(28:10) “Vayetze Yakov M’baer Sheva Vayeilech Choronah
And Yakov left Baer Sheva and went to Charan.” At the end of last week’s parsha we read that Yitzchok sent Yakov to Padan Aram. (28:2) Now we learn that he left Baer Sheva and went to Charan? Padan Aram is no longer mentioned. Also why is the word Choronah used? It should read L’Charan-To Charan. The Ohr Hachaim says that the word refers to Charan as in anger. Meaning that Yakov left the anger of Beer Sheva, the anger of Essav.
(28:11) “Vayikach M’avnei Hamokom-He took from the stones of the place.” The Midrash teaches that Yakov took 12 stones, symbolic of the decree that the Jewish people would be founded based on a family consisting of twelve tribes. Since neither his father nor his grandfather had fulfilled this decree Yakov said “If these 12 stones that I am placing under my head will merge into one, I will take it as a sign that I will be able to fulfill this decree.” In the morning when Yakov saw that the 12 stones did indeed merge into one, he knew that he would be the progenitor of a single nation emerging from a family of 12 sons. R.Simcha Schepps, z’tl, asks would it not be more logical to request a sign of one stone turning into 12? The symbolic sign seems counter intuitive of what he was looking for.
R.Simcha Schepps, z’tl, answers by citing a Midrash that says Hashem promised Avraham that he would make him into a great nation (Am Gadol). What is the meaning of Gadol? It cannot mean large in size for Klal Yisroel never was large in size by comparison to the nations of the world. R.Dessler points out that the interpretation of the word “Gadol” is revealed to us by its first appearance in the Torah. (Bereishis 1:16) “Es Ha’Meor Hagadol-The great luminary” the Sun. Gadol means the ability to give to others. The sun is not called Gadol because it is big. The sun is called Gadol because it provides light and heat for the universe. When we refer to Hashem in Shemoneh Esrei we say “HaKel Hagadol” this does not mean that Hashem is large but rather “He is the master of Kindness and Goodness.” So too Yakov says “if I take 12 stones and they become one, there is unity, and they become Gadol, they are not just concerned about themselves, then I will know that this is a sign that I will fulfill the promise made to Avraham.
The question is why here why now? Oznayim L'Torah writes that Yakov was worried about the fate of the twelve tribes which had been delayed. Avraham did not establish them nor did Yitzchok because their children quarreled. Seeing the twelve stones unite indicated that they would unite at the solemn moment when he addressed them on his deathbed.
This is the place where Yakov instituted the Mariv prayer. Yakov wanted to Daven Mincha However because the sun set early he was unable to. He therefore instituted the Mariv prayer.
(28:14) “V’Haya Zaracha K’Afar H’aretz- Your offspring will be as the dust of the earth.” In life the dust of the earth is stepped upon by all man. In death all man is below the earth.
(28:16) “V’Anochi Lo Yodati-And I did not know” Yakov is saying the had he known how awesome this place was he would not have slept there. The Ohr Hachaim asks, but if he had not slept there he would not have had that dream! He answers that had he known he would have properly prepared himself so that he could have had the prophecy while awake.
(28:22) “V’Chol Asher Titain Li Aser Asrenah Loch-Whatever You will give to me I shall repeatedly tithe.” The Midrash explains that when Yakov gave a tenth in that vow it refers to the tribes and that Levi was the tenth that he gave because Levi did the service in the temple. But if he had 12 children how could one be counted as the tenth? The answer is that really Yakov had 14 tribes Yosef's children were considered as Yakov's. But since there were four mothers each of their first born were considered holy that leaves ten of which Levi was the tithe. (Maisser).
(29:7) “Vayomer Hain Ode Hayom Gadol-And he said the day is yet long.” At this point Yakov had just arrived in the area and already he is telling people what to do? Perhaps since the day before the sun set early in order for him to be forced to stay the night, the shepherds of Charan thought that the same thing would occur again. Therefore Yakov felt obliged to inform them that “The day is yet long.” Don’t think that what happened yesterday is the norm.
(29:10) “Vayehe Ka’asher Roah Yakov es Rochel Bas-Lavan Achei Imo-And it was when Yakov saw Rachel the daughter of Lavan his mother’s brother.” In this posuk it says Achi Emo three times (my mother’s brother) when Yakov first sees Rachel. The Or Hachaim says this is to show that his intentions were honorable, for all of these actions were only because of his mother. Another explanation is so that the shepherds who were around should not get the wrong impression of the next posuk where he gives Rachel a kiss. But according to this it should have said my mother’s brother in the posuk where he gives Rachel a kiss (29:11) not in the posuk before? Also why say it three times? It could be that this mentioning of my mothers brother three times was an allusion to the three wives that Yakov would marry besides Rochel. Yakov ultimately married four daughters of Lavan. Leah and Rachel were his daughters from his wife. Bilah and Zilpah were his daughters from his concubines. So it would come out that the first mentioning of my mothers brother refers to Leah since it says Bas Lavan Achi Emo. Then it says Tzone Lavan Achi Emo. The Tzone (sheep) refers to the possessions of Lavan or the daughters of the concubines. And then in the next posuk it says that he kissed Rachel with no mention of Achi Emo since she is the one he intended to marry. This thought is hinted at by the gematria. The words Achi Emo three times equals the gematria of Leah, Zilpah and Bilah.
(29:11) “Vayishak Yakov L’Rochel Vayisaw es-Kolo Vayevch-And Yakov kissed Rachel and he lifted his voice and cried.” When Yakov came to Charan and saw Rachel for the first time it says he kissed her and then he cried. How could it be that Yakov kissed Rachel? And why did he cry after? It could be that according to some she was very young at this time. But according to the Seder Haolam she was 15 at the time. She was 22 at her wedding 7 years later. Also that could be why he cried right after because she was a relative. He had just spent 14 years studying at the yeshiva of Shaim Ve'Aiver and the sight of his relative moved him to tears and the kiss. But the words “Vayishak Yakov L’Rochel” is equal to the words “Kodesh Hakodoshim - -The holy of Holies” which is the place in the world where Heaven and earth kiss.
(29:11) Rashi says that Yakov arrived at Lavan's house with no possessions. Essav had sent his son Elipaz to kill Yakov, but since he grew up on the knees of his grandfather Avraham, he spared him by taking all that he owned, thereby rendering him an Ani which is considered as if dead. The question is why would Essav send his son to kill Yakov when he previously said he would wait till his father died? (27:41) “Vayomer Esav B’Libo Yikrivu Yimei Aivel Avi V’Ahargah es Yakov Achi-Essav said in his heart The mourning days of my father are approaching I will then kill my brother.”Targum Yonason writes that Essav was not acting out of respect for his father. He wished to wait for his fathers death before killing Yakov so that his father would not replace him with more children. Thus all the inheritance would go to Essav. The Chidah writes that this posuk should be read “Essav said in his heart I will hasten the day of my fathers death by killng Yakov my brother.
Another question arises as to what went through the mind of Essav’s son Elipaz. His father told him to kill his uncle, against one of the seven Noachide laws, and he goes for the deception of taking all of his possessions instead? If he did indeed grow up on his grandfather’s knees he should have just disobeyed his father? The answer might be that Yakov was the one who came up with the plan to give away his possessions. The reasoning being that Yakov knew Essav’s one redeeming trait was his Kibud Av. He was now witnessing how that lesson was being transmitted to the next generation. Yakov did not want to see this act of Kibud Av die. He therefore devised a plan to satisfy both.
The Chidah writes that Elipaz took everything including Yakov’s clothes. Yakov left there without anything at all, not even his clothes. He had no choice but to go to a nearby river and go into the water, so he could at least be covered. As he was in the water, a wealthy nobleman was passing by in his carriage and decided he would stop by to swim in the river. He took off his clothes and went into the water, and drowned. Yakov realized that a miracle had occurred. He left the river and put on the nobleman's clothing, and went to the yeshiva of Shem and Eiver where he would spend the next fourteen years. Through all of this Yakov never gave up hope. He was forced to flee from his family and home, he was headed towards an uncertain future and wound up with nothing at all. All of this after receiving the blessings from his father! But he did not despair, and sure enough Hashem sent a miracle to save him. The key to enduring difficult situations is to always know that everything Hashem does is for our good.
The Midrash Shocher Tov writes that Esav went to Yishmael to convince him to kill his father. He thought Yishmael shared his hatred since he too was left out of the inheritance of Avraham. His plan was to then kill Yishmael and inherit everything. While this was being done Essav sent his son to kill Yakov thinking that he would have it all.
(29:18) "Vayomer Evodecha Sheva Shonim-He said I will work for her seven years." Why did Yakov offer seven years of work? He could have negotiated less? The Ohr Hachaim writes that mystically the number seven represents complete, whole. Yakov knew that he would be building the foundation of Klal Yisroel and he wished to make it whole. Similarly Oznayim L'Torah writes that Yakov was fleeing Essav's anger. He feared that Essav might come to kill him at any time. This anxiety would effect his marital relations and thus his offspring. By waiting seven years not only would Essav's anger abate but Yakov's anxiety would as well.
(29:21) “Vayomer Yakov el-Lavan Hovah es-Ishti-V’yavo Ayleha-Yakov said to Lavan give me my wife…and I will come unto her.” A vulgar sort of expression, Rashi quickly sites the Midrash and says “only to have children did he speak this way.” In order to prevent the Mekatregim (prosecuting angels) from interfering with the building of our great nation did Yakov speak this way. We find this often at crucial moments of Jewish history. The seeds of Moshiach were planted in a similar way. When Lot had relations with his daughters and Yehudah with Tamar, all were meant to trick the Satan into thinking that something evil was taking place. (This fits in well with the words of Rashi)
How can it be that the future of Klal Yisroel came partially from servants who weren't even Jews? We learned that these servants were also the daughters of Lavan by his concubines so they too were from Avraham's family.
(29:30) “Vaye'ehav Gam Es Rachel Mi'Leah- He loved Rachel more than Leah.” But in the very next posuk it says that Leah was the hated one? The wording is also very unusual. At this point Yakov had already found out what Rachel had done by giving over the signs to her sister. It was known that twins were born to Yitzchok and twins were also born to Lavan. It was assumed that the older one of Yitzchok was to marry the older daughter of Lavan. Rachel knew that by giving over the signs she might end up marrying Essav. She knew that she would give up her chance to be the mother of the Tribes. Still she could not humiliate her sister. This is what the posuk means when it says “Vaye'ehave Gam Es Rachel Mi'Leah.” He loved Rachel from what she did for Leah.(Imri Shefer)
(29:35) “VaTaheir Ode V’teled Bein V’tomar Hapam Odeh es-Hashem Al Kein Koroh Shemo Yejudah-She conceived again and bore a son and declared “This time let me gratefully praise Hashem, therfore she called his name Yehudah.” The Chidushei Harim notes that the Jews have come to be called Yehudim after Yehudah, because it is a Jewish characteristic always to be grateful to Hashem, with the attitude that He has given more than our rightful share. The Gemarrah (Brochos 7:a, Kiddushin 7:b) writes that Leah was the first person in history to thank Hashem. How can this be? Did Noach not thank Hashem and Avraham following his victory with the 4 kings and the 5 kings not thank Hashem? The Mashgiach of Mir R.Yeruchem Levovitz teaches that when Leah came and said “This time I will thank Hashem” something unprecedented occurred when she named her son Yehudah. She indicated that she never wanted to lose that sense of gratitude to Hashem. Every time she would address her son she would bring to mind the great debt she owed the Creator of the universe.
(30:7) "Vateiled Bilah Shifchas Rochel-Bilah, Rochel's maidservant gave birth." Why was it necessary to mention that she was Rochel's maidservant? Because Bilah continued to treat her childless mistress with respect. Unlike Hagar who after having a child began mistreating Sarah. (Haamek Davar)
(30:11) “Vatomer Leah Bah-Gad-And Leah said Bah-Gad.” The Torah writes these words as one, but it is read as two words.(Bah-Gad) What is the meaning of this? Rashi says that he doesn’t know why these words are contracted? But he says three things. One that Bah-Gad means good fortune comes, that Gad was born circumcised, and that Bagad means betrayal. Rabeinu Bachye writes that the reason it is spelled without the aleph is to allude that Gad was the tenth person in history to be circumcised. However he was born circumcised. The numerical value of the words Bah-Gad equals ten if read as two words but nine if read as one. He was tenth but there were still nine born who needed a bris.
Alternatively we find in the previous posuk that Leah stopped having children. Plus we see that Rochel, who had still not become pregnant, gave her maidservant to Yakov in order for him to produce more Shevatim. She therefore gave her maidservant, Zilpah to Yakov out of which Gad was born.
The Rambam asks why was it necessary for Leah to give Yakov her maidservant? She already at this point had four sons and in fact she later had even more children. Why did she not wait? Perhaps this is the betrayal that Rashi alludes to. Gad was the tribe that led Klal Yisroel into Eretz Yisroel when they began conquering it. Originally by the Bris bein Habisorim Hashem promised Avraham the lands of ten nations. But later on in Devarim when they were actually taking over the land we find only seven nations were conquered. Hashem delayed the conquest of the last three nations until the days of Moshiach. The name Gad equals seven in Gematria. The Maazal-Tov that Rashi referred to was this ability to conquer seven nations. He was born circumcised. The Maharal says that this means that the limitations of this world have little effect on that person. Moishe Rabeinu was born circumcised. So Gad had the potential to transcend this world and could have conquered all ten nations were it not for the fact that he was born to Zilpah rather than Leah. We find that his portion in Eretz Yisroel was part of Ammon and Moav’s territory. When we add those lands to the ones conquered in Eretz Yisroel proper we have a total of nine nations equal to the numerical value of the word Bagad as written in the Torah. The one nation that he could not effect was Edom. Gad was supposed to have been born from Leah. Had he been he would have even been able to overcome Edom. The difference between the words “Bagad” and “Bah-Gad” is the Aleph which represents Edom. The words “Bah-Gad” equals ten. This is why the Torah reads the words “Bah-Gad” but it is written “Bagad” without the aleph. The potential was never realized.
Why was the fact that Leah was not the mother of Gad, the difference between his overcoming Edom? It says (29:17) “V’Eynei Leah Rakos-The eyes of Leah were dimmed.” Leah thought that she was destined to marry Esav. Her eyes were puffy from the tears of prayer. She prayed not to fall to the lot of Essav. And we see that her prayers were answered. So it was Leah’s power of prayer that was able to frustrate Essav. This power would have enabled Gad to overcome Edom. We also see that Leah had this dominion over Essav later on in Parshas Vayishlach where it says that Yakov was criticized for hiding Dinah in a box. He feared that Essav might see her and take her, but we find that Yakov was criticized for doing that since Leah might have been able to reform Essav. Again the power of Leah to overcome Essav.
With this we can perhaps explain why two and a half tribes requested their portion on the other side of the Jordan. They each had a slight blemish at their conception. Gad as explained above should have been born to Leah instead of Zilpah. Reuvein was one of the two Tribes that took his inheritance on the other side of the Jordan because he was also born of the wrong parents. When Yakov married Rachol he found that in the morning it was Leah! While the night before his thoughts were on Rachol!
This caused some slight spiritual blemish which later became manifest in his desire to settle on land that was a level below that of Eretz Yisroel proper. But what about Menashe, they never even requested to settle there. Why would half the tribe be settled there? The Yalkut RuvenieI answers that their conception had a flaw as well. Yosef married Osnas who was the product of Dina's rape by Schem. Of Yosef's two children the firstborn carried that impurity. Half of Menashe's DNA was from Yosef. The other half was from Osnas. Therefore half the tribe was separated over to the Jordan side. This served to purify Yosef's other son from any residue of Shechem.
(30:14) “Vayelech Reuvein-Vayimtza Dudaim-Reuvein went out and he found Dudaim.” In the incident with the Dudaim, Reuvain brings these flowers to his mother because he knows that she desires to have another son. These Dudayim were thought to help a woman conceive. When Rachel saw them she asked her sister to give some to her for she was barren. But if this is so why would she then give up her night with Yakov?
It would seem that the price paid was equal to the request for the flowers. Rachel needed them for fertility. Leah on the other hand could have children. What she needed was Yakov! So the price of giving up Yakov for a night would make sense since having him as she did was not working.
(30:22) “Vayizkor Elokim es-Rachel Vayishma Aylehah Elokim Vayftach es- Rachmav-Hashem remembered Rachel, and Hashem listened to her, and He opened her womb.” Why was it that the Matriarchs were all barren? Among the Avos we also find that Avraham was barren, while Yitzchok and Yakov were not? The Dubno Maggid explains that as the founders of the Jewish nation, Hashem’s chosen people, it was necessary to restrict their lineage, to the exclusion of all wicked forebear’s. Like Terach and Besuel. This was accomplished by causing those Avos and Imohos who were children of Rishoim, to be barren. Since they did not inherit the ability to procreate from their parents, the family connection ended with them. Afterwards when Hashem blessed them with children He infused them with a new ability to procreate that was in no way connected to their parents. There was no continuity in their spiritual genes. So the roots of the Jewish people were able to be pure. Avraham and Sarah were the children of Terach and Haran. They were therefore barren and all previous connections were severed. Yitzchok their son was the first child born of two Jewish parents so there was no need for him to be barren, while Rivka was the child of Besuel and did need to be barren. The same applies to the next generation. Yakov was of two Jewish parents while his wives were not.
(30:38) “Vayatzeg es Hamakolos- And he set up the rods.” Why does the Torah go to such great lengths to describe how Yakov bred his cattle? What lesson are we to learn from al of this? Yakov was the forefather of the twelve tribes. The founder of the Jewish nation. The Torah teaches that not only did he understand the DNA of his livestock, but he understood how each of his 12 children had unique talents. He was able to bring out the potential of each one of them.
Rabeinu Bechaya writes that from here we learn that the thoughts we have during marital relations affects the offspring.
(30:43) “Vayifrotz Ho’ish Ma’od Ma’od-The man became tremendously wealthy.” Why does it use the word Ish when describing Yakov's becoming wealthy?
(31:1) “Vayishma es Divrei Benei-Lavan-And he heard the words of Lavan’s sons.” When Yakov hears the people of the area saying negative things about him he doesn't mind. But then right after that it say's that Lavan no longer looked at him the same way. When the goyim start to say the Jews have all the wealth, they have too much power, that’s one thing. But when the leaders of the area begin to show signs of Anti-Semitism, then the next posuk says Hashem told Yakov to go back to his father to Eretz Yisroel. When Jews forget that they are in golus Hashem needs to give them a reminder. Now this fledgling nation would leave Beis Lavan and return to the land of Israel. These words Beis Lavan translate to mean “White House”. We must know when it is time to leave Golus and go back to our homeland.
(31:2) “Vayar Yakov es Pinei Lavan Vehinei Ainenu Emo Kismol Shilshom- Yakov saw that the face of Lavan was not the same towards him as before.” Two possukim later Yakov tells Rachel and Leah the same thing but the Torah writes the words “Kismol Shilshom” Chassar meaning without the letter Vav in either word. Why this change in the spelling? It is possible that since we know Lavan wanted to uproot Klal Yisroel by destroying the Shivatim, this could be what Yakov was telling them. They knew that Lavan would not harm his daughters but what affect his influence might have on his grandchildren was not known. The two Vavs equal 12 ie. the twelve tribes. What Yakov was saying was that he saw in Lavan's face what he was capable of in regards to the twelve tribes.
(31:19) “Vatignov Rachel es Haterafim-Rachel stole the Terafim.” (Idols) of her father. Rashi says this was in order to sever her father from Idol worship. But if this is so why did she wait 20 years to help her father. Why now? The Midrash says that the Terafim were objects of an ancient form of Idol worship by means of which the worshipers divined the future. Rachel wanted to prevent the Terafim from revealing to her father word about their flight. That also explains later on in posuk (31:30) when Lavan says “Ki Nichsof Nichsaftah Le'Bais Avicha” (for you yearned for your father’s house) and then “Lama Gonavta Es Elokoy” (why did you steal my Gods?). As if he is saying I knew that you longed for your father’s home, I knew that you would go there so why did you have to steal the Terafim? Another reason could be that since Hashem appeared to Lavan the night before he met up with Yakov this could only have taken place if he was no longer in possession of any Avodah Zorah. Rachel may have realized that the only way for this to happen would be if she were to remove the Idols herself.
In this week’s parsha we have the birth of the tribes. Yakov was the first of the Avos to have “Mita Shelaima.” All his sons were tzadikim. Also we have the concept of “Yisroel Af Al Pi Shechoteh Yisroel hu.” That a Jew is still a Jew even if he does sin. This was not the case by the previous Avos. Avraham had a Yishmael, Yitzchok had an Essav. They were cast out. But Yakov had only tzadikim. This came about through a process of purification. It says by Avraham that he chopped the wood before the Akeida. This was likened to separating the wood of the Eitz Hadas. Separating the mixture of good and bad. Avraham after the Akeida reached a level where the Yetzer Hora had no power over him. Yitzchok also separated the bad from the good. He gave the brachos to Yakov thereby separating the bad (Essav) from the good (Yakov) which were mixed together in the same womb. So it comes out that Avraham, who was the second edition of Adam, was able to fix up part of the chet of Adam in a spiritual sense. Yitzchok purified this further in a physical sense through his genes. Now Yakov was able to have Mita Shelaima. Now we can say Yisroel af al pi shechoteh Yisroel hu.
How do we know that Essav is to be cast out? The Gemarrah in Bava Basra says that we learn from the posuk “Ki B’Yitzchok Yikara L’cha Zera-In Yitzchok will your seed be called.” The gemarrah learns B’Yitzchok Velo Kol Yitzchok-In Yitzchok but not all of Yitzchok. Hashem promised Avraham that his descendants would become strangers in a strange land. For four hundred years they would remain under the rule of another nation. But afterward they would receive the land of Israel as an inheritance. The years of servitude were to clarify which of his seed would earn the right to the land. Essav received the land of Seir while Klal Yisroel remained in Egypt for a period of two hundred and ten years. The numerical value of the word B’Yitzchok is equal to 210.
As told over to us by Rav Moshe Chaim Hunger. In the world of TEVAH there really should be NO existence of K'lal Yisrael. Our IMAHOS were all barren. In fact the Meforshim say that Sarah didn't even have a womb - no possibility of a K'lal Yisrael. We are not bound by nature. We are indeed L'Malah Min Hateva. This was how Yitzchak was born. RAV DESSLER asks - But Eisav was also born B’derech Nais? What does he have to do with L'malah Min Hateva? His existence is also L'mala Min hateva! Rav Dessler answers - Eisav's existence is also L'malah Min Hatevah. Yitzchok's Brocha to Eisav was " You'll live by the sword and you'll serve your brother." Eisav has two roles. He was born to serve Yaakov - to maintain our existence if we keep the Torah. ( Such was the ideal relationship of Rebbi & Antininus - the descendants of Yaakov & Eisav) But if we don't keep the Torah then he's also our Shomer. He, then, persecutes us and gives us Tzorus. In this way, he serves us by keeping us as Yidden when our existence is at risk, by not letting us go off the track. Both ways Eisav is providing for Yaakov. His role as Shomer of K'lal Yisroel is determined by us.