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October 25, 2014 / 1 Heshvan, 5775
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Parshas VaYechi: The Yaakov and Dovid Connection

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Most of us love to travel to new places. Each individual has an intrinsic relationship with the entire world – Asia, Africa, South America, etc. Consequently, each person has within him the curiosity and the desire to “reexperience” and revisit places all over the globe.

Amazingly, Rav Pincus points out, children who hate to be bored and to stay in one place will sit for hours in a car or plane as long as they can anticipate a new and interesting destination. This is all connected to Adam’s original state of being able to see the entire world.

Essentially, going to see a new place is a slight re-acquisition of what Adam originally had. Now, interestingly enough, another opinion in that same Gemara teaches that Adam was tall enough to reach the Heavens. Not only could he see from one end of the earth to the other, he could see all the way up into the skies. This, Rav Pincus teaches, means that Adam, and all of mankind, is connected to all information that exists, everywhere. We were given this characteristic so that we would learn Torah and gain all the spiritual knowledge that exists, but it also reflects man’s natural need to “know everything.”

The Gemara explains that both opinions refer to the same measure (idi v’idi chad shiura hu). The Tiferes Torah interprets the Gemara’s conclusion by saying that both measurements are equal but cannot coexist. Man’s focus can be either on one end of the earth to the other or on earth to heaven, but not both! The Tiferes Torah interprets the measure “from one end of the earth to the other” to mean that Adam related to the entire physical geography of the world, and “from earth to heaven” that he related to all of its spirituality. But, these two elements of man cannot thrive concurrently. The more one is involved in the physical, the less he can be involved in the spiritual.

Man’s drive today to connect with people all over the globe, to follow current events and news, to fly to new locations is based on this Gemara. In the past, even secularists were more spiritually attuned and spent many hours studying spiritual wisdom like astrology. Today, people are more materially inclined and to fill this connection, Hashem has given us the gift of technology so our drive and desires for information can be filled.

These are some of the happenings in this week’s haftorah.

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