web analytics
May 22, 2015 / 4 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


A Chumash For All Times

The Rav  (Photos courtesy of Yeshiva University)

The Rav (Photos courtesy of Yeshiva University)

Potiphar was the chief executioner for Pharaoh. God placed Joseph in this most impure environment so he could fully appreciate the purity of Jacob and his home. Joseph had to live in the house of Pharaoh, to come face to face with evil, to be present at a hanging, to see how Potiphar himself tied the noose in the public square while the bloodthirsty nation enjoyed the sight of the terrified, writhing victim. Only then could Joseph appreciate the sheer greatness of his father’s teachings, the supreme beauty of the laws of egla arufa which he had reviewed with his father just prior to his exile. Only then did Joseph appreciate the magnitude of the spiritual revolution of justice and righteousness that his great-grandfather Abraham had introduced.

The Rav saw the excesses of American society as an opportunity. Hiding behind the superficial beauty is great ugliness, selfishness, cruelty. The experience of the worst of the West highlights the best of the East. Joseph’s servitude was an opportunity to better appreciate the beauty and wisdom of Judaism, an opportunity we share in this hedonistic diaspora.

Eliezer described himself as Abraham’s servant (24:34). The Rav pointed out that there is a difference between “eved le-Avraham,” which Eliezer did not say, and “eved Avraham,” which he did:

Saying “a servant to Abraham” would emphasize only the juridic-social aspect. That statement would imply that while he belongs to Abraham legally, spiritually he is a free man; he has his own mind and an independent approach to reality. By stating instead that he is “Abraham’s servant,” he identifies his whole personality with Abraham. Serving Abraham is not just incidental; it is the whole purpose of his life. That is why the term eved Hashem, “God’s servant,” is used in the Bible. Our service to the Almighty is not something foreign and incidental; it is indispensable to our existence, intrinsic and inseparable from our ontological awareness. We are just servants of God, and nothing else.

With all our technology, our wealth, our philosophical sophistication, our purpose in life is to be a servant of God. We can engage with society, contribute to its well-being like Abraham and observe its excesses like Joseph. In the end, as Koheles concludes, we must fear God and follow His word for we are His servants “and nothing else.”

Dr. Lustiger’s brilliance is in bringing the Rav’s genius to readers where their interests lie – the weekly parashah. He collected and adapted material from dozens of sources into a cohesive and comprehensive commentary, placing the Rav’s wisdom in an accessible volume. This is not just the Rav’s commentary on the Torah, it is his commentary on life. It is a commentary for the ages and specifically for our age.

About the Author: Rabbi Gil Student writes frequently on Jewish issues and serves as editor-in-chief of TorahMusings.com. Rabbi Student previously served as managing editor of OU Press and still maintains a connection to the publisher but did not work on this book in any way.


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 “A Chumash For All Times”

  1. Uws IH says:

    I followed 3 Parshiyot before giving up on the book. I recommend a read of the commentary on ויתרוצצו הבנים בקרבה on p. 187 to see if it is your cup of tea.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Tzipi Hotovely, new Deputy Foreign Minister.
Foreign Minister Hotovely: Tell the World ‘God Gave Israel to the Jews’
Latest Sections Stories
Respler-052215

This therapist kept focusing on how “I could do better,” never on how we could make the marriage work.

South-Florida-logo

Mistrust that has lingered after the fiasco in Ferguson, Missouri, has edged the issue forward.

South-Florida-logo

“The observance of a kosher diet is a key tenet of Judaism, and one which no state has the right to deny,” said Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy of the Orthodox Union.

Two weeks of intense learning in the classroom about Israel culminated with Yom Ha’Atzmaut. Students attended sessions with their teachers and learned about history, culture, military power, advocacy, slang, cooking, and more.

The nations of the world left the vessel to sit rotting in the water during one of the coldest winters in decades and with its starving and freezing passengers abandoned.

Rabbi Yisroel Edelman, the synagogue’s spiritual leader, declared, “The Young Israel of Deerfield Beach is looking forward to our partnership with the OU. The impact the OU has brought to Jewish communities throughout the country through its outreach and educational resources is enormous and we anticipate the same for our community in Deerfield Beach as well.”

Our goal here is to offer you recipes that you can make on Yom Tov with ingredients you might just have in the house. Enjoy and chag sameach!

Gardening can be a healthy, wholesome activity for the whole family.

Unfortunately, the probability is that he will not see a reason to change as he has been acting this way for a long time and clearly has some issues with respecting women.

All of these small changes work their way into the framework of the elephant and the rider because they are helping the elephant move forward.

It’s hard not to be intrigued by recipes with names like Thanksgiving Stuffing Soup, Braised Chicken with Rhubarb Gravy and Vidalia Onion Fritters with Sambal Yogurt Dip.

More Articles from Rabbi Gil Student
We are always in His presence

If we can learn to fear the surveillance of the Internet, we can learn to fear God’s constant watching.

Rabbi Gil Student

Traditional Jewish texts clearly discuss men and women as categories – as distinct groups – even though individual men and women vary.

There must be an Orthodox presence and an Orthodox refusal to attend Limmud NY.

I am from the generation that never saw or heard the Rav but lived in his shadow, feeling his recently departed presence in his students’ lectures. My poverty in this sense pales in comparison to that of the next generation, who have only a distant notion of who this great man was and his sprawling impact.

The Internet is a medium that has made its way in its short existence all the way to the center of contemporary life. Many of our daily tasks are now tied to it, and will be more so in the future.

In light of all the attention that the recent Internet Asifa garnered, we thought it wise to offer this analysis on the subject by Rabbi Gil Student, founder of TorahMusings.com and former managing editor of OU Publications.

Israel is a Jewish country – but can it continue to be so when Judaism threatens to destroy the state?

The unfair longstanding attacks on Israel’s legitimacy are a permanent stain on the international community. For over 60 years, Israel has valiantly grown under hostile conditions while fighting lies and half-truths in the international arena. Israel suffers doubly, however, when its very essence, its Jewish character, supports its opponents’ narrative.

There are two types of people in the world – those who are inspired by Mussar and those who are turned off by it.

Mussar is a school of study that teaches religious self-improvement. Traditional Mussar, as practiced in many yeshivas to this day, has a rabbi exhorting his listeners, often yelling at them, to be more careful in their actions and attitudes. This is frequently accompanied with a Torah insight and maybe even a good parable. But it can be scary: fire, brimstone, judgment day – all the horrible implications of religious failure, in graphic detail.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/books/book-reviews/a-chumash-for-all-times/2013/11/21/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: