CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS ON THE WEEKLY SEDRAH - PARSHAS VA'YICHI 5772 - BS"D
1) Ch.47, v. 29: "Al noh sik'b'reini b'Mitzroyim" - Why was Yaakov against being buried in Egypt?
2) Ch. 48, v. 14: "Sikeil es yodov KI Menasheh ha'bchor" - The word "KI" is problematic. It seems to explain why he should not have switched his hands.
3) Ch. 48, v. 18: "Lo chein ovi" - Isn't it against an open halacha in Y.D. #240, which says that one is not to contradict his father?
4) Ch. 48, v. 22: "B'charbi u'v'kashti" - The Targum Onkelos discards the simple meaning of these words and says instead that they mean prayer. What caused him to not explain these words in a straightforward manner?
5) Ch. 50, v. 5: "Asher korisi li" - Yaakov is asking Yoseif to have him buried in eretz Canaan. Obviously, he would have to receive permission from Paroh. How by mentioning that "korisi li" is he making his plea more compelling?
Rashi gives us three reasons for Yaakov's not wanting to be buried in Egypt. 1) To avoid the discomfort of being interred where the earth will become infested with lice. 2) To avoid the discomfort of having to roll through passageways to reach Eretz Yisroel at the time of "t'chiyas ha'meisim." 3) To avoid being deified by the Egyptians. What is the problem with being deified? This is the choice of the Egyptians, and is no fault of Yaakov. The Baalei Tosfos answer that we see that Hashem punishes the object of one's deification, even when it is inanimate, as it says (Shmos 12:12), "and upon all the gods of Egypt I will visit punishment."
1) Rashi (according to one opinion) and Ibn Ezra say that it is like "af ki," - even though.
2) Rashbam, Rivo, and the Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh explain that Yaakov switched his hands BECAUSE Menasheh was the first-born. Because Menasheh was the b'chor and was placed in the position of greater prominence, to Yaakov's right, Yaakov switched his hands, enabling him to give Efraim the blessing with his right hand.
3) Chizkuni says that BECAUSE Menasheh was the first-born, Yaakov switched his HANDS, so that Menasheh would at least be on Yaakov's right side when receiving his blessing. Had Menasheh not been the first-born, Yaakov would not have switched his hands, but would have switched his grandsons' positions.
In this vein the K'hilas Yitzchok, in the name of Rabbi Ben Zion of Shkud says that although Efraim received his blessing through the right hand of Yaakov, Efraim must remember that he was on the left side. This reminder was instilled by Hashem by giving the descendants of Efraim the nature to pronounce a "shin" as a "sin" should be pronounced (see Novi Shoftim 12:6). The difference between a "shin" and a "sin" is where the dot is located. A dot to the right indicates a "shin," and one to the left a "sin." Efraim pronounced both as a "sin," where the dot is to the LEFT, a powerful reminder that their tribe's ancestor stood to the LEFT of Yaakov when receiving his blessing.
The Rivo explains as per his opinion above in 48:14, that Yoseif thought that Yaakov assumed that Menasheh, the first-born, would be to Yoseif's right, and therefore end up to the left of Yaakov. Yoseif therefore said, "It is not as you think, my father, that Menasheh is to your left. I positioned him to your right." Do not interpret the words to mean, "No, my father. It is wrong to bless my first-born with your left hand."
When fighting with an enemy, a bow is used first to shoot from a distance, and only afterwards, during hand to hand combat, is a sword used. Since the order here is reversed, the Targum departs from the literal translation (Rabbi Avrohom Aharon from Kostantin).
In fighting the forces that oppose spiritual growth, it makes sense for the sword to precede the bow and arrow. When the yetzer hora attacks initially, one responds with hand to hand combat, similar to using a sword. If one is successful in distancing the yetzer hora, he should still fight the yetzer hora from a distance, as with a bow and arrow.
Also, prayer is compared to a sword, as is stated in T'hilim 149:6, "v'cherev pifios b'yodom. The word "b'kashti" can also be read "bakoshosi," my request.
The Holy Admor of Kotzk says that prayer is compared to a bow and arrow, since just as with a bow, the stronger one draws the arrow back and closer to his heart, the greater distance it reaches, so also with prayer. The more effort one puts into saying the prayers from the depths of his heart, the further they go in reaching the Holy Throne.
Rashi gives three interpretations for "korisi": 1) I have dug. 2) I have purchased. 3) I have made a pile. Yaakov piled up all the gold and silver he had amassed at the home of Lovon, and gave it to Eisov for his claim to a share in the M'oras Hamachpeiloh (M.R. Shmos 31:17). What has Rashi added over the previous "I have purchased," beyond that the word means "piled"? Either way it is the same plea to ask to be buried in the plot which Yaakov purchased. Possibly, this third pshat makes a very compelling case to grant permission. We know that Avrohom gave away his possessions that were amassed outside of Eretz Yisroel (Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer ch. 30) to the children of his concubine (25:6). Yaakov similarly gave Eisov the gold and silver he had amassed in chutz lo'oretz when he worked for Lovon. Rashi (46:6) in the name of the M.R. Shmos 31:17 quotes Yaakov as saying,"Nich'sei chutz lo'oretz einom k'dai li." This is the power of the claim according to Rashi's third pshat. Yaakov was so strongly connected to Eretz Yisroel that he even gave away (to Eisov who had a false claim) the fortune he had amassed in chutz lo'oretz. He surely doesn't deserve to be buried in chutz lo'oretz.
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