Monday, November 28, 2016

והיה & ויהי

:והיה & ויהי

The Midrash and Gemara Megilla say 'אין והיה אלא לשׁוֹן שׂמחה' which means 'There is no [word] 'Vehaya' except for a language of happiness.'  And the Midrash also says that the word 'Vayehi' is a language of trouble.  How do we explain this?  There are many times in the Torah where it would be hard to explain Vehaya as implying happiness and Vayehi as implying trouble! (Though, as told over to me by the Bostoner Rebbe of Yerushalayim shlita's Shamash, the Gemara concludes that only when it says 'Vayehi bi'mei' does it connote tzar). 

But anyway, I asked Rebbe Tal Moshe Zwecker shlita (founder of Machon Be'er Mayim Chaim Publishing) the question, and he told me: 


"This Midrash Aggadah is using a play on words; VaYehi - can be read as Vay Hi - which means 'it is painful', and the derasha is that VaYehi therefore prefaces any painful sufferings whereas VeHaya is Simcha.  Obviously the Gemara will cite examples to back up the derasha but generally speaking, drush is not peshat so that you may well find pessukim that do not correspond to the Midrash's example because derashos by their very nature are not peshat; they are not the simple meaning of the passuk."


So I asked him: 


"So do all Vehaya's have to be Simcha and all Vayehi's have to be tzar?"


And he explained: 


"No because its a derush and not a peshat; its a homiletically explanation rather than the simple meaning of the passuk."


However, he told me that you can explain (if you can) every Vehaya in the Torah as Simcha and every Vayehi as tzar, for "we are allowed to use derush to learn and teach examples and illustrate ideas", as he said. 


And there are also some other explanations on this which I will, B'Ezras Hashem, list; one from HaRav Tzvi Kushalevsky shlita, and one from myself:

1) The explanation of what the Midrash said could lie in the very meaning of the words, according to Reb Kushalevsky shlita:  Vayehi means 'And it was', while Vehaya means 'And it will be'.  'And it was' is saying that something already happened - talking about the past (no matter how long ago).  But 'And it will be' is talking about the future - what is coming.  So perhaps we could say that this is the deeper meaning of what Chazal say:  

Vayehi, talking about the past, is lashon tzar (possibly) because the past is something that we cannot go back to.  Once a second ends, that second is gone forever (unless, of course, Hashem makes a neis).  So Vayehi is tzar. 

But Vehaya is talking about the future.  Something that is yet to come.  That is such Simcha! 
2) Perhaps we may say that Vehaya is lashon Simcha because the letters are the same as that of Hashem's Heilige Name.  But Vayehi does not have the same letters.  Teaching us that anything that centers around Hashem is happy and Simchadikke, and anything that doesn't, Chas V'Shalom, is not. 
Those are just some explanations to the seemingly difficult statement of the Midrash.  There are obviously many answers to the question, and if you have any or have heard any, please don't hesitate to comment and "explain away", my friends.
A big and special thanks to Rebbe Tal Moshe Zwecker shlita, the Bostoner Rebbe shlita and his Shamash, Reb Betzalel shlita, and HaRav Daniel Yaakov Travis shlita, for all their help and time.  May Hashem bless them and their families with only good forever, Amein vi'Amein. 
Have a wonderful, wonderful day and week everyone!

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