Vayigash_5773: Man’s Mission is to be Praying not Preying

Taste of Parasha

There was once a King who was very pleased with his servants.  He made a proclamation, “Every one of my servants may make one request and it shall be granted.”  There was one wise servant who requested to have an audience with the king thrice daily.  The King was so taken by this servant’s desire to have a relationship with him that not only did he grant his request but he gave him a small fortune as well.  When Yehudah approaches the viceroy of Egypt he begins his remarks by saying, “Bi Adoni, Yedaber Na Avdicha Davar B’ Azney Adoni.”  Literally translated this means that Yehudah asked Yosef to please be allowed to speak directly to him.  The Medrash, as expounded by Rav Tzadok Hakohain and the Nesivos Shalom, derive from the words of Yehuda some fundamental principles about Prayer.  Yehuda was actually addressing his words to G-d.  He begins by saying “Bi Adoni,” My Master, G-d, is in me!  When we come before G-d in prayer the first thing we must realize is that G-d cares deeply about us, to the point that our sages tell us, “Bchol Tzarosam Lo Tzar,”   our pain is His pain.  That having been said, when we pray, we are really praying for G-d’s best interest in this world.  Subsequently, Yehudah addresses himself to G-d once more and says: Let me have the merit of an audience with You my King.   He concludes his opening remarks by asking for The King’s forbearance. “Al Ichar Apicha B’avdecha,” please do not look at my iniquities,  please forgive my misdeeds and let my words not be deflected due to my sins.  These are three important details we need to bear in mind when coming to pray.

Taste of Talmud

One of the four main categories of damages is, “Maveh” (Bava Kamma 2a).  According to Rav, the word Maveh is referring to damages perpetrated by an Adam, man.  Why does the Mishna use this unique way to refer to man?  The answer is: If it would say the word “man” it would include slaves.  A slave however is not obligated to pay for his damages.  This is why the Mishna used the term Maveh.  This refers to a man who is responsible for his own actions.  The Talmud asks: What is the source of this term?  Rav answers that it is used by the Prophet Isaiah.  Isaiah tells the Jewish nation if you will be a Maveh and ask to be saved from exile, G-d will listen to you; when your prayers are coupled with repentance.   Rav learns from Isaiah that when you want to refer to a Human being who is fully aware of, and in control of his faculties, you refer to him as a Maveh.  The ability to articulate intelligent thought into words, prayer and repentance is the essence of man.  It is these capacities that need to be tapped into to channel an Adam (man) away from acting like Adama (dirt) to becoming Adam’e (similar), to G-d.

Taste of Halacha

The Talmud (ibid. 3b) quotes a statement by a Tanna in a Braisa that lists all of the different categories of damages.  Included in that list are both Maveh and Adam!  This seems to be contrary to Rav’s opinion.  If Maveh is Adam why does the Braisa list both of them?  Rav answers that the word Maveh includes damages done to another’s property; whereas the word Adam, is being used to refer to damages done to another person’s body.  The Shulchan Aruch (CM: 378:1) writes that it is forbidden for a human to damage another human in any way.  Should damages occur, a person is responsible for his actions, even if they were as a result of an accident.  As it says in the Mishna (Bava Kamma 26b) “Adam Muad L’ Olam,” a human is fore- warned, always!  A person must take the necessary precautions to insure that no harm comes about through him.  When a human damages another human’s body (G-d forbid) there is a higher level of responsibility that he bears.  He must pay for five aspects of the loss.  1) Damages, 2) pain, 3) loss of wages, 4) doctor’s bills and 5) embarrassment.  How these are assessed is a complicated matter and is dealt with in the Talmud and Shulchan Aruch (ibid.)

Mazal Tov Rabbi and Mrs. Starr on the birth of a boy!

About tasteofyeshiva

RABBI YAIR FRIEDMAN teaches at The Torah School of Greater Washington, and Yeshiva L' Baalei Batim. He is the owner and director of Camp Gevaldig LLC.
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