Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Parsha: Lech Lecha, "Leaving Israel"

In  Mishna Torah: Hilchot Melachim: 5:9, the Rambam writes that:

"Even though it was a famine and one is permitted to leave Israel [nevertheless] "einah middat hassidut" ... [It is not the mark of a pious character]
And because of that Machalon and Kilyon - 2 "gedolei hador" [great ones of their generation] ..left and were liable to destruction by "the Maqom".

1. If it's Halachically permitted to leave the land of Israel, then who cares about "Middat Hassidut"?

2 If all Jews are on the same level of obligation and liability, then how does being a "Gadol Hador" change someone's level?

3. If even the Rambam concedes that Machalon and Kilyon's leaving Eretz Yisrael was Halachically permitted, then why did he say they were punished? 

4. In Lech L'cha, Avraham Avinu left the Holy Land under similar circumstances - and he seemed to be rewarded and not punished! How does this Rambam address that case?

For further sources

  • Torah Temimah on Lech L'cha 12:10 quoting Bava Qama 60b
  • Note 13 quoting Bava Batra 91a

Shalom, RRW

Parsha: Lech Lecha, "Skin-Garment-House"

An interesting linkage is made on the first verse in Parshat Lech Lecha (Beraishit: 12:1)
"A person has 3 protective casings:
The Bassar, the Begged, and the Bayit.

-  New translation P. 288, RSR Hirsch

This point dovetails completely with the 3 forms of afflictions listed in Tazria-Metzora:
  • afflictions of the Skin, surface, dermatological
  • Garments
  • Houses
In the cases in Vayiqra, the afflictions [Nega'I'm] proceed from the inner to the outer.I don't see any explicit connection made by R. Hirsch in Lech Lecha itself, but the parallel is more than skin-deep!

When Avraham leaves Haran he is asked to leave his:
  • Country
  • Birthplace
  • House of your Father

Or from outer to inner. This is highly counter-intuitive. It is also a major salient point in R. Hirsch's brief essay


Lech Lecha: The Involvement of Self

From the archives of Nishma's Online Library at, we have chosen an article that relates to the week's parsha, both to direct you to this dvar Torah but also for the purposes of initiating some discussion.

This week's parsha is Lech Lecha and the topic is the self. We invite you to look at an article on this topic at

Lech Lecha: The Personality of Blessings

From the archives of Nishma's Online Library at, we have chosen an article that relates to the week's parsha, both to direct you to this dvar Torah but also for the purposes of initiating some discussion.

This week's parsha is Lech Lecha and the topic is blessings, specifically what blessings say about the person being blessed. What one considers a blessing tells us much about that person. For a further discussion on this idea, see

Parsha Lech Lecha - "Pere Adam"

Chofetz Chaim on Lech Lecha 16:12
Kol Tuv,

Abra(ha)m Received An A+

Guest Post:
Cantor Richard Wolberg
* * * * *

We all know that Abram, the progenitor of the Jewish people, was told to "Go forth," etc. The question everyone asks is why is "lamed chof" repeated twice. Once would have been enough. "Lech" — "Go forth".

Many different explanations have been advanced for the double "lamed chof" to which I'll add another.  What is the best score one can receive? One hundred percent. "Lamed chof" equals fifty (lamed=30 and chof=20). Lamed chof  twice is 100. 

Abraham passed the various tests of God with flying colors.  A midrash interprets the use of the double word to mean "Go forth to find your authentic self, to learn who you are meant to be". So the use of the double lamed chof informs us that he received one hundred percent!

Kol Tuv / Best Regards,
Rabbi RichWolpoe

Parsha: Lech Lecha, Galut Mitzrayim - 400 Years or 210 Years?‏

Here is a simple approach to what appears to be a big s'teerah between the 400 years in Mitzrayim as per Torah Shebichtav, vs. the 210 years as per TSBP.
[Note: I'm not addressing the case of 430 years, but one can extrapolate an answer from this approach]

Rashi [Lech Lecha 15:13] suggests that the 400 years in a "Land not theirs" commences with the birth of Yitzchak, and that the actual descent to Mitzrayim actually comes 190 years later.

Extrapolating from Rashi here is my approach:

There are "2 dinnim" re: Egypt

1. The physical Land of Egypt
2. The extended Empire of Egypt.

Modern Archaeologists consider the Ancient Land of Canaan during that era as under the influence [Suzerainty] of the Egyptian Empire, perhaps similar to Poland used to be when it was under the Soviet Sphere of influence.

So, in a sense, during those first 190 years, the Avot were not in the physical Land of Egypt, yet the galut of the Empire of Egypt indeed did start earlier on - because Canaan was under the Social and Political Influence of Egypt, and by extension they were in a "Spiritual Galus Mitzrayim."

And so both figures work.
210 years in Physical Egypt
400 years as subject to Egyptian Social Mores.

Kol Tuv,