CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS ON THE WEEKLY SEDRAH - PARSHAS TOLDOS 5766 - BS"D
1) Ch. 25, v. 19: "Avrohom holid es Yitzchok" - We find in last week's parsha that Avrohom exhibited great concern for having his son Yitzchok only marry a women from a specific family and from a specific location. When it came to Yishmo'eil's pursuit of marriage why do we find no involvement on the part of Avrohom?
2) Ch. 25, v. 27: "V'Yaakov ish tom" - And Yaakov was a complete man - The M.R. 30:7 says: Ben Chatia states that by whomever the verse says "tomim," he lived a number of years that is divisible by seven. This is well understood by Avrohom who lived 175 years and Yaakov as well, who lived 147 years. However, Noach is called "tomim" in 6:9 and lived 950 years (9:29). This number is not divisible by seven.
3) Ch. 26, v. 5: "Eikev asher shoma Avrohom b'koli" - The gemara Yoma 28b derives from our verse that Avrohom even kept Rabbinical decrees, including Eruvei Tavshilin. Why is this particular law singled out?
4) Ch. 26, v. 7: "Ki tovas ma'reh hee" - In last week's parsha when the Torah describes Rivkoh in 24:16 it says "tovas ma'reh m'ode," - she was exceedingly pretty. Why was the "m'ode" dropped from our verse?
5) Ch. 26, v. 25: "Va'yet shom oholo" - And he pitched his tent there - Here we have the word "oholO" spelled in the normal manner, with the letter Vov at the end, meaning "HIS tent." Earlier in 12:8 we find "va'yeit oholoH" by Avrohom. Rashi there comments that the word "oholoH" is spelled in an unusual manner, with the letter Hei as a suffix, allowing this word to be read "oholoH," HER tent. This teaches us that Avrohom pitched a tent for his wife before he did for himself. Was Yitzchok not as considerate as Avrohom?
Answer to questions on parshas Chayei Soroh:
1) Ch. 23, v. 1: "Mei'oh shonoh v'esrim shonoh" - Rashi comments that Soroh at the age of one-hundred was free of sin just as she was at the age of twenty, since the heavenly court does not punish until the age of twenty. Is it then possible to say that someone who has transgressed a sin whose punishment is excision, "kor'eis," under the age of twenty, would not receive heavenly punishment?
See responsa of the Chacham Zvi #49, who offers four explanations, responsa Nodah B'yehudoh Tinyona Y.D. #164, responsa Chasam Sofer Y.D. #155, Shulchan Oruch O.Ch. #343 hagohoh. (Pardeis Yosef)
2) Ch. 23, v. 2: "Lispode l'Soroh v'livkosoh" - The gemara Mo'eid Koton 27b says that the first three days following the death of a person are for weeping, and the first seven days are for eulogy. It would then seem that the words of our verse are reversed, as "lispode" should come after "v'livkosoh."
1) The gemara refers to an average person, where the pain of the loss lessens with the passage of time, to the point that the deceased is eventually forgotten. However, Soroh was such an outstanding person that with the passage of time, the realization of the monumental loss was more dearly realized, hence, the weeping increased well beyond the eulogy period. (Kli Yokor)
2) The order mentioned in the gemara is the normal reaction of a mourner for his relative. However, Avrohom first concerned himself with honouring Soroh. He felt no need to cry for her fate, as he knew that her pure soul ascended to the high and holy spheres. Only after properly eulogizing her did he allow his own emotions to be felt. He cried because a wife is equated to the Beis Hamikdosh, as the gemara Sanhedrin 22a says, that the death of one's first wife is equated to the destruction of the Beis Hamikdosh during his lifetime. This is why the letter Kof in "v'liv*k*osoh" is small. The Beis Hamikdosh stood one hundred cubits tall. The letter KoF, spelled Kof-Pei, has the numerical value of one hundred. The Beis Hamikdosh, which stood one hundred cubits tall, has been diminished by the death of Soroh. (Kli Yokor)
3) Eulogizing is an act done in public. Weeping for a deceased relative is a private matter. Since Soroh died before Avrohom returned home from Har Hamorioh, people gathered around Avrohom's home and when he arrived he was logistically forced into eulogizing his wife immediately. Only afterwards did he weep over her death. (Ntzi"v)
4) The order of weeping first and then eulogizing is only appropriate when the loss has a greater impact than the relating of the deceased's greatness. Since Soroh died after Yitzchok was already a grown man and had totally imbibed the values required to be a worthy progenitor of the Jewish nation, the loss was not monumental. However, extolling her great virtues would have a very strong positive effect upon the community, so the eulogy took precedence. (Ntzi"v)
5) Perhaps another answer could be offered. One is more apt to cry for a deceased relative when he finds himself among others who are also as emotionally attached to the deceased. Perhaps this is because crying solicits sympathy, which is more forthcoming from others who find themselves in the same situation. However, Avrohom was the only relative present, as Yitzchok did not come back to Chevron with his father after the Akeidoh. (Nirreh li)
6) The M.R. 58:5 says on the words in our verse, "Va'yovo Avrohom," that Avrohom came from burying his father Terach. Since he was mourning the loss of his father, he might have intentionally first eulogized Soroh so as to divide between the mourning of the two deaths and give her a distinct separate period of mourning.
3) Ch. 24, v. 3: "Lo sikach isho livni mibnos haK'naani" - Similarly, Yitzchok tells Yaakov (28:6), "Lo sikach ishoh mibnos K'naan" - Why were our Avos strongly against taking a K'naanite woman? The families that they pursued were also idol-worshippers.
1) The Moshav Z'keinim answers that although B'suel's family worshipped idols, Avrohom felt that they pursued truth and given the exposure to the true Hashem, they would come around.
2) The Droshos hoRan drush #5 answers that the K'naanites had terrible character traits. This was less desirable to our Avos than idol worship because there are sins that make a negative impression on soul and body, and there are those that affect the soul only. Idol worship, albeit a terrible sin, affects the soul only and does not necessarily pass on to other family members. The sins which make a negative impression on the body are bad character traits, e.g. hatred, jealousy, cruelty, slander, etc., and they are passed on to family members.
4) Ch. 24, v. 10: "Migmalei adonov," Ch. 24, v. 32: "Vayifatach" - Rashi in the name of the Medrash says that the camels of Avrohom were unique in that they were muzzled to keep them from eating from fields of others. The Medrash 60:8 relates a story (Yerushalmi D'mai 1:3) of the donkey of Rabbi Pinchos ben Yair which was stolen. For three days it would touch no food. The robbers feared it would die of starvation and the stench would reveal their hideout. They released the donkey and it returned to the home of R' Pinchos ben Yair. When he heard it braying, he had his worker feed it immediately, knowing that it had not touch any food of the robbers. The donkey refused to eat until the food was tithed.
Rav Huna asked Rav Chia, "Is it possible that Avrohom's camels needed to be muzzled? Are they on a lower level than the donkey of Rabbi Pinchos ben Yair?" The Ramban on 24:32 explains that this is a question that refutes the interpretation that "vayifatach" means the muzzles were undone, as there was no need to muzzle Avrohom's camels. Instead, it means that the riding gear was undone. How will Rashi, who interprets it to mean that the muzzles were removed, answer the above question?
1) Avrohom muzzled his camels to teach others.
2) Avrohom did not want to take a chance at the expense of others, if perchance one of his camels would eat from someone else's property.
3) The camels Avrohom sent were part of a fleet, but not ones he personally used. Hence, he did not create an aura of sanctity which would affect them. R.P.b.Y.'s donkey was his personal donkey, which he used for daily transportation, thus allowing him the opportunity to affect the donkey.
4) Food that is untithed, "tevel," is intrinsically prohibited. An animal can be trained to be sensitive to this. Stolen food is intrinsically kosher, and no animal would refrain from eating it.
5) Since the land of Canaan will eventually become Avrohom's, the theft of others' property hinges upon a time factor. We find that even tzadikim themselves would occasionally slip and eat something that was only prohibited by virtue of a time factor, i.e. before havdoloh. See Tosfos P'sochim 106b d.h. "isht'li."
6) The law is that animal owners are not responsible if their animals inadvertently eat someone else's food in a public domain, (Bovo Kama 24b). Therefore, it is difficult to train them to discern between the public domain and private property. Untithed foods are always prohibited. (Nirreh li)
More answers in Sedrah Selections parshas Chayei Soroh 5766
5) Ch. 24, v. 39: "U'lai" - Rashi comments that since "u'lai" is spelled without a vov, it can be read "ei'lai," to me. Eliezer indicated that if he would be unsuccessful in bringing a wife for Yitzchok from Avrohom's relatives, that possibly "ei'lai," Avrohom could turn to me for my daughter as a wife for Yitzchok. Why is this self-interest of Eliezer shown here when he relates the story to B'suel's family, and not earlier, in his conversation with Avrohom in verse 5?
1) The Baalei Tosfos in Moshav Z'keinim answer that earlier Eliezer didn't entertain the idea of joining families with Avrohom, as "ein orur misda'bek b'boruch." However, when he came to the home of B'suel and Lovon greeted him with the title of "B'ruch Hashem (24:31)," he felt that he had a new status of a "boruch" and expressed this self-interest.
2) The Kli Yokor (24:39) and the Maharz"u on Breishis Rabboh 59, #9, say that he only mentioned this now to persuade the family to agree to the marriage, as otherwise he would pursue it.
3) The Sfas Emes answers that in the presence of Avrohom he was not even aware of his self interest. Only after he was far from Avrohom, in a different country, did he realize it.
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