Friday, November 2
- 06:50 am – Shacharit
- 05:15 pm – Mincha
- 05:17 pm – Candle lighting
- Following the Bais Yaakov Se’udah will be a Choir Presentation, “Ask the Rabbi” Panel, and an Oneg Shabbat. The ladies of our shul are invited to attend.
Saturday, November 3
- 07:45 am – Shacharit at Salem Towers
- 08:45 am – Shacharit
- 09:54 am – Latest time for Kriat Shema
- 10:30 am – Jr. Congregation
- 11:15 am – Kiddush
- 04:00 pm – Torah Class – Halachic Implications of Question 2 (Assisted Suicide)
- 04:50 pm – Mincha and Se’udah Shlishit
- 06:10 pm – Ma’ariv
- 06:24 pm – Shabbat Ends
Remember to set your clocks back one hour before going to bed Saturday night.
November 4 – 9
- 08:00 am – Sunday
- 06:40 am – Monday and Thursday
- 06:50 am – Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday
- 04:10 pm – Sunday – Thursday, 04:05 pm – Friday
- 04:40 pm – Sunday – Thursday
To print this schedule, click here to go directly to the post, and then press ctrl-P (Windows) or cmd-P (Mac) to print it.
Weekly Words of Torah
The Proper Foundations
Insights into Parshat Vayera of Mr. Zev Miller of Yeshivat Sha’alvim, by Rav Re’uven Ungar of Yeshivat Sha’alvim.
“Vayisah enav vayar v’hineh shelosha anashim nitzavim alav vayar vayarotz likratam mipetach ha’ohel vayishtachavu artza.” (“And he lifted his eyes and he saw, and behold there were three men standing before him, and he saw and he ran to greet them from the door of his tent, and he bowed to the ground.”)
In this pasuk Avraham sees three men approaching his tent, runs towards them to greet them and then bows to the ground. Rashi points out that this pasuk seems to be a bit redundant, stating the word vayar “and he saw” twice. It is taught that the Torah has neither an extra letter nor an extra word written in it. Obviously then, there must be a reason why the pasuk says twice that Avraham saw the three men. Furthermore, Rashi tells us that the Shechina, Divine Presence, was with Avraham in the tent, yet Avraham still goes out to greet these three men who are approaching him. How could Avraham justify going out to greet people while Hashem is with him in his tent?
Rav Moshe Feinstein, in his sefer Darash Moshe, suggests an answer as to why there is the double lashon of “vayar” in the pasuk. Rav Moshe Feinstein says that to truly accomplish something one must utilize two types of “seeing” in order to do that which he sets out to do. First, one must take notice of what has to be done. This should be followed by the second act of “seeing”, or analyzing, which is to determine the best way to perform the deed. Rav Moshe Feinstein applies this idea to Avraham’s situation and explains that Avraham first had to see (1) what needed to be done and determined that it was the mitzvah of Hachnasat Orchim. Once Avraham knew that he had to perform Hachnasat Orchim, he then needed to see (2) how this specific Mitzvah could be done in the most productive way. Avraham decided that the best way to perform this Mitzvah was to run out and greet these guests and prepare a meal for them.
Rav Moshe Feinstein, in Sefer Darash explains that “This lesson can be applied to us as well… If we invest the proper amount of preparation in our actions, we can be assured that we will be successful in accomplishing our intended goals: moreover, we will also merit to be a source of inspiration to others.”
Rav Moshe Feinstein’s explanation for the double lashon of “vayar” is different than Rashi’s interpretation. The first “Vayar”, explains Rashi, is the literal meaning “and he (Avraham) saw.” However, the second “Vayar” means that Avraham saw and understood that these men had not come to bother him, rather, they just stood there. Once Avaraham saw that these three men were just standing there he ran to do the Mitzvah of Hachnasat Orchim.
Rashi’s understanding of the double lashon in the pasuk can now help us answer our second question – how it was possible for Avraham to leave Hashem’s presence behind in his tent in order to go greet these three strangers.
According to Rashi, the day that Avraham ran to greet these three men was in fact the third day after his Brit Milah. The third day is the hardest and most painful day after one’s circumcision. However, we see from the pesukim that this did not stop Avraham. Rav Shimon Schalb explains that Avraham got up from his tent and ran to perform the Mitzvah of Hachnasat Orchim despite the terrible pain he must have been in. Yet, we still do not understand how Avraham could run to do this Mitzvah if it would leave Hashem’s Shechinah behind? Additionally, later on in the pesukim we find that upon reaching these three men, Avraham bowed on the ground (possibly implying Avraham was bowing to their feet), which is a custom of worshipping idolatry-avodah zara. Could Avraham Avinu possibly have be worshipping Avoda Zara, especially with Hashem’s presence in his tent?
Rav Simon Schwalb responds to these questions, and suggests that Avraham saw and understood that Hashem’s desire was for him to go and greet these men. In fact, this act of Hachnasat Orchim is an even greater act than going to greet Hashem. This statement is supported in the Gemarah in Shabbat 127, where it states that Hachnasat Orchim is greater than Kabalat Pnai HaShechinah, greeting Hashem. Regarding Avraham’s prostration, Rav Simon Schwalb explains that Avraham was not bowing down to their idols, rather it was the custom in those ages to properly great someone by bowing down before them. Therefore, all of these actions that Avraham took, leaving Hashem’s Presence behind, and prostrating himself to these three men, were in fact all the desire of Hashem.
From Avraham we learn that the Mitzvah of Hachnasat Orchim should never be underestimated. However, when we are presented with the opportunity to perform this Mitzvah of Hachnasat Orchim, it is important that we approach it with a sense of calm and with thought. We should act as Avraham did, as elucidated by Rav Moshe Feinstein. Avraham first “saw” that the mitzvah of Hachanasat Orchim needed to be performed, and then he “saw” how to best execute this Mitzvah.