Torah

(47:28) "Vayeche Yakov B'eretz Mitzraim - Yakov lived in the land of Egypt." A Tzaddik knows the day of his death 30 days prior to his death. This is where this  parsha begins. Daas Zekainim writes that just as Yakov sustained Yosef for the first 17 years of his life, so too Yosef sustained Yakov the last 17 years of his life.

There is the question as to when we use the name Yakov and when we use the name Yisroel. Generally it has been explained that the name Yakov relates to the physical aspect and Yisroel the spiritual. Until we get to this weeks portion. (47:28) "Vayeche Yakov B'eretz Mitzraim - Yakov lived in the land of Egypt." We begin with Yakov "lived"

(47:28) "Vayikrivu Yimey Yisroel Lomus-And the day of the death of Yisroel approached" Yakov lived while Yisroel dies? It seems to be the opposite of what we would think?

The K'sav Sofer writes based on the Gemarrah in BB16b that when a person dies and leaves behind a son who is his equal, the term death is not used. The names Yakov and Yisroel connote two different levels of our Patriarch. The name Yisroel refers to a higher level than the name Yakov. On the level of Yakov we have an equal, Yosef, to whom was transmitted by his father everything that was taught to him in the Yeshiva of Eiver. However on the level of Yisroel no equal was left. The Torah is saying Yakov Lo Mase but that level of Yisroel was about to die.

(47:30)-"V'shochavti I'm Avosai- I will lie with my fathers" Rashi says it refers to death not burial. The Marsha says this term is used when the person dying leaves behind righteous sons. It means that he isn't really dying if he left behind sons that follow his ways. The word Shochavti-Lie refers to the soul that never dies, but lies in wait for the day it will once again be reunited at Techiyas Hamaisim.

   The dead will arise in Israel 40 years before they do outside of Israel. Partly because of the suffering involved in living there.

   This parsha deals with the death of Yakov yet it's called Vayeche? The numerical value of Vayeche is 34. Yosef was 17 years old when he was sold to Mitzraim and Yakov spent the last 17 years of his life with Yosef in Mitzraim. That equals 34 the years he spent with Yosef. Those were the years he "lived". Also since it say's in the Gemarrah that "Yakov lo Mase", the term "Vayeche" seems quite appropriate.

   Tanna d'Bei Eliyahu derives from the word "Vayeche" that these seventeen years were of the highest possible form of life. It was May'ain Olam Haboh- a semblance of the world to come. But how can it be that the years in Egypt were even more like Olam Haboh than his years in Eretz Yisroel? We see that Yakov's entire life was spent preparing for the years in Golus. As soon as he left his parents home to go to live by Lavan he spent fourteen years preparing for Golus studying at Shem V'Aver.

   It has been said that the world will exist as we know it for six thousand years. We can see a direct correlation between the lives of the Avos and these six thousand years. The world was able to remain in existence in the Zechus of Avraham Avinu for the first two thousand years. His was the Midah of Chessed. These were the years of turbulence when the creation was in jeopardy. It was the year two thousand that Avraham first received his calling from Hashem saying "Lech Lecha". The next two thousand years stood on the merits of Yitzchak. His Midah was that of Avodah. These were the years of Torah where we had the Beis Hamikdosh and the Korbonos. The final two thousand years are in the merit of Yakov. These are the years of Golus in which we find ourselves today. Yakov's years in Mitzraim were the culmination of a lifetime of preparation for this type of existence, one that would be needed for the survival of his descendants till the end of days. Here he "lived" with his entire family thriving around him ready to withstand whatever the future exiles would heave upon them.

(47:28) "Vayeche Yakov B'eretz Mitzraim Sheva Esrei Shanah - Yakov lived in the land of Egypt for seventeen years.” The term most often used for “lived” is not “Vayeche” it is Vayogor or Vayeshev, why does the Torah choose this term “Vayeche”? Another question is why was it necessary to write “seventeen years” we were just told that Yakov was 130 years old when he stood before Pharoh and now we are told he was 147 at the time of his death? What is the Torah trying to allude to? If we look for the first incident of the number 17 in the Torah we find that it occurs at the dawn of creation. When Hashem said let there be light He followed it with “And Hashem saw that the light was Tov/good which equals seventeen in Gematria. This was the supernal light that was hidden away for the righteous in the future. This is what Yakov brought to the land of Egypt to infuse the children of Israel and to maintain the connection to Hashem that was needed to withstand the oncoming exile. The word “Vayeche” is used specifically to express that Yakov did not merely live in to the land of Egypt but gave life to it.

   The question asked about Yakov is why there seems to have been no apparent attempt? on his part to return to Eretz Yisroel after the famine had ended? After all he did spend seventeen years in Mitzraim. Two years of the famine had already passed by the time Yakov arrived, while the famine was only supposed to last for seven years. We find when Yakov was preparing to reunite with Yosef in Mitzraim that Hashem assured him that it was okay for him to travel down there. (46:3) "Al-Tirah Mair'dah Mitzraimah - Do not be afraid to go down to Mitzraim." In the very next posuk it say's (46:4) "Ve'Yoseif Yasis Yahdo al-Ainecha - Yosef will place his hands upon your eyes." This would seem to infer that Yakov was destined to die there. So unless there was another vision given to him to leave this was where his life would conclude.

This parsha is closed. (Stumah) There aren’t the usual 9 spaces between the last parsha and this one. This must indicate that there is a connection between the end of Vayigash and Vayeche. In the beginning of Vayeche Yakov wanted to reveal the Kaitz (The end of all of the golus when Moshiach will come) but it was withheld from him. Therefore the parsha is Stumah (closed). Why was it concealed from him? At the end of Vayigash it says that the Shevotim acquired land in Mitzraim. Not only in Goshen but they spread out to all parts of Egypt. They settled in and became too comfortable because they knew their Kaitz. They knew that they would not be leaving Mitzraim in their lifetime. This was not a good thing. They became too assimilated to the extent that four fifth's of Benei Yisroel died in the plague of darkness because they refused to leave. They were so assimilated. In Vayeche Yakov thought it would not affect them negatively if they knew the Kaitz. But he was wrong. This is why it was withheld from him. R.Hutner writes that at the time Yakov wanted to reveal the Kaitz it was held back because it would affect the Bechira and when a revelation is going to affect a person’s Bechira it is held back. If this knowledge was given over it would alter our decisions and outlook on life.

     The Midrash says Yakov was concerned that perhaps his offspring was unworthy to hear the "Kaitz". So they said to him look in our names there is no letter Ches or Tes which spell Chet. He replied there is also no letter Kuf or Tzadik which spell Kaitz.

  (47:29) "V'Asisah Emodi Chesed Ve'Emes - And do kindness and truth with me." The kindness and truth referred to here is that of burial for it is that which cannot be repaid. The question is we find that Yakov gave an extra inheritance to Yosef, the city of Shechem, as payment for this extra effort which he needed to accomplish this? The answer is that this was not something that Yosef received in this world. He never acquired Shechem in his life but rather received it as his burial place. So in essence he only received payment for this "Chessed" in the next world.  Another interpretation is that when a person does a kindness to another person he never really knows if that action is ultimately for the good. If he lent money to someone for a business venture the final outcome is always in doubt. Will it be for the good or will it fail? But here when a person does this type of kindness we know that the outcome will be a Chesed Shel Emes.

    One of the reasons that Yakov was insistent on not being buried in Mitzraim is because he feared that the Egyptians would worship his remains and he knew that in the future Hashem would punish all of the so called Gods of the Egyptians. Furthermore if he were indeed buried in Mitzraim, in his merit Hashem might spare the Egyptians from the Ten Plagues. Yakov wanted to insure that his descendants would not have any reason to make Mitzraim their permanent home. By being buried in Eretz Yisroel he would be creating a strong bond there that they would always have no matter where they were exiled. This link would insure that their heritage was always connected to the Holy land.

     (48:2) "Vayischazek Yisroel Vayeshev al-Hamitah - Yisroel gathered his strength and sat up in bed."  It says when Yosef came into the room Yakov sat up on the bed. We learned that if a person comes to visit the sick it removes one sixtieth of the sickness. The gematria of the word “the bed” (Hamita) equals 59 which are what was left of the sickness after Yosef visited him. The posuk begins with “Vayged L’Yakov” but ends with "Vayischazek Yisroel” Why the switch from Yakov to Yisroel? Perhaps we can say that Yakov was ill, but when it came to blessing his sons, the future of Klal Yisroel, the Shechina rested upon him and he was therefore referred to as Yisroel.

    (48:5) "Ve'atoh Shinei-Vonecha Hanoladim Le'cha B'eretz Mitzraim Ad-Bo'e Aylecha Li-Haim Efraim Umenashe Ki'Reuvein Ve'Shimeon Yihyu-Li - And now the two sons that were born to you in the land of Egypt prior to my coming to you are mine, Efraim and Menashe like Reuven and Shimeon will be to me."  First we must understand the use of the words "Li Haim" (they are mine) and then again it says "Yihu-Li" (they will be to me). Why this double loshon? Also why is Yosef the recipient of this double blessing which is usually given to the Bochor? Reuvein was also a Bochor yet he received no such double blessing?                  

     The Meam Loez say's the night that when Reuvein disturbed the sleeping arrangements of his father was the night that Efraim and Menashe were supposed to be born.(35:22) His interference caused that not to happen. Therefore he was not worthy of receiving this double blessing. So now when Yakov say's "Li Haim" they are mine, he is saying that those Neshamas were supposed to have been mine. Now they will be like Reuven and Shimeon to me. The Baal Haturim say's that the numerical value of Reuven and Shimeon equals that of Efraim and Menashe.

    Why Reuvein and Shimon and not another tribe? Both Reuvein and Shimon had deficiencies in that there were complaints towards them. The complaint towards Efraim and Menahe was they were not from Yerech Yakov. (Tzor Hamor)

   The Zohar say's in Vayishlach that Yakov fulfilled his original intention by giving the Bechor to Yosef since he originally had Yosef in mind when he mistakenly slept with Leah on their first night of marriage because he thought that he was sleeping with Rachel. The Ohr Hachaim explains that the thoughts that the parents have at the time of conception influence to a large degree the tendencies of the offspring. If for example the father was thinking about self gratification at the time of intercourse he can't be surprised if those tendencies are transmitted to the offspring. Avraham carried over some of the negative tendencies he received from his father Terach, who was an idol worshiper, and transmitted them to Ishmael. And some were transmitted to Essav through Yitzchok. But we have learned that Yakov had a Mitah Shelamah? Meaning that all his offspring were righteous? If so how could Reuvein have committed such a grave sin as interfering with his fathers sleeping arrangements? The answer is that at the time of Reuvein's conception, Yakov's thoughts were on Rachel and not Leah. This also explains another Posuk. In 49:4 where Yakov is blessing Reuvein it say's "Ki Olisah Mishkivey Avichah Oz Chilaltah Yitzuey Olah - Because you went up onto the couch of your father then you profaned your fathers couch. There is the use of the plural in the word "Mishkivey" (couches). The Ohr Hachaim explains that this means that there were two times that his couch was profaned. The first time Reuvein disturbed the order of things was then, at the time of his conception.

   (48:7) “V’ani B’vo M’padan Maisoh Olay Rochel b’Eretez Canaan Baderech-And as for me when I came from Paddan, Rachel died on me in the land of Canaan in the way.” Yakov, at this point, is telling Yosef that his two sons are to be considered as if they were Yakov’s children instead of grandchildren. Now he is explaining why he buried Rachel on the road instead of in Chevron. Why does the Torah include this argument here instead of earlier (47:29) when Yakov asked Yosef to bury him in Israel? The fact that Rachel died soon after Hashem promised Yakov that he would be a congregation of peoples, made it clear that this promise would be realized through grandchildren not through Yakov’s sons.

    When Yakov was being buried at the  Moros Hamacpela, Essav contested the burial. Why didn't he contest when Leah was buried? Logically that's when he should have said something. The answer is that Leah died 12 years before Yitzchok so while his father was still alive he would not interfere. But now that it was time to bury Yakov he showed his true colors. 

    Pirkei D'rav Eliezer describes the burial of Yakov: The tribes prepared to bury Yakov next to Leah in the Moros Hamachpelah. Essav protested and said this last space is reserved for me not Yakov. The Tribes answered that he sold the rights to the cave to Yakov. Essav demanded they show the contract which was in Egypt. Naftali ran swiftly to retrieve it and the burial was delayed. Chushim, Dan's son who was deaf saw the commotion and realized that the delay was because of Essav. He then hit Essav on the back of the head with a stick (Tosefos say's it was Yehudah who gave the final blow). Essav fell dead and his head rolled into the cave which is where it remains. The rest of his remains was taken to Har Seir for burial. Why was Essav's head permitted to be buried there and not the rest of him? Perhaps we can say that since originally Essav was supposed to marry Leah and father half of the Shevotim. They were to have a Yissachar and Zevulan type of relationship. Essav would have mastered the physical world while Yakov mastered the spiritual world. But Essav chose a different path. He followed his body rather than his soul. He let the body rule his mind. So it was only his mind, which 

contained that potential, which could have been worthy to be accepted in this holy burial place.

   (48:10) “V’Aynei Yisroel Kovdu M’Zokein-The eyes of Yisroel were heavy with age.” Both Yakov and Yitzchok seem to have had problems seeing in their old age. Something not found by Avraham. The Sefer Chasidim writes that when conveying divine blessings, one must eliminate all extraneous impressions from his sight and direct all of his thoughts to the spirit that inspires him and gives him the power to bless. We don’t however find Avraham blessing Yitzchak per se, but rather giving Yitzchak the power to bless others.

    (48:14) When Yakov wanted to bless the two sons of Yosef he placed his left hand on Menashe because he was the Bechor. This doesn't make sense? He should have placed his right hand on Menashe if he is the Bechor. In Parsha's Vayishlach (35:22)  Reuvein was upset that Yakov moved his couch into Bilha's tent after Rachel died, thus he interfered  with his fathers couch. The Ari’zal say's that Reuvein entered Bilha's tent and interrupted their intimacy. This is why there is a letter “Paye” in the middle of the Posuk. Indicating that Yakov was Posek (stopped). This resulted in the thirteenth Shevet not being born. Right after the letter Paye the Posuk say's the Shevotim were twelve? What does this mean? In Parsha's Vayeshev, when Reuvein returns to the pit that Yosef was in, the Torah writes (37:29) that when he saw that Yosef wasn't in the pit he tore his clothes. Rashi say's because he rearranged the couch of his father. He had thought that Yosef would be the one through whom the thirteenth tribe would be completed. The thirteenth which he had stopped his father from completing. That's why he tore his clothes. So now in our Parsha when Yakov put his left hand on Menashe it was because he (Menashe) was the Bechor meaning that Efraim was the thirteenth who now would complete the tribes. That's why Yakov placed his right hand upon him.

      Why is the blessing for Efraim and Menashe so  special? Why was it given to them? When Yakov made them as his own children he made them like Shevotim. Normally the generation that follows loses a Madrega. But Efraim and Menashe maintained the level of their previous Dor. They became Shevotim. This while being the first Dor to be raised in Golus and remain loyal to the Torah. So the Bracha was especially important there.

  (48:15) When Yakov was to bless Yosef it seems that he didn't bless him at all. He only blessed his son's. The Shelah and the Ramban say there is no greater blessing for a father than for his children to be good and follow in the paths of their fathers. Here Yakov blessed Yosef by saying "Veyikaray Bohem Shemy Veshaim Avosay" That they should go in the ways of their fathers. This was a tremendous Bracha for Yosef and is the reason why it say's Vayevarach es Yosef.

   (48:17) Vayar Yosef Ki Yoshis Aviv Yad Yemino...Vayeirah B’Aynov-Yosef saw that his father placed his right hand..and it was bad in his eyes.”When Yosef saw that his father placed his right hand on Ephraim’s head, he assumed that Yakov suspected that he sinned with the wife of Potiphar and that she had given birth to his bastard son. Therefore that bastard son would have been the firstborn rather than Menashe. This was very upsetting to Yosef that his father suspected him. Of such an evil deed. He therefore said, “No my father (48:18) Do not suspect that I defiled my self. You can be assured that Menashe  is the firstborn son.” Yakov replied, “I know my son, I know.”  I know that at that moment you saw a vision of my face and did not sin. (Meam Loez)

   (48:17) “ Vayidgu L’rove B’kerev H’Aretz-May they proliferate abundantly like fish in the land.” What is the meaning of “fish in the land?” Fish proliferate in water? Perhaps we can say that since Klal Yisroel  will be spending the majority of their time outside of  Eretz Yisroel in exile, they are like a fish out of water. The blessing then states, may you prosper even when you are out of your element in hostile surroundings. We know that in Egypt the more they were oppressed the greater they became. The years that Rashi lived were some of the most difficult times for Jews, and yet some of the greatest Torah works were compiled.

   Another answer is that of the Midrash who states that when the Egyptians decreed that all Jewish babies be thrown in the Nile, the women would give birth in the fields. Miraculously the babies were absorbed into the earth and were sustained there until they were weaned. This is the meaning of the blessing here “like fish in the land.”

   (48:19)"I know I know" Why the repetition? The Kli Yakar writes we find throughout Jewish history that Hashem always raises the lower ones. Yitzchok and Yishmael, Yakov and Essav. Now Efraim and Menashe.The Meam Loez writes "Yakov knew" means the following. When Yosef saw Yakov switch hands he thought his father suspected him of having relations with Potifar's wife which would mean the elder is a Mamzer! Yakov answered the extra "I know" to say that I know you withstood that temptation. 

   (48:20) “B’choh Yivorech Yisroel-By you shall Israel bless.” The blessings of Efraim and Menashe are given to our sons because they did not exhibit any jealousy towards each other, which was the reason for the Golus in the first place. Even when the younger was chosen over the elder. Why do we not bless with the Avos? Because Efraim and Menashe were the first Jewish children born in Golus.

   (48:20) “B’choh Yivorech Yisroel-By you shall Israel bless.” The word “Becha”  in a Kabbalistic sense is equal to 22 in Gematria, and is to be perceived as denoting the Twenty Two letter Name of Hashem, corresponding to the twenty two letters of the Aleph-Beis with which the Torah is written. Thus Yakov is blessing the children of Yosef completely.

   (48:22) “Vani Nosati Lecha Shechem Echad al Achecha-I have given you the city Shechem one more than your brothers.” Why was Yosef given the city of Shechem? The Tzror HaMor writes that when Dina was abducted,           Shechem had offered it to her as a gift (34:12) Since Dinah’s daughter, Asenath had married Yosef, he obtained his right to Shechem as part of his wife’s estate. This is one of the three places in Eretz Yisroel whose Jewish ownership cannot be contested since the Torah itself documents their legal acquisition.  Yakov chose this city as his gift to Yosef because Schechem was the place where Yosef’s journey began to unfold and now would become the place where his journey would end seeing that his final resting place became Shechem.

   (49:1)“Vayikra Yakov el-Bonav Vayomeru Heasfu Vagidah Lochem es Asher Yikrah Eschem B’achris Hayomim-Yakov called for his sons and said “Assemble yourselves and I will tell you what will befall you in the End of Days.” Parshas Vayache is the last in Sefer Bereishis, the Sefer which lays the ground work for all the future generations. (Masser Avos Simin L’bonim The actions of the fathers are signs for the offspring) We would expect some profound message in the closing chapter of this Sefer. Rashi is of the opinion that Hashem prevented Yakov from divulging the final Geulah, since we don’t see it revealed in the next words spoken by Yakov. Instead he appears to go on to something else namely the blessings of the tribes. But perhaps we can suggest that hidden in those words Yakov actually does reveal the final days.

   Instead of disclosing the time of the final Geulah Yakov calls each of the tribes by 

(47:29) "V'Asisah Emodi Chesed Ve'Emes - And do kindness and truth with me." The kindness and truth referred to here is that of burial for it is that which cannot be repaid. The question is we find that Yakov gave an extra inheritance to Yosef, the city of Shechem, as payment for this extra effort which he needed to accomplish this? The answer is that this was not something that Yosef received in this world. He never acquired Shechem in his life but rather received it as his burial place. So in essence he only received payment for this "Chessed" in the next world.  Another interpretation is that when a person does a kindness to another person he never really knows if that action is ultimately for the good. If he lent money to someone for a business venture the final outcome is always in doubt. Will it be for the good or will it fail? But here when a person does this type of kindness we know that the outcome will be a Chesed Shel Emes.

    One of the reasons that Yakov was insistent on not being buried in Mitzraim is because he feared that the Egyptians would worship his remains and he knew that in the future Hashem would punish all of the so called Gods of the Egyptians. Furthermore if he were indeed buried in Mitzraim, in his merit Hashem might spare the Egyptians from the Ten Plagues. Yakov wanted to insure that his descendants would not have any reason to make Mitzraim their permanent home. By being buried in Eretz Yisroel he would be creating a strong bond there that they would always have no matter where they were exiled. This link would insure that their heritage was always connected to the Holy land.

     (48:2) "Vayischazek Yisroel Vayeshev al-Hamitah - Yisroel gathered his strength and sat up in bed."  It says when Yosef came into the room Yakov sat up on the bed. We learned that if a person comes to visit the sick it removes one sixtieth of the sickness. The gematria of the word “the bed” (Hamita) equals 59 which are what was left of the sickness after Yosef visited him. The posuk begins with “Vayged L’Yakov” but ends with "Vayischazek Yisroel” Why the switch from Yakov to Yisroel? Perhaps we can say that Yakov was ill, but when it came to blessing his sons, the future of Klal Yisroel, the Shechina rested upon him and he was therefore referred to as Yisroel.

    (48:5) "Ve'atoh Shinei-Vonecha Hanoladim Le'cha B'eretz Mitzraim Ad-Bo'e Aylecha Li-Haim Efraim Umenashe Ki'Reuvein Ve'Shimeon Yihyu-Li - And now the two sons that were born to you in the land of Egypt prior to my coming to you are mine, Efraim and Menashe like Reuven and Shimeon will be to me."  First we must understand the use of the words "Li Haim" (they are mine) and then again it says "Yihu-Li" (they will be to me). Why this double loshon? Also why is Yosef the recipient of this double blessing which is usually given to the Bochor? Reuvein was also a Bochor yet he received no such double blessing?                  

     The Meam Loez say's the night that when Reuvein disturbed the sleeping arrangements of his father was the night that Efraim and Menashe were supposed to be born.(35:22) His interference caused that not to happen. Therefore he was not worthy of receiving this double blessing. So now when Yakov say's "Li Haim" they are mine, he is saying that those Neshamas were supposed to have been mine. Now they will be like Reuven and Shimeon to me. The Baal Haturim say's that the numerical value of Reuven and Shimeon equals that of Efraim and Menashe.

    Why Reuvein and Shimon and not another tribe? Both Reuvein and Shimon had deficiencies in that there were complaints towards them. The complaint towards Efraim and Menahe was they were not from Yerech Yakov. (Tzor Hamor)

   The Zohar say's in Vayishlach that Yakov fulfilled his original intention by giving the Bechor to Yosef since he originally had Yosef in mind when he mistakenly slept with Leah on their first night of marriage because he thought that he was sleeping with Rachel. The Ohr Hachaim explains that the thoughts that the parents have at the time of conception influence to a large degree the tendencies of the offspring. If for example the father was thinking about self gratification at the time of intercourse he can't be surprised if those tendencies are transmitted to the offspring. Avraham carried over some of the negative tendencies he received from his father Terach, who was an idol worshiper, and transmitted them to Ishmael. And some were transmitted to Essav through Yitzchok. But we have learned that Yakov had a Mitah Shelamah? Meaning that all his offspring were righteous? If so how could Reuvein have committed such a grave sin as interfering with his fathers sleeping arrangements? The answer is that at the time of Reuvein's conception, Yakov's thoughts were on Rachel and not Leah. This also explains another Posuk. In 49:4 where Yakov is blessing Reuvein it say's "Ki Olisah Mishkivey Avichah Oz Chilaltah Yitzuey Olah - Because you went up onto the couch of your father then you profaned your fathers couch. There is the use of the plural in the word "Mishkivey" (couches). The Ohr Hachaim explains that this means that there were two times that his couch was profaned. The first time Reuvein disturbed the order of things was then, at the time of his conception.

   (48:7) “V’ani B’vo M’padan Maisoh Olay Rochel b’Eretez Canaan Baderech-And as for me when I came from Paddan, Rachel died on me in the land of Canaan in the way.” Yakov, at this point, is telling Yosef that his two sons are to be considered as if they were Yakov’s children instead of grandchildren. Now he is explaining why he buried Rachel on the road instead of in Chevron. Why does the Torah include this argument here instead of earlier (47:29) when Yakov asked Yosef to bury him in Israel? The fact that Rachel died soon after Hashem promised Yakov that he would be a congregation of peoples, made it clear that this promise would be realized through grandchildren not through Yakov’s sons.

    When Yakov was being buried at the  Moros Hamacpela, Essav contested the burial. Why didn't he contest when Leah was buried? Logically that's when he should have said something. The answer is that Leah died 12 years before Yitzchok so while his father was still alive he would not interfere. But now that it was time to bury Yakov he showed his true colors. 

    Pirkei D'rav Eliezer describes the burial of Yakov: The tribes prepared to bury Yakov next to Leah in the Moros Hamachpelah. Essav protested and said this last space is reserved for me not Yakov. The Tribes answered that he sold the rights to the cave to Yakov. Essav demanded they show the contract which was in Egypt. Naftali ran swiftly to retrieve it and the burial was delayed. Chushim, Dan's son who was deaf saw the commotion and realized that the delay was because of Essav. He then hit Essav on the back of the head with a stick (Tosefos say's it was Yehudah who gave the final blow). Essav fell dead and his head rolled into the cave which is where it remains. The rest of his remains was taken to Har Seir for burial. Why was Essav's head permitted to be buried there and not the rest of him? Perhaps we can say that since originally Essav was supposed to marry Leah and father half of the Shevotim. They were to have a Yissachar and Zevulan type of relationship. Essav would have mastered the physical world while Yakov mastered the spiritual world. But Essav chose a different path. He followed his body rather than his soul. He let the body rule his mind. So it was only his mind, which 

contained that potential, which could have been worthy to be accepted in this holy burial place.

   (48:10) “V’Aynei Yisroel Kovdu M’Zokein-The eyes of Yisroel were heavy with age.” Both Yakov and Yitzchok seem to have had problems seeing in their old age. Something not found by Avraham. The Sefer Chasidim writes that when conveying divine blessings, one must eliminate all extraneous impressions from his sight and direct all of his thoughts to the spirit that inspires him and gives him the power to bless. We don’t however find Avraham blessing Yitzchak per se, but rather giving Yitzchak the power to bless others.

    (48:14) When Yakov wanted to bless the two sons of Yosef he placed his left hand on Menashe because he was the Bechor. This doesn't make sense? He should have placed his right hand on Menashe if he is the Bechor. In Parsha's Vayishlach (35:22)  Reuvein was upset that Yakov moved his couch into Bilha's tent after Rachel died, thus he interfered  with his fathers couch. The Ari’zal say's that Reuvein entered Bilha's tent and interrupted their intimacy. This is why there is a letter “Paye” in the middle of the Posuk. Indicating that Yakov was Posek (stopped). This resulted in the thirteenth Shevet not being born. Right after the letter Paye the Posuk say's the Shevotim were twelve? What does this mean? In Parsha's Vayeshev, when Reuvein returns to the pit that Yosef was in, the Torah writes (37:29) that when he saw that Yosef wasn't in the pit he tore his clothes. Rashi say's because he rearranged the couch of his father. He had thought that Yosef would be the one through whom the thirteenth tribe would be completed. The thirteenth which he had stopped his father from completing. That's why he tore his clothes. So now in our Parsha when Yakov put his left hand on Menashe it was because he (Menashe) was the Bechor meaning that Efraim was the thirteenth who now would complete the tribes. That's why Yakov placed his right hand upon him.

      Why is the blessing for Efraim and Menashe so  special? Why was it given to them? When Yakov made them as his own children he made them like Shevotim. Normally the generation that follows loses a Madrega. But Efraim and Menashe maintained the level of their previous Dor. They became Shevotim. This while being the first Dor to be raised in Golus and remain loyal to the Torah. So the Bracha was especially important there.

  (48:15) When Yakov was to bless Yosef it seems that he didn't bless him at all. He only blessed his son's. The Shelah and the Ramban say there is no greater blessing for a father than for his children to be good and follow in the paths of their fathers. Here Yakov blessed Yosef by saying "Veyikaray Bohem Shemy Veshaim Avosay" That they should go in the ways of their fathers. This was a tremendous Bracha for Yosef and is the reason why it say's Vayevarach es Yosef.

   (48:17) Vayar Yosef Ki Yoshis Aviv Yad Yemino...Vayeirah B’Aynov-Yosef saw that his father placed his right hand..and it was bad in his eyes.”When Yosef saw that his father placed his right hand on Ephraim’s head, he assumed that Yakov suspected that he sinned with the wife of Potiphar and that she had given birth to his bastard son. Therefore that bastard son would have been the firstborn rather than Menashe. This was very upsetting to Yosef that his father suspected him. Of such an evil deed. He therefore said, “No my father (48:18) Do not suspect that I defiled my self. You can be assured that Menashe  is the firstborn son.” Yakov replied, “I know my son, I know.”  I know that at that moment you saw a vision of my face and did not sin. (Meam Loez)

   (48:17) “ Vayidgu L’rove B’kerev H’Aretz-May they proliferate abundantly like fish in the land.” What is the meaning of “fish in the land?” Fish proliferate in water? Perhaps we can say that since Klal Yisroel  will be spending the majority of their time outside of  Eretz Yisroel in exile, they are like a fish out of water. The blessing then states, may you prosper even when you are out of your element in hostile surroundings. We know that in Egypt the more they were oppressed the greater they became. The years that Rashi lived were some of the most difficult times for Jews, and yet some of the greatest Torah works were compiled.

   Another answer is that of the Midrash who states that when the Egyptians decreed that all Jewish babies be thrown in the Nile, the women would give birth in the fields. Miraculously the babies were absorbed into the earth and were sustained there until they were weaned. This is the meaning of the blessing here “like fish in the land.”

   (48:19)"I know I know" Why the repetition? The Kli Yakar writes we find throughout Jewish history that Hashem always raises the lower ones. Yitzchok and Yishmael, Yakov and Essav. Now Efraim and Menashe.The Meam Loez writes "Yakov knew" means the following. When Yosef saw Yakov switch hands he thought his father suspected him of having relations with Potifar's wife which would mean the elder is a Mamzer! Yakov answered the extra "I know" to say that I know you withstood that temptation. 

   (48:20) “B’choh Yivorech Yisroel-By you shall Israel bless.” The blessings of Efraim and Menashe are given to our sons because they did not exhibit any jealousy towards each other, which was the reason for the Golus in the first place. Even when the younger was chosen over the elder. Why do we not bless with the Avos? Because Efraim and Menashe were the first Jewish children born in Golus.

   (48:20) “B’choh Yivorech Yisroel-By you shall Israel bless.” The word “Becha”  in a Kabbalistic sense is equal to 22 in Gematria, and is to be perceived as denoting the Twenty Two letter Name of Hashem, corresponding to the twenty two letters of the Aleph-Beis with which the Torah is written. Thus Yakov is blessing the children of Yosef completely.

   (48:22) “Vani Nosati Lecha Shechem Echad al Achecha-I have given you the city Shechem one more than your brothers.” Why was Yosef given the city of Shechem? The Tzror HaMor writes that when Dina was abducted,           Shechem had offered it to her as a gift (34:12) Since Dinah’s daughter, Asenath had married Yosef, he obtained his right to Shechem as part of his wife’s estate. This is one of the three places in Eretz Yisroel whose Jewish ownership cannot be contested since the Torah itself documents their legal acquisition.  Yakov chose this city as his gift to Yosef because Schechem was the place where Yosef’s journey began to unfold and now would become the place where his journey would end seeing that his final resting place became Shechem.

   (49:1)“Vayikra Yakov el-Bonav Vayomeru Heasfu Vagidah Lochem es Asher Yikrah Eschem B’achris Hayomim-Yakov called for his sons and said “Assemble yourselves and I will tell you what will befall you in the End of Days.” Parshas Vayache is the last in Sefer Bereishis, the Sefer which lays the ground work for all the future generations. (Masser Avos Simin L’bonim The actions of the fathers are signs for the offspring) We would expect some profound message in the closing chapter of this Sefer. Rashi is of the opinion that Hashem prevented Yakov from divulging the final Geulah, since we don’t see it revealed in the next words spoken by Yakov. Instead he appears to go on to something else namely the blessings of the tribes. But perhaps we can suggest that hidden in those words Yakov actually does reveal the final days.

   Instead of disclosing the time of the final Geulah Yakov calls each of the tribes by 

name saying- “He’asfu-Assemble yourselves”in other words Unite!

   “Vagidah Lochem es Asher Yikrah Eschem-I wil tell you what will befall you.” The word Yikarah is spelled with an Aleph instead of a Hey. Literally meaning calling not happening. Yakov was teaching them the calling of the end of days. One of the reasons Yisroel would be redeemed from exile is that they did not change their names. The book of Exodus is called Shemos-Names. Right at the start of the Golus the exit plan is put into place. We know that Yakov died in the year 2254. If you add that number to the total Gematria of all of the names of each of the Shevotim (3746 counting Menashe and Ephraim instead of Yosef) you arrive at the number 6000. Yakov was telling them the Kaitz saying “Assemble yourselves” only through the Achdus-unity of Klal Yisroel (adding up each of your names together) will we arrive at the Kaitz. Therefore not changing their names was essential to the final Geulah. (Nireh Li)

  (49:2) Hekovtzu V’Shemu Benei Yakov V’Shimu el- Yisroel Avichem-Gather yourselves and listen, sons of Yakov, and listen to Israel your father.”  This is the only time that we find the names Yakov and Yisroel used in the same Posuk. Why is it that the Torah switches names and also why does it repeat the word “listen”?

    Benei Yisroel were beginning their long exile. Yakov, the family patriarch, was preparing them for the long dark years ahead. They must first know that they are the children of Yakov. They must hear that they are a family of seventy souls entering a lions den of depravity. They must know that they are a nation with a common history, a heritage. This will unite them into a nation. But that is not enough. How could they not get swallowed up in this new culture? How is it that throughout history the Jews have survived centuries of exile and oppression? The answer is in the second half of this verse. “V’Shimu el- Yisroel Avichem-Listen to Yisroel your father.” Yisroel  a name that represents eternity, of overcoming both man and angel. “Listen” further for only by connecting with Yisroel the spiritual side, will they be able to withstand what lies ahead. 

  (49:6)“B’kahalom Al Tachad Kivodi-Do not join my honor with their congregation.”Yakov did not wish his name to be mentioned with their conspiracy. The commentators differ on which conspiracy Yakov had in mind, a past or future one. It would seem that the future actions defined the past. When Levi and Shimon avenged their sister’s rape, they were acting for the right reasons. however their future actions were testimony as to the true motives. When the tribe of Shimon sinned with the daughters of Midian it reflected back to this sin. However when the tribe of Levi was asked to stand with Hashem by the Golden Calf, they proved themselves to be truly faithful.

  (49:28) “V’Zos Asher Dibaer Lohem Avihem Vayivorech Osom Ish Asher K’Vrichoso Berach Osom-And this is what their father spoke to them and he blessed them, each according to their blessing he blessed them.” Why is the word being blessed repeated? Yaakov wanted them to receive the blessing that was unique to them. Each of us has a particular blessing which Hashem has bestowed upon us. Yaakov wanted each of them to be able to take that good which was already given them by Hashem and make it into a fulfillment of their potential.

    (49:33)" Vayigvah Vayai'osef el-Amov - He expired and was gathered to his people." Unlike Avraham (25:8) and Yitzchok's deaths (35:29) the Posuk over here makes no mention of the word “Mase”. This may have prompted Rashi to quote the Gemarrah in Taanis (5b) which states "Yakov Avinu lo Mase - our father Yakov did not die." The Gemarrah in Sotah (13b) relates the scene at Yakov's funeral where Essav disrupted the burial. According to that Gemarrah Yakov lived on even in the literal sense. After Chushim the son of Dan struck Essav so hard it caused his head to come off, Yakov apparently opened his eyes and laughed. Most of the commentators perceive the statement that Yakov did not die in a spiritual vein. The fact that this was only said of Yakov and not the other Avos could be explained by the fact that even though they all had offspring that could carry on their heritage, only Yakov had twelve complete sons that were all righteous. This was a virtual guarantee that there would be offspring that would carry on. Both Avraham and Yitzchok had no such guarantee. But on a more physical note Yakov so perfected his physical body that the transition from one phase to the next was almost non discernible. Death for most people is a wrenching experience because the soul must be removed from the material existence it had come to crave. The less materialistic a person is the easier the transition. Now since Yakov lived a life of total spirituality his body and soul both craved the holier life that awaited him. He had reached the level of Adam before the Chet, when the body and the soul both had the same desires. For him there was no death.

    (50:2) "Vayetzav Yosef es-Avodav es-Horofim Lachanot es-Aviv - Yosef commanded his servants the doctors to embalm his father." It would seem to be a strange act for Yosef to command that his father be embalmed. According to the Ohr Hachaim the reason for this was because Yosef knew that his father’s body would not decompose. Had the Egyptians seen this they would surely have proclaimed him a deity and not permitted him to be buried outside of Mitzraim.

   (50:4) "Vayidabeir Yosef el-Beis Pharoh - Yosef spoke to the house of Pharoh." Why does the posuk say to the "House of Pharoh" instead of to Pharoh himself? The Me’am Loez say's that since Yosef was still in mourning he could not seek personal audience with Pharoh. As long as his father was not buried he was considered an Onan. Such audiences were not granted to people who were grieving. Yosef had to speak to the officers in charge of Pharoh's house for permission to fulfill his promise to his father.

    (50:13) "Vayisu Oso Bonav Artzah Canaan - His sons carried him to the land of Canaan." Rashi say's that only his sons and not his grandsons were permitted to carry the casket. The reason given is because his sons married Canaanite women. This would seem to be very strange because we know that the nation of Canaan was cursed and that marriage with them was forbidden from the days of Avraham. The Ramban explains that the term "Canaanite" means foreign women, whose fathers were merchants passing through the land of Canaan. According to the Midrash that maintains that Yakov's children married twin sisters it is possible to say that the reason his sons had to be the one's to carry the coffin was to set a precedence for the Shevotim in the Midbar who positioned themselves in the same order as those who carried the-Aron (R.Dovid Feinstien)

   (50:15) Vayar Achi Yosef Ki Mase Avihem-Yosef’s brother saw that their father had died.”What prompted the brothers to approach Yosef at this point and why would the Torah mention now that Yakov died? We have been dealing with Yakov’s death all along? However on their return from the funeral, Yosef stopped at the place where he was thrown into the pit. The brothers assumed he was remembering their crime against him. But instead Yosef was there to fulfill the Mitzvah of making a blessing on the spot where a miracle was performed.

   Yosef died ten years before his time. Some are of the opinion that it was because he had 

his father embalmed, he should have had more faith that Hashem wouldn't let his father’s body decay. Others say it's because he heard Yehudah say my father your servant ten times and didn't protest. However in the Posukim we see it only mentioned five times? This is because he heard it from Yehudah five times, but he also heard it repeated from the translator five times.

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that was not theirs, for four hundred years. This was to begin with the birth of Yitzchak. Now Yakov wanted to settle in the land? What happened to the promise made by Hashem? Yakov’s mistake was to try to make his dwelling permanent whereas his father was only a sojourner. This is the meaning of the words “Vayeshev Yakov B'eretz Megurei Aviv Yakov settled in the land of his fathers sojourns.” Directly after this his troubles with Yosef began.

   The question is why shouldn't Yakov be able to sit in peace in his old age? What is wrong with that? The Tallei Oros writes that Hashem did not wish Yakov to enjoy the tranquility of this world but rather the world to come. It is the suffering and trials of this world that build a person. It’s what separates a person from physicality and draws one closer to spirituality. Like the Posuk says (Devarim 8:3) “Vayiancha Vyarivecha Vayeachla es Ha’Munn- And He afflicted you and suffered you to hunger and fed you Munn.”It was the affliction and suffering that brought us heavenly sustenance and thereby closer to Hashem.

(37:1) “Vayeshev Yakov B'eretz Megurei Aviv Yakov settled in the land of his fathers sojourns.” Yakov wanted to sit in peace in his old age. Rashi says on this Posuk that it's enough that Tzadikim have Olam Habo should they wish to have peace in this world too? Then the problems with Yosef happened to him. Why is this brought down here? Yakov had many problems throughout his life why is this asked now?

   Really the problems that Yakov had before were affecting all of Klal Yisroel. When Lavan pursued him his intent was to kill them all. When Essav met up with him he intended to wipe out the entire family. But here Yakov was the only one who was suffering. Yitzchok, who was alive at the time, knew Yosef was alive, the brothers knew. Only Yakov was unaware of what really happened to Yosef. That's why it’s mentioned here. But what came out of this? We see when Yakov finally came down to Mitzraim and saw Yosef and his two sons he said “these two who were born prior to my coming here will be as my sons.” They would have the status of Shevotim. So through the suffering that Yakov endured two more tribes were added to Klal Yisroel. We can learn from this that the suffering of one affects the Klal. Even though Yakov was the only one who suffered it had an effect on all Klal Yisroel.

(37:3) “Ve’Yisroel Ohav es Yosef Mikol-Bonov- Ve’asa Lo Kisones Pasim- Yisroel loved Yosef more than all his sons- and made him a fine woolen tunic.” The Zohar writes that Yakov knew that the son of Rachel would be instrumental in the final redemption in Messianic times. This is hinted to when it calls the patriarch Yisrael. According to ancient tradition this tunic was from the bridal gown which Yakov gave Rochel. He later made it into a garment for the son of his late wife. According to the Meam Loez this garment could only be worn by a first born. It had originally come from Adom and was given to the first born of every generation until Reuvein lost his first born status. It was then given to Yosef, who wore it when serving his father as Esav did. (Meam Loez)

The Chasam Sofer writes that when Yakov weaved it he had Kavonos of the Shem Hamforish thus no one was able to touch it. Later when the brothers stripped Yosef, the only way they were able to remove the Kisones Pasim was because they took off his undershirt before the outer garment.

   (37:3) “Ve’Yisroel Ohav es Yosef Mikol-Bonov Ki ben Zikunim Hu- Yisroel loved Yosef more than all his sons since he was a child of his old age.” Really Binyomin was the child of his old age not Yosef. But the phrase Ki ben Zikunim Hu has the same numerical value as the words Benei Rochel, in the plural. Yakov loved them both because they were Rochel’s children. The Chizkuni writes that although Binyamin was the youngest, he was a constant reminder of the death of his beloved wife. The fact that his mother died giving birth to him remained a source of tremendous pain for Yakov.

   (37:8) “Vayosifu Ode Sinoh Oso Al-Chalomosav-They hated him even more because of his dreams and his words.” Didn't he know that this would be the result if he tells his brothers his dreams? Was he just naive? The Gemarrah in Brochos says that a dream is only as true as the one who is interpreting it. A person who has a moving dream should only take it to a close friend for interpreting. This way he can assure that it will be interpreted in a favorable light. That's why Yosef told the dreams over to his brothers because he trusted them and looked towards them in a favorable way. (Be'ar Mayim Chaim)

   We see that when Yakov heard about the dreams he tried to diffuse the jealousy of the brothers by saying “how is it possible that your dead mother will bow down to you?” Rashi says that we see from here that every dream has some element of fantasy in it. But we also learned that the mother who will bow down to Yosef was Bilah who raised him as a true mother. So there really was no aspect of fantasy in his dream? The answer is that by prophecy there is no fantasy. Only in dreams is there this element of that which is unreal. So what Yakov was trying to tell his sons was that this wasn't a prophecy that Yosef was retelling, but rather a dream. As proof here is an element of fantasy since it would be impossible for Rachel to bow down to Yosef.

   Also the Gemarrah in Brachos (55b) states that we dream about what we think about during the day. So in relating the first dream, Yosef was telling his brothers that he anticipated material wealth. Though they all worked in the field together, he would become richer, and they would bow down to him. When the brothers heard this they hated him because they assumed that this is what he was thinking about during the day. Therefore Yosef told them about the second dream to show that this was a prophecy and not what he was thinking about. Since it contained impossibility he hoped that just as the second dream was something he didn’t think about during the day, the first one was too!

   (37:11) “V’Aviv Shomar es H’Dovar-And his father guarded the matter.” Even though Yakov said “How is it possible for your mother (who died) to bow down to You?” He still kept the dreams in his mind. This is because according to some Bilah, who raised him, was considered as his mother. However by the time Yakov went down to Mitzrayim, and bowed to Yosef, Bilah had died as well and thus could not have bowed! Rather Yakov believed there would be Techiyas Hamaisim in his lifetime. Thus the dream was possible.

   The question is however, why did Yakov try to dismiss Yosef’s dreams to his other sons? If he knew the dreams were prophecy why didn’t he tell them so and have them deal with it? He should have said this is Hashem’s will and yes you will bow down to him at some point. The Rokeach explains Parshas Vayeshev contains 112 verses and chapter 92 in Tehilim which we say Friday night (Mizmor Shir L’Yom Ha’Shabbos) contains 112 words. So somehow there is a connection between Parshas Vayeshev and chapter 92 of Tehillem. What is the connection?

   Chazal explain that Mizmor Shir L’Yom Ha’Shabbos was composed by Adom Ha’Rishon. When Adom was created he was shown the entirety of world history. He was amazed at the world Hashem created. He saw the entire scope of 6,000 years of history and how in the end everything fits in. Rashi explains that Mizmor Shir L’Yom Ha’Shabbos refers not to the weekly Shabbos, but to the world to come when man will achieve the spiritual perfection we only glimpse at during the Shabbos. This psalm is thus well suited for Shabbos which is a semblance of that future spiritual perfection. It contains a theme that we cannot understand things while they are happening, but sometimes looking back decades later, we can see how Hashem had a plan. This too is the theme of this Parsha. Hashem manipulated events to arrive at a certain outcome and if we are around long enough we may merit to see the truth in everything Hashem does.

   (37:13) “Vayomer Yisroel el-Yosef..L’cha V’ashlochachoh Alyhem-And Yisroel said to Yosef ..Come and I will send you to them.” How could Yakov send his son on such a dangerous mission? Yakov thought that Shechem was a place of unity. This was the place where two of his sons risked their lives to save their sister. He thought it was a place where Yosef and his brothers could unite. However the brothers had moved on from that place and Yosef did not find them there. They had gone to a place of judgement. To Doson.

   If Yakov knew of the jealousy that the brothers had for Yosef how could he have sent him to Shechem to see what they were doing? Didn't he realize it would place him in a danger? Rashi says he sent him from the depths of Chevron, this means from the deep thoughts that Avraham had, the promise that Hashem made about his descendants being slaves before they get Eretz Yisroel. Providence intercedes where logic and rational thinking would normally have done otherwise. That is why Yakov sent Yosef. This was to be the beginning of the decent into Golus. At such a monumental time in history it often happens without the express knowledge of the participants. They have no knowledge of why they are compelled to do certain actions.

   This could be the p'shat in the Posuk (38:1) where Yehudah leaves the brothers and meets a man named Chira the Adulamite. Who was this person and why mention his name? It could be that the name Chira comes from the root word "Bechira". Since it was from this event the future savior of the world would descend, Hashem removed the Bechira from Yehudah so that nothing would interfere with these events. Also the name Adulamite is said to come from the words Ad olam or eternity referring to messianic times. The word Adulami has the same numerical value as Olam Habo.

According to the Chizkuni the brothers knew of the promise made to Avraham that his descendants would be enslaved for four hundred years in Mitzrayim. They hoped that this might be fulfilled through the sending of Yosef down to Mitzraim.

   Reuven wanted to save Yosef by suggesting he be thrown into the pit. But if the pit had scorpions and snakes how was this supposed to help him? Reuven's intention was to take Yosef out of the hands of man (his brothers) and place him in the hands of Hashem. How did Rashi know that the pit contained scorpions and snakes? It's not mentioned in the Posuk? All it says is the pit was empty and had no water. Rashi says no water in the pit but snakes and scorpions there were. He learns this from the letters of the words “Ein Bo” which stand for “Abel Nechoshim Veakravim Yesh Bo”.

   (37:25) “Vayeshvu L'Echol Lechem-They sat down to eat bread” After removing Yosef from the twelve tribes how could they sit down for a meal? The Midrash says that this benefited the entire world, for through the sale of Yosef all the world was fed.

   The Gemarrah writes that a person engaged in a Mitzvah is protected from harm. If so why was Yosef not protected from his brothers? However when good ultimately results from the actions, then no harm is too much a price to pay.

   According to the Seder Ha’Olam, Leah died the same year Yosef was sold, which was the year 2216. According to the Gra’ there is a corresponding verse for every year of history and if you study the verse it invariably defines the events in how they relate to the Jewish people. The 2,216th verse in the Torah is in Parshas Tetzaveh (28:31) “V’Asisa es Meil Ho’Ephod-You shall make the Robe of the Ephod.” The Gemara in Zevachim (88b) says that the Meil atoned for the sin of evil speech. The very reason Yosef was sold in the first place!

(37:26) “Vayomer Yehudah el Achiv Mah Betza Ki Neharag es Achinu V’Chisinu es Damo-Yehuda said to his brothers what’s gain will there be if we kill our brother and cover up his blood?” What was Yehudah saying here? Why is he trying to convince his brothers using this phrase of “What gain is there?” Yehudah had a clever insight. He understood that his father was going to be crushed by the news of Yosef’s demise. He had placed the future of Klal Yisroel into Yosef’s hands and thus his father, being in a state of mourning, would lose his prophecy. However if Yosef was truly dead Yakov would eventually be consoled and his prophecy would return to him. Once he regained Ruach Hakodesh he would know how Yosef really died! Mah Betza-What gain is there if we kill him! It would be better if we sell him as a slave. (Maharal Diskin)

(37:29) “Vayoshev Reuvein el-Habor Reuvein returned to the pit.” Where did he go? Rashi say's that he was occupied with his sack cloth and fasting for having interfered with his father's sleeping arrangements. There are two questions here that need to be addressed. One is that if Joseph’s life was in the balance, how could he leave at this particular time? The other question is that if the brothers decided that Yosef deserved the death penalty shouldn't they have consulted the Gadol Hador? Shouldn't they have spoken to Yakov if they thought they were right? How could a decision of such magnitude be made without consulting him? We see that Reuvein was the one most responsible for the actions of the Shevotim. He was the oldest and they followed his lead. When Rochel died Reuvein took it upon himself to move the couch of his father from the tent of Bilah to the tent of his mother Leah. This was done without consulting his father and was looked upon as such a grave error, it was considered as if he had slept with the wife of his father. Now that Reuvein saw the results of his actions namely the Shevotim here took it upon themselves to condemn Yosef without consulting their father, he felt that he must occupy himself with the Teshuva for that action. He went immediately to don sack cloth and fast so that the effects of his sin would not further damage his brothers.

   (37:32) “Vayshalchu es-Kisones Hapasim Vayoviu- They sent the colorful coat and brought it.” Did they send it or did they bring it? According to the Chizkuni the brothers didn't want to be the one's to tell Yakov since it was well known that they disliked Yosef and it might arouse suspicion. So they sent it with a messenger and he brought it to Yakov. According to the Oznaim leTorah it was the sons of Bilah and Zilpah whom they sent and they brought it to Yakov since it was known that they were close to Yosef.

   (37:32) “Haker -Nah Hakisones Binchah He Im-Lo-Identify, if you please: is it your sons tunic or not?” What Yehudah was saying here was “do you recognize where the problem began?” It was with this coat that you gave your son, that the jealousy stemmed from. Later he was confronted with the echo of these same words when Tamar asked that he identify his pledge. (38:25)

   Why is the story of Yehudah brought in here in the middle of the selling of Yosef? Yakov was in mourning Yosef was also in mourning the brothers were fasting and Yehudah is taking a wife for himself. How does this fit in?

   Hashem never brings the sickness until there is the cure. Through this union of Yehudah and Tamar the eventual cure of the Jewish exile would come about, the birth of Moshiach. Since through the selling of Yosef the root of all golus was established, the seeds of the savior had to be put into place first. Perhaps we can add that in order for the seeds of Moshiach to come, Yehudah needed to go through this test to bring out his personal correction. Yehudah was the first person who was able to admit his wrong doing without being forced. This was a necessary ingredient for the forefather of Moshiach to possess. In order to bring the world to perfection Moshiach has to be able to relate to the every man. He cannot be the perfect angel who has never tasted sin.

   There are three places where we find that the seeds of Moshiach are brought about through unexpected circumstances. By Lot's daughters who thought the world had come to an end. This was the beginnings of Mo'av, the future mother to the house of David. Here by Yehuda and Tamar the seeds of Moshiach again were made to come about through this unusual way so that the Satan would not intercede. The third time is by Boaz and Rus, who’s admission into Klal Yisroel was questionable.

   Each of these three represents the different views concerning the coming of Moshiach. The first type doesn't think Moshiach will ever come. This is Lot's daughters and their belief that the world had ended. The second type believes Moshiach will come someday but not today. This was Yehuda and Tamar. He promised to give her his youngest son Shela some day but not today. And last was Boaz who told Rus to have faith. This is the one who waits everyday for the Moshiach to come.

   (37:35) “Vayimoein L’hinachaim- He refused to be consoled.” We know that Hashem grants a person who is in mourning, the ability to forget their loss. In the case of Yakov Avinu he would not forget since Yosef was not really dead.

   Why did Yakov not realize this? If after so many years he was still unable to forget the loss of his son, did he not suspect that it might be because he was still alive? The Meam Loez offers a novel answer. He writes that the only time a person mourning forgets, is when the deceased has been buried. Yakov was told that his son was killed by a wild beast, thus he was never properly buried!

   But there is a deeper understanding here. The Sifsei Kohen writes that Yakov knew that he would have twelve children to correspond to the twelve constellations and that the Tikun Olam could only be brought about if his family remained intact. Now that he thought one of his sons had died, how could he be consoled? He felt the weight of the world rested upon him.

(37:35) Vayokumu Kol Banav V'Kol B'nosav L'nachamo-All his sons and all his daughters arose to comfort him.” Who were these daughters that Posuk referrers to? Rashi quotes R.Nechemiya who says they were his daughter in-laws from Canaan. How could they marry women of the cursed Canaan nation? The Maharal writes that the prohibition only applied to the Avos. On the contrary the radiance of Divine light was growing so intense, after the Avos had arrived, that it could even enlighten the Pagans and bring them back to Hashem.

   (38:2) "Vayar Shom Yehudah Bas Ish Canani Ushmo Shuah Vayikocheha Vayovo Ayleha-There Ydhudah saw the daughter of a Cannaite man whose name was Shuah, he took her and went in to her."

The Torah describes Yehudah's marriage abruptly. “He saw her, he took her, he went into her.” This woman was the daughter of a man only known as Shuah. We don’t even know her name. This union was a turning point. The descendants of Yehudah were to be royalty, they were the forerunners of Moshiach, but none of the fruits of that union survived. Er and Onan died at an early age for angering Hashem. Sheila never did marry or have any children. The marriage of Yehudah and Bas Shuah came to a dead end as even she died. What went wrong! How could Yehudah have taken such a wrong turn? Perhaps the answer lies in the name of this Ish Cannani. The name Shua are the same letters as Essav.! Many times man thinks he makes decisions while Hashem has other plans. Something had to be done about the future of the Davidic dynasty the Malchus! Tamar comes on the scene and the seeds of Moshiach are safe. The numerical value of the words “Bas Ish Canani Ushmo Shuah” is equal to 1641 the same as the Posuk in Tehillem (132:10) Bavur Dovid Avdecha Al-Toshuv P’nei Meshichecha-For the sake of your servant Dovid do not turn your face from your anointed one.”

   (38:5) "Vhoyo B'Kisiv Bliditah Oso- And he was in Kisiv when she bore him." Why does the Torah need to tell us where Yehudah was during the time his wife gave birth? R.Bechaya writes that Yehudah had a prophetic insight that told him that his principal issue would not be any of these three sons. He therefore prayed using the name "Kesiv" which are the letters that follow Yud Hey Vav Hey one of Hashem's names.

   (38:11) "Shvi Almoneh Beis Avicha Ad Yigdal Sheilah Beni-Remain a widow in your fathers house until my son Sheilah grows up." Yehuda was waiting until his son Sheilah was old enough to wed. Yehudah was waiting for his son to grow up, wed , and have a child. Then he would allow her to marry his son and not fear he would die childless.

   (38:18) “Vayomer Moh Hoeravon Asher Eten-Lecha Vatomer Chosamcha, Upsilecha Umateh Asher B’yadecha- and he said what security will I give you? She replied, your signet, your wrap and your staff that is in your hand.” The Kli Yakar asks why Tamar requested these particular items. He answers that each of these items should have protected Yehudah from sin. The signet ring represented the seal of Bris Milah, the cloak was his Tzitis, which is said to guard a person from sin, and the staff was the staff of Malchus of which it’s said “the King is forbidden to take many wives.” Yet despite all of this protection, Yehudah was still unable to resist relations with Tamar. These items were requested to illustrate how vital this union was to Hashem. Hashem totally removed the Bechira from Yehudah so that nothing would interfere with these events. Some say the word Upsilcha contains the same letters as Ulitefillin meaning that she took his Tefillin as security. (Baal Haturim)

   (38:25)”He Mutzais V'he Shalcha el-Chamiyha- As she was taken out she sent word to her father-in-law” Why did Tamar wait till the last minute to give over the pledges she had in her possession? The Satan did his utmost to impede the coming of the dynasty of Moshiach into the world. He hid the pledges so that his most dangerous enemy would not come into the world. Tamar prayed to Hashem till the last minute and they were miraculously found as she was being taken out to be burned. This is hinted at in the word Mutzais (as is found) in our Posuk instead of the word normally used Yutzais (as in taken out). Historical destinies often hang by a thread until the desired outcome is brought about through a miracle.

(38:27) “Vehinei Somim B'vitnah- Behold there was twins in her womb.” The Midrash draws attention to the similarity of the words here by Tamar and by Rivka’s twins, Essav and Yakov. The word Somim is spelled missing the Aleph and the Vav by Essav because one of them was a Rasha therefore their similarity as twins was incomplete. The fact that she had twins was important for they replaced the two husbands that she lost. Also the names Peretz refers to the moon, which relates to Yisrael. And Zerach refers to the sun relating to Essav's sign. In our time the sun worshipers rule, but it says in Isaiah that the time will come when the moon will outshine the sun.

   We know that Tamar was carrying the seeds of Moshiach The name Peretz in Gematria equals Zeh Moshiach.

   It was due to the sale of Yosef that there was a Golus decreed for Klal Yisroel. Had the Shevotim accepted Yosef as their leader there would not have been the destruction of the Beis Hamikdosh or the subsequent exiles. Yosef had the ability to be the Tikun for the three reasons the Beis Hamikdosh was destroyed. Giluy Arayous, Shvichas Domim and Avodah Zorah. Giluy Arayous, by the case of the wife of Potifera, which he was able to withstand. Shevichas Domim, we see when Yakov finally came down to Mitzraim, that through Yosef the world was saved from famine. And Avodah Zorah, as it say's in the Gemarrah in Sotah, that when Benei Yisroel was carrying the two Arons, one was Joseph’s and one had the Luchos. They would say this one fulfilled what is written in this one, meaning that Yosef did all the Mitzvos written on the Luchos. Included in that was the command not to have other G-d’s. So Yosef was the Tikun for the three things that caused the destruction of the Beis Hamikdosh and had the Shevotim accepted Yosef as their leader there would not have been the destruction or the subsequent exiles.

   When Yakov heard about Yosef it says he tore his clothes and put on sack cloth in mourning. The Gemara say that someone who prays in sackcloth has his prayers answered. What is this sackcloth about? We know that when Yosef was born Yakov was ready to return home. He no longer feared Essav. The reason is because Essav is compared to Kash (straw) and Yosef is compared to the spark which causes the flame (Torah) which was Yakov to ignite. Once Yosef was born he knew that Essav could no longer be a threat to Klal Yisroel. When Essav came to meet Yakov on his way back to his father it says he came with four hundred men. The significance of this number is that it represents the four hundred levels of Tumah. Also the words Ayin Rah (Evil Eye) is numerically equal to four hundred. So Essav who represents the root of Tumah came with all his forces to oppose Yakov. Now that Yakov thought that Yosef was dead he was concerned about how to oppose this force of Tumah. This is why he wore the Sak the numerical value of which is 400. Also when it says he tore his clothes it doesn't use the words Koras Begadav as it did by Reuven but instead uses Koras Simlosas, which means a garment closer to the body. The initial letters of which are Shin Kuf (400).

   When Klal Yisroel were about to enter Eretz Yisroel they wondered how they would adjust to life in the real world after having spent forty years in the Midbar without the temptations of normal existence. They would have to work and relate to reality. So it says they would have Shabbos Kodesh. The initial of which are Shin Kuf (400). And when Jews are in trouble they resort to Krias Shema, Kuf Shin.

     In the introduction to the laws of sexual conduct we are told "not to do like they do in Egypt." That was the epitome of immorality. So Yosef was sent down first to pave the way for Yisroel to survive the years they would be there. He began by not giving in to the wife of Potifar, then when asked to interpret the dreams he said it was Hashem who is revealing what he is about to do. This was the first time the name of Hashem was introduced to Egypt. And when he was placed in charge of the wheat he made everyone perform circumcision. He wanted to diminish the power of Tumah in Egypt before Benei Yisroel came down.

   Right after this incident the Torah lists all of the things that happened measure for measure. Yehudah dipped the coat in blood of a goat to show his father Yosef had died and Yakov began mourning. Right after it goes into the story with his daughter in law. So Yehudah too had to mourn for his sons who died. The Chofetz Chaim says this that they took the blood of a goat to fool Yakov. They used the term recognize this coat. Yehudah was also fooled with the goat. He too was told to recognize his belongings. And from this she had two sons who were righteous, and Moshiach was born from them. Because of this tremendous embarrassment it was a (Tikun) retribution for what he did to his father. This enabled his descendants to rise to positions of kingship. At the time of his saying she is more righteous than me. The word Memenu (from me) means that all of what transpired was because of Yehudah. It became public knowledge that royalty was to come out from him. That was a Chesed Hashem did for him just at that time. Even though he was being punished measure for measure it was also the time when Hashem showed Chesed.

     (39:2) “Vayehe Hashem es-Yosef Vayehe Ish Matzliach Vayehe B'beis Adonav Hamitzri” The word “Vayehe” is written three times in this posuk. 1.Hashem was with Yosef 2.Yosef was successful 3.Yosef was in the house of his master. There are times when a person can forget Hashem. Either when he becomes rich or when he becomes poor. There is no poorer person than a slave because everything he owns belongs to his master. This Posuk comes to teach us that Yosef was with Hashem at all times both rich and poor.

   (39:4) “V’chol Yesh Lo-All he had” When Yosef was sold to Potifar, he was placed in command of his entire household. Rashi explains that the phrase is missing a word. It should have said “V’chol ASHER Yesh Bo-All THAT he had. In fact the Torah writes it that way four verses later. In 39:8 Yosef tells Potifar’s wife that he cannot sin against her husband because he has entrusted me with everything, using the same phrase “V’chol ASHER Yesh Bo-All THAT he had. The Baal Haturim writes that if we take the last letter of each word in this phrase we get Loshono-His tongue. Meaning he taught him Egyptian, which he learned quickly. Later we find that the Malach Gavriel came and taught Yosef all seventy languages and that is why he became successful. This is hinted at in the letters of this phrase which when rearranged “V’Chol Yesh Lo Nosan B’yodo”

(39:6) "Vayazov Kol Asher Lo Byad Yosef... Ki Im Halechem Asher Hu Ochel Vayehe Yosef Yifeh Tohar Vayifas Mareh- He left everything in the hands.of Yosef except for the bread he ate, And it was that Yosef was well built and good looking." Rashi comments that Yosef began to eat well. The words "Ki im Halechem" goes on the food Yosef ate. The only permissible food for him was bread. Never the less he looked good and was well built.

(39:8) “Vayimoain-Yosef Adamantly refused.” When the wife of Potifar attempted to seduce Yosef he adamantly refused. She tried to convince him by telling him that she saw astrologically they were destined to have children together. This was not untrue, but what the vision did not show clearly was if this was to be from her or her daughter. But her daughter was not really her daughter?

   The Midrash relates how the rape of Dinah by Shechem resulted in the birth of a daughter named Osnas. She was a constant reminder to the brothers of what happened and was sent away from the house of Yakov. Before she left she was given an amulet bearing the names of her parents. An angel brought her to Egypt where she was adopted by the wife of Potifera. Years later when Yosef was elevated to lead the country he was paraded through the streets of Egypt. Osnas threw this amulet at Yosef who then understood how Hashem was watching over him. Yosef married Osnas and had two children with her.

   The fact that the astrological charts showed descendants coming from the wife of Potifar and Yosef means that even though Osnas was not her biological daughter, the fact that she raised her as such was so powerful that it was even manifest in the stars.

   Rashi quotes the Gemarrah in Sotah that say’s Yosef saw a vision of his father appear to him which strengthened his resolve to resist her. He told him at that time that his name was destined to be on the Choshen, the breast plate of the Cohen Gadol, and that if he would sin his name would be removed. All this was hinted in the word Vayimoane which has a Shalsheles above it. This was an indication of three things. The initial letters of Vayimoane are Vayar Yosef Mareh Aviv Negdoe -Yosef saw the image of his father before him. Vayomer Yakov Mechoshen Atoh Nimchak - Yakov said from the Choshen you will be erased. Vayirah Yosef Militameh es Nafsho -And Yosef feared contaminating his soul.

     (39:8) “Vayimoain-Yosef Adamantly refused.” There is another place where the word “Vayimoain” is used in this week’s parsha. (37:35) “Vayimoain L’hisnacheim-He refused to be comforted.” Yakov would not be consoled. There was this strong connection between Yakov and Yosef that went beyond the bounds of time and space. Yosef was able to garner the strength from the fact that his father had not given up on him. He refused to be consoled. The word Vayimoane has a Shalsheles above it. The word Shalsheles also means chain. This was the link between them. The word Vayimoain equals B’gematria Ahuvim zeh l’zeh-a tremendous love for one another.

(39:10) “Vayehe Kidabra el-Yosef Yom Yom Velo Shoma Ayleha Lishkav Etzlo Lihiyos Emah-And so it was -just as she coaxed Yosef day after day, so he would not listen to her to lie beside her, to be with her.” Rashi explains to lie beside her- even without intercourse. And to be with her- in the world to come. The Baal Haturim writes that the words “Lihiyos Emah” equals in gematria Betoch Gehinom.

   (39:11) "K'Hayom-On that particular day." This refers to the 25th day. The letters Chuf Hey equals 25. Many commentators remark that the wife of Potifar acted for the sake of heaven. Still she is judged as treacherous because of how she handled adversity. Unlike Tamar who behaved righteously, submitting herself to be executed while Potifar's wife had an innocent man sent to prison rather than face humiliation.

   (39:17) "Vatidaber Aylav K"divarim Hoayleh- She spoke to him according to these words." Rashi writes that she spoke to her husband during intimacy. This was in order to anger him to the point where he would divorce her freeing her up to marry Yosef. The Yifeh Tohar writes that Potifar wanted to kill Yosef but Osnas told him the truth about what had happened. He had to keep Yosef imprisoned in order to save face. Through this she merited having two tribes descend from her.

 (40:7) “Vayishal es-Serisai Pharoh asher Ito-And he asked Pharoh's officers who were with him.” Why does the Torah need to mention that they were with him just to have written he questioned them would have been enough? The Ramban points out that Yosef had a feeling that it was for him and his future destiny that Hashem caused these two officers to be with him in prison. So their sad appearance made him extremely interested in their plight.

   Yosef spent an extra two years in prison for placing his faith in Pharoh's butler. This is hinted at in the words Im Zechartani which equals 730 (2 times 365). Also it says that the butler didn't remember him and forgot. Why the double loshon? Yosef regretted having asked him to remember him so he was mispalel that he should forget. That's why there is the double loshon.

   (40:11) "V' kose Pharoh B'yodi-The cup of Pharoh was in his hand." This verse contains the word "kose" four times. This hints to the four cups we drink Pesach night. Other than the number four, what is the connection? Just as Yosef, who spent twelve years in a dungeon, was released in the blink of an eye and ascended to become a ruler, so too our salvation, as in Mitzrayim, will come about in the blink of an eye.

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On Chanuka we commemorate the miracle by lighting the candles. It seems very appropriate that this is our expression of the events that took place during the Greek occupation of Eretz Yisroel. The Greek culture was a revolution that took the world by storm. They opened the eyes of the world and began the age of enlightenment, of tremendous wisdom that was a strong argument against an antiquated ancient religion. It became increasingly difficult for Jews to resist this new age of man which they portrayed. And yet resist they did. How was this manifest? In a tiny little flame called the light of the Menorah. This is where Chazal say true wisdom is found. 

   We can see this conveyed in today’s society as well. Much of the Greek culture has been carried over to our civilization today. In the media, the movies, the television we are constantly bombarded with the secular message. If you were to go to a neighborhood in Brooklyn during the holiday season you would find on one side of the street a window showing a tiny Menorah while across the street there is a house covered from top to bottom with flashing lights, reindeer on the roof and an animated snowman in the front yard. How can the tiny light of the Menorah fend off the tremendous onslaught of this secular world? The answer lies in the candle.

  The Gemarrah in Shabbos says that “One who is accustomed with a candle will have children who are Talmud scholars.” The Maharal writes that a candle represents the entire world. He explains the statement as follows. One who is accustomed to looking at the whole world as a candle will have children who are Torah scholars. What does it mean to look at the world as a candle? The basic components of a candle are the oil, the wick and the flame. The Ner, Pesil and the Shemen. Each is an acronym of the word Nefesh. This represents the soul of the world. 

   As the candles burn down and the flames dance their last dance we might be tempted to ask “What has been gained or what has been accomplished through this exercise of lighting? After the oil has gone what really remains? The Maharal explains that although the oil has been consumed the light generated from that candle continues to run its eternal course forever. What have we accomplished by performing this Mitzvah? In reality we have taken a piece of this temporal world and unlocked its eternal essence. Therefore when one is in the business of looking at the entire world like it is a candle, the whole world is seen as being packed with endless spiritual potential. Any item, each person and every moment is dense with limitless possibility. This is the Mitzvah that represents withstanding the secular onslaught. 

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At the end of last week’s Torah portion, Yakov and Lavan part ways. After having been warned by Hashem not to harm Yakov or even say anything positive or negative towards him, Lavan seems to go his own way. However the Midrash relates how this was very much not the case. Lavan sent his son to Esav telling him how Yakov arrived penniless and that he gave him his daughters and fed him and gave him work. But after all he had done for Yakov, he left and took everything without even allowing him to say goodbye to his daughters and grandchildren. His intent was to incite Esav so that he make good on his vow to one day kill his brother. This would then revert all of Yakov’s riches back to him and he would even be reunited with his daughters and grandchildren. As our Parsha begins we find that Esav is steaming towards Yakov with an army of four hundred men.

(32:4) “Vayishlach Yakov Malachim - And Yakov sent Messengers.” Rashi say’s they were actual Malachim. Why was this necessary? Would not regular messengers be sufficient? The Oznayim L’Torah writes that he originally wanted to send regular messengers but they were all afraid to go. He therefore sent Malachim. The Or Hachaim say's that from the words “El Essav Achiv - to Esav his brother” tells us that he didn't know if Essav would act like an Essav, meaning hostile, or like Achiv- a brother. This is why he had to send a Malach. Only a Malach would be able to look at him and discern what his intentions were.

(32:4) “Vayishlach Yakov Malachim - And Yakov sent Messengers.” Rashi say's they were Malachim Mamish actual Angels. The question is how could he have the right to use real Angels? It is true that Yakov had no right to use Hashem’s angels, but he did have the right to use for his benefit the angels that were created from his own good deeds. This is what Rashi alludes to when he says Mamish. It’s an acronym for Me’Measim Shelo.

The Midrash relates that the Malachim began beating Essav and his men when they met with them. This would not seem to be the correct way to win them over? But the Oznayim L’Torah explains that this actually was the language that Essav understood. He was the type of person who would only impressed by brute force. To him this was the only way to be won over.

(32:5) “Ko Omar Avdecha Yakov Im Lavan Garty - So said your servant Yakov, I have dwelled with Lavan.” Yakov sends messengers to Essav to tell him that he had lived by Lavan. He uses the word Garty to convey dwelling. Rashi says that this has the same letters as Taryag (613) that he is saying even though I dwelt by Lavan I kept all six hundred thirteen Mitzvos. But how could this be since he was married to two sisters? According to one Pshat since the two sisters were Gairim they no longer had a family and were therefore not considered sisters any longer. The Or Hachaim say's that the message Yakov was telling Essav was that even though I have spent the last 21 years in the company of such a Rasha, I still came out on top. As is evident by this wealth I have amassed. Therefore there was no point in behaving in a hostile manner. Lavan had tried this for many years and it had not benefited him at all. According to the Kli Yakar what was the point of this message since Essav could care less about whether Yakov kept the Mitzvos? Instead the point of this message was that Essav might think that the reason the blessings had not yet befallen him was because he lived with Lavan and didn't keep the Mitzvos. He was therefore telling him Garty I did keep the Mitzvos and still had not yet benefited from the blessings.

   A different approach to this is that of R. Yonasan Eibeschutz who explains that Essav found it very difficult to control his desires. What did he do? He believed that although the Avos kept the Torah, they were only required to do so in Eretz Yisroel. Therefore he moved outside the boundaries of the Holy Land, to Seir. Yakov on the other hand disagreed with Essav on this point and held that the Torah must be kept everywhere. This fact was alluded to in his statement “Im Lavan Garty-With Lavan I dwelt.” Meaning that even though one is outside the boundaries of Eretz Yisroel it is still incumbent to keep the Mitzvos.

   Another understanding of “Im Lavan Garty-With Lavan I dwelt.”could be the following. Yakov fulfilled all of the Taryag Mitzvos, but that would cover the letter of the law. However there is also the intent of the law. At times a person can find loop holes to getting around the literal meaning and not transgress any law. Living in Lavan’s house could have been an environment which made it easy to circumvent Halacha. This could be what Yakov was eluding to. When you open a Sefer Torah you see the letters in black, but between the lines you see white-Lavan. Im Lavan Garty-With Lavan I dwelt.” With this Yakov is expressing that he not only kept the letter of the law but even between the lines the Lavan of the law.

   Yakov divided his camp into two parts. Then he went back to get some small flasks (Pachim Ketanim). We learn that this incident was a foreshadowing of a future event pertaining to the story of Chanukah. The flask of oil alluding to the Pach they found in the Beis Hamikdosh. That when he wrestled with the angel of Essav and came away wounded it was a sign that although Yakov would eventually be victorious he would not come away unscathed. The generation of the Greeks would produce Jews that would turn away from Yiddishkite (Shmad) and turn against other Jews.

   The question is why this particular event here with the angel of Essav did this show up? There was a complaint against the children of Yakov for letting him cross over the river alone. They should not have let him be by himself. In some form they were lazy not to accompany him. Through their Atzlus or lack of Kibud'av the angel of Essav was able to affect him to a degree. Especially since the angel of Essav had this very strong merit of Kibud'av.

   Yakov prepares for his meeting with Essav in three ways, one by praying to Hashem, and then he sends gifts to appease him. Lastly he divides the camp in preparation for war. The night before he has this encounter with the Malach of Essav, Yakov is able to overcome him and force him to concede the Brochos that were originally given to him by his father. He also insisted that the Malach bless him. But the Malach instead asks him his name and tells him that he will no longer be called Yakov but Yisroel instead. The question that when Avraham’s name was changed we no longer refer to him by his previous name, whereas Yakov is called Yakov even after his name is changed?

Yakov came away limping after his struggle with the Malach. While the other Avos were successful in their struggles with Tumeh, Yakov was left with a residual wound.        

   The Pachad Yitzchok writes that by Avraham there was a part of him that was cast out. By Yitzchok too there was a part cast out. But Yakov had a Mita Shelaima, he had twelve righteous sons. In his realm there was no such thing as cast out. Yisroel Af al pi Shechoteh Yisroel A Jew remains a Jew even if he sins. This was a new concept introduced to the world. The fact that he came away from this conflict wounded would be manifested in the future when Yisroel would eventually sin. On this level we relate to the name Yakov. Avraham reached his Madrege and would never go back. Yakov retained this Madrege of Yakov even after he became Yisroel. The Eikvas - cunning of a Yakov is needed to survive among the nations until there is no longer an Essav in the world. Then Yakov will be only referred to as Yisroel.

   When Yakov is about to meet up with Essav the verse reads (32:8) “Vayira Yakov Me'od-he was very frightened.” Rashi says that he feared possibly killing others (Achairim). Why did he not have faith that Hashem would protect him? The answer is that really he feared he might kill Essav and that Essav was carrying the seeds of future converts. The Achairim that Rashi speaks of is the Neshama of R.Meir who was a convert that was a descendant of Essav's. In fact when the Talmud says “Acharim Omerim-Others say” they say this is really R.Meir. So Yakov was afraid of killing “Achairim.” He was afraid of killing R.Meir.

  1. Diskin has another interpretation, he says the reason Yakov was afraid is because of the prophecy spoken by his mother at the time she sent him away from Essav. She said “why should I lose both of you on the same day.” This eventually bore true, both Yakov and Essav were buried on the same day. So what Yakov feared was that he would be forced to kill Essav, which would mean his death as well.

  A novel explanation appears in the Da'as Zekeinim Mi'Ba'alei Tosfos. And he was distressed, he explains, because Essav had said that he would kill Ya'akov after his father's death (27:41). So Yakov extrapolated that, now that Essav was on his way to kill him, it must mean that Yitzchok was no longer alive. That also explains why in Posuk 10, he referred to the "G-d of my father Yitzchok", despite the fact that one does not connect the name of a living person to that of G-d (see Rashi there). But if Yakov believed that his father had died, the problem falls away.

   The question that still remains is why was Yakov afraid? When Yosef was born he knew it was time to return to his father’s home because Yosef was the cure for Essav. He knew that Yosef was able to stand up to him. As it says Essav is like straw and Yakov is the flame while Yosef is the spark which goes out to ignite the straw. Why then was Yakov afraid? The answer could be that the night before Yakov was left alone to face the angel of Essav. The fact that none of his sons accompanied him was a blemish in their mitzvah of Kibud Av. This was the Mitzvah Essav excelled in. Since Yosef was among the sons that were negligent in this Mitzvah, Yakov  thought  perhaps he would now no longer be able to overcome Essav.

  (32:9) “Vayomer Im Yavo Essav Al Hamacheneh-Hanishar L’fleytah-He said if Essav will attack one camp the remainder will be able to flee.” How did Yakov know that the second camp would not also fall to Essav? Based on the above prophecy of Rivka, that they would both die on the same day, Yakov knew that if Essav would kill him he too would die. Therefore the other camp would surely escape. The Har Tzvi says that even though they were only buried on the same day, as Rashi says, a person who buries a child is bereaved. Therefore the prophecy could be referring to being buried on the same day.

   (32:11) “Ki B’makli Ovarty es H’yarden Hazeh V;atoh Hoyisi L’shnei Machanos-With my staff I have crossed the Jordan and now I have become two camps.” We normally find the word Mateh used when referring to a staff, why the term “Makali?” Perhaps we can say that the numerical value of the word “B’makali” equals that of the name Yakov. Meaning to say that with Yakov I crossed the river. Yakov who tricked Essav into selling the birthright, Yakov who stole the blessings from him. But now I have become two camps. Now I have separated the Essav within me. This is why later when the Torah writes (32:23) “Vayavor es Mavar Jabbok-And he crossed the river Jabbok.” The word Jabbok is the name Yakov without the letter "Ayin" for Essav. He finally was able to divest himself from the Essav within.

   (32:12) “Hatzilani Na Miyad Achi Miyad Essav-Save me please from the hands of my brother from the hands of Essav” Yakov pleads to Hashem to save him from the hands of his brother, the hands of Essav? Why this double Loshon? He was asking to be saved from Essav if he acts as a brother to him. Meaning if Essav would make peace with him he might become close to him and perhaps be influenced by his evil ways. Also Hashem should save him from the wicked Essav.

  In the phrase “Hatzilani Na Miyad Achi Miyad Essav.” The phrase “Miyad Achi” refers to Chanukah. Where the Greeks, like brothers, attempted to assimilate us. While the phrase “Miyad Essav” refers to Purim where, like Essav, the intent was to destroy Klal Yisroel. The result was “Vayiga B’Kaf Yerecho-He struck the ball of his thighbone.” Vayiga B’Gematria is equal to Chanukah, while Kaf Yerecho equals Purim. (R.Chaim Zonnenfeld)

  (32:14) “Vayikach Min Haboh Biyado-Yakov took from what came into his hands.” This is an unusual way of expressing the way Yakov prepared the gifts for Essav. Since Yakov's mission was to take all the material aspects of the world and elevate  them to a high level of Kiddusha, how could he then now give them to this Rashah Essav? That is why this term of what came to his hands is used. Rather than give him those things that he worked on to elevate them to this new level of Kiddusha, Yakov gave those things that Hashem destined to come to his hands without effort. Those were what he gave to Essav.

   The Baal Haturim says that we see in the next Posuk that each word ends with the letter Mem. This indicates that every animal Yakov sent to Essav had a Mume (physical defect), which made them unfit for sacrifices even sacrifices intended for idols. R'Bachya says that Yakov sent a Falcon which was Essav's favorite bird of prey. This explains the wording of “that which came to his hand.” The Falcon comes to a person's hand.

   (32:23) “Vayokm B’Layla Hu-He got up that night.” There are three places in the Torah where we find this expression “Layala Hu”  instead of the usual Layla Ha’Hu.

They are: (19:33) The night Lot impregnated his daughters.

                 (30:16) The night Leah traded places with Rachel for the Dudayim.

                 (33:23) The night Yakov fought and overcame the Malach of Essav.

Each of these three incidences were events that Hashem deemed not to leave unto chance. Rather the Divine Presence was there to intervene and insure that the proper outcome would result. By Lot it was the birth of the future Moshiach. By Leah it was the night of the future revelation on Mount Sinai and the birth of Yisachar. Here by Yakov and Essav it was the ultimate triumph of good over evil.

   (32:23) “Vayavor es Mavar Jabbok-And he crossed the river Jabbok.” Why was this place chosen for the confrontation between the Sar of Essav and Yakov? We know that Mokom/Place affects its inhabitants. We see by Avraham when he was going down to Mitzraim, he commented on his wife’s appearance. It was because he had come into contact with the decadence of that area, which caused him to think in those terms. Essav’s Malach wanted this particular place because he felt it contained the best opportunity for him to succeed. Yakov asks the Malach his name which he refuses to give. Because his job in this world is to hinder any spiritual growth that Yakov may have gained. His name in Hebrew was Samael, which contains the same letters as L’samea, to blind. His job was to blind 

Yakov’s ability to see Hashem in everything of this world. This is why the place Jabbok was chosen. Jabbok is the letters of Yakov without the letter “Ayin” for eye. It was the place that held some advantage over Yakov’s vision. (R.Shmuel Brazil)

  (32:23) “Vayavor es Mavar Jabbok-And he crossed the river Jabbok.” Why was this place chosen for the confrontation between the Sar of Essav and Yakov? In last week’s Parsha it says (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? The term Ish is a term that was used to describe Essav. Yakov had stolen the Brachos from Essav and now he had become wealthy, a man of the world, successful. Earlier when Yakov amassed this wealth, he is referred to as Ish (30:43) The man (Ish) prospered exceedingly and he possessed great herds and maids and servants and camels and donkeys. So when the Posuk says Yakov was left alone it means he had to face himself, what he had become, the struggle was within him. The Yetzer Hora is named Samael which is the name of the Sar of Essav. He now had to struggle with the Essav within him. This is why immediately following this crossing of the river Jabbok his name was changed. The word Jabbok is the same letters as Yakov but without the letter “Ayin” which stands for Essav. After crossing of the river Jabbok he was Yakov without the Essav in him. The name Yakov tied him to Esav because it represents holding on to Essav’s heel. Now after overcoming his brother’s influence he is called Yisroel.(Nireh Li)

   (32:23) “V’es Achad Aser Yilodov- And his Eleven Children.” Rashi comments “Where was Dina? She had been placed in a box and locked in so that Essav would not set eyes on her.” Yakov was punished for withholding her from his brother  because she might have been able to turn him around towards good. Rashi adds that she consequently fell into the hands of Schem who raped her. The question is why should Yakov be punished for doing something that any good parent would have done. Keep their daughter from marrying a wicked person! But the fact that Yakov locked the box tightly indicated how intensely he wanted to insure that she would remain protected. Had he merely stood in front of her, as Yosef did  when he tried to shield  his mother from Essav’s view, that would have been sufficient. If it was Hashem’s will that Dina be taken to influence Essav then Yakov should not have gone so far to divert it from happening. This brought about a tremendous change of direction for the future relations with Essav’s descendants. Had Dina been able to affect Essav countless future suffering on the part of Klal Yisroel might have been averted. For this reason Yakov was later punished by having his daughter violated by Schem.

   (32:25) “Vayivater Yakov Livado Vayeavek Ish Emo-Yakov was left alone and a man struggled with him.” How is it that if Yakov was left alone there was a man there to wrestle with him? Either he was alone or there was someone there with him? If we look back to when Yakov discovered that he had really married Leah we find that the Midrash sheds light on the dialogue between Yakov and Leah. Yakov asked Leah “How could you have deceived me this way?” To which Leah answered “But didn’t you deceive your father by pretending to be your brother as well?” R.Pinchas Winston takes this dialogue a step further and says when Yakov asked Leah “How could you have deceived me this way? You were supposed to marry Essav?” To which she replied “I did.” Yakov had bought the birthright from Essav. He stole the Brochos. He had taken on some of the characteristics of his brother. He had a part of Essav in him. Originally they were to share in the rebuilding of the world. Yakov was to mend the spiritual while Essav was to handle the physical aspect of the world. But when the demands of the physical world proved to be too much of a temptation for Essav, Yakov had to assume both roles. He no longer would just be the dweller in tents content to study Torah. He would have to learn the ways of the world. He would become a hunter. “Vayivater Yakov Livado-Yakov was left alone” equals 846 the same as the words B'choroso L'Yakov-The firstborn rights are Yakov's.

        (32:27) “Vayomer Shalcheini Ki Olah Hashachar-He said send me away for the dawn  is braking.” After Yakov defeats the Malach of Essav the Malach says he must leave because dawn is approaching. The Gemarra in Chulin (91:b) says that this was the first time that this particular Malach had the opportunity to sing Shira since the time of his creation. Why did it come out here right after this battle with Yakov?

   The reason evil was created in the world was only for good to be able to prevail. Yakov prepared for this moment his entire life. All the years he spent by Shame Ve’Aver and the years at his uncle Lavan all prepared him for this final encounter. Now that he defeated the Malach he is no longer called Yakov. He has a new name and a new mission. The Malach can only now go to sing Shira because his mission is accomplished. He was created to be overcome by good.

   The Kol Torah writes that all along Essav viewed Yakov and his name as implying trickery. He told his father when he lost the Brochos (27:36) “Vayomer Hachi Korah Shemo Yakov Vayakveni Zeh Pamayim-He said is it because his name is Yakov that he outwitted me these two times.” Now after defeating the Malach of Essav he sees Yakov's sincere piety as a fighter for Hashem. Thus the name changes to Yisroel which implies straight with Hashem. Very often when a person becomes deathly sick, he is given a change in name. This is because a person's name defines his mission in this world. If that mission is completed that person's time in this world may be completed. By adding or changing the person's name we are in effect changing the mission. 

   (32:27) “Vayomer Lo Ashalechacha Ki Im Beyrachtani-He said I will not let you go unless you bless me.” The word Berachtani equals 682 which is equal to the phrase Hodah  L'Birchasi-Acknowledge the blessing.  (Baal Haturim)

       Many of the commentaries deal with the question of why Yakov retained that name even after he was given the name Yisroel? The Malach of Essav had just been defeated, but he would make one last attempt to prevail. He said (32:29) “Lo Yakov Yeomar Ode Shimcha Ki Im Yisroel- No longer will it be said that your name is Yakov, but Yisroel.” The name Yakov equals 182, the name Yisroel equals 541. If we take away the name Yakov (182) from Yisroel we are left with 359 which is equal to Sotan. However if we keep the name Yakov in addition to Yisroel ( Yakov V'Yisroel=729) we have the numerical value of the words Kirah Soton-Eliminate Soton.

   Alternately we need a Yakov plus a Sotan to reach Yisroel. As we say in Krias Shema: B'chol Livavecha - with all our heart means with both our drives. We must learn to love Hashem with both the Yetzer Tov and the Yetzer Horah. Without him there is no choice in the world. His true objective is to challenge us to fail so that we may overcome him and grow from the challenge.

    (32:31) “Vayikra Yakov Shaim Hamokem Pene'ale - Yakov named the place Pene'ale.” In the very next Posuk Hashem calls the place Penuael? Yakov had a very personal reason for naming the place. He had just overcome his greatest obstacle, Essav's Malach. For him the place represented Hashem turning his face towards him to save him. (Pani- ale) Hashem 

on the other hand named the place for the future generations. So that when a person is tested he should turn towards Hashem (Penu-ale). The numerical value of the word Pene'ale is 171 the same as the word Lehatzilo- to be saved. The word Penu'ale equals 167 the same as the word Anisenu - to be tested.

   (32:26) “Vayar Ki Lo Yachal Lo Vayiga B’kaf Yerecho-And when he (the angel) saw that he was unable to overpower him (Yakov), he touched the spoon of his thigh .…”

The angel wanted to discover whether Yakov was not an angel like himself, the Ba'al ha'Turim explains. He could not conceive how a human being could possibly contain him, so he felt his thigh to see whether he had the necessary joints that enable a person to sit. An angel never sits, so he does not have those joints. Alternatively, he deliberately wounded him, causing him to become blemished and thereby disqualifying him from serving as a Kohen. Ya'akov had of course, bought the birthright from Essav, thereby gaining the right to serve as a Kohen to bring the Korbonos on behalf of his family.

   (32:33) “Al-kain Lo-Yochlu Benei Yisroel es Gid Hanoshe - Therefore the Children of Yisroel are not to eat the displaced sinew.” Why does it say that from this time on Benei Yisroel will not be permitted to eat from the Gid Hanoshe? Firstly it was the Kaf that was touched, why do we not refrain from eating the whole side? The reason is because to remove the Gid requires more effort. It takes an act of extreme effort to make up for the lack of effort that the tribes exhibited by not accompanying their father.

   The Zohar takes a different point of view. The Benei Yisroel can no longer eat from the Gid Hanoshe because this muscle constitutes the physical support for the genital organs, which are the source of impure elements. The sciatic nerve surrounds and fortifies these organs and so eating this muscle has the effect of attracting the forces of impurity towards man. The word Hanoshe is derived from the word Noshe to forget. When man eats it he forgets himself and his obligation to Hashem. Essav's angel was able to find this one weak spot possibly due to the fact that Yakov married two sisters. History has born out this point which enemies were able to attack in many generations. We see by the daughters of Moav, which resulted in numerous deaths. And by the foreign wives of Shlomo Hamelech who turned him to Avodah Zora and led to the division of Klal Yisroel.

(33:8) “Vayomer Mi Lecha Kol Hamachaneh Hazeh- And he said to whom does all this camp that I encountered belong?” Rashi explains the Midrash with reference to the camp of Angels that fell upon Essav and his men and began beating them, when they told them who they were. When the y mentioned that Essav was the son of Yitzchok, the beating continued. They said he was the grandson of Avraham but the situation did not improve. It was only when they pointed out that Yakov was his brother , that the beatings came to a halt, because , the angels said “In that case you are part of us.”

   According to this Midrash Yakov’s answer “To find favor in the eyes of my master” is difficult to understand? Since when does a good beating elicit favor in the eyes of the recipient? The Oznayim L’Torah answers that this is the language the Essav understands. He can relate to power, war heroes, Mighty warriors. Yakov knew that the best way to gain Essav’s admiration was through a display of strength.

This could answer two other questions. First when Yakov sent word to Essav saying “Im LavanGarty- I lived by Lavan” His message was that he still kept all the Mitzvos. Why would this impress Essav? He was not interested in Torah and Mitzvos? Secondly after their meeting Essav proposes that they travel side by side together. Why would Essav, who hated his brother to the point where he wanted him dead. now wish to travel side by side with him? But according to what we just said Essav saw his brother transformed. Where previously he had been Ish Tam Yoshev Ohelim- A simple man dwelling in tents. Now he became an accomplished man of the world. He had riches and power and although he had taken Essav’s role in being a man of the world he never forsook his Torah teachings. Whereas Essav thought you can’t have both worlds, Yakov proved that the Torah is total and that we can elevate every aspect of this world. And this perhaps is why Essav now wished to accompany Yakov. He saw a knew person. No longer the tame Yakov but now Yisroel.

(33:10) “Vayomer Yakov ..Ki Al kain Ro'isi Ponecha K'rios Pnei Elokim-Yakov said for as much as I have seen your face, as one sees the face of Hashem.” What does Yakov mean here? How could seeing Esav's face be like seeing the face of Hashem? The Gemarrah learns from here that you are permitted to flatter a Rasha. But perhaps we can say that the meanings of Yakov’s words are the following. Yakov was born holding on to the heels of Essav. This represents future events in that at the end of days all mankind will return to Hashem. As we say “Bayom Hahu Yihiyeh Hashem Echod Ushimo Echad-On that future day Hashem will be one and His name will be one.” It will be the mission of the descendants of Yakov to make Hashem known in the world and bring all of mankind back into the fold. This is the meaning of Yakov's gesture of holding Essav's heel. In this verse as well Yakov, after defeating the angel of Essav now sees Essav's face and detects a trace of G-dliness in him. There is still hope for Essav, there is still hope for mankind. In fact we know that Essav's face (ie. His head) is buried in the Moros Hamachpelah along with the Avos. Yakov is doing more than just flattering Esaav. He is planting within him hope.

   16-17) “Vayoshev Bayom Hahu Essav Lidarko Seirah-And Essav returned on that day, towards Seir." Targum Yonoson writes that a miracle was performed. Essav returned on that day, meaning he travelled to Seir in one day! This was done for Yakov to be able to have the space he needed from his brother.

   (33:16-17) “Vayoshev Bayom Hahu Essav Lidarko Seirah- Ve'Yakov Nosa Sukos-And Essa returned on that day, towards Seir and Yakov went to Sukos.” For Essav the goal is Seir for Yakov it is Sukos. The names of these two places reveal the difference between the twin brothers ideologically. For Essav the highest expression of the religious ideal is the Saier Hamishtaleach- The Scapegoat which is performed on Yom Kippur. Two identical goats are selected for sacrifices, one for the Azzazal and one for Hashem. Like the two brothers on the surface they may seem alike. In fact the two goats must look identical. This is a direct connection to Essav who is called “Eish Saier.” This idea includes the principal of absolution. But for Yakov the thought goes much further to Sukos following Yom Kippur. The purity acquired during Yom Kippur must transcend this to a higher level of service to Hashem that of the pure joy in doing the Mitzvos. This is Sukos -Z'man Simchasenu, the festival of joy. Other religions have tried to imitate the Jewish holidays but could never attain the lofty levels of Kiddusha and Simcha that is Sukos. So in their final meeting the two brothers go their separate ways. Essav to Seir and Yakov to Sukos.

     This could also explain why in the days of Moshiach the Mitzvah of Sukos was chosen as the one to be given to the Gentiles to see if they can can keep the Torah. Since it is their nature to only be able to relate as far as Yom Kippur, Sukos is beyond them. Just like the Ark of Noach, which would not accept anyone that was not Roiy (worthy)? So too the Sukkah will not accept those who are not Roiy. (Worthy)

will no longer be used while in this verse Hashem is adding to the name Yakov? We know that this Malach was the Sar of Essav. He was therefore working in Essav’s interest. The name Yakov, which comes from Eikev meaning heel or lowly place, was to remind him of where he came from. His humble beginnings. The Malach wanted Yakov to leave that behind and only use this new name of status. Yisroel meaning you have contended with     G-dly beings. Now you have status, forget your humbleness. Hashem said you are not only Yakov but also Yisroel. You should not forget where you came from.

   At the end of the Parsha it lists the ten heads of the tribe of Essav. But they were listed previously in Posuk 15. Why are they listed again? At the end it lists ten heads (Aloof) the tenth being the apex. That was Rome. In reality the Posuk lists eleven but there were really only ten, what was this extra one? The Torah wanted to show that the blessings of Yitzchok were fulfilled in Essav. The eleventh one was Erom which wasn't really one of the heads of Essav but rather a description. In Tehillem it talks about a vine planted by Hashem that will be uprooted by Chazir. This is a reference to Rome because the Chazir is an animal that shows it is kosher on the outside. Because it has the signs of a kosher animal (split hooves). And they use the word Yar. The Ayin in the word Yar is suspended. This is a reference to the one who united the world. That was Christianity the one who was suspended, meaning the one who they hung up. So the end will be that we will return (Chazir) from the rule of Rome and that eventually the end will be everything going back from the rule of Essav's descendants.

   (35:10) "Va'yikro es Shmo Yisroel-He will be called Yisroel - The Ari z"l says that we are called Bnei YISROEL, because the letters Yud-Sin-Reish-Alef-Lamed encompass all the names of our Patriarchs and Matriarchs whose names begin with the above letters. Avrohom - Alef, Yitzchok - Yud, Yaakov - Yud, Soroh - Sin, Rivkoh - Reish, Rochel - Reish, Leah - Lamed

(35:18) "Vatikro Shmo Ben Oni V'oviv Koro lo Vinyomin-She named the child the Ben-Oni (Son of MY Sorrow) and the Father called him Binomin (The son of my Right). - Why didn't Yaakov follow the wish of his dying wife's name choice?

   I heard in the name of Rav Aaron Drillich that we see from this the high esteem in which Yaakov and his wife Rochel held each other. Rochel named her son after his father Yaakov who declared in Breishis 49:3 "Kochi V'reishis ONI." She therefore called him Ben ONI, the son of Yaakov who accomplished the phenomenal feat of "Reishis Oni," my first strength, when siring Reuvain. This takes on even more significance in light of the fact that Reuvein was the child born of the mistaken union between Yakov and Leah when Rochel voluntarily gave over her dream of being with Yakov. Yaakov, on the other hand, named his son after his wife Rochel, Ben YOMIN, saying that he was the son of his right hand, namely Rochel.

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   (25:19)-V'Avraham Holid es Yitzchok-Avraham begot Yitzchok" Why is this mentioned here? We are listing the offspring of Yitzchok not Avraham? The Gemarrah in Bava Metzia (87a) writes that Yitzchok was not born looking like his father but on the day of his weaning Hashem miraculously changed his physiognomy.

    Why is this mentioned here? Yitzchok was now 40 years old? The Zohar  adds that after the death of Avraham the similarities between father and son became even more apparent.

   The Trumas Hadeshen writes that our Parsha tells us about Yizchok’s Toldos, progeny, Yakov and Essav. It was after the birth of these two sons that scoffers had the temerity to make their statement. Had Yitzchok been the son of both Avraham and Sarah, two righteous parents, there is no way that Yizchok could have had such a wicked son as Essav. It must be that he was the offspring of Sarah and Avimelech. Having only one righteous biological parent. That would explain why one son was righteous and one was not. This is why it was necessary at this point in time to reiterate that Yizchok was the son of Avraham and that Hashem replicated  Avraham’s face in Yitzchok.

   (25:20) “Vayehe Yitzchok ben-Arboyim Shanah B’kachto es-Rivka Bas-Besueil H’Arami M’padan Aram Achos Lavan H’arami Lo L’isha-And Yitzchok was forty years old when he took Rivka the daughter of Besueil the Arami from Padan Aram the sister of Lavan the Arami, for a wife.” Rashi comments that not only was she the daughter of Besueil, and still righteous, but she was Lavan’s sister and came from Padan Aram. The question is why does the Torah switch the order? It should read the daughter of Besueil the sister of Lavan and then from Padan Aram, the way that Rashi himself writes it. The answer can be found from the next Posuk which says (25:21) “Vayetar Yitzchok L’Hashem L’nochach Ishto Ki Akorah He-Yitzchok prayed to Hashem on behalf of his wife, for she was barren.” The two verses occur together to inform us that Lavan’s blessing (24:60) that Rivka should become thousands of myriad’s, had not been fulfilled. She was barren and it was only due to the prayer of Yitzchok that she was able to conceive.

   (25:21) “Vayetar Yitzchok L’Hashem L’nochach Ishto Ki Akorah He-Yitzchok prayed to Hashem on behalf of his wife, for she was barren.” The Midrash says that both Yitzchok and Rivkah were barren from the PosukKi Akorah He” the word “He” is pronounced “He” but is spelled “Who” thus the double meaning they were both barren.

   When Rivka was carrying Yakov and Esav, there was a battle going on inside her. She went to the Beis Hamidrash of Shaim Ve'Aver to inquire about what was going on. The answer she received was that she was carrying two nations within her. How does this comfort her? She still had this conflict going on in her womb? By telling her that the strife inside her was due to the fact that there were two distinct personalities inside her. Before that she thought that it was one person who sometimes was drawn to the Beis Hamidrash while other times drawn to places of Idol worship. Why was she passing places of Idol worship? The Sifsei Chachomim explains that she was searching for converts.

   (25:22)-"Lama Zeh Anochi-If it be so why did I desire this." Rivka is puzzled by the quarreling of her unborn fetus. What is the meaning of this unusual phrase? The answer is that when a child is agitated we must look at ourselves for the cause. If our home is one of strife, if there is tension in the home it will invariably have an effect on the children. Rivka is saying that perhaps there is some failure in me? Where did I contribute to this strife? "Lama Zeh Anochi  would translate as “How is this from me?”(R.Nissan Alpert)

  (25:22)-"Lama Zeh Anochi-If it be so why did I desire this.The Berditchiver Rebbe explains this phrase as follows Rivka is questioning, if one of the twins I’m carrying is evil”Lama Zeh Anochi” Lama (How) can Zeh=12 the twelve tribes destined to come from me, reach Anochi (Matan Torah)

    The Midrash say's that when Esav was born he tried to destroy his mother's womb so Yakov wouldn't be born. But Yakov held onto Esav's heel and came out right after him. But she bled so much that she was unable to have any more children.

   The Zohar say's that it is inconceivable that a baby would hold on to the heel of his brother's foot. Instead he says that the words Eikev Esav (the heel of Esav) is to be compared to the Nochosh who was cursed by Hashem (3:15) “Teshufenu Okaiv -Bite his heel” the same word Okaiv is used. This means to say that Essav who is like the Nochosh in that he is crafty and malicious, will be treated the same way by Yakov. 

 He will combat Esav with his own craftiness. We see this term used later in the Parsha when Yakov steals the Bracohs. Esav say's (27:35) “Vayakveiny Zeh Pamayim He outwitted me these two times.” The word Vayakveiny comes from the word Eikev.

 (25:26) “V’Yado Ochezes B’eikev Esav-His hand was grasping the heel of Esav.”  When Yakov was born he held on to the heel of Esav. One reason is that since Rivka had so much pain in labor, Yakov wanted to do a Chesed for his mother and make his birth easier. The reason why he held onto the heel of Esav was because Esav is compared to the Chazzer (pig). Just like the Chazzer who shows his hoofs as a sign that it is kosher but inside it has the qualities that make it non kosher (it doesn't chew it's cud). So too was Esav on the outside he would appear to be righteous but in reality he was evil. Yakov wanted to hang on to the one kosher sign that he showed.*

    (25:28) “Vaye’ehav Yitzchok es-Esav ki Ztayid B’fiv-Yitzchok loved Esav because he ate of his trappings.” Yitzchok loved Esav because game was always in his mouth. In whose mouth are we speaking of? The Midrash interprets it as Esav's mouth that since he fed his father he too had game in his mouth. However, the Meam Loez says it was Yitzchok's mouth.  When Esav showed his respect for his father, by giving him food, that is when he loved him because he was doing a great Mitzvah. But in reality all love that depends on a specific factor will eventually cease. But by Rivka we find she loved Yakov with no motive given. This love can never cease.  

   The Shach has a novel interpretation of this. He asks, how can it be that Yitzchok was unaware of Essav’s true character? He was a Navi, surely he must have known who he was dealing with. The Shach explains that the words Tzyid B’fiv means that Yitzchok trapped Essav with kind words. Even though he knew who Essav was he wanted to keep him from running away. To keep him close. If Essav thought his father hated him he would surely be lost. Therefore “Vaye’ehav Yitzchok es-Esav ki Ztayid B’fiv-Yitzchok loved Esav because he   trapped him with words.” he showed him unconditional love.

* Whenever there is a tremendous force of the spiritual in this world it manifests itself in the physical in some form. If you look at the physical appearance of Eretz Yisroel it appears as a hand reaching out over the Mediterranean to grab at the heel of the Italian "boot" which are Eassav's descendants.(Kol Torah)

  (25:32) “Vayomer Esav Henei Anochi Holich Lomus-Esav said, here I am about to die.”  When Esav sells the birthright he says “look I'm about to die.” The Midrash say's that Esav

had just come back from killing Nimrod and taking the coat that he had gotten from Adom. (Which Hashem made for him after the Chet) He was afraid that someone would avenge Nimrod so he said “what good is the birthright if I am to die.”

  We are told that this was the day that Avraham died. Therefore, while everyone in the world was mourning the loss of such a great man Essav was busy satisfying himself.

   (25:27) “Vayigdilu Hana’arim-And the lads grew up.” Rashi explains that when Yakov and Esav became thirteen years old they each went in opposite directions. Esav began going after Idol worship and Yakov to the Beis Hamidrosh. It also says that Avraham died five years before his time, in order not to see his grandson veer off the path. He died at the age of

  1. The problem is that Avraham was 100 years old when Yitzchok was born. Yitzchok was 60 years old when he had Yakov and Essav. Now if we add the thirteen years it would come out that Avraham should have died at 173? What happened to those two years?

   In this weeks Parsha we find when Yakov came to Yitzchok for the Brachos he could smell the scent of Gan Eden. How did he know what Gan Eden smelled like? After the Akeidah the Posuk says (22:19) “Vayoshev Avraham el N’ariv-And Avraham returned to the lads.” There is no mention of Yitzchok? The Riy’vah says that right after the Akeidah, Yitzchok spent two years in Gan Eden which is above time and he therefore returned the same age as when he left. While here in real time Avraham had aged two years. Consequently, though Yitzchok was 60 years old when he had Yakov and Esav, Avraham was really 162 and he died 13 years later at the age of 175. In Parshas Chaye Sarah (24:62) the Torah writes “V’Yitzchok Bah-and Yitzchok came.” Meaning that Yitzchok was returning with a wife for Avraham. The Gematria of the words “V’Yitzchok Bah” equals the words “M’Gan Eden” (from Gan Eden). Additionally when Yitzchok came to meet Rivka for the first time he came from a place called Baer Lachi Roi which equals B’gematriaGan Eden L’tzadikim.”

  (25:30) “Min H’adam H’adam-From that very red stuff.” Rashi say that this was the day Avraham died and that Avraham died five years before his time, in order not to see his grandson veer off the path since that would not be the ripe old age that Hashem promised him. How are we to understand this? How was Hashem doing Avraham a favor by taking away years of his life? Why wasn’t Esav’s birth just delayed by five years?

          To answer this we must go to the beginning of the Parsha. (25:21) “Vayetar Yitzchok L’Hashem L’nochach Ishto Ki Akorah He-Yitzchok prayed to Hashem on behalf of his wife, for she was barren.” The Posuk goes on to say “Vayeiasur Hashem Lo-Hashem allowed himself to be persuaded.” Why would Hashem need to be persuaded? Did he not promise Avraham that his seed would continue through Yitzchok?

          Who were Yitzchok and Rivkah? We know that Yitzchok was originally unable to father children because he was born with a female Neshama. We see that immediately after the incident of the Akeida, of Yitzchok losing his female Neshama, the birth of Rivka is brought into the picture. Perhaps this was the Neshama that left Yitzchok at the Akeida. The number of words in the entire Parsha of the Akeida equals 307 the same as the numerical value of the name Rivka. It would then explain the PosukKi Akorah He” the word “He” is pronounced “He” but is spelled “Hu”, thus the double meaning they were both barren. They were from the same source. Now that Yitzchok had the proper Neshama and his destined wife, he prayed to Hashem that she should be the one through which that promise be kept. For ten years he prayed and still no child was born. Finally, according to the Pirkei D’R’Eliezer, He took Rivka and went to Har Moriah, to the site of the Akeidah. There he evoked a powerful heart rendering plea to Hashem on the very site where he offered his soul, where his destined soul-mate originated. We evoke the memory of the Akeida on Rosh Hashana and we recite that chapter every day. How much more powerful a prayer it must have been coming from Yitzchok and Rivkah themselves! “Vayeiasur Hashem Lo-Hashem allowed himself to be persuaded.” Hashem submitted to Yitzchok’s pleas. Esav was destined to be born five years later, and it was due to the fervent prayers of Yitzchok and Rivkah that Hashem answered their prayers five years earlier than had originally been intended. This is hinted in the very words “Vayeiasur Hashem Lo-Hashem allowed himself to be persuaded.” Which remarkably have the numerical value of Chamesh Shanim-five years.

   (25:27) “ Vayigdilu Ha’Nearim-And the boys grew up.” Rashi says they turned thirteen. At this point their character traits became manifest. Yakov devoting his life to the study of Torah, while Esav, on this very day committed the three cardinal sins. What caused this monumental change in direction? On this day Avraham died. A tremendous force of light in the world was extinguished. But at the same time a tremendous force of darkness ended as well. Nimrod was killed by Esav. Hashem always creates a balance of good and evil to maintain freedom of choice. But how could Esav, who had Yitzchok as a father and Avraham as his grandfather, become so evil while his twin brother became so good?

   The Zohar reveals a tremendous secret. Each day a person is given life anew. He awakens with a clean sheet of paper each day and is given an opportunity to record on it good or bad deeds. The next day he can start again with a new clean sheet of paper. This is true up until the last day of life. At that time he acquires the culmination of his entire life’s work! When the Torah records (24:1) “Avraham Zokain Bah B’Yomim-Avraham was old he came with his days.” This means he came with the merits of all his days. Every accomplishment, every Mitzvah was collectively credited to him. The Zohar  writes that all of these merits can somehow be transferred to a person who is close at the time of death. Yakov was that person. He was able to absorb the totality of his grandfather Avraham's Kiddusha. Essav, on the other hand was beside Nimrod at the time of his death and thus absorbed the tremendous Tumeh that Nimrod had accumulated.

   (25:32) "Vayomer Esav Hinei Anochi Holech L'Mus Lameh Zeh Li Bechorah- Esav said behold I am headed for death what need do I have for the birthright." Essav was a hunter, as such he thought he would probably die in his fathers lifetime. Since there was no tangible benefits the birthright until after his fathers death, he said " What benefit is the birthright to me, I'm headed for death?

   (25:34) “Vayochal Vayaisht Vayokom Vayelech And Essav ate drank got up and left.” What is the posuk telling us here in describing what Esav did? Immediately following these words it say's “Vayivez Essav es Habichorah and Esav despised the Bechora.” We already knew this from the previous Posuk which said (25:31) “Lamah zeh li Bechorah What need do I have for the Bechorah?” We see from here that Esav didn't sell the birthrights under any duress. We should not think that just because he came in famished from the fields that he would have done anything for some food and that after he had eaten he might regret what he had done. On the contrary he ate, he drank, he got up and left and he despised the birthright. Even after satisfying himself he still had no regrets, he even despised the birthright.

    (26:1) “Vayehe Roav Boaretz Milvad Horoav Asher Hayah Beyimai  Avraham- And 

there was a Famine in the land besides the one in the days of Avraham.” Before beginning the narrative concerning the wells that were re-dug by Yitzchok the Torah here tells us of this famine. The question is why does the Torah mention the one that was in the days of Avraham? What is the Torah adding here? Also what is this business of reopening the wells and renaming them? The Sefas Emes says that this is referring to the Ruchniess that is represented by the waters. Just as the waters cover the earth, so too the spiritual world is masked over by the physical. All of the spirituality that was revealed by Avraham was forgotten after his death. He says that the Avos are only called three. But really each one could have stood on their own merits. Why then don't they? He explains that when there was a famine in the world it means there was this hunger for knowledge. Had Avraham's efforts not been lost, Yitzchok would have followed in the path of his father. He never would have developed his own path of Avodah. Now Yitzchok began the process of revealing again the spirituality that his father had uncovered in the world. This is why the Posuk says that he renamed these wells the same names that his father had named them. This was the only way that he could develop his own path

   When Yitzchok sends Esav to trap deer for him the Torah writes (27:3) “Ve'atoh Saw Nah Kailecha Tailyicha Ve'kashticha- Now take your equipment, Your sword and your bow.” Why the use of this word Now? It could have said simply take your sword and capture some deer?  In addition why take along a bow? This is not the way to bring food to his father? It would be Traif if it were killed in this manner? Yitzchok wanted this to be an act of Teshuva for Essav. There are two types of Teshuva one where a person repents his sins. The other, which is on a higher level, is when a person is placed in the same circumstance with the same temptations and is able to withstand the test. Essav used his equipment to kill and rob. Now he was being asked to take those very instruments of destruction and use them for a Mitzvah. The bow would be used to merely slow down the deer for capture. The word now is used because that is the key to Teshuvah. It must be Now!

  When  Rivkah  tells  Yakov  to  steal  the  Brochos  she  tells  him  to use deceit (Mirma). Esav had great merit because of the tremendous Kebud'Av he showed towards his father. In order for Yakov to merit receiving the Brochos he had to counter this merit that Esav had by doing something against his very nature for Kebud'Aime that was to lie. For Yakov this was a tremendous effort which he only did because of his mother’s request. Then he would be able to overcome Essav's merits. Essav's Kibudav was really insincere. His only motivation was to inherit Yitzchok's fortune. Since he only would inherit from his father he had no Kibudam.

     Why is it that Yitzchok wanted to bless Essav? What was it that he wanted to accomplish? It could be that he knew that Yakov was superior in a spiritual way but he wanted Esav to have the blessings of the material world in order to serve Yakov in his spiritual pursuits. The same arrangement that was later made between Yissacar and Zevulan.

   (26:26) “V'Avimelech Holach Aylav M'Gerar-Avimelech came to Yitzchok from Gerar.” Chazal read the word Gerar as wounded. Avimelech originally drove him away as we see Yitzchok asked, why now does he come? The Targum Yonasan writes that when Yitzchak left all the trees and wells dried up. So Avimelech went to Yitzchok from Gerar, meaning from a wounded state. This explains Posuk 29, where Avimelech exclaims “for we now see that you are blessed from Hashem.”

   Why did they come now? What did they see to make them come to the table? At first they thought Yitzchok's prosperity came at their expense. This assumption has served as a pretext to expel Jews from places they had lived for hundreds of years. However once they left, the country lost economically and culturally. Here as well Gerar became poor after Yitzchok left. The wells stolen from Yitzchok dried up. (Oznayim L'Torah)

    Perhaps this can also explain why there is a hint here by these wells, to the three temples. Throughout history the world has not recognized our attachment to Hashem. Only after the third temple will it become known to the world how the world has been blessed through us. R. Wolbe explains that just as a well is a source of life, so too the Beis Hamikdosh is a source of life, spiritual life. Had the nations of the world been aware of the blessings the Temple brought to the world, they never would have let it be destroyed. Yitzchok represents the symbol of that life for he was the first instance of Techiyas Hamaisim.

    (27:1) "Vaticheinah Eynav M'rous- His eyes became dimmed form seeing." When Avraham bound Yitzchok the ministering angles cried and their tears fell into Yitzchok's eyes making him blind in his old age. (Bereishis Rabbah)

  How are we to understand this? Yitzchok is poised to give up his life and he becomes blind? What happened to the principal of "Shomer Mitzvah Lo Yodah Dover Rah-Those who observe the Mitzvos will not come to know evil." Why did this event have to come through the tears of angels?

   The angels protested that if G-d allowed Yitzchak to be slaughtered , there would be no Jerusalem or Temple and the covenant with Avraham would be violated. By their tears they managed to exchange Isaac's death for suffering instead, and also to put off his suffering until he had raised a son to take his place and passed on the covenant to him.

   Blindness was chosen to be Yitzchok’s suffering, for as Chazal tell us, a blind man is considered as if dead. The Akeidah , then, was not merely a show of good intent, seen by G-d only as if it had been carried out. It was a real act of self-sacrifice, and had to be redeemed with 57 years of suffering, which was worse than death.         

   The Gematria of the words Vaticheinah Eynav M'rous- His eyes became dimmed from seeing. Is equal to the phrase "Shomer Mitzvah Lo Yodah Dover Rah." (1278)

   (27:3) “V’Atoh Sah-Nah Keilecha Telyicha V’Kashtecha- Now please sharpen your gear, your sword your bow.” Yitzchok sends Essav to capture game to prepare a meal for him. Why didn’t he just tell him to take an animal from their stock. They were shepherds and had many flocks. And even if Yitzchok desired to have an animal not from their flock, why tell Essav to take his hunting gear? Kosher meat can only be through kosher slaughter, not via a bow and arrow? However Yizchok wanted Essav to use his talents in the physical world, for a spiritual purpose. (Malbin)   

   (27:5) “V'Rivka Shomas-And Rivka heard.” When Rivka overheard Yitzchok telling Esav to bring him food the narrative says Rivka did this and Rivka did that. Then it switches over to the word Emo - mother (27:13) then it goes back to calling her by name- Rivka? Why the switch?

     The entire episode was a matter of doing something even when not commanded to. (Ayno Metzuveh Vioseh). At the Akeida Hashem asked Avraham to please bring his son up for a sacrifice. He was not commanded to. Rivkah she was asked to bring water for Eliezer. Bringing for the camels was going beyond what was asked, Ayno Metzuveh Vioseh. The continuation of Klal Yisroel came about through these actions because Yitzchok originally was born with a female Neshama and could not have children. After the Akeida he received a Neshama of a male which was able to father children. By doing these things that they 

weren't commanded to do they assured the continuation of Klal Yisroel.  Here too by receiving the Brochos it was a matter of doing something even though they weren't commanded. Yakov was not commanded to bring the food to his father Essav was. The initials of Aino Metzuveh Vioseh are Aleph Mem Vav (Emo), which is why the name Rivka is switched to the word Emo.

    Rashi says when Essav walked in the room Yitzchok perceived that gehinom open up before him. Whereas by Yakov the fragrance of Gan Eden entered with him. Perhaps it was the smell of the coat his mother gave him that was originally from Gan Eden, given to Adam and handed down now to  Yakov.

  When Rivkah told Yakov to pose as Esav he said maybe my father will feel me and know I'm not Esav. He uses the word Ohlie instead of Penn which is used when one wishes something not to happen. He so wished not to have to lie that he would rather have gotten caught. Yakov said maybe if my father finds out he will curse me! But how can he be afraid of that, we know that whoever curses Yisrael will be cursed himself. So why was Yakov afraid? It could be that at this time he was speaking to the Shechinah, saying the Brochos that were to go to Esav will contain material wealth perhaps that will be a curse causing my descendants to fall. But Hashem wanted him to have material wealth too.

   (27:13) “Vatomer Lo Emo Olai Kloloscah Beni - His mother said to him, your curse shall be on me my son.” When Rivkah tells Yakov not to worry about the curse his father might give him if he is caught she says it will be on me. She uses the word Olai (on me). The initial letters represent the three difficulties Yakov would have in his lifetime. The Ayeen stands for Essav the Lamed for Lavan and the Yud for Yosef meaning to say that these are the only difficulties you will face not from any curse of your father.

  (27:15) “Va'tikach Rivka es bigday Essav binah hagodal-Rivka took the clothes of her son Essav the larger one -Vatilbash es Yakov binah hakotan and she dressed Yakov her son the small.” Rivka is preparing Yakov to receive the Brachos. Why this use of the terms large and small as opposed to older and younger? The Yesod Hatorah explains that the posuk wished to emphasize the fact that though Esav was much larger than Yakov, when his mother put the much larger clothing on him they fit. Rivka perceived that Hashem agreed with her plan for the Brachos.

   There is a Midrash that says that when Hashem created the world he created the two luminaries, the sun and the moon. The larger one was to go to the older son and the smaller one to the younger son. This was the case as we see that the descendants of Esav use the solar calendar to track the year. While the descendants of Yakov use the lunar calendar for the tracking of times. Esav wanted to give up his share in the next world so he could have this world. The sun rules only by day. The moon can at times be visible both by day and by night. This means that the descendants of Yakov would have both this world and the next. Also the fact that the moon always is able to renew itself was a sign that by Benei Yisroel there is constant renewal. There can always be Teshuva. This concept is alluded to in this posuk. (27:15) Yakov and Essav are referred to as the large and small sons. The same words that are used to describe the two luminaries (Sun and Moon) that Hashem created (1:17).

   (27:15) “Va'tikach Rivka es Bigday Essav Binah Hagodal Hachamudos-Rivka took the clothes of her son Essav the larger one the cherished ones.” It is interesting that the posuk uses the word Chamudos the coveted ones. Esav’s main claim to fame was his tremendous Kibud Av which is the fifth of the Ten Commandments. The tenth of the Ten Commandments is Lo Sachmod not to covet that which is not yours. This was Esav’s main aveira. The counterbalance of this was the fifth commandment. So in essence his main forte was from his greatest shortcoming.

   (27:22) “Hakol kol Yakov Vehayodayim Yidai Essav The voice is the voice of Yakov but the hands are the hands of Esau.” The Gemara says the hands are not the hands of Esav. When Yakov is up Esav is down. How can this be? It's the opposite of the posuk. The answer is that the word Kol is without the letter vav. When the word Kol is spelled deficient then the Kol is lacking and the hands can be Essav’s.

   (27:22) “Hakol Kol Yakov V'yodayim Yidai Esav-The voice is the voice of Yakov but the hands are the hands of Esav Esav had the merit of his tremendous Kibud'Av with which he served his father Yitzchok. Yakov needed to offset this tremendous merit by performing an act of Kibud'Ame. By listening to his mother, by performing this deception, he was going against his natural tendency to be honest. The gematria of the words “Hakol Kol Yakov V'yodayim Yidai Esav equals Kabeid es Avicha V'es Imecha. It was not enough for Yakov to be an Ish Tam  Yoshev Ohelim-A simple man dwelling in tents” To fulfill his destiny he had to become more than that. He had to go out in the world, do Kiruv and take on some of the characteristics of his brother Esav. This is why the words “Hakol Kol Yakov V'yodayim Yidai Esav equals in gematria Zeh Aish Hatorah.    This is exactly what Aish Hatorah is all about.

   (27:27) Vayomer Reaye Reach Beni K'Reach Sodeh Asher Berach Hashem-He said see the fragrance of my son is like the fragrance of the field Hashem blessed." Who is Yitzchak speaking to, and how does one see a fragrance? The Tzror Hamor writes that Yitzchak was speaking to Adom H'Rishon who was standing by hoping to be redeemed from the curses that rested upon him all this time. Each of Yitzchok's blessings directly countered one of the original curses placed upon man.

   (27:28) “Vayitain-Lecha H’Elokim M’tal Hashomayim-May Hashem give you of the dew of the heavens.” In blessing Yakov, it was Yitzchok’s intention to annul the curses placed upon Adam after his sin. (3:17) “Arurah H’adama Ba’avurecha-Accursed is the ground because of you.” In contrast Yitzchok said  “May Hashem give you of the dew of the heaven and the fat of the earth.” Contrasting “thorns and thistles shall it sprout for you.” Yitzchok blessed him with “abundant grain and wine.” Contrasting the posuk by the sweat of your brow shall you get bread to eat.” Yakov was told “Peoples will serve you.” Contrasting “for dust are you and to dust shall you return.” Yitzchok now said “be a Lord to your brothers.” (Tzror Hamor based on the Zohar) Additionally after the sin of Adom the relationship between man and G-d was severely damaged. Now through this blessing the relationship will be restored. As Rashi points out, the letter “Vav” in Vayitain does not connect to anything. He explains that it means Hashem will not give all at once and then have no further relationship. Rather He will give and give again just enough to maintain the connection. Also the Avnei Nezer  explains the word for Hashem used is “H’Elokim” Why is the name Hashem spelled with the letter “Hey” before it? To tell us that Hashem is giving us Himself, this blessing is giving us back the relationship with Hashem.

   (27:28) “Vayitain L’cha Elokim M’tal Hashomayim-May Hashem give you from the dew of heaven” The Sages point out that this blessing was bestowed using the Holy Name Elokim that denotes Hashem’s attribute of justice. Thus Yitzchok’s blessing is bound by the strict demands of justice, only to be enjoyed by the recipient if he merits it. But what does blessing have to do with merit? Why would the person of merit require a blessing to obtain the good things in life in the first place?  The true intent of Yitzchok’s blessing was not to 

confer riches upon its recipient, but to remove him from the constrictions of physical limitations by connecting him to the workings of Hashgacha Pratis, or Divine Providence. The blessing removed the Jewish people from the laws of cause and effect that apply to mundane reality and placed them into a reality in which Hashem directly decides every single event that occurs. In such a world, all the events of life are tailor made for the individual specifically and are designed to advance his spiritual growth. There is constant give and take between the individual and Hashem, and every alteration of spiritual need results in the appropriate readjustment of his material circumstances. The individual is constantly held up for judgment to determine precisely where he is spiritually, and what he requires of the physical world in order to advance. When Yitzchak designated Yakov as the leader, the Torah scholar was appointed as the channel through which the flow of Divine Providence must pass.

    The entire episode of giving the Brochos is very strange. First why did everything have to be done through deceit? Why all the fuss over eating before the blessing? Why was it all necessary?

   It could be that since these Brochos were to be the basis for Klal Yisroel to succeed in correcting the sin of Adom, they had to follow in the same manner. By Adom the snake used deceit so Yakov also used deceit. By Adom the sin was committed through eating so the Tikun (fix) had to be through eating. Also it could be that by separating Esav and Yakov who were both born from the same womb it was like separating the mixture of good and evil that was confounded by the Eitz Hadas.

     Another reason why the entire episode had to transpire in such a manner was so that the Brachos would be given to Yakov's descendants even when they look like Essav. That is to say it would be very easy to receive the Brachos when all is well and everyone is listening to Hashem. But there will be times when Benei Yisroel won't look like the descendants of Yakov. They won't keep the Torah or dress like the righteous offspring of a Tzaddik. By receiving the Brachos while looking like Esav it would assure them that even at these times the Brachos will apply.

   (27:30) “V’Yihi Ach Yotzoh Yotzoh Yakov M’ais Pinei Yitzchok Aviv-And Yakov had scarcely left from the presence of Yitzchok his father.” In the figurative sense Yakov no sooner leaves the path of his fathers than Essav comes to threaten him. Whenever Kiddusha leaves the void is immediately replaced with Tumeh.

  (27:37) “U’licha Aypho Mah Eseh Bini-What shall I do now for you my son?” After Yitzchok had given all the worldly blessings to Yakov He said what is there left for me to give to you? Then he goes on to give him a blessing of the fat of the land and the dew of the heavens. How can this be if they were already given to Yakov? Perhaps we can say that according to the Midrash which says that on the night the Beis Hamikdosh was dedicated, a malach came and planted a reed in the Mediterranean. From this the Italian peninsula was formed. We see from here that the night  the Beis Hamikdosh was dedicated the seeds to it’s destruction were planted. It therefore comes out that the blessings given to Yakov of this world did not include what would eventually be Essav’s because it had not yet been created.

  (27:38) “ Habracha Achas He-Loch Avi-Have you but one bracha father?” Yitzchok blessed Yakov with the name of Hashem that represents mercy. This name is equal to 26 in gematria. Yitzchok’s name is equal to 208 or eight times 26, the name of Hashem. Yakov’s name is 182 or seven times 26, there was therefore one more left for Essav.

   (27:41) “Vayomer Essav B’libo Yikrivu Yimei Ayvel Avi V’Aharga es-Yakov Achi- Essav said in his heart the days of mourning for my father will come and I will then murder my brother Yakov.” We are told that when Essav will come to judgement his merit of Kibud Av  will not save him from Gehenom because of this verse. Essav anxiously looked forward to his fathers death so that he could take revenge on his brother. Since Torah protects a person Essav knew that while Yakov is in mourning he would not be able to study Torah and thus Essav would have the opportunity to kill him.

    (28:5) Yitzchok sent away Yakov to Lavan the brother of Rivka the mother of Yakov and Essav Rashi says he doesn't know what this is intended to teach us. The Ramban explains that in the command to take a wife from the family of Rivkah it should have also been commanded to Essav. She is also the mother of Essav. The Tur says that by sending Yakov away to avoid bloodshed she was acting like the mother of both of them.

   According to the Ohr Hachaim the question is how could Yitzchok have sent Yakov to Lavan when he knew the type of Rashah Lavan was? He answers that by repeating that Lavan was the brother of Rivka who was righteous the Torah is thereby hinting that one or both of his daughters could be a suitable wife for Yakov. Secondly by saying that Rivka was the mother of Esav and Yakov the Torah reminds us that even from a Rivka, both a Yakov and an Esav could come out.

      We have a difficulty in this week’s parsha. The Torah tells us that Yitzchok loved Esav because he trapped food for him? On the surface it would seem very superficial. Tzayid Befiv means he would trap him with his mouth. Asking him questions like removing maisser  from salt and getting married at forty just to appear righteous. While all the time he was ravaging the countryside. He is compared to the chazzir  that displays it's kosher sign on the outside. But it doesn't have the internal signs. So he worked on fooling his father to look good. And later on Yitzchok wants to give the brochos  to Essav? They were already 63 years old. Yitzchok should not have been fooled. The Chidushe Harim says that Essav had tremendous Kibud Av. R. Shimon Ben Gamliale said he never came close to Essav’s Kibud Av. Whenever Esav would tend to his father he would put on special clothing.   So he answers the Zechus of his Kibud Av helped him be able to fool his father. Now  Rivka  said  that  Yakov  needed  a  tremendous  zechus  of Kibud  Ame to counterbalance Essav’s zechus. Rivka telling Yakov, was enabling him to put his life in jeopardy for the sake of Kibud Ame. We have a rule that when Essav is up Yakov is down. This is what happened here. Essav came running in without his special clothing for the first time in front of his father. Zeh Kom Ve'zeh Nofal.  When Yakov is up Essav is down. Now that Yakov was able to perform this act of Kibud Ame, it became a time for Essav’s fall. The posuk says (27:30) “Vayehe Kasher Kilah Yitzchok L’Vorech es-Yakov- And it was just after Yitzchok finished blessing Yakov.” The reason the posuk mentions this is to show us how Hashem caused the events to unfold. As soon as Yakov left, Essav walked in. There was no time for him to change into his special clothes. For the first time he stood before his father without the masking scent of Gan Eden. He stood before his father without the Zechus of Kibud Av. Now he could no longer fool his father. This is why the posuk says (30:33) “Vayecherad Yitzchok Charada Gedolah- Yitzchok was seized with a tremendous trembling.” Now Yitzchok felt the true presence of Esav standing before him without the mask of illusion that this coat from Gan Eden was able to conceal. What he sensed was the aura of evil that accompanied Esav’s entrance. This could explain why Rashi explains that the word Bimirma translated as cunning, says it means B’chochma (with smarts). What was so smart about what Yakov did? He exposed Essav for what he truly was. He didn’t just steal the 

brachos from Esav. He showed how Essav never really deserved them. That beneath the surface there was the stench of Gehinom. In the future when Esav’s Kibud has ended the reign of Moshiach will begin. This is referring to the Zechus of his Kibud Av.

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18:1) “Vayereh Aylav Hashem-And Hashem appeared to him.” In last week’s Parsha we are exposed to the transformation of Avram into Avraham through the many tests he had to go through. Parsha’s Vayeireh on the other hand is the Parsha of Revelation. Not just for Avraham but for every generation that followed. However even though there is revelation perhaps the greatest test of all is found at the end of this Parsha, the Akeidah. This would seem to be a contradiction since there can be no test of faith if there is revelation? When one knows what is happening there can be no Nisoyon. A test of faith is always done in darkness. Yet in Parshas’ Vayeireh there is tremendous concealment. “Vayar es Hamokom He saw the place from a far.” This means that he felt that the Mokom-Hashem was distant from him. He felt that Hashem had forsaken him. How do we understand how this concealment can appear here in this Parsha of revelation?

   We begin with the visit to Avraham by the three Malachim. This in itself is a great revelation. Each is an independent agent with a mission all his own. We are told that one came to bring the news of the birth of Yitzchok, another came to heal Avraham after his Milah, and the third came to overturn Sodom. However although on one level this was personal news for Avraham, it serves as predictions for the future of the Jewish people as well. The angel that brought news of the birth of Yitzchok was a metaphor to the birth of Moshiach. The angel that came to destroy Sodom is really saying that there will come a day when all evil will be destroyed from the world. And the Angel that came to save Lote brings the message that the seeds of Moshiach will not die.

(18:1) “Vayereh Aylav Hashem B’aylonei Mamre-And Hashem appeared to him in Aylonei Mamre.” Rashi says that Hashem came to Avraham to be Mivakeh Choleh (visit the sick.) Since this was the third day after his circumcision, Hashem was visiting him. First of all how did Rashi know this? It could be since the previous Parsha was talking about Avraham’s Mila we can deduce from the closeness of the topics, that the reason he appeared to him was due to the Bris Milah.

   The Sifsey Chachomim says that Rashi learnt it from the fact that the Posuk should have read “Vayereh Hashem el Avraham.” instead of “Vayereh Aylav Hashem”. Since it doesn’t tell us whom He appeared to, we must look back to see what was said in the previous Parsha.

     The Kli Yakar says that the reason it doesn’t mention Avraham’s name is because his name and his essence were opposite. The name Avraham comes from Av Hamon Goyim- a father to a multitude of nations. But Avraham considered himself like the dust of the earth (18:27) “V’anochi Afar V’aifer.” His essence was the most humble of all. The Torah is coming to teach us that the reason Hashem appeared to him was not because of the fact that he was a father of many nations, which the name Avraham implies, but rather it was due to his humbleness.

     The Ohr Hachaim asks why does the Torah reverse the order in this Posuk? It should have read “Vayereh Hashem Aylav” not “Vayereh Aylav Hashem.” This comes to teach us that first Avraham had to make himself a proper receptacle for Hashem to appear to him. This was accomplished through the act of Milah. This is why the Posuk reads “Vayereh Aylav Hashem.” That it was upon him that Hashem appeared. In Kabbalistic terms, Avraham had now become the carrier of the Shechina. This wording makes us aware of the difference between the revelation and the one who reveals Himself. It is because of this that Avraham’s future visions are never again introduced with the word Vayereh. From here on the word Vayomer is used.

     The Baal Haturim says “Vayereh Aylav” in Gematria equals “Zeh B’kovod Milah Nigleh Aylav” (in honor of the Milah he was revealed to him.) “Vayereh Aylav Hashem B’Aylonei” equals in GematriaL’vaker Choleh” (to visit the sick.) “Yoshev Pesach H’ohel equals in Gematria “L’Hachnis es HaOrchim”(to welcome guests).

       (18:1) “V'hu Yoshev Pesach H’ohel K’chom Hayom-He was sitting at the entrance to the tent in the heat of the day.” Rashi explains that Hashem wished to save Avraham the burden of having to host passersby. He therefore took the sun out of its sheath (Chama M’nartika) making it so hot in order for there to be no travelers visiting him.

   We find a similar expression regarding the Succah of the future. When the nations of the world will complain that had they been given the Torah, they too would have earned the World to Come. Hashem will then give them one Mitzvah, the Succah. He will then remove the sun from its sheath causing them to flee from the Mizvah of Succah. Even though discomfort exempts a person from that Mitzvah, the fact that they will kick the door as they leave, will show their disdain for doing the will of Hashem. This highlights the difference between a Jew and a gentile. Here Avraham, on the third and most painful day after circumcision, is standing at the doorway searching for a way to do Hashem’s will. He is looking for travelers to give his hospitality to. The words “Chama M’nartika-the sun from its Sheath” is amazingly equal to (868) “Achsanios Avraham Avinu-The hospitality of Avraham our Father.”

     (18:1) “V'hu Yoshev Pesach H’ohel K’chom Hayom-He was sitting at the entrance to the tent in the heat of the day.” The Baal Haturim writes that this is what Chazal is referring to when it says that Avraham sits at the entrance to Gehenom and does not let those who have been circumcised to enter. Except for those who knowingly had relations with a gentile woman or who had tried to undo their circumcision. How can it be that Avraham is able to rescue Benei Yisroel from Gehenom? If Hashem decrees this punishment for someone how can Avraham stand in the way? What it means is that the tremendous merit that Avraham acquired from performing the Milah transcends into his descendants. A Bris is a covenant that bonds two people together through the fruits of their union. That is exactly why the Bris is performed on that part of the body. Benei Yisroel are the fruits of the Avos. The covenant between Avraham and Hashem was so intense that he would not let a Jew go into that dimension of punishment, even if he deserved it, because he wouldn’t do it to Avraham Avinu. Hurting the child would be like hurting the parent.

       (18:1) “V'hu Yoshev Pesach H’ohel K’chom Hayom-He was sitting at the entrance to the tent in the heat of the day.” Hashem had made the day hot so as to save Avraham from having to receive guests. But when Hashem saw how distressed this made him he sent the three Malachim. The question is if Hashem wanted to permit Avraham to feed guests why did he send Angels that could not really eat? He could have made the day cooler so that real travelers would come that could eat? This would seem more logical than wasting Avraham’s efforts preparing a meal for Angels who would only pretend to eat! This incident teaches us about the nature of Chessed. Contrary to what we may think, Hachnosos Orchim is not so much a Mitzvah for the guests or the poor person. Rather it is a Mitzvah for the benefit of the host! The Mitzvah is directed to the giver, not the receiver. Hashem has many ways of feeding the poor. If someone needs money Hashem will ensure that they are taken care of. The only question is who will have the merit of providing the Mitzvah. This is why the premiere chapter of Hachnosos Orchim in the Torah is told about people who did not even need it. The lesson is that the host should always remember that he is the one who needs the Mitzvah. Ultimately he is doing the favor for himself.

   Avraham went from standing before Hashem to go greet the guests that were coming. And from this we learn that it is greater to do Chesed than be Mekabel the Shechina. Why is doing one Mitzvah more important than standing before Hashem? It would seem that doing what Hashem commands is more important than just speaking to him. Avraham understood that doing this mitzvah was the will of Hashem.

   The World to Come is a place in which we anticipate conducting our entire existence in the receiving mode. While such an existence might appear to be somewhat parasitic at first glance, this is not really so. Being offered life in the receiving mode in the World to Come is no more than just compensation for spending our lives in this world entirely in the giving mode [as far as our Divine service is concerned]. The Talmud (Kiddushin, 39b) informs us that there is absolutely no reward for the performance of Mitzvos in this world. Yet adherence to Mitzvos takes concentration and effort and often requires a great deal of self-sacrifice. In broad terms, in this World we give and Hashem receives, whereas in the next World the roles are reversed; Hashem gives and we receive. Our world pursues self-fulfillment, in the erroneous belief that nothing higher is available. Avraham was experiencing the ultimate in self-fulfillment - communion with God - and yet he voluntarily abandoned it. He was looking for a way not to fulfill himself, but the very opposite. He was looking for a way to give his very self to Hashem. In the entire universe only human beings are capable of making the choice to give themselves away. When man gives himself to God, God's response is to give Himself to man. The World to Come is the place where the two givers get together and celebrate the love they have developed by giving everything they had away to each other.(R.Noson Weisz)

   (18:2) “Vayar V’hinei Shelosha Anoshim Nitzovim Aylav-He saw three men coming towards him.” Rashi says that these were really Malachim. That one came to bring the news of Yitzchok’s birth, one came to heal Avraham and the third came to destroy Sodom. Why was it necessary to have the third angel visit Avraham? His mission was in Sodom what connection is there to Avraham’s Bris Milah? The Vishnitze Rebbe answers as follows. The Bris that Avraham performed took place on Yom Kippur. We know that there is a relationship between time, person and place. There is a common thread between all three of them. They all come together at their apex. On Yom Kippur, the holiest day, the Kohen Gaddol, the holiest person goes into the holiest place, the Kodesh Hakodoshim. After Adom’s sin the presence of Hashem was concealed. This was manifested in the foreskin of man. The Orlah as it is referred to in Hebrew comes from the words Rah Lah- evil is there. Just as there is an Orlah in man there is a corresponding Orlah in place as well. Sodom was the Orlah of Eretz Yisroel. By Avraham performing the Bris Milah he ignited the spiritual energy needed to destroy Sodom. To do the Bris Milah of Eretz Yisroel. This is why the third Malach had to visit Avraham just then.

   Alternatively I heard from R.Pelcovitz Z’tl the following. We know that each Malach is created for a specific mission. No two Malachim have the same task to complete. Why then did the Malach that was sent to destroy Sodom come to Avraham’s home? When Hashem created man he consulted his ministering angels. They argued that man should not be created. One said he will rebel against his creator, another said he will be cruel to his fellow man. While they argued Hashem went ahead and created man. Now that the destruction of Sodom was at hand the ministering angels could say that they were correct. Man should not have been created. Therefore Hashem sent the destroying angel to Avraham’s home first, to see what a human can become. To see the Chesed of Avraham that maintains the world.

   If Hashem wanted Avraham to be able to preform acts of Chesed why send the Angels who have no need for acts of Chesed? They didn’t even eat the elaborate food prepared for them? The answer must be that the acts of Chesed are really for the benefit of Avraham. The one doing the Chesed benefits more than the receiver of that Chesed. This lesson is is brought here in particular as the paramount example of Chesed.

   (18:4) “V’Heshanu Tachas H’eitz-Recline yourselves under THE tree.” Avraham would ask the guests to sit beneath a special tree. If the tree would spread out its branches and accept them he would know that they can be brought under the protection of the Shechina.

The Gematria of the words “V’Heshanu Tachas H’eitz-Recline yourselves under the tree.” equals Avraham, Yitzchok, Yakov, Moshe, Aaron, Yosef, Dovid all of the Ushpizin we welcome on Succos. The idea is that since offering shade, Avraham merited that his descendants would in the future receive shade while in the Midbar. Succos is the culmination of all of the achievements attained by each of these great ancestors. This ability to discern worthy or unworthy guests was put into the Mitzvah of Succah. For we know in the future the nations of the world will be given one Mitzvah to perform when they complain about not having been given the Torah. That will be the Mitzvah of Succos. because it is the one Mitzvah that can discern the good from the bad. Perhaps this is why the word "H'aitz-The TREE" is used. The first time we find the use of the word is by Eitz Hadas TOV V'RAH. The tree of knowledge of Good and Bad.

   We know from Avraham’s behavior that hospitality takes priority over the Divine Presence, but how did he know? Avraham knew the Hashem caused the heat to be unbearable so that no guests would come to trouble him. But, if one is forbidden to depart from the Shechinah in order to give hospitality to travelers, then the heat was unnecessary! From this Avraham understood that hospitality took precedence even over being in the presence of the Shechinah. (Rav Yakov Shimshon of Shpetivka)

     (18:10) V'Sarah Shomas Pesach H'Ohel V'hu Acharov-Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent and he was behind.” The promise of a son is revealed to Sarah but she appears to laugh at the news. Why would Sarah discount what the messengers related? The Targum Yonoson ben Uziel says that when the Posuk says “He was behind” it is referring to Yishmael. Yishmael was very displeased at the news of Yitzchok's birth. This would mean that he no longer would be the sole heir of Avraham. Sarah feared that he would interfere by giving the news an Ayin Hora, she therefore appeared to be mocking the news, as if to say how farfetched the idea was. When Avraham confronted her she had regretted giving the appearance of someone who doubted Hashem, but Avraham told her that it was not enough to regret out of fear but she should rather have laughed as he did out of love.

   The Sifsei Kohen writes that although Sarah was an even greater prophetess than Avraham, here since she regained her menstrual cycle she became Tamei and lost her prophecy.

   (18:11) “V’Avraham V’Sarah Zikainim-Avraham and Sarah were old.”Avraham prayed that he age and instituted the concept of appearing old into the world. Up until that time people would mistake parents with their children. Yitzchok instituted suffering, and Yakov prayed for sickness. All were to prepare one for the final days of life.

   (18:19) “Ki Yodativ L’maan Asher Yitzav es Bonov v’es Beiso Acharav V’Shomu Derech Hashem-For I have loved him, because he commands his children and his household after him that they keep the way of Hashem.” Teaching your children carries even more weight than your own Mitzvos. Rashi says that one who raises a righteous son is as if he did not die.

 (18:24) “Ulaye Yeish Chamishim Tzaddikim B’toch H’iyur-Perhaps there are fifty righteous people in the city.” Why did Avraham himself save Lote in last weeks Parsha when he was captured by the four kings and yet here where there was much less of a risk to his safety, Malachim are used? Perhaps we can say that in Parshas Lech Lecha it was Avram not Avraham. It was before he had Bris Milah. Now being in a much more elevated state, Hahsem did not wish to send him to a place as deprived as Sodom. (Nireh Li)

   How could it be that Avraham did not know what type of people lived in Sodom? Why was he entreating Hashem to save a city that was capable of perpetrating such cruelty?

     The Ariza'l say's in Parshas Toldos (25:28) “Vaye'hav Yitzchok es Esav ki Tzayid Befiv.”   Esav had within him the seeds of two future Amoroim. That's why it say's by Yitzchok's love for him that he was constantly “Tzayid Bepiv.” The plain meaning being that he always hunted for delicacies to feed his father. But according to the Arizal, Esav had within him the power of two souls. That of Shemaya and Avtaliyon. Future converts who later went on to teach Hillel. Esav was able to conjure up the seeds of these future converts that he was carrying. So when he spoke to his father he would sound like the righteous son. Now the meaning of Tzayid Befiv is that he entrapped him with his speech.

   In Parshas Shemos (2:12) It says regarding Moshe “Vayifen Koh V’koh Vayar ki Aine Ish-He turned this way and that and saw there was no man.” Before killing the Mitzri he looked into the future to see if any converts were destined to come from him.

When Avraham was praying that Hashem spare the cities he knew they were not worthy of being saved. But he was asking on behalf of the Sodomites who might be carriers of future converts. We see that this is often the case when someone is spared his rightful punishment perhaps due to some future seed that he is carrying. This could also explain why when Avraham was pleading to save Sodom the Posuk uses the word Bikirbom (within them). Will you save the city if there are fifty righteous people within them?

   The Gemarah in Nidarim tells us that one of the reasons Klal Yisroel needed to be enslaved in Egypt was because of a failing in Avraham. After Avraham defeated the four kings he refused to take even a shoestring from the King of Sodom. The King only wanted the kidnapped people returned but Avraham could have converted many pagans to monotheism. Because of this missed opportunity the Jewish people were destined themselves to become pagans. This sheds new light on Avraham’s motives for beseeching Hashem to spare Sodom. He understood that because he had not taken the initiative to put the subjects of Sodom under his tutelage, his descendants were destined to go to Egypt. However if there was a way that he could correct his failing by preventing the destruction of Sodom, there might be a chance that they would do teshuva and Yisroel would not have to go to Egypt. If on the other hand Sodom was destroyed then Avraham’s failing could never be corrected.

   The Gemarah in Brachos says we learn from here that Avraham instituted the Shacharis prayer. The question is why learn it from a place where the prayer was not answered. It must be that Avraham was also praying for the future Doros of Klal Yisroel.

Here too, Lot was carrying the seeds of Moshiach. That is why he was able to look at these Malachim and press them to enter his home. The Posuk says (19:3) Vayiftzar Bom Ma'od (He pressed them excessively). Lote normally would not have gone to all this trouble for strangers. If he had he would not have lasted very long in Sodom. But he had the seeds of Dovid Hamelech in him. So when the Malachim came to him, Hashem drew from the spark of Dovid and caused Lote to press them to come to his home. In the words: “Vayiftzar Bom Ma'od.” The word bom are the initials of Bezechus Mah.(in what merit) The word Ma'od are the initials Matzasi es Dovid (I have found Dovid).

   (19:1) “V’Lot Yoshev B'shar -Sedom-And Lote sat at the gates of Sedom.” Why does it say that Lote sat (Yoshev) at the gates of Sodom? And if he knew what type of people were living there how could he invite strangers to his home?

The Bochor Shor suggests that Lote resided in a secluded place outside Sodom near the gate. That is how he was bold enough to defy the city ordinance against   inviting   strangers and offer the angels lodging. According to this interpretation Yoshev would mean dwelled.

   But perhaps we can suggest that in his own way, Lote thought he could make a difference. True he was attracted to the loose morality of the place, but he accepted the role of Judge over them. he was carrying the seeds of Moshiach the ultimate world changer within him.

   According to the Be'ar Mayim Chaim Avraham should have known that there were no righteous people living in Sodom. We see in the Posuk (19:4) when the people of the city surrounded the house it says “Anshe Iyur Anshe Sedom” (people of the city, people of Sodom). Why this repetition? To let us know that this wasn't just some group of terrorists who were ambushing Lote's house, but rather this was the towns people this was the people of Sodom. This is how they all behaved.

   This entire incident seems out of place. Why does the Torah need to relate that Lote invited the two Malachim to a meal with him? Also why was there such a need to escape from Sodom when it was these messengers of Hashem that were there to overturn the city? Could they not have just come in remove Lote and his family and then destroy the city?

   The reason that the Torah had to relate the fact that Lot invited these guests was so that he should exhibit some of the traits that he first learned while in the company of Avraham and perhaps show that he deserved being saved. And the reason why the Malachim could wait no longer to overturn the city was because this final act of cruelty, on the part of the Sodomites, put them over the top. It was Avraham who returned the captives of Sodom to the King. And yet here we see the tremendous evil that was displayed when the entire townspeople came to the door of Lot and threatened to harm them because of the guests that they had invited.

   Hashem had waited nearly two thousand years before bringing the flood to destroy the world. And yet here was a city that had to be destroyed after only fifty two years? The nature of the evil that was Sodom was so great that it's destruction would not wait. The Chazal say that the world was created through Chesed and so the lack of Chesed destroys the world. From the beginning of man, the universe was being gradually torn apart until Avraham came upon the scene with his tremendous Midah of Chesed. His efforts were the beginning of a chain of events that would gradually mend this rift in the cosmos. But here the cruel inhabitants of Sodom threatened this Chesed.

   Interestingly we see that Sodom was not destroyed because it contained wicked people, but rather because there were not even ten righteous people living there.

   (19:16)Bechemlas Hashem Olav-In Hashem's mercy on him.” Why in the middle of describing how the Malachim were saving Lote, do the words “Bechemlas Hashem Olav” appear? We have already been told that one of the Malachim were sent to save Lote. The word Bechemlas equals 480 in gematria, the same as the word Benosav (his daughters). Lote was saved because of the daughters that were to give birth to two nations Moav and Amon.

   Why does it say that the two Malachim grabbed Lote and his wife and two daughters each by the hand and pulled them out of Sodom. But we've learned that a Malach can only do one mission at a time? And since one Malach came to destroy Sodom and one to save Lote how could they both do both missions?

One answer is that since Sodom couldn't be destroyed until Lote was out. Saving Lote thus became part of his mission.

   The Malach that came to tell Sarah the news of Yitzchok's birth also came to save Lote. The reason for Lote being saved was because he was carrying the seeds of Rus and Nami, the forerunners of Amon and Moav. The reason they were permitted into Klal Yisroel, even though the men weren't, was because when Benei Yisroel came to them in the desert the men would not greet them with food and water. So they were punished for that. But there was no such custom by the women. Therefore the women were permitted to convert. Now here when the Malach asked as to the whereabouts of Sarah, he was told that she is in the tent. In other words she as a woman, did not go out to greet the guests. Now the Halacha became clear. The men were banned from joining Klal Yisroel but not the women. That's how the same Malach now was able to save Lote. (Chidushei Harim)

   (19:26) “Vatabet Ishto Maiacharav-And his wife looked behind him.” Rashi writes that she looked “M’achrav shel Lote-Behind Lote.” What does this mean? What difference does it make who was behind her? The point is she looked where she wasn’t supposed to? We learned in Bamidbar that Korach made the mistake of thinking that he was beyond reproach due to the fact that he saw tremendous descendants were destined to come from him. Lote’s wife thought the same thing. She looked “M’achrav shel Lote- Beyond Lote” meaning what descendants were to come out from him. What she saw was the forerunners of Moshiach, Rus. Lote’s wife figured that because her husband would have such great children, she could do whatever she wanted and would be saved. What she didn’t see is that she would be cut out of the picture and the children would come from her daughter’s relationship with Lote himself.

   (19:33) “Vatishkenaoh es-Avivhen B’layla Hu-And they made their father drink wine that night.” We don’t usually find the term B’layla Hu mentioned in the Torah rather it would say B’layla Ha-Hu? Here it comes as a hint to this night being singled out as special. Until the arrival of Moshiach Hashem’s name and his throne are incomplete. Ki Yad al Kes Koh Hashem, as it were, made an oath with his hand on his throne. The word for Hashem is missing two letters “Vav-Hey” and His throne is missing the “Aleph” this spells the word “Hu” as in B’layla Hu. On this night there began the events, which would ultimately lead to the restoration of Hashem’s name and his throne.

   (19:36) “Vataharenah Shinei Benos-Lot Meyavihen-Both daughters of Lot became pregnant from their father.” The Midrash say's that the seeds of Moshiach were founded here by the incident of the daughters of Lot. The question is how can this be? How can the future savior of humanity have his origins in an incestuous union? The Ohr Hachaim explains that the there had to be a drop of impure blood, of non-Jewish blood, in order for him to understand in some measure and to share their weakness. This double influence would enable him to lead them back to Hashem.

   The Shearis Menachem notes that the Gematria, numerical equivalent, of the words, "Me'avinu Zera," offspring through our father, coincides with Dovid ben Yishai, also 386. Lot's daughter said, V'nichyeh, "We will live," our only hope for life, the essence of our life, is that this endeavor will sow the seed for Dovid ben Yishai.

(20:16) "U'L'Sarah Omar...Kesus Aynayim L'Chol Asher Itoch-And to Sarah he said..it is for you a covering of the eyes to all that are with you." Avimelech was cursing Sarah with this statement for her son Yitzchok, would later become blind.

   (21:6) "Vatomer Sarah Tzchok Asa Li Elokim Kol Hashomeah Yitzchak Li-And Sarah said Hashem has made laughter for me, everyone who hears will laugh on my account." Yitzchok was named even before he was born and Avraham already conveyed the name to him. But here we find Sarah trying to be included in this naming? She was attempting to correct her previous sin of laughing at the news she would have a child in her old age.

(21:17) “Ki Shomah Elokim el-Kol Hanaar Basher hu Shom-For Hashem heard the voice of the lad in the place where he is.”

When Avraham cast out Ishmael it says that Hashem should judge him by where he is now (Basher hu Shom). Therefore he should be saved since now he's a Tzaddik. But we learned part of the reason he was cast out was because he tried to kill Yitzchok and did Avodah Zoroh. So how can we call him a Tzadik?

Rashi says that his future generations will kill Avraham’s descendants. But Ishmael will do Teshuvah in his lifetime. The meaning is don't judge him on his future descendants but judge him by what he is in his life.

   The Chasam Sofer has a different explanation. He writes that as long as Yishmael was in Avraham’s house he was judged as an adult, since he was above the age of thirteen. After he was expelled he fell under the category of a gentile who was judged as an adult only after the age of one hundred. So now the words (21:17) “Basher hu Shom-The place where he is” now has the meaning of a minor since he left Avraham’s house. Therefore he is judged as a Tzaddik because he wasn't yet responsible for his sins.

(20:2) “Voyomer Avraham el-Sarah Ishto, Achosy He-And Avraham said to Sarah his wife, you are my sister.” Avraham once again claims that Sarah is his sister. Even though this didn't work in Mitzraim?

Since Avraham traveled to many places he would always say that Sarah was his sister. Usually it worked because the people would try to befriend him to win him over. But if he said she was his wife they would more than likely kill him and commit one sin rather than take a married woman and constantly sin. But the one person whom such a ploy would not work on was the king who could take any woman without being concerned about wooing her brother.

   (21:1) “Va'Hashem Pokad es Sarah-And Hashem remembered Sarah.” When Sarah became pregnant and gave birth, all the other barren women became pregnant and gave birth too. The Ba'al Ha'Turim however, points out that the numerical value of “Va'Hashem Pokad es Sarah is equivalent to that of 'Af Kol Akoros Pokad' - He also remembered all the barren women.

   The reason Hashem orchestrated the events this way is because Sarah could not attain real Simcha as long as there were other women with her condition suffering.

   (21:7) “Heinikoh Bonim Soroh-Sarah nursed children.” Rashi explains that when the nursing wives came with their children, they said that Sarah was too old to have given birth and must have taken in a child from the street. To lay these claims to rest Sarah nursed each of their children, hence the plural “Bonim”.

   The Gemarrah relates how Rebbi Yehudah HaNasi’s mother once nursed Antoninus, and this brought out an emotion in him to be understanding to the Jewish people. Here too the fact that Sarah nursed many children had a later effect on their lives. Psikta Rabosi d’Rebbi Kahana in the name of R.Chilkioh cites that there were two groups of women who gave their children to Sarah. Those who didn’t believe she had given birth and those who just took up her offer to nurse. Rabbi Levy said both groups benefited. Any person who would in the future be elevated to a position of prominence would be a descendant of a child that nursed from Sarah. While the children who were given to Sarah to nurse not as a test, ALL converted.

Benei Yissaschar:

(21:6) “Vatomer Sarah Tzchok Asa Li Elokim-Sarah said Elokim has given me laughter.” The reason for Yitzchok's name was because of the Tzchok (laughter). Avraham fell on his face and rejoiced. Really his name should have been Yischak. Tzchok is a Loshon of laughter at something that is not believed. But Tzchok is a Loshen of Simcha which is what Avraham had. The reason why he's called Yitzchok is that by right his name should have been Yischok but Hashem changed the Shin to a Tzadik. This was in order to hint in his name to the Tzadik = (90) years which was Sarah’s age when she gave birth to him. Just as the Kuf (=100) in his name was the age of Avraham. (The Yud was for the tenth of the Nisyonos, the Ches for the Milah) So when Sarah said “Tzchok Asa Li Elokim.” that the letter Sin was changed to a Tzadik for her. That now everyone who hears that his name is Yitzchok and not Yischok will know that it was for Sarah's sake to remember Sarah's age.

   The Chasam Sofer says that really Yitzchok's name should have been Tzchok. The name Yitzchok implies future laughter. He answers that the Yud of his name represents the Akaida, the tenth test of Avraham. Since this had not yet occurred the term for future laughter was more appropriate. Another answer he gives is that as Rashi say's many women in that time conceived when Yitzchok was born. So it comes out that nine months later there would be laughter, thus the use of the future tense in his name.

   Why was there such a blessing of Simcha for the other women of that time? Sarah was the one who needed a child. Why was there this universal blessing? A true Simcha cannot be enjoyed as long as there is suffering being experienced by others. Sarah’s nature was such that she would not have had complete joy knowing how others were in pain. That's why it also says that many people were healed on that day.

Directly following the naming of Yitzchok we find the expulsion of Yishmael. It says that Sarah saw Yishamael being Metzachek with Yitzchok. Rashi says that the word Metzachek has three meanings. It means idolatry, murder and Arayos. This word Metzachek has a connection to all of those meanings. The question is how can Yitzchok's name be rooted in the three most grave sins? What connection is there between Yitzchok and Avodah Zoro, Murder and Arayos?

   The answer is that these three cardinal sins are the only three things a person must give up his life for ( Yeharag Ve'al Yaver). The difference between the word Yitzchok and tzachok is the letter yud, which is the letter of Yitzchok's name that represents the tenth and final test, the Akeida. Yitzchok's whole life was a sacrifice to Hashem. His very essence was to give up his life for Hashem. This needed to be implanted to the very core of the Jewish nation, of the first born Jew.

Avraham foresaw that the mountain on which he tied Yitzchok would be the future site of the Beis Hamikdosh and the heart of the holy city. He therefore called it Hashem Yireh meaning Hashem will look down from this place and shower the world with goodness. Shaim-Noach's son called it Shalaim. Hashem said if I name the place Yireh Shaim will complain. If I call it Shalaim Avraham will have a right to complain. Therefore I will combine the two names and call it Yerushalayim. The Mizbe'ach on Har Habayis was in the same place as the one built by Adam and later demolished by the flood. It was rebuilt by Noach and destroyed in the dispersal by the Dor Haflaga. Here Avraham once again erected it. It is parallel to the heavenly Kisay Hakovod.

(22:1) “Vayihe Achar Hadivorim H'ayleh V'Elokim Nisa es-Avraham-And it was after these events that Hashem tested Avraham.”  At the Akeida Hashem asked Avraham to please do this test. To pass it would mean that all the previous tests really meant something. They would have Mamoshes (substance). Which is spelled Mem Mem Shin. These letters stand for Milah, Mokom- Place, and Shabbos. Mem-Milah, Mem -Mokom, Shin- Shabbos. The Akeidah expressed each of these. Milah / the Shecting of Yitzchok, Mokom/ the place of the future Mizbayach, Shabbos/ the Neshama Yeserah a person gets on Shabbos like the new Neshamah Yitzchok received after the Akeidah, which would now enable him to have children.    

     (22:5) “V’ani V’hanar Nailcha Ad-Koh-I and the lad will go Yonder.” When Avraham told Yishmael and Eliezer to wait with the donkeys he uses the word Koh (place). He and the boy would go Ad Koh. The Midrash notes this rare usage of the word Koh and interprets it as an allusion to a previous use of the word. (15:5) “Koh Yihyeh Zaracha-So shall be your seed.” which began with the same word. Hashem is promising Avraham's descendants will be as numerous as the stars. So he is saying let’s go see what will be with that promise of Yitzchok's descendants. When Sarah told Avraham to expel Hagar and Yishmael, it troubled him greatly. His characteristic was mainly Chesed. To do this to a member of his own family was a tremendous test for him. Hashem spoke to him and said (21:12) “Al Yirah B’eynecha al-Hanar-Ki B’Yitzchok Yikarai Lecha Zorah-Do not become distressed over the lad, because through Yitzchak will your seed continue.” Actually there never would have been any descendants of Avraham had they not gone through with this test. According to the Ohr H’Chaim originally Yitzchok was born with a female Neshama and could not have had children. According to the Chidah this was due to the fact that Sarah laughed at the news of her giving birth. At the time of the Akeida Yitzchok’s female Neshama left him and was replaced with a Neshama of a male. So it comes out that had they not gone through with this test there never would have been any descendants of Avraham. The words “V’Elokim Nisa es-Avraham-Hashem tested Avraham” equal 878 in Gematria. The same value as the words “Ki B’Yitzchok Yikara Lecha Zorah-Through Yitzchok will your seed continue.” (Kolel)

(22:5) “V’ani V’hanar Nailcha Ad-Koh-I and the lad will go Yonder.” We find that Yitzchok here is called “H’Nar” even though he was 37 years old at this point? Perhaps we can say that since every place in the Torah that the word Naarah is written it is always spelled without the letter “Hey” at the end. At this point Yitzchok had not yet received his male Neshama therefore the word can correctly be read as Naarah and be referring to the female Yitzchok. (Nireh Li)

   Why was it that Yitzchok had to go through this transformation of souls? It could be that since Yitzchok was the first child born of two Jewish parents, and this was the formation of the Jewish nation, there had to be a rectification of the first man. The first man was created both male and female. Therefore the rectification of man had to have also once been both male and female. (Nireh Li)

   (21:12) “Ki B’Yitzchok Yikarai Lecha Zorah-because through Yitzchak will your seed continue.” The word B’Yitzchok can be understood as two Yitzchaks. The one before the Akeidah and the one after. The one before became Rivka, the one after was now able to father children.

   (22:13) “Vayikach es-Ho’Ayil Valehu Tachas Benoe-And he took the ram and brought it up as an offering instead of his son.” Often we find when the word Tachas is used in a Posuk that we look to the letters underneath the word that follows. Like the phrase “Ayin Tachas Ayin-An eye for an eye.” The letters that follow after the letters of the word Ayin spell Kesef-Money, meaning that we don’t actually take an eye but rather the value of an eye. Perhaps here too we can look at the letters that follow (Tachas) in the word Benoe. They equal 70 in gematria, the same numerical value as Adom V’Chava.

   (22:7) “Vayomer Yitzchok el-Avraham-Aviv, Vayomer Hineini Beni-Yitzchok said to Avraham-father, and he said Here I am my son.” It seems odd that after traveling for three days Yitzchok should now say “father” and Avraham answers “here I am my son”? The Oznayim L’Torah writes that after gathering the wood and the flame for the sacrifice, Yitzchok suddenly begins to notice something strange. There is no animal here to offer. He looks to his father in what is the only exchange recorded in the Torah between these two patriarchs, and he says “father” are you still the father who loves me? Avraham replies, “Here I am MY SON” you are still a son to me. I still love you but Hashem will provide for the sacrifice and they both went together. They were together on this mission.

   The Zohar writes the Yitzchok was asking if Avraham still had the Midah of Rachamim. To which Avraham replied Hineini Beni-Now I have taken on the Midah of my son that of Din.

     (22:12) “Vayomer Al Tishlach Yodcha-And He said “Do not touch the Lad.” Who said? Hashem told Avraham to bring Yitzchok up as an offering, now an angel comes and tells him to desist? Whom should he listen to, Hashem or the angel? How ever R.Avraham Davis, in the Metzuda Chumash inserts in brackets “He [G-D] said” based on a Midrash.

   (22:13) “Vayisa Avraham es-Aynov Vayar V’henei-Ayil Achar Nechaz Basavach- Avraham lifted his eyes and behold, he saw a ram afterwards caught in the thicket.” It would seem that the word Achar (afterward) in this Posuk is extra? The Shelah writes that on the sixth day of creation all of the animals were created. But this ram was one of the ten things created Erev Shabbos right before nightfall. So this ram was created after/Achar all the other animals. It was created after the chet of Adam. Avraham knew that this ram was unique and therefore offered it in place of his son. How did Avraham know this? This ram had no belly button; it was not born from a womb, but rather created by Hashem.

   (22:13) “Vayisa Avraham es-Aynov Vayar V’henei-Ayil Achar Nechaz Basavach- Avraham lifted his eyes and behold, he saw a ram afterwards caught in the thicket.” When we have the word Acher in a verse we may look to the letters that follow. In this case if we look at the letters Acher/following the word Savach we come up with the word Eigel. In the future Klkal Yisroel will get caught up with the sin of the Eigel and the merits of the Akeidaˆ will be able to rescue them. (Pardes Yosef)

   The Mishneh in Avos tells us that this Ram was one of the ten things created right before Shabbos. The left horn was made into a shofar that was used for Matan Torah.(Rashi Shemos 19:13) The right horn will be the shofar used to herald the coming of Moshiach. (Pirkei D’Rebbe Eliezer 31) These two monumental events in human history are both tied to the Akeidah. What is so special about this ram that it necessitated being created at the dawn of time? Also why was it necessary at all? Avraham was to be tested to see if he would be willing to sacrifice his son, he passed that test. But we see that as soon as the Malach told Avraham not to kill Yitzchok he said, “I have come for nothing! Let me at least make a wound.” We learn from here how every human action has two phases. First there is the thought, the conceptual stage, and then the action. The first stage is the abstract, spiritual stage, the potential to become a reality. Then there is the action, the physical manifestation of the potential into reality. This is man’s mission in the world, to bring the spiritual into the physical. By Hashem these acts occur simultaneously. Hashem’s thoughts become reality at the same moment. But there are ten exceptions to this rule. The ten things that were created erev Shabbos were suspended as potential until the time where they would be needed and transformed into a state of actuality. There was a potential for a Matan Torah, there is a potential for Moshiach to come. Avraham wanted to give a reality to the potential he had of being willing to sacrifice his son. He wished to at least make a wound to concretize that potential. All of these ten things were created to enable man to ultimately return to the source, to the spiritual. The Sefas Emes writes that the Ten Mamorous was uttered at the beginning of creation; the ten things created Erev Shabbos completed the creation. The physical world was brought into being at the start but there had to be a spiritual connection to the source. Shabbos was the goal of creation. Therefore at the onset of the first Shabbos of creation the connections to the spiritual world had to be set in order to ultimately bring the world back to its source, to its purpose. This is what Avraham hoped to accomplish through the sacrifice of this ram.

   The Akeidah is depicted as the apex of the ten trials that Avraham faced. Why is it any greater than his willingness to give up his life when Nimrod threw him into the furnace? In the sefer Panim Yafes it talks about the contradictions that Avraham faced. On the one hand Hashem promised him that through Yitzchak his seed would continue. But on the other hand, here he is asked to sacrifice his only heir? A major contradiction! Yet Avraham never second guessed Hashem’s word. We see this theme throughout the ten trials. Hashem said “Lech Lecha” leave your home and family and then he causes a famine, which forces Avraham to go down to Egypt. But Avraham never questions Hashem’s motives. This is the essence of what serving Hashem is. This is the Tikun of the Chet of Adom, for he too was faced with a dilemma, but unlike Avraham he did second-guess Hashem. Avraham’s ten trials proved that his descendants are worthy to carry on his mission of correcting Adom’s sin.

     (22:20) “Vayehe Acharei Hadevorim Ha’Ayleh- After these events.” It’s interesting to note that immediately after the incident of the Akeida, of Yitzchok losing his female Neshama, the birth of Rivka is brought into the picture. It could be that this was the Neshama that left Yitzchok at the Akeida. The number of words in the entire Parsha of the Akeida equals 307 the same as the numerical value of the name Rivka.

   (22:20) “Vayehe Acharei Hadevorim Ha’Ayleh- After these events.” We find these words at the end of this week’s parsha. The word Vayehe always denotes some form of sadness. They go on to record the birth of Nachor’s children. At the time of Yitzchok’s birth we have learned that many women that could not previously conceive became pregnant. At this crossroads of Jewish history, at the birth of the first child born from two Jewish parents, the first link in a chain that would lead mankind back to Adom before the Chet a tremendous element of Kiddusha was being introduced into the world. To counterbalance this event there had to be an element of Tumeh introduced into the world at the same time. The Posuk says that Nachaor’s wife Milka gave birth to Kimuel. The name means Kimu-El, to rise up against Hashem. The Midrash relates that this birth produced Billem.

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