem.







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