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Friday, January 6

The Weekly Shtikle - Vayechi

The following is a story told to me by a friend that directly pertains to this week's parsha. He heard it in a schmooze from R' Aharon Kahn in YU. R' Kahn tells that one day his rebbe approached him, grabbed by the lapels and exclaimed, "It's refraction!" (For an explanation of refraction, see below.*)

"What is? What is?" he answered.

"Refraction," he repeated.

"What? What's refraction?"

The following was his explanation: Rashi explains (48:16) that the word "veyidgu" comes from the same root as the word "dag," meaning fish. The blessing given to Efrayim and Menasheh is that they should multiply like the fish in the sea over which "ayin hara," the evil eye, has no power. Why does the evil eye have no power over fish? The gemara (Sotah 36b) explains that the ayin hara has no power over fish because they are covered by water. This rebbe explained that since fish are always in the water, when you look at them you are really not looking directly at the fish but rather, due to refraction, you are seeing some sort of distorted image of the fish and the image is somewhat shifted. Therefore, the evil eye has no power over them. Unbelievable!

*Refraction is the phenomenon that occurs when light passes through media of different densities.

If the light passes through at an angle, the angle is slightly altered as it passes from one medium to

the next, depending on their densities. This phenomenon is responsible for  a pencil looking bent when half of it is inserted into water and is also the concept behind eye glasses.

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

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