Make The Connection 1 December 2023
02 December 2023 / 19 Kislev 5784
Candle Lighting 6.15pm
Friday Mincha 5.45pm
Shabbos afternoon Mincha 6.10pm
Weekday Mincha 6.15pm
11 GREAT TORAH TEASERS
· 1. This parsha begins: “And Yaakov sent messengers” to Esav. Where does the Torah state: “And Yisrael sent messengers”?
2. In this parsha, what verse has 8 words in a row ending with the letters yud-mem?
· 3. What competitive sport is mentioned in this parsha?
5. Who is mentioned in the Torah as walking with a limp?
6. In this parsha, who has a name that is also the name of an animal? (5 answers)
7. In the Torah, what names are types of animals? (5 answers)
8. In the Prophets, what names are types of animals? (14 answers)
9. In this parsha, Shchem and Chamor who are killed “at the point of a sword.” Who else in the Torah is killed “at the point of a sword”? (2 answers)
10. In this parsha, who dies during childbirth? Where else in Tanach does a woman die during childbirth?
· 11. Which married couple in this parsha have names that begin with the same letter? Which other married couples in the Torah have names that begin with the same letter? (2 couples – one found in Rashi)
PARSHAT VAYISHLACH: “TWO SONS OF YAAKOV” By Rav Yedidya Gross
1. The brutal abduction of Dinah was an event that sent shockwaves not just amongst the family of Yaakov, but throughout the entire region too. Upon hearing what happened to their sister, the brothers were unable to act as if nothing had happened.
“And they said, “Shall he make our sister like a harlot?”1 Shimon and Levi felt an urge to respond to this awful act, and they did so by waging war and killing all the male inhabitants of Shechem. The response from Yaakov was one of rebuke and he raises the concern to his sons that they have opened the path for revenge against them and a cycle of violence.
Many commentaries throughout the ages are puzzled by the actions of Shimon and Levi. How were they allowed to follow the course which they took? How was it moral to engage in such collective punishment? Furthermore, from the reaction of Yaakov Avinu, one could argue that he had no qualms about the morality of their actions. His complaint can be seen to be a tactical one, bound by fear of revenge. But the question remains – what was the moral justification for Shimon and Levi’s actions?
The Torah tells us that Shimon and Levi had “plundered the city that had defiled their sister.” The Seforno explains that what took place with Dinah was not an isolated incident. The kidnapping and abduction of women by the leaders of the city was a common practice in those environs. (The Torah tells of similar attempts throughout the lives of Sarah and Rivka, in both Egypt and Gerar.) Promiscuity and licentiousness were a part of the culture and the fact that none of the other inhabitants protested revealed support, or at the very least, indifference, to these types of actions.
Or HaChaim HaKadosh writes3 that the residents of Shechem (the city) were so corrupt that when Shimon and Levi came to attack Shechem (the leader) alone, they gathered together to protect him and fight, thus leaving the brothers with no choice but to attack them as well.
The Rambam takes a different approach. He writes4 regarding the Noachide commandment to establish courts of law:
“How must the Noachides fulfill the commandment to establish laws and courts? They are obligated to set up judges and magistrates in every major city to render judgement concerning these six mitzvot and to admonish the people regarding their observance. A Noachide who transgresses these seven commands shall be executed by decapitation. For this reason, all the inhabitants of Shechem were obligated to die. Shechem kidnapped. They observed and were aware of his deeds but did not judge him.”
The Rambam explains that there is an obligation on every individual to live in a lawful and morally just society. An entire city that contained no laws, no courts, no justice and no moral authority, had essentially forfeited its right to existence.
Yet even with these explanations, the text of the Torah itself makes clear that there was something unsatisfactory about the behaviour of Shimon and Levi in this episode. Even if we explain that Yaakov’s rebuke of his sons here was only on the tactical level, later his rebuke is repeated on his deathbed, in terms that leave little room for uncertainty that Yaakov was disturbed by a moral flaw:
“Shimon and Levi are brothers; stolen instruments are their weapons. Let my soul not enter their counsel; my honor, you shall not join their assembly, for in their wrath they killed a man, and with their will they hamstrung a bull.”
What was it that bothered Yaakov so deeply about his son’s actions? Rashi, commenting on the phrase “two sons of Yaakov” writes that although they were his sons, they acted too independently and refrained from seeking his counsel. Yaakov, as the elder of the family, sees the broad picture and expects his sons to learn from his perspective. The Lubavitcher Rebbe suggests that Shimon and Levi’s actions contained deception and trickery which caused a Chillul Hashem . When standing up for Hashem’s name there is no need to lie or cheat – things should be done honestly and with Hashem’s help we will prevail.
So why did Shimon and Levi not consult with Yaakov? Perhaps we can compare their actions to those of Pinchas. Pinchas, in his zealousy, felt the degradation of Hashem’s honour. He felt an urge to react immediately and indeed he was correct in doing so. However this zealous form of action remains a “halacha v’ein morin ken” – a Halacha that is not taught publicly, since it can only be fulfilled by one whose intentions are completely pure without a trace of ulterior motives.The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains further that Yaakov thought that this was the case with Shimon and Levi. However after the sale of Yosef, Yaakov became concerned that their earlier deeds with Shechem were driven by impure motives too. If they were capable of selling their brother, then impure feelings of jealousy and revenge may have been at play in their actions at Shechem too.Am Yisrael currently finds itself in the midst of a war that was cruelly forced upon us two months ago. In truth it is not a new war, but a continuation of the age-old battle between good and evil, between light and darkness.On Simchat Torah thousands of soldiers and civilians ran to the battlefield in order to fight and help protect their brothers and sisters. Am Yisrael is at the forefront of the battle to vanquish evil and we have faith that good will ultimately prevail.This is not a war over land, over material riches or any other number of trivial excuses that have led to conflicts throughout the ages. This is a war over the honour of Hashem, and the ability to spread the light and truth throughout the entire world. Our Torah continues to guide us and show us the ultimate moral code. With Hashem’s help may all our soldiers and our entire nation be successful!
Mazeltov to Andrew and Lee King on Daniel and Joshuas Barmitzvah and mazeltov to grandmother, Roslyn Kramer
Shabbos morning, Shul commences at 8.30am
Our Sandton Jolly Seniors Club
Meeting ID: 663 144 4102
Sandton Shul Mikvah
Got a Halachic Question?
Please let us know if you know of PG good news and GF any sad news or people who are not well.
Refuah Shelaima to any of our Kehilla who are ill.
If you have borrowed books from the Library, please return them as they are all over due
If you see anything or anyone suspicious in or around the shul property then please report it immediately to the CSO on 086 18 000 18.
If you live in a CAP area and see anything or anyone suspicious in your area then please report it immediately to CAP on 086 122 7227.
Edited by Rabbi David Shaw / Published by Sandton Shul
Make The Connection 3 November 2023
04 November 2023 / 20 Cheshvan 5784
Mincha Shabbos Day
This Shabbat marks the 10th anniversary of the launching of the Chief Rabbi’s Shabbat Project in 2013. The idea of all of us getting together to share in a wonderful Shabbat experience has blossomed into an international celebration in over 1500 cities in over 100 countries across the globe. In the words of the Chief Rabbi “The concept is simple: Jews from across the spectrum – religious, secular and traditional, young and old, from all corners of the world – unite to experience one full Shabbat together.
The Shabbat Project is about creating a new Jewish future based on Jewish unity, pride, and values. The Shabbat Project transcends the barriers that seem to separate us. It is our opportunity to rejuvenate family and community life, restore Jewish pride and identity, and strengthen Jewish unity across the globe.”
This year, let us do it with Israel. Let us come together. Pray together. Eat, sing and be there for one another.
This year our Scholars in residence are Rabbi and Rebbetzin Seeff.
Please join and together let us make this Shabbat remarkable!
Be’achdut and be’ yedidut.