CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS ON THE WEEKLY SEDRAH - PARSHAS VA'YEITZEI 5766 - BS"D
1) Ch, 28, v. 10: "Va'yeitzei Yaakov miB'eir Shova va'yeilech Choronoh" -
Rashi (M.R. 66:8) says that the departure of a righteous person from a community
empties it of its majesty, splendour, and glory, "ponoh hodoh, ponoh zivoh,
ponoh hadoroh." We have an earlier instance of Avrohom leaving a community
(12:4), yet Chaza"l make no mention of this concept there. Why have they waited
until Yaakov's departure?
2) Ch. 29, v. 5: "Lovon ben Nochor" - Wasn't Lovon the son of B'su'eil?
3) Ch. 29, v. 23,28: "Va'yikach es Leah vito, Va'yi'ten lo es Rochel" -
Yaakov TOOK Leah. However, in verse 28 it says that he (Lovon) GAVE Rochel his
daughter to him (Yaakov). Why the change from "taking" to "giving"?
4) Ch. 29, v. 28: "Va'ya'as Yaakov kein" - Yaakov agreed to work another
seven years for Rochel. How could Yaakov marry two sisters? This is prohibited by
the Torah in Vayikra 18:18. For this question to be viable it has to be
established that Yaakov undertook to keep all the mitzvos of the Torah. The
mishnoh Kidushin 82a and the gemara Yoma 28b only specifically state that Avrohom
kept the Torah. A source is the Medrash Lekach Tov 32:14. On the words, "im
Lovon GARTI" (32:4) the Medrash says, "v'TARYAG mitzvos shomarti." Garti and
taryag each equal 613, indicating that Yaakov kept all the mitzvos of the Torah.
5) Ch. 29, v. 28: "Va'yi'ten lo es Rochel bito lo l'ishoh" - In verse 22 the
Torah tells us that Lovon made a wedding meal for the marriage of his daughter
Leah to Yaakov. Did he do the same for his daughter Rochel?
Answer to questions on parshas Toldos:
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
1) This can be explained by a point made in our verse. While our verse says
"Avrohom holid es Yitzchok," regarding Yishmo'eil the Torah says "Yishmo'eil
ben Avrohom asher yoldoh Hogor haMitzris shifchas Soroh" (25:12). We see from
these two verses that Avrohom invested his spiritual powers in Yitzchok who was
to become his chain of descendants who were to fulfill the theological
destiny for which purpose Hashem created the world. Not so with Yishmo'eil. His
ancestry was relegated to Hogor the Mitzris, the maidservant of Soroh. Hence there
was no need to guide Yishmo'eil in his choice of a wife.
Rabbi Leibel Eiger in Toras Emes takes this concept and places it into the
words of the verse where Avrohom details to Eliezer from which nation not to
look for a wife for Yitzchok. In 24:3 Avrohom says "Asher lo sikach ishoh livni
mibnos haC'naani asher ONOCHI YOSHEIV B'KIRBO." He interprets the last words of
this verse to mean, "Do not take a wife for my son Yitzchok from the
Canaanite daughters BECAUSE I sit in 'him,' in Yitzchok. My spiritual legacy will be
carried on by Yitzchok, and not by Yishmo'eil. Therefore I am so particular
about whom Yitzchok will marry."
2) Yishmo'eil did not reside in Avrohom's home when he pursued a marriage
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.
1) This question is raised by Baalei Tosfos and they answer that we only
count from the time that the person was given this title. Noach was given this
title just before Hashem told him that He would bring a deluge upon the world
and that he should commence building an ark. (Since the first verse of parshas
Noach is a general narrative of Noach's life and the next verse tells us of
Noach's having three sons, approximately 100 years before the flood, and only in
the next verse is the decadence of the world mentioned, how do we know that
this title wasn't given earlier?) Building the ark took Noach 120 years as per
the M.R. chapter #30 as brought in Rashi 9:14, if we add 120 years to the 350
years he lived after the deluge we have 470 years. Reduce one year because
during the year spent in the ark the celestial bodies did not function, and we are
left with 469 years, divisible by seven.
We may suggest that similarly we do not calculate Avrohom's 175 years, but
rather only from the time he was told to circumcise himself, at the age of 99
years (17:24). His 99th, one-hundredth year, and another 75 years, total 77
years, again divisible by seven.
2) Matnos K'hunoh, a commentator on the M.R., and the Chasam Sofer both say
that we only count Noach's years after leaving the ark, 350 years. Although
this is a wonderful mathematical remedy for the problem, why should we only
calculate those years? This can be very well understood with the insight of the
Mahari"l Diskin on parshas Noach 6:9. "Tzadik tomim hoyoh b'dorosov" - Rashi
contrasts this with 7:1, "Ki os'cho ro'isi tzadik l'fonai bador ha'zeh" where
the word "tomim" is omitted. Rashi answers with the gemara Eruvin 18b, which
states that in a person's presence one only states part of his praise. Since
here Hashem was talking ABOUT Noach, more complete praise was stated, while in
7:1, where Hashem was talking TO Noach directly He therefore limited the praise.
The Mahari"l Diskin answers that the title "tzadik" applies to one who
conquers his lusts, as seen by Yosef Hatzadik who was given this appellation because
he mastered over his inclinations by the incident with Potiphera's wife. The
title "tomim" applies to one who is strong in his belief in Hashem, as we find
in Dvorim 18:13, "Tomim ti'h'yeh im Hashem Elokecho." The Dor Hamabul
(generation of the great deluge) sinned greatly in the areas of theft, murder and
immorality. Noach was saved during the Dor Hamabul by virtue of his innocence in
these areas. Therefore in 7:1, where Hashem is explaining to Noach why he
merited being saved, the word "tzadik" is appropriate. However, 6:9 tells us
Noach's greatness in relation to the many generations in which he lived. Noach
lived for 350 years after the great deluge, which included the Dor Haflogoh, whose
sin was not accepting Hashem's authority. The words "tzadik tomim hoyoh
b'dorosov" capsulize Noach's life; he was a "tzadik" in relation to the Dor Hamabul
and a "tomim" in relation to the Dor Haflagoh, hence the word b'DOROSOV in
plural, during two different generations. Contrast this with "Ki os'cho ro'isi
tzadik l'fonai baDOR hazeh," in relation to THIS generation, in the SINGULAR,
where he was saved by virtue of being a "tzadik."
We now have a clear understanding of why the title "tomim" only applies to
the last 350 years of Noach's life, when he withstood the challenge of false
gods and fulfilled "tomim t'h'yeh im Hashem Elokecho." We calculate all 175 years
of Avrohom's life as "tomim," as from childhood he fought idol worship.
We are still left with Iyov, of whom it is written, ".. Iyov shmo v'hoyoh
ho'ish hahu tom" (Iyov 1:1). Seder Hadoros year 2448 brings the M.R. Breishis
chapter #53 that Iyov lived for 210 years. He also brings an opinion that he
lived peacefully for 70 years and then his suffering began. Following the dictum
that he who continually has pain, it is as if his life is no life (gemara
Beitzoh 32b), we can say that he is considered to have lived only 70 years.
The Nezer Hakodesh, a commentator on M.R., in reconciling medrashim and the
gemara says that Iyov lived for 210 years, and then transmigrated (gilgul) into
another person who was again named Iyov who also lived for 210 years. Any of
these calculations allow for the number of years that he lived to be divisible
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?
1) The GR"A answers that in the original text of the gemara the abbreviation
E"T, ayin tes, appeared. A later transcriber mistakenly thought it stood for
Eruvei Tavshilin, while it actually stood for Eruvei T'chumin. This is
rightfully alluded to in our verse by the word "Eikev" which also had the meaning
"heel," hinting to the restriction of walking a certain distance beyond one's
domain, which can be altered with "eruvei t'chumin."
2) The Chasam Sofer answers that the words "eruvei tavshilin" mean mixture
of cooked objects, meat and dairy cooked together. It is indeed unique that
Avrohom kept this law since Tosfos on the gemara Sanhedrin 4b d.h. "derech" say
that there is a Torah restriction on "bosor b'cholov" only when each on its own
was originally permitted. Since before the Torah was given there was no verse
to permit milk products, as they are an extract, "yotzei," from a prohibited
object, namely a live animal, "eiver min hachai" (see gemara B'choros 6b), he
really was permitted to cook and derive benefit from this mixture. Therefore
the gemara Yoma stresses that he kept even this prohibition.
3) The Avnei Nezer quotes the Ramban who asks why there is a prohibition to
prepare from Yom Tov to Shabbos, since Shabbos is greater than Yom Tov in all
aspects. The Ramban answers that there is one point in which Yom Tov is
greater. Yom Tov is established by a human court, while Shabbos is Divinely
established. Human involvement to establish the right time for each Yom Tov is greater
than a permanently set time, even if done so by Hashem. Therefore, it is
prohibited to prepare on Yom Tov for Shabbos without making an "eruv tavshilin."
The Avnei Nezer says that since before the Torah was given, Avrohom kept the
Shabbos out of his own volition, his Shabbos was equal to Yom Tov even in the
area pointed out by the Ramban. Therefore, there should be no restriction for
Avrohom even without an "eruv tavshilin," and yet he still made one.
4) Another possible answer: There is a halacha that one may not cook food
on Yom Tov to be consumed even that same day by one who does not observe
Shabbos and Yom Tov (see Shulchan Oruch O.Ch. #512:1). An "eruv tavshilin" would
therefore not be applicable in Avrohom's situation, since Avrohom did not have
the possibility of unexpected Shomer Shabbos and Yom Tov guests arriving, which
is a necessary component of permitting cooking by created an "eruv
tavshilin." (See O.Ch. #527 and Ran, Ch. 3 of gemara P'sochim). Yet, he still made an
"eruv tavshilin" to go through the motions of a future Rabbinical mitzvoh.
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 word "m'ode" dropped from our verse?
1) The Chizkuni answers that originally she was exceedingly pretty, but
after the very difficult pregnancy and birth of twins she was still pretty, but
not exceedingly so.
2) Perhaps this question can also be answered with the words of the Sforno
on 24:16. He says that "tovas ma'reh m'ode" refers to a healthy ruddy
complexion. Possibly, this was only so at that time, while she went out daily to draw
water for the needs of her family and their animals. However, after her
marriage and having children to bring up, she was homebound and lost this feature,
not being exposed to the outdoors and an abundance of sunshine. Perhaps to
forewarn the difficulty posed by the Chizkuni, the Sforno says his most novel
interpretation. (Nirreh li)
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?
1) This question is answered with the comment of the Moshav Z'keinim on
12:8. He explains why there was a need for a separate tent in the first place.
This was connected to Avrohom's pitching the tent while still traveling. This is
not the case here, as Yitzchok now lived in B'eir Sheva.
2) Mo'ore Ho'a'feiloh writes that Yitzchok established a Beis Hamedrash here
as stated earlier in this verse, "va'yikra b'sheim Hashem." We can thus say
that this tent was not his personal abode, but rather, a tent of learning.
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