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Friday, January 16, 2015

Chumash Midterm review

The review is updated: 
1.       Reasons for sefer bereshit
A.      Rashi
§  Torah is a law book which begins with stories
·         Torah needs to develop idea that g-d is the creator of the world
o   This proves that G-d owns the world and he can give it to anyone he wants
§  And he promised it to us
B.      Netziv
§  To tell me a lesson about being a “yashar” (upright)
·         Interact with non-Jews
o   Be honest and ethical
§  Ex: Avraham buying the city from a non-Jew. He was willing to pay more than owner wanted
§  Don’t look down on the rest of the world
o   We are prohibited to act in a negative manner to non-Jews
C.      R’ Leibtag
§  Bechira
·         How jewish people came to be
o   Our lineage
o   It’s the intro to the book
§  We need a background of where it all came from to understand the next books
D.     Rabbi Jonathon Sacks
§  Greatness of man, the book of bereshit is to show that the world was created for man to do great things
·         The ultimate purpose of creation is man
E.      Ramban
§  Everything that happens to the avot, because it will happen to their descendants as well
§  Predetermined
F.       Rav Soloveitchik
§  Proper behavior learned from bereshit
o   Book of ethics and morals
§  Telling stories is more effective than getting lectured

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2. Facts in sefer bereshit
A. Order of parshiot
§  Bereshit
§  Noach
§  Lech-lecha
§  Vayeira
§  Chayei Sarah
§  Toldot
§  Vayeitzei
§  Vayishlach
§  Vayeishev
§  Miketz
§  Vayigash
§  Vayechi
B. Days of creation
§  Day 1 dark and light
§  Day 2 heavens
§  Day 3 land
§  Day 4 sun moon stars
§  Day 5 fish and stars
§  Day 6 man
C.      Brothers in bereshit (memorize 6)
§  Cain and Hevel
§  Shem, cham, yaphet
§  Yakov and eisav
§  Yosef and Binyamin
§  Menasha and afraim
§  Avraham and nachor
3.       Creation v evolution
o   Traditional approach
§  World created in 7, 5000 years old
·         Ignore science
o   Dr. Gerald Schroeder
§  No contradiction
·         Science and torah work together
·         Torah is describing the big bang theory
o   Development of world
o   Rabbi Natan Slifkin
§  Torah isn’t describing how world is created
·         G-d is creator
o   7 days are a lesson
o   G-d is showing us the greatness of man
§  The world is created for man to create
·         The ultimate function is for man
·         Why were animals destroyed in flood
o   They sinned too
o   They were created for man. If man doesn’t exist, what is the purpose of the animals
4.       Adam 1 + 2                                                                     
A.      Man as a creator
o   Be strong
B.      He is created like g-d, but you ca do dangerous innovated things like nuclear weapons
§  We should only do good, like g-d is good
o   Look at science for how it’s created
C.      Man is lonely
o   All about relationship with g-d
§  Not be lonely
·         Forge a relationship with g-d (man’s reason to exist)
5.       Role of Chava
A.      Rashi:
o   Either or : Helper that can be against you
§  Depends on the wife you choose
·         Your wife may be against you if you act wrong
B.      Chava part of Adam
o   Chava completes Adam in a spiritual sense
§  You are deficient without her
·         Make each other better individuals
o   Respect your spouse as you respect your own body
§  Your spouse is you
C.      Rib
o   Leave parents
§  You will complete yourself if you connect with spouse
D.     Basar echad: one flesh
o   Rashi: procreate
o   Ramban: We are different than animals
§  Animals also procreate
·         Have a lasting relationship with your wife
o   Create a family unit, stay together
E.      Pre-marital sex
o   Jews oppose it
§  A forbidden relationship
§  More than just a physical relationship
·         Strengthen each other (relationship)
·         Physical relationship helps make a spiritual bond
F.       Adam calls Chava
·         After blaming chava for the incident, he calls her
o   Chava = mother of living
§  Positive name
§  Forgive and focus on positive
·         Let’s move on
        I.            Kayin and hevel
A.      Kayin is farmer
o   Farmers think that Success is based on effort
§  To counter those dangers, Torah has multiple laws showing that g-d is the controller
B.      Hevel is Shepard 
o   All torah leaders are shepherds
§  Time to do other things than your job
·         Open a sefer and learn
o   Earn a living
C.      Offering
o   Kayin’s offer wasn’t accepted because
·         Inferior quality
·         Or, He chose the wrong profession
§  Farming is constant work
·         Little time to engage in spirituality
o   He could have done a little better
      II.            Flood
A.      Stealing women
o   No respect to women
B.      Thievery (chamas)
o   Stealing property
   III.            Animals were killed
A.      Animals killed b/c they sin
B.      Or they were created for man
o   No need for animals
   IV.            Noach
A.      Rashi
o   Noach righteous greater in another generation (or worse)
B.      R’ Hirsh
o   Noach wasn’t influenced by the terrible things happening around him
C.      Cons of Noach
o   Rabbi Rosenswag
§  Noach didn’t influence anyone
·         Unlike how Avraham tried to..
·         Noach was righeuos
o   Avraham influenced his sons…
o   Meshech chachma
§  Noach separated himself from the world
·         He should have influenced the people
o   Noach was a lousy leader
§  He did not influence other people
      V.            Noach and leaving the  teiva
A.      He didn’t want to leave
B.      G-d told him to have children
o   He was hesitant
o   Doesn’t listen to the order of leaving
§  Order g-d told him:Him, wife, sons’, sons’ wives
§  Order they went: Him, sons, his wife, sons’ wives
C.      Jews after the holocaust
                                                                 i.      Fackenheim
a)       Jews are commanded to survive
b)      We have an obligation to remember the holocaust
a.        Don’t forget those who died
c)       We are forbidden to deny g-d
a.        Don’t abandon g-d
d)      You are forbidden to abandon humanity
a.        Despair the world
                                                                                                                                         i.      He would argue against Noach
b.       There is still hope
                                                                ii.      Richard Rubenstein
a)       G-d is dead, we live as a nation
b)      Orthodox Jews question always ask these questions
c)       Their faith has been crushed
o   But, everything happens for a reason. We need to move on
   VI.            Olive branch
A.      R’ Hirsh
o   Eating food, even bitter, on one's own terms is more desirable than being fed sweeter food.
§  Lesson: Concession's for peace are easier to swallow when one is able to do so on one's own terms.
·         Not as nice, but you do it on your own
·         Easier to eat bitter than be forced to
B.      Torah Temimah
o   The olive branch survived the flood because it is durable (A Get can be written on an olive leaf.) Lesson: Peace only works when it is sustainable over the long run.
o   Olive branch is sustainable over long run
§  Appeared in Gemara as scroll to sign peace deal
·         Parchment made from olive branches lasts a long time

 VII.             Dor haflaga (generation of dispersion) babel
A.      Pirkei D'Rebbi Eliezer
i. If someone fell and died, no one cared
ii. If a brick broke, they would all mourn
B.      Prof. Shalom Rosenberg
o   It’s like communism
o   Community became so central the individual was lost
§  You care more about Michigan winning than the player who broke their leg
·         If whole focus was for a cause, then the person doesn’t matter
o   Don’t lose the individual in the process of a greater goal
C.      Gemara in Sanhedrin
i.         Generation of the flood (Dor Hamabul) was destroyed while the Dor Haflaga was spared because the Dor Haflaga were unified while the Dor Hamabul had no respect for one another (Chamas)
§  Dor haflaga = unified
·         Focused on same mission
§  Dor hamabul = separate(worse generation)
·         No respect
o   Stealing, raping..­­
·         Only caring about themselves
D.     Netziv, Haamek Davar  
i.         They wanted everyone to live in the same city, tower so that there wouldn't be any dissenting opinions
§  Everyone living together (in the tower)
·         No room for other perspectives
o   There is a danger in everyone being the same…
o   Different viewpoints helps in many sectors
ii.        There is a value in having multiple opinions. It allows for there to be questions and ultimately, a sharing of ideas.
§  In Judaism, there are multiple opinions = machlokets
·         Which is good
For the quizlet lists, refer to my blogpost here

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