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Wednesday, Tevet 27, 5777 / January 25, 2017


Some interesting points in this week’s Parsha, Va’era.


Q.Jacob came to Egypt together with his children and grandchildren. His descendents were later enslaved in Egypt. Which of his grandchildren were not enslaved?


A.The tribe of Levi was not enslaved. This is why Aaron and Moshe, who were from the tribe of Levi, were able to move about freely in Egypt.


Q.We find later in the Torah when the Jews were counted, that the tribe of Levi had by far the least amount of people. Why?


A.The answer is found in last week’s Parsha, where the Torah tells us that ,“The more the Egyptians enslaved the Jewish people, the more they multiplied and increased abundantly.” Because the tribe of Levi was not enslaved and didn’t go through the hardships that everyone else endured, they were not blessed with the special blessing of having many children.


The Torah tells us that children are a blessing. Each child brings more blessings. In every blessing found throughout the Torah, the blessing for having children is key. Levi missed out on this blessing.


Q.In this week’s Parsha, the Torah recounts the sons of Reuben..; The sons of Shimon..; then the Torah says, “These are the names of the children of Levi, Gershon, Kehat, Merari.” Only for the sons of Levi does the Torah emphasize, “These are the names of the sons of Levi.” What was so special about the names of the sons of Levi?


A.The Torah tells us that although the tribe of Levi didn’t partake in the suffering of the Egyptian bondage, yet, Levi, father of the tribe, named his sons to reflect the suffering of the other tribes.


He named his first son, “Gershom” which means “a stranger.” To show that the Jewish people were strangers in the land of Egypt.


His second son he named, “Kehat,” which means “dull.” It also means “sour.” For this is how the people felt as a result of their Egyptian bondage.


His other son he named “Merari,” which means “bitter.” This name reflects the bitterness Jews endured during their many years of oppression.


The Torah tells us this to teach us that even when one doesn’t experience personal suffering, they should have feeling for those who are unfortunately suffering and show compassion and care.