Flashes of Torah
Sometimes it takes a flash of something beautiful and bright to transform the ordinary into extraordinary—or in this case, a nice Shabbos seudah into a dazzling and uplifting one.
Flashes of Torah is that bolt of luminescence.
It’s often challenging to come up with the perfect dvar Torah for your Shabbos table. You want it to be meaningful and thought-provoking, with a great lesson from the parshah, but at the same time you’d like it to be concise and to the point, for those at your table who may have a shorter attention span.
Then comes the question of which gadol/rosh yeshivah/rebbe to quote from. Do you love Chassidishe vertlach? Perhaps your family is Litvish, or Sephardi, or you have guests who are. Which sefer should you thumb through to find that perfect vort?
That’s the great thing about Flashes of Torah. This well-written, handsome book contains multiple divrei Torah and stories with lessons from each parshah, from gedolim of all segments of Yiddishkeit: Litvish, Chassidish, and Sephardic. Each piece is profound, yet brief and to the point. Using this book, you certainly don’t have to worry about your listeners falling asleep during your dvar Torah!
Of course some occasions call for a longer vort, and Flashes of Torah has that ma’alah too; in addition to the short pieces, it also includes a fascinating essay at the end of each parshah, which provides an excellent springboard for hashkafah discussions around the table.
Want a taste of what Flashes of Torah has to offer? The following is a sampling from the nuggets in Parshas Vayeitzei:
וַיֵּצֵא יַעֲקֹב מִבְּאֵר שָׁבַע —Yaakov left Be’er Sheva (Bereishis 28:10).
The Midrash comments that when a righteous person leaves a city, a lessening of glory and holiness is felt. Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev served as the rav of Zelikov. Due to the opposition there against chassidus, he was forced to leave the position. One of his detractors scornfully asked Rav Levi Yitzchak, “When Yaakov left Be’er Sheva, we are taught that his absence was felt. Why don’t I feel any loss now that you have left?”
Rav Levi Yitzchak responded, “I think I can explain that. Why does the Torah only tell us this principle by Yaakov? Avraham and Yitzchak also left their cities, yet we are not told that their absences were felt. The answer is that when Yaakov left Be’er Sheva, Yitzchak remained there, and a righteous person is able to discern the loss of holiness. However, when Avraham and Yitzchak left their cities, no decent people remained. Without righteousness, a person cannot even fathom what holiness is, let alone appreciate its absence. Is it any wonder that you don’t feel any loss?”
וַיִּדַּר יַעֲקֹב נֶדֶר לֵאמֹר אִם יִהְיֶה אֱלֹקים עִמָּדִי…וְנָתַן לִי לֶחֶם לֶאֱכֹל וּבֶגֶד לִלְבֹּשׁ —Yaakov made a vow, saying, “If G-d will be with me…and give me bread to eat and clothing to wear…” (Bereishis 28:20).
Rav Shimon Schwab related that the Chafetz Chaim once informed his family that he had dreamed he had become wealthy, and it was necessary for him to fast because of it. The family was surprised and asked him why he felt a need to fast for such a dream.
The Chafetz Chaim explained, “The Gemara says that some dreams have no validity and are merely a reflection of what a person thinks about during the day. If that is true, then I must fast as repentance for an old man like myself who still dreams about wealth!
By Rabbi Ephraim Nisenbaum
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