Second Part | The Haftarot of Yamim Nora'im
The Haftarot of Yamim Nora'im
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המופע התקיים בתאריך
The Haftarot of Yamim Nora'im

תמלול אירוע Second Part | The Haftarot of Yamim Nora'im שהתקיים בתאריך 15/09/2019

with Rabbanit Shani Taragin
Welcome to Beit Avichai. Please silence your mobile devices. Shavua Tov, we give credit to Beit Avichai for hosting our lectures. I would like to thank all of you for coming, as we see in Hazal’s interpretations of the Haftarot, as we not only read them, but learn them, as a community. As we revisit the very first Brayta, we recall the discussion is philosophical – is the most important month Nisan or Tishrei. R. Eliezer maintains that we can’t just look at the year through Nisan, through the time of the people’s holidays – we should look at it through Tishrey, the month of creation. Not the redemption of Am Israel, but going back to the time of the patriarchs, two were born, all three died in Tishrei, and – the barren women, Sara and Rachel, but also Hana, were ‘Nifkeda,’ through the birth of Shmuel, she will change the course of history, and even lead to the Meshihut of Beit David. How does R. Eliezer know this, these private affair of these barren women. He knows this from the associative terminology – a double Gzera Shava, he sees by Rachel, ‘God remembers Rachel,’ and the famous story we are going to learn today is that of Rachel. God remembering Rachel, is connected with memory. God remembered Rachel, as he did Chana. The best time for this is ‘Yom Zichron Trua,’ Rosh Hashana. Hana does not have remembrance associated with her, but also appointment – pkida. Hana has both, Sara – pkida only, and remembrance happens on Yom HaZikaron. But in chronological order, R. Eliezer first opens up to Zkira, he seens in Bereshit, the term of memory, he immediately remembers the associated verb of memory, here for the first time it’s mentioned with the barren women. And this reminds us what is the source relating to the Yamim Noraim, the source that teaches us what we should remember on this day. Not just from the Torah, but the Haftara, that day, we are going to speak about the additional offerings offered on that day, they are going to highlight the virtue of the day, they are additional to the daily offering, Korban Tamid. And Tana Kama teaches us – we
‘maftirim haben,’ at the time the Christian chapter division does not exist. But we know the reference – at first glance, as we open the chapter, this is a beautiful and appropriate reading from the prophets, what shall be a repeated terminology – Efraim is precious to me, even if they are wayward at times. I talk of them, and remember them all the more. How they followed me in the wilderness, without sources for water, and if I’m going to ask you at first glance, why this is the first reading on this day, it’s tied to memory – you remember Efraim, and you love us. You remember us perpetually, through the past and the trials of the second and the future. In the second opinion, however, we get a bit confused. It says – no, ‘pakad et Sarah,’ if she is remembered for conception on the same day, Yom Hazikaron. If we juxtapose the Torah, and the second reading, what is the association of both women? Both were remembered on Rosh Hashana. This automatically gives rise to the question – if we read in the Torah, about Sarh, in the Prpophets about Hana, and who is missing in this formula? Rachel. She is crying endlessly for her children cast into exile. If we want to recall not just the story, we want to associate them with Rosh Hashana, where should she fit in? Not from the prophets, a peripheral theme in Jeremiah, but in fact – the story of Rachel from Bereshit, God remembered Rachel. Isn’t that why we are reading about Sarah and Hana? The Amoraim, there is a confusion, what should we read, the deliberation of the one day. We can say – we have two days for Rosh Hashana, two long days, we don’t even have to decide, we have a resolution, what are we going to read respectively, the first opinion on the first day, the second on the second. But now that we have two days – read on the first day, the stories of Sarah and Hana, read the obiter dicta. Read the story not just about the three women. Read the ‘mafkirim,’ and the story of Rachel. Who is mentioned first in regard to the verb of remembrance? Rachel. She is not going to be read first? But if we pay attention to the chronology of the readings – we are not going to read this story. If you are going to read Jeremiah, read her story, her cries, motherhood, based on Jeremiah, what is the proper order? Sarha, albeit only learned through the verbs. Then – Hana, her story in Shmuel, what we call today first prophets. Then going back to Yitzhak. According to the story of the Haftara, it’s Rachel. Why is this the selected reading? Clearly the focus is on her, but hwy not in the proper order? Why did Hazal choose Jeremiah 1 to remind us of Rachel? Why did this become essential reading instead of Bereshit? Maybe we’ll understand this from Rachel’s story in Tanach. It’s imperative we do this always within the context, a Parshia, a unit, traditional, how the Torah is transferred from generation to generation. It’s a portion of Parashat Vayitze, we also see that it just so happens that the entire Parasha is also one long Parshia, it’s one long unit, without breaks. The Torah teaches us – you need to see the story, and we want ot see why it’s not chosen, and instead the readings of Jeremiah, we have to see it in its context. It’s part of the adventures of Jacob, his departure from his blood-thirsty brother, his dream in Bet-El, God’s assurance, his escape to Levan, falling in love with Rachel, his decision to labor for her for seven years, and we remember the duplicity of Levan – he wins Leah, and not Rachel, he works an additional seven years to win the dowry for Rachel. Then, the birth of his children, he works an additional six years, to return home. He earns a tremendous amount of money, despite Levan’s changing the terms of the deal. Levan doesn’t want him to go, but he escapes, into the arms of Esav. He has visions of angels. A beautiful clusio structure, and a beautiful chiastic structure, an ABC-CBA structure, showing us development within the story, a structure. But most such structures have a turning point or nadir in the story, highlighting the crisis in the story, everything he experienced in the first half of his career, his unsuccessful works, or if he is pursued by his brother, going in to the hands of Levan. Finally not only is Levan going to concede to what God promised, but even make a gesture of respect toward Jacob. What is going to be the transition from lack of success to his ultimate success? The Torah tries to teach us, examine the birth story, what happens in the middle. Ironically, who is the star of the birth story? It’s a long narrative, of course – he has twelve children, it would take a long time to tell this story. But we don’t just hear about births, but stories dispersed within the births that don’t end with births. Again a chiastic structure, four children to Leah, followed by a story of Rachel, a diversion, and this is what I meant about the irony of the story of Rachel – a story focusing on birth but doesn’t have birth. Then there are two births – to Leah’s and Rachel’s handmaidens, and then an attempt by Rachel to conceive, but that story as well does not end with birth. Finally, at the end the birth of four children, three of which born to Leah, and one to Rachel. What a beautiful chiasm. Everything is perfect. But no – something is awry, it would have been perfect had the story ended with four children to Rachel, it would have been the perfect complement to the development of the story, but three of them go to Leah, are we supposed to feel incomplete here? We could appreciate the story all the more because of this, and why the story is so important in the career of Jacob. This will relate to the time of reading Rachel’s story.
The Torah counts Dinah, any other daughters that were born? Yes. Let’s see how the story starts –the end of chapter 29. The very of ‘Yeriah,’ there is a clear difference between different expressions of God – Elokim is tied to the aspect of Din. But creation starts with this appellation. We think of a much more universal level of God’s expression, God’s power over nature, this is very consistent, not only throughout Bereshit, but the entire Torah. God’s universal relationship – Din, everything working according to the laws of nature. In Bereshit, amidst the expressions of creation, God is going to speak to one creation – Man. Here ‘Hashem’ is used. God’s subjective involvement in the commandments and life of man. Mercy is not necessarily a natural expression, but a subjective connection, thus ‘Vayar Hashem ki Snuah Leah’ – God sees Leah is the detested one, so he opens her otherwise closed womb. She was also not conceiving immediately, unexplained infertility. The womb will not start functioning until God gets involved. Rachel is barren in the meantime, she has a womb, and yet her uterus is not going to be able to be opened to bear a child. Leah has a child and she names it Reuven – look, it’s a boy, literally. Shmuel – God heard, but then Hana played off of it, I borrowed it from God. Here too, another commentary is added – we know why Leah was able to conceive is Hashem’s involvement, Leah recognizes it – God witnessed my oppression, and now through this child my spouse will love me. How does she see this child? It is an answer from Hashem, this is not just a natural form, God is involved in my life, he is trying to facilitate and evoke my husband’s love for me. In the next Pasuk, another child, Leah recognizes God’s personal involvement in her life. With the third one – she says, now my husband of course is going to be with me, I have three, he will have to carry one. But then, the fourth one – this time I will thank God. I don’t need any more securing of my husband’s love, thus she responds merely with thanks, recognizing God’s involvement. But all the patriarchs and matriarchs do this – what is the difference here. She thanks, sees God’s involvement, despite the despair. We talked about how each child is dedicated to God, but from Leah we also see that we should thank God with each child – Yehudah. We see, anadiplosis, if one is consisten with the terminology – what should be so clear to Rachel. What should be her natural observation of everything she sees going on? Leah sees God’s involvement in her life, and what should the text tell us now – Rachel sees that –shouldn’t she see Hashem’s involvement in Leah’s life, shouldn’t she say – Hashem? No, she doesn’t see His involvement, she doesn’t see that relationship, but rather – she is focused on her, not even on God’s relationship with her, but on her inability to bear children. It’s not envy of the relationship with God, but her sister’s children. What is the natural consequence of such a feeling – she doesn’t see Hashem’s involvement. She turns to Jacob – give me children, for if not, it’s as if I’m dead. HaRamban is not going to be reserved in offering critique of the patriarchs and matriarchs, and though he revers Rashi, etc., who says that she wanted Jacob to davon for her. Ha-Rambam says – no, manipulate nature, give me children, in any way. Even if she is asking for prayers, in her subconscious, he says – no, she also means, do whatever it means, fasting, davening for days, dancing on your head – do whatever it is you have to do, or otherwise there is no meaning to my life. She talked in despair, and not ‘in fairness.’ The Rambam says – she spoke incorrectly, because she was in a state of jealousy. She really thought he would do anything in his power, she thinks children comes from nature, so she implores him to take whatever natural means he needs. Jacob responds harshly – but he of course was davenoning. He said – it is in God’s hand, not his. Rachel – if god willed? Jacob says – can I be in God’s stead? Maybe children are not just about nature, maybe you are looking just at Elokim. He says – trying to teach Rachel, you are seeing only one expression of God, he is involved in every single nature, don’t turn to biology, or just doctors, what else shouls you do? Turn to Hashem. Maybe that’s part of Rachel’s personality. Jacob fell in love with Rachel, and he cries – sees, recognizes that even though he loves Rachel, it would not be happily ever after. He knows already that Rachel will not be buried with him, Rachel doesn’t see this. She is described as beautiful, perhaps she’s that girl, everything goes easy for her in life, ‘she deserves it,’ perhaps that’s her psyche. Magia li –I deserve to be the first one to get married, to marry the Tzadik. What she believes is rightly hers, doesn’t seem to happen, Leah conceives and Rachel is still barren. What does Rachel do? She turns and says – like Sarai did with Hagar, come to my maidservant, I will raise the child in a surrogate manner. Sarai says – maybe I will be a surrogate, here it is certain. Rachel names Bilha’s child, she only sees Elokim, the rule of nature. Dana-bi-Elokin, Dan. The second child, Naftulei Elokim, if I could do what my sister did. I contested with God and with my sister, and now I’ve surmounted. Rachel sees children as a contest. How many children do you have – ah, I have five, I have six. I remember once mentioning this once, do you see children as a contest? And especially if she has Neftulim. Leah has been walking around King George with two double strollers, now she also has kids, not just a kid. Isn't this a little harsh? This is not me but Ramban. Also – wait to the end of the Shiur. We are not surprised if Zilpa, Leah’s handmaid, has two children – ba Gad, and Ashuruni haShem – Gad, Ashur. Then – Reuven goes out at the time of the wheat harvest, we would think he would be a daddy’s boy, helping his father harvesting, but Reuven sees himself as responsible, as his mother had said –to assure his father will always love his mother, he goes to collect flowres for his mother. Hava li Banim, Rachel will turn to Leah – and uses the same verb, give me, not just flowers, give me from the flowers of your son, I want a little piece of your son. Can I take something he brought home from Gan, a little piece of what it means to have a child bring something to his mother. Not just sorrow, but demands –this underscores all the more –Rachel is looking towards nature for children. There is nothing wrong in that, but what did the flower have – a fragrance known to facilitate fertility, or an aphrodisiac, or perhaps he took the root, a tuber, that had roots coming out from the sides, and the bottom, this represented some fortuitous potent for fertility. A kind of Mandrake, you can still find by the valleys of Ela, Rahcel wanted them because she believed they would facilitate her fertility. But don’t think it’s form these flowers. It was the root. The Ramban tries telling us it was a charm, doesn’t really work. But Rachel is sure that it was. Reuven saw his mother wasn’t conceiving, so he wanted to give her the flowers, and Leah knows giving to Rachel might be Sgula, a charm. Leah now turns against Rachel – she is trying to teach Rachel a message, she turns to her – is it not enough that you’re demanding what my son gave me, as if I am lowlier than you? Why do you feel that you deserve everything, that life should be so simple, that there is a cycle of nature. It’s not so simple. Why are you taking something I have, you are the beloved wife, and I know you’re badly wanting to be the mother, but it’s not the way to attain that. Rachel says – I believe so much in this potent dudaim, I believe in this charm, in the powers of nature, that I am willing to sacrifice an evening with Jacob, I am willing to forego God being involve, and to place my trust in the nature of these Dudaim. And you remember the structure, not only textually – four children could have been born to each of the mothers, and two to the maidservants. It’s not because of the maidservants, it’s because Rachel was too myopic, could only see Elokim involved in her life. When she was willing to forfeit the possibility of God’s involvement, she belittled her time with the Tzadik, Jacob, that’s why she is punished – she is not punished with him. But in another sense, it was like a transaction – one of them, Leah, lost the Dudaim, but she received two more children, and Bchora, the kingship, through Yehuda, but Rachel, got the flowers, but not the chiastic structure. She lost everything, Shvatim, and being buried next to Jacob. This is so harsh. But that’s how Hazal see. The distorted direction of belief of Rachel. So we get a sense why Hazal say not to read this story at the beginning of Rosh Hashana. Then Leah has three more children. Finally, Elokim, the aspect of God Rachel remembers her –the God of nature, not the personal involvement of God, but Elokim, the God of nature, the expression of Din. Rahel says – the God of nature finally contains my embarrassment. Asaf – nice name, but she calls him Yosef, meaning – Yosif Hashem li Ben Acher, Rachel finally turns no to the God of nature, objectivity, judgement, but mercy. She turns to the God who is really involved in her life. What happened to make her see beyond Elokim? It was a boy – Asaf Elokim in Herpati. Then the midwife put the baby in her arms. There are so many different thoughts and feelings at that moment – we can’t believe this baby was inside of us just a moment ago. But then we count the fingers, the toes, even though we’ve see it, it’s miraculous. When she sees it, holding it in her hands, she sees – no matter how much the doctors can explain the development of a fetus in a womb, this is not merely the God of nature, children are the greatest expression of Hashem’s involvement in our lives. Children show us what it means to see God’s involvement in our life, they point out the beauty of nature, but also – when we see the development of the child, there’s nothing less than miraculous about any of these stages. Rachel can finally proclaim, if I’m ever going to have another child, it would come from Hashem. How can I be so blind, seeing only Elokin, now I will see Hashem. At this particular moment Jacob remembers his responsibility of returning to Israel. 11 sons born abroad, he knew he should go home. Not when he had a son, but when Rachel had him – so it is written, when he heard Rachel saying Hashem, he suddenly realized he forgot about YKVK, all the genetic phenomena is natural, this is all from Hashem, Lavan is going to say. She is the one who reminds Jacob, not just the turning point ,this is the turning point, in Rachel’s recognition, but Jacob’s cognizance of his involvement in his life, the secret of his success in the ensuing components of the story. This is what we should remember, God remembered Rachel. It’s true Elokim remembered Rachel on Rosh Hashana, but the recognition is ephemeral. After six years of financial success. Rachel steals her father’s trinkets, and Jacob sees Rachel steals his hearts. Levan demands them, Jacob says –who took them is going to die. She placed them under the saddle of the camel while she’s menstruating. Rashi quotes Hazal, she recognizes Hashem, she wants to remove her father from worshipping idols. But if that truly was her intention, what should she have done with them? Destroy them. But they were little images of people, hollow trinkets, you can see Trafim found in Ashkelon, little images with a swollen belly, it was believed that the spirits of God come in, they, like the Dudaim, can provide you with children, an omen for fertility. Isn’t it strange she didn’t bury them along the way. She grew up in the culture of her father, who believed in these charms. She believed in them, she puts them under her belly while she’s menstruating, but didn’t we already redeem Rachel –she understands God’s involvement, but what’s more – maybe it’s the Trafim, we can’t blame her, it’s the education she received from her father. She really was afraid that no one tells Levan that Jacob wants to escape. The Trafim were popular types of charms, used by sorcerers, Shaul also seeks after Baalat Ov, Trafim and On. Does Rachel learn her lesson, does she understand that children are not just an expression of nature. She has another child, which takes her life. Ben-Oni, she knows why she’s dying, the child of my pain, mourning. Jacob –no, don’t give him that negative name, he is Binyamin, the son of the south, we are going south. But On always goes hand in hand with Trafim. I am dying because I put too much of my faith in On and Trafim. Even before, I thought it comes from Hashem, can’t help thinking this is the way things are, and now I’m dying because of my sin. Jacob says – Ben-Yamin, you are not dying because of your dependence on On, but because I swore that whoever owns these trafim shall die. Each blames himself. Rachel recognizes a little too late she placed her trust in the wrong source, and this is the legacy of Ben-Yamin. But her legacy is not lost forever. When the brothers are going to approach Yosef in full trepidation, Jacob fears he will exact vengeance, he is now powerful, etc., we are the ones who exacted this plan on you. Yosef says – really, I’ve learned, you think it was natural that you would sell me as a slave, and finally become the viceroy of Egypt at a time of famine, are you going to call this natural. I learned from Jacob, look at everything as an expression of Hashem’s involvement. He marry’s the daughter of Potifer, a sorcerer of On, and he has two sons. So, the selection of what we are going to read. Even though the term of remembering Rachel appears in relation to her ending of her barren state. That’s a story that’s going to remind you of Rachel only looking towards Elokim. That’s not what you should focus on, you should hear the perpetual cries of Rachel. Kol Berama Nishma, Rachel struggled for her son. Don’t read about the frustration of Rachel turning to Elokim, but how she cries over all of her children, how she turns to Hashem, not only regrets not having more children, but the descendants, not only hers, but of Yehuda, all her children. The exile of aristocrats from society. Jeremiah, says – it wasn’t just Rachel, it was also Abraham, etc., Yithak, Rivka, Jacob too – all of them, endured, Leah, I saw you at every stage of my life. All the patriarchs and matriarchs and prophets were pleading with God, but Jeremiah chooses one character, who has the power, he believes, to truly influence Hashem, who shows us how to turn to God, she would not be consoled for her children in exile. God says – there is a reward for your action, and they shall return from the lands of the enemy, to their borders. And the question is – what’s the reward for one’s action. Hazal tells us – based on Jeremiah, Rachel performed some phenomenal act of sacrifice, like the other patriarchs. He said – Jacob worked for me seven years, my father tricked him, the thing was difficult, I told my husband, we arranged for special signs to communicate, so he couldn’t switch us. But in the Psukim, though she was jealous, here she says she pitied her, taught her the signs, wanted to spare her terrible humiliation, if I allowed to bring my rival into my home, but had mercy on her, God can’t you have mercy on Israel, when they bring other forms of pagan worship into the Temple? This will elicit God’s mercy. God says –yes, for you. What you displayed to your sister, I will display now for your children. It is not only a reward for mercy, what’s the basic idea – there is a reward your action. What action? Well, we know only what is described here –what you are doing right now, we are not going to read about Bereshit, your cries and demands, instead – about your perpetual cries, the lesson that’s learnt from Rachel, and where does she cry? In Rama, in the same area where she left and died, Nehalat Efraim and Binyamin, the place she was buried, from Beit-Lehem to Efrata, the Mother at the Way, Em Haderech also means the cross-roads. She cries at the end of Judean civilization, when she sees God is punishing Am Israel. She says – if your relation with us is one of Din, of nature, I understand. If it’s crime and punishment, punish our sins, but God – I lost my life because I didn’t understand you are not just Elokim, but Hashem, therefore I am crying over children, they are the greatest expression of your involvement, I am turning to you at every crossroads. Do you know why I am buried along the way. Jacob says to Yosef, I know you are upset, I won’t be buried next to your mother, but your mother will assist those on the way. Despite Sarah’s and Rivka’s tribulations, Rachel is most like us, we are most like her, when he hear of political systems, can the upheavals, God’s willing we will have a Government, because God is involved. Economics is governed by nature. Too many times we straddle on the road. We take some steps forward, some back, when we take trafim with us. God adds us another son, we see Gi’s involvemet in our lives, we forget they are the greatest expression, we are on the road, we are still working on this, how could it be that you’re not going to be involved in your children’s lives, I gave up my life for this. Where are you in your children’s life. Jeremiah knows that it’s only the personality that straddles, that is able to cry generation after generation, that is able to see God. Hashem says – it’s your Bechi Tamrurim, the traffic lights, we are going to be at different stages of our lives, when we can explain life through nature –but in those cross-roads don’t forget God’s involvement. He says – you recognized my message, I will get involved, Din says I should get rid of these people, but I will express myself as a God of mercy, the more you recognize this you are also going to make it there, VeShavu Banim El Gvulam, the children come back into their land. We don’t remember Rachel’s ephemeral struggle, not Din but Rachamim. Mercy. Thus Hazal says – Umaftirim Haben Yakar Li Efraim. Hazal says – God remembers us even if we err. God is not the God of power, who deals with us through nature, but is involved in every aspect of our lives. It’s going to be the son of Strength, Binyamin. Rachel is on the road, not there yet. Had she been buried in a cave, we’re part of a process, that will finally sensitize us to see God more involved in our lives. Rachel is the one to ask for Rachamim. Had Rachel not been there – on the path, we would have been dispersed everywhere, then we would not have the power of the mother that collects us. We will one day make it home, Beezrat Hashem. Hazal associate the blowing of the Shofar with the association of Avraham, Hazal also teach us about HaShofar – blow it with ‘cries,’ as tears – and whose tears should we remember. IT is trumpeting, celebration, kingdom, but also the cries of the mother of Sisra, who awaits her son to come back from war. Every mother waits. Thus remember how Rachel remembers how she is remember. Read her struggle, recognition, read about her everlasting, eternal message to her descendants, her cries, sincere cries of the mother. Thus a hundred and one cries, to cancel Sisra’s mother’s cries, but she has one true cry. We should remember Yitzhal’s Akida, as if you are willing to sacrifice your ego, your myopic view of God’s involvement in your life. If our horns are caught in the thicket of events, we will be in various stages of distress. If God is going to save us. It’s not just that I want to remember events of the past, your children are going to sin, and I will judge them –I want them, not you, to ask me, I will recognize them. I want Rachels out there, who recognize what they did wrong, then I’ll remember your sacrifices. First, on the Way, show me you’re struggling, turning to me, then I’ll answer your cries. These are the tears of a mother. You’re gonna start off Rosh Hashana with Rachel’s insistence on God’s involvement. But remember you’re still on the way. You’ll forget once in a while, but if you remember you’re still in the process. If you recognize you’re still on the way. Tears are the gereatest expression of the involvement of God, the punishment of the damned is the inability to cry. Why does the Gemorah says, that the cries of other matriarchs are not answered – the gates of tears are never closed. Why do you need gates? Gates deny entry, only truly authentic cries are accepted. Rosh Hashana is about recognizing we are not there yet, we must associate ourselves with the cries of Rachel, our dialectic with her, to see our lives through the cognizance of divine involvement. We must recognize we are all along the cross-roads. Are we going to be able to cry with Rachel? There is hope, you are part of the process, you appreciate this is what is supposed to redirect your efforts, you will see there really is hope. Let’s see God involved in every part of our lives, our political system. Thank you very much. There is a request to Daven Arvit, if everyone can Daven with us down the hall. Thank you.

מתוך האירוע:
with Rabbanit Shani Taragin
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