Friday, October 27, 2017

Parsha Lech Lecha, stories

This week’s Parsha is in honor of my grandson Yehonatan who is entering Mitzvos

Parsha Lech Lecha

As last week’s Parsha ended, Avram had very little mention. In fact, we only learn about his first years from a Medrash. This week’s Parsha covers 29 years of Avram to Avraham’s life.

This is one week where we have to say that there is no early or late in the Torah. For we see something about this Parsha based on Rashi that occurred 5 years before Avram gets the command to leave his father’s house.

Previous years I attacked the time line and showed the commentaries that corrected it.
What appears to me is that Lot gets married and starts a trading company based in Sodom. Avram then trades back and forth between Lot who brings in goods from Africa, Egypt to Sodom and exports them via Avram to Haran.

At some point, there is a battle between 4 kings and 5 kings. Avram comes to the rescue with Eliezer or 318 men and scares off the conquering armies leaving their captured wares and the people.

It appears that this occurred when Avram is 70 years old or in the creation year 2018. Lot, upon being freed, is ordered to return home. Lot and family appear to have liked the Dead Sea area. [My thoughts and detective work.] However, if we go according to the time line Pshat then instead of 430 years for Yetzias Mitzrayim, we get a shorter time line of at best 425 years. So I prefer the commentaries that add up to 430 years.

At the age of 75, Avram is commanded to leave the country of his birth and his father’s house and to set out on his own. This time, Lot joins him.

12:1 Now the LORD said unto Abram: 'Get thee out of thy country, (see Rabbi Schatz Shlita ‘s interpretation of Pshat in the commentary after Pasuk 5) and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto the land that I will show thee.

Some of us who have made Aliyah to Israel did it on blind faith. Some succeeded some failed. Some made pilot trips and secured employment first and others went from job to job. Avram did not have an absorption center to rest in while settling in. He had to pack food, a tent and something for business.

2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and be thou a blessing. 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curses thee will I curse; and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.' 4 So Abram went, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him; and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. 5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.

This is a great Pshat that Avram is blessed and completely leaves his father’s house at the age of 75. However, both Rabbi Mimran Shlita and I forgot how we got to the age of 70 when the Bris between the pieces occurred. For this we go back to what I wrote in 5774 (2013).

Last week we left off with the birth of Avram. There are Midrashim that Avram the youth broke all the idols and put the hammer in the hands of the largest. Terach the manufacturer gets so angry at his son that he considers him a Ben Sorah v’ Moreh (the rebellious son who should be put to death). Terach shouts you know that the idols cannot move, see or hear and then Avram replies and this hunk of wood, stone or clay you call a god! At this point he is brought before Nimrod, the mighty hunter and king. Nimrod sentences him to death by burning and Avram is willing to die on a Kiddush HASHEM. However, even though he did not expect a miracle, one happens and he survives. Avram, similar to the one being stoned today in the Arab countries, survived and is left alone after surviving. Haran, however, not ready in the beginning for a Kiddush HASHEM, is burnt to death. Terach then moves from the large metropolis of Ur and starts a new life in a city that he names after his son, Haran. [This is a bit in conflict with the other interpretations below. However, it could be after the miracle of the furnace, the people rebelled against Nimrod and the Chamor Rabbi takes over until Nimrod over-throws him. As the Torah does not write specifically all details and some of the Oral Torah has been lost aka 3000 Halachos on the day that Moshe died, there is a lot of speculation out there on the time line and date line of everything here.]

Rabbi Eliyahu Schatz Shlita comes up with a novel theory which I thought about too but he is older than I and published it in his works on the Tanach and credit is due him. Hammurabi was actually Avram the Wikipedia writes: (Akkadian from Amorite ʻAmmurāpi, "the kinsman is a healer", from ʻAmmu, "paternal kinsman", and Rāpi, "healer"; died c. 1750 BC) was the sixth king of Babylon (that is, of the First Babylonian Dynasty) from 1792 BC to 1750 BC middle chronology (1728 BC – 1686 BC short chronology). He became the first king of the Babylonian Empire following the abdication of his father, Sin-Muballit, extending Babylon's control over Mesopotamia by winning a series of wars against neighboring kingdoms. Although his empire controlled all of Mesopotamia at the time of his death, his successors were unable to maintain his empire. It has been said that Hammurabi was Amraphel, the King of Shinar in the Book of Genesis 14:1 Wikipedia ends his reign in the year 2010 which would either mean he was disposed by Nimrod then or they are off. Rabbi Schatz ends his reign in the year 2018 when he reaches 70 and is told first to leave his native land and then at 75 he is command to leave his father’s land.

Some background is due here. Avram was 48 years old aka the year 1996 when the tower of Bavel occurred and the nations got different languages. He kept the original Hebrew and Hammurabi might be more like Chamor Rabbi for he was humble and in Akadas Yitzchak ride a donkey aka Chamor towards Har Ha Moriah. (22:5 And Abraham said unto his young men: 'Abide ye here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go yonder; and we will worship, and come back to you.') I believe for that reason of imitation of the Tzaddik that Bilaam rides the donkey in Sefer Bamidbar 22 - 24. Even as a child learning history, I could not help see the similarities time wise and law wise between Avram and Hammurabi and our Halacha and when Rav Schatz wrote this he got my approval hook, line and sinker.

There is one conflict in our story time wise and I am not satisfied with any answer until this past week. Avram is told Lech Lecha when he is 70 years old. In order for the Medrash to count 430 until the leaving from Mitzrayim the Bris between the pieces is supposed to take place 30 years before the birth of Yitzchak and then from there 400 years until Pessach 2448. Avram is born in 1948 at 100 gives birth to Yitzchak or 2048 makes sense. However, 75 and 25 make 100 so if the Bris between the pieces too place 5 years earlier we would have to have it either occur in Haran or Avram would have to have tried to convert people in Eretz Yisrael and returned to Haran. This is my problem. I explained this problem that I have had for the last 43 years to Rabbi Mimran Shlita so I await his research and answer. Shemos 12:40. And the habitation of the children of Israel, that they dwelled in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. That they dwelled in Egypt: after the other dwellings in which they dwelled as foreigners in a land that was not theirs. — [from Mechilta] was four hundred and thirty years: Altogether, from the time that Isaac was born, until now, were 400 years. From the time that Abraham had seed [i.e., had a child, the prophecy] “that your seed will be strangers” (Gen. 15:13) was fulfilled; and there were another 30 years from the decree “between the parts” (Gen 15:10) until Isaac was born. It is impossible, however, to say that [they spent 400 years] in Egypt alone, because Kehath [the grandfather of Moses] was [one] of those who came with Jacob. Go and figure all his years, all the years of his son Amram, and Moses’ 80 years; you will not find them [to be] that many, and perforce, Kehath lived many of his years before he descended to Egypt, and many of Amram’s years are included in the years of Kehath, and many of Moses’ years are included in Amram’s years. Hence, you will not find 400 years counting from their arrival in Egypt. You are compelled, perforce, to say that the other dwellings [which the Patriarchs settled] were also called being “sojournings” and even in Hebron, as it is said: “where Abraham and Isaac sojourned (גָּרוּ) ” (Gen. 35:27), and [Scripture] states also “the land of their sojournings in which they sojourned” (Exod. 6:4). Therefore, you must say that [the prophecy] “your seed will be strangers” [commences] when he [Abraham] had offspring. And only when you count 400 years from the time that Isaac was born, you will find 210 years from their entry into Egypt. This is one of the things that [the Sages] changed for King Ptolemy. — [from Mechilta, Meg. 9a] There is a general rule that unless Rashi writes “I say” or “I think” he has a definite source from older sources as he will not bring down something like this accounting.

For regarding the Bris mentioned by Rashi: 15:1. After these incidents, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, "Fear not, Abram; I am your Shield; your reward is exceedingly great." After these incidents: Wherever the term אַחַר is used, it signifies immediately afterwards; אַחֲרֵי signifies a long time afterwards (Gen. Rabbah 44:5). After this miracle had been wrought for him, that he slew the kings, he was worried and said, “Perhaps I have received reward for all my righteous deeds.” Therefore, the Omnipresent said to him, “Fear not Abram, I am your Shield” from punishment, that you will not be punished for all those souls that you have slain, and as far as your being worried about receiving reward, your reward is exceedingly great. [from Aggadath Bereishith 16:2; Tan. Buber, Lech Lecha 15; Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer ch. 27]

My idea of the excuse that it could have occurred before Avram left Haran for good fails the test here. For Avram was 75, left Haran, went to Mitzrayim, came back with Hagar and a lot of goods, he and Lot parted ways, Avram rescues Lot with Eliezer of Damascus whom he purchased between the age of 75 and going down to Egypt, and then at this point prior to the birth of Yishmael (Avram was 86) this all occurred.

... 10. And he took for Him all these, and he divided them in the middle, and he placed each part opposite its mate, but he did not divide the birds.  ... 13. And He said to Abram, "You shall surely know that your seed will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and they will enslave them and oppress them, for four hundred years. that your seed will be strangers: From the time that Isaac was born until the Israelites left Egypt was four hundred years. How so? Isaac was sixty years old when Jacob was born, and Jacob, when he went down to Egypt, said, “The days of the years of my sojournings are one hundred and thirty years,” which total 190. They were in Egypt 210 years, like the numerical value of רְדוּ (see Rashi, below 42:2; ר = 200, ד = 4, ו = 6, totaling 210). Thus, the total is 400 years. Now, if you should say that they were 400 years in Egypt, [this is not so] because Kehath was one of those who descended to Egypt. If you compute the years of Kehath (133) and those of Amram (his son, 137), and the 80 years of Moses, his age when they left Egypt, you will find only 350 [years]. And you must still subtract from them all the years that Kehath lived after the birth of Amram and that Amram lived after the birth of Moses. [from Seder Olam ch. 3] If somebody has a good explanation, please write me to my mail or my Facebook account.  

12:1 Now the LORD said unto Abram: 'Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto the land that I will show thee. 2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and be thou a blessing. 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curses thee will I curse; and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.' 4 So Abram went, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him; and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.

The earliest time that I can derive is that it is no earlier than 25 years prior to the birth of Yitzchak or 425 years before the Exodus. So I am 5 years in the best case short of what is written in Shemos 12:40 on 430 years. In the 1000 plus years after what Rashi wrote, I am sure that I am not the only Jew with this question and there must be an answer.

There was also another problem that would make Avram 73 or 74 minimum at the time of the Bris Between the Pieces: The splitting of the language was in 1996 when Avram was 48. Artscroll and others then write about the various kings 14:4 Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled. 5 And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him, and smote the Rephaim in Ashteroth-karnaim, and the Zuzim in Ham, and the Emim in Shaveh-kiriathaim,

The account in the Artscroll adds 25 perhaps one can say in the 26th year. So the division of languages occurred when Avram was 48 plus 25 years of conquest and rebellion is 73 years old. I will get back to his after the explanation of the age of 70 from Rabbi Mimran and then Rav Schatz.

RABBI SHLOMO MIMRAN Shlita found the answer to my question. The 430 years written in Shemos on the spot Sifsei Chachamim writes that the Bris occurs when Avram was 70 years old based on Seder Olam. On Chapter 15 of our Parsha Tosfos Dalet of our Pasha brings down Seder Olam. Avram was 48 when the Tower of Bavel occurred, 58 when Noach passed away and 70 at the Bris between the pieces. Since it is written “After” and not “Afterwards” this occurred immediately after the war of the 4 kings. What appears to have happened is that Lot had left Haran to live the fertile and rich Sodom and the news of his capture reached Avram who then fought the war. This does not necessarily coexist with the Pshat what is written but the tradition of Seder Olam is very strong. It also gives backing to my theory that there was a previous trip to Canaan. One must remember another rule regarding the Torah. There is no early and no late in Torah. The commentary Shor Ha Bechor also holds by 70 years as the age Avraham was at the time of the war and sacrifices afterwards. 

Rav Schatz has either Hammurabi retiring or be disposed and moving to Haran at the age of 70 perhaps being conquered by Nimrod aka Chedorlaomer. Lot perhaps was sent as Judge to Sodom by Hammurabi and is now captured and then Avram rescues him and brings him to Haran for 5 years.

Regarding the Artscroll 25 years my theoretical answer is as follows and it is speculation: However, Seder Olam says differently and it is an ancient book based on tradition either from Avraham or Moshe from Sinai. So I have to agree that the Bris occurred at the age of 70. This still leaves me with what about the forming of the nations and the languages?

For this I have to go back to Parsha Noach. 9:1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them: 'Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth. We therefore see a reason to spread mankind out over various lands. But if they were spread apart so far how did they get together to build the Migdal Bavel? The answer can be found in Malachim aka Kings 1:5:26 And the LORD gave Solomon wisdom, as He promised him; and there was peace between Hiram and Solomon; and they two made a league together. 27 And King Solomon raised a levy out of all Israel; and the levy was thirty thousand men. 28 And he sent them to Lebanon, ten thousand a month by courses: a month they were in Lebanon, and two months at home; and Adoniram was over the levy. 29 And Solomon had threescore and ten thousand that bore burdens, and fourscore thousand that were hewers in the mountains; 30 besides Solomon's chief officers that were over the work, three thousand and three hundred, who bore rule over the people that wrought in the work. Therefore just as Melech Shlomo would take people for a month’s duty and then return those to their households to work the land so I assume the work on Migdal Bavel went. For had they had compassion on people who fell or died during the building as they had on the bricks that broke even if they made war with HASHEM  or thought they could, they would not have been punished. However, their cruelty to their fellow man sealed their fate.

Once you had 70 languages plus the original Hebrew you could no longer rule efficiently and therefore some of the subservient kings rebelled against Nimrod and his taxes that they did not understand anymore.

5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came. 6 And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Shechem, unto the terebinth of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land. 7 And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said: ‘Unto thy seed will I give this land’; and he built there an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.

In my Sukkos-Beresheis Drasha I wrote that Gog and Magog most likely would come via Schem. There is some logic that the first advancement in the land and the promise to Avram is reiterated at Schem. The fact that Avram made the area holy first is the contra to Magog. 

8 And he removed from thence unto the mountain on the east of Beth-el, and pitched his tent, having Beth-el on the west, and Ai on the east; and he built there an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD. 9 And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the South. 10 And there was a famine in the land; and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was sore in the land. 11 And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife: ‘Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon.

According to Rashi up until this point Avram did not mention to Sarai anything about her looks. Now, however, he does mention something to get her to cover-up, Can you imagine a generation without make-up or at best minimum cosmetics.

12 And it will come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see you that they will say: This is his wife; and they will kill me, but thee they will keep alive. 13 Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister; that it may be well with me for thy sake, and that my soul may live because of thee.’ 14 And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair. 15 And the princes of Pharaoh saw her, and praised her to Pharaoh; and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house.

Mitzrayim was from Cush and dark skinned. Sarai was most likely a brunette but with a much lighter complexion and therefore more attractive to the Egyptians. Remember according to the Medrash there was no external aging until Avraham prayed so that he could be distinguished from his son Yitzchak. So even at 65 or to see Rashi’s comment upon her death that she was seven and twenty and one hundred years that at the age of 100 she looked like a 20 year old.

17:1 1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him: 'I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be thou wholehearted. 2 And I will make My covenant between Me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.' … 4 'As for Me, behold, My covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be the father of a multitude of nations. 5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for the father of a multitude of nations have I made thee. 6 And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. … 15 And God said unto Abraham: 'As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. 16 And I will bless her, and moreover I will give thee a son of her; yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be of her.' 17 Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart: 'Shall a child be born unto him that is a hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?' 18 And Abraham said unto God: 'Oh that Ishmael might live before Thee!' 19 And God said: 'Nay, but Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son; and thou shalt call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his seed after him. 20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee; behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. 21 But My covenant will I establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year. … 25 And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 26 In the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son. 27 And all the men of his house, those born in the house, and those bought with money of a foreigner, were circumcised with him.

The above section explains why Yishmael was blessed and that it took 25 years from the original blessing that Avraham finally had a child from Sarai now Sara. It appears that the name Yitzchak was given at this point or was the name added when the Torah was dictated to Moshe?

The Dancer of Auschwitz thanks to May

She was talented. She was beautiful. But she was also Jewish.
Born in 1917, Franceska Mann was a dancer who lived in Warsaw, Poland. In 1939, before World War II broke out, Franceska took fourth place in the international dance competition held in Brussels.
The people of Poland considered her one of the most beautiful and promising dancers - both in classical and modern styles - in their country. But her Jewish faith would change that.
Franceska was performing at Warsaw's Melody Palace nightclub when the Nazis invaded Poland. Because she was Jewish, the girl became a prisoner of the infamous Warsaw Ghetto.
On October 23, 1942, a train carrying 1,700 Polish Jews arrived at the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp, Franceska among them.
These Jews had been told they were being taken to Switzerland in order to be exchanged for German POWs - an obvious lie. Stopping at Auschwitz, the Jews were unloaded and told they were to shower and be disinfected before the arrived in Switzerland.
Supervising the women was a Nazi S.S. officer named Josep Schillinger. The Nazi noticed the beautiful dancer and ordered her to disrobe for him.
Likely knowing that the showers were a murderous lie, and also deducing the wanton German's intentions, Franceska made her move.
The dancer threw her shoe into the Nazi's face, grabbed his gun, and shot Schillinger twice in the stomach, also shooting another Nazi in the process. Schillinger died on his way to the hospital.
The other S.S. guards shot and killed Franceska, but not before chaos ensued, with one Nazi losing a nose and another his scalp.
Eventually the camp commandant Rudolf Höss brought a phalanx of Nazi guards who killed the uprising women with machine guns and grenades.
But not before this group of women - led by the heroic dancer, Franceska Mann - stood up to their evil captors, choosing how they would die.
While the story of Franceska Mann does not end happily, may it be lasting as one that highlights the importance of standing up to evil, prejudice, and tyranny.

What goes around comes around. Mida Knegged Mida

Two poor students did not know how to pay for their College. One of them came up with a brilliant idea. They would put on a concert and get the great Paderewski to play. The manager demanded $2000 so they worked hard at selling the tickets. However, they only came up with $1600. Paderewski played and they handed him all the $1600 and promised to pay back in the future a check of $400 that did not have backing at that time. Paderewski ripped up the check and handed the $1600 back to the boys. He said, whatever is left over after your education, you can pay me back.

Paderewski went on to become the Prime Minister of Poland. He was a good leader but because of WWI, 1.5 million Poles were starving. He wrote a letter to the President of the United States, Herbert Hoover. Pres. Hoover immediately sent him enough grain to feed his starving people.

He decided that he wanted to travel to the US to meet the president face to face to thank him in person. He entered the Oval Office and thanked him sincerely. However, Mr. Hoover turned to him and said that he should thank himself as he had enabled him to go to College. – Thanks to Albert.

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Inyanay Diyoma

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Have a good Shabbos all, (if you are 50 plus get a flu shot)

Rachamim Pauli