SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS VA'Y'CHI BS"D
Ch. 47, v. 29: "V'osiso imodi chesed ve'emes" - And you shall do with me
kindness and truth - Rashi explains that the kindness one does with the dead is
"kindness of truth," because one does not look forward to recompense, to
repayment of kindness. Getting very technical with Rashi's wordage, we can ask why
this would be called "kindness of TRUTH" rather than of no repayment. As well,
why does Rashi say that one does not "look forward" to recompense? Why not
simply say that one EXPECTS no recompense?
The Sefer B'eir Sheva printed in Prague in 5575 at the end of "shaar
teshuvoh" writes in the name of the Noda b'Yehudoh that there is no kindness that a
person does that he does not expect to receive a reward, even a kindness does
for a deceased person. Even though one will not receive kindness in return from
the dead person, but he will receive
his reward in the world to come. The difference between doing a kindness for
a live person and doing it for the dead is as follows: When one does a
kindness for a live person, it is possible to create a false picture of how great the
benefit is, or how much effort was put into doing the kindness. According to
the impression that the beneficiary has, the reward received by the benefactor
will vary, so it is possible to receive FALSE reward, undeserved reward. When
doing a kindness for a dead person one receives no reward from him and only
receives reward from Hashem, whether in this world or the next. One cannot fool
Hashem, hence any recompense is TRUTHFUL, accurate reward. This explains the
terminology "chesed shel emes," kindness that will only be rewarded in TRUTH.
Medrash Halacha raises the following question: How can Rashi say that one
does not anticipate reward for doing kindness with the deceased, the gemara M.K.
28b says that he who does kindness with the deceased knows that people will
reciprocate and have him eulogized and properly buried. He answers that this is
why Rashi was particular to express himself with, "she'eino mitza'peh," that
he does not "look forward" to, as one does not look forward to the kindness
accorded him, as he does not look forward to his demise.
Ch. 47, v. 30: "Un'sosani miMitzrayim" - And you shall take me from Egypt -
The mishnoh Nozir (gemara 65a) says that if one exhumes a dead person to rebury
him somewhere else, he should also take along "tfusoso." The gemara says that
this is derived from our verse. Read "Un'sosani miMitzrayim" as "and you
shall take me along with the earth of Egypt." The gemara goes on to say that the
requirement is t take all dug up loose earth plus three finger-breadths of
solid earth from below the body. The R"I of Gash in his commentary on the gemara
B.B. 101a explains that the decomposing body and its fluids seep this far into
the ground and this amount of earth is considered like the body itself, hence
The obvious problem with this being derived from our verse is raised by the
Baa'lei Tosfos in Hadar Z'keinim. Yaakov was never buried in Egypt, even
temporarily, so there was no requirement to take along any earth. They answer in the
name of Rabbeinu Chaim that the gemara understood Yaakov's request to not be
buried in Egypt to span two verse, the previous one and ours. ".. please do
not bury me in Egypt. And when I will rest with my forefathers, i.e. die, 'if
you will not comply, but rather, will bury me in Egypt, then you will be
required to "un'sosani miMitzrayim,'" to carry me out with some earth from Egypt."
Ch. 48, v. 5: "Efrayim u'Menasheh kiReuvein v'Shimon yi'h'yu li" - Efrayim
and Menasheh shall be to me like Reuvein and Shimon - Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer
chapter #36 derives from these words that grandchildren are considered as if they
are children, since Yaakov equated these two grandchildren to his own
children. The R"if brings the words of the following verse to prove this point,
"Umolad't'cho asher holadto acharei'hem l'cho yi'h'yu," that those who are born
after them are to you. Since we have no record of Yoseif having any more
children, we must say that Yaakov is referring to children born to Efrayim and
Menasheh. Only Yaakov's great-grandchildren are to Yoseif, but Efrayim and Menasheh
themselves are to be considered Yaakov's own children, hence we see "bnei vonim
ha'rei heim k'vonim."
The Haflo'oh explains that the Ri"f is reluctant to use the source of Pirkei
d'Rebbi Eliezer because we can say that Yaakov only equated them to his own
actual children for being calculated as two tribes by virtue of a directive from
Hashem, a prophecy that one of the tribes will later split into two. Yaakov
chose to bestow this benefit upon Yoseif's children, but there is no proof from
here that "bnei vonim ha'rei heim k'vonim."
Ch. 48, v. 14: "Si'keil es yodov ki Menasheh habchor" - He placed his hands
wisely in spite of Menasheh's being the first-born - This is the translation of
these words according to Rashi and the Ibn Ezra. A number of other
explanations were offered in Sedrah Selections parshas Va'y'chi 5759. Another, most
innovative explanation: Simply translate KI as "because." The seeming difficulty
is that if you translate KI as "because," it goes against logic. Since Menasheh
was the first-born he should have received his blessing through Yaakov's
right hand, the more prominent hand. The Ram"a of Panu in Asoroh Maamoros explains
that the first-born was a most prominent member of each family at that time.
This continued throughout the years in Egypt. We see that Egypt's first-born
were smitten. This is because they were the leaders and mentors of their
family. Similarly by the bnei Yisroel a first-born had the status of a Kohein.
Yaakov and Eisov vied for primogeniture rights. Thus this verse is saying that
because Menasheh was the first-born he absorbed all the impurities imparted to
Osnas, his mother, from Sh'chem, her father, that Efrayim was untainted by this
impurity, and therefore Yaakov favoured Efrayim to receive the dominant
Ch. 48, v. 21: "V'heishiv es'chem el eretz avoseichem" - And he has returned
you to the land of your forefathers - Yaakov's assurance was that Hashem would
bring them back in the future, so why doesn't the verse say "v'yoshiv"?
Yaakov was relating to Yoseif that Hashem's promise is as good as done. (Rabbeinu
Ch. 48, v. 22: "Sh'chem ached al achecho" - One Sh'chem over your brothers -
Rashi first offers that this refers literally to the city of Sh'chem. He then
alternatively offers that the word "sh'chem" means a portion, and that it
refers to Yoseif's meriting that his two sons become separate tribes. Tosfos
Sho'leim explains that Rashi offers a second explanation because according to the
first one, taking Sh'chem took place with Yaakov's sword and bow, and the verse
says that the surrounding communities did not attack because they feared the
bnei Yisroel (Breishis 35:5). Rabbeinu Ovadioh of Bartenura resolves this by
saying that the surrounding communities did not attack after they left the city
of Sh'chem, but while there they did fight. Alternatively, Yaakov girded
himself with his sword and bow in preparation for war, but it never took place.
Rabbeinu Yehudoh Chalavah offers that the communities abutting Sh'chem fought
them, but "svivosei'hem," those that were further afield, did not.
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