by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS VA'YISHLACH 5772 BS"D
Ch. 32, v. 11: "Kotonti mikole hachasodim" - I have become diminished from all the kindnesses - The Medrash Shochar Tov on T'hilim 65 says that he who performs kindness can be assured that his prayers are heard. We can thus say that Yaakov is telling Hashem that he has become financially diminished by his doing so many kindnesses. Therefore, please hearken to my prayer of "Hatzi'leini na miyad ochi miyad Eisov." (Chid"o in Dvash L'fi)
Ch. 32, v. 13: "V'atoh omarto heiteiv eitiv imoch" - And You have said I will surely do kindness with you - There are two sorts of kindness that Hashem bestows. One is kindness that is true kindness in all aspects. Another is kindness bestowed upon an evil person, and this is in fulfillment of the verse at the end of parshas Eikev, "Umsha'leim l'sonov al ponov l'haavido," - and He pays His enemies on his face to make him lost, meaning that even the most evil of people must have done something meritorious. Rather than waiting for the world-to-come to reward him, Hashem chooses to reward him in this world to bring about a total vacuum in the world-to-come. Yaakov is thus asking for "heiteiv eitiv," a kindness that is truly kind and not one that detracts from reward in the world-to-come. (Kedushas Levi)
Ch. 32, v. 17: "V'revach tosimu bein eider u'vein eider" - And a gap shall you place between flock and between flock - Yaakov prayed to Hashem: If tribulations come upon my descendants please do not bring them one on the heels of the other. Rather, place a gap between them. Yaakov symbolically had the flocks spaced, so that if and when the descendants of Eisov would place taxes upon the bnei Yisroel there would be some respite between one and the next. (Ramban)
Ch. 32, v. 19: "L'av'd'cho l'Yaakov minchoh hee shluchoh laadoni l'Eisov" - To your servant to Yaakov it is a present sent to my master to Eisov - Should not the verse have said "Mei'av'd'cho," - from your servant, as Yaakov is sending it to Eisov? The gemara Kidushin 7a says that although "kidushin" through a monetary value object is effected only by the groom giving something of value to the bride, and not the reverse, nevertheless, if the groom is an outstandingly venerable personage, if the bride gives him a present of value and he accepts it the "kidushin" is valid. This is because we consider this as if the bride received something of value. When one gives a gift to a very honourable person and it is accepted, there is realized a great pleasure by the sender of the gift in that it was accepted by the great personage. Here too, Yaakov was sending a message to Eisov that Eisov was his master and held in such esteem that if and when the presents would be accepted it would be as if it were "l'Yaakov minchoh."
This is akin to a person who brings an offering to Hashem and receives appeasement for a wrongdoing, where he considers it as if he were the recipient. This is the intention of the next phrase, "Ki al kein ro'isi fo'necho kiros pnei Elokim vatirtzeini." (Yeshuos Yaakov)
Ch. 32, v. 23: "V'achad ossor y'lodov" - And his eleven sons - Rashi comments that Dinoh was not mentioned here because Yaakov hid her from sight, fearing that Eisov might notice her and want her as his wife. Yaakov was punished for this because by doing this he evaded the opportunity for her to possibly affect Eisov positively and have him repent. For this Yaakov was punished in kind, having Dinoh being forcefully taken by Sh'chem.
Rashi on 29:17 comments that people said that Leah was destined for Eisov and Rochel for Yaakov. Why did Hashem agree that Leah should not become Eisov's wife even though she likewise might have helped him turn over a new leaf? Why wasn't she taken to task for this?
Had she given Eisov admonition he would have laughed her off, saying that his way of life and his values were proper. Since Leah grew up in Lovon's home and was exposed to his negative behaviour, which was somewhat similar to Eisov's, notwithstanding her extreme personal righteousness, she would not have been able to "convincingly" counter his claims. It is only a pure soul like Dinoh, who grew up in the pure, unsullied home of Yaakov, who was capable of convincing Eisov otherwise. (Rabbi Y.Z. Pollack)
Where else do we find that someone might have positively impacted on Eisov and had him return to the fold? The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh comments that had Eisov received Yitzchok's blessings he might have repented.
Ch. 32, v. 25: "Va'yei'o'veik ish imo" - And a man wrestled with him - The angel wrestled with him all night and Yaakov could not escape. This tremendous delay in his travels showed Yaakov Hashem's fulfilling His promise that no harm would come to him by Eisov's hands. (Sforno)
Had he escaped with no delays he might still worry that this time he escaped but Eisov was still after him.
Ch. 32, v. 33: "Al kein lo yochlu vnei Yisroel es gid hanosheh …… ad ha'yom ha'zeh" - therefore the bnei Yisroel will not eat the thigh sinew …… until this day - This negative mitzvoh is in essence a penalty for the bnei Yisroel for all generations because they left their elderly father alone, as is mentioned in verse 25, "Va'yivo'seir Yaakov l'vado." They were physically powerful and should have stayed with him just in case he had some need, rather than going ahead. This negative mitzvoh will serve as a permanent remembrance and will serve as a reminder to escort and accompany those who need it. From this incident Yaakov learned to escort Yoseif when he sent him to find his brothers. (Chizkuni)
This mitzvoh is not a punishment. Rather it is a memorial to remember Yaakov's phenomenal strength to overpower an angel, and also to remember Hashem's kindness in saving him from death at the hands of the angel. (Rashbam)
Ch. 33, v. 9: "Va'yomer Eisov yesh li rov ochi y'hi l'cho asher loch" - And Eisov said I have much my brother may it be to you that which is yours - Eisov saw Yaakov, his wives, children, and the whole retinue. He clearly sensed that they were all G-d fearing and fulfilling Hashem's wishes. He thus knew that at this point in time Yaakov was surely the master over him. He therefore responded that Yaakov should keep all that he offered. Read our verse as follows: "Yesh li rov," - I have a master over me. Who is that? It is "ochi," my brother. Therefore "y'hi" it will surely turn out that, "l'cho asher loch," even if you give me presents, I am your servant and not the other way around. Hence, even if I accept your gifts they immediately become yours again, as "Kol mah shekonoh evved konoh rabo." (n.l.)
Ch. 33, v. 13: "Adoni yodei'a ki ha'y'lodim rachim" - My master knows that the children are tender - "Had it only been you and I, I would surely travel the whole way with you, as I am spiritually strong and can withstand your spiritual negativity. The problem is that the children are with me and they are young and impressionable. This obviates the possibility of traveling with you." (Holy Admor Rabbi Yehoshua of Belz)
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