Parshat Vaera 5773 Schedule

Shabbat Rosh Chodesh Schedule

Friday, January 11

  • 04:10 pm – Mincha
  • 04:14 pm – Candle lighting
  • 08:00 pm – Men’s Derech Hashem class at the home of Daniel and Bonnie Bitran, 58 Grace Street

Saturday, January 12

  • 07:45 am – Shacharit at Salem Towers
  • 08:45 am – Shacharit
  • 09:32 am – Latest time for Kriat Shema
  • 10:30 am – Jr. Congregation
  • 11:15 am – Kiddush
  • 03:45 pm – Mincha and Se’udah Shlishit
  • 03:45 pm – B’nos
  • 05:15 pm – Ma’ariv
  • 05:24 pm – Shabbat Ends

Weekday Schedule

January 13 – 18


  • 08:00 am – Sunday
  • 06:40 am – Monday and Thursday
  • 06:50 am – Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday


  • 04:20 pm/04:50 pm – Sunday

Late Ma’ariv

  • 09:00 pm – Monday – Thursday. To confirm for any given day, please contact the shul.

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

Utilizing Difficulties

Insights into Parshat Va’era of Mr. David Silber of Yeshivat Sha’alvim, by Rav Re’uven Ungar of Sha’alvim.

“And I will harden Pharoah’s heart, and multiply my signs and wonders in the Land of Egypt.” This pasuk begs the question – Hashem is forcing Pharoah to do this? How do we make sense of Hashem hardening Pharoah’s heart, seemingly just so He can “show off” to the rest of the world? While analyzing the פרשיות through which this hardening occurs, a very distinct pattern arises: The first mention (ז:ג) uses the word ואקשה. The next 10 times this occurrence is mentioned go back and forth between the word חזק and כבד in (ז:יג-י:א). Finally, the last seven times we see this occurrence, the word חזק alone is used. How do we make sense of this pattern?

Some answers to this question are given by the Ibn Ezra, the Ramban, and the Rambam. The Ibn Ezra explains that the hardening was a natural reaction to Pharoah’s previous averot. By doing so many averot, Pharoah was desensitized to the will of Hashem, and therefore he was uninterested in doing the will of Hashem. He even came to the point of considering himself to be a God, as Rashi comments on the pasuk where Moshe goes down to the Nile to talk to Pharoah. Ramban explains that Hashem wanted to give Pharoah an opportunity to do a complete teshuva, but knew he would not come to it on his own. Therefore, he brought the makkot to arouse Pharoah to do teshuva. This also explains why Hashem spaced out the makkot- considering He wanted to give Pharoah an opportunity to do a complete teshuva, He gave Pharoah time to repent not out of fear from the makkot, but out of wanting to return back to Hashem. Finally, In Hilchot Teshuva Rambam explains that Pharoah had come to a point where he had already done so many averot, that the only proper atonement left for Pharoah was to take away his very ability to do teshuva, and to be atoned through his death.

These explanations fit very well into the three separate stages emphasized by the text of the Torah. At first, Pharoah’s heart was already hardened due to his averot, as the Ibn Ezra pointed out. Now, wanting to give Pharoah an opportunity to do teshuva as the Ramban explained, Hashem was “חזק” Pharoah’s heart, which Unkelos translates to mean “תקף”, to grab. Hashem grabbed Pharoah’s heart with the makkot, attempting to arouse Pharoah to do teshuva. But after every time that Hashem was חזק, Pharoah was כבד, he hardened his heart and didn’t to teshuva. The word כבד can also mean liver, which refers to the physical desires of man. Pharoah was overtaken by his desires, and therefore did not do teshuva. Finally, after seeing that Pharoah was unable to do bring himself to do teshuva, Rambam’s explanation comes in- Hashem saw that the only possible atonement left was to be מחזק Pharoah over and over again until bringing him to his ultimate demise at the ים סוף.

While there are tremendous lessons to be learned from each stage in this process, the most important message for us is that of the Ramban. It’s easy to just hide away when we are in difficult times and hope that they pass, leaving us unaffected. However, we must realize that Hashem sends us these difficult times to arouse us, to bring us to do teshuva! If we just let them pass, then they serve no purpose. We must learn from the mistakes of Pharoah, and learn to utilize our difficult times in order to bring ourselves closer and closer to Hashem.