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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 28, v. 18: "Va'yikach es ho'evven" - And he took the stone - Rashi (gemara Chulin 91a) says that Yaakov placed a few stones around his head and they fused into one stone. This is clearly indicated by the word "ho'evven," the stone singular, of our verse. Tosfos says that on a simple level we can say that he took a stone from among the stones that were available, and we can avoid saying that they fused.

Zera Boruch, in his commentary on the gemara M'nochos 22a says that Rashi's explanation is grounded in halacha. The gemara there says that one should only take stones that were never utilized for any other purpose to build an altar. If so, how could Yaakov use the stones that he had used to protect his head as an altar? If you were to answer that this halacha is only a first choice, but if one used a used stone it is also acceptable, a difficulty still remains. Why should Yaakov use a used stone when other unused ones were available? However, if we say that he assembled all the stones that were present in the area and they fused into one stone, then he had no other choice than to use this stone.

We might be able to avoid this problem completely by offering that although by placing the stones around his head, Yaakov derived benefit from them, they were nevertheless not considered "used" because he did not lie upon them. He just moved them from one place to another. Alternatively, the fused stones are a new creation, "ponim chadoshos," and the status of a used stone has departed. (See responsa Chasam Sofer O.Ch. #40 and Toras Moshe al haTorah)

Ch. 29, v. 1: "Va'yiso Yaakov raglov" - And Yaakov lifted his feet - Rashi explains that these words stress Yaakov's alacrity and ease of travel. Mish'k'nos Yaakov interprets this in exactly the opposite manner, that he went with difficulty. Here he was at such a holy place. Leaving it to "artzoh vnei Kedem" was an extreme effort.

Ch. 29, v. 6,9: "Rochel bito bo'OH, v'Rochel BO'oh" - His daughter Rachel has come, And Rochel is coming - Rashi differentiates between the two words "bo'oh." The earlier has the accent on the final syllable, on the letter Alef, and is in the past tense, while the second "bo'oh" has the accent on the first syllable, on the letter Beis, and is in the present tense. Note that in the earlier verse we find that Rochel is described as "his daughter," "bito," while this is left out in verse 9.

A novel allusion: The shepherds did not appreciate Rochel's innate modesty and considered her a product of her father Lovon. She is "bito" and the stress is on the Alef, meaning learning. She learned from his negative traits and she is not modest. Eliezer saw the true Rochel in verse 9, with the accent on the Beis. She was a shepherdess, as at that time Lovon had no sons to shepherd his sheep. However, her nature was one of modesty, to stay at home, accent on the Beis=Bayis, "hataam l'maloh," she was imbued with the flavour of elevation, modesty. Rochel is not to be considered "bito." (Nirreh li)

Ch. 29, v. 31: "Ki snu'oh Leah" - That Leah is hated - Raava"d in Baa'lei Nefesh asks how Yaakov had relations with Leah if he hated her. The gemara N'dorim 20b says that one is prohibited to have relations with his wife if he hates her. He answers that "snu'oh" is to be understood as not loved as much as Rochel. Rada"k in Sefer Hashoroshim entry Alef-Yud-Beis says the same.

Chidushei Gaonim, a commentary on Ein Yaakov answers that "snu'oh" does mean hated by Yaakov. Rather, it refers to her relationship with Eisov. People said that Eisov, the older of the two brothers, would marry Leah, the older of the two sisters. Leah cried so profusely that her eyes became "rakos," swollen. When Eisov heard that Leah so passionately suffered from the thought of becoming his wife, she became hated to him, and in this merit Hashem blessed Leah with immediately conceiving.

Ch. 30, v. 1: "Hovoh li vonim v'im ayin meisoh onochi" - Give me children and if not I am dead - The gemara Kidushin 30b says that if the evil inclination pushes one to sin, he should drag him to the Beis Hamidrash, and then offers step-by-step options until the final one of reminding oneself of the final calling of all mankind, to die.

Women do not have the merit of fighting off the evil inclination through their own Torah study, as they do not have this mitzvoh. However, the gemara says that women have the merit of Torah study by virtue of bringing their children to study Torah.

This was Rochel's intention. Give me children that I may bring to study Torah. Otherwise I am only left with the option of "meisoh onochi." (Yofoh L'keitz)

Ch. 30, v. 23: "Osaf Elokim es cherposi" - Elokim has collected my shame - Rashi (M.R.) explains that by having given birth to a son Rochel could now blame her son for a broken dish or for some missing figs. (Please note that the intention isn't that she would say a lie ch"v. Rashi says that the questioner would ask, "Who broke this vessel," and himself would go on to say "binCHO," not that she would respond "bnI." She would leave it at that, allowing the questioner to assume that it was her son. Nirreh li)

The Pri M'godim on Sh.O. O.Ch. #560 Mish'btzos #4 writes in the name of Eliyohu Raboh that the custom of breaking a vessel at a "tno'im" celebration is proper, as it tones down the merry-making and brings people to think of the destroyed Sanctuary. However, he writes that it is only proper under the "chupoh," as per the reasons cited by the Eliyohu Raboh, but at a "tno'im" it only tones down the merry-making and is considered "bal tash'chis," wanton wasting. If one wants to tone it down, only a partially broken vessel should be used at a "tno'im," and not a complete one.

Based on the M.R. Rashi cites we can say that the breaking of the vessel at a "tno'im" is an omen for the blessing of bearing children and having someone upon whom to pin broken dishes, etc. and is not to be considered wasteful. (Pardes Yoseif)

Agra D'vei Hilula writes in the name of the Holy Baal Shem Tov that it is the custom to break an earthenware vessel at a "t'no'im," the finality of its destruction being symbolic of the irrevocability of the terms of the "tno'im," and to break a glass under the "chupoh," symbolic of the ability to bring a marriage to an end through a divorce.

The Tzla"ch in his commentary on the gemara Brochos 20 writes that the breaking of a glass is symbolic of the human condition. Just as broken glass can be heated and reconstructed, so too, a person who feels broken of spirit because of his sins can be spiritually reconstructed through contrition and teshuvoh.

Ch. 31, v. 1: "Lokach Yaakov eis kol asher l'ovinu u'mei'asher l'ovinu ossoh eis kol hakovode ha'zeh" - Yaakov has taken all that was our father's and from what belongs to our father he has amassed all these possessions - There is an obvious contradiction in their words. Lovon's sons first claim that Yaakov took ALL Lovon's possessions and then immediately say that "FROM what belongs to our father," but not all of his property, he amassed his wealth. Secondly, how did they have the audacity to claim that Yaakov took everything, since Lovon was left with numerous sheep that were not speckled, banded, etc.?

Lovon's sons had two independent grievances. Firstly, they complained not about physical property, but intellectual property. Lovon was the king of swindlers. No one could stand up to him. If you shook his hand you would be well advised to count your fingers afterwards. They complained that Lovon was now bereft of this skill. Not only had Lovon met his match, but Yaakov was been such a successful student that he left his teacher behind in the dust, swindling him out of a fortune.

Lovon was unable to protect himself from Yaakov, they claimed. This is "lokach Yaakov eis KOL." They also complained about the perceived loss of a fortune, but not all, of Lovon's property. This is "mei'asher l'ovinu." (Kli Yokor)



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

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