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VA-YEHI 5783

01/06/2023 01:09:48 PM


Mr. Irwin Miller observes yahrzeit for his mother Bess bat Tvi Hirsh, on Wednesday 18 Tevet.


Moving to NJ was difficult, as I had to leave behind all of my friends from the synagogue, from my school from my neighborhood, (oops, that’s the American spelling) etc.

There is another kind of friend that I had to painfully leave behind. I am referring to my seforim, my books. Almost every room in my Westbury home was packed with books, journals, and papers. Knowing that I would not have space for all of them in my new home, I had no choice but to respectfully dispose of the bulk of my collection. I had to carefully select the books that I would be taking with me.

One of those books that made the grade was one that I had bought a few years ago, but never had opened, was Unlocking the Torah Text: Bereisheet, by Rabbi Shmuel Goldin. He is what we could call a “pashtan.” As I had often expressed over the. years, “peshat” does not mean “Simple.”

Here is a very brief excerpt from his book: “Why does the Torah devote so much text to Yaakov’s request to be buried in Israel?… In a beautiful yet sorrowful fashion the patriarchal era comes full circle with Yaakov’s request. The era that optimistically began with Avraham’s passage to Canaan now ends with a very different journey on the part of his grandson, Yaakov, to the very same land…. A cautionary message to his children: Egypt is not your home!”


I have often mentioned in my derashot on specific parashiyot what literary scholars would call an “inclusio.”  Rabbi Goldin has done that for the patriarchal stories.  In other words, he has found deep meaning in the “peshat,” the literal meaning of the text.


Shabbat shalom, Rabbi Menahem White

Thu, July 18 2024 12 Tammuz 5784