last Parsha in the Torah, Parshat V'zot Habracha,
is only read on Shimini Atzeret / Simchat Torah. In the Diaspora,
V'Zot HaBracha is the only Parsha of the Torah
not read on Shabbat, for Simchat Torah cannot fall
on Shabbat. Another unusual item about V'Zot HaBracha
is that unlike all other Parshiot, V'zot Habracha always
falls on the same date in the Calendar: the 22nd of Tishrei
(in Eretz Yisroel), and on the 23rd of Tishrei (in
this last Parsha on Shimini Atzeret / Simchat Torah,
as we complete the yearly cycle of Torah readings and then
we immediately begin the cycle anew with the reading of Parshat
Bereishit, to remind us that we must never think in terms of
"concluding" when dealing with Torah. A Jew should always
feel that in Torah, there is never an end! As soon as we
finish, we must start from the beginning again.
aliyah starts with the bracha (blessing) for the Shvatim
(tribes) of Zevulun and Yissachar.
Zevulun he said: Rejoice, Zevulun when you go out, and Yissachar
in your tents. The peoples will assemble at the mount, there they
will slaughter offerings of righteousness, for by the riches of
the sea they will be nourished, and by the treasures concealed in
and Yissachar are blessed together in one bracha because
they were partners in a cooperative relationship: Zevulun would
be merchants, and take half of their profits to support Yissachar,
whose occupation was to study Torah in the "Ohel," (tent).
comments that even though Yissachar was older, since Zevulun's support
made Yissachar's Torah study possible, Zevulun's name is
also comments on the language that Zevulun will "rejoice" with his
departure for business. He explains that Moshe was telling Zevulun
to rejoice and succeed when going out to business, and Yissachar,
succeed in your studies. The midrash explains that Moshe
was telling Zevulun that he will rejoice when he leaves this world.
Why? Because Yissachar is in your tent. You have an integral share
in all of his reward.
HaChaim Hakadosh, a seventeenth century Biblical commentator,
also comments on the language that Zevulun will "rejoice." The reason
why he will rejoice is because Zevulun knows his ventures will support
the Torah study of Yissachar, his brother. Usually a businessman
leaves home in pursuit of income and if and when he returns with
a profit he is joyous, but not upon starting out. However, since
Zevulun leaves home in pursuit of income to support Yissachar, he
is assured of success, and as well immediately has the mitzvah
of involving himself in the endeavor of supporting Torah
scholars. This elevates all of Zevulun's energies into mitzvot.
He, therefore, rejoices in these meaningful endeavors.
that Zevulun does not simply work hard and then gives a nice donation
to the local yeshiva. Rather, his entire being and yearning is to
work for Yissachar. This realization of purpose and duty render
all of his actions kodesh, (sanctified), for the Ribono
Shel Olam, Hashem.
Bachye says that possibly the reason for the double letter 'Sin'
in Yissa(s)char's name is to indicate that his Torah learning
brings a double reward, "Sin" for "Sachar"
- reward, for himself, the actual Torah learner, and also
for Zevulun who supports him.
Gaon, an eighteenth century Torah scholar, understands the
language of "rejoice" in a different manner. The Gaon teaches that,
"the ultimate joy comes when one attains a higher level of understanding."
This is why it says "S'mach Zevulun b'tzeitecha. - Rejoice,
Zevulun when you go out." Moshe
tells Zevulun to rejoice when he leaves this world, for then he
will instantly acquire all the knowledge and understand all of the
Torah that has been learned under his auspices and because
of his labor.
benefit for a "Zevulun" can be learned from the following true story,
I heard from the noted lecturer, Rabbi Yissachar Frand.
incident occurred with Rav Eliezer Gordon (1840-1910), the founder
of the Telshe Yeshiva. He married the daughter of Rav Avrohom Yitzchak
Neviezer. Rav 'Leizer' Gordon had a well-deserved reputation as
one of the most outstanding young men in the Jewish nation. When
he became engaged, his father-in-law told him that he would support
him. In those days, the son-in-law used to live in the father-in-law's
house. That is how Rav Leizer Gordon was supported.
after another approached Rav Leizer Gordon and asked him to become
their Rabbi. Every time a community approached him regarding becoming
their Rav, he would ask his father-in-law for permission to take
the position. Invariably, his father-in-law insisted that he remain
with him, sitting and learning. His father-in-law told him not to
worry, promising to continue to support him. This happened year
the mother- in-law told her husband "It is already time to have
our son-in-law move on. We can not support him here forever." Her
husband replied, "We never know, who is supporting whom."
Rav Gordon took a position and became a community Rabbi.
after he left his father-in-law's house, his father-in-law passed
know who supports whom -- who is the "carrier" and who is being
"carried". Rav Leizer Gordon was supporting his father-in-law, not
the other way around.
even when those dollars go towards the supreme goal of supporting
Torah study, the Torah role of a working person is
not limited to bringing home the dollars. Far from it. As the Torah
by the riches of the sea they will be nourished.."
says that this bracha of deriving wealth from the sea will
free up Yissachar and Zevulun, allowing them to learn Torah.
It is insufficient for Zevulun to only support the Torah
study of Yissachar. Even those who support Torah study are
obligated to study Torah themselves.
peoples will gather at the mount, there they will slaughter offerings
does the Torah mean by mentioning people gathering at the
mount and slaughtering offerings? What's the connection to Zevulun
quotes a lovely and remarkable Midrash (Sifrei
354): "Through the business of Zevulun, merchants of the nations
of the world will come to his land, since he was at the border.
And they [the non-Jewish merchants] will say: 'Since we have gone
to the trouble of traveling to this point, let us go to Jerusalem
and let us see what the G-d of this nation is, and what are this
nation's practices.' There [in Jerusalem] they will see all of Israel
worshipping one G-d, and eating the same food -- for among the nations,
the god of this one is not like the god of another, and the food
of this one is not like the food of another. Then they will say:
'There is no nation as proper as this one,' and they will convert
to Judiasm there [in Jerusalem], as it says: 'there they will slaughter
offerings of righteousness.'"
working out in the world, unwittingly helped bring people to Judaism!
today, in business or the professions, can make the same enormous
spiritual impact on his/her fellow employees--Jew and non-Jew. How?
By being a 'mensch,' by exemplifying the nobility of a Torah
lifestyle. Like it or not, we are all walking ambassadors of our
faith and our people.
we may say, is the goal of the whole Torah, and of every
individual in the Torah nation, scholar, doctor, housewife,
rabbi, laborer: to make a kiddush Hashem, to sanctify G-d's
name, to make the G-d of Israel and the Torah more beloved
in the eyes of mankind. May we all be worthy, whatever our post
or station in life, to increase kiddush Hashem in the world!
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