web analytics
November 22, 2014 / 29 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Va’eira: The Names Of Israel

Miller-Rabbi-Avigdor

“And Amram took Yocheved…. And she bore to him Aharon and Moshe” (6:20).

The names that were given in Egypt were not repetitions of previous names but were original expressions of genuine devotion to Hashem. These names were usually chosen by the mothers, demonstrating their intense loyalty to the G-d of their fathers. Amram denotes “People of the Most High,” and Yocheved means “Hashem is my glory.” It is thus understandable that from such a union there would result very great offspring.

The character of the women certainly reflects the nobility of the men; but, as we shall yet see, the Israelite women were possessed of an exceptional spirit. “By the merit of the righteous women of that time, our fathers were redeemed from Egypt” (Sotah 11B).

Even the names we are not able to explain were certainly abbreviated forms of exalted expressions. It is thus evident that this generation (and their following generations) lived and breathed in an atmosphere of intense devotion to Hashem, coupled with an awareness of the distinctive excellence of their people.

Today, after 2,000 years of exile, we look back and are able to understand one of the chief purposes of the sojourn in Egypt: to provide a test whether Israel could survive in an alien environment, and to provide a model for the major part of Israel’s history. We perceive now that our nation was created for a destiny of exile. Even the period of Israel in its land was a preparation for the much longer period of exile.

Because our fathers succeeded in the bitter test of exile in Egypt, even before they possessed a Torah and the other sacred scriptures, and they refused to yield to the customs of the powerful and wealthy people among whom they dwelt as despised aliens, they were therefore deemed worthy by Hashem to be chosen for their career as a persecuted minority.

The experience of 210 years in Egypt, during which period they did not alter their names or their language or their traditional attitudes and practices, provided a historic pattern for the many centuries of exile among the nations. Because of the merit of their resistance to the environment, Israel was spared from the sword of the Destroyer who has wiped out one nation after the other in the course of history.

The clue to Israel’s permanence was to be found in their names (Shemos Rabbah 1:33): “Because of four reasons Israel was redeemed from Egypt: 1) they did not change their names 2) and their language 3) and they did not engage in slander 4) and none of them were guilty of immorality.”

But we read the words of Yecheskel the prophet (20:6-10): “I said to them: Let each mean cast away the abominations…and not defile yourselves by the idols of Egypt…. And they rebelled against Me and were not willing to hearken to Me…. They did not cast away the abominations of their eyes, and they did not forsake the idols of Egypt.”

We might accept Yecheskel’s words literally, but even in the matter of idolatry we perceive Yecheskel spoke only of a very small minority. This is clearly evident from the prophet’s denunciation of the generation of the Wilderness: “And the house of Israel rebelled against Me in the Wilderness, in My statutes they did not walk…and My Sabbaths they profaned very much” (Yecheskel 20:13). But we know of only two such instances. 1) “And it was on the seventh day some of the people went out to gather (the mann) and they did not find” (Shemos 16:27). 2) “And the sons of Israel were in the Wilderness and they found a man gathering wood on the Sabbath day” (Bamidbar 15:32).

The first instance involved only some of the people, and they actually performed no act of desecration of the Sabbath. If they would have found mann, it would have discredited Moshe’s admonition. The second instance involved but one individual who was thereupon put to death. In a nation of millions, and in the space of forty years, these were the sole instances of Sabbath desecration; this therefore should serve as a monument of supreme glory for that nation.

Compiled for The Jewish Press by the Rabbi Avigdor Miller Simchas Hachaim Foundation, a project of Yeshiva Gedolah Bais Yisroel, which Rabbi Miller, zt”l, founded and authorized to disseminate his work. Subscribe to the Foundation’s free e-mail newsletters on marriage, personal growth, and more at www.SimchasHachaim.com. For more information, or to sponsor a Simchas Hachaim Foundation program, call 718-258-7400 or e-mail info@SimchasHachaim.com.

About the Author: The Rabbi Avigdor Miller Simchas Hachaim Foundation, a project of Yeshiva Gedolah Bais Yisroel, was founded and authorized by Rabbi Miller to disseminate his work. Subscribe to the Foundation’s free e-mail newsletters on marriage, personal growth, and more at www.SimchasHachaim.com. For more information, or to sponsor a Simchas Hachaim Foundation program, call 718-258-7400 or e-mail info@SimchasHachaim.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Va’eira: The Names Of Israel”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Colleagues of the hanged Arab bus driver whose death continues to be referred to as murder despite autopsy finding of suicide. These are Arab drivers of Egged buses, claiming they suffer discrimination by Israelis.
Arab Pathologist Singing New Tune: Murder (By Jews) Not Suicide
Latest Judaism Stories
Rabbi Avi Weiss

Yitzchak thought the Jewish people needed dual leadership: Eisav the physical; Yaakov the spiritual

Weiss-112114-Sufganiot

According to the Sefer Yetzirah, the nature of the month of Kislev is sleep.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch-NEW

Though braggarts come across as conceited, their boasting often reflects a low sense of self-regard

Nimchinsky-112114-Learning

Not every child can live up to our hopes or expectations, but every child is loved by Hashem.

Leaders must always pay attention to the importance of timing.

While our leaders have been shepherds, the vast majority of the Children of Israel were farmers.

Maimonides himself walked and prayed in the permissible areas when he visited Eretz Yisrael in 1165

If a man dies childless, the Torah commands the deceased’s brother to marry his brother’s widow in a ceremony known as yibum, or to perform a special form of divorce ceremony with her known as chalitzah.

Dovid turned to the other people sitting at his table. “I’m revoking my hefker of the Chumash,” he announced. “I want to keep it.”

Ever Vigilant
‘When Unworthy, One’s Number Of Years Is Reduced’
(Yevamos 50a)

Question: My young daughter was recently diagnosed with autism. She does not function well socially and is extremely introverted, but we have noticed that she reacts very well to small animals. We reported this to her therapist who suggested that we get a dog or cat as a pet. We know that most religious people frown upon having pets, but we hate to see our daughter suffer and want to do anything that would make her happy. Would it be okay to own a pet in the circumstances we described?

Her Loving Parents
(Via E-Mail)

Ramban interprets Korban as self-sacrifice, each Jew should attempt to recreate Akeidas Yitzchak.

Dr. Schwartz had no other alternatives up his sleeve. He suggested my mother go home and think about what she wanted to do.

Why does Lavan’s speaking before his father show that he was wicked? Disrespectful, yes. Rude, certainly. But a rasha?

We find that in certain circumstances before the Torah was actually given, people were permitted to make calculations as to what would better serve Hashem, even if it were against a mitzvah or aveirah.

More Articles from Rabbi Avigdor Miller
Miller-Rabbi-Avigdor

“When I proclaim the name of Hashem, give greatness to our G-d (32:3). When we hear a berachah, it is proper to exclaim “Baruch Hu u’Baruch Shemo” (“He is blessed and His name is blessed”) when Hashem’s name is pronounced. But much more is intended. The mention of that most important word (in any language) should evoke the greatest reverence and love and devotion. How much should we exert ourselves in this function?

Miller-Rabbi-Avigdor

We live in an age of conveniences – and dangers. Our affluence presents dangers to our quest for spiritual perfection, which the Torah cautions against and which Rabbi Avigdor Miller elaborates on in Parshas Vayelech.

“The life and the death I have given before you…in order that you should live, you and your seed.… And you shall choose life” (30:19). “Choosing life” is one of the highest accomplishments (Shaare Teshuvah III:17). This means that not only does Hashem allow us the free will to choose (a principle that materialist psychologists deny), He also gives us the information that we possess free will.

Many passages in the Torah appear at first glance to be repetitious. Often, each iteration has a unique and deep message. Rabbi Avigdor Miller, zt”l, finds such a case (in the passage of the Blessings and Curses) in the Torah’s instruction to keep Hashem’s commandments and walk in His ways.
Also in the passage of the Blessings and Curses, Rabbi Miller highlights the great blessing of a long life.

The Talmud asserts that the rebellious son of the verse below never existed and never will. Nonetheless, the Torah relates this law to advise parents in the most difficult of issues – raising children. To Rabbi Avigdor Miller, zt”l, the law and its lessons help reveal Israel’s greatness.

Moshe’s blessing to the nation of Israel is interesting in that a similar blessing, which Hashem had given Avraham and Yizchak, had already been fulfilled. Rabbi Avigdor Miller, zt”l, observes that among the greastest blessings is abundant offspring, and therefore this blessing was particularly auspicious – even the third time around.

In the confrontation between Israel and Midian, the Torah reveals the great void of virtue that separated the two nations. While Israel had fallen to great depths in the challenge of the Peor, Rabbi Avigdor Miller, zt”l, points out that it had risen again to great heights in the ensuing battle against a nation steeped in immorality.

“Pinchas Ben Elazar Ben Aharon the kohen turned away my wrath from upon the sons of Israel by his zeal for my sake in their midst; and I did not bring destruction upon the sons of Israel because of my jealousy. Therefore, say, behold, I give to him my covenant of peace” (25:11-2). This is a special proclamation of acclaim. Though Moshe certainly approved of Pinchas, Hashem here teaches the necessity to render public recognition to the righteous.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/vaeira-the-names-of-israel/2012/01/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: