Kohelet / Rabbi Mordechai Machlis / Shabbat Times / Torah Parasha

Parashat VAYIGASH & Kohelet 11:1

Photo: Miriam Woelke
This Shabbat is Shabbat VAYIGASH. Yehudah speaks up in order to save his brothers and Yosef reveals himself to his brothers.
In Jerusalem, Shabbat begins tomorrow afternoon at 4.07 pm and ends on Saturday at 5.23 pm. 
Before Chanukkah, I went to a Shiur of Rabbi Rabbi Mordechai Machlis. The subject was: The Book of Kohelet (Ecclesiastes). Unfortunately, the Rabbi didn’t show up and sent one of his sons – in – law instead. I think his name was Rabbi Willig. 
Rabbi Machlis teaches the Book of Kohelet every Sunday night. His son – in – law continued the subject and explained a certain sentence in Kohelet 11:1:
Send your bread upon the waters, for many days you will find it.
“Send your bread upon the waters” – What does that mean ? That one is throwing bread into the water or a river ?
Rabbi Machlis as well as Rabbi Willig compared this Passuk in Kohelet to a Jew who is being asked for help by a total stranger. The question is: “Should I help a stranger although I know that I may never see him again ? Why bother when the person asking for a favour is completely vanishing out of my life ?  
You are basically throwing bread into the water and nothing ever comes back.
The truth of the matter is that one who does help a total stranger never knows how it is going to effect the person asking for help. Your help may leave such an impression upon him and we never know the result of this. 
Rabbi Willig gave a great example:
A woman had a flat tire in the middle of a highway. She was unable to change the tire on her own and thus tried to stop another car. No car stopped except for one. The guy was even a professional mechanic and changed the tire within minutes. The woman was so grateful and offered him money. Any amount he wanted because she was wealthy.
The mechanic refused to take it but told her: “The next person in distress you meet, give the money to him instead !”
The woman continued her journey and got hungry. She stopped at an inn and where an extremely friendly waitress was working. However, the woman saw that the waitress didn’t look like as if she had a great life. Before she left, she left a $ 500 tip for the waitress who couldn’t believe it.
Happily, the waitress went home after work and told her husband about the unexpected money. They desperately needed the money and this is why he had to work long hours. The waitress asked her husband if he was okay and he said: “I am just exhausted from work and then I helped a woman on the highway changing her tire”.
We never know what effect our actions may have. A poor student or Yeshiva guy no one really notices but one friendly sign of appreciation stays with him his whole life. And who knows. Maybe this poor student becomes rich and donates a lot of money to his Yeshiva or former school. This actually happened at the MIR Yeshiva in Jerusalem.
The same with Parashat Vayigash. The brothers wanted to get rid of arrogant Yosef and sold him to traders going down to Egypt. In the end, it was Yosef saving the entire family from a famine. Yosef who had become the viceroy of Egypt. 
It shows us that things happen we never anticipated. And it doesn’t matter whether you know a person for many years or only a couple of minutes. 
Shabbat Shalom – Git Schabbes !

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