Thursday, October 07, 2010

eiver min hachai -- we are all limbs of one body

Rashi cites Chazal as teaching that the conflict between Yosef and his brothers was exacerbated by his accusing them of eating eiver min hachai, limbs torn from a live animal Maharal explains beautifully that this was not some random sin the brothers were being accused of, but was symbolic of the differences between them. Yosef was telling his brothers that they were all limbs of the same body. No sheivet can sever itself from others; no one sheivet can exist as a limb apart from the body of Klal Yisrael. Yosef wanted his brothers to accept that Hashem chose to channel bracha to the klal through him; getting that bracha independently was just not possible.

The parsha of Braishis, “Eileh toldos ha’shamayim v’ha’aretz…,” came to a close with the flood. The parsha of Noach begins a new story of creation, “Eileh toldos Noach…” This second story of (re)creation differs from the first in that this second time around shamayim and aretz are not independent limbs – they are attached to the personality of Noach. The story of the world is the story of man, in particular man the story of the tzadik in whose power lies the potential to redeem the world when all other reasons for its existence have been lost (see Sefas Emes).

The Shem m’Shmuel writes that in light of the Maharal we understand why Noach in particular was given the command to avoid eating eiver min hachai. Noach was being told that all the world now exists as limbs connected to his fate.

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