web analytics
November 28, 2014 / 6 Kislev, 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 »

Writing A Book On Pesach


Rapps-Rabbi-Joshua-logo

The articles in this column are transcriptions and adaptations of shiurim by Rav Joseph Ber Soloveitchik, zt”l. The Rav’s unique perspective on Chumash permeated many of the shiurim and lectures he presented at various venues over a 40 plus year period. His words add an important perspective that makes the Chumash in particular, and our tradition in general, vibrant and relevant to our generation.

Sippur, as in sippur yetzias Mitzrayim, comes from the same root as sofer, scribe. A scribe is not a simple writer. Sofer is used throughout Tanach to indicate a position of importance, e.g. sofrei hamelech in Megillas Esther, Ezra HaSofer. In Talmudic parlance, sofer means a talmid chacham, a scholar, who must be capable of writing.

The definition of sippur goes beyond simple oral story telling. It includes the ability to tell a story by writing it. The word sefer, book, derives from the same root, l’saper, to tell a story.

The Gemara says that Megillas Esther refers to itself first as an igeres, letter, and later as a sefer, a book. A letter has a short-term purpose. It can be written on anything, it may be incomplete yet it still conveys the gist of the story. In contrast, a sefer has permanence and transmits the story to future generations. It requires parchment and if even one letter is missing it is halachically voided. Hashem commanded Moshe to document the eternal conflict between God and Amalek in the sefer and transmit it to Joshua. This message could only be transmitted through a sefer.

A kabbalistic principle says that Hashem created the world through acts of kesiva, writing.

Chazal say the writing and inscription for the Tablets were created at twilight prior to the onset of Shabbos The Sefer Hayetzira maintains that the world was created through 3 sefarim (forms of the word saper): b’sfor, b’sippur u’besefer, through counting, relating a story and through the book. We know from the Torah that Hashem wrote the luchos, but how does the Sefer Hayetzira know that the world was created through these three forms of the word saper?

According to the Kuzari, when the Torah repeatedly mentions “Vayomer Elokim,” it is referring to the act of sippur by Hashem. The result of this sippur was the sefer, all of creation. It was the word of God that created the world and is embedded in nature and continues to drive it. At the same time, nature must obey the will of Hashem. According to the Baal Shem Tov, the word of God, the Vayomer Elokim that created everything, is as real and ongoing today as it was at the time of creation. As we say in Kiddush on Rosh Hashanah, “U’devarchah emes v’kayam la’ad” – and Your words are true and everlasting.

Chazal recognized the importance of recording events for subsequent generations to identify with, understand and appreciate what moved the author so many years before. Ours is a living history. When we read the stories of the patriarchs and the twelve tribes, we feel as if we are participating in the events unfolding before us. We cry with Joseph when he is sold into slavery and rejoice with him when he is elevated to viceroy of Egypt. We travel with Abraham as he leaves Charan for the unknown land of Canaan and our hearts skip a beat as Yaakov narrowly departs with the blessings before Esau returns. We span generations in an instant through the written word and identify with our ancestors. Educators must bring to life the stories of the Torah and motivate students to experience the story as a participant.

About the Author: Rabbi Joshua Rapps attended the Rav's shiur at RIETS from 1977 through 1981 and is a musmach of Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchanan. He and his wife Tzipporah live in Edison, N.J. Rabbi Rapps can be contacted at ravtorah1@gmail.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.

One Response to “Writing A Book On Pesach

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
IDF Chief Rabbi Rafi Peretz delivers lecture.
IDF Chief Rabbi: Nothing is Holy to Muslims on Temple Mount except Al Aqsa
Latest Judaism Stories
Parsha-Perspectives-NEW

A person who truly feels that everything is a blessing from G-d will count his blessings and realize just how much he has.

The Story of Jacob and Esau (2010) 11 x 19, bronze relief by Lynda Caspe. Courtesy Derfner Judaica Museum – Hebrew Home at Riverdale

Yaacov returns the stolen blessing of material wealth and physical might to Esav

Rapps-Rabbi-Joshua-logo

The Jew, from the perspective of the name Yaakov, is dependent on the non-Jewish world. This can be seen today in the relationship between the State of Israel and the United States

Lessons-Emunah-logo

Yet, ultimately, looking back, these “setbacks” turned out to be really for the patient’s best – for the good.

In the afternoon, he reached into his pocket to check for the money, but it was empty. “The $50 bill must have fallen out,” Alex exclaimed. “It’s got to be in one of the rooms I was just at.”

Although the conversion ceremony involves more than circumcision and immersion, these are the two essential requirements, without which the conversion is ineffective.

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Rashi in Shabbos 9b writes that the reason why the tefillah of Ma’ariv is a reshus is because it was instituted corresponding to the burning of the eimurim from the korbanos – which was performed at night.

It almost sounds as if Hashem is saying, “I have to keep Yaakov from getting too comfortable; otherwise he will forget Me. I can’t promise him sustenance because then he won’t need Me. He won’t write. He won’t call. He won’t love Me anymore.”

The Decree Of 1587
“Two Kabs Of Dinars Were Given…To King Yanai”
(Yevamos 61a)

Simply too many cases of prayers being answered to deny it makes a difference to our fate. It does.

Prayer is our language: Hakol kol Yaakov – the voice is the voice of Jacob – the voice of prayer.

Jacob cries, overcome by the knowledge that his great love for Rachel will end in unbearable pain.

There’s a perfect mirror between Jacob running away from Esav to when he reunites with his brother.

Yitzhak called you Esav and you answered him, then he called you Yaakov and you also answered him!”

More Articles from Rabbi Joshua Rapps
Rapps-Rabbi-Joshua-logo

The Jew, from the perspective of the name Yaakov, is dependent on the non-Jewish world. This can be seen today in the relationship between the State of Israel and the United States

Rapps-Rabbi-Joshua-logo

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

This complementary nature and unified destiny is the basis of the Covenantal Community.

If I appoint someone as Shatz, he is supposed to pray for me, as if I was praying.

Bris Bein Habesarim affirmed that Hashem gave the land to Avraham’s children. It does not specify for how long. It did not guarantee the Jewish people eternal ownership of the land

Shem realized that he owed his existence to his father who brought him into the world.

What right do I, sinner, have to approach Hashem and request forgiveness?

To choose life, you must examine your actions in the period preceding the Days of Awe as an unbiased stranger, and render your decision.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/writing-a-book-on-pesach/2014/04/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: