Saturday, January 26, 2013

Yitro 5773

The Torah Portion of "Yitro" 

"And Yitro rejoiced..." (Shemot 18:9) 

The explanation is that he was happy, and according to the Midrash the explanation is that his flesh became prickly and he developed gooseflesh, because he was aggrieved over the destruction of Egypt. (from Rashi)  [Translator's Note: The basis of Rashi's explanation is that the word in Hebrew  "Vayichad" can be simply translated as "rejoiced", but it also has the same root letters as the Hebrew word for "prickly".] The Mashgiach HaRav HaTzaddik R' Yechezkel Levenshtein said to the students at the Mir Yeshiva in Shanghai during the frightful days of the Holocaust, that we see from this verse that it is natural that when someone hears of the sufferings of his people, even if he is disconnected from them for ten generations, he will nevetheless have his flesh become prickly.  And if we currently hear about the sufferings of our fellow Jews and we don't feel anything and our flesh does not become prickly, this must only be because our sins and transgressions have caused our hearts have become stupid and our nature has changed (for the worse).  Another explanation is that Yitro thought he was coming to the desert to live a life of sorrow and suffering in order to bring himself to the acceptance of the Torah.  Now that he came to the desert and saw that they had everything good, he was aggrieved because the Torah was not being received in suffering, because the Sages say that we are given reward for one Mitzvah done in suffering more than for a hundred Mitzvot that are done easily. 

"They journeyed from Rephidim and arrived at the desert of Sinai and they encamped in the desert (or wilderness); and Israel encamped there, opposite the mountain" (Shemot 19:2)  

There are 3 preparations for receiving the Torah: 1) "They journeyed from Rephidim...',  means that they left the trait of having weakness of hands, which is laziness. [Translator's Note: The basis for this interpretation is that although the word Rephidim is a place name, it is also similar to the Hebrew word "Refayon", which means weakness.] 2) "...and they encamped in the desert (or wilderness)", each one needs to regard himself as if he is a desert (or wilderness) in order to abandon his physical lusts and to humble himself. 3) "...and Israel encamped there, opposite the mountain", means that all of Israel were together in unity. [Translator's Note:  The basis for this is that the singular verb is used for encamped, and as Rashi interprets it: "as one man, with one heart".] 
(from the Ohr HaChaim)

"...and Israel encamped there, opposite the mountain" (Shemot 19:2) 

The word for encamped  in Hebrew ["vayichan"] is similar to the word for "grace" or "favor" in Hebrew ["chein"].  And "opposite the mountain" is a hint about opposing the Evil Inclination.  The Sages say that the Evil Inclination is similar to a mountain, and if everyone will find favor (or grace) in the eyes of his fellow, that is the greatest weapon we can have against the mountain which is the Evil Inclination.  

"All of Israel are guarantors [in Hebrew "aravin"] one for another".  (Masechet Shavuot 39a)

There is an explanation that each one needs to be sweet to the other one, because although the Hebrew word "aravin" means guarantors (of loans) it is also is similar to a word in Hebrew which means sweetness. 

"You shall not covet your fellow man's house...nor anything that belongs to your fellow man" (Shemot 20:14) 

It can be asked, why was it stated "your fellow man's house", isn't that included in "anything that belongs to your fellow man?"  And the answer that is given (tongue in cheek) is that if a person covets what another has because he has a nice house or other nice things,  he is told to take into account that it's a package deal and if you get everything that belongs to your fellow man that also includes all the sorrows, obligations, and other difficulties.

The Torah Portion  of Yitro has 72 verses. The Torah Portion of Yitro has within it 3 positive commandments, 14 negative commandments.The Haftorah is "B'sh'nat Mot Hamelech Uziahu" (Yeshayahu 6)

May you all have a  light-filled and happy Shabbat.  
Shabbat Shalom.

L'ilui Neshamat HaGaon HaTzaddik R' Gershon Avigdor Ben R' Chaim ztz"l, Nilkach L'Bait Olamo Yud Gimmel Tishrei 5772

Monday, January 21, 2013

Beshalach, Shabbat Shira & Tu BiShvat 5773

The Torah Portion of "Beshalach" 

"...And Hashem did not lead them by the way of the land..." (Shemot 13:17).  

Hashem did not lead Israel according to the natural way of the world, in which the drinking water arrives from above and the food arrives from below, but in the desert it was reversed; food came from above (the manna) and drinking water came from below (Miriam's well).

"...And the children of Israel were armed..." (Shemot 13:18).  

[Translator's Note: The word "armed" in Hebrew has the same root letters as the word "five".] Rashi explains that one out of five came out and the rest died in the plague of darkness, and the Targum Yonatan explains that each one had five children.  The B'air Yosef asks, how is it possible that each one had exactly five children? He explains that since four out of five died in the plague of darkness and those that remained accepted upon themselves the responsibility to care for the orphans of the 4/5 that died, therefore each one had five families.  In the merit of this kindness there were miracles done for them, and the Tirgum Yerushalmi adds that it was in the merit of good deeds.  Also there is a verse that says "and I remembered for you the kindness of your youth".

"...And Moshe took the bones of Yosef with him..." (Shemot 13:19)  

The Sages say regarding Moshe "...And a wise heart will take Mitzvot...", for everyone was busy with silver and gold while Moshe was busy with the bones of Yosef.  The Sages say: "After a man's death silver and gold do not accompany him, only Torah and good deeds".  That is what is meant by saying that he "took the bones of Yosef with him'", because to the upper realms [in the Next World] we take only Mitzvot. (from Kli Yakar)

"...Before Baal Tzefon..." (Shemot 14:2) 

The Daat Zekainim asks how is it that Hashem said to return and gave them a road-mark to do so before Baal Tzefon?  Isn't it forbidden to use a location of idol worship as a road-mark, as it says "...And you shall not mention the names of other gods"?  His answer is, that this was because it was before the giving of the Torah.

"...And Pharoah said to the children of Israel..." (Shemot 14:3)  

Rashi explains that this means "...And Pharoah said about the children of Israel".  Another explanation is given by  the Tirgum Yonatan, who says that Pharoah spoke to Datan and Aviram who remained in Egypt.  It is asked, if they were wicked [and therefore wanted to stay in Egypt], shouldn't they have died in the plague of darkness?  The answer is, they in truth did want to leave  Egypt, and therefore didn't die in the plague of darkness.  But they thought that since it was only for three days, it wasn't worthwhile to go out and afterwards to return.  The secret that the Jews were going out and not returning was not told to them since they were  Malshinim (Slanderers) who would have told Pharoah.

"...And Egypt will know that I am Hashem..." (Shemot 14:4)  

The Gaon HaRav A.M. Shach ztzvk"l explains, for how much time did Egypt know Hashem?  For just a moment before death, for until the very last moment they wanted to make war against Israel.  From this we see how significant is the one moment that "they knew Hashem", for all the miracles and wonders were worthwhile just so that the Egyptians would know Hashem for one moment.  All the moreso, the miracles and wonders were worthwhile for the sake of the children of Israel, who were meant to serve Hashem for all time [and not just for one moment].

"And Pharoah drew close..." (Shemot 14:10)  

[Translator's Note: The word for "drew close" in Hebrew is "hikriv", which can also be translated as "to bring a sacrifice".] There are three explanations: 1) Pharoah went first to the war, 2) Pharoah offered a sacrifice to Ba'al Tzefon,  and 3) Pharoah brought the Jews close to our Father in Heaven, since because of him Israel repented (did Teshuvah).

"Hashem will fight for you and you shall remain silent." (Shemot 14:14)  

When they were leaving Egypt, why did the Jews need merits such as the blood of the Passover offering and the blood of circumcision, and here [at the splitting of the sea] it was said to them "you shall remain silent"? The explanation is that Hashem knew beforehand that here they would risk their lives in complete devotion to Hashem (Mesirut Nefesh), for example in the case of Nachshon [who entered the sea before it split], and where there is complete devotion to Hashem that is the greatest of all merits. (from Avnei Nezer)  Similarly, it is asked, why didn't they build the Temple on Har Sinai where the Torah was given? The answer is that Har Hamoriah was a place where a Jew (Yitzchak) exposed his neck to be slaughtered for  Hashem's honor, and therefore it was suitable to build the Temple there, since there is no other place which has a greater honor than that.

Before Kriat Yam Suf (the splitting of the Reed Sea)

Before the splitting of the sea at Yam Suf the children of Israel were divided into four groups. One group said we should shout against the Egyptians; the second said we should make war against them; the third said we should return to Egypt; and the fourth said we should fall into the sea, for it is preferable to die in the sea rather than dying by the sword.  Moshe answered to each of the four groups in an appropriate way.  To the group that said we should fall into the sea, he said " not be afraid, stand still and see the salvation of Hashem..." (Shemot 14:13).  To the group that said we should return to Egypt he said "...for whereas you have seen the Egyptians today, you shall not see them ever again" (Shemot 14:13).  To the group which said to fight with the Egyptians, he said "Hashem will fight for you..." (Shemot 14:14).  To the group which said we should shout against them, he said "...and you shall remain silent" (Shemot 14:14).  (from Yonatan been Uziel)

"Hashem will fight for you and you shall remain silent." (Shemot 14:14) 

If Israel will guard themselves not to speak in the Bait Haknesset and remain silent, then the Holy One Blessed Be He will fight for them. (from the Zohar Hakodesh)

"...and the waters were split." (Shemot 14:21)  

Rashi says all the waters in the world were split, and on a simple level this was in order to publicize the miracles throughout all the world.  There are those that explain that this was in order to cause the Egyptians to err.  Pharoah was a great king and had many wise counselors, so how could it be that they saw the waters splitting for Israel and were not afraid to enter?  If they were seeing an open miracle for Israel how could they think that they could be saved?  The answer is, that they saw that all the waters in the world were being split, and they said that this was not connected to Israel but was just a natural event.   This is what the Targum means when it translates "the waters were piled up"  (Shemot 15:8) as "the waters were intelligent"; the waters did something intelligent and cunning in order to cause Pharoah to err.  But it can be asked, how did the waters do something that they weren't commanded to do?  And also, why did the Egyptians deserve a punishment?  Weren't they fulfilling the command of Hashem who said to Avraham "and they will enslave them and they will oppress them"? (Braishit 15:13) However, it is because the Egyptians went beyond  the decree of enslavement.  Hashem didn't tell them to throw the boys into the Nile river, or to put the children into the walls.  If so, the waters said, just as the Egyptians went beyond Hashem's decree, we also will go beyond what Hashem decreed.  Also, with regards to the plague of darkness it says in the Psalms that "He sent darkness and it became dark", and the Sages explained, it became even more dark, "and they [the forces that increased the darkness] didn't rebel against His word".  Why wasn't it considered a rebellion?  Just as the Egyptians went beyond the  decree of slavery, so it was permissible for the darkness to increase itself. (from B'air Yosef)

"...And Israel saw the great hand..." (Shemot 14:31)  

What caused Nachshon to hurry and enter the water?  "The great hand" of the daughter of Pharoah that stretched out her hand and Hashem lengthened her arm.  Nachshon said, I will enter the sea and Hashem will help, and that is what is meant by "...And Israel saw the great hand...".


Rav Yisrael Ben Levi says that everyone that says songs of praise (Shira) in this world merits to say songs of praise in the Next World (from Sanhedrin 91).  Everyone who says the song of the sea with great happiness, has all his sins forgiven. (from Midrash Tehillim 18)

"This is my G-d, and I will glorify Him..." (Shemot 15:2)  

The Sages say, be glorious before him with Mitzvot - a beautiful Tallit, a beautiful Succah, etc.  And it is necessary to understand why the explanation about beautifying the Mitzvot  is connected to the Torah Portion of Shira (the Song of the Sea), for it should have been appropriate to reveal this concept in one of the Torah Portions which speaks of the fulfillment of the Mitzvot, such Tzitzit, Succah, etc.  The explanation is that besides enabling Israel  to pass through the Sea, Hashem added many more miracles in the Sea, as is explained in the Midrash: many kinds of fruits grew, and there were many kinds of plants, spices, sweet water, and windows within the walls of the sea, etc.  Since Hashem added miracles for us much more than what was necessary, we should certainly add to the Mitzvot much more than what is required by law by making each Mitzvah beautiful and glorious as much as possible. (from Oznaim L'Torah)  In addition, there are those that explain that if we look at Rashi in the Torah Portion Vayeitze (29:35), he wrote "This time I will thank because I have taken more than my portion, and from now on I need to thank".  [with regards to Leah when she bore more than 1/4 of Yaakov's children]  It is clarified that the concept of thankfulness comes into play especially in response to recognition that we are getting more than we deserve. Therefore at the Sea we come to the expression of thankfulness by means of beautifying the Mitzvot because of the recognition and acknowledgement that we have received more than we deserved from the Holy One Blessed Be He.  In response to that, we express our will to serve Hashem more than we are commanded to and required to.  And there are those that say that the reason  that Israel accepted upon themselves to beautify the Mitzvot, was that the fifth miracle which was done at the Sea (look at the Rav Ovadia Bartenura in Ethics of the Fathers Chapter 5 Mishne 4) was that the waters that "froze" on the floors of the Sea were not all in one piece but were like building blocks that were interlocked, and that certainly was in order to make it beautiful for Israel.


On Tu B'Shvat, there is a custom to eat different kinds of fruit from trees, and especially from the fruit of the Land of Israel, in order to fulfill the idea of making symbols for ourselves and to show that this day is the New Year for the Trees (in regards to the matter of Trumot and Maaserot, etc.).  And it is customary to pray also for a beautiful Etrog.

The Torah Portion Beshalach has 116 verses. The Torah Portion Beshalach has within it 1 negative commandment.The Haftorah is "V'Devora Isha Naviah" (Shoftim 4)

May you all have a  light-filled and happy Shabbat.  Shabbat Shalom.

L'ilui Neshamat HaGaon HaTzaddik R' Gershon Avigdor Ben R' Chaim ztz"l, Nilkach L'Bait Olamo Yud Gimmel Tishrei 5772

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Bo 5773

The Torah Portion of Bo

There are Three Plagues in the Torah Portion of Bo

"Bo" (Bait-Aleph) has the gematria (numerical value) of three, a hint that there are three plagues in this Torah Portion. (according to Ba'al Haturim)

"Come to Pharoah". (Shemot 10:1)  

A small child walking with his father sees a dog and becomes frightened.  His father says to him, come with me, give me your hand and don't be afraid.  Similarly, Hashem said to Moshe, "Come to Pharaoh", come with me and don't be afraid of the sorcery and the lions.

"For  I have hardened his heart". (Shemot 10:1)  

The Midrash says that the root of the word "hardened" ("Kaved") is similar to "liver" ("Kaved").  In the case of liver, the more it is cooked, the harder it gets and it doesn't absorb anything.   Similarly, in the case of Pharoah, the more he is struck with plagues, the more he hardens himself and doesn't want to hear what is said to him.

"That I might show these My signs in the midst of them". (Shemot 10:1)  

There are two signs which are a remembrance of the Exodus from Egypt: 1) Shabbat is referred to as a "sign forever", and  2) Tefillin are referred to as a "sign on your hand".  This is what was meant by saying "That I might show these My signs in the midst of them"'.  That is to say, because of the Exodus from Egypt we will have these two signs (of Shabbat and Tefillin).  

"That one shall not be able to see the earth".  (Shemot 10:5)  

Rashi says that one who sees shall not be able to see.  There are those that explain that locusts do not see, and the Sages say that someone who is blind eats more than he needs because his eyes don't help him to feel satiated, and therefore the locusts cause great damage to the produce.   (according to the Kli Yakar)

"They did not see one another nor did anyone rise from his place". (Shemot 10:23).  

The greatest darkness is when one does not want to be concerned about another person.  (from the Chidushi Harim)

"And also our cattle shall go with us". (Shemot 10:26)  

The intention of this is that the animals will go of their own accord and with the desire that they will be offered as sacrifices.  This is similar to what is written regarding Eliyahu on Mount Carmel, in which the bull which he offered ran with joy.  (from Malbim)

"For thereof must we take to serve Hashem" (Shemot 10:26)  

There are those that explain that also from Pharoah it is possible to learn something about how to serve Hashem.  Even after he received so many plagues he still stood in his rebellion.  Similarly, in the case of serving Hashem, even if occasionally there are difficulties or failures Chas V'shalom, we need to strengthen ourselves with more capacity and strength to serve Hashem.  

"And we don't know (with) what we will serve Hashem until we come there".  (Shemot 10:26)  

In this world it is not possible to know if we did the Mitzvot and served Hashem appropriately, until we come to the Next World (Olam Haba) to give a judgment and accounting, and this is the explanation of "until we come there", that is to say, to the Next World.  (from Chidushei Harim)

"Speak please in the ears of the people".  (Shemot 11:2)  

Why is it written "please" (in Hebrew: "Na") which is a language of request?  This was so that the righteous one, Avraham, should not say that the promise "And they shall serve them and they shall afflict them" (Braisheet 15:13), was fulfilled for them by Hashem, but "... afterwards shall they come out with great possessions" (ibid), was not fullfilled for them by Hashem. (from Rashi)  And also there are those that say that since they were being commanded to request silver and gold, the act would be tainted by impure motives (the evil inclination) , even if it were being done for their own benefit.  Thus Moshe said "please", a language of request; that is to say, I request from you to overcome the evil inclination.

"And let them ask every man of his fellow". (Shemot 11:2)  

On one level,  "his fellow"  simply refers to the Egyptians,  but another explanation is that  every man should ask of his fellow Jew.  The strategy behind this was as follows: if the rich Jews would give to the poor ones, then the Egyptians would also give silver and gold to them, because they would understand that a requirement of the Jewish festival was that everyone would need expensive clothing. And the Gr"a explains that first of all the Jewish people needed to do kindness with each other, and in this way Hashem would cause the Jews to find favor in the eyes of the Egyptians, who would then give silver and gold to them.

"And let them ask every man of his fellow". (Shemot 11:2)  

The book Toldot Adam explains the verses "And let them ask every man of his fellow...And Hashem gave the people favor in the eyes of the Egyptians" (Shemot 11:2-3) in a similar way. If the people of Israel act in a kind way with each other and help each other at a time of need, then Hashem will grant Israel favor in the eyes of the nations. 

"Also the man Moshe was very great".  (Shemot 11:3)  

It would only be natural that the Egyptians should hate Moshe because he brought upon them all the plagues, but nonetheless they honored him greatly. 

"Also the man Moshe was very great in the land of Egypt, in the eyes of Pharoah's servants, and in the eyes of the people".  (Shemot 11:3)  

It is known that to become well-known as a very great man in the eyes of the common people there are two possible routes: 1) One way is when the great people of the nation recognize his greatness  because even though superficially he is similar to everyone else, they recognize his true righteousness, and they publicize his name also among the common people.  2) Another way is when the man does strange acts so that the common people who don't understand much think that he is a holy man, say that he is supernatural, and make up fictitious, wondrous stories about him until his name becomes publicized among the masses.  The great extent of the publicity also affects the great, wise people of the nation so that a doubt enters their hearts regarding him and they think that probably it was not for nothing that his name became famous among the masses. Therefore they will also honor him.  This second mechanism is by no means a proof that a man who is publicly known as a great man is truly a great man in reality.  And this is why the verse emphasized "Also the man Moshe was very great in the land of Egypt, in the eyes of Pharoah's servants, and in the eyes of the people." (Shemot 11:3) In the beginning his name became publicized among the great, wise people of the nation who were the servants of Pharoah, and afterwards his name was publicized by them among the common people.  This shows that Moshe was truly great.  (according to Meshech Chachma)

"This month is for you the beginning of months, it is the first for you of the months of the year".  (Shemot 12:2)  

The Chatam Sofer says that Israel is required to count according to the numbering of the months of Israel and not according to the numbering of the months of the non-Jews, because the first month for us is Nisan and not as the non-Jews say that the first is January, as it is said, "It is the first for you".  (according to the Chatam Sofer)

"And they shall put it on the two side-posts and on the lintel". (Shemot 12:7) 

And later on it is written that Moshe told Israel to smear the blood first on the lintel and afterwards on the two side-posts.  The reason for this is that the Holy One Blessed Be He, because of His great love for Israel, told them first to do it below on the two side-posts because that's easier, and afterwards on the lintel.  But Moshe said the opposite, that we need to show love for Hashem, first on the lintel even though that's more difficult and afterwards on the two side-posts.

The Passover Offering

The Passover offering symbolizes unity and completeness, for it needs to be eaten in a group in unison, and its roasting is precisely when it is whole.  It is forbidden to break a bone in it because it needs to be whole.  It needs to be roasted and not cooked, because cooking causes it to break apart and roasting only contracts it and it remains intact.  The Holy One Blessed Be He wanted to hint to us that the first offering should be in unity and completeness, and in that manner, we will have success in everything.  (according to Maharal) 

"And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succot, about six hundred thousand".  (Shemot 12:37) 

What is the meaning of the language "about six"?  The Da'at Zekainim says that also the Divine Presence (Shechina) returned with them from Egypt, as it is said, "In all their troubles He has sorrow".

"And for frontlets  (in Hebrew:  Totafot) between your eyes". (Shemot 13:16)  

Rashi says that "Tat" in the Coptic language denotes "two", and "Pat" in Africa denotes "two".  It has been asked, isn't the Torah written in the Holy Tongue?  So how is it found that the language of other nations is found in the Torah?  The explanation is, that during the generation of the separation of the languages (at the time of the attempt to build the tower of Bavel) each nation inserted into its language some words from the Holy Tongue, because also the impure draws into itself some aspects of holiness in order for it to be able to exist.  (from various Meforshim)

The Ramban at the end of the Torah Portion of Bo

The Ramban at the end of the Torah Portion Bo says: "From the great, publicized miracles a man acknowledges the hidden miracles, which are the basis of the entire Torah.  A man does not have a portion in the Torah of Moshe Rabbeinu, until he believes that all of our matters and circumstances are all miracles and that they are not controlled by forces of nature and the customs of the world, whether we are speaking of events affecting many people or events affecting individuals.  Everything is a decree from above."

Mussar (Ethics): 

It is said about the Gr"a that when he was a small boy they told him to play with a seesaw.  He answered that when playing with a seesaw, one person goes up and another goes down, and he doesn't want to be elevated if his friend will be lowered.  And also, perhaps he would be elevated only because his friend is lowered, and he doesn't want to be elevated at the expense of his friend.

The Torah Portion Bo has 106 verses. The Torah Portion Bo has within it 9 positive commandments and 11 negative commandments.The Haftorah is "Hadavar Asher Dibair Hashem" (Yirmiyahu 46)

May you all have a  light-filled and happy Shabbat.  Shabbat Shalom.

L'ilui Neshamat HaGaon HaTzaddik R' Gershon Avigdor Ben R' Chaim ztz"l, Nilkach L'Bait Olamo Yud Gimmel Tishrei 5772

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Va'eira 5773 & Rosh Chodesh Sh'vat

The Torah Portion of Va'eira 

There are Seven Plagues in the Torah Portion of Va'eira

In the Torah Portion Va'eira there are seven plagues, as is hinted at by the first two letters of the word Va'eira (Vuv-Aleph) which have the Gematria of seven; and in the Torah Portion Bo there are three plagues which are hinted at by the letters Bo (Bait-Aleph) which have the Gematria of three.

"And I appeared to Avraham,  to Yitzchak and  to Yaakov..."  (Shemot 6:3)

On the words "And I appeared (Va'eira)", Rashi says that means: "to the Patriarchs".  It has been asked, isn't it written explicitly in the verse "to Avraham, to Yitzchak and to Yaakov", so what does Rashi's explanation add?   The explanation is that the word Patriarchs (Avot) has the meaning of  desire, as in the verse "And he didn't desire (ava) to perform  the mitzvah of Yibum" (Devorim 25:7). The Holy One Blessed Be He shows himself, as it were, to those who desire him, as the Rambam states.  And similarly, the verse "I will be as I will be (Ek-yeh asher Ek-yeh)"  (Shemot 3:14) can be explained in like fashion: I will be with those who desire that I will be with them. (from the Chatam Sofer)

The Four Languages of Redemption: "I will take you out" , "I will rescue you", "I will redeem you", "I will take you to Me" (Shemot 6:6-7)

It is written in the Midrash that the reason there are four languages of Redemption is that these correspond to the four decrees against the Jews that Pharoah declared: the hard work,  his command to the midwives, the Nile River, and the straw.  Also the four languages of redemption correspond to the four exiles: Egypt, Babylonia, Greece,  and Edom.  Therefore we drink four cups of wine at Passover in correspondence to the four languages of Redemption, as it is said "I will lift up the cup of salvation" (Tehillim 116:13), to show that Hashem saved us in the past from the four decrees and is saving us (continually now) from the four exiles.

"...And I will give it to you as a heritage (Morasha)..."  (Shemot 6:8)

It is not written "an inheritance (Yerusha)" to hint that they will not inherit the land of Israel, rather, their children that come after them will inherit it. (from Rabbeinu Bachya)

"...And I will give it to you as a heritage (Morasha)..." (Shemot 6:8)

 The word "heritage (Morasha)" is written twice in the Torah, once regarding the Land of Israel and once regarding the Torah, as it is written: "The Torah was commanded to us by Moshe, a Heritage for the Congregation of Yaakov" (Devorim 33:4). This is because there is a connection between the two, for if we have Torah then we also have the Land of Israel, as it is said,"And He will give them the lands of the nations...on condition that they will observe His statutes" (Tehillim 105:44-45). 

"...And she bore him Aharon and Moshe..."  (Shemot 6:20)

Why are Aharon and Moshe mentioned here?  Since they were Prophets and rose to a very high level, they were mentioned here to tell us  that even though they were born from a human father and mother, it is still possible for flesh and blood human beings to become elevated to a very high level.  And according to the Rambam, everyone has the potential to become as elevated as Moshe Rabbeinu.  

"Moshe was 80 years old and Aharon was 83 years old..." (Shemot 7:7)

Why did the Torah mention the ages of Moshe and Aharon?  This is to teach us that even though they were so old, they still made a great effort with the wonders and the plagues for the sake of the people of Israel.  (from Seforno)

"...And it became a serpent."  (Shemot 7:10)

Why did Moshe's staff become, specifically, a serpent, and not some other kind of creature?  This was because the Holy One Blessed Be He cut off the legs of the serpent and it cried with a loud voice that was heard throughout the world, and this was a hint to Pharoah that also he would cry out at the Exodus from Mitzrayim (Egypt), "...Rise, go out from among my people..." (Shemot 12:31), and this would be heard throughout Mitzrayim, and also the Egyptians would cry out.  (from Yonatan ben Uziel)  And there are those who explain that it was because the the serpent sinned and caused Chava to sin with his tongue, and also the wicked Pharoah sinned with his tongue when he said "Who is Hashem that I should listen to His voice...I do not know Hashem" (Shemot 5:2).  And we find that everyone who speaks against Hashem, G-d forbid, is punished with the biting of serpents, as was written (in Bamidbar 21:5) "And the people spoke against Hashem and Moshe", and afterwards it is says (Bamidbar 21:6) "And Hashem sent against the people the burning serpents and they bit the people".   

Rosh Chodesh Sh'vat

Rosh Chodesh Sh'vat is mentioned in the Torah at the beginning of the Torah Portion of Devorim "And it came to pass in the fortieth year in the eleventh month on the first day of the month...Moshe began to explain the Torah..." (Devorim 1:3-5), and he spoke until the seventh of Adar.  It is written in the Holy Books that this day, Rosh Chodesh Sh'vat, is a propitious time to pray for understanding of the Torah.  

A "Simcha" Every Two Weeks

The Rebbe said to his students that every two weeks there is a Simcha (happy occasion): Rosh Chodesh Sh'vat, Tu B'shvat, Rosh Chodesh Adar, Purim, Rosh Chodesh Nisan, Pesach, Rosh Chodesh Iyar, the 14th of Iyar which is Pesach Shaini, the 18th of Iyar which is Lag Ba'omer, Rosh Chodesh Sivan, the Chag of Shavuot.  May Hashem help us so that all of the year will be happy.

The Torah Portion of Va'eira has 121 verses.
Haftora: "Hashamayim Kisi" (Yeshayahu 66) which is the Haftora for Shabbat Rosh Chodesh.

May you all have a  light-filled and happy Shabbat.  Shabbat Shalom.

L'ilui Neshamat HaGaon HaTzaddik R' Gershon Avigdor Ben R' Chaim ztz"l, Nilkach L'Bait Olamo Yud Gimmel Tishrei 5772