PARSHAT VAYEIRA 5778: And Pharoah’s ministers saw her
SECRETS OF THE TORAH WITH RAV ELIEZER BERLAND, SHLITA
Abridged and translated from the Tzama Nafshi newsletter.
The Zohar asks: It’s written in verse 14 [of Parshat Vayeira] ‘and the Mitzrim (Egyptians) saw the woman’. And in verse 15, it’s written again: ‘And Pharoah’s ministers saw her’. Why are there two ‘vayeira’ – and they saw? Why do we need such a long discussion about this? They saw, and then another time, they saw.
But the Zohar tells us something awesome: When Avraham Avinu got to Mitzrayim (Egypt), the Egyptians told him to open the chest [that Sarah was hidden in]. We want to see what you’ve really got in there, we want to see what you’re hiding.
HASHEM TOOK THE SUN OUT OF ITS SHEATH
And when Avraham opened the chest, a huge light shone out of it, a light akin to the sun at midday. 12 midnight suddenly became 12 noon; Hashem ‘took the sun out of its sheath’…
Sarah Imenu looked like the sun, all the Egyptian were suddenly set ablaze by Sarah’s light, there was light throughout the whole of Mitzrayim. The Egyptians thought that the Avraham had some sort of patent on the chest, some sort of electronic device, some sort of spell, some sort of hidden lazer beams, some sort of diamond that was giving out all that light.
WHERE’S THE HIDDEN LAZER BEAM?
They didn’t want to believe that Sarah was the one who was giving off all that light. They said, ‘what, a person can shine so brightly?!’ They didn’t want to believe that this sort of light could shine out of a person ‘there shone out of the chest a different light’. They thought that there was some sort of different light in the chest, it was impossible to believe this light was coming from Sarah. ‘Maybe, there’s some of hidden lazer beam here, that’s shining out?’
And so, they decided to properly examine the chest. They took Sarah out of it, and the started to check with all of their gadgets, to see where the light was really coming from, where were the hidden lazer beams, that were lighting up the whole of Egypt?
‘It’s written that the Egyptians saw the woman. Why isn’t it written that Pharoah’s ministers saw the woman? Rather, we can learn out from here that she shone in the way described above.’
THE LIGHT WAS COMING FROM SARAH
They saw that the light wasn’t coming from the chest. They saw that the light was coming from Sarah, and that’s why it’s written ‘vayeira’ – they saw – twice. They took Sarah out the chest, then put her back in a few times, and checked around the chest to see where the light was coming from.
‘Maybe, there’s some sort of diamond, some sort of hidden lazer beam, that’s lighting everything up?’
And after they’d thoroughly checked out the chest a few times, they saw that this massive light really was shining out of Sarah. Sarah merited to remove her spiritually-impure body, to take off the skin of the snake – and she shone like the sun!
SARAH WAS THE SUN
The Baal HaTurim comments on parshat Chaya Sara, on the verse ‘v’yehu chaya Sarah meah shana’ – and the years of Sarah were 100 years – that the first letters spell out SheMeSh – sun! Sarah was truly a sun. If a person wants to remove the garments of their body, and to get out of all their evil illusions, to transform this body, this body of ‘leprous skin’ to a pure body from Gan Eden (the Garden of Eden), and to merit to shine like the sun, this can only be accomplished by way of learning Torah.
The Rebbe [Rebbe Nachman] tells us in Likutey Moharan lesson 101: A person is governed by 70 bad middot (character traits), and only by learning Torah, and learning the Gemara is it possible for him to escape from these bad middot, and only this is what’s called taking upon oneself the yoke of Torah.
ONLY LEARNING TORAH CAN DESTROY OUR BAD MIDDOT
Only the Torah can transform a person’s body…. It’s full of jealousy, full of hatred, of ayin hara (the evil eye), forbidden sights, forbidden thoughts. And only learning Gemara, learning the Torah in-depth, can transform a person’s body. Only when he merits to get a ‘shining face’ [ a kabbalistic term] will he be able to destroy all the bad middot and the lusts.
A person is fighting against his bad middot and his lusts all the time. He doesn’t know that he can only escape from them if he learns Torah.