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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 25, v. 21: "Vatahar Rivkoh ishto" - And Rivkoh his wife conceived - Earlier in this verse we have "l'nichach ishto" without Rivkoh's name mentioned, as it is obvious. If so, why is her name mentioned here? M.R. 44:10 says, "Avrom cannot sire a child, but AvroHOm can." A bit later, in 44:12 the M.R. says that changing one's name can annul a negative decree against a person. To magnify the miracle that took place here the verse stresses that it was Rivkoh, who retained her same name, who miraculously conceived. (Rabbi Yaakov Meisels Gaava"d Pietrikov)

Ch. 25, v. 33: "Hishovoh li" - Swear to me - Why didn't this transaction take place without an oath?

1) An oath was necessary because technically, Eisov had the right to rescind his offer, as the primogeniture birthright was not his to sell until after his father's death. (Chizkuni)

Rabbi Yochonon Luria in M'shivas Nefesh seems to say the same, adding that Eisov swore to sell the birthright after Yitzchok would pass on.

2) Alternatively, the birthright is not a tangible item so there is no structured binding act of transfer of ownership. (A'keidas Yitzchok)

3) Eisov might simply deny that the whole thing took place, so Yaakov had him swear in front of witnesses. (Rokei'ach)

It seems that even if the sale took place in front of witnesses they might forget, but being witness to an oath makes a lasting impression.

4) Note that the oath took place before the sale. This shows that Eisov sold the birthright without coercion or under duress, or else he would not have sworn first. (Rabbi Avrohom ben hoRambam)

5) He swore that he would never lay claim to the birthright in the future. (Ramban)

6) Yaakov asked Eisov to swear that he truly had no appreciation of the birthright, or else Yaakov would not purchase it. (Rabbi Yoseif ben Dovid of Saragossa)

Ch. 25, v. 33: "Va'yimkore es b'choroso" - And he sold his primogeniture right - The Torah stresses that Eisov sold it, and not that Yaakov bought it. This teaches us that Eisov did so very willingly. (Rabbi Yoseif ben Dovid of Saragossa)

Ch. 25, v. 34: "Va'yokom va'yeilach" - And he stood up and went away - He didn't even bother to go home to his father to comfort him upon the loss of his father, Avrohom. (Rabbeinu Menachem)

Ch. 26, v. 1: "Milvad horo'ov horishon asher hoyoh bi'mei Avrohom" - Besides the first famine that took place in the days of Avrohom - It is now eighty years after the famine that took place in Avrohom's days. If so, what need is there to tell us that this was not one and the same as the earlier one? 1) Horo'ov horishon" alludes to a famine that took place in the days of Odom Horishon. (Rabbeinu Tovioh)

2) The famine in the days of Avrohom was now recollected. Yitzchok therefore wanted to copy his father's action, to descend to Egypt. This is why it was necessary for Hashem to communicate to him to not descend to Egypt. (Ramban)

3) Earlier in Yitzchok's days there was a minor famine. Our verse tells us that the present one was of a similar intensity to that of the days of Avrohom. (Moshav Z'keinim)

4) This teaches us that the present famine was of the same intensity as the one in Avrohom's days, to teach us that Yitzchok would not readily have left to G'ror. (Rabbi Avrohom ben hoRambam)

5) This teaches us that the present famine was less severe, and yet, Yitzchok left to G'ror for relief. Avrohom only left when there was a very severe famine. This is why it was considered one of Avrohom's ten tests, and not as a test to Yitzchok. (Rabbeinu Chaim Paltiel)

Where is the indication that this one was less severe?

6) This teaches us that during that lengthy span of time there was no other famine. The land was blessed in Avrohom's merit. (Abarbanel and Ralba"g)

7) This teaches us that this famine was even more severe than the one in Avrohom's days. (Mo'ore Ho'a'feiloh)

Targum Yonoson ben Uziel agrees with this. In 12:10 he says "Vahava kafna," while here he says "Vahava kafna SAKIF."

Ch. 27, v. 28: "V'yi'tein" - And He shall give - Rashi comments that the prefix letter Vov indicates "Yi'tein v'yachazor v'yi'tein," that Hashem shall give and repeat to give. On a simple level this means that the blessing should continue for a long time, i.e. Hashem continually giving. On a different plane we might offer that human nature is such that when a person receives a blessing in any manner and grows accustomed to it he makes it his default, taking it for granted, and if things go downhill he feels deprived of what is "his due." This was Yitzchok's blessing. "May you always have blessing, but with it always feel that there is a new giving each time, and not that the blessing is to be taken for granted. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 27, v. 41: "Va'yistom Eisov es Yaakov al habrochoh asher beiracho oviv" - And Eisov hated Yaakov because of the blessing that his father blessed him - Wasn't the hatred because Yaakov fooled his father and RECEIVED the blessing? If so, why doesn't the verse say "al habrochoh asher LOKACH mei'oviv"? In truth, Eisov hated his father as well for what had transpired. True, at the beginning Yitzchok thought that the impersonator was Eisov, but even afterwards, when the ruse was up, he said that in any case the blessing should remain Yaakov's (verse 33). (Perhaps hatred of his father is alluded to in "ES Yaakov." Eisov therefore said, "Yik'r'vu y'mei eivel ovi v'ahargoh es Yaakov." I will kill Yaakov immediately, and this will cause my father such aggravation that it will hasten the days of mourning for my father. (Binoh L'itim) Alternatively, "asher beiracho oviv" refers to the blessing that Yitzchok gave Eisov, "V'al charb'cho sichyeh" of verse 40. Because Yitzchok gave him this "blessing" he entertained the possibility that he was capable of overpowering Yaakov with his sword. (Abarbanel)

Ch. 27, v. 41: "Yik'rvu y'mei eivel ovi" - The days of mourning for my father will draw close - A number of explanations:

1) As just offered in the previous insight by the Binoh L'itim

2) The time of my father mourning for his son Yaakov will come very soon because I plan to kill Yaakov in the very near future. (B'chor Shor)

3) No doubt Yaakov would be on guard and be ready to fend off any attack by Eisov. Eisov therefore planned to wait for "yik'r'vu y'mei eivel ovi," when it would be close to the time of mourning for his father, when he would be critically ill. No doubt Yaakov would be present at Yitzchok's bedside and be quite flustered. That would be the opportunity, when Yaakov's guard is down, to kill him. (Abarbanel)

This insight seems to not be in consonance with the axiom that until the days of Yaakov there was no sickness before death.

4) When Yaakov would be in mourning he would be prohibited to learn Torah. Without this merit there is the possibility to kill him. (Minchoh V'luloh and others)

5) Rather than kill Yaakov immediately and have to mourn for him, Eisov said that he would wait for his father's death and then immediately kill Yaakov, and be in mourning for both concurrently. (Sifsei Kohein)

Ch. 27, v. 42: "Eisov bnoh hagodol .. l'Yaakov bnoh hakoton" - Eisov her big son .. to Yaakov her small son - Rabbeinu Myuchos says that these adjectives are superfluous. However, Toldos Yitzchok says that this is an explanation for Rivkoh's warning Yaakov about his brother's murderous intentions. Since Yaakov was extremely powerful there seems to be no need to tell him because he could take care of himself. However, it is because Rivkoh realized that Eisov was "hagodol," the greater in strength, and that Yaakov was "hakoton," the one with less strength, that she warned Yaakov.



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a

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