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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 32, v. 5: "Im Lovon garti" - I have sojourned with Lovon - Rashi comments that "garti" has the numeric value of 613, "taryag," and Yaakov sent a covert message to Eisov. Don't do war with me because I have the merit of keeping all 613 mitzvos of the Torah. Bris Sholo-m cites a gemara Yerushalmi Taanis that very much parallels this concept. In chapter 3 the gemara relates that a regimen of warring soldiers was on its way to the community in which Levi bar Sissi resided. He picked up a Torah scroll and announced, "If I am lacking even one mitzvoh written in this Holy Torah Scroll may the soldiers come and attack our community, but if not, may they avoid our community." They immediately took a detour and avoided his community.

Ch. 32, v. 8: "Va'yeitzer lo" - And it worried him - Medrash Tanchuma says that he feared that if he would kill Eisov, albeit in self-defence, he would still incur a curse from his father.

Ch. 32, v. 9: "V'hoyoh hamacha'neh hanishor lifleitoh" - And the camp that will remain will escape - How was Yaakov assured of this? He placed the second camp a distance of further than one day of travel from the other. Rivkoh said/ prophesied that she would lose both her sons in one day. Yaakov remained in the camp that Eisov would encounter earlier. If Eisov would be successful and ch"v kill them to a man, including Yaakov, he would not remain alive beyond that day, and in turn could not reach the second camp. They would surely be saved. (Chanukas haTorah and Nachal K'dumim)

A somewhat similar story is told of the GR"A. A rabid anti-Semite heard of the great sanctity and wisdom of the GR"A. He was held in great reverence even by the gentile population, and this especially made the anti-Semite's blood boil. He captured the GR"A and told him that he would now disprove the GR"A's ability to know all. He asked the GR"A when he, the GR"A would die. He added, "If you answer 'Today,' then I will keep you alive until tomorrow. If you answer any later day, then I will kill you today." The GR"A answered that he would die on the same day that his capture would die. He had sufficient fear of the GR"A's spirituality to not harm him, and had to let him go. The story, of course, ends with - and they both died on the same day. This is "mipi hashmu'oh" and not confirmed.

Ch. 32, v. 9: "V'hoyoh hamacha'neh hanishor lifleitoh" - And the camp that will remain will escape - Ramban and Sforno explain "lifleitoh" to mean that they should run for their lives, not that they will automatically be safe. This can be explained as follows: Verse 8 tells of Yaakov's splitting his camp in two. A simple reading yields that he split the people and the cattle into two encampments, each containing some people and some animals. However, it can also be interpreted as splitting into two groups, one containing only the people and the second only the cattle. Verse 22 says, "Vataavor haminchoh al ponov" We can say that this means he sent the offering of the encampment of cattle (with its guides) ahead of Eisov's encountering Yaakov and his people. Yaakov was unsure of the level of Eisov's anger. If he was only jealous of Yaakov's having many possessions, then perhaps a present of numerous animals would appease him. If however, Eisov was still seeking blood, as Eisov felt, "Yik'r'vu y'mei eivel ovi" (27:41), then Eisov would destroy the animals, as this was not his interest, and would meet the encampment of people and wage war. He told the guides to report back if Eisov accepted the offering and keep it, or destroy it. The intention of the words of our verse is now understood as, "If Eisov will destroy the cattle, the first camp, we know that he wants to wage war, and we, the second camp, will run away. (Pardes Yoseif)

Ch. 32, v. 25: "Va'yivo'seir Yaakov l'vado" - And Yaakov remained alone - Rashi (gemara Chulin 91a) says that Yaakov had forgotten some small vessels and went back to fetch them. This is explained in a most novel way by Tiferes Zvi. The Holy Zohar on parshas Metzora writes that since the Torah tells us to remove vessels from the afflicted house before it is rendered contaminated by the Kohein to avoid their becoming impure, and this is to avoid a small financial loss, surely a Torah scholar should be vigilant to never travel alone, as we find that Avrohom traveled escorted by his two lads.

If so, why did Yaakov travel alone? We must say that he had momentarily forgotten this lesson, which is derived from "pachim k'tanim," small vessels.

Ch. 33, v. 5: "Mi ei'leh loch" - Who are these to you - Possibly, Eisov was most angered when he saw that Leah was one of Yaakov's wives, as originally it was thought that she would eventually become his wife. This is alluded to in the word "ei'leh," whose letters spell Leah. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 33, v. 19: "Va'yi'ken es chelkas haso'deh" - And he purchased the parcel of field - Ramban writes that now that Yaakov had finally returned to Eretz Yisroel he not only wanted to live there, but even establish a stronger hold, to actually own a parcel of land. Ibn Ezra writes that own who owns a portion of land in Eretz Yisroel is as if he owns a portion of the world-to-come. Alshich writes that the purchase price of 100 "ksitoh" is equal to the 20 silver coins selling price of Yoseif, who eventually was buried in Sh'chem. Geulas Yisroel writes that one should purchase a home in Eretz Yisroel to be able to affix a mezuzoh on its door-posts, and with this fulfill the mitzvoh of mezuzoh on a Torah level. He adds that just as one is not responsible to wear a four-cornered garment to be required to affix tzitzis, but at a time of great Heavenly displeasure people are punished for the lack of fulfillment of this mitzvoh, the same is true with the Torah-level of mitzvas mezuzoh. (It would seem that nothing is accomplished in this vein if one does not actually live in the house as well, as the mitzvoh of mezuzoh is only incumbent upon the people who actually reside there, "chovas hador.")

Ch. 34, v. 2: "Va'yishkav osoh" - And he mated with her - Maseches Sofrim chapter #21 writes that at the age of six years Dinoh bore a daughter from Sh'chem, and she was later brought to Potifar in Egypt. Her name was Osnas, because she was found under a "sneh" bush, and eventually became Yoseif's wife.

Ch. 34, v. 27: "Va'yovozu ho'ir" - And they plundered the city - The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh says that even though the inhabitants were judged to be killed, they were also plundered, because the ruling of "kom lei bidrabo mi'nei," when through one act someone incurs two or more punishments we only administer the more/most severe one, does not apply to bnei Noach. This seems to be a disagreement between Rashi and Tosfos on the gemara Eiruvin 62a.

On a simple level it would seem that our scenario has nothing to do with "kom lei bidrabo mi'nei" because there was no court ruling. Shimon and Levi took the law into their own hands. It could well be that their attack, justified as explained by the Rambam and others, had the status of war, where we do not say that if someone was killed his possessions should not be taken. Alternatively, this ruling did not take affect before the Torah was given.

N.B. - Last week - Should read - His daughter Rochel is coming, And Rochel has come - The earlier "bo'OH" has the accent on the final syllable, on the letter Alef, and is in the present tense, while the second "BO'oh" has the accent on the first syllable, on the letter Beis, and is in the past tense.



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

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