by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS VA'YEITZEI 5776 BS"D
Ch. 28, v. 10: "Va'yeitzei Yaakov miB'eir" - The numerical value of these words is that of "ponoh zivoh pinoh hodoh hadoroh," as per the M.R. 68:6. (Baal Haturim)
Ch. 28, v. 11: "Va'yifga bamokome va'yo'len shom" - The Sforno explains that "bamokome," - in THE place, refers to an area designated for passersby to sleep. This was common in most communities and was often an area that was in the street. This was the intention of the angels who came to S'dome, refused Lote's offer of hospitality, and said, "Ki vorchove nolin," - in the street, meaning the place set aside for passersby. Similarly, we find this by the story of pi'legesh b'Givoh, "Rak borchove al tolin" (Shoftim 19:20).
Ch. 28, v. 22: "A'seir asrenu loch" - The gemara K'suvos 50a and 67b says that in the city of Usha it was instituted that even if one is very generous and gives more that a tenth of his income to charity, he should not give more than a fifth for fear that he will fall upon hard times and himself become a public ward. Thus just before one's death he is permitted to bequeath even more. The figure of one fifth is derived from the double expression "a'seir asrenu," a tenth and a tenth.
The Shitoh M'kubetzes on K'subos 50a brings a medrash in parshas B'har that derives from the verse in T'hilim 112:9, "Pizar nosan lo'evyonim tzidkoso omeddes lo'ad," that even if one distributed more than a fifth of his income to the poor, he has done nothing wrong, as Hashem will surely replenish his shortfall. To answer this seeming contradiction the Shitoh M'kubetzes answers that the charity mentioned in the medrash was to further Torah study, and not for destitute people. He says that this difference is actually indicated by Rashi on our gemara who comments that the generosity beyond a fifth that is prohibited is for the poor, indicating that there might be another purpose for which it is permitted.
This opinion is also voiced in the words of the Targum on Shir Hashirim chapter #8: "If one spends all his money to enable him to acquire Torah wisdom in 'golus,' Hashem will repay him doubly in the world to come."
The Rambam in his commentary on mishnayos Pei'oh chapter #1 writes that it is a "midas chasidus" to expend beyond a fifth of one's income for charity. This requires reconciliation with the gemara K'subos.
The Holy Baal Hatanya writes in I'gerres Hakodesh that since a person would be willing to spend more than a fifth of his income for medical modalities to heal himself physically, he may surely do so when dispensing charity as part of his teshuvoh process.
The Shitoh M'kubetzes says in the name of the students of Rabbeinu Yonah of Gerona that the prohibition to give more than a fifth is limited to giving it in one go, but to give up to a fifth in one go and then later giving smaller amounts according to one's means, even though in total it will add up to more than a fifth, is permitted.
He also adds that even though one is permitted to give more than a fifth close to his death, one should not give everything away, as it is appropriate to leave some possessions to be inherited by one's heirs.
Ch. 29, v. 2: "V'ho'evven g'doloh al pi hab'eir" - The Rashbam suggests that the stone was placed there as a safeguard that no one should accidentally fall into the well.
Ch. 29, v. 18: "B'Rochel bitcho haktanoh" - Yaakov was exceedingly specific in pointing out which of Lovon's daughters he wanted as his wife. When Lovon made the switch, what did he have in mind in order to save face and not be considered an outright liar? The Rosh answers in the name of Rabbi Dan Ashkenazi that Rochel's being a "y'fas to'ar" (verse 17) refers to her being tall. She was taller than Leah. Yaakov feared that Lovon might change Leah's name to Rochel, motivating him to give the other identifying features of "bitcho" and "haktanoh" as well. His fear was realized, as Lovon did change Leah's name to Rochel. When taken to task, Lovon said that he understood "haktanoh" to mean the shorter one, the original Leah. That is why he said, "Lo yei'o'seh chein bimkomeinu lo'seis haTZIROH lifnei habchiroh" (verse 26). He was careful to say "the YOUNGER," indicating that this was why he understood Yaakov's word "haktanoh" to mean the "smaller one" rather than the "younger one," as it was not the custom to have a younger daughter marry before an older daughter. He claimed that had Yaakov meant the younger daughter he should have said "hatziroh."
Ch. 29, v. 23,28: "Va'yikach es Leah vito, Va'yi'ten lo es Rochel" - Yaakov TOOK Leah. However, in verse 28 it says that he (Lovon) GAVE Rochel his daughter to him (Yaakov).
To explain the "give" and "take" perhaps we can simply say that since Yaakov had already worked for 7 years as payment for marrying Lovon's daughter, he TOOK her. Rochel was GIVEN to Yaakov as he married her on credit, having not yet worked seven more years.
Ch. 29, v. 23,28: "Va'yikach es Leah vito, Va'yi'ten lo es Rochel" - How old were Leah and Rochel when they married? The Rokei'ach says they were twins who were 21 years old, the numerical value of "v'ovo'oh" (verse 21).
Ch. 29, v. 24: "Va'yi'tein Lovon LOH …… l'Leah vito" - Our verse refers to Leah twice when telling us that Lovon gave her a handmaid. First it refers to her in the pronoun form, LOH, and later by her name, Leah. In verse 29, where Lovon does the same for Rochel, the verse switches the order, by first stating that Lovon gave Rochel a maidservant and later referring to her in the pronoun form, LOH. Why the change in order?
Ch. 29, v. 26: "Lo yei'o'seh chein biMKOMEINU lo'seis hatziro lifnei habchiroh" - Lovon delivered Yaakov a covert jab, saying that IN OUR PLACE we don't place the younger ahead of the older as you did when you deceivingly wrested the blessings from your older brother Eisov. (Nachal K'dumim)
Ch. 29, v. 28: "Va'yi'ten lo es Rochel bito lo l'ishoh" - In verse 22 the Torah tells us that Lovon made a wedding meal for the marriage of his daughter Leah to Yaakov. Did he do the same for his daughter Rochel? Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer chapter #36 says that he did. However, the Daas Z'keinim on verse 22 says that he did not. The Ramban on verse 27 d.h. "v'nitnoh" says that Lovon told Yaakov that he would make a feast for the wedding of Rochel. What actually took place cannot be derived from these words of the Ramban, as Lovon didn't always keep his word.
Ch. 29, v. 34: "Ki yoladti lo shloshoh vonim" - Later in 30:20 we again find Leah relating the NUMBER of sons she had, "ki yoladti lo shishoh vonim." Why did she mention this only after the birth of her third and sixth sons? The Baal Haturim answers that given the knowledge that Yaakov would have 12 sons, and that he had 4 wives, an equal number of sons for each wife to bear would be three. She therefore gave special thanks after she gave birth to each group of three sons, that being the amount that each of the wives would have had if each would have given birth to an equal number of sons.
Ch. 30, v. 11: "Bogod" - Rashi explains this word/these words to mean that good fortune has come. Ibn Ezra says that it means a group has come, from the word form "g'dud." Leah and her handmaid Zilpoh now had so many sons that they were a fair sized group.
Ch. 31, v. 21: "Va'yivrach Yaakov" - Why doesn't the verse say "va'yonos Yaakov?" The Sforno answers that the word form "b'richoh" refers to one who runs away before there is a situation that brings immediate danger. The person leaves because of a perceived impending danger. The word form "nisoh" is used when one runs away from a danger that is at hand or running away from a pursuer.
The verse in Shmos 14:5, "Va'yugad …… ki vorach ho'om," seems to present no problem for the Sforno, because even though the bnei Yisroel ran away from Egypt, there was no pursuer or immediate impending danger. To the contrary, at the time of the bnei Yisroel's exit the Egyptians were very pleased that they left, as is written in T'hilim 105:38, "Somach Mitrayim b'tzeisom ki nofal pachdom a'lei'hem." They were suffering from the devastation of the final plague, and it was only afterwards that the Egyptians regained some semblance of composure and again returned to their folly of wanting to enslave the bnei Yisroel, and only then began pursuing them.
Ch. 31, v. 22: "Va'yugad …… ki vorach Yaakov" - Our verse does not tell us who informed Lovon of Yaakov's escape. We find the same phrase in Shmos 14:5, "Va'yugad …… ki vorach ho'om," again without telling us who informed Paroh of the bnei Yisroel's escape. The Medrash Tanchuma on the verse in Shmos says that Amo'leik was the informer in both cases. The Baal Haturim on our verse finds a numerical indication for this. "Ki vorach" equals Amo'leik.
Ch. 31, v. 32,34: "Im asher timtzo es elohecho lo yichyeh, V'lo motzo" - Rashi (M.R. 74:9) says that as a result of this curse Rochel died prematurely. Since Lovon did not find his gods, why did Rochel die prematurely? Yaakov stipulated, "im asher timtzo." Rabbi Yechiel Stern shlit"a answers that the medrash says that Lovon did search in Rochel's cushion and found containers. He suggests that the medrash is forewarning this question. Hashem wrought a miracle and changed Lovon's idols into containers so that Rochel should not be caught lying. Lovon did not realize that these were his gods, but he did find them.
Perhaps the question can be answered with the gemara Makos 11b, which states that the curse of a righteous person comes to fruition even if it was predicated on a condition that was not fulfilled. Thus Yaakov's curse came to fruition even though his stipulation that it only be so if Lovon's gods were to be found was not fulfilled. However, there is a difficulty with this answer. If it is correct, why did the gemara bring a proof for this from the negotiation of Yehudoh and Yaakov in 43:8, and not bring an earlier proof from here? Possibly this is because we can refute the proof from here with the answer given by Rabbi Stern.
Ch. 31, v. 43: "V'chole asher atoh ro'eh li hu" - The M.R. says that the size of the flock of sheep that Yaakov shepherded was double the size of the encampment of the bnei Yisroel in the desert. This brings the spread of Yaakov's flock to 24 mil. The Rambam states that when a person hires a shepherd and offers wages from the sheep that are tended to, but does not stipulate what per cent, then 1/3 of the flock is the wages of the shepherd. The gemara B'choros 54b says that a shepherd's view of his flock does not go beyond 16 mil. We can now understand Lovon's words "v'chole asher atoh ro'eh li hu" to mean that all that Yaakov was able to see of the flock, i.e. 16 mil distance, which was 2/3 of the flock, rightfully belonged to Lovon. In fact, however, this was not true, as the animals Yaakov had in his flock were all his. (Ramas Shmuel)
This insight needs clarification. Doubling the size of the area of the encampment of the bnei Yisroel in the desert of 12 mil square does not bring it to 24 mil square, as that is quadruple the area. We must say that the doubling was an increase from 12 mil square to 24 mil by 12 mil. However, there seems to be no compelling reason to say that it was doubled in such a configuration. Quite to the contrary, the flock should have been spread out in a square that is 12 times the square root of 2, or approximately 16.97 square mil, since this
would have allowed Yaakov the maximum viewing of the flock, as per the above-mentioned gemara. Ch. 31, v. 52: "Im ani lo e'evore ei'lecho es hagal ha'zeh v'im attoh lo saavore eilay es hagal ha'zeh v'es hamatzeivoh hazose" - Why did Lovon mention only the hill regarding himself, and both the hill and the monument regarding Yaakov? Horav Sholo-m Schwadron zt"l answers that these were objects that acted as witnesses to their covenant. For a ben Noach one witness is sufficient, while for a ben Yisroel two are required (Rambam hilchos m'lochim 9:14).
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