by Zvi Akiva FleisherBack to this week's parsha | Previous Issues
Ch. 28, v. 10: "Vayeitzei - Vayeilech" - Is is not sufficient to just say that Yaakov went? See Rashi. The Beis Halevi answers that when a person travels, it is usually for one of two purposes. The goal is either to depart from the original location or to be at the destination. For example, in 16:8, the angel asked Hogor, "From where have you come and to where are you going?" Hogor replied, "I am fleeing from my mistress Soroh." It was not pertinent to explain where she was going, as her motive was to leave her original location. Yaakov's trip was unique, in that his LEAVING home was to fulfill his mother's directive to escape Eisov's wrath (27:43), and his travelling TO his destination was to fulfill his father's directive to find a wife from his brother-in-law's family (28:2). This is pointed out in 28:7, "Vayishma Yaakov el OVIV v'el IMO."
Ch. 28, v. 11: "Vayifga Bamokom" - According to Rashi's interpretation that vayifga means "and he prayed," "baMokom" means "to Hashem," the Omnipresent. (Rebbi Eliyohu Mizrochi)
Ch. 28, v. 11: "Vayikach mei'avnei hamokom" - Later on, in v. 18, it says "he took THE STONE." Rashi quotes the gemara Chulin 91b which addresses this discrepancy, stating that Yaakov took numerous stones, all of which wanted to have the tzaddik place his head on them, and they fused into one stone. The Ibn Ezra explains our verse as follows: He took ONE STONE from among the stones.
Ch. 28, v.12: "Sulom - A ladder standing on the ground, and its peak reaching the heavens." The Baal Haturim points out that sulom, momone - money, and oni - poverty, each equal 136, to show that wealth and poverty cycles are like a ladder whose feet are on the ground and peak into the heavens. People go from rags to riches and the reverse very quickly. The word sulom has the same numerical value as mamone - money, kol - voice, and tzome - fasting. Teshuvah -tzome, Tefillah - kol, and Tzedokoh - momone, are done on earth, "mutzov artzoh," and yet they pierce the highest spheres of heaven, "v'rosho magia hashomeimoh."
Ch. 28, v.13: "V'hinei Hashem nitzov olov" - Rashi says to guard him (Bmidbar Rabboh 4:1). The Rebbi Reb Heshel explains that since the angels of Eretz Yisroel ascended and then the angels of chutz lo'oretz descended, there was a gap of time during this changing of the guard when Yaakov was without special protection. Therefore, Hashem took special care to guard him.
Ch. 28, v.16: "OCHEIN yeish Hashem bamokom hazeh V'ONOCHI lo yodoti" - Rebbi Shimshon of Ostropolia explains that Yaakov's neshomo soared into the heavens during his dream. Upon reaching Hashem's holy throne, he saw the images of four creatures etched into the holy throne, a lion - the king of wild animals, the eagle - the king of the birds, the sheep - the king of domesticated animals, and Yaakov himself, to represent humans. The first letter of each of these four are aleph for Ari, nun for Nesher, kof for Keves, and yud for Yaakov, which spell Anochi. Yaakov was saying OCHEIN, Ari, Keves, and Nesher, I knew were etched into Hashem's holy throne, but "ONOCHI," adding a yud for Yaakov was unknown to me.
Ch. 28, v.17: "Beis Elokim - shaar hashomayim" - The holy Baal Shem Tov explains this with the gemara Shabbos 31b which says that the Torah is a gateway, and fear of Hashem is a house. Woe to him who builds for himself a gateway and has not built a house. Woe to him who has amassed Torah knowledge and it has not brought the fear of Hashem into him. Yaakov had just completed fourteen years of very diligent study of Torah in Yeshivas Aiver (see Rashi 28:9). During his sleep with its prophetic vision, he came to a high level of Yiras Shomayim, as our verse says "vayeero." He therefore said, "This is Beis Elokim." I have now reached the level of "Bayis," fear of Hashem, "v'zeh," and this, the fourteen years of Torah study is "shaar hashomayim"- the gateway leading to the fear of Hashem.
Ch. 28, v.20: "Lechem Le'echol" - Isn't it obvious that bread is for consumption? R' Shlomo of Lenchna answers that even if a person has food, he might not be able to eat it, either because of ill health or other severe problems and stresses which leave him with no appetite. Yaakov therefore prayed to Hashem that he should have sustenance and the ability to eat.
Ch. 29, v.7: "Ode hayom godol" - The Holy Admor, R' Mordechai Yosef of Ishbitz explains that Yaakov was puzzled by the shepherds assembling at midday as if their work was over and they would soon be heading home. He thought that they might think the sun would suddenly set as it had the previous day (see Rashi 28:11). Realizing that Hashem had done this yesterday solely so that he should pray at that location, Yaakov was assuring the shepherds that today "Ode hayom godol," the day is still long. We won't have a repeat of what happened yesterday.
Ch. 29, v.10: "Va'yogel" - Rashi brings a Medrash Rabboh 70:12 that says that Yaakov removed the heavy stone, which normally required numerous shepherds to remove, as easily as removing a cork from a bottle. How is this derived? Rabbi Eliyohu Mizrochi answers that in verses 3 and 8 it said "v'gul'lu," they rolled. Here is says "va'yogel" with only one lamed. This doesn't mean "he rolled" but rather "he uncovered," indicating a simple procedure.
Ch. 29, v. 12: "Vata'geid l'oviho" - Rashi comments that her mother was not living. The Ramban says that she told her father because HIS relative had come. When Rivka told her mother (24:28) it was because she was bedecked with jewellery, and this is the sort of matter that one shows her mother.
Ch. 29, v. 14: "Atzmi u'vsori" - The GR"A says that Lovon used this expression as per the gemara Niddah 31a that says that one's father, mother, and Hashem put different components into a child. Among the father's contributions is the skeletal system, and among the mother's is the flesh. Since Yaakov was a relative of Lovon paternally through Avrohom's father, and maternally through Milkoh the wife of Nochor, Lovon said that we are one FLESH AND BONE.
Ch. 29, v. 15: "Hachi ochi attoh - mah maskurtecho" - The Oznayim LaTorah says that Lovon saw after a month of Yaakov's labour that all was in order and nothing at all was missing. He could not fathom Yaakov working gratis. Obviously Yaakov was pilfering something. He said, "You are my brother in deceit. You are working gratis and I don't see a thing missing. Tell me how you, being my brother, my comrad in pursuit of money, plan to profit.
Ch. 29, v. 18: "Sheva shonim" - Rashi says this amount of time is the "yomim achodim" that his mother Rivka told him (27:44). Are seven years a few days? The Holy Chozeh of Lublin explains this with the Medrash 11:8. Shabbos came to Hashem and complained that every day of the week has a mate, Sunday has Monday, etc. However, I am left alone. Hashem responded that after the Torah will be given the bnei Yisroel will be Shabbos's mate. The word "yomim" means a year, as we find in Breishis 24:55 and in Vayikroh 25:29. Combining these two ideas, we can interpret "yomim achodim" as a YEAR of SINGLE days, or a year's worth of Shabbosos. A year of Shabbosos comes during the course of seven years.
Ch. 29, v. 19: "Tov TITI o'soh loch MITITI o'soh l'ish acheir" - I heard the following: If you take the "mispar koton" (a gematria system where all zeros are dropped, (i.e. shin = 300, drop the zeroes = 3) then TITI equals 9, and MITITI equals 13. Leah equals 9, while Rochel equals 13. Lovon told Yaakov, TITI = 13 = Leah, "o'soh loch," she is for you. However, MITITI = 13 = Rochel, "o'soh l'ish acheir," she is for someone else.
Ch. 29, v. 20: "K'yomim achodim" - The Baalei Tosfos and the Sforno ask that it should be just the reverse. Since he had such a great longing for Rochel, it should have seemed like much longer than seven years. They both answer that the verse is referring not to his longing, but rather to his attitude towards the deal he struck. He felt that Rochel was such an exceptional person that seven years of labour was like a few days. Possibly this is why the Torah says "b'ahavoso OSOH," with his love for HER. One who longs for someone else because of his own emotions, really just loves himself, and the other person is only the object with which he wants to make himself happy. Our verse is saying he appreciated HER, and seven years of labour therefore seemed like a small amount.
Ch. 29, v. 21: "Hovoh es ishti ki mollu yomoi v'ovoyoh ei'le'hoh" - The Parpro'os L'chochmoh says that if you take the gematria of the first letters of these words, they add up to Yaakov's age, 84 years.
Ch. 29, v. 26: "Lo YEI'O'SEH" - Shouldn't it say, "Lo na'a'seh," it IS not done, rather than "it WILL not be done?" The Medrash Rabboh 70:9, the Targum Yonoson ben Uziel, and Targum Yerushalmi say that at the time of the wedding, Lovon asked his friends how to keep Yaakov working for him, as Yaakov brought him tremendous success. They responded with the idea of switching daughters and then Lovon could request another seven years of labour for Rochel. When Yaakov took Lovon to task for switching wives, Lovon used the paltry excuse that the local custom is to not give the younger daughter for marriage before the older one. If this was truly the local custom, why did he originally agree to give Rochel? It would seem that there never was such a custom in Choron. Only now, when he switched daughters and had to find an excuse, did he say this. However, he didn't want to say a lie, as Yaakov could find out what was truly the prevailing custom. He therefore said, "lo YEI'O'SEH," in the future tense, that it WILL NOT BE DONE from this point onwards, as we have just initiated this custom as per the advice of my town's people.
Ch. 29, v. 26 "Lo'seis ha'tziroh lifnei habchiroh" - A bochur appeared before the Tshebiner Rov, Horav D.B. Weidenfeld, and enlisted his help in the pursuit of a shidduch. The Tshebiner Rov suggested a certain young lady. The bochur requested of the venerable Rov to supply him with a picture of the young lady. The Tchebiner Rov's wife was in an adjoining room and heard this request, which did not please her in the slightest. She came over to the bochur and in her Galicianer dialect said, "Loi yei'o'seh chein bimkomeini," this is not done in our place, " lo'seis ha'tziroh," to give the picture (tzuroh is pronounced tziroh in Galicianer dialect), "lifnei habchiroh," before meeting the "bochuroh" (bochiroh, young woman, in her dialect).
Ch. 29, v. 28: "Va'ya'as Yaakov kein" - And Yaakov agreed to work another seven years for Rochel. Everyone asks, "How could Yaakov marry two sisters? This is prohibited by the Torah in Vayikro 18:18. For this question to be viable it has to be established that Yaakov undertook to keep all the mitzvos of the Torah. The Mishnah K'dushin 82a and the gemara Yoma 28b only specifically state that Avrohom kept the Torah. A source is the Medrash Lekach Tov 32:14. On the words, "im Lovon GARTI" (32:4) the Medrash says, "v'TARYAG mitzvos shomarti." Garti and taryag each equal 613, indicating that Yaakov kept all the mitzvos of the Torah.
Some answers to our question are:
1) The Ramban on verses 26:5, Vayikro 18:25, and Dvorim 11:18, answers that the Ovos kept all the mitzvos in Eretz Yisroel, but not in chutz lo'oretz. Rabbenu Dovid miBaalei haTosfos answers the same.
2) The Ramban in the gemara Y'vomos 98a answers that they were considered non- Jews, and the Torah considers one's children as non-relatives, so the sisters were not considered siblings. The responsa of the Radba"z 2:696 answers the same. This rule is taken from a verse in Yechezkel 23:20.
3) The Ramban in Breishis 48:7 says that Yaakov promised to marry Rochel, and therefore had to keep his word. Similarly M'vRhRh"G Rabbi Y. Kamenecki explained that the fulfillment of the mitzvos of the Torah by the Ovos prior to the giving of the Torah, was in the category of a "midas chasidus," and not as an absolute requirement. If a moral issue stood in the way, their midas chasidus would not take precedence over hurting someone, as in our case, since Rochel would have been VERY hurt had she not ended up being married to Yaakov.
4) The Baalei Tosfos in Moshav Z'keinim answers that they were only patriarchal sisters, and before mattan Torah there was only matriarchal lineage. They were therefore not considered sisters.
5) They also answer that Rochel and Leah converted and were considered like newly born people, not having a halachic sibling relationship (see Y'vomos 22a).
6) They also answer that Yaakov had already made kiddushin, and therefore did not hesitate to complete the nisuin. The Maharsh"a in gemara Yoma 28b at the end of d.h. mitzvos says that the kiddushin was the labour of seven years.
7) The Trumas Ha'deshen answers that the Ovos kept the Torah only as far as the basic reasoning behind the mitzvah dictated. In our case the Sefer Chinuch mitzvah #206 says that the reason for the prohibition against marrying two sisters is that usually one's two wives compete for their husband's attention and are commonly at odds with each other. After the Torah was given, even if a prophet would advise that a certain pair of sisters could be married to one man and there would be no animosity between them, it would still be prohibited. However, for Yaakov this is permitted, as he knew that his two wives would not come to hate each other. The Nefesh Hachaim says the same in shaar 1, end of chapter 21.
8) The Rashb"oh in his responsa 1:94 answers this question in a purposely unclear and esoteric manner. The Ridba"z in his responsa 2:696 reluctantly explains the Rashb"oh. He follows the lead of the Rashb"oh and is also cryptic. He says that marrying two sisters is like making use of the King's sceptre. This is obviously not allowed. Yaakov, however, had his likeness etched onto the holy throne of Hashem. He may therefore use the King's sceptre.
Ch. 29, v. 34: "Koro shmo Levi" - Rashi quotes the Medrash Dvorim that says that Hashem sent the angel Gavriel to give the name Levi. In parshas Lech L'cho a question was raised. How many people in Tanach had their names predestined and told by Hashem or an angel what his/her name shall be? The Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer chapter 32 says six people had their names foretold before their birth: Yitzchok, Yishmoel, Moshe, Shlomo, Yoshiyohu, and Moshiach. Breishis Rabboh chapter 45 and Yerushalmi Brochos 1:6 list four of these six people. In parshas Toldos a Holy Zohar was mentioned (parshas Noach page 60) which says that Hashem gave Yaakov his name. Rashi 25:26 says the same. This raises a number of questions on the Yerushalmi Brochos. This will be discussed bezras Hashem in parshas Vayishlach. In Yeshayohu 9:5 the R'dak says that the name Sar Sholo-m was given before birth. If you have any more, please let me know.
Ch. 29, v. 35: "Vata'amode mi'le'des" - Why did Leah have a lapse in bearing children at the point where she gave such praise and thanks to Hashem? The Holy Chozeh of Lublin quotes a gemara Brochos 54a that says that one should give thanks for the past and raise his voice in prayer for the future. Although Leah was very thankful, she didn't pray for the future, and therefore stopped bearing children for a while. This is probably the source for the well-known phrase, "Di Oibershter zol helfen veiter," may Hashem continue to help us in the FUTURE.
Ch. 30, v. 1: "Ki lo yoldoh L'YAAKOV va't'ka'nei" - 1) Why suddenly after Leah had given birth to her fourth child did Rochel notice that she was still barren? 2) Isn't the word "L'Yaakov" superfluous? 3) Why was Rochel jealous just now? I heard that up to this point Leah had given names to her sons which indicated a cementing of her relationship with her husband. Rochel's seeing Leah relegate her births to this level brought on no jealousy. However, with the birth of Yehudoh, the great level of thanks that Leah gave to Hashem brought Rochel to jealousy. Read the verse as follows and all three questions are answered: "And Rochel saw that LEAH did not give birth TO YAAKOV, (as she had in the previous births as indicated by the names, but rather she gave birth to thank Hashem). Only now did Rochel become jealous of her sister.
Ch. 30, v. 3: "Hi'nei amosi" - Rashi in verse 2 and in this verse relates a dialogue between Rochel and Yaakov. (R) Why don't you pray that I have children, as your father Yitzchok prayed? (Y) My father was also childless, so he prayed. I am not childless. You are. (R) But your grandfather prayed for his wife Soroh to have children even though he had a son from Hogor. (Y) He prayed for my grandmother Soroh because she willingly brought another woman into the household (Hogor). (R) If that's what is holding you back, here is my maidservant Bilhoh. This is most puzzling. Does Rochel have to introduce Bilhoh to have this merit? She did MUCH more than Soroh did. Soroh brought in a maidservant who remained but a maidservant, and only for procreation. Rochel gave over her signs to Leah, allowing her to become a full-fledged WIFE of Yaakov and even risked his wrath by her complying with the ruse. She might have been rejected and never become his wife. Do we need more merit than this? There is a very clear and logical answer to this. I await your response.
Ch. 30, v. 18: "Asher nosati shifchosi" - The Baalei Tosfos in Moshav Z'keinim ask, "Shouldn't Leah have said, "asher nosati dudo'im la'achosi?" They answer that both merits combined and brought about the reward of her giving birth to Yisochor. They add that because of the two reasons, she merited "SOCHOR" (reward) twice, and that is why Yisochor is spelled with two letters "sin." We only pronounce one "sin." The Daas Z'keinim gives us two reasons for this. A simple look at any Chumash with the n'kudos (vowels) shows that the first "sin" is pronounced. Besides the printer of our Chumashim, do you have any proof of which "sin" is pronounced? It is a b'feirishe Rashi. I await a response. Where is this Rashi and which "sin" does he say is pronounced?
Ch. 31, v. 20: "Al bli higid lo ki vo'rei'ach hu" - Assuming that the word "bo'rei'ach" means to flee by surprise, how could Yaakov have told Lovon this? It should say "holeich" and not "bo'rei'ach." The Holy Alshich answers that Lovon was keenly aware of Yaakov's discontent and feared that Yaakov might flee. Since his guard was up, it was difficult for Yaakov to escape. Yaakov decided to complain to Lovon often, and threatened to flee for even the most minor matter. This lowered Lovon's guard since Lovon figured that someone who is really planning to flee would not clearly tell him so, and surely not so often. Indeed, Lovon fell for Yaakov's plan. Read our verse, "al bli," for nothing, even for an insignificant matter, "higid lo ki vo'rei'ach hu," Yaakov threatened to flee, thus lowering Lovon's guard.
Ch. 31, v. 43: "V'chol asher attoh ro'eh li hu" - What did Lovon add with these words? I heard the following: Lovon told Yaakov that he had become a very good student of Lovon, as he was running away with propety to which Lovon had a claim. Lovon added that, "All that you see, your view of lust for possessions, "li hu'" is my outlook. You have learned FROM ME to become a swindler and a thief."
Ch. 31, v. 47: "Y'gar so'ha'du'soh" - These words are Aramaic, also known as Sursi. How many words in the Torah can you list that Rashi says are of Aramaic extract? How many of ANY foreign extract?
FEEL FREE TO DISTRIBUTE BY COPY OR ELECTRONICALLY. TO SUBSCRIBE, SEND REQUEST TO: SHOLOM613@AOL.COM FEEDBACK IS APPRECIATED. A GUTTEN SHABBOS KODESH.
Back to this week's parsha | Previous Issues
This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Permission is granted to redistribute electronically or on paper,
provided that this notice is included intact.