CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS ON THE WEEKLY SEDRAH - PARSHAS VA'YEISHEV 5766 - BS"D
1) Ch. 37, v. 3: "Ben z'kunim" - Why is Yoseif considered the "ben z'kunim"
if Binyomin was born afterwards?
2) Ch. 37, v. 7: "V'hi'nei s'su'benoh alumoseichem vatishtacha'venoh
laalumosi" - And behold your sheaves surrounded and bowed down to my sheaf -
Commentators say that the brothers being represented by sheaves of grain alludes to
what the future held in store, that they would come to Yoseif in pursuit of
grain. However, what is the message conveyed by the sheaves "encircling" his sheaf?
3) Ch. 37, v. 8: "Chalomosov" - Why is the PLURAL form used, as the Torah has
told us only one dream so far?
4) Ch. 37, v. 13: "Halo achecho ro'im biSh'chem" - The words of this verse
seem to indicate that BECAUSE Yoseif's brothers were grazing their sheep
specifically in Sh'chem was Yaakov willing to send him. Why so?
5) Ch. 37, v. 31: "Va'yish'chatu s'ir izim" - Goat's blood was used, as it is
similar to human blood (Rashi, from Medrash Rabboh 84:17). The gemara Gitin
57b relates that the blood of the murdered kohein Zecharia was compared to the
bloods of different sacrifices including that of goats, and did not match.
Is this not contradictory to Rashi?
Answer to questions on parshas Va'yishlach:
1) Ch. 32, v. 32: "V'hu tzo'lei'a al y'reicho" - And he is limping on his
thigh - Wasn't Yaakov already limping during the night, immediately after he was
hit on his thigh?
1) Perhaps he began limping only after there was a lot of swelling. (Nirreh
2) Rashi, as explained by the Sifsei Chachomim, says that the verse is
stressing that it was only until the sun began to shine, "Va'yizrach lo hashemesh,"
that he limped, but immediately after that Yaakov was healed and did not limp
any more (see Sforno).
3) Rashbam says that he surely limped immediately after being struck, but
the verse is saying that when it became light one could see that Yaakov was
limping, just as we find, "Va'y'hi vaboker v'hi'nei hee Leah" (Breishis 29:25).
Surely it was Leah during the night as well. The verse tells us that in the
morning Yaakov became aware that it was Leah.
2) Ch. 34, v. 13: "Va'yaanu vnei Yaakov" - On 24:15 where Lovon answered
ahead of B'suel, Rashi comments that Lovon was a rosho for doing this. Why then
did the bnei Yaakov answer ahead of Yaakov?
1) The Moshav Z'keinim answers that they feared that Yaakov might agree with
Chamor's proposition, so they answered with their conditional offer.
2) The Emes L'Yaakov, in a more detailed explanation of many difficult
matters in this incident, says that Yaakov also wanted them to circumcise
themselves, but since his midoh was "emes," he did not want to be the one to offer a
false proposition, since he had no intention of allowing them to intermarry with
his family. That is why he waited for his sons (34:5) and had them make the
3) Possibly, it is only wrong to answer ahead of one's father. Here Yaakov
did not respond at all. (Nirreh li)
3) Ch. 34, v. 25: "Va'y'hi ba'yom hashlishi" - Rabbeinu Tam and the Ran on
the mishnoh Shabbos 134b are of the opinion that the greatest danger after miloh
is not on the third day, but rather immediately, and it decreases as time
goes on. Why then did Shimon and Levi wait for the third day to wage a battle
with the inhabitants of Sh'chem?
1) The Baalei Tosfos say that they waited three days as it took this long
until everyone had been circumcised.
2) The Ran answers that although the danger is greatest immediately after
miloh, the circumcised person is weakest on the third day.
4) Ch. 34, v. 25,26: "Va'yovo'u al ho'ir betach va'yahargu kol zochor, V'es
Chamore v'es Sh'chem bno horgu l'fi cho'rev" - Why by the killing of the male
populace of the city is a sword not mentioned, and by the killing of Chamor and
Sh'chem is it mentioned?
1) The Alshich Hakodosh answers that the general populace did not have the
desires of Chamor, to become a m'chuton with Yaakov, nor of Sh'chem to marry
Dinoh, and yet they sinned (see Rambam hilchos m'lochim 9:14). Being guilty with
absolutely no excuse is a much more grievous sin than when doing it for
personal gain. Therefore the general populace was easier to slay, hence no mention
of a sword. This is also why they came upon the people of the city BETACH,
assured that they would overpower them without any difficulties. Killing Chamor
and Sh'chem whose sin was not as serious required more effort, and is alluded
to by mentioning the use of a sword. Perhaps this is why the killing of Chamor
and Sh'chem is in a separate verse, as otherwise these two verse could have
easily melded into one.
2) The Mahari"l Diskin answers that the killing of the general populace was
unchallenged as the men were all greatly weakened on the third day following
their circumcision. However Chamor and Sh'chem had circumcised themselves
earlier as mentioned in verse 19, "V'lo eichar hanaar laasose hadovor." They had
recovered from their circumcision and killing them required more effort, hence
the mention of a sword. I don't see an indication of when Chamor had himself
5) Ch. 35, v. 10: "Vayikra es shmo Yisroel" - Why was Yaakov's name retained
even after it was changed to Yisroel, while Avrohom's previous name, Avrom,
1) The Moshav Z'keinim (25:26) says that in 17:5 there is a "miut"
(limitation) of "lo yikorei ode" followed by a dividing word "ES," and then
..."v'hoyoh shimcho Avrohom." Although there are two "miutim," they are divided and the
"miut" eliminates the name Avrom totally. Here we have two "miutim" in a row,
"lo yiko'rei ode" and "ki im Yisroel," which add on, as per the rule of "ein
miut achar miut ella l'rabos" (Yoma 43a, Bovo Basro 14a). A wonderful
explanation of this rule can be found in the Tosfos Yom Tov in the first chapter of
2) Rabbeinu Chananel, whose words are brought in the commentary of Rabbi
Avrohom ben hoRambam, says that "ode" here means "only." Your name shall not be
called Yaakov "ode," only, but Yisroel AS WELL. I am bothered by the fact that
in 17:5 it also says, "lo yiko'rei shimcho ODE Avrom."
3) The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh on Breishis 21:2 d.h. "vatahar" says that the
Torah mentions Yishmoel as a son of AVROM in 16:15-16. Since Yishmoel is later
considered the child of Hogor only, the Torah does not want us to connect
Yishmoel with AVROHOM. The Torah never mentions him as the son of AVROHOM. If we
were to still use the name Avrom there would still be a connection. I am
bothered by 17:23 where it says, "Vayikach AVROHOM es Yishmoel BNO."
4) The gemara Yerushalmi Brochos 1:6 was discussed which said that a name
ordained by Hashem cannot be changed. The gemara Brochos Bavli did not mention
this. With the commentary of the Holy Zohar parshas Noach and the Rashi 25:26
that Hashem named Yaakov, how could his name be changed? A possible answer is
that those commentaries will disagree with the Yerushalmi, and assume that
the Bavli's opinion is that the name could be changed. However, the Bavli will
agree that a Heavenly ordained name, even when changed, still exists as a
secondary name. This would be another explanation of why the name Yaakov remains.
5) Rabbi Sho'ul Katzenelenbogen (found in the back of the Vilna Shas
Brochos) explains that the verse regarding Avrohom says "ES shimcho" and by Yaakov
there is no ES. The gemara Psochim 22b says that the word "es" connotes
"nitpal", secondary to the main matter. We now interpret the verse in Breishis 17:5 by
Avrohom's name change to say, "Your name Avrom and its use as a secondary
name shall no more exist." By Yaakov the verse is saying, "Your name Yaakov, as a
primary name, shall no longer be used." However, as a secondary name, Yaakov
may be used.
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