Last Tuesday night, 22 Tevet, about twenty young Avreichim and Bachurim entered the home of Moreinu HaRav Eliezer Berland shlit”a for a shiur.
Here is a summary of the Rav’s words from the shiur:
The Rav began the shiur discussing Parshat Vayeichi, where Yaakov sought to reveal what would be in the end of days, which is the secret of “Ekyeh Asher Ekyeh — I will be what I will be,” which is the secret of the year “KeTz – 190.” He added that Moshe wanted to reveal the Name Havayah, and Hashem told him that right now it is only the Name “Ekyeh,” whereas the Name Havayah will only be during the redemption.
Afterwards, he discussed the sale of Yosef and how Yosef did not meet with his father so that he would not bring about a situation where Yaakov would know about the sale and become upset with the brothers, and they would all die. He touched on Yaakov’s curse to Shimon and Levi, that because of this, they did not receive a good inheritance. Shimon received rocky land, and Levi did not receive any portion at all.
He continued on to the subject of the killing of the residents of Shechem and the well-known question of the Ramban – why Yaakov did not go himself to free Dinah from captivity. Not only this, but when his sons freed her, he cursed them. The Rav brought the Likutey HaRim who said that the Bar Mitzvah sermon of Shimon and Levi was the dispute between the Rambam and Ramban on why the residents of Shechem were liable to death. Likewise, he spoke about the significance of travelling to the grave of Rabbi Yisrael Dov Ber of Wiladnik, whose Hilulah was that day.
Later on, the Rav discussed the verse, “For God has made me forget all my toil and all my father’s house.” He explained that Yaakov Avinu said that his merit was not because of his lineage from Avraham and Yitzchak. He mentioned the words of Rebbe Nachman, who said that his reaching the level that he did was through his own effort and not in the merit of his ancestry at all. Afterwards, he said that the redemption will be in the merit of the tribe of Menasheh, who sacrificed themselves in order to take down the corpse of King Shaul which was in Beit She’an.
The Rav greatly encouraged the learning of Gemara in depth with Kitzot HaChoshen, and he discussed the Gemara about the boundaries of the Land of Israel. He also mentioned that outside Israel today there is terrible assimilation.
Later in the shiur, the Rav shlit”a discussed how the Patriarchs fulfilled the Mitzvot, and that the mistake of Esav was that he missed the hour of the Afikomen. He said that if a person wants livelihood in abundance, he should be careful to eat the Afikomen before Chatzot (Halachic midnight). He related a number of stories about Rothschild and other Jews, who in the merit of not swearing about money even though they were in the right, merited to great wealth.
Towards the end of the shiur, Moreinu HaRav spoke about the Gemara in Shabbat 89, that the redemption will be in the merit of Yitzchak, because Yitzchak agreed to take onto himself all the transgressions of all the Jewish people, and what Yitzchak said to God: “My children and not Your children…?”
The Rav shlit”a concluded the shiur with the weekly Torah portion – Shemot – regarding the verse, “Behold, a lad is crying.” The Rav explained that Moshe Rabbeinu, from the day he was born, saw everything and is therefore called a “lad.” Therefore, it is also written that he cried, because from the day he was born, he saw the suffering of the Jewish people. The Rav said that this is the Tzaddik, who from the day he is born, only cries for the suffering which the Jewish people go through.