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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In this week's Parsha, Toldos, we find Hashem telling Yitzchok the following.
"Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your offspring will I give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father: 'I will increase your offspring like the stars of the heavens; and will give to your offspring all these lands'; and all the nations of the earth will bless themselves by your offspring. Because Abraham obeyed My voice, and observed My safeguards, My commandments, My edicts, and My Torahs.” (Genesis 26:3-5).
Rashi, in explaining the meaning of these last words, "and My Torahs," quotes a Gemarah in Yuma (28b), which says that, in addition to the written Torah, Avraham kept all of the laws of the oral Torah as well, even though they were not yet given. He even kept the laws of Eruvei Tavshilin.
One of the most famous questions on this Gemarah is as follows. How can it be that Avraham kept the Shabbos? There is a Gemarah, in Sanhedrin (58b), which teaches us that, if a Ben Noach, a non-Jew, keeps Shabbos in its entirety, with all of its pertinent laws, he is deserving of the death penalty. You read that correctly. The sanctity of the Shabbos is so holy that a non-Jew who keeps all of its rules and regulations must be put to death.The big problem that we need to address is that, since the nation of Israel had not yet been established, Avraham himself, in all of his greatness, might still have the status of a Eino Ye'hudee, a non-Jew. If so, HOW COULD HE KEEP SHABBOS? He would be deserving of the death penalty?
The Panim Yafos provides us with one of the many answers to this question. He teaches us that Avraham kept Shabbos Friday night and Shabbos day in its entirety. However, on Saturday evening, Avraham made sure to do many melachos that are not permitted on Shabbos.
When calculating the “day” and “night” components of a single “day,” the Jew and the B'nei Noach use two totally different methods.
The B'nei Noach count the “day” first, which is then followed by nighttime.
The Jew, on the other hand, begins his new day in the evening, which is then followed by daytime. This concept has assorted implications in many areas of Torah law, one of them being right here with Avraham. Since Avraham kept Shabbos only until nightfall and then did melachos, one can calculate thusly.
If Avraham has the status of a B'nei Noach, then he did not keep a Shabbos in its entirety, since he did work on Saturday evening, which is still considered Shabbos for a non-Jew. Therefore, there was no violation requiring a death penalty.
If, on the other hand, Avraham's status was that of a Jew, then he did not transgress Shabbos at all, since he waited until evening to do melachos, which is already after Shabbos on a Jewish calendar.
This week we witnessed the unfathomable taking place in Eretz Yisroel. The stooping to a new moral low. Terrorists entering into a place of worship and brutally slaughtering innocent people amidst their private communications with G-d. We all saw the pictures; we all heard the news. All of our hearts and condolences go out to the families of Rabbi Moshe Twersky, Rabbi Kalman Ze'ev Levine. Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, and Rabbi Aryeh Kupinsky, may Hashem revenge their blood.
How are we supposed to feel after reading and watching the aftermath of this tragedy? The horrors are atrocious. The darkness is so thick. How are we expected to be able to deal with tomorrow?
Although why Hashem does what He does is a 5775-year-old question that remains unanswered, we must try and find solace from deep within ourselves, from our history and from our Emunah. We have to envelope ourselves with the same strength that we wish for the families of these Kedoshim. We must remember that, to a Jew, the daytime follows the darkness. We must believe that as dark as it seems, today’s daylight is just over the horizon. And, most importantly, we must apply ourselves to the Mitzvah that these victims were doing when tragedy struck. We must go to Shul, we must daven with deep concentration. And, most of all, we must remember what Hashem told Yitzchok. “I have promised your children this land because your FATHER obeyed My voice.” If we want our children and grandchildren to live B'Shalom in Eretz Yisroel, the onus of responsibility is upon US to listen to Hashem's voice, to observe His safeguards, His commandments, His edicts, and His Torahs.
Have a warm and safe Shabbos.
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