Divrei Torah

The Divrei Torah in this section have been translated by Rav Reuven Ungar, Director of Alumni Affairs

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Inherent Roots

By: Rav Aryeh Hendler

In regards to the plague of Arbeh (locusts) the Torah states (Shmot 10:6)  that they will fill up the homes of Egypt to a degree that the forefathers  of the Egyptians have never previously experienced. The Holy One, Blessed Be  He enabled previous generations of Egyptians to view this plague (asher lo  rau avoteycha va'avot avoteycha miyom heyotam al ha'adama ad hayom hazeh-  this implies that on this day they will view the locusts). Why is it  significant for the Egyptian forefathers to view the punishments of their  descendants?

The Zohar reveals that when the Jewish People rejoice, the Holy One Blessed  Be He, enables the parents (who have passed away) to participate in the joy  of their children.  If G-d forbid, there is suffering amongst the children,  the parents are not informed. It appears that the opposite applies to the  wicked. When they rejoice, the ancestors are not invited to participate.  However, the ancestors are privy to the retributions meted out to their  descendants.

The logic that generates this distinction is as follows. The Talmud  Yerusahlmi (Masechet Peah, 5a) states that in regards to the Jewish People,  the Holy One, Blessed Be He, unites good thoughts with actions (if one  intended to perform a mitzvah but did not manage to actually perform it, it  is considered as if the mitzvah was fulfilled; alternatively, if that  individual intended to perform a transgression but din not actually commit  the transgression, it is considered that it did not occur). The converse  applies to the wicked.

For the Jewish People is identified with the proliferation of positive  actions. Positive thoughts stem from the essential character of the Jew.  Thus the absence of the action related to that thought (actual performance  of the mitzvah) is not of an inherent nature-it is considered as if the  mitzvah has been accomplished. Negative thoughts are an aberration from the  innate Jewish character; non-performance of the transgression   accurately  portrays the spiritual state of the Jewish individual.

Evil intentions accurately represent the true state of the wicked. The  absence of fulfilling wicked plans is of an external nature. Positive  thoughts are an exception to the normal state of the wicked; without  actually performing a good deed it is not considered as if it has  transpired.

In essence, all the good or negative actions of children are rooted in their  fathers. The potential was present in the ancestors; the descendants merely  brought to fruition what was constantly present. Potential (bekoach) dwells  in the realm of thought. Fruition (befoal) is expressed in the world of  action.

The positive actions of the Jewish People are consequences of the thoughts  of the forefathers. Thus the Jewish forefathers rejoice with their children-  the latter's positive actions stem from the characters of the former. The  converse applies to the wicked.


Categorized under: 1: Parshat Shavua > Bo
Uploaded: 1/30/2006 12:20:25 PM