Thursday, January 01, 2009

Divrei Torah P' VaYigash: Yehudah's mission

I started working on something on the parsha but only got through a chatzi shiur. On the Midrash Tanchuma below there is a comment of the Ishbitza in Mei HaShiloach that I am trying to unravel and make intelligible, but so far no luck. See it inside and make of it what you will -- I need Shabbos to think about it.

The Midrash Tanchuma on the pasuk "V'es Yehudah shalacha lefanav l'horos lefanav Goshna" poses a halachic query as an introduction to the parsha: When is one permitted to say a bracha on the havdalah candle Motzei Shabbos? The Midrash answers that one can only say the bracha if one derives benefit from the flame, as we see from Hashem's example. We read in Parshas Braishis that Hashem first saw that light was good and afterwards, "VaYavdel...", Hashem made a seperation.

The Midrash begs for explanation. What does the halacha of reciting havdalah on a candle have to do with Yehudah’s mission?

The Imrei Emes explains that when Adam haRishon sinned just before the start of the first Shabbos of creation the world fell into a state of both spiritual and physical darkness. As a result of man’s sin. G-d’s presence, which had been felt during the process of creation, became obscured and hidden. Motzei Shabbos of creation was the first time that man had to face this darkness of existence alone outside the Garden of Eden. Rather than succumb to despair and fear, Chazal describe how Adam took two stones and rubbed them together to produce a spark. Explains the Imrei Emes: When G-d’s presence is hidden, when the world looks dark and desolate, we should not give up hope, but rather we need to exert ourselves and make an effort to recapture that light and produce a new spark.

Ya’akov needed to prepare his children for the darkness of exile that would befall the Jewish people in Egypt. By sending Yehudah ahead to establish a yeshiva he impressed upon that that although G-d’s presence may he hidden, through toil in Torah and their efforts the light of goodness can be recaptured and once again illuminate the world.


  1. Anonymous10:24 PM

    Excellent, as always. Yasher Koach.

    One he'arah:
    In paragraph two, you begin with "The Imrei Emes explains" and then you say "Explains the Imrei Emes". Mimah nafshach. Either Yiddish construction or English!

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  3. Anonymous10:11 PM

    where is this Imre emes?

  4. It's in the Imrei Emes on the parsha - I can;t remember what year.

  5. Yasher koach. I was actually trying to figure out this Midrash Tanchuma while trying to learn the divrei Torah of the Bobover Rebbe, zy"a (In Likitei Kerem Shlome) and I was not understanding the midrash at all.