Friday, January 23, 2009

Reward and punishment; importance of slavery; Names of G-d

Some links for parshas Vaeira.

Why was slavery necessary for Jews (why not give Torah right away)? What was the uniqueness of Moishe Rabbeinu? What’s the whole deal with the dichotomy of G-d’s Names (Havaya vs. Elokim) and two modes of G-d’s speech?
From Golus to Geula

The parsha deals with the plagues — as soon as the plagues started the slavery ended. This is the beginning of the geula from Mitzrayim (Egypt). This class continues our series of analysis of the first pasuk (line) of the parsha. Hashem is in the middle of talking to Moshe and then he starts talking to him again. What is the purpose of this redundancy? Why is Hashem called by two different names in this pasuk? The analysis starts off with Yonason ben Uziel, moves on to Rashi, Even Ezra, Rabbenu Bechaye, Rikanti (with commentary from the Levush), Arizal, Shaloh, and Chassidus from the Lubavitcher Rebbe (including two ma’amarim — 5731 and 5732: Vol.1 of the Rebbe’s edited ma’amarim and a sicha — 5725).

Was Ramban a philosopher or a mystic? Is reward provided by Hashem for our mitzva natural or miraculous? And what does “natural” or “miraculous” mean anyway? For this and more, see Rabbi Paltiel’s shiur on parshas Vaeira:
Reward and Punishment

Are the rewards and punishments (schar v’onesh) in our lives brought about strictly by our actions or the Hand of G-d? The analysis includes the positions of the Rambam and the Ramban on reward and punishment. The Ramban says that each event of reward and punishment is a neis (miracle). The critique of their positions from the Avodas HaKodesh (Reb Meir Ben Gabbai) as presented in the Shaloh and the rejoinder of the Shaloh in support of the Rambam. Finally, Chassidus from a sicha of the Lubavitcher Rebbe takes the whole discussion to a new level.

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