Vaeira-Beware Print

The-Foundation-Stone-Parsha-Bible-Study-Vaeira“And God said to Moses, 'See, I have set you in the Lord's stead to Pharaoh' (Exodus 7:1).” We must understand what the words “see” and, “the Lord's stead” mean. The righteous person wants to elevate a base man and separate him from his folly and lowliness. But he cannot break down this foolishness except with something that is somewhat similar to it. This means that the righteous person must descend a bit from his spiritual level and place himself in a situation somewhat similar to that of the base man.


Now, Pharaoh asserted that he was a god, as Rashi explains in his comment on the verse, “Behold, he goes out to the water (Exodus 7:15).” Therefore, God said to Moses, “See, I have set you in the Lord's stead to Pharaoh.” You must perform before him signs and miracles, acts of a divine nature. Through this performance you will break down his foolishness that makes him regard himself as a god, because he will think that you are a god.

“Therefore, see,” pay careful attention to this so that you will not become arrogant. This in essence is the meaning of the maximum, “An intentional transgression is better than a commandment done not for its own sake (Nazir 23b).” The righteous person must dissent from his level to break down the base man's folly, thus purposely transgressing. For example, if someone is a habitual liar, the righteous man must neutralize him with something similar. Certainly this does not mean that the righteous man should lie. Rather, we find that our Sages permitted a scholar to conceal his knowledge. Similarly, the righteous man denies that he is a righteous man, although this is a lie because he really is. He purposely transgresses in order to break the liar's strength.

According to the Midrash, “Truth said, 'Let man not be created because he is compounded of falsehood'; righteousness said, 'Let him be created' (Bereishit Rabbah 8:5).” This is the meaning of, “I have preached righteousness in the great congregation (Psalms 40:10).” Where there is a great congregation, it is impossible that there should not be a single liar amongst them. The righteous man raises him, the liar, from his foolishness and falsehood by descending into a state similar to his, as was described above. Thus, the righteous man becomes a “preacher of righteousness,” which, propitiously said, “Let him be created.” (Noam Elimelech, Vaeira)

Prayer-Shemah-Parsha--Kavanah-iPray-iLove-Vaeira"Remove spiritual impediment from before us and behind us and in the shadow of Your wings shelter us.” (Blessings of Shema of the evening) we refer to two types of spiritual impediments that which is, “before us,” and, that which is, “behind us.” The spiritual impediment that is “before us,” is that which leads us into sin. The impediment that is “behind us” is that which is motivating us to move forward, as described regarding the righteous man above; he is motivated to “sin” so as to descend to the level of the foolish man and help elevate him. Although his intentions are righteous, he still needs Divine protection from the danger  of dabbling in sin.

People often justify speaking negatively of others by saying that it is permissible, or actually required by Halacha. They are treading on a dangerous line.

There are times when a teacher must speak harshly to a student to motivate that student to grow and develop independently. Although the teacher's intentions are righteous, the teacher still needs Divine protection from treading on this dangerous line that separates between good and evil.

There are times when a parent must feign anger in order to teach a child. Even then, the parent is treading on dangerous territory, namely, that of anger. The parent needs Divine protection.