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Holy Shovevim

The Torah teaches in Parshas Shemos that the Jewish midwives were told to abort the babies. The Pasuk relates "Vatichayena es hayiladim" - they gave life to the children. The simple meaning is that they refused to carry out the evil decree but Chazal add that they actually gave the babies life by providing sustenance for them.

Why was this necessary?

The Rambam says that to fix an aberration one must go to the opposite extreme. The midwives saw that this was a time of extreme cruelty so in order to combat this they acted with extreme kindness. [Pardes Yosef]

This time of year is called "Shovevim" [the first letter of the parshiyos Shemos until Mishpatim]. The Mekubalim teach us that this is a time to fix sins relating to sexual impurity [thoughts, seeing and worse]. We live in the most sexually decadent generation in history. I believe that this means that we must be EXTREMELY careful in matters relating to inter-gender interactions.

Examples: My friend's wife in NOT my friend. Polite - of course, but not friendship. We love EVERY Jew but this love must be expressed appropriately.

Magazines or newspapers that have immodest pictures or stories should be MUKTZA. I am aware that this excludes almost all of them but avoiding them will only enhance our purity.

Some people get upset at mechitzas at simchas. There are definitely great poskim who say that they are not necessary. But in our "dor parutz" wouldn't it add kedusha?! Does mixed seating add kedusha?

Add your own examples!


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About me

  • I'm Rabbi Ally Ehrman
  • From Old City Jerusalem, Israel
  • I am a Rebbe in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.
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