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Friday, November 18

The Weekly Shtikle - Chayei Sarah

Today, the 21st of Chesvan, is the  Yahrtzeit of my great uncle, Rabbi Lord Immanuel Jakobovits, z"l. The shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmaso, Yisroel be Yoel.
    When Avraham requests an audience with Efron HaChiti, the pasuk (23:10) recounts "And Efron was sitting in the midst of B'nei Cheis. Rashi here comments that the word "yosheiv," meaning sitting in the present tense, is written without a vav. Without vowels, it may be read "yashav," in past tense. This, suggests Rashi, implies that he only now sat amongst them. The term sitting amongst them implies a position of stature. Here, Efron had just been appointed judge.
    This explanation of Rashi should sound rather familiar. Just one week ago we had almost the comment fro Rashi with regards to Lot. When the angels arrived (19:1) Lot was sitting at the gates of Sedom. Rashi interprets sitting at the gates to refer to a position of judgement and again the missing "vuv" insinuates that this promotion had just taken place. Certainly, this abnormal spelling must be addressed in both instances. But why is this a necessary fact for the Torah to convey us on these two occasions?
    The position of judge is certainly one that involves a great deal of responsibility. Certainly in a culture such as that of Sedom, the task of a judge was quite daunting. Even though both Lot and Efron seemed to have been appointed, it still takes a great deal of courage and feeling of responsibility to accept the appointment. It also pertains directly to one of the seven mitzvos that even gentiles are required to keep.
    Perhaps, the Torah is conveying to us in both these instances the great reward that is allotted to those who bravely take upon themselves this responsibility for the greater good. It was this noble act that gave Lot the merit to be saved from the destruction of Sedom. Indeed, it was in Avraham's merit as well that he was saved. But had Lot truly been as wicked as the rest of the city, perhaps Avraham's merit would not have been enough. And it was Efron's accepting of his position as judge for which he merited to be a part of this historic acquisition.
    Moreover, when one seizes the reins of responsibility, they are realizing that they cannot simply wait for this void to be filled by someone else. Often times the position of responsibility is one that could, in theory, easily be filled by another candidate. But the man of responsibility seizes the moment and does not delegate or shirk these duties. For this reason, it is not enough that they simply be rewarded. Rather, it is on the very day, as Rashi notes, that they accepted these positions that they are instantly rewarded.
Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:
Dikdukian: Different Forms of Yirash
AstorTorah: Sarah's 127 Years by R' Ari Storch
AstorTorah: Avraham's Non-Yisrael Stellar Descendants by R' Ari Storch

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