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Shabbat Parashat Chayei Sara 5778

Parashat Hashavua: Belief Solely in the Merciful G-d

Harav Yosef Carmel

We have explained in the past that Hashem forged a covenant with Avraham, both under the “auspices” of His Attribute of Judgment (din) and his Attribute of Mercy (rachamim).

Let us try to understand the covenant connected to mercy. In that regard, Hashem’s Name of Mercy is used in commanding Avraham to “walk before Me and be tamim,” which will result in a covenant and Avraham flourishing greatly (Bereishit 17:1-2). What does it mean to walk before Hashem and be tamim? Rashi (ad loc.) first explains that it means to be complete in fulfilling all of the tests Hashem gave him. According to this, the covenant is contingent on fulfillment of all the ten tests Avraham underwent (see Avot 5:3).

Rashi also cites a midrash that the critical test in this regard was the circumcision (mila). This made him tamim (complete, unblemished), as with the foreskin, he was considered blemished. This is notable in our context, as in the explicit discussion of mila, Hashem’s Name of Judgment (elokim) was mentioned. Ibn Ezra says that the matter of tamim refers to the expectation that Avraham not ask why the mila was necessary.

The Ramban, in contrast, says that being tamim is a reference to a different mitzva, found explicitly much later in the Torah. Right after the commandment not to be involved in a variety of activities which we might categorize as witchcraft or divination (Devarim 18:10), the Torah says “You shall be tamim with Hashem, your G-d” (ibid. 13). The Ramban explains that the idea is that one’s belief in Hashem should be complete, as one should realize that He alone determines what will be and can change things that were planned to happen. Under such circumstances, the predictions of the various soothsayers are irrelevant. Rather, Hashem controls everything, and nothing happens based on constellations or the like.

We will continue along the path set before us by the Ramban. According to this approach, the Torah in Devarim took that which specifically Avraham was told and turned it into an obligation for every Jew. Many nations used such “magical” practices, which were often connected to impurity and death, to “uncover” the hidden future. Our rejection of such practices is not just because they are, as a rule, ineffective hoaxes, or due to their connection to matters of impurity. Rather, it is mainly because they contradict our belief and trust in the Creator, who runs the world and wants us to not pursue various “forces” some feel can tell us about the future. It is for this reason that the Name of Hashem in this context is the main Name, which shows Hashem’s side of mercy and unlimited ability to act on our behalf.

When one believes without qualms, he receives providence that is beyond the rules of nature, predestination, or constellational connection. Anything can change for the good based on our belief. This belief makes a Jew complete (which is one of the meanings of tamim).

May we merit to follow Avraham Avinu and observe the commandments of the Torah handed down by Moshe.

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Dedication

We daven for a complete and speedy refuah for:

David Chaim ben Rassa

Lillian bat Fortune

Yafa bat Rachel Yente

Eliezer Yosef ben Chana Liba

Yehoshafat Yecheskel ben Milka

Ro'i Moshe Elchanan ben Gina Devra

Together with all cholei Yisrael

 

Hemdat Yamim

is dedicated

to the memory of:

those who fell

in wars

for our homeland

Eretz Hemdah's beloved friends

and Members of

Eretz Hemdah's Amutah

Rav Shlomo Merzel z”l
whose yahrtzeit

is the 10th of Iyar

Rav Reuven Aberman

z"l

who passed away

on 9 Tishrei, 5776


Mr. Shmuel Shemesh 
who passed away on

Sivan 17, 5774

R' Eliyahu Carmel,

Rav Carmel's father,

who passed away on the

8th of Iyar 5776


Mrs. Sara Wengrowsky

bat R’ Moshe Zev a”h.

who passed away on

10    Tamuz   5774


Rav Asher Wasserteil z"l

who passed away on

Kislev 9, 5769

R' Meir ben

Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld

o.b.m

R ' Yaakov ben Abraham & Aisha

and

Chana bat Yaish & Simcha

Sebbag, z"l

 

Rav Yisrael Rozen z"l
who passed away on
Cheshvan 13, 5778

George Weinstein z"l

Gershon ben Yehudah Mayer,

a lover of the Jewish Nation Torah and Land.


Tamar Lichtenstadt z”l.

May her memory be a blessing.

Jack Levin z"l

Chaim Yaakov ben Shlomo Yitzchak HaLevi
by his family

 

Rav Benzion Grossman

z"l
who passed away
23rd of Tamuz 5777


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Yamim
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endowed by Les & Ethel Sutker
of
Chicago, Illinois
in loving memory of
Max and Mary Sutker
and
Louis
and Lillian Klein, z”l

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