Thoughts on the Weekly Parshah by HaRav Eliezer Chrysler
Formerly Rav of Mercaz Ahavat Torah, Johannesburg

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Vol. 9   No. 7

This issue is sponsored in memory of
Dr. W.E. Howitt
(Reb Aliyahu Zev ben Yerachmiel Moshe z.l.)
on the occasion of the Yohrzeit on the 14th Kislev
by his family

Parshas Vayeitzei

an Omen for the Sons
(Adapted from the K'li Yakar)

The K'li Yakar, citing the Gemara in Chulin (91b), establishes "the place" at which Ya'akov arrived before traveling to Charan as being Har ha'Mori'ah, which is synonymous with the Beis Hamikdash. That is why the Torah writes "and he saw the place from a distance". It calls it "the place", without any description (whose place? which place?). The reason for this, explains the K'li Yakar, is because, both its ownership and its nature were as yet, undisclosed.

Moreover, it was called ha'Makom ('the place') for the same reason as Hakadosh Baruch Hu is called ha'Makom (like we find in the Hagadah) - because it is 'the Place of the world' (rather than just a place in the world). And this is because a. it houses the 'E'ven Shesi'ah', the Stone from which the world was established, and b. because the blessings of the entire world emanate from it.

And when Ya'akov saw the sun set before its time over that spot, he realized he was standing in a holy place, whose holiness dims the sun, and does not therefore need the sun. If anything, the opposite is true, the sun needs it, for so Chazal have said, the windows of the Beis Hamikdash were made narrow on the inside and wide on the outside, so that its rays of light should radiate outwards and illuminate the world.


The setting sun has other connotations too. The Medrash tells us that in fact, the sun set two hours prematurely, a hint to the premature destruction of the first Beis-Hamikdash, which would be destroyed two years before its time, as Rashi explains in Va'eschanan (4:25).

And the fact that he took stones and placed them under his head, hints at the custom for Chasidim and men of good deeds to place a stone under their heads on the night of Tish'ah be'Av, an idea that is particularly apt according to the commentaries who interpret the Pasuk to mean that Ya'akov took one stone from the place, and not a few stones). The Medrash bases this custom on this Parshah, which, it maintains, hints at the Churban (bearing out the above explanation.


Rashi cites the Medrash describing the quarrel between the stones as to which one would serve as Ya'akov's cushion, and how G-d ultimately settled the issue by turning the stones into one (see first article in 'Parshah Pearls'). This too, hints at David ha'Melech who would later settle the dispute between the tribes as to which tribe would house the Beis Hamikdash, by purchasing the location from Aravnah ha'Yevusi with money that he claimed from all the tribes, rendering it communal property.

And in the time of the second Beis Hamikdash, the same stone is aptly referred to as "Even ha'Roshah" (Zecharyah 4:7) - 'the stone on which Ya'akov lay his head', a sign that it would serve as "the bed of the King who is the Master of peace" (Shir ha'Shirim 3:7).

And commenting on the Pasuk "and he slept in that place", Rashi explains that Ya'akov did not lie down all the years that he spent in the Yeshivah of Shem and Eiver. And, taking his cue from Ya'akov, David ha'Melech describes in Tehilim (132:2) how he swore that he would not lie down on a bed and would not sleep until he had found "a place for G-d, a dwelling for the Mighty One of Ya'akov".

How wise were Chazal when they taught that the deeds of the fathers are an omen for the sons.


Later, after Ya'akov awoke from his dream, Ya'akov mentions the word "Makom" three times - corresponding to the three Batei Mikdash. He said "In truth, G-d is in this place, and I did not know", hinting at the first Beis Hamikdash, where despite the Shechinah's presence, the people did not know Hashem, as indicated by their ongoing idolatrous practices. He said "How fearful is this place! It can only be the House of G-d". This hints at the second Beis Hamikdash, where, despite the absence of the Shechinah, its fear was cast upon all the nations. An example of this we find with Alexander Mokdon, who was afraid to lay a hand on the Beis Hamikdash, and who stood up in honour of Shimon ha'Tzadik the Kohen Gadol, its ambassador. Indeed "it can only be the House of G-d" implies that this is all that it was, and that there were other things missing (the Shechinah, prophecy, the Aron, the Urim ve'Tumim and the Divine Fire). In short, the Glory of G-d, which was present in the first Beis Hamikdash, was absent in the second.

"And he called the name of the place Beis-Eil, but its original name was Luz", a hint to the third Beis Hamikdash, whose original name Luz will be returned to it forever, and which will certainly be the House of G-d. (See also K'li Yakar, Parshas Toldos 26:19)


Parshah Pearls

(adapted from the P'ninim mi'Shulchan ha'G'ro)
And the Stones Became One

"And he took from the stones of the place" (28:11).

Rashi cites a Gemara in Chulin (91b), where Rebbi Yitzchak, comments on why the Pasuk refers here to "the stones of the place," whereas later (in Pasuk 18) the Torah writes "and he took the stone ...". He explains how initially, Ya'akov gathered a number of stones at his head, and how the stones then began vying with each other for the honor of becoming the cushion upon which that Tzadik would rest his head. G-d then decided the issue by turning them all into one stone. This episode teaches us that G-d will not let down a person who genuinely seeks spirituality. He creates openings and circumstances that may have seemed impossible at the outset - just like the stones, which could not possibly have all served as a cushion for Ya'akov's head - yet G-d made it possible.


The G'ro cites a Tosfos in Chulin, who writes that according to the simple explanation, what the Pasuk is saying is that 'Ya'akov took a stone from the stones of the place', suggesting that the word 'a stone' (which is not written) is self-understood. But he disagrees with Tosfos. He first cites a Gemara in Yuma (48a) which explains the Pasuk in Acharei-Mos "Ve'lokach mi'dam ha'par" ('And he shall take from the blood of the bull'), by 'detracting, adding and explaining'. In other words, Chazal took the 'Mem' from "mi'dam" and placed it on to "ha'par", to read "ve'Lokach dam me'ha'par".

The G'ro ascribes the necessity to do this to the fact that, as it stands, the Pasuk is saying 'And he shall take the bull from the blood' (which of course, makes no sense). To give the phrase meaning therefore, it is necessary to move the 'Mem' in the way that we explained ('Gor'in, mosifin ve'dorshin').

Likewise here, explains the G'ro; "Va'yikach me'avnei ha'mokom" really means 'And he took the place from the stones'. In order to convey the phrase's real meaning, it is necessary to use the same principle, which entails moving the 'Mem' from "me'avnei" to "ha'mokom", to read "Va'yikach avnei me'ha'mokom", which means 'And he took stones from the place".

Now the continuation of the D'rashah in Chulin fits perfectly.


And He Called It Beis-Eil

Ya'akov called three different locations 'Beis-Eil', says the G'ro. Here he called the place-name 'Beis-Eil'. In Parshas Va'yishlach (35:7), he referred to the place there as 'Keil Beis-Eil'; whereas in that same Parshah (35:15) he named that place 'Elokim Beis-Eil', a name that we also find in Shmuel 1 (10:3).

There is a difference of opinion whether the Beis-Eil mentioned here refers to Har ha'Moriyah, next to Yerushalayim or to the one next to Ay (see commentary in P'ninim mi'Shulchan ha'G'ro).


A Beauty of Substance

"And Rachel had a beautifully shaped face, and was attractive" (29:17).

The G'ro cites a seeming discrepancy between the Pasuk in Mishlei (31:30), which clearly states "Grace is false, and beauty is vain" and this Pasuk (as well as others) which describe the beauty of the Imahos, and of Yosef.

And he answers that the first half of the Pasuk in Mishlei is tied up with the second half "A woman who fears G-d is praiseworthy". What the Pasuk really means is that "Grace and beauty on their own (without the Fear of G-d) are false and vain, because then they are like 'a golden nose-ring in the nose of a Chazir'). But when they are accompanied by the Fear of G-d, they are praiseworthy (because then, they become assets that are used in the service of G-d).


And in similar vien, the G'ro explained the Pasuk in Yirmiyah (9:22/23) "The wise man should not boast about his wisdom, nor the strong man about his strength or the rich man about his wealth. Only with this may the boaster boast; with being wise and knowing Me ... ". There too, what the Pasuk means is that someone who does not 'know G-d' has nothing to be proud of. However, once one gets to 'know Him', then he learns how to use his wisdom, his strength and his riches in His service, and that is certainly something of which to be proud.


And She Called Him Reuven

"And Leah became pregnant and she bore a son whom she called Reuven, because, she said, G-d saw my affliction" (29"32).

Rebbi Elazar in B'rachos (7b) explains that the name Reuven is based on the acronym 'Re'u b'ni' ('see my son'), implying 'See the difference between my son and the son of my father-in-law (Yitzchak), Eisav'. Leah was pointing out the difference between the midos of Reuven and those of Eisav. Reuven would later prevent the brothers from killing Yosef, even though the birthright had been taken from him and given to Yosef against his will, whereas Eisav would attempt to kill Ya'akov for taking the very birthright which he had himself sold him.

The Kashya is blatant! The Torah has stated why Leah called her son Reuven. Why does Rebbi Elazar find it necessary to look for other reasons? And now that he does, why does he not see fit to do the same by any of the other sons?


The G'ro therefore points out a basic change in the Torah's style with regard to the birth of Reuven than it uses by the birth of the other sons. By the other sons, the Torah first records the reason for the name, and then presents the name (for example, when Shimon was born, Leah said "Shoma Hashem ki s'nu'ah onochi, al-ken koro es sh'mo Shimon"; and so it is with Levi and Yehudah ... ). But with Reuven, the Torah first writes his name, and then the reason.

It must be, he concludes, that even though the reason mentioned is certainly the initial reason that Leah called him by that name, the fact is that she would have called him Reuven anyway, for a reason as yet not applicable. And that is the reason introduced by Rebbi Elazar.


Tomorrow is Another Day

"And my righteousness will testify on my behalf tomorrow (be'yom mochor)" 30:33.

The phrase ("be'yom mochor appears in only one other place - in Mishlei (27:1) "Do not boast about tomorrow, because you do not know what will happen in one day".

Hakadosh-Baruch-Hu said to Ya'akov 'You say "And my righteousness will testify on my behalf tomorrow"! You rely on tomorrow?! Do you know that tomorrow, your daughter Dinah will be abducted?' (Ba'al ha'Turim).


Leopards Retain Their Spots

"And Lavan was told on the third day that Ya'akov had fled (ki borach Ya'akov)" 31:23.

The same words occur in only one other place in the Chumash, at the beginning of Beshalach, where the Torah records how the king of Egypt was informed that the people had fled ("ki borach ho'om").

The connection between the two Pesukim lies in the informant, who happens to have been one and the same person. And who might that have been, asks the Ba'al ha'Turim?

Suffice it to say that the numerical value of "ki borach" also 'happens to be' Amalek!



(based on the Seifer 'Mitzos ha'Teluyos ba'Aretz' by Rav Kalman Kahana z.l.)
The Separation of T'rumos and Ma'asros (cont.)

15. Having separated the Matanos from the Tevel, what remains is Chulin and may be eaten.

16. One does not separate T'rumos and Ma'asros from Neta Revai (fruit of the fourth year of the tree's planting) which is itself one of the Matanos (and which we will deal with later).

17. Fruit that grew in Eretz Yisrael and whose G'mar Melachah took place in Eretz Yisrael, is subject to T'rumos and Ma'asros, even though it was intended initially to be sent to Chutz la'Aretz. Consequently, Eretz Yisrael fruit that one finds in Chutz la'Aretz needs to be Ma'asered, unless one knows for sure that Ma'asros have already been taken.

18. One is not permitted to separate from one Safek Tevel on to another Safek Tevel (in case the one has been Ma'asered and the other has not). Consequently, someone who purchased the same fruit from two different people (or shops), cannot separate from one on to the other. And the same applies to two lots of fruit that he purchased from one person on two different occasions. It is only permitted to Ma'aser from one on to the other if both are definitely Tevel and when either their G'mar Melachah took place simultaneously, or both took place either with the intention of eating them or with the intention of selling them. Because if the G'mar Melachah of one was intended for eating, and the other for selling, we have already learned that the latter is mi'de'Rabbanan, whereas the former is basically d'Oraysa.


The Procedure of the Separation

1. The separation of the Ma'asros can be performed merely by fixing their location (in other words by designating them). It is not necessary to physicically separate them from the Tevel. Not so the T'rumah Gedolah and the T'rumas Ma'aser, since both of these may not be eaten, and must be separated from the Chulin.

2. One therefore separates a little more than a hundredth of the total (incorporating T''rumah Gedolah and T'rumas Ma'aser), and declares (with reference to the section that has been separated) 'The section that is more than one hundredth I designate T'rumah Gedolah on the north side (the direction is arbitrary), leaving exactly one hundredth on the south.

He then continues 'That hundredth, together with another nine parts like it on the north side of the remaining fruit, I declare Ma'aser Rishon, and the hundredth that I originally declared Ma'aser, I now designate as T'rumas Ma'aser'.

3. Having separated Terumah Gedolah, Ma'aser Rishon and T'rumas Ma'aser, one continues 'and Ma'aser Sheini on the south, which I transfer on to a P'rutah of the coin that I have designated in such and such a place.' Or he makes alternative arrangements for the redemption of the Ma'aser Sheini, which he is otherwise not permitted to eat.

4. If the crops are of the third or sixth years, then, instead of Ma'aser Sheini, he declares Ma'aser Ani (which he is permitted to eat).

5. It is a good idea to specifically have in mind before separating, that whatever he says should take effect in the best possible manner, in accordance with Din Torah and the Takanos of Chazal.


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