This Week’s Torah Portion – Parashat Va’era (Exodus 6:2-9:35)

I discuss the weekly Torah portion with Rabbi Rabbs Mondays at 7:00 pm PST on my cam and on YouTube. Facebook Fan Page.

This week we study Parashat Va’era (Exodus 6:2-9:35).

Watch the video.

* This might be wrong, but I was really glad to see the unstoppable Packers and Saints lose this weekend. Baltimore sucked. They were lucky to beat Houston.

* Why is Rabbs always sucking on cough drops? Does he have a sore throat?

* It’s good to get along with people but sometimes doing the right thing puts you on the outs with almost everyone.

Rabbi Berel Wein writes: Moshe faces a crisis of faith at the onset of this week’s parsha. He apparently has made no headway with and little impression on the Pharaoh of Egypt. The situation of the Jewish slaves has worsened considerably and the leaders of the people place blame upon Moshe for that situation.

So, Moshe is apparently unsuccessful with the Pharaoh and unsuccessful with the Jewish people all at one and the same time. Is it any wonder that Moshe complains to the Lord about this mission which, he now reiterates, he wishes to abandon? And even though the Torah does not state so in so many specific words, it is obvious that Moshe, so to speak, is disappointed in God as well.

* Some say love, it is a river,
That drowns, the tender reed.
Some say love, it is a razor,
that leaves, your soul to bleed.
Some say love, it is a hunger,
An endless aching need.
I say love, it is a flower,
And you it’s only seed.

It’s the heart, afraid of breaking,
That never, learns to dance.
It’s the dream, afraid of waking,
That never, takes the chance.
It’s the one, who won’t be taken,
Who cannot, seem to give.
And the soul, afraid of dying,
That never, learns to live.

* Rabbi Berel Wein writes: “The Lord appears to Moshe at the beginning of this week’s parsha with a recounting of His relationship with the fathers of Israel, Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov.”

I wonder if the Lord will ever appear to anyone after my time and recount His relationship with me? If so, it will be a very short recounting. Something like this:

And the Lord appeared to Rabbi Cohen. “I am the Lord of Levi Ben Avraham,” said the Lord.

“The infamous blogger?” asks Rabbi Cohen, his neck tightening, stiffening and compressing.

“Yes, the one and same,” said the Lord God of Israel. “What sorrow awaited Your Moral Leader, the rod of my anger. I used his blog as a club to express my anger at the Jews. I sent him against a godless nation, against a people with whom I was angry. Levi would plunder them, trampling them like dirt beneath his feet. But Levi would not understand that he was my tool; his mind did not work that way. His plan was simply to destroy, to cut down rabbi after rabbi. He would say, ‘Each of my bitches will soon be a ho’.”

After the Lord had used the Moral Leader blog to accomplish his purposes on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, he turned against Levi Ben Avraham and punished him–for he was proud and arrogant.

Levi boasted, “By my own powerful arm I have done this. With my own shrewd wisdom I planned it. I have broken down the defenses of nations and carried off their treasures. I have knocked down their kings like a bull. I have robbed their nests of riches and gathered up kingdoms as a farmer gathers eggs. No one can even flap a wing against me or utter a peep of protest.”

But can the ax boast greater power than the person who uses it? Is the saw greater than the person who saws? Can a rod strike unless a hand moves it? Can a wooden cane walk by itself?

Therefore, the Lord, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, will send a virus among Levi’s proud blogs, and a flaming fire in the genital region will consume his glory.

* Ex. 6:9. “So Moses spoke accordingly to the Children of Israel; but they did not heed Moses, because of shortness of breath and hard work.”

Do you know why the children of Israel suffered from shortness of breath? Because they were tightening and compressing their necks. If they would only free their necks of unnecessary tension and think up, allowing the back to lengthen and widen, their lungs would have more room to expand and they’d breathe easily. But no, the Israelites then as now insisted on stiffening their necks.

* In many ways, I am greater than Moses. For instance, in Ex. 6:12, Moses tells God, “I am a man of sealed lips.” I ain’t never been accused of that!

* In Ex. 6:30, Moses says to God: “Behold! I have sealed lips, so how shall Pharoah heed me?”

If only Moses had a blog. If you have a blog and a good story, everybody will heed you. There’s nobody who’s untouchable to a blogger with the right scoop.

* Pharoah reminds me of me. In Ex. 9:27, he tells Moses, “This time I have sinned. God is the righteous one and I am the wicked one.”

How many times have I said something similar when I’ve been caught in wrongdoing and can’t lie my way out of trouble? That’s when I fall on my sword and confess to the rabbis.

* Moses complains a lot to God.

* Am I inflammatory?

* Have I ever known the Love God?

* Is Rabbi Rabbs saved? Has he experienced the love of God? Is he keeping regular these days or does he feel blocked up?

* Rabbi Berel Wein writes: “God always preaches patience and a long term outlook on events. The rabbis preached that the wise person was one who took the long term view of one’s actions and is cognizant of how the future will view present behavior and ideals.”

* Rabbi Berel Wein writes: “The Lord, so to speak, is the storekeeper who has serviced generations of our family granting them credit and sustenance and we are His latest customers applying for further credit from Him on the basis of our long term family relationship with Him.”

Is “serviced” the right word here?

* Rabbi Berel Wein writes: “Pharaoh is not impressed by the plagues because his own professional miracle makers were able to replicate the first three plagues.”

I made my name chronicling a plague in the entertainment industry. I’m like Moses.

* Working with Rabbis is a lot like working with a patriarch. Rabbi Berel Wein writes: “Patience with others, with one’s own family members, with one’s community and even with God Himself, is an essential hallmark of Jewish thought and attitude. If we review the lives of our Patriarchs we will readily see how patient an undemanding they truly were. They never insisted on “now” solutions and served God humbly in their unshakable belief in the validity of God’s commitments to them and their future generations.”

* What did the prophet Habakuk mean when he said: “And the righteous shall live by faith.”

* Rabbi Berel Wein writes: “Thus, a truly sophisticated and intelligent Jew is stubborn and flexible at the same time. In worldly matters, in the marketplace, in the tactics of home and family and education, flexibility is the watchword. “Do it my way or don’t do it all,” is a dangerous policy in everyday living. Openness to others and to new ideas and situations guarantees greater success and accomplishment in the world.

“Parents who are flexible and not rigid in the management of their home will usually see happier results from their children. But in matters of the spirit and soul, in issues of ethics and morality, in the defense of the code and traditions of Sinai, stubbornness and backbone are the traits required for success.”

“The Jewish world is reeling from a lack of stubbornness regarding the vital issues of the Jewish world – Torah, observance, the Land of Israel, Torah education, family and Jewish grandchildren. It has too much flexibility regarding these issues. It is far too stubborn regarding defending current politically correct and slogan-prone issues.”

* Well where I come from,
You learn to take it nice and slow.
But baby since we met,
Oh, it’s been go, go, go.

So you can rough me up (rough me up),
Yeah baby you can hurt me too.
Because all I got (all I got),
You see, all I got is you.

You can rough me up,
You can break me down,
Baby don’t stop now.

Oh, you can use me up til it all runs out,
Baby don’t stop now.

I’m all yours,
I’m all yours somehow,
Baby don’t stop now.

So where I come from,
You learn to make the best of things.
Honey since we met,
You know you’ve had the best of me.

So you can lock me out,
Yeah baby throw away that key,
Because all I know,
Is that this is where I wanna be.

You can rough me up,
You can break me down,
Baby don’t stop now.

Oh, you can use me up til it all runs out,
Baby don’t stop now.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been noted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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