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Parashat Vayeira

Parasha Thoughts

Dovid Kohen

By: Rabbi David Cohen

“Abraham called the name of his son… Yitzhak” (Vayeira, 21:3)

A doctor meets with the director of a mental institution. The director shows him around. They pass by a padded room and they hear a man yelling, “LEAH, LEAH!” The doctor asks, “What happened to him?” “He was engaged to a girl named Leah and at the last minute Leah decided to call it off. The poor guy never recovered,” was the reply. They pass by another room and again there is a guy screaming “LEAH, LEAH!” The doctor asks, “Leah also left him?“ “No,” the director replies, “This one actually married Leah!”

As we know Yitzhak had the attribute of Din (judgment), yet his name means laughter. It must be that he embodied laughter. In fact, throughout his life we see him being associated with laughter. Yishmael was kicked out of the house because he was “מצחק” with Yitzhak. Later, Avimelech discovers that Yitzhak was married to Rebecca because Yitzhak was caught “מצחק” with her. What does laughter have to do with Judgment?

What makes a joke funny? When you have one perspective and the punchline comes unexpectedly and gives you another view. A real comedian can see how people normally see the world and introduce them to a new view. In order to be a good Judge you have to be able to see things from every angle. Someone who embodies a healthy sense of humor is able to do that. Yitzhak, whose whole life was extraordinary (he was born to parents of old age, and he was designated to be slaughtered by his father) was able to see things from a different perspective than others would. This gave him both a healthy sense of humor and the ability to be the father of judgment.

Shabbat Shalom

Parashat LechLecha

Parasha Thoughts


By: Rabbi Eliezer Rafailmehr

Hashem said to Avram, “Go for yourself from your land, from your birthplace, and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you.”

Due to the redundancy of the phrase “Lech lecha”, the commentators explain that the Torah is hinting to us a very important message. The Torah is hinting to us: “Lech Lecha” to go……to go to our true selves. Meaning, to turn to our emotions; to tune in to our feelings. The Torah is hinting to us that we must express and try to understand why we feel the way we feel. Emotions that are not expressed remain trapped within our body and can take a toll both on our physical as well as our spiritual well being.

Take depression, for example. When we make an effort to understand where our sad feelings are stemming from, then we have a better chance of managing and even overcoming those feelings. However, if we suppress and ignore our sad feelings, not only will they not go away, they will build up and intensify.

If we truly want to live in peace with ourselves, if we truly want to serve Hashem with joy and happiness, then it behooves us to incorporate the lesson of Lech Lecha: the lesson of expressing and understanding our emotions.

Shabbat Shalom