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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 28, v. 10: "Va'yeitzei Yaakov" - And Yaakov left - Rashi comments that the departure of a righteous person makes an impact. This is unfortunately a common occurrence. People do not fully appreciate the righteous person who resides in their midst. It is only upon his departure that they recognize the enormity of his influence. (Beis Yaakov)

Ch. 28, v. 20: "V'nosan li lechel le'echol u'veged lilbosh" - And He will give me bread to eat and a garment to wear - Yaakov was only assured of "V'shavti b'sholo-m el beis ovi" (next verse) if he would only receive minimal basic sustenance, bread and a garment. If he would receive beyond the bare minimum he feared that he might be diverted to pursue physical, earthly pursuits. (Hadrash V'ho'iyun)

Ch. 30, v. 37: "Va'yikach lo Yaakov makal livneh lach" - And Yaakov took for himself a stick of moist poplar - It is only here that the verse mentions that it was moist and not by the "luz" or "ermon." This is because Yaakov peeled the bark from these trees and exposed the whitish colour underneath. Thus there was a combination of the dark bark and the light wood for the sheep to gaze upon. "Livneh" wood only stays whitish as long as it is moist. (Rabbi Yoseif Bchor Shor)

Ch. 30, v. 37: "Va'y'fa'tzeil bo'hein" - And he peeled in them - Yaakov's behaviour seems to be somewhat underhanded. Is this appropriate for the Patriarch who was the paradigm of "emes?"

The Ramban answers that once an agreement was reached that Yaakov's wages would be the sheep and goats that had these various markings, there was absolutely nothing wrong with any strategy he used to produce a maximum of such animals.

Alternatively, he answers that Yaakov verbalized to Lovon that he would do some "visual impact" breeding and Lovon agreed.

Baalei Tosfos cite Rabbeinu Chaim who says that he was in his rights because Lovon stipulated that he would remove the spotted animals, but he also removed the banded ones. Once Yaakov was dealing with a crooked person he applied the rule "V'im I'keish titapol," - and with a crooked person you should likewise act twisted. Likutei Anshei Shem says that this is not permission to react in kind, but rather, a COMMAND to do so.

Rabbeinu Bachyei says That Yaakov acted so in response to the dream that he had, where an angel told him that he would have an enormous amount of spotted, speckled, banded, etc. sheep. Although the peeling of the sticks is mentioned before the dream, this is not in chronological order.

Rabbeinu Bachyei comments in the previous verse that subjecting the sheep to the visual spectacle of spotted striped, banded, etc., wood, which resulted in the sheep giving birth in kind was a combination of the laws of nature and an open miracle. Given that the visual has a profound effect on the upcoming conception, nevertheless, since the sheep were of solid colours, some dark, some light, but without the unusual markings, for ALL the offspring to have these markings and the colouring of the mothers to not carry through on many of the sheep was an open miracle.

Ch. 31, v. 19: "Vatignove Rochel es hatrofim asher l'ovihoh" - And Rochel stole the idols belonging to her father - Rashi explains that she did this to keep her father from further idol worship.

Tzror Hamor offers an additional reason. Rochel knew her father's temperament. He would surely run after Yaakov and his entourage and complain bitterly about being the victim of the conniving Yaakov and that all Yaakov's possessions were rightly his. Yaakov would surely respond in a manner that clears himself of all wrongdoing and Lovon would be the (rightful) recipient of a full measure of embarrassment. Indeed, this is how things played themselves out. Rochel therefore stole his idols. He would surely mention that they were stolen from him and he would accuse Yaakov. This would tone down his disgusting, awful behaviour. After all, he is trying to recover his stolen property. Rochel wanted to minimize his embarrassment.

This approach makes it more understandable why Rochel did not steal his idols earlier.

Ch. 31, v. 33: "Va'yovo b'ohel Rochel" - And he came into Rochel's tent - This is the second time he entered Rochel's tent to find his idols. Why didn't he do a thorough search the first time? He suspected Rochel more than anyone else as she was a "m'shamshonis," one who touches everything. He therefore performed a minimal checking in her tent and went on to the others. He figured that she would now take them out, having passed the inspection. He therefore returned expecting to find them in the open. (Ksav Sofer)

A simple reading of the verses indicates that he entered the other tents including Yaakov's, which was also where Rochel's bed was. However, she surely had another tent just for herself for when Yaakov needed private time with his other wives. This is substantiated by Rochel's excusing herself for not standing up in Lovon's presence only after the verse says that he entered Rochel's tent. Had she been in Yaakov's tent which he usually shared with her she would have excused herself in verse 33, not verse 34. (n.l.)

Ch. 31, v. 36: "Mah pishi mah chatosi ki dolakto acharoy" - What is my wrongdoing what is my in that you have hotly pursued me - When an evil person runs after a righteous person to come in contact and to deal with him, the righteous person must think that he has done something wrong for this connection to take place. (Admor Rabbi Yehoshua of Belz)

Ch. 31, v. 43: "Habonos b'nosai v'habonim bonai" - The daughters are my daughters and the sons are my sons - Notwithstanding that Yaakov married Leah, Rochel, Zilpoh, and Bilhoh, they were biologically Lovon's daughters, hence "habonos b'nosai," but how are we to explain "v'habonim bonai?" Rabbeinu Chananeil says that he simply said a lie. He seems to be following the opinion of Rabbi Yehudoh b"R' Ilo'i cited in B.R. 94:6, that the rule of "Bnei vonim ha'rei heim k'vonim" only applies to sons of sons and not sons of daughters. Note that the gemara Y'vomos 62 clearly states that this applies to daughters' sons as well.

Overall, it seems to be correct to say that he was simply lying, as whether or not there is a technical way to justify some of what Lovon said, when we get to, "V'hatzone tzoni v'chol asher atoh ro'eh li hu" it is clear that he is in the "lie mode."

Ch. 31, v. 45: "Va'yikach Yaakov ovven va'y'ri'mehoh matzeivoh" - And Yaakov took a stone and he lifted it on high as a pillar - When one sets up an altar of stone the word form normally used is "hakomoh," setting upright. Here "haromoh" is used because Yaakov wanted to show Lovon that he was not afraid of him because he was exceedingly strong. He had no need to heed Lovon's advice to come back and avoid a confrontation with Eisov. Yaakov was more than Eisov's match. (Tzror Hamor)

Ch. 31, v. 47: "V'Yaakov koro lo Gal'eid" - And Yaakov called it Gal'eid - Sforno comments that Yaakov did this "Shelo shinoh es l'shono." This might well be the "maa'seh ovos siman labonim" of "Shelo shinu es l'shonom" of the bnei Yisroel in Egypt.



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a

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