Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 28, v. 10: "Va'yeilech Choronoh" - And he went to Choron - At the end of the previous parsha (28:2) Yitzchok commanded Yaakov to go to Padan Arom. In verses 5 and 7 it says that he went to Padan Arom. If so, why does our verse say that he went to Choron?

2) Ch. 28, v. 11: "Va'yikach mei'avnei hamokome" - And he took from the stones of that location - Why didn't Yaakov have a pillow?

3) Ch. 28, v. 13: "Elokei Avrohom ovicho vEilokei Yitzchok" - The G-d of your father Avrohom and the G-d of Yitzchok - Although we have an axiom that grandchildren are considered like children, hence we could understand why Avrohom is called Yaakov's father (Rabbeinu Menachem), but it is most unusual to have the verse call Avrohom Yaakov's father and in the same breath mention Yitzchok without saying that he is Yaakov's father.

4) Ch. 28, v. 20: "Va'yidor Yaakov neder leimore" - And Yaakov made a vow thus saying - The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh says that "leimore" teaches us that Yaakov did not make this vow in his heart only. He verbalized it, as otherwise it would not be binding. This is most puzzling, as based on the gemara Shvuos 26b, commentators derive that when the vow is made to sanctify something for the service of Hashem, even a thought to do so is binding. In verse 22 he sanctified a tenth of his property for Hashem.

5) Ch. 29, v. 14: "Va'yeishev imo chodesh yomim" - And he resided with him a month of days - Rashi comments that Lovon was willing to take Yaakov into his home because he was his relative, but it was not gratis. He had Yaakov work as a shepherd. In the middle of this Rashi says, "v'chein ossoh," and he did like this. Mahar"i Chalavoh explains that Rashi is telling us that Lovon kept his word.

What has Rashi accomplished in clarifying our verse by telling us this point of information?



1) Although Lovon originally resided in Padan Arom, after the death of Terach he moved to Choron to take control of property he inherited from Terach that was located there. Yitzchok was not aware of the move. After not finding Lovon there he was apprised of his move to Choron. (Baa'lei Tosfos)

2) Our verse simply means that to get to Padan Arom he went in the direction of Choron. (Rashbam)

3) This means he went with the anger of Eisov upon him. (Baa'lei Tosfos)

The letter Hei at the end of this word, meaning TO, requires clarification.

4) Choron and Padan Arom are one and the same. (Chizkuni)


Medrash Habiur says that he did not use a pillow because coddling oneself brings to forgetting Torah knowledge.


Tzror Hamor explains that the verse teaches us that Yaakov has a greater connection to the primary characteristic of Avrohom, which is kindness, than he has to his own father Yitzchok, whose primary trait is strict judgment, hence "ovicho Avrohom" but not "ovicho Yitzchok." Mahari"k explains that "ovicho" refers to Elokim.


Perhaps, thought alone is not binding because it was a conditional vow.

The Rambam hilchos arochin 6:1 says that even though a person's promise to sanctify something that has never come into existence is not binding, if he vows that he will sanctify it, the vow is binding. Thus the item, when it comes into the donour's possession is not automatically sanctified, nevertheless, he must sanctify it when it becomes his. The Rambam cites verse 22 as his proof. Our problem is now solved. Although sanctifying something in one's heart is binding, here where the items to be tithed were not yet Yaakov's, he was limited to a commitment by vow to later sanctify it. The vow surely needs to be verbalized, and this is the intention of the Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh.

This answer might be refuted. The Rivo"sh in responsa #228 says that before the Torah was given one could create a binding transaction, such as selling an item, that is not yet his. He cites the sale of the primogeniture birthright that Eisov sold to Yaakov as his proof. If so, the Rambam's proof seems to be negated. However, the Rambam himself in hilchos m'lochim writes that a ben Noach is not bound by "lo yacheil d'voro," that one not desecrate his word, i.e. one is committed to keep his word. If so, what sort of proof does he have from Yaakov's promise to later sanctify a portion of his possessions? We perforce must say that he understood that Yaakov wanted his commitment to be a stringency, based on the laws that would govern the bnei Yisroel after their receiving the Torah. The laws that would govern the bnei Yisroel after their receiving the Torah include that one cannot sanctify an object that is not yet his. Therefore we must say that nevertheless there is a commitment to do so by virtue of a vow.

There is more on this subject in responsa Chasam Sofer Y.D. #243. (Pardes Yoseif)


Perhaps he is bothered with the word "imo," with him. As expanded upon a number of times, but especially in parshas Bolok, there is a nuance of difference between "imo" and "ito." ITO simply means WITH HIM, even without a united purpose, as a group of disparate people flying on an airplane, albeit to the same airport, but each to a different destination and for a different purpose. IMO would be used when a group of people is flying together to attend the same wedding.

Given this, how did Yaakov reside IMO for a month? The answer is that Yaakov embodied the character trait of EMES, truth. This one time Lovon kept his word and not only told Yaakov that he may stay with him for a month, but also actually had him as his guest for the month, not evicting him earlier. This is the key to understanding IMO. (Nirreh li)



See also Sedrah Selections, Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

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