web analytics
December 17, 2014 / 25 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Knesset and Menorah Lawyers Called Upon to Use Their Legal Skills in Israel’s Defense

Learn about the up to the minute human rights and legal challenges facing Israel, while networking with other likeminded professionals and earning CLE credits in your jurisdictions – all at the same time



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.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Sony Pictures Entertainment studio, Los Angeles, CA.
Terror Threat Puts Kabash on Sony’s NYC Film Premier
Latest Sections Stories
Eller-121914-Main

“The secret to a good donut is using quality ingredients and the ability to be patient and give them time to proof.”

Respler-logo-NEW

I so desperately want to have a loving relationship with my stepsons.

Einhorn-121214-Bell

The Liberty Bell is a symbol of American Independence.

Because you can’t have kids pouring huge jugs of oil into tiny glasses, unless you want to turn your house into an environmental disaster.

Try these with your kids; there’s something for every age group and once all the recipes are made, dinner will be ready!

You children will build the country and you will help restore Israel to her former glory.

Bais Toras Menachem is proud to welcome its new staff member, Yaakov Mark, who will be the Administrator as well as Ort College and GED class coordinator.

Because she is keenly aware that anti-Semitism may start with the Jews but never ends with the Jews, she makes the logical connection between the opprobrium for both America and Israel so commonplace on the political left.

In this narrative of history, it is the third world Palestinians who are victims of the marauding Jews, of course.

During 1939, anti-Semitic groups such as Fritz Kuhn’s German American Bund held rallies in New York and other major cities across the country.

Sixty years may have gone by since World War II, but nothing much has changed.

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: