Archives for posts with tag: Avraham

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For millennia Jews have dreamed about the Holy City of Jerusalem, known in Hebrew as Yerushalayim. There is an interesting phenomena which we see in Tanach regarding the spelling of Yerushalayim. We find that the Hebrew spelling is only spelled 5 times as we know it, ירושלים. The rest of the instances are spelled without the latter letter yud and reads ירושלם. 

The Midrash (Talpiot 191) explains that the yud represents the yud in the names of Hashem of שד’י, אדנ’י, הוי’ה & אהי’ה. This means to say that if you remove the yud from שדי you get שד – destruction. If you remove the yud from הוי’ה you get הוה- another form of destruction. If you remove the yud from אדנ’י you get אדן – that we will be subjected to servitude. If you remove the yud from אהי’ה you get אהה, which is loosely translated as anxiety. We see that the removal of the yud from any of the names of Hashem will cause the destruction of the Jewish people. The Midrash explains that since there was a Gezeira of Galus, the yud was removed from Yerushalayim and the Shechina lifted up from resting therein.

What does the yud of Yerushalayim have to do with Galus and what does all this have anything to do with the names of G-d?

In order to understand this, we need to go back a few millennia in history. It was the year 2015 circ. and Avraham Avinu had just arrived in Canaan after a long sojourn from Ur Kasdim. Upon arrival, he was immediately thrust into the midst of “The Battle of The Kings”. During the battle, Avraham’s nephew Lot was captured by King Kdorlaomer and Avraham set out to defeat Kdorlaomer and rescue Lot. After he successfully won the battle, the other Kings grew nervous of him and extended their hands in peace. One of the kings was Malki Zedek, who was the ruler of Shalem and was a Kohen of Hashem. Rashi tells us that Malki Tzedek was Shem, the son of Noach. Malki Tzedek proceeded to bless Avrohom and went on to bless Hashem.

The Gemara (Nedarim 32b) tells us that because Malki Tzedek prioritized Avraham over Hashem when giving his brachos by blessing Avraham first, he was punished and the Kehuna was taken from him.

The Midrash (Bereishis Rabba 56;10) tells us that Avraham called the city Yirah and Malki Zedek called it Shalem.Hashem combined the two names and called the city Yerushalayim. We see that in the name Malki Zedek used, Hashem added the letter yud from His own name.

In the period of time preceding the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash, the Jewish people lost their sense of direction, and idolatry to the deities of astrology was rampant. In other words, they put the tools of Hashem as a priority before serving Hashem Himself. Therefore, Hashem took out his anger on Yerushalayim. As we see in the Midrash (Eicha Rabba 4;14), that Hashem pours out his wrath on sticks and stones and not on Yisrael.

It was at this time that Hashem took out the latter yud from Yerushalayim, which is the letter from his name which was inserted in the name “שלם”. This was the name that Malki Tzedek gave to Jerusalem. Now, the name of the city reverted back to ירושלם in order to remind us that the city was destroyed due to the Malkizedek’esque sin of not getting our priorities with G-d straight. When we constantly refer to Jerusalem as ירושלם, we are constantly reminded of the need for this essential Tikkun.

Over the past few decades, we have seen a subtle yet radical change in the spelling of Jerusalem, with its full spelling now being used. The reason seems to be to allow for proper pronunciation. Based on what we learned, this does not seem to be the correct and proper practice. Perhaps in an effort to resolve this, the practice was started to use the acronym י-ם to spell ירושלם.

In whichever way that we refer to the holy city, may we always remember to keep our priorities straight and merit to see the full Tikkun and the complete rebuilding of Yerushalayim Ir Hakodesh.

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Amongst the many fascinating events that we read about in this week’s Parsha, is the encounter of Avraham and Avimelech.

After the destruction of Sodom, Avraham went to Gerar. Due to fears of being killed so that his wife would be available, he claimed that Sara was his sister. As soon as Avimelech heard of her, he kidnapped Sara with the intention of taking her for a wife. But before anything could happen, G-d came to Avimelech in a dream and informed him that he has taken a married woman. G-d made it clear that if Sara is not returned, Avimelech will die. But if he does return her, Avraham will pray for Avimelech and he will live.

When G-d came to Avimelech in a dream and commanded him to return Sara to Avraham, G-d explained the reasoning. The reason  Avimelech should return Sara was because Avraham is a Prophet – “כי נביא הוא”. This seems to be odd. Why is the fact that Avraham was a prophet, the argument to Avimelech to return his kidnapped wife? It seems, that if Avraham was not a prophet, perhaps Avimelech would have been permitted to keep Sara.

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ברכות ה,א – שלוש מתנות נתן הקב”ה לישראל, וכולם לא נתן אלא על ידי ייסורים, ואלו הן: תורה וארץ ישראל ועולם הבא.

People like to quote this famous Gemara that Eretz Yisrael is acquired through suffering.

I wonder is there another way to acquire Eretz Yisrael?

What does it mean to acquire Eretz Yisrael?

Avraham Avinu journeyed with his father, Terach towards Eretz Yisrael. When they reached Charan they decided to settle there. The question remains, as to why Avraham did not proceed on the journey towards Eretz Yisrael?

The simple answer is that he felt that he should wait until after his father passed away, so he can properly honor his father. Based on the Mefarshim who learn that they went to Eretz Yisroel, as that is where Shem was, or because אֲוִירָהּ שֶׁל אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל מַחְכִּים, it would seem that Terach’s greatest wish would be that Avraham should continue. So, why did Avraham remain in Charan?

This question is one pondered by many Meforshim. I would like to focus on an explanation given by the Kedushas Levi, based on my understanding.

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We find in the end of Parshas Noach (Bereishis 11;31)

וַיִּקַּח תֶּרַח אֶת אַבְרָם בְּנוֹ וְאֶת לוֹט בֶּן הָרָן בֶּן בְּנוֹ וְאֵת שָׂרַי כַּלָּתוֹ אֵשֶׁת אַבְרָם בְּנוֹ וַיֵּצְאוּ אִתָּם מֵאוּר כַּשְׂדִּים לָלֶכֶת אַרְצָה כְּנַעַן וַיָּבֹאוּ עַד חָרָן וַיֵּשְׁבוּ שָׁם.

“And Terach took Avram his son and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter in law, the wife of Avram his son, and they went forth with them from Ur Kasdim to go to the land of Canaan, and they came as far as Charan and settled there.”

What inspired Terach to move from Ur to Canaan?

The Seforno suggests as follows:

לָלֶכֶת אַרְצָה כְּנַעַן. הַמּוּכֶנֶת אֶל גֶּרֶם הַמַּעֲלות בַּמֻּשְׂכָּלות, וּרְצוּיָה מִכָּל הָאֲרָצות, כְּאָמְרו “אֶרֶץ אֲשֶׁר ה’ אֱלהֶיךָ דּרֵשׁ אתָהּ” (דברים יא, יב). וְלא הֻזַּק אֲוִירָהּ בְּגֶשֶׁם הַמַּבּוּל כַּאֲוִיר כָּל שְׁאָר הָאֲרָצות, כְּאָמְרו “לא גֻּשְׁמָהּ בְּיום זָעַם” (יחזקאל כב, כד), וּכְבָר אָמְרוּ זִכְרונָם לִבְרָכָה ‘אֲוִירָהּ שֶׁל אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל מַחְכִּים’.

We see that Canaan had special qualities that other lands did not have. In addition, the Chizkuni explains that Canaan was an inheritance from Shem, who was the ancestor of Terach so it made sense for him to go there.

We still need to understand why the journey ended prematurely?

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