Thursday, December 28, 2006

Parshas Vayigash / Asara B'Teves

The Beis Yosef quotes a fascinating comment from the Abudraham, who says that Asara B'Teves is different from all other fast days (except Yom Kippur), in that if it fell out on Shabbos we would not push it off; rather, we would fast on Shabbos. This comment is not all that well known, being that as the Gregorian calendar fits with the Jewish calendar, Asara B'Teves never falls out on Shabbos. This being the case, not many commentators dig deeper into why this fast pushes off Shabbos. However, the Chasam Sofer does discuss this, and has an interesting interpretation into why this is.

The Chasam Sofer says that on tzaros of the past, like a yahrtzeit, one does not fast on Shabbos. However, one who is compelled to fast a Taanis Chalom would, in fact, fast on Shabbos, since we believe that through the fast the person could alleviate future tzaros. We see, then, that a Taanis Chalom is not in the category of "tzaros in the past", like a yahrtzeit, but rather in a category of present day tzaros. Seemingly, then, this is why we don't push off Shabbos for a fast like Tisha B'av which commemorates tzaros of the past, and it should make sense then that even Asara B'Teves would be pushed off, as we are remember the beginning of the destruction of the temple (past tzaros). However, the Chasam Sofer explains how the 10th of Teves is fundamentally different from the other fasts.

He explains that in the year that the Beis haMikdash was destroyed (on Tisha B'av), the decree of the destruction had already been decreed on the Asara B'Teves beforehand. He continues to say that whether or not we will observe mourning on Tisha B'av on a given year is decreed on the Asara B'Teves. It would, therefore, be imperative to fast even on Shabbos, as the decision for the upcoming Tisha B'av is being made in Shamayim each and every 10th of Teves.

In order to better our chances for a Tisha B'av of joy in the coming year, it would make sense to learn something from this parsha, which often falls within a week of Asarah B'Teves. Without a doubt, the theme of this week's parsha is Achdus, or coming together. We need to look no further than the meeting between Yosef and Binyamin to find the first instance. The pasuk that says that they were cried on each other's shoulders, and Rashi there says that Yosef wept "for the two Temples which were destined to be in Binyomin's territory and, in the end, will be destroyed"; and Binyonin wept for "For the Tabernacle of Shiloh which was destined to be in Yoseif's territory and in the end will be destroyed." Usually, when people come together and cry, they are crying for how much they, themself, missed the other person - usually these thoughts are selfish. We see here, though, that each of the brothers is crying for the other persons loss.

As a final note - There is an esoteric Gemara in the Talmud Yerushalmi which is explained in the following manner: If a person went to cut a piece of meat with a knife and cut his hand, would it even enter the person's mind that he should exact revenge on the other hand and cut it in retaliation? The Jewish people are the same. While we each have our own individual bodies, we need to realize that we are all part of the same Neshama; all a part of a much larger show.


Blogger nyfunnyman said...

when u link to something in one of your posts, you have to occasionally do more than a wikipedia link. be creative a little. nice shtickl btw

12:11 AM, December 29, 2006

Blogger AlanLaz said...

I love it when people tell me what I "have" to do.

What else do you suggest?

12:15 AM, December 29, 2006

Anonymous aishel said...

This was an awesome vort. Thanks.

10:41 AM, December 29, 2006

Anonymous cpa said...

Beautiful never thought of the theme in terms of achdus I like!

11:17 AM, December 29, 2006

Anonymous Warren Moon said...

Great Dvar Torah. Thank you.

11:44 AM, December 29, 2006

Blogger nyfunnyman said...

ok you don't have to, just some variety, pipe down there

11:16 PM, January 02, 2007

Anonymous Izzy said...

There are some good arguments against Rashi's haggadic approach to that verse here

2:24 PM, December 15, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...


7:05 PM, December 20, 2007


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