The Ramban writes in Parshas Yisro that the luchos were divided into two categories: the first side was mitzvos bein adam lamakom, and the second side contained mitzvos bein adam lachaveiro. The Ramban adds that the mitzvah of kibud av v’eim is on the first side because it is indeed a mitzvah bein adam lamakom.
First let us explain what shira is. Rav Shimshon Pinkus zt”l writes (She’arim B’Tefila, page 65) that shira is when we relate praises in a detailed manner, as opposed to zimra, where we praise in a more general way.
Although the Torah often points out the infinite value of every human life, this week's parshah gives a clear message about the value of Jewish life. We are told that no one will be permitted to murder Jews with impunity.
Why did Miriam lead the women of the nation in a second song?
After months of witnessing the hand of Hashem, the entire Jewish nation – three million strong – marched out from slavery to freedom with flourish and fanfare.
There is a machlokes Rishonim regarding the halacha that women are obligated in mitzvos that af ha’im hayu b’osah haneis.
That was G-d's original request, that Moshe "please" speak to the people and request that they borrow and share with their own friends - their fellow Jews, and demonstrate fraternity and devotion.
There is a question as to whether darkness is its literal meaning, or if it is simply the absence of light. The fact that light overcomes darkness is not an indication that darkness is merely a lack of light.
The month of Shevat, according to the Sefer Yetzirah, is associated with the letter tzaddik. A Tzaddik is, literally, a righteous person, one who eats to live, to have the energy to serve the Ribono shel Olam – versus the gluttonous, insatiable kind that live to eat, to satisfy their corporeal cravings.
Moshe's name would forever remind him of the kindness that Pharaoh's daughter did for him by taking him out of the Nile, and serve as a lodestar to him as he interacts with his people.
How could He do such a thing?
In this week’s parshah (Shemos 6:6) Hashem tells Moshe to tell the Bnei Yisrael the four leshonos of geulah: v’hotzeisi, v’hitzalti, v’ga’alti, and v’lakachti. The Mishnah in Pesachim 99b says that a poor man should be given four cups of wine, even from money that is allotted for tzedakah. Rashi there quotes a Yerushalmi in Pesachim that cites Rabbi Yochanan’s opinion that the four cups of wine that we are commanded to drink at the Pesach Seder correspond to the four leshonos of geulah as mentioned above.
Before each person is born, he is predestined for certain abilities and talents, a particular level of intelligence, and an exact disposition and temperament. At the end of his days, he will be compared to what he could have become. How far did he grow? How much did he accomplish with the tools given to him? This system is subjective. How much of his potential did he fulfill?
This week we begin reading sefer and parshas Shemos. The parshah begins with the words “v’eileh shemos bnei Yisrael habaim Mitzraimah.”
We need to put ourselves into the eyes of Pharaoh's daughter.
When Moshe came of age, he went out to visit his brothers, to share in their suffering. What he saw caused him great anguish.
On the ninth of Teves Ezra HaSofer was niftar. The Gemara (Megilah 15a) tells us that Ezra was actually Malachi – the last prophet. With his passing, the glorious era of nevuah, prophecy, came to an end.
The belief in the power of the evil eye and the desire to ward off its deleterious spell are rooted firmly in Jewish historical consciousness. Indeed, the Talmud is replete with numerous references to the notion of ayin hara and takes its existence for granted.
When Joseph agrees to bury Jacob in Canaan, Jacob bows to him in relief - why?
Yaakov Avinu spent the final seventeen years of his life in Mitzrayim. While there he lived in peace for the first time in many years and remained in that state for the rest of his life. Near the end of his days he called in his beloved son Yosef and made an impassioned request: “Please do not bury me in Mitzrayim.”
This week’s parshah begins with Yaakov Avinu on his deathbed. He called for and requested of Yosef not to bury him in Mitzrayim, but rather in Eretz Yisrael. Although Yosef agreed to fulfill this request, Yaakov asked him to swear that he would keep his word, which he did.
Shemos Rabbah states that Yaakov transmitted the “secret of the redemption.”
Just as the moon waxes and wanes and then totally disappears from view before returning to the night sky, so, too, the Jewish people.
A fascinating Biblical echo
In this week’s parshah Yaakov Avinu takes his entire family down to Mitzrayim. The Torah lists the family members who made this journey. On the list is Shimon’s son, Shaul. The pasuk refers to him as Shaul ben haCanaanis – the son of the Canaanis.