Shabbat Parashat Va'eira 5773
Va'eira | 1 Shvat 5773 | 1/12/2013
“Hashem commanded [Moshe and Aharon] to Bnei Yisrael and to Paroh, King of Egypt” (Shemot 6:13). Rashi cites two explanations of what it means that they were commanded to Paroh: to show Paroh respect; to perform the actions before him. In fact, both explanations were fulfilled. On one hand, Moshe acted without fear and without unnecessary calculations, saying bluntly in Hashem’s name: “Send My nation!” It did not make a difference that there was no chance that Paroh would understand what Moshe was really asking because of his hardened heart or that the aristocracy of Egypt would initially scorn the message. On the other hand, Moshe and Aharon were careful to maintain an element of respect for the kingdom (see Rashi to Shemot 11:8).
I arrived at a small minyan for Mincha as the chazan was waiting for one more person needed to start chazarat hashatz. The question arose whether I could be counted if I started along with the chazan, considering I was doing my own davening and not answering Amen.
It happened that the kingdom (Rome) made a decree that the Jews must not study Torah. What did Rabbi Akiva do? He went and publicly gathered people and taught them Torah. Pappus ben Yehuda found him and asked him: “Akiva, aren’t you afraid of this nation?” Rabbi Akiva told him a parable of a fox that saw fish that were moving quickly from place to place. The fish explained to the curious fox that they were trying to avoid traps. The fox suggested that they come onto land to avoid them, where they could live in peace with the foxes. The fish responded that the fox was not as smart as purported, for if the fish felt in danger in the place they need in order to live, all the more so would they be in trouble in the place that they find death. Rabbi Akiva explained that if we are afraid when we are involved in Torah study, about which it is written that it is our life and brings us long days (Devarim 30:20), all the more so should we fear if we cease to study Torah.
The plaintiff (=pl) worked for the defendant (=def), a computer company, and was laid off with two weeks’ notice, during a wave of financially necessitated layoffs. On her last day of work, pl told def that she was pregnant and, therefore, she said, they are not allowed to fire her. Def turned to the authorities at the Commerce and Industry Ministry to receive permission to lay her off. The hearing took place three months later. The termination was confirmed, but only effective from the time of the decision, not the actual cessation of work. Def claims that they should not have to pay pl during those three months, for at the time of the firing, they did not know she was pregnant. Furthermore, they found out that pl started working at another company for higher wages during the three months, which was not known during the hearing at the Commerce and Industry Ministry. While pl admits to having found another job, she claims that she still deserves pay from def for that time.
This edition of
Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld
is endowed by
Les & Ethel Sutker
Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l
to the memory of
Bat Yaakov Pushett A"H
Her smile and warmth
are sorely missed.
A weekly divrei Torah leaflet: A Glimpse at the Parasha, Ask the Rabbi, From the writings of Harav Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook, zt”l, Pninat Mishpat (Jewish Monetary Law).