by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS VA'YEITZEI 5761 BS"D
L'ILUY NISHMAS OVI MORI R' CHAIM B"R SIMCHOH Z"L HK"M
Ch, 28, v.10: "Va'yeitzei Yaakov miB'eir Shova va'yeilech Choronoh" - Yaakov did not return home until after spending 14 years in Yeshivas Eiver, and 22 years travelling and living in the home of Lovon. The gemara Megiloh 16a says that we can derive that Torah study is greater than honouring one's parents, since Yaakov was punished by having his son Yoseif missing for twenty-two years, the same number of years that he was away from his parents in pursuit of a marriage partner and staying with his father-in-law Lovon. However, for the fourteen years that he spent in Yeshivas Eiver he was not punished. This must be because Torah study is so paramount that it engenders no punishment although it involves being away from one's parents. The responsa Chasam Sofer Ch.M. #9 asks, "How is this conclusive? Perhaps honouring one's parents is greater than Torah study, and Yaakov was punished for the fourteen years he spent in Yeshivas Eiver. However, he wasn't punished for the fourteen years that he had to labour for Lovon to be able to marry Rochel and Leah, and the mitzvoh of being fruitful, "p'ru ur'vu," is greater than honouring one's parents." He answers that theoretically Yaakov could have fulfilled the mitzvoh of "p'ru ur'vu" at home and thus remain with his parents. He actually left because of his mother's command to leave for fear of coming in harm's way through Eisov. This was his own doing as he wrested the blessings from Eisov. He was therefore partially accountable for having to leave. Therefore he deserved some measure of punishment for being away all those years. However, when it came to learning Torah, the opportunity to learn under the tutelage of Eiver only presented itself in Eiver's Yeshiva, thus necessitating Yaakov to go there, and he deserved no punishment for this. We can now conclude that Torah study is greater than honouring one's parents.
Rashi (M.R. 66:8) says that the departure of a righteous person from a community empties it of its majesty, splendour, and glory, "ponoh hodoh, ponoh zivoh, ponoh hadoroh." We have an earlier instance of Avrohom leaving a community (12:4), yet Chaza"l make no mention of this concept there. Why have they waited until Yaakov's departure?
1) The Chasam Sofer answers that when Avrohom and his family departed there was no one left over in the community to appreciate the aura of sanctity that Avrohom created, hence it left no imprint. However here, when Yaakov left B'eir Sheva his parents remained behind. They were of a stature that they sorely felt the loss of Yaakov's aura of sanctity.
2) The Kli Yokor gives an answer that is the reverse of the Chasam Sofer's answer. The Torah need not mention by Avrohom's departure that the atmosphere created by the righteous person was felt, as when he and his family left there was a total spiritual vacuum. Even when Yaakov left, and Yitzchok and Rivkoh remained it was also felt.
3) The Minchas Yehudoh answers that it was obvious when Avrohom left that the spiritual impact was felt, as he had a vast amount of livestock, thus necessitating having hired workers. He was a "machnis o'rei'ach" par excellence. He had a large kiruv Yeshiva for men and for women. Obviously, when he left it was strongly felt. Chaza"l tell us that even when Yaakov, who spent his days and nights learning on his own and not coming into contact with many people, left the community, it was also felt.
4) Possibly another answer might be that it was obviously felt when Avrohom left, as he left a community in chutz lo'oretz, which had no sanctity of its own. This point is only stressed here when Yaakov departed from B'eir Sheva, a city within Eretz Yisroel, which had an atmosphere of sanctity, and even in B'eir Sheva the tzadik's leaving was felt.
Rashi (M.R. 66:8) says that the departure of a righteous person from a community empties it of its majesty, splendour, and glory, "ponoh hodoh, ponoh zivoh, ponoh hadoroh." Lekach Tov says that mathematically, if we remove Yaakov, Yud-Ayin-Kuf-Beis = 182, from B'eir Sheva, Beis-Alef-Reish-Shin-Beis Ayin = 575, then we are left with (575-182=) 393. This number equals "Ponoh hodoh, zivoh, v'hadoroh."
A question is raised on the question of why both the departure and the destination of Yaakov are mentioned. Since we know that Yaakov did not embark directly to Choron, but rather, first went to the Yeshiva of Eiver, we can simply say that "Va'yeitzei" refers to his leaving B'eir Sheva on his way to Yeshivas Eiver, and "va'yeilech" refers to his trip from the Yeshiva to Choron fourteen years later. The Maharsh"o in his commentary to gemara Megiloh 17a says that Yeshivas Shem and Eiver was situated in B'eir Sheva! Thus the departure from B'eir Sheva took place fourteen years later and was directly to his destination in Choron. With this chidush he answers a difficulty he has with the gemara Chulin 91b, which discusses Yaakov's travels and the dream of the ladder. The Maharsh"o adds that Yaakov's being secluded in Yeshivas Eiver for fourteen years in B'eir Sheva is alluded to in the letters of the word "B'eir Sheva," Beis-Alef-Reish-Shin-Beis-Ayin. These letters can form the words "Eiver Arba Osor." He continues by saying that the gemara Yoma 28b says that Yitzchok in his old age had a Yeshiva in which he studied. From the letters of "MiB'eir Shova" of our verse we can extract "Shem Eiver Av," the Yeshivas Shem v'Eiver and his father's Yeshiva. If you wonder why he went to the Yeshiva of Eiver rather than his own father's, it would simply seem that he would be able to hide from the fury of his brother Eisov at Yeshivas Eiver much better than at his father's Yeshiva. However, a most wonderful explanation for this question is found in the Emes L'Yaakov. The Moshav Z'keinim on Breishis 29:1 clearly states that Yeshivas Shem v'Eiver was located in Har heKedem (Aram), as indicated in that verse. Although this seems to deal a blow to the opinion of the Maharsh"o, the Moshav Z'keinim himself on 37:1 brings an opinion that Yeshivas Shem v'Eiver was located in B'eir Sheva. As well, the Maaglei Tzedek writes that the medrash says that Yeshivas Shem v'Eiver was indeed located in B'eir Sheva.
Ch. 28, v. 11: "Va'yikach mei'avnei hamokome" - In the M.R. 68:11 Rabbi Nechemioh says that Yaakov took 3 stones. They allude to Avrohom, Yitzchok, and Yaakov. Perhaps since Yaakov was at the location of the future Bo'tei Mikdosh, he took three stones to also allude to the three Bo'tei Mikdosh that would be built on this site.
Ch. 28, v. 14: "V'hoyoh zaracho kaafar ho'oretz" - The blessing of being like sand of the earth is that although the sand is trodden upon, it eventually covers over all those who trod upon it. Similarly, the bnei Yisroel suffer at the hands of many nations, but in the end they will outlive those who have persecuted them. (Tzror Hamor)
Ch. 28, v. 16: "Va'yikatz Yaakov mishnoso" - The M.R. 69:7 says that mishnoso" is very similar phonetically to "mimishnoso," indicating that Yaakov was always studying Torah. Rabbi Sho'ul Moshe Zilberman, a student of the Avnei Nezer, and a phenomenally diligent Torah learner, "masmid otzum," interpreted the words of the M.R. to indicate that even when one falls asleep out of utter exhaustion from his Torah studies, the excitement of learning Torah should be such that it wakes him up and he should not be able to have a lengthy restful sleep. This is "Va'yikatz Yaakov mimishnoso." How appropriate are these words for Rabbi S.M. Zilberman. The Avnei Nezer told him numerous times to get more sleep, and that if he wouldn't do so, he would likely pay for it with ill health. Rabbi Zilberman did not heed his Rebbi's words, and admitted that he paid a dear price in health in his later years.
Ch. 28, v. 22: "V'chole asher ti'ten li a'ser asrenu loch" - Rabbi Sholom Noach Brezevski zt"l, the Holy Admor of Slonim and author of N'sivas Sholom, writes that we see from the words "v'chole asher ti'ten li" that one is responsible to tithe not only from his physical income, but also from all gifts that Hashem bestows upon him, i.e. wisdom and unique talents. Indeed, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein says that although many bnei Torah are too poor to give a tenth of their meager income for charity, that no way exonerates them from spending a tenth of their available time teaching Torah for free to those who are impoverished in Torah knowledge.
Rabbi Nachamon or Rabbi Acha bar Yaakov in the gemara K'suvos 50a says that we derive from our verse that even if one is very generous with giving charity, he should not squander more than a fifth of his possessions. This is derived from the double expression "a'ser asrenu," indicating a double tenth = a fifth. "A'ser asrenu," is numerically equal to "Zehu ham'vazbeiz al y'vazbeiz yo'seir micho'mesh." (Mimaynos Ha'netzach)
The Shitoh M'kubetzes on the above gemara asks why the verse didn't state this concept by saying that a fifth would be given. Why is it expressed as a tenth and a tenth? (It seems that by expressing it in tenths the verse indicates that the basic amount to be given is a tenth, and that only one who is very generous should give up to a fifth.) He answers that the verse thus alludes to the opinion of the Rambam mentioned in his commentary on Pirkei Ovos 3:15, "V'hakole l'fi rove hamaa'seh." The Rambam says that if one has 1,000 "zuzim" to give to charity, it is preferable for him to give the coins one at a time, thus giving 1,000 times, over giving all the money in one go. This is because the repetitive act of giving effects the person positively, making him more caring. Therefore our verse mentions the giving of a fifth in stages.
Ch. 30, v. 27: "Va'y'voracheini Hashem biGLO'LECHO" - Rabbeinu Efrayim says that this means that Lovon admitted that he had a blessing ever since Yaakov ROLLED the stone off the mouth of the well in 29:10, "VA'YO'GEL es ho'evven mei'al pi ha'b'eir."
Ch. 30, v. 30: "Ki M'AT asher hoyoh l'cho" - The M.R. 73:8 says that Lovon had only 70 sheep when Yaakov came!
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