Avodah Mailing List

Volume 37: Number 94

Mon, 09 Dec 2019

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Ari Meir Brodsky
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 2019 21:55:02 +0200
[Avodah] Tonight (Thursday evening) begin Prayer for Rain

Dear Friends,

It's that time of year again, when I know many of you are expecting my
annual friendly reminder....

Jews outside of Israel should include the request for rain in daily
prayers, beginning with Maariv tonight (Thursday evening), December 5,
2019, corresponding to the evening of 8 Kislev, 5780.  The phrase ??? ??
???? ????? "Veten tal umatar livracha" - "Give us dew and rain for a
blessing" is inserted into the 9th blessing of the weekday shemone esrei,
from now until Pesach.  [Sephardim replace the entire blessing of ?????
with the alternate text beginning ??? ????? - thanks to Prof. Lasker for
the reminder.]  I encourage everyone to remind friends and family members
of this event, especially those who may not be in shul at that time.

Diaspora Jews begin requesting rain on the 60th day of the fall season, as
approximated by Shmuel in the Talmud (Taanit 10a, Eiruvin 56a). For more
information about this calculation, follow the link below, to a fascinating
article giving a (very brief) introduction to the Jewish calendar, followed
by a discussion on why we begin praying for rain when we do:
(Thanks to Russell Levy for suggesting the article.)

And it's been raining this evening here in Israel, thank God!

Wishing everyone a happy Chanukka,
-Ari Meir Brodsky
Ari M. Brodsky
Teaching Fellow
Department of Mathematics
Bar-Ilan University
Ramat-Gan 5290002

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Message: 2
From: Cantor Wolberg
Date: Sun, 8 Dec 2019 10:15:44 -0500
[Avodah] Vayishlach Brotherly Love

One of the most moving scenes in the entire Torah is when Esau and Jacob
meet after 20 years. Chapter 33, verse 4, says: "Esau ran toward him,
embraced him, fell upon his neck, and kissed him;  then they wept."
The Netziv points out that all the verbs in this verse are in the first
person and refer to Esau. "He ran, he embraced him; hefell upon his neck,
he kissed him and they cried." All the verbs are in the (third person)
singular, except the last one: "theycried."
Both Jacob and Esau cried?such human drama and emotion! They cried. That's
the very factor that made their meeting a success. Without both feeling the
emotion, neither could feel the emotion.  The connection of brothers is a
paradigm for the connection of nations.
We need each other, and in order to laugh together, we first must cry together. 
The Netziv goes on to say the day will come when Esau will truly embrace
his brother Jacob in honest unadulterated compassion, then both brothers
will cry in happiness. May we live to see this day!
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Message: 3
From: Micha Berger
Date: Mon, 9 Dec 2019 12:38:24 -0500
[Avodah] Balancing Observance and the Interpersonal

By R' Eliezer Eisenberg

    Thursday, December 05, 2019
    Vayeitzei. Reconciling LeChaveiro with LaMakom


    After Yaakov had a dream where he received nevuas Elokim that told
    him to leave Lavan, why did he seek Rachel and Leah's advice and
    consent about leaving?

    1. Rav Gifter
    When your mitzva creates a burden for another person, you have to
    discuss it with him first.

    2. The Shlah, Reb Moshe, and lhbchlch Rav Sternbuch
    Mitzvos should be done with the understanding that they are Hashem's
    gifts to us. It is wrong to do them because we have no choice, and
    consider them to be burdens and hardships that we have to endure. It
    is important to understand this ourselves, and to explain to everyone
    involved why the mitzva is so right and so good, in order that they
    should realize and appreciate that Hashem gave us the mitzva for
    our to'eles.

    3. The Seforno per Reb Chaim Brown
    Yaakov wasn't asking whether to go. He assumed they would go, but was
    asking for advice about the best way to go - should he tell Lavan,
    or sneak away.

    4. Abarbanel
    The Abarbanel says in 28:16, on the story of the Sulam, that Yaakov
    made the neder because he wasn't sure if his vision was a prophecy
    or just a dream. This was, he says, Yaakov's first experience with
    Nevu'ah, so, as was the case with Shmuel Hanavi, he was not sure
    what had happened. If so, perhaps we can say the same is true here,
    that Yaakov wasn't be 100% sure whether it was nevu'ah or just a
    dream. I don't like this approach. It was not the first time, and
    he certainly knew by then that it was Nevu'ah.

    5. RDNJS and ENE, crystallized by a he'ara from Rav Moish Pollack.
    This event is a perfect example of [baderekh shehadam rotzeh leileikh
    molikhin oso]. It seems clear that that the tzivui of Hashem was
    catalyzed by Yaakov's personal choice, by Yaakov's decision to follow
    this particular path. That being the case, Yaakov was obligated
    to discuss it with the people whose entire lives were affected by
    his choice.
    I really like this explanation because of how well it fits the
    order of pesukim and shtims with the story of Miriam and Aharon
    against Moshe.


Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 Weeds are flowers too
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   once you get to know them.
Author: Widen Your Tent             - Eeyore ("Winnie-the-Pooh" by AA Milne)
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF


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