TORAH PORTION: VAEIRA - WEEK OF JANUARY 15, 2012

In September, National Football League referee, Tony Corrente, had an encounter with Baltimore Ravens Matt Birk and Michael Oher that literally floored him. Corrente tried to intervene in a scuffle between 1,000 pounds of Ravens and Steelers. He got knocked flat on his back. The fall led to a couple of doctor visits which an otherwise healthy Corrente would not have scheduled.

After the fall, he had a lot of pain and began to cough up blood. His doctor diagnosed that he had treatable throat cancer which he had no sypmtoms of before his fall. The Motrin pills he had taken for pain had thinned his blood which allowed the cancer to break through his skin.

On January 1, 2012, before the Ravens’ final regular season game, Corrente personally thanked Matt Birk and Michael Oher for their role in saving his life. Birk and Oher said that they were humbled to be G-d’s messengers which resulted in saving the referee’s life. Another small example of when bad happenings are Divine Providence to bring about good.

We see this concept in the opening sentence of our Torah Portion.

The Torah portion begins, "And G-d spoke to Moshe (Moses) and said to him, I am Hashem (G-d)." This verse sounds a little strange, since Moshe already knew that G-d was talking. When G-d talks to you, you will know it.

If we go into the Hebrew text we will see the beginning of an explanation. The verse reads, "and Elokim (G-d) spoke to Moshe and said to him, I am Hashem." The verse mentions two distinctly different names of G-d - Elokim and Hashem. What do these names mean?

There are different meanings to each name. They correspond to G-d's relationship to us. Simply put, when we see G-d's mercy and transcendence, we call G-d - Hashem - literally the four letter name of G-d, i.e., yud-hay-vov-hay.

When we see them, we call G-d, Elokim - G-d's rule over the world with law and harsh justice.

Last week Moshe had complained (chapter 5, verses 22-23), "My L-rd, why have You done evil to this people?" He couldn't understand why G-d was making things harder for the Jewish people if this was the beginning of their redemption.

So G-d appears in this week's Torah portion and tells him, "Whenever you see Elokim, i.e., harsh justice, or troubles in life, you should know that I am still Hashem, the source of all mercy."

Elokim is Hashem. G-d is always the G-d of love. Tell everyone, including yourself, that G-d always loves you.

Good Shabbos,
Rabbi Shlomo Porter

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