Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Vaera

Sour Milk

This week Hashem tells Moshe to inform the B'nai Yisrael, that the good times will soon come. "I shall rescue you, I shall redeem you with an out stretched hand, I shall bring you to the land which I have promised your fathers, Abraham Isaac and Jacob" (cf. Exodus 6:6-8).

It did not mean much. "The Children of Israel did not listen to Moshe from shortness of breath and hard work" (ibid v.9).

Next Hashem tells Moshe to tell Pharaoh to let the Jews out. Moshe responds with a reply filled with deductive reasoning. "Behold the Children of Israel did not listen, so how will Pharaoh listen?" (ibid v.12).

Our sages explain that this is on of ten "kal v'chomer" instances in the Torah. It is an example of reasoning used to logically come to halachic conclusions. ( eg. If a weightlifter can not lift the stone, surely a child can not!)

The problem is, that the reasoning seems flawed. "The Children of Israel did not listen to Moshe from shortness of breath and hard work. " Pharaoh did not suffer from either of those shortcomings! If the weightlifter with a broken back, can't lift a stone, it plays no role in telling us whether or not a child can.)

So what was Moshe's logical refutation to G-d's command?

Last week, on Thursday 23 Teves, the great Gaon, Rabbi Mordechai Gifter z"l passed away. As a student at the Telshe Yeshiva in Europe he developed a strong relationship with one Europe's foremost scholars of that era, Rav Mordechai Pogramanski z"l. He used to relate on a story Rav Pogramanski would share with his students.

A disheveled man was touring the Louvre with a group of tourists. As they passed Rembrandt's works the man looked at everyone and yelled, "Sour milk!" Puzzled, everyone thought he was crazy. He repeated it again. "It looks like sour milk!"

They moved on and passed the Mona Lisa. Again he screamed, Sour milk!" This went on a few more times until a wise man looked at the fellow. "Let me see your glasses."

The critical man gave them to him. "What did you have for breakfast?" he asked.

"Why cereal and milk," he answered.

The wise man laughed. Look at your glasses! They are speckled with milk! No wonder everything you look at appears as sour milk!

Moshe knew that Jews inherently believe. However the suffering of hard work and the evil treatment of Egyptian masters tainted their faith. But hard work alone does not taint faith. It is only when it is exasperated by the torment of the taskmasters, and their cruel taunts. How much more so, he figured, would Pharaoh be inattentive of the command that Hashem is in charge, and the Jews should be let free. If hard work stains the thought process, blocking the beauty of Hashem's word to filter through, how much more so does the idolatry and heresy of Pharaoh impede them from penetrating!

We look at Hashem's creation. We go to synagogue. We hear mussar. We read the prophets. But somehow it does not get through. The words are beautiful. Those who hear them can be inspired. But so many impediments block our vision and our hearing. Our lifestyles. Our desires. Even our work.

If we'd open our eyes we would see so much holiness! But only if their glasses are not tainted with sour milk.

Dedicated in memory of A. Milton Brown - Avraham Mordechai ben Benzion - Rosh Chodesh Shevat by Mr. and Mrs. Ben Brown


Copyright © 2001 by Rabbi M. Kamenetzky and Project Genesis, Inc.

If you enjoy the weekly Drasha, now you can receive the best of Drasha in book form! Purchase Parsha Parables - from the Project Genesis bookstore - Genesis Judaica - at a very special price!

The author is the Associate Dean of the Yeshiva of South Shore.

Drasha is the e-mail edition of FaxHomily, a weekly torah facsimile on the weekly portion which is sponsored by The Henry and Myrtle Hirsch Foundation


 
Sell Chometz Online







ARTICLES ON KEDOSHIM AND THE OMER:

View Complete List

Significance of the Omer
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5757

...And Hear It We Must
Rabbi Label Lam - 5762

Role of Spouse in Loving One's Neighbor
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5763

Looking for a Chavrusah?

A Good Place to Begin
Rabbi Label Lam - 5768

Love Your Neighbor: Who Needs Friends?
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5766

Understand The Warning
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5774

> Aaron's Unlimited Access
Shlomo Katz - 5758

Children of the King
Shlomo Katz - 5762

Do it Because I am Holy
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758

ArtScroll

Focus on the Counting
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

Burden of Reproof
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5757

Too Familiar
Shlomo Katz - 5766

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Cloaked in Dignity
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5761

From the Inside Out
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5761

Splitting The Marriage Atom
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5774

Motherhood & Shabbos Pie
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5759



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information