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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 47, v. 28: "Sheva shonim v'arbo'im u'm'as shonoh" - Seven years and forty and one-hundred years - Rashi comments on the years of Soroh's life (Breishis 23:1) that her one-hundred years are compared to her twenty years, and her twenty years are compared to her seven years. This is because the word "years" is mentioned three times. Here we have the word "years" only twice. Taamo Dikro offers that it is left out once because there is no comparison of years to years for beauty for a man, as per the gemara Kesubos 59. However, this seems problematic, as we find "years" by Avrohom three times, and a comparison of his being sinless by all three. If so, we are left with the question, "Why is the term 'years' only mentioned two times by Yaakov." Perhaps we can answer that it is left out by the count of forty years because at that age Yaakov was not sin free. He was not fulfilling the mitzvoh of honouring his parents then. Another possibility is because he was still single at that age. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 47, v. 29: "Chesed ve'emes" - Kindness and truth - Rashi explains this to mean burial. This is a true kindness, as one does not expect reciprocal payment from a deceased person. Chizkuni explains that whenever the words "chesed" and "emes" come together it means kindness beyond what one is required to do. Yaakov's sons were responsible to bury him, but not specifically in the M'oras Hamachpeiloh.

Ch. 48, v. 7: "Vo'ek'b'reho shom" - And I buried her there - Chizkuni offers three reasons for Yaakov's not burying Rochel in the M'oras Hamachpeiloh:

1) She died in childbirth. If she were to be transported the long distance to Chevron, after having just given birth, a trail of blood would have been visible.

2) He wanted to bury her in the future tribal land holding of Yoseif. 3) When Rochel died, Eisov still laid claim to the M'oras Hamachpeiloh. Yaakov feared that he might exhume her to make a space available for himself. When Leah died, Eisov had already left Eretz Yisroel.

Ch. 48, v. 10: "Va'yishak lo'hem va'y'cha'beik lo'hem" - And he kissed them and he hugged them - Sforno explains that kissing and hugging them created a spiritual bond that made his blessings effective. Perhaps this is an insight into the required kissing and hugging before embarking upon procreation. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 48, v. 11: "R'o fo'necho lo filolti" - Seeing your face I did not entertain - Rashi explains "filolti" as "entered my thoughts." Chizkuni explains it to mean prayer. I did not pray for your well-being as I thought that you were surely torn asunder by an animal.

Ch. 48, v. 15: "HoElokim asher his'halchu avosai l'fonov" - Elokim Whom my forefathers have brought themselves to walk in front of Him - Why is this prelude used to express the blessing he was bestowing upon Efrayim and Menasheh? An offering from Sedrah Selections parshas Noach 5759 is brought to explain this:

<< Ch. 6, v. 9: "Es HoElokim his'haleich Noach" - Rashi contrasts this with Avrohom Avinu about whom it says in 17:1 "His'haleich l'fonei." Rashi explains that Noach needed support in his pursuit of Hashem. However, Avrohom was greater than Noach and did not require Hashem's support. We know that Noach was unsuccessful in persuading his generation to repent and serve Hashem properly. Avrohom, on the other hand, was very influential in bringing people closer to Hashem and fulfilling their seven mitzvos. With this we have another interpretation of the contrast that Rashi points out. Noach only walked "ES HoElokim," WITH Hashem. This means that where there was holiness present, Noach could function. However, he was not successful in bringing holiness to a place that was devoid of holiness. Avrohom Avinu brought holiness to places that were even devoid of Kedusha. "Hishaleich l'fonai," walk in front of Me. This means Avrohom could bring holiness in FRONT of Me, even into a place where there is no holiness, he was able to influence people whose lives were otherwise devoid of Hashem, to serve Him.>>

Similarly, we find Avrohom's servant Eliezer relating that his master said that he would be successful in finding an appropriate wife for Yitzchok in Padan Aram, a place devoid of Torah-true spirituality in the merit of "asher his'halachti l'fonov .. v'hitzliach darkecho" (Breishis 24:40). We can likewise explain this as a "midoh k'neged midoh" response. Just as Avrohom brought G-dliness to areas devoid of spirituality, likewise He would bring success in the endeavour of finding a woman who created an environment of spirituality in the spiritual vacuum of Padan Aram.

We can likewise say here that the blessing Yaakov gave Efrayim and Menasheh was predicated upon the same merit of his Patriarchs. Just as they acted in this vein, so too, Efrayim and Menasheh, who grew up in spiritually starved Egypt, should have blessings bestowed upon them in the merit of their forefathers, who also created spirituality in a vacuum. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 49, v. 1: "B'acharis ha'yomim" - At the end of the days - Rashi says that this refers to the time of the coming of Moshiach, while Chizkuni says that it refers to the end of the 400 years of exile that was told to Avrohom in a prophecy. He substantiates his explanation by noting that the verse says the end of THE days, definitive, days that are known.

Ch. 49, v. 5: "Klei chomos m'cheiroseihem" - Tools of robbery is their weaponry - This is Rashi's translation. However, on Yechezkeil 16:3 he translates "m'cheiroseihem" as their history. Chizkuni translates it as "their acquaintance and association." When they get together robbery is the outcome.

Ch. 49, v. 7: "Achalkeim b'Yaakov vaafitzeim b'Yisroel" - I will split them in Yaakov and I will spread them out in Yisroel - Rashi explains that the tribe of Shimon will be poor and teachers of children, while the tribe of Levi will receive its livelihood from the tithes. This is a remedy for their quick-tempered nature. One who is self-sufficient can survive even if he is ill-tempered. However, one who is poor and has to rely upon the charity of others has no choice but to subdue, or at least, restrain his anger, otherwise people will keep away from him and not offer him help. (Kli Chemdoh)

Ch. 49, v. 8: "Yehudoh" - The blessing of Yehudoh spans four verses. Every letter of the Alef-Beis is present save the letter Zayin. This teaches us that the strength of Yehudoh's tribe as the king of Yisroel is not predicated upon weapons, "klei Zayin," but rather upon merits. "Lo v'charbom yirshu o'retz" (T'hilim 44:4). (Rabbeinu Bachyei)

Ch. 49, v. 10: "Ad ki yovo Shiloh" - Until Shiloh will come - Rashi explains this as the time of Moshiach, while Chizkuni explains it as the time that the kingship of King Dovid will be split, in the days of Y'rovom.

Ch. 49, v. 16: "Don yodin amo k'achad shivtei Yisroel" - Don will judge his nation as one of the tribes of Yisroel - No doubt a case will come in front of the court manned by members of the tribe of Don, where one of the litigants will be from the tribe of Don and the other from another tribe. Our verse praises the tribe of Don, saying that he will judge "amo," one of his own tribe, with no favouritism, as if he were from another tribe, "k'achad shivtei Yisroel." (Alshich Hakodosh)



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

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