Delray Orthodox Synagogue
DELRAY ORTHODOX SYNAGOGUE
"A Jewel of a Shul"
7319 W. ATLANTIC AVENUE
DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA 33446
RABBI MENACHEM JAROSLAWICZ
HARRY LAZARUS, PRESIDENT
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While I am committed to sit down and write this week’s Rabbi’s message, I keep stalling. Why, you ask? Quite frankly, I am still intoxicated with the beautiful Shabbos we had last week . . . and I find myself refusing to write about it as a “memory.”
What an amazing Shabbos and weekend! It started early with the anticipation of “Yeshiva Week” and all that comes with that. And then, the slow trickle of incoming children and grandchildren, turning into a flood and filling the Shul. When I arrived for Shacharis on Friday morning, the room was so full that I checked my calendar to make sure that it wasn’t Shabbos morning already -- and that I had accidently driven to Shul thinking it was Friday. And that was just the beginning.
Kabbolas Shabbos ... Packed!
Shabbos morning... Standing room only!
There were over 170 people in Shul at the same time. WOW!! How beautiful is that? And do you know what was even more amazing? The Davening itself! True decorum, singing, Davening, and little-to-no talking. What a beautiful example we exhibited to our visitors!
I heard compliments from out-of-towners about how impressed they were that, when Davening began, almost everybody was already “IN” Shul. Practically no one arrived late to Davening. What a Kiddush Hashem we made as a congregation to our visitors and to the next generation of synagogue attendees.
The icing on the cake was the grandchildren’s participation in leading our services, singing Adon Olam, and even speaking at Shalosh Seudos. Nachas, nachas and, then, even more nachas.
Alas, we must move on and approach this coming Shabbos, hopefully still retaining much of the Splendor that we basked in last week.
Parshas Bo begins with Hashem telling Moshe:
“Bo el Pharaoh, ki ani hichbadity es libo v’es leiv avadov,” [Come to Pharaoh for I have made his heart and the hearts of his servants stubborn...].
Rashi comments on “Bo el Pharaoh,” ‘Vehasrah Bo,’ [And warn him]. At first glance, Rashi’s comment seems almost superfluous, but deeper examination reveals that Rashi is teaching us a very important life lesson on how Hashem operates.
One of the most common questions asked -- throughout all of the plagues inflicted on Pharaoh and his people – is, “How can G-d punish Pharaoh for his stubbornness when G-d Himself keeps on ‘hardening Pharaoh’s heart?’ It would seem that Pharaoh had ‘no choice’ but to be stubborn?”
In reality, the way G-d operates never deprives you of your “free will.” Even when He occasionally “hardens” an individual’s heart, He always leaves enough room for that person’s “free will” to dictate ultimate actions and allows one to choose right over wrong and good over evil, if one so chooses.
Out of His sheer goodness, G-d not only commands you to chose “good” over “evil,” but He also itemizes the punishments that you will receive if you do not choose to listen. This additional verbalization of all of the negative implications that accompany a misdeed are meant to kick start the Yeitzer Tov, the Good Inclination, and to help it activate additional strength needed to overpower the Yeitzer Harah, the Negative Inclination. It’s kind of a booster shot to allow the person’s “free will” to choose wisely.
This is what Rashi is teaching us when he defines, “Come to Pharaoh” as meaning, “And warn him.” G-d was attempting to boost Pharaoh’s Yeitzer Tov to override his Yeitzer Harah and make a POSITIVE “free will” choice. Pharaoh chose otherwise, and we know the end of his story.
The lesson that we can learn from this Rashi is that, even when things look bleak and impossible to control, or it seems too hard to observe a particular commandment, remember the punishment. It is not there to scare us. It is there to help us make the right choices and to empower our Yeitzer Tov to fight harder.
Have a Great Shabbos
DOS BREAKFAST LECTURE
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