Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher, Dean of Students and Senior Lecturer at Diaspora Yeshiva, is not only a popular speaker and teacher, but also a dynamic thinker and writer. A student of Harav Yaakov Kamenetsky and Harav Gedalia Schorr, Rabbi Sprecher was granted smicha (rabbinical ordination) by Torah Vodaath Yeshiva. Prior to his current position, Rabbi Sprecher was a professor of Judaic studies at Touro College in New York. In addition to his duties at Diaspora Yeshiva, Rabbi Sprecher writes a regular column on various Judaic topics in the Jewish Press, and lectures regularly at the OU Israel Center in Jerusalem.
Our Spiritual DNA
Published: Friday, July 19, 2019 10:23:16 AM
Number of views: 1227

After the Jewish People sinned with the Moabite and Midianite women, as a punishment, G-d caused a plague that killed 24,000 Jews. G-d then commanded Moshe to take a new census of the people. Rashi notes that each family name of the 12 tribes has a prefix of the letter HEI and a suffix of the letter YUD.

Rashi explains the reason for this is that G-d testifies through His Name the YUD and HEI, that although the Egyptians were masters over the bodies of Am Yisrael, they did not violate any Jewish woman, except for one (Rashi: Shmot 2:11 and Vayikra 24:11). All the other Jewish women remained pure, holy, and loyal to their husbands. That is why G-d had His Name added and appended to all of our family names.

The Talmud in Sotah 11b states that it was only in the merit of the holy Jewish women that Israel was worthy of redemption from our Egyptian bondage.
The Midrash Vayikra Rabba 32 explains how the Jewish slaves, both men and women, were able to achieve this incredible level of holiness under such difficult circumstances. It was in the merit of our Holy Mother Sara, who remained pure and chaste when she was kidnapped by Pharaoh, and in the merit of Yosef, who withstood the temptations and seductions of Potiphar’s wife.

Since our Mother Sara and Yosef Hatzadik protected their sanctity, purity, and holiness in Egypt, this became part of the heritage and spiritual DNA of the Jewish People. This made it possible for us to endure and remain morally pure for 210 years in the morally decadent and depraved land of Egypt.

Just as physical traits are passed down from generation to generation, so too are our spiritual attributes. This teaches us the importance of living a pure, holy, and spiritual life, because what a person does or does not do impacts and affects his descendants for all future generations.

So let us use our spiritual DNA wisely and constructively. What does DNA stand for? I believe it stands for “Divine Natural Ability”!

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