The Jewish Home by Rabbi Hershel Solnica


    The Torah tells us that because of the Mesiras Nefesh and the selflessness of Yocheved and Miriam, Hashem blessed them; specifically, the Torah says "ויעש להם בתים," Hashem made them houses" (שמות א':כ"א).  Rashi (שם) states that the houses referred to are the "בתי כהונה ולויה ומלכות שקרויין בתים,"  the houses of the Kehunah, of Leivi and of royalty.  Rav Moshe Shternbuch, in his Sefer Taam VoDaas, says in the name of Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik from Yerushalayim that in truth, Paroh did not want to destroy the entire Jewish nation, because he would not have been able to accomplish this by decreeing to kill all the male children.  If Paroh really wanted to destroy Bnai Yisrael, he would have decreed to kill all the female children; all Jewish boys would then have had to propagate by living with Egyptian women, and the children would then not be Jewish.
    What Paroh actually wanted to do was to destroy Jewish pride, the houses of Kehunah and of Leivi and of royalty, all of which are determined by the father's lineage; he thus decreed that the males should die.  Therefore, Hashem rewarded Yocheved and Miriam, who refused to go along with Paroh's decree, by giving them the gift of the houses of Kehunah, of Leivi and of royalty.  This means that these houses would descend from them, which is a great reward.  This reward is thus clearly מדה כנגד מדה, measure for measure, since they helped preserve what Paroh wanted to destroy and were rewarded with a special role in that preservation.
    This idea clearly underscores the great significance of our Yichus, our family lineage, and the idea of having pride in our homes. The Torah elsewhere repeatedly uses the phrase "למשפחותם לבית אבותם," referring to families and the house of one's parents (עיין בתחילת ספר במדבר ובעוד מקומות). This indicates that our family pride is a result of the homes that were established by our parents.  When a couple gets married, the Beracha that is traditionally bestowed on the Chosson and Kallah, the bride and groom, is that they should have the ability to build a "בית נאמן בישראל," a faithful home in Israel.  We must be proud not only of being Jews, but also of our heritage, transmitted to us by our forefathers, and we must understand the specific role and purpose of the family.  If we understand all that our ancestors have provided to us and appreciate the kinds of homes they built, we will succeed in building such homes ourselves, and they will truly be homes "in Israel."
    Among the responsibilities of the families of Kehunah, of Leivi and of royalty is the notion of leadership which means that one must give of oneself to help others.  We are all charged with the obligation to be our brothers' keepers, to be מוסר נפש, that is, to give up our lives for one another, and to perpetuate the quality of Chessed, true kindness.  These should be values instilled in every home. Just as Yocheved and Miriam cared for and ultimately rescued the future generations of Bnai Yisrael, so must every parent and every educator realize that one of our greatest assets is the Jewish home, the ideals of which must be saved and perpetuated. We must strive to build and maintain our homes with the Kedushah, the holiness, of the Torah, with Emunah in Hashem and with the hope of rebuilding the Beis HaMikdash in our lifetime. 

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