by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS VA'YISHLACH 5764 BS"D
Ch. 32, v. 4: "Artzoh Sei'ir" - To the land Sei'ir - Although we have no prefix Lamed before the source word "eretz," the suffix Hei takes the place of the prefix Lamed (Rashi). Yalkut Shimoni on T'hilim remez #645 says on the words "yoshuvu r'sho'im lish'oloh," which has both the prefix Lamed and the suffix Hei, Rabbi Abba bar Zavdi says, "The wicked will be relegated to the bottommost compartment in the abyss."
Ch. 32, v. 14: "Va'yikach min habo l'yodo" - And he took that which came to his hand - The words "min habo l'yodo" refer to Yaakov's sending Eisov a hunting falcon as a gift. Yaakov wanted to send Eisov something that he would greatly appreciate, besides just sending cattle. Yaakov knew of Eisov's favourite pastime, hunting. With this falcon Eisov would be able to hunt birds. Read "va'yikach min habo l'yodo" as "and Yaakov took as a gift an item that would help facilitate Eisov's getting that which comes into his hand, captured game." "L'yodo" refers back to Eisov's hand. (Rabbeinu Bachyei)
Ch. 32, v. 14: "Minchoh" - A present - The word "minchoh" when used to connote a present, comes from the word source "m'nuchoh," calmness. It is appropriately used when the intention of giving the offering is to calm down someone's displeasure. (Seichel Tov)
This seems to fit well with the title "minchoh" for an offering to Hashem, although why it is used exclusively for vegetable and not animal offerings deserves an explanation. Why this word is used specifically for afternoon prayers remains to be explained.
Ch. 32, v. 15: "R'cheilim" - Ewes - This word in the singular form is "Rochel," and is a compounding of "ruach" and "chil," a spirit of trembling. There is no animal that trembles in fear at the sight of a marauding animal as does a ewe. (Seichel Tov)
Ch. 32, v. 19: "L'av'd'cho l'Yaakov minchoh hee shluchoh ladoni l'Eisov" - To your servant TO Yaakov it is a present to my master to Eisov - Shouldn't the verse have said "mei'av'd'cho miYaakov"? The gemara Kidushin 7b says that although marrying a woman requires that the man give the woman an object of some worth to enact "kidushin," if the woman gives an item to a very highly esteemed person and he accepts it, even though she is giving and not he, it is considered as if he gave her an object of worth. This is because a very highly esteemed person does not accept gifts from just anyone. By accepting her gift he has shown that he likewise respects her. This gives the woman much pleasure, and this pleasure that he gives her is considered as if she received from him an actual item of worth.
This was Yaakov's intention. He told his messengers that when they give Eisov the presents they should say that by Eisov's accepting the gifts it is in the eyes of Yaakov as if he RECEIVED a present, "L'av'd'cho l'Yaakov minchoh hee." (Apirion)
Ch. 32, v. 30: "Lomoh zeh tishal lishmi" - Why is this that you ask for my name - Angels are very reluctant to disclose their names because a person would readily attribute a miracle to the angel .. When one cannot say that this or that specific angel has wrought a miracle it will more readily be attributed to the angel's Dispatcher, Hashem. (Mosaf Rashi)
Ch. 32, v. 32: "V'hu tzo'lei'a al y'reicho" - And he is limping on his thigh - Wasn't Yaakov already limping during the night, immediately after he was hit on his thigh? Perhaps he began limping only after there was a lot of swelling. Rashi, as explained by the Sifsei Chachomim, says that the verse is stressing that it was only until the sun began to shine, "Va'yizrach lo hashemesh," that he limped, but immediately after that Yaakov was healed and did not limp any more (see Sforno). Rashbam says that he surely limped immediately after being struck, but the verse is saying that when it became light one could see that Yaakov was limping, just as we find, "Va'y'hi vaboker v'hi'nei hee Leah" (Breishis 29:25). Surely it was Leah during the night as well. The verse tells us that in the morning Yaakov became aware that it was Leah.
Ch. 32, v. 33: "Al kein lo yochlu vnei Yisroel es gid hanosheh" - Therefore the children of Yisroel do not eat the sciatic nerve - As mentioned in the previous offering in the name of Rashi, Yaakov's injury lasted only until the morning, a scant few hours at the most. Therefore the bnei Yisroel refrain from eating the "gid hanosheh," which is no great sacrifice, since it has no flavour, "ein b'gidin b'nosein taam" (gemara P'sochim 22a). (Sforno)
Ch. 32, v. 33: "Al kein lo yochlu vnei Yisroel es gid hanosheh" - Therefore the children of Yisroel do not eat the sciatic nerve - Targum Yonoson ben Uziel says that this applies to both domesticated animals and animals in the wild, "b'heimos" and "chayos." Rambam in hilchos maacholos asuros chapter 8 writes that if a bird has a hip joint built like that of an animal, its "gid hanosheh" is also prohibited, but no lashes are administered to the one who transgresses.
Ch. 32, v. 33: "Ad ha'yom ha'zeh" - Until this day - Compare this with 22:14, "asher yei'o'meir ha'yom," 26:33, "shem ho'ir B'eir Sheva ad ha'yom ha'zeh," and 35:20, "hee matzeves k'vuras Rochel ad ha'yom." Although two of these phrases leave out the word "ha'zeh," Targum Onkelos always says either "ad yoma ho'dein" or "ad yoma dein." Is there any difference in the meaning of these words?
Ch. 33, v. 9: "Ochi y'hi l'cho asher loch" - My brother let it be yours - Rashi (M.R. 78:11) says that with these words Eisov consented to Yaakov's having the blessings he wrested away from him by impersonating him. A most beautiful allusion to this is that these words have the same numerical value as "zeh habrochos." (Rabbi Noach Mindes in Niflo'os Chadoshos)
The words "y'hi l'cho asher loch" contain ten letters. This alludes to the ten blessings Yitzchok gave Yaakov. (Rabbeinu Bachyei)
Ch. 33, v. 16: "Va'yoshov ba'yom hahu Eisov l'darko Sei'iroh" - And on that day Eisov returned on his path to Sei'ir - Eisov miraculously experienced "kfitzas ha'derech," and his return trip to Sei'ir, which should have taken a few days, was completed on the same day. He did not deserve this miracle. Rather, Hashem wrought it so that Yaakov would be out of harm's way. (Seichel Tov)
Ch. 33, v. 18: "Va'yovo Yaakov sho'leim" - And Yaakov came complete - This translation is according to Rashi. However, Rashbam translates this as "And Yaakov came to the city named Sho'leim." Is this the same city Sho'leim mentioned in Breishis 14:18?
Ch. 34, v. 3: "B'Dinoh bas Yaakov" - In Dinoh the daughter of Yaakov - In verse 1 she is called bas Leah. - Once Sh'chem violated her his unbridled lust waned. However, he still had a strong interest in becoming the son-in-law of Yaakov. This is substantiated in verse 19, which says "ki chofeitz b'vas Yaakov," not even mentioning her name, only that she was Yaakov's daughter. (Rabbeinu Efrayim and Moshav Z'keinim)
Ch. 34, v. 25: "Va'y'hi va'yom hashlishi bi'h'yosom ko'avim" - And it was on the third day when they were aching - Why did Shimon and Levi carry out their plan specifically on the third day?
1) The Ra"n in his commentary on the gemara Shabbos chapter R'Eliezer d'Miloh writes that although the medical danger from circumcision is greatest immediately after the procedure and continually improves, nevertheless, weakness from the procedure is greatest on the third day. Shimon and Levi waited for the time that they were weakest to fight them.
2) Baa'lei Tosfos write that it took three days for all the males in the city to be circumcised. The Tur writes that Shimon and Levi tossed their plan back and forth for two full days and on the third day, when the men of the city were STILL aching, they decided to go ahead with their plan.
3) Rabbeinu Chaim Paltiel and Abarbanel offer that this was the third day since Dinoh was defiled, the actual day of their circumcision.
4) Alternatively, Rabbeinu Chaim Paltiel asks how Shimon and Levi did not keep their word. He answers that Shimon and Levi thought the inhabitants of the city would surely not go along with the plan of mass circumcision. After all, what was in it for them? When to their surprise all males circumcised they still had the right to kill out the city. Agreement to give their sister to Sh'chem was conditional not only upon all the males being circumcised, but also upon all the city's inhabitants renouncing their idols. This was their intention when they said in verse 15 "im ti'h'yu chomonu," besides saying "l'himole lochem kol zochor." For two days they behaved, but on the third day they went back to their idolatry.
This point is strongly substantiated by Rabbi Yehudoh Chosid. On Breishis 35:4, "va'yitmone osom Yaakov," and Yaakov hid the idols under a tree, he asks why Yaakov didn't simply destroy them by grinding them to dust or the like, a much safer way of assuring that the idols would never be used again. He answers that if surrounding communities would accost him, complaining that his sons massacred innocent people, Yaakov could then claim that an agreement was made that included the Sh'chemites totally renouncing their belief in idols and destroying them. Rabbeinu Menachem says that when Yaakov's sons took of the spoils of the city (34:29), this included the idols that they claimed they had destroyed. By only hiding the idols and not destroying them, Yaakov would be able to produce evidence of this.
Since Sh'chem kept Dinoh with the approval of all the city's people and they went back to serving their idols, thus not keeping their part of the agreement, holding onto Dinoh was kidnapping. This is the intention of the words of our verse, "Va'y'hi va'yom hashlishi bi'h'yosom ko'avim." It was on the third day when they were aching for their idols.
5) The "third day" means Tuesday. On this day the planet "maadim" has dominion, and it is a day that has a propensity for blood. Shimon and Levi waited for this day so that they should be successful in their plan to enact a mass slaughter. (A'keidas Yitzchok)
Ch. 34, v. 25: "Va'yovo'u al ho'ir betach va'yahargu kol zochor" - And they came upon the city assured - How could two youngsters, aged 14 and 13 years respectively feel so assured that they could kill all the males of the city and not be stopped? Even if they felt that the weakened males would offer no resistance, would the women of the community not offer resistance?
The doctors in Sh'chem had no previous experience with circumcision. Shimon and Levi told the people that they needed a follow-up visit to see if they were on the mend. Stating that they were from a family that circumcised all its males, including male servants, they also claimed that they would provide the follow-up check-up gratis. They came into the homes one after another. In each home they requested privacy during the examination of each patient. When alone with each male they very successfully brought a clear-cut end to his recuperation. They left the room and requested that the patient be left alone, and to wake him from his sleep. We can explain the word "betach," assured, as referring to the people of the city, as does Targum Onkelos and Yonoson ben Uziel. The people were assured of the competence of these two doctors. (A true case of a mohel with a "cut above.") (Rabbi Yehudoh Chalavoh)
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