RAV DOVID FEINSTEIN, ZT”L, ON THE PARSHA HASHAVUAH
(as heard and adapted by Rabbi Aaron D. Mehlman)
וְאֵ֗לֶּה שְׁמוֹת֙ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל הַבָּאִ֖ים מִצְרָ֑יְמָה אֵ֣ת יַעֲקֹ֔ב אִ֥ישׁ וּבֵית֖וֹ בָּֽאוּ
“And these are the names…” The word V’ela, And these, connect sefer shemos to the narrative of sefer beraishes.
We may ask, what new information is offered here?
Shemos simply lists the names of those who’ve descended to Egypt but in truth, the shevatim were already listed in parshas vayigash when describing their actual descent to mitzrayim!
Where is the novelty in repeating the names in shemos and what is this elusive connection to sefer beraishes?
The Torah wishes to emphasize how the Jewish names of klal yisroel were preserved throughout the Egyptian exile, as the Gemara teaches, “They didn’t change their names!”
It’s a given that the shevatim themselves used their Hebrew names and didn’t “evolve” in mitzrayim, so in vayigash we are taught how the first generation of Jews maintained their Hebrew names and identity.
But what about the next generation and the one that followed?
Shemos informs us that this mesorah continued throughout the galus.
V’ela, And these too were the names of the generations - they followed the precedent of the shevatim!
This is one important connection to earlier doros and sefer beraishes.
Moreover, the Torah teaches that not only the first generation but subsequent generations adopted a mind-set of “Haba’aim,” they considered themselves mere travelers and passersby in a foreign country.
In their hearts, they were yearning to return to their true home, Eretz Yisroel. During their years in mitzrayim, they lived out of suitcases!
This is how Torah Yidden live throughout any galus.
Generations past and present connect through a vivid dream of yishuv to ancestral land and share a deep, profound bond of eternal Jewish identity.
Have a great Shabbos Mevorchim!
Rabbi Aaron D. Mehlman
מרא דאתרא קנג. אוהב שׁלום
Erev shabbos kodesh parshas shemos mevorchim Shevat 5781