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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 29, v. 1: "Va'yiso Yaakov raglov va'yeilech" - "Va'yiso ...... raglov" seems superfluous, since it is obvious that one has to lift his feet to walk. Perhaps since he had just merited to have "kfitzas haderech," a miraculous feat of quick transportation (28:11), the verse now stresses that on his next trip he did not have "kfitzas haderech" and had to lift his feet to travel.

Ch. 29, v. 5: "Lovon ben Nochor" - Wasn't Lovon the son of B'su'eil? The Trumas Ha'deshen in his responsa 1:21 says that if a person has a father who is an evil man, a rosho, this person should be called up to the Torah by his name, son of his grandfather, leaving out the father's name. He brings a proof from our verse where Yaakov asked for Lovon the son of Nochor, rather than the son of B'su'eil.

The Moshav Z'keinim answers that since Lovon lived in Choron which was called "Ir Nochor" (Breishis 24:10), Yaakov was not calling him "Lovon the son of the man named Nochor," but rather "Lovon who resides in the city of Nochor," as we find the expression "ben ir" (mishneh in gemara Megiloh 19a), one who resides in a city.

Ch. 29, v. 13: "Va'y'hi chishmo'a Lovon es sheima Yaakov ben achoso va'yorotz likroso" - The M.R. 70:13 says that Lovon thought that Yaakov was weighed down with money. However, Yaakov advised Lovon that he had a load of words, much to tell him. Lovon then responded with, "Ach atzmi u'v'sori otoh" (verse 14).

This medrash is explained by the Holy Admor of Modzitz, Rabbi Yisroel Taub. When a tzadik makes an appearance in a community, everyone comes running to him in the hope of receiving a blessing for wealth. However, when they become aware of his being loaded with words of Torah and ethical admonition (mussor), they respond by saying, " 'Ach atzmi u'v'sori otoh,' - Who are you to give me admonition? After all, you are just bone and flesh, like any other human being."

Ch. 29, v. 13 "Va'y'sa'peir l'Lovon es kol hadvorim ho'eileh" - Rashi tells us that Yaakov related to Lovon that he had come with much money and gifts, but was accosted by Elifaz who took it all away from him. This is alluded to in the letters of the words, "es kol hadvorim ho'eileh." Each letter stands for a word, as follows: Al Tomar Ki Lo Heiveisi Dovor. B'rove R'chush Yotzosi Mibeisi. Holach Elifaz Lokach Hakol. (Gan Yoseif)

Ch. 29, v. 22: "Va'ye'esof Lovon es kol anshei hamokom va'yaas mishteh" - The M.R. 70:17 says that Lovon told the people of his community that it was well known that there was no potable water in the vicinity and people had to go quite a distance to fetch potable water. However, upon Yaakov's living among them, the nearby water improved in his merit and became drinkable. Lovon told the people that if Yaakov were to now marry Rochel he would leave their community and return to the land of Canaan and the water would then revert to its previous undrinkable quality. He said that he had a trick up his sleeve. He planned to switch Leah for Rochel, and knowing that Yaakov had a great desire to marry Rochel, he would undoubtedly agree to work an additional seven years for her. This would insure the community safe drinking water for at least another seven years.

However, Lovon told the people that he needed their cooperation in not letting out the secret to Yaakov. To insure the success of this plan he demanded a monetary deposit which would be returned if no one leaked the secret to Yaakov. The people agreed, and with this money Lovon financed his daughter's wedding feast. However, he never returned the money to his wedding guests. (Possibly there was a printing mistake on the wedding invitation and instead of "reception" it should have read "deception.") From where is this happening derived?

The Eitz Yoseif on M.R. and the Shaar Bas Rabim answer that the verse should have said that Lovon first prepared a wedding meal and afterwards invited the people, rather than saying he invited the people first and then prepared a wedding meal. This indicates that only after the people were invited was Lovon able to have the meal prepared.

Ch. 29, v. 25: "Va'y'hi vaboker v'hinei HEE Leah" - The M.R. 70:17 relates the following dialogue between Yaakov and Leah upon Yaakov's discovery the next morning that he had been duped into having Leah in place of Rochel: Yaakov said, "Deceitful daughter of a deceitful father, why did you fool me?" Leah responded, "Is there an educator who has no students? I likewise am your student. You tricked your father into believing that you were Eisov. I likewise learned from you to falsely represent myself as someone else." From where does the M.R. know that this conversation took place? The Tiferes Tzion says that it can be assumed that Yaakov did not take this event complacently, and upon accusing Leah it can also be assumed that she in turn used a logical defence.

However, Rabbi Eliezer Chaim Deutsch, Raava"d of Banihad, Hungary says that this M.R. is alluded to in the word HEE. (In parshas Breishis 5759 it was mentioned that every time the word HEE is found in the Torah it is spelled Hei-VOV-Alef, save eleven places. Rabbi Ovadioh of Bartenuroh says that since HEE is spelled with a VOV, the same as the word HU, meaning HE, there must be an element of secondary male connotation as well. He applies this to 25:21, "Ki akoroh HEE," and says that the verse alludes to Yitzchok's also being barren.) Read the verse as follows: "And it was in the morning and behold HE (Yaakov) was Leah," meaning that the above conversation took place and Yaakov's accusation that Leah was a deceitful person ended with "HU Leah," Yaakov was shown that he himself was Leah, having also perpetrated a similar deceitful act.

Ch. 30, v. 3: "Hinei BilHoH amosi" - The B'eir Mayim Chaim, Rabbi Chaim of Tchernovitz, says in the name of the Ari z"l that our Patriarchs and Matriarchs who were barren required a letter Hei which represents "Hiroyone," pregnancy, in their names to be able to reproduce. The original Avrom and Sorei were lacking this letter, but after their names were changed to AvroHom and SoroH they had Yitzchok, as the M.R. in parshas Lech L'cho (44:12) says, "Avrom and Sorai will not reproduce, but AvroHom and SoroH will reproduce."

This is alluded to in the verse "HEI lochem zera" (Breishis 47:23). If you have a letter Hei then "lochem zera," you will have offspring.

RivkoH had a Hei in her name, although Yitzchok did not. (Perhaps Yitzchok had no difficulty in reproducing and only Rivkoh did. According to Rabbi Ovadioh of Bartenuroh who writes in parshas Toldos (25:21) that Yitzchok was also barren, possibly this is why it required extreme supplication to have children. Another possible answer might be that Yitzchok had a letter Hei since his original soul before the Akeidoh was that of RivkoH, as mentioned in the Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh in parshas Va'yeiroh (18:14). Yaakov was not barren as he immediately had children through Leah.)

LeaH, BilHoH, and ZilpoH all had the letter Hei in their names. However Rochel had no letter Hei in her name and was barren. She therefore told Yaakov, "'Hinei BilHoH amosi.' Take my maidservant BilHoH who has two letters Hei in her name and procreate through her. In this merit the power to procreate through the second letter Hei of her name will hopefully be transferred to me and we will have children."

Ch. 30, v. 11: "Bogod" - Rashi mentions that Gad was born circumcised. How many people mentioned in Tanach were born circumcised? Source each one.

Ch. 31, v. 19: "Vatignove Rochel es hatrofim" - Why did Rochel steal her father's idols? Wasn't it obvious that he would replace them? The Moshav Z'keinim quotes the Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer chapter #36 which tells us about an occult procedure which Lovon did that enabled his idols to speak. Rochel feared that her father Lovon might speak to the idols and find out from them that Yaakov and his whole entourage had run away from Lovon's home. She therefore stole them.

Ch. 31, v. 23: "Va'yirdof acharov derech shivas yomim" - There are numerous parallels between Yaakov's escape from the home of Lovon and the exodus from Egypt. One example is that the Egyptians and Lovon caught up to those whom they pursued on the seventh day. How many more parallels can you find?

Ch. 31, v. 40: "HO'YISI va'yom acholani chorev v'kerach balayloh" - The word HO'YISI seems to be totally superfluous. The Dubner Magid explains the verse in T'hilim 31:13 which says "Nishkachti k'meis mi'leiv HO'YISI kichli oveid" with a story. A poor man attended a festive meal at which absolutely no one paid attention to him. A silver fork went missing and after a thorough search did not turn it up, our poor man came under great suspicion. The poor man responded, "Nishkachti k'meis mi'leiv," - I have been totally ignored. I was not even given a place card, or a seat, and was also not served any food.

However, "HO'YISI," I suddenly came into existence, "kichli oveid," when a piece of cutlery went missing.

We find the same with Avimelech saying (26:16), "Go away from us because you have greatly strengthened FROM (beyond) us, "MEI'IMONU." The M.R. 64:7 says that Avimelech claimed that Yitzchok's success came from Avimelech, MEI'IMONU. Avimelech was blind to the gains he received from Yitzchok. In Shmos 1:7 we find that the bnei Yisroel strengthened,"Vayaatzmu," and Paroh's response was also, "Rav v'otzum MI'MENU," - They became strong through us, by siphoning off our wealth. Paroh paid no heed to the great contributions of the bnei Yisroel.

This is repeated throughout history, even to our present day, where the contributions of Yidden are glossed over quite often. They are not given privileges equal to those of other citizens, but when it comes to taxation they are HO'YISI, a very noticeable presence. Where I live municipal tax money goes to the separate (Catholic) school system, but to no other parochial school system, even for the secular studies portion of the curriculum. Although the U.N. recently proclaimed that this is an abuse of human rights, our government pays no heed.

We find the same in our parsha with the sons of Lovon saying "Lokach Yaakov KOL asher l'ovinu." These ingrates even owed their existence to Yaakov, as Rashi points out that before Yaakov came to Lovon he was not blessed with sons, and only through the merit of Yaakov did he have sons, let alone the monetary benefits which accrued to Lovon through the merit of Yaakov as well.

This is what Yaakov bemoans with HO'YISI. When it came to appreciating the gains that I brought to Lovon, I was a non-entity. When was I an entity? HO'YISI, I sprung into existence, when it came to guarding Lovon's livestock and being consumed by the heat of the day, and freezing by the cold of the night. (Gan Yoseif)

Ch. 31, v. 52: "Eid hagal ha'zeh" - The Moshav Z'keinim brings in the name of Rabbi Moshe ben Rabbi Shneur that Rabbi Shlomo ben Rabbi Avrohom taught that wherever we find in Tanach a covenant which includes the term EID, a witness, even if that witness is an inanimate object, it will serve as an instrument of punishment for the party who transgresses his commitment. He brings a proof from Yehoshua 24:27 where Yehoshua made a covenant with the bnei Yisroel to not forsake Hashem and said that a certain rock should serve as a monument for this covenant. The rock was not only a monument but also would be used to stone to death a person who would transgress.

Rabbi Shlomo ben Rabbi Avrohom was bothered by the gemara Sanhedrin 105a which says that Lovon was one and the same as Bilom. Bilom transgressed his commitment to not attempt to do harm to the bnei Yisroel when at the bidding of Bolok he went to curse the bnei Yisroel. Yet we do not find that he was punished through the medium of the object which served as a witness to the covenant.

After being perplexed and pained with this difficulty for a while he had a dream that in the Medrash Breishis Zuta a small booklet was found which said that besides piling up stones to create a small monumental hill, a sword was jabbed into the hill and also left as part of the monument. Indeed, when Bilom was on his way to Bolok he had his leg smashed against a fence (Bmidbar 22:24). Rashi comments that when no specific indication is given as to the material of a fence, we may assume that it is a stone fence. Why does Rashi bother telling us this? The answer is that we have the rule of Rabbi Shlomo ben Rabbi Avrohom as above. Rashi is telling us that this fence of stones is the original stone hill that was a monument to the treaty struck between Yaakov and Lovon, a.k.a. Bilom.

As well, we find in Bmidbar 31:8, "V'eis Bilom ben B'ore horgu BECHOREV,"

Bilom was killed by Pinchos with THE sword, and not "b'chorev," with A sword. This refers to a specific sword, the one that was plunged into the monument.

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