by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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PARSHAS VA'YISHLACH 5760 BS"D
Ch. 32, v. 4: "Im Lovon garti" - Rashi says: I have not become a minister or an eminent person, but rather, I have the status of a sojourner, a GeR. It is not worth your while to hate me on account of the blessings that your father blessed me, of "Hevei GVIR l'achecho - You will become a master over your brothers (27:29)," since they were not fulfilled in me, "sheha'rei lo niskeimu BI." Rashi is usually succinct in his commentary. Why does he go to such length to explain the words of Yaakov and not concisely say that the blessings of his father have not come to fruition? Also why does Rashi choose specifically the blessing of "Hevei GVIR?"
The sister of Rabbi Yesha'yoh Pick of Berlin answers that Rashi's intention is to point out that the blessing of becoming a GVIR, Gimel-Veis-Yud-Reish were not fulfilled. The two letters of GVIR, Gimel and Reish, were fulfilled as Yaakov considered himself a sojourner, a GeR, but the letters Beis-Yud of GVIR were not fulfilled in me, BI, Beis-Yud. (Gan Ro'veh)
Ch. 32, v. 23: "V'es achad osor y'lodov" - Rashi quotes the M.R. 76:9 which asks where Dinoh was. The answer is that Yaakov hid her in a container so that Eisov should not gaze upon her. For this act Yaakov was punished since he restrained her from having contact with his brother since she might have affected him for the good, so Dinoh fell into the clutches of Sh'chem later on in our parsha.
R. Chaim haKohein Rappaport asks that we see in Shulchan Oruch Evven Ho'ezer 50:5 that if one has become irreligious this is sufficient grounds to break up an existing engagement. Seemingly, all the more so should one refrain from entering into a marriage agreement with one who is not Torah observant. If so, why does Yaakov deserve any punishment?
He answers that the intention of Rashi is not that Yaakov feared that if Dinoh would come into contact with Eisov that he would effect her negatively, but since there was also the possibility that she would instead effect him positively, Yaakov was punished for removing that possibility. If this were Rashi's intention then Rashi should read "v'shemo" with a Vov, rather than "shemo."
Rather, Rashi's intention is as follows: Yaakov was secure in knowing that Dinoh was strong in her religious convictions. "Shemonoh mei'ochiv SHEMO sachazireno l'mutov," - He held back Dinoh from Eisov BECAUSE she might cause Eisov to turn a new leaf. This emotion might be the result of his hatred for his brother. For this he deserved to be punished.
Ch. 33, v. 2: "Va'yoseim es hashfochos" - It would seem at first glance that the underlying factor in the order of placement of Yaakov's family members was dictated by his level of caring. Would a giant of spiritual greatness of the stature of Yaakov fall prey to such considerations? The Ram"o in Shulchan Oruch Y.D. #157:1 says that if the enemy demands that you relinquish a person so that they may kill him, and they do not specify by name whom they want, it is not permitted to comply with their demand.
The Divrei Yechezkel, the Holy Admor miShinev answers that Yaakov's guiding force was not his level of caring, as one might be led to believe at first glance. Rather, Yaakov placed them in an order that was most beneficial for saving them all. We derive from "V'ho'Elokim y'va'keish es nirdof" (Koheles 3:15), that Hashem protects one who is being pursued, even if he is evil and the one who pursues him is righteous. However, the more righteous the pursued, the greater is his protection. Since the maidservants Bilhoh and Zilpoh and their children were harassed by the children of Leah, they had a humble spirit and received greater Divine protection. Yaakov was not afraid to place them in the most visible position. Leah and her children came next. Although they weren't broken of spirit by being called servants, nonetheless, they knew that their father had a greater affinity for Rochel. They also had a humbled spirit, although much less so than Bilhoh and Zilpoh and their children. They were therefore placed second. Rochel and Yoseif had no such spiritual advantage, and were not afforded this extra Divine protection, and therefore had to be placed last, "Acharon acharon choviv."
Ch. 33, v. 2: "V'es Rochel v'es Yosef acharonim" - Rashi comments that "acharon acharon choviv." The idea that "the best is saved for last" cannot be derived from here, since in this situation Yaakov wanted to distance his beloved Rochel as far as possible from Eisov. This has nothing to do with setting an order of speakers for example, and saying that the best is saved for last. However, there is a source for the best is saved for last from Shmos 12:35. There is a list of the objects that the bnei Yisroel took from the Egyptians: silver vessels, golden vessels, and garments. The Mechilta comments that this is listed in the order of "acharon acharon choshuv."
Two questions are raised on this point.
1) Why didn't Rashi say "Acharon acharon choshuv" earlier by Eliezer bringing out "klei kesef, klei zohov, u'v'godim" (24:53)? There is a difference in words between this verse and Shmos 12:35. In Breishis 24:53 the word "b'godim" is used for clothing and in Shmos 12:35 the word "smolos" is used, but this difference doesn't seem to help in alleviating the difficulty. An answer would be greatly appreciated.
2) We find in parshas Nitzovim 29:9, "Rosheichem shivteichem, zikneichem, v'shotreichem, kole ish Yisroel." Rashi comments that this list starts with the most prominent and descends in importance. Why does the Torah use the opposite order here? Perhaps this can be answered by saying that when the bnei Yisroel left Egypt, not only did they receive objects of lesser worth from the Egyptians, but objects of greater and greater value as well. In parshas Nitzovim the verse tells us, "All of you are standing today in front of Hashem." Not only the people of great stature, but also the people of lesser and lesser stature also stand in front of Hashem.
Ch. 35, v. 10: "Va'yikro es shmo Yisroel" - The Ari z"l says that we are called bnei YISROEL, because the letters Yud-Sin-Reish-Alef-Lamed encompass all the names of our Patriarchs and Matriarchs whose names begin with the above letters. Avrohom - Alef, Yitzchok - Yud, Yaakov - Yud, Soroh - Sin, Rivkoh - Reish, Rochel - Reish, Leah - Lamed.
Ch. 35, v. 18: "Vatikro shmo Ben Oni v'oviv koro lo Vinyomin" - Why didn't Yaakov follow the wish of Rochel's name choice? These even seem to be her final words on this ephemeral earth.
I heard in the name of Rav Aaron Drillich nR"u that we see from this the high esteem in which Yaakov and his wife Rochel held each other. Rochel named her son after his father Yaakov who declared in Breishis 49:3 "Kochi v'reishis ONI." She therefore called him Ben ONI, the son of Yaakov who accomplished the phenomenal feat of "reishis oni," my first strength, when siring Reuvaine. Yaakov, on the other hand, named his son after his wife Rochel, Ben YOMIN, saying that he was the son of his right hand, namely Rochel.
Ch. 36, v. 24: "V'ayoh (V'Ayoh) Vaanoh (vaAnoh)" - The Ibn Ezra says that the letters Vov at the beginning of these two names are like a letter Fei in the language of the Yish'm'eilim. I don't know what he means with these words. Are they an indication that the Vov is part of their names or not? He adds on that the letters Vov are not the first letters of their names as we find in Divrei Ha'yomim 1:1:40, "Ayoh Anoh" without the letter Vov. The Ibn Ezra in Bmidbar 21:14 on the words "Es Vo'heiv" says that the Vov of Voheiv is not the first letter of a name. He adds that there is no source word in Loshon Hakodesh which begins with a Vov save the word "Vovei" in Shmos 27:10,11 and "Voveihem" in verse 17, and their repetition in Chapter 38. Words like "Volod" (Breishis 11:13) are a derivative of a source word starting with a Yud which in a changed form becomes a Vov. He adds that all names in Tanach that do begin with a Vov are of foreign origin.
The Rashbam disagrees with the Ibn Ezra and says that the letters Vov at the beginning of the two names in our verse are the first letters of their names. Their names appearing in Divrei Hayomim without a Vov prove nothing since we find numerous minor name variations from that which is written in the Torah. The Targum Yonoson ben Uziel on Bmidbar 21:14 says that the Vov of Vo'heiv is part of the name (as per the gemara Brochos 54a).
How many names in Tanach can you find a name that begins with a Vov?
Where in Tanach do we find the name Ayoh where everyone will agree that the name is without a Vov and is also not a corruption of V'ayoh?
Ch. 36, v. 24: "Hu Anoh" - Tosfos on the gemara B.B. 115b d.h. "m'la'meid" brings the opinion of Rabbeinu Tam that Anoh was a woman. Even though the verse says "HU Anoh asher MOTZO es ha'yeimim bamidbor BIROSO es hachamorim l'Tzivon OVIV" (All the capitalized words are in the male form), Rabbeinu Tam posits that since Anoh inherited property from her father, which is very commonly only done by a son, the Torah uses male terms when discussing her.
At first glance this seems to be a far-fetched interpretation. However, the Rebbe Reb Heshel brings a proof for this from Bmidbar 27:7. When Hashem advised Moshe that the daughters of Tzelofchod rightfully should receive an inheritance of their father's parcel of land in Eretz Yisroel, the Torah uses the male form. It says "Noson ti'tein LO'HE*M*," with a Mem in the male form, rather than "LO'HE*N*" in the female form.
It is quite possible that the other Baalei Tosfos who disagreed with Rabbeinu Tam were quite aware of this but felt that this is not a convincing proof. Indeed, where the Torah is actually discussing a woman receiving an inheritance it may be expressed in the male form. The Trumas Ha'deshen on Breishis 31:9, "Va'yatzeil Elokim es miknei avicheM," also points out that the male form is used for Rochel and Leah. He explains that the male form is used because they received a portion of the livestock which is normally an inheritance to sons. He also cross-references the words of the verse mentioned by the Rebbe Reb Heshel. In both of these verses the Torah discusses receiving property which is usually earmarked for a male. However, just because a woman has received an inheritance is not a justifiable reason for the Torah to use the male form when discussing a totally unrelated matter, as in our verse, which relates who Anoh's father was and that Anoh discovered or crossbred animals to create "yeimim" when grazing his (her) father's donkeys.
Ch. 36, v. 39: "Va'yimloch tachtov Hadar" - We find no mention of the death of Hadar as we find by each previous king. Perhaps since he is the last king listed and the Torah does not write the name of his successor, it is not necessary to mention his death. However, the GR"A says that his death is not mentioned because he outlived Moshe. He says that Hadar's death is mentioned in Divrei Hayomim 1:1:501 since at the time Ezra wrote Divrei Hayomim Hadar had died. Please note that in Divrei Hayomim 1:1:50,51 the name is not Hadar, but rather HadaD. The GR"A says that this is a corruption of the name Hadar of our verse. Do not think that this is the same Hadad of verse 35 in our parsha, since he is already mentioned earlier in 1:1:47, and he was the king who had Samloh as his successor, as stated both in our parsha and in Divrei Hayomim. As well in both places his city of Po'u (Po'i in Divrei Hayomim) and his wife M'heitaveil are mentioned.
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