- Written by Boruch Fischlewitz
- Category: Torah
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:17)“Vayehe Beshalach Pharoh es Ha'am- And it was when Pharoh sent out the nation.” Whenever it says the word “Vayehe” it’s always a Loshon of impending Tzarus. Here after more than two hundred years of servitude, Benei Yisroel is finally released, it should be a time of great celebration? Why is it expressed in a Loshon of sorrow? Secondly we find throughout the Torah that Hashem expresses the fact that He took us out of Mitzraim. Here in our Parsha when the event is actually taking place it is credited to Pharoh? The Zohar says that whenever the word Ha'am is used it refers to the Eruv Rav that left with Benei Yisroel. This is why the Loshon of sorrow is used here, because they were the cause of much of the dissent that occurred during the forty years in the Midbar. The word Ha'am used again when there were complaints at the Yam Suf and again by the lack of water. Later in the Parsha we find that all the people were complaining. The influence (13of the Eruv Rav had already begun to take effect. It was Pharoh who sent out the Eruv Rav in order to insure that Benei Yisroel would return after the three days. Thus the use of the word "Vayehe" was justified.
Another answer is that the sorrow here was due to the fact that only one fifth of Klal Yisroel actually left. The other 80 percent died during the plague of darkness. Which begs the question, Why? Why did millions of Jews have to die in one week? If they merely refused to leave, why not just let them fall into the 50th level of Tumeh. Why did they all deserve to die? We have learned that when Moshe encountered Hashem by the Burning Bush, he argued as to what merit Israel had to warrant their redemption? Hashem replied that they will stand at the foot of this mountain and accept the Torah. Through that merit they would be able to be absolved from the sin of Idol worship they were guilty of. But those who refused to leave would have no way of absolution and therefore died in the plague of darkness. Had they been allowed to remain in Egypt it would have been a tremendous Chilul Hashem.
But perhaps we can offer a different explanation. The question was raised as to why the frogs that had not offered themselves to be thrown in the ovens died? Why would Hashem destroy His creations? One answer given was that the overpopulation of frogs was unnatural. It was merely done to harass the Egyptians. Once this was accomplished there was no longer a need for so many frogs, so Hashem reverted their numbers back to only what was ecologically needed.
In a similar vain perhaps we can say the same with regard to the massive deaths that occurred at Yetzias Mitzrayim. There was a tremendous unnatural growth spurt of the Jewish population. (1:12) “V’Kasher Yanu Oso Kain Yirbeh-As much as they afflicted them, so did they increase.” For years they were reproducing in totally unnatural numbers, all for the purpose of harassing the Egyptians. Now that they were leaving Egypt their numbers were returned back to the core 600,000 souls.
After a year of miracles and revelations how could anyone refuse to leave? For 210 years the Jews endured harsh slavery and mental torture in the form of being denied the satisfaction of seeing any fruits of their labors. All of their work ended up sinking into the sands. Now after the arrival of Moshe and Aharon the servitude ended and they were able to enjoy a full year of living in the highly advanced Egyptian society. They became revered in by the Egyptians. Now the temptation was great not to leave.
(13:17)“V'lo Nacham Derech Eretz Phlishtim Ki Karuv Hu- Hashem did not lead them through the land of the Philistines because it was close.” The reasoning for this was lest they see war and want to return to Egypt. After four hundred and thirty years of slavery would Benei Yisroel run back to Egypt at the first sign of trouble? And the very next Posuk says that they were armed? According to the Ohr Hachaim the words “Ki Koruv Hu” is referring to the Eruv Rav and the reasoning is that they who had it good in Egypt would certainly be the first to run back since they had just recently been converted.
Another interpretation is that when the inhabitants of Canaan heard about the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt, they began burning all of the trees and vegetation of the land so that the Jews would not benefit from them. The words “Ki Koruv Hu” means that the time was too close. Hashem wanted to wait a period of time in order that the land once again be restored for Klal Yisroel.(Mechilta)
(13:17)“Vayehe Beshalach Pharoh es Ha'am V’lo Nochom Elokim Derech Eretz Pelishtim- And it was when Pharoh sent out the nation.” It says that when Hashem took Benei Yisroel out of Mitzraim he didn't take them through the land of the Philistines “Ki Koruv Hu” (which was close) because perhaps they will see war and want to return to Miztraim. But before this Parsha is over they do see war with Amalek anyway? So what was the point in not taking them the direct way? Rashi says that the tribe of Ephraim counted the 400 years of servitude from the Bris Bain Habesarim. They believed the time of the redemption was 30 years earlier and they left before the right time and were all killed. That’s why it says Hashem didn't want to take them the direct way “Ki Koruv” Koruv also means relative. Benei Yisroel would have seen war in the form of the grave of their relatives and would have been frightened into returning to Mitzraim.
The question that remains is how could the tribe of Ephraim have escaped? We have learned that no slave was ever successful in escaping Mitzrayim? The Sifsei Kohen writes that they were never actually slaves they were of noble birth, direct descendants of Yosef and since the idol Baal Tzfone only stopped slaves, they were able to escape.
In the beginning of the Parsha the words “Ha'am” are mentioned three times. First when Pharoh is sending out the nation. Second it says “lest they see war and wish to return to Mitzraim.” And third when it says Hashem took them by the way of the Midbar. The fourth time the nation is mentioned it says “Benei Yisroel.” Why this change of terms? Also it says they came up “Chamushim” (armed). But Hashem fought for them why should they need to mention that they are armed? They had just come out and were not accustomed to using weapons. The Kli Yakur says that the word “Chamushim” means prepared. They were prepared with the Chamishe Chumshe Torah. But that is difficult to say since at this time they weren't prepared yet to receive the Torah. It was only after they had acquired proper Emuna could they be ready to receive the Torah. That Emunah was manifested in the act of going out into the wilderness without questioning how they would survive. By doing this they showed great faith. That would explain why they are called Benei Yisroel here in this Posuk after they showed their faith. However when the Posuk calls them “Ha'am” it is referring to the Eruv Rav, which is why they were sent out by Pharoh and not that Hashem sent them out.
Another explanation of the word “Chamushim” cited by Rashi is that only one fifth came out of Mitzraim. The other four fifths died in the plague of darkness. How can we have a handle on this? If four times as many people died than were redeemed it would be 12 million people dying in three days? This would be much greater than our own recent Shoah? Would that not be important enough to merit being mentioned by the Torah?
The Targum Yonason says the word “Chamushim” means when Benei Yisroel came out of Mitzraim they each had five children. The question is how could this be? We learned that when they were having children in Mitzraim they produced six at a time. Also they all would not have had an equal amount? The Targum Yerushalmy says “Chamushim” means armed with good deeds (Ma'sim Tovim). But why good deeds? The fact that they had faith to go into the Midbar without knowing where they would get their next meal is not a good deed but rather a case of Emunah. The answer is that it might be true that four fifths died but that does not take into account the children who didn't deserve to die? What it means then is that each family took in an additional four orphaned families of children and now had five families of children. They had their own plus four fifths of the newly orphaned. This also explains the Targum Yerushalmy. The good deeds they are referring to are the fact that they would take in all these children even though they had no idea how they would sustain them. Children that might never have connected their souls to Hashem. If 12 million souls were lost, it means that there were 6 million couples who each had a minimum of 6 children. That’s 36 million saved Neshamas!
This may also define the praise Hashem mentioned of Klal Yisroel when it says “Zocharty Loch Chesed N’urayich-I remember the Chesed of your youth.” Following Hashem into the desert is not Chesed. It’s Emunah. The Chesed of the Youth should rather refer to the Chesed performed towards the orphaned youth that were taken in after the plague of darkness.
What we can glean from all of this, is that ultimately everything Hashem does is for the good. What might have seemed to us as a terrible Holocaust, was in reality a tremendous opportunity to save a generation of children who might otherwise have been lost.
(13:19) “Vayikach Moshe es Atzmas Yosef Imo-And Moshe took the bones of Yosef with him” This would not seem to be the place to mention this? Klal Yisroel had already left Mitzrayim at this point. Perhaps we can say that since this Parsha is the Parsha of Kriyas Yam Suf and Klal Yisroel were about to be finally saved from the Egyptians completely. As the verse reads (14:14) “Hashem Yilochem Lochem V’atem Tachrishun-Hashem will battle for you while you remain silent.”It was necessary for their rescue to include the bones of Yosef. As the verse says Vayar Vayonos-The sea saw and (fled) split.” The same wording was used when Yosef fled from the wife of Potifar. What it saw was the bones of Yosef. Meaning just as he went beyond his nature to resist the temptations of Potifar’s wife, so too the sea went beyond its nature to split. The Gematria of the words “Vayikach Moshe es Atzmas Yosef” equal the words “Hashem Yilochem Lochem V’atem Tachrishun.”
(13:19) "Vehalisem es Atzmosai Mizeh Etchem-You shall bring up my bones from here with you." The word "Mizeh" in this verse seems extra? What is the Torah coming to include with it? The Ohr Hachaim is bothered by this and explains that Yosef made his brothers swear that they would take his remains with them when they left Egypt. He considered it as repayment for all he did for them while in Egypt. This would compensate for the time they separated themselves from their brotherhood with him. When Yakov sent him to Shechem to seek out his brothers, he did not find them there. An angel told him that they had left from there. The wording being "Nasu Mizeh" they had left from here Mizeh-from Zeh=12. They left from the unity of the 12. Yosef used the words Mizeh Etchem to indicate to them that if they fulfill their oath he would consider them as having re-installed him in their midst. In other words Yosef would forgive them posthumously if they kept their oath.
(13:22) “Lo Yomish Amud H’anan Lifnei H’am-The cloud never departed from before the people.” This teaches us that Benei Yisroel were never without proof off Hashem’s protection.
(14:2) “Dabaer el Benei Yisroel V’Yoshuvu-Speak to the Children of Yisroel to return.” Three days after leaving Egypt, Hashem tells the newly freed Benei Yisroel to turn back towards Egypt, give up your newly acquired freedom, cease running towards safety and put yourselves in the clutches of your oppressors. Why? Because it is Hashem’s will. Earlier we learned (3:18) that Hashem told Moshe to tell Pharoh that Benei Yisroel would be going out for three days to sacrifice to Hashem. In Posuk (10:26) Moshe tells Pharoh that even he doesn’t know what Hashem will request of them until we get there. Whatever happened to those sacrifices? Was the three day journey they spoke of a lie? Perhaps we can say that the sacrifice after three days was here. No animal sacrifice, but rather the giving up of the new freedom they had just attained. The sacrifice was to be willing to turn back simply because it was the will of Hashem.
(14:2) “Vyachanu Lifnei Pi Hachirus- And they camped by Pi Hachirus.”This was the last Egyptian idol that remained. It was where the vast treasure collected by Yosef during the years of famine, was buried. Pharoh thought that Israel was there in order to loot the remaining riches of Egypt. Hashem orchestrated this in order to insure that the Egyptians would pursue. This treasure was far greater than anything borrowed earlier from the Egyptians. It was mostly this treasure that was used to build the Mishkon. In our day we find a strange parallel. Just as the Egyptians buried their treasure beneath a religious shrine in order to preserve it, so too, for more than 2000 years the treasure of the Beis Hamikdosh is buried under the Temple mount guarded by a religious shrine above it.
Rashi explains that the name Pi Hachirus is in part due to the freedom Israel had just acquired. But three days earlier they were free when they left Mitzrayim? Perhaps we can say that now that the last barrier had been removed they were never returning to Egypt. The last remaining idol was spared for this encounter with Yisroel. In part to lure Pharoh into thinking his God had any power, and in part to test Yisroel in order to see if they had abandoned idol worship.
(14:3) “Vayomer Pharoh el Benei Yisroel-And Pharoh said to Benei Yisroel” How could Pharoh speak to Benei Yisroel three days after they had left? The answer is this was Doson and Aviram the two names that come up every time there is trouble amongst Israel. They are credited with revealing to Pharoh that Moshe killed an Egyptian. Many other evil acts are credited to them. The question is how were they able to survive the plague of darkness? Should they not have died with the 80% of Israel that refused to go? The answer is that when Hashem caused all of those Jews to perish during the plague of darkness, Moshe asked Hashem how could He allow this to be done? Hashem replied that he will spare two of them and when we will see the results we will understand why all of the others had to perish. From here we can surmise that the four fifths that died in the plague of darkness were all like Doson and Aviram.
(14:5) “Voyaged L’Melech Mitzrayim Ki Vorach H’am-And it was told to the King of Egypt that the nation had fled.” The Rebeinu Bachya writes that Pharoh was told about the Bris ben Habasarim, where Avraham was told that his descendants would remain slaves for four hundred years. Since the four hundred years were not yet completed, Pharoh wished to bring Yisroel back. This is the meaning of the word “Vorach” which has the numerical value of 210.
(14:22) "Vayovou Benei Yisroel B'toch Hayom B'yabasha V'hamayim Lohem Chomah-The children of Israel came within the sea on dry land and the waters were a wall for them." Later on in Posuk 29 the exact words are repeated. There is a difference in the spelling of the word Chomah-wall which is spelled without a “Vav” the second time. This spelling allows for the reading of the word to be Cheima-Anger. The Midrash explains this to mean that the walls were angered at the nation. What did it see to cause this anger? It saw an object used for idol worship being carried through the split sea. This is why the second mentioning contains this deficient spelling of the word. For it was now at the end of the miracle when the Egyptians were being drowned that the walls were angered. The accusers were saying why are they any different than the ones being drowned? Both are idol worshipers.
How could this be? How could someone carry an idol through the sea? Earlier when Moshe witnessed the Egyptians using Jewish babies to fill in for bricks he asked Hashem how could He allow this to happen? Hashem told him he should save one of the children. That baby was Micha. When Benei Yisroel were leaving Mitzrayim Moshe was searching for the coffin of Yosef. He was told that Yosef’s coffin was sunk beneath the Nile River. Moshe used a certain plate with the words Alei Shor written on it and cast it into the Nile. The words mean "Arise ox" (a reference to Yosef). The coffin rose to the surface. Micha witnessed this and took this plate because he thought it contained mystical powers. At the time of the sin of the Eigel he threw that plate into the donated gold and the golden calf came out. This is what he was carrying through the Red Sea. This is what it means that the walls were angered at the nation. Whenever a tremendous revelation occurs, an equal measure of doubt is generated as well. By bringing this mystical plate through the Red Sea a slight doubt was cast on the event.
(14:22) "Vayovou Benei Yisroel B'toch Hayom B'yabasha V'hamayim Lohem Chomah-The children of Israel came within the sea on dry land and the waters were a wall for them." As mentioned above later on in Posuk 29 the words are repeated but this time we find a minor change in the order. “U’Benei Yisroel Holchu B’Yabasha B’Toch Hayam V’Hamayim Lohem Chomeh- The children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea, the water was a wall for them.” The difference again is the spelling of the word Chomah-wall which is spelled without a “Vav” the second time. But also this time the Torah says they went on dry land into the sea. Before it said they went into the sea on dry land? Why the change in spelling and why was it necessary to repeat this information at all?
The Torah records that the sea did not split until Nachshon ben Aminadov jumped into the waters and they reached up until his nostrils, however it says (14:21) “Vayet Moshe es Yado al Hayam Vayolech Hashem es Hayam B'ruach Kodim Azoh kol Halayloh-Moshe stretched out his arm over the sea, and Hashem moved the sea with a strong east wind all the night.” Now if the sea split for Nachshon ben Aminadov how can we say that Moshe split the sea?
The different spelling of the word Chomah-wall allows for the reading of the word to be Cheima-anger. The Midrash explains this to mean that the walls were angered at the nation. If so why use the term only in the second verse?
The answer is that there was two splittings of the sea. The first was by Nachshon ben Aminadov. He along with all those of tremendous faith entered into the sea before it split. We know that whenever there is transcendence to another level there is also a test of Emunah. When Klal Yisroel left Mitzraim it was a gift. They did not work on themselves to deserve their freedom. This is one of the tremendous lessons that holds true in every aspect of life. We are first given a tremendous lift, undeserving and then it is taken away. When something is new there is an excitement that is artificially given to portray a potential that could be attained. That potential can only be achieved through building and working. But the gift is given to show what could be attained.
Now that Klal Yisroel experienced that potential it became necessary for them to earn that closeness to Hashem. As they stood at the edge of the sea Moshe was told this is not the time to pray. Rather it was the time to act. Nachshon ben Aminadov acted, he jumped into the sea and as the waters reached up until his nostrils he was no longer visible. He was the first. But on the shore of the sea no one saw what had become of him. The sea split for him alone but only he was aware of it. Then more of the righteous displayed their total Emunah. They each jumped into the sea and each was swallowed by the water not knowing what had become of the others. Thousands of believers took that leap of faith as they were prepared to give themselves over into the hands of Hashem. Again and again the sea split for each believer individually as they disappeared into the waters. Until finally there was silence. All that remained were those of lesser faith, the Eruv Rav, the Nation plus Moshe. Moshe then lifted his hands skyward and the sea split. Suddenly all those who had entered the sea before became visible. The sea became a transparent wall on each side of them. This time the word for wall- Chomah is spelled without the “Vav” without the letter of connection. This time it could be read as anger for the lack of faith that those now entering had exhibited. But Moshe brought up the rear. He was the last to cross over the sea and he kept the waters from crashing down upon those of lesser faith, the Eruv Rav. This explains why the Midrash says the walls were angered at the nation only in the second verse. Because it was only now that those crossing were undeserving of such a miracle. This is also why we read first that they went into the sea and then it became dry land. Whereas the second time we find that they went on dry land into the sea.
(14:25) "Ki Hashem Nilcham Lochem B'Mitzrayim-For Hashem battles for you in Egypt." The Midrash comments that it was not only against Egypt, but against anyone who would oppress Israel to the ends of time. This is based on the root of the word Mitzrayim which is plural of the noun Tzorar to oppress.(Mechilta)
(14:30) “Vayar Yisroel es Mitzrayim Mase al Sefas Hayom- Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea-shore.” The verse does not say Benei Yisroel but rather just Yisroel. The Zohar writes that this Yisroel refers to Yakov Avinu. Hashem had promised Yisroel that he would see his descendants come out of the Golus. Yakov being resurrected was one of the many miracles that occurred at the sea.
(14:31) "Vayar Yisroel es Hayad Hagedolah-and Yisroel saw the great hand." This refers to when it all began. The large hand is the hand of Bas Pharoh which extended far beyond its reach to retrieve the basket containing Moshe from the Nile.
(15:1) "Az Yashir Moshe-Then Moshe began to sing." How could anyone sing when 80% if Benei Yiroel had just recently perished? Each surviving family must have had someone they knew or a relative die? We have learned that this is a reference to the resurrection of the dead in future times. Only after knowing the possibility of resurrection could they sing.
(15:20) "Vatikach Miriam Hanevia Achos Aharon-Miriam the prophetess sister of Aharon." The Kli Yakar writes that she is called the prophetess sister of Aharon to point out that her prophecy was equal to that of Aharon but not equal to Moshe. Also she said her prophecy when she was just the sister of Aharon before Moshe was born.
(15:25) "Vayoreihu Hashem Eitz-Hashem showed him a tree." There is a difference of opinion what this tree was. An olive tree or some other bitter wood. The Zohar writes that it was Torah. This fits in with what was later said that we learn from here not to go three days without learning Torah and that it was taught at that time..
(16:16) "Zeh Hadovor Asher Tzivoh Hashem -This is the the thing that Hashem commanded " Meam Loez writes that this verse contains every letter of the Aleph Beis. This teaches us that if one immerses himself in the study of Torah he will have a livelihood without toil just as they had in the Midbar.
Rabeinu Bachya writes that this verse contains two significant themes. 1.The significance of the Aleph Beis 2. Parnassa. There is nothing in this world that is not rooted in the Aleph Beis and neither is there anything in the celestial spheres which does not require continues input by a heavenly force.
(16:21) "V'cham Hashemesh Vnmus-It heated in the sun and melted." Why did the Torah need to tells us that the Munn melted and why did Hashem make it this way? In order for Yisroel to be able to give Tzeddaka.
Those who delayed gathering the Munn in the morning were not able to supply food for their families that day. Those who did have Munn were able to give of their own thereby fulfilling the Mizvah of Tzeddaka.
(16:22) “Vayehe Beyom Hasheshe Likto Lechem Mishneh- And it was on the sixth day they gathered double portions of bread.” Again why does it say “Vayehe” a Loshon of tzar? The Midrash says that Reshoim (the Wicked) benefit even in Gehinom from the crown of Shabbos. Even the wicked have some Masim Tovim (good deeds) and when do they get rewarded? On Shabbos, for even the wicked that was Mechalel Shabbos Befarhesya (desecrated the Sabbath openly). Shabbos is called “Sholem.” Therefore in order to have a full Oneg Shabbos they are punished twice on Friday hence the term “Vayeche” a Loshon of tzar, because on Yom Sheshe they are punished double.
We learned that by each plague that hit the Egyptians there was a Refuah for Benei Yisroel. By the plague of the first born there was an extra Makeh. Many houses had several deaths. This was because so many of the Egyptians were unfaithful that the household contained several Bochorim. So during this Makeh they each found out about their true family infidelities. Where do we find the comparable Refuah by Benei Yisroel? By the Munn because it says that each family received a correct portion for each member of the family. This testified to the fact that each Jewish child was not fathered by anyone outside of Benei Yisroel.
(17:9) “Vayomer Moshe el-Yehoshu Bochar Lanu Anoshim- Moshe said to Yehoshua choose people for us.” Amalek calculated astrologically which people would not die that year. Moshe also chose people who were not destined to die that year. He chose men born in Adar ll. Both armies fought with men not destined to die! That is why the Posuk goes on to say “Vayachalosh Yehoshua es-Amalek- Yehoshua weakened Amalek.”
After the incident of Amalek Hashem tells Moshe to speak into the ears of Yehoshua to remember what Amalek had done to Benei Yisroel. The Villna Goan says that this is because the words “Zachar Es Asher Asa L'cha Amalek” could be pronounced Zochar Meaning male as opposed to Zachar meaning to remember. By speaking into the ears of Yehoshua the correct pronunciation would be given over to the following generations.
- Written by Boruch Fischlewitz
- Category: Torah
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(1:1) “V’Ayleh Shemos-These are the names” Why name the entire Sefer Shemos.? We know the Ramban calls it the Sefer Geulah, Exodus, which makes sense since it is the thrust of the narrative. Moreover the first five verses seem to be a repetition of the end of Sefer Bereishis? It even has more information over there than it does here? The Tolner Rebbe addresses this and says that this opening section of the second book of the Torah is coming to teach us the secret of how to survive the impending Golus. After all Egypt was the paradigm of all future exiles and redemptions. Based on what was suggested in Parshas Vayeche, when Yakov wished to reveal the Kaitz. The Posuk says (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.” When Yaakov wanted to relate to his children the end of days, the time of the final Geulah and Moshiach's coming, the Shechinah departed from him. Instead he began to speak about other things (Rashi). Apparently the other things refer to the Brochos given to the Shevatim before his demise. However, if we look closely at the Brochos we will discover that the "other things" are not a separate topic at all but rather an elucidation and insight into the Final Day of Moshiach's coming.
At the conclusion of the Brochos the Posuk says “Yaakov blessed them with the blessing that fitted them.” Rashi writes the blessing which in the future was to be bestowed upon each one. Here Rashi explains the fundamental mission of our lives. Each person is a wellspring and fountain of potential. Each individual is unique in that he must actualize his potential of positive moral choices in order to bring about a sum total of sanctifications of Hashem's name during his lifetime. Through the NAMES they were given the destiny that they could attain if they chose so. Thus the final blessing given to Shevet Binyamin should relate to the end of days? When Yakov named his final son he called him Ben -Yamin the son of my Right
According to Rashi it means the son of my strength. The right side being his strength and alluding to the fact that Binyamin was the only son born in Eretz Yisroel. Alternatively the word Yamin can also mean days as in Yomim. The only place in all of Tanach where we find the word Yomin not meaning right but instead meaning days is in Daniel (12:13) which concludes with the words “L’kaitz Ha’Yomin-The end of days.”Binyamin being the last son could then mean the son of my days as if to say that he was the son of the final days, as in Daniel speaking about the final Geulah.
This perhaps is why the second of the Five Books is called Shemos/Names because it is the fulfillment of the potential in their names that will bring us the final Geulah.
(1:1)“Ve-ayleh Shemos Benei Yisroel Haboim Mitzraimah- These are the names of the children of Israel who are coming to Eygpt.” Many commentators attempt to explain the terminology of these words. Why is their coming written in the present tense? We know that in Parshas Vayigash these same words were written, now several decades later, the words “who are coming” simply could not apply? But to understand this we need to explore another question. Why was it necessary for Klal Yisroel to go through this ordeal in the first place? What gain was there in them having to perform hard labor? In fact their labors bore no fruit. The store houses they built were built upon quick sand. There was nothing to show for their efforts! It would seem that the entire Egyptian exile was a failure. Klal Yisroel, at the time of their descent to Egypt, were on a very high spiritual level. Yet 210 years later they emerged on the 49th level of Tumeh.
The Arizal writes that the reason Klal Yisroel went through this Egyptian holocaust was because they needed to correct the misdeeds of a previous life. The generations of Jews in Mitzraim were a reincarnation of the generation of the Tower of Bavel. He learns this from a Gezerah Shoveh. With regard to the Tower of Bavel the Torah writes that they built the tower from Chomer and Leveinim -Mortar and bricks. This same phrase is used for Klal Yisroel in their hard labor. But what is this connection?
The generation of the Tower attempted to challenge the spiritual world, to actually wage war against Hashem. They took the physicality of this world and made it paramount. They built a virtual skyscraper in ancient times! But even the greatest skyscraper is incapable of reaching Heaven. Why did Hashem bother to intervene? The answer is that they could have affected the spiritual world because of the fact that they we're united, they were of one tongue. They were able to tap into the spiritual world to serve the physical. The mistake they made was making the physical the Ikar (primary) and the spiritual the Toful (secondary). This is what the generation of Jews in Mitzraim needed to correct. They needed to endure 210 years of intense physicality, hard labor in the purest sense with no recognizable fruits, all for the sake of refining them to emerge as the light unto all nations. They needed to make the reversal of priorities. They needed once again to make the spiritual the Ikar (primary) and the physical the Toful (secondary). This was a result of their adherence to the three things that saved them from a permanent exile. They did not change their names, their language and their clothing. The name of a person connects him to his essence, his soul. Language is the expression of that connection. And clothing is the statement that the physical side of man is secondary when clothed properly.
With this we may answer the first question of why the Posuk says they are “coming to Mitzraim” instead of saying “they came.” Mitzraim was the root of all future exiles. It therefore contained offshoots of the very elements that we find in our lives today. The quality of life we enjoy today is unparalleled by any previous generation. We run the risk of placing our physical existence above the spiritual reality. In every generation we are faced with this challenge. It is as if we are coming to Mitzraim all over again.
Why are Benei Yisroel compared to the stars? One answer is that just like the stars, whose light we see, may actually have burnt out years ago. The stars distance may be so great that what we see may only be a remnant of the light from that star which is only now reaching us. The same can be said of the Avos. Even though they are no longer here their light still has an effect on us today. Another answer is that we know Hashem calls out the stars each night by name because he knows the nature of each individual star and he uses them to affect and manipulate the physical world. So too are Klal Yisroel compared to stars because He knows the nature of each individual and how each one of us affects the entire physical world.
But perhaps even more compelling is that although the stars are invisible by day, they exist in their place. It is we who cannot see them, because of the illumination of the sky. The same is true of the righteous, they exist after death but we cannot see them from our dimension. So too our ancestors may not be visible at times but their affect still lives on. .
(1:5) “Vayehe Kol Nefesh Yotzei Yerech Yakov- Every soul that came out of the loins of Yakov.” The term Yerech Yakov is somewhat unique in the Torah. Avraham had Toldos as did Yitzchok, Yishmael even Essav. Why here is this different expression used? Perhaps we can say the following. The numerical value of the words Yerech Yakov is equal to 412 the same as Yom Kippur. We know there is a concept of Yisrael Af Al Pi Sh’chatah Yisrael Hu- A Jew remains a Jew even if he sins.” This began only with the descendants of Yakov. But what of those sins? Yom Kippur is required for this concept to work. In addition the words “Kol Nefesh Yotzei Yerech Yakov-Every soul that came out of the loins of Yakov.” Is equal to 1002 or “Hashiveinu L’Maan Shemecha- I will bring you back for the sake of the name.” We might suggest that the name here refers not to Hashem’s name but rather the names of Benei Yisroel that were not changed.
(1:9) “Vayomer el-Amo He-nei Am Benei Yisroel Rav Veatzum Mimenu - And he said to his people Behold the nation of the children of Israel are many and strong from us.” Even though they had multiple births the children of Israel were considerably stronger than the Egyptians. Another interpretation is that they became strong “Mimenu” from us. Meaning that the strength of Benei Yisroel should be attributed to the fact that Mitzraim supported them. They used our resources to become a great nation. This could also explain why in Posuk 5 the Torah repeats that there were seventy souls that came to Mitzraim a fact that was reported at the end of Parshas Vayigash. Why was it necessary to repeat this especially since here we do not find the names of the seventy listed as it was in Vayigash. The answer could be that the Torah here wanted to emphasize the fact that they began with only seventy souls and became this multitude of people “Mimenu” from us! (Ohr Hachaim)
(1:10) “Havah Nischachma Lo - Let us outsmart them.” Bereshis Rabbah writes that there was a long standing tradition that Benei Yisroel would overpower Canaan. This was supposed to take place after the Jews numbered six hundred thousand. Pharoh referred to this ancient prediction when he observed the rapid growth in numbers of Benei Yisroel. This is what the Posuk means by “He-nei” (Behold). In other words they began to realize that this prophecy had begun to come true. “Havah Nischachma Lo - Let us outsmart them.” They will move back to Canaan and destroy our Canaanite brothers. The first decree that Egypt made against this was to ban any Jews from leaving the country. The origins of anti-Semitism were formed then and for all times. The first sign of this was when the Jewish people refused to intermarry with the Egyptians. The outcome of this was the decree on the male babies. Their intentions were to extinguish the males so that the female Jews would have no choice but to marry outside of their faith.
The words (1:10) “Havah Nischachma Lo - Let us outsmart them.” go along with the words (1:12) “ V’Kasher Yanu Osoh Kain Yirbeh - The more they oppressed them the more they increased.” In fact the Gematria of the words ““Havah Nischachma Lo” equal 571 the same as the words promised by Hashem that the Jews would leave “B’rechush Gadol-With great wealth.”
(1:12) “ V’Kasher Yanu Osoh Kain Yirbeh - The more they oppressed them the more they increased.” The Torah writes that “as they afflicted them, so they multiplied.” But Shevet Levi was not subjected to the hard work in Mitzraim that is why even to this day the Leviim are very small in numbers. They didn’t grow like the other jews because they weren't as physically oppressed. The words Ka’asher Yanu- is in the future tense because it means that even in the future whenever someone will afflict the Jews, the Jews will grow and get stronger.
The Zohar explains that when one must endure persecution the good which may have been mixed with the evil, is distilled from the evil joining other areas that are totally good. By the same token the evil of that mixture joins other areas of pure evil. The Torah here tells us that the more persecution Yisroel suffered the more good was released from what had been only a mixture of good and evil previously. With the release of that good Yisroel merited to have more children. Hence the Torah adds the words “Vechain Yifratz” (and so they spread out).
Yocheved gave birth to Moshe at the age of 130. When Sarah gave birth she was 90 it was considered a tremendous miracle, but here its not even brought down in the Posukim? The answer is that here by Yocheved (in Mitzraim) every Ledah (birth) was not Derech Hatevah-ie-they were all giving birth to 6 at a time strong and healthy children with many Nissim. By Sarah it was normal times and therefore a woman giving birth at age 90 is a big Ness.
(1:16) “Vayomer Beyaledchem - Im-Bain hu Vehamiten Oso V’Im-Bas He V’choyah - He said when you deliver the Hebrew women- If it’s boy, kill him; if it’s a girl, let him live.”
The Gemarah in Sotah says that when the handmaids were told to kill the baby boys and let the girls live they were also told how to tell if it was a boy or girl before the child was completely out of the mother. The reason for this is because they had to justify the death of a child by saying it happened during birth, there is nothing we could have done. So Pharoh told them if the head comes out facing up it’s a girl, face down means its a boy. The Midrash says that the reason for this is man is in his ultimate state while united with a woman, during which the man is on top facing down and the woman is facing up. Also the children were raised by Hashem. After they were born the parents would take them out to the fields and the ground would swallow them up. When the Egyptians would try to kill them they would disappear under ground. That’s why it says at the Red Sea the children were pointing and saying “Zeh Kali” because they recognized Hashem from when they were being raised. This also is why Pharoh said the word “Henei” in Posuk 1:9, because suddenly six children returned to their parents when they became old enough. So where there were one thousand Jews, suddenly there were seven thousand Jews. This cycle kept repeating itself until suddenly “Henei -Behold” Benei Yisroel became a multitude.
When Moshe was born why was it necessary to put him in the Nile? Why couldn’t they just hide him? The answer is that Miriam wanted the astronomers to think that Moshe was cast into the Nile like all of the other Jewish babies and thereby stop the killing. In fact this is what happened. The astronomers ran to tell Pharoh that the savior of Israel had been cast into the Nile.
(1:20) “Vayitav Hashem L’Miyaldos Vayorev H’om Vayatzmu M’ode-Hashem benefited the midwives and the people increased and became very strong.” When the midwives refused to kill the male babies Hashem rewarded them. But the verse here expresses that the people increased and became very strong? What connection is there to rewarding the midwives? R.Frand writes that he once heard in the name of R.Eliya that a cousin of his had a premature baby that needed to be in a hospital for several weeks after it’s birth. When the baby was released the father went to R.Eliya to ask how he could express his gratitude to the doctors? He was told that each year on the birthday of the child he should bring him to the hospital and show the doctors and nurses what their efforts accomplished. This is what the Torah is telling us here. The reward for the midwives would be to see the babies they saved grow and become very strong.
(2:2) Vatizpineihu Shloshah Yerachim-She hid him for three months.” The word for months in this verse is not the usual Chodesh but rather Yerech. This is a word that is more connected with a lunar cycle than a solar cycle. In a lunar cycle we have alternating months of 29 to 30 days. This was to repay the suffering Moshe had to endure being placed in the raging waters of the Nile. Moshe’s rescue from the Nile would therefore fall out on the 6th of Sivan, the day of Matan Torah.
(2:3) “ Vlo Yochloh Ode Hitzfino-She could no longer hide him.” Rashi explains that Moshe was born premature at 6 months and a day. Therefore after three months Amram remarried Yocheved the Egyptians came looking for him. Why didn’t they think of the possibility of a premature birth? The Daas Zekainim M’Baalei Tosefes explain that Yocheved was already three months pregnant when Amram remarried her. Therefore when Moshe was born prematurely it was only three months after their wedding. When the Mitzriim came to look for the baby, Moshe was already three months old and able to be placed in the basket.
(2:4) “V’Taisatzav Achoso M’Rochok-His sister stood from afar.” Miriam stood from afar to see what would happen to her brother. Where was his mother? It was Miriam who prophesied that he would be the savior and so she wanted to see what would become of that prophecy.
Yocheved acted cleverly by placing Moshe in the water. Through this sacrifice she was hoping that the astrologers would thus be fooled and end the drowning of all the Jewish babies. Thereby saving countless Jewish lives. ( R.Bachaya)
When Pharoh heard that the Jewish savior was about to be born he ordered all babies to be cast into the Nile. He was told that it was unclear if the child was Jewish or Egyptian. The reason for that is because since Batyah raised him as her own child she was viewed in the stars as a his mother. We learn from here that one who raises a child is considered as if she gave birth to it.
(2:5) “V’Tered Bas Pharoh L’Rchotz-The daughter of Pharoh went down to Bathe.”Why would the daughter of Pharoh bathe in public by the Nile? Did she not have a place to bathe in the palace? Chazal say that she went to bathe there because she had been stricken with leprosy. However the moment she touched the baby Moshe she became cured.
"Vatishlach es Amasah-She stretched out her hand." Chazal say that her hand miraculously extended. The question is what made her stretch out her hand in the first place? She didn't know that a miracle would be performed for her? The answer is that we learn a tremendous lesson from here. When a child is at risk we don't stop to evaluate whether or not we can succeed and give up if the situation seems hopeless. But rather if we sincerely do all that is in our power Hashem will make the impossible possible.
Why was it necessary for Moshe to have trouble with his speech? Because when the Benei Yisroel heard Moshe speak the words of Hashem they knew that it was coming from Hashem and not from Moshe.
(2:6) “V’Hinei Hnar Bocheh-Behold the child was crying” Moshe is called a Naar which a child older than an infant. What this means is that he cried like a child older than an infant for all of the children cast into the Nile that were not being saved. That’s why Batya said this must be a Hebrew child, for only the Hebrew child would care for his brothers as much.
Alternatively this refers to Moshe’s brother Aharon who was standing at the shore. The Gematria of “Nar Bocheh” equal Zeh Aharon Hakohen.
(2:11) Vayigdal Moshe Vayetze el-Echav Vayar B'Sivlosom Vayar Ish Mitzri Makeh Ish Ivri M'echav-Moshe grew up and went out to his brethren and observed their burdens, and he saw an Egyptian man striking a Hebrew man. Vayifen Koh V'Koh Vayar ki Aiyn Ish Vayech es-H'Mitzri Vayitmineihu B'chol- He turned this way and that and saw that there was no man, so he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.” When Moshe grew up he left the house of Pharaoh to see the condition of his fellow Jews. “Vayifen Koh V'Koh he struggled with his Egyptian side and his Jewish side and saw Vayar ki Aiyn Ish he saw that there is no man. In other words he understood that a person cannot be two sided. Vayech es-H'Mitzri Vayitmineihu B'chol so he struck down the Egyptian side of himself and buried it in the sand. (Abarbanel)
(2:14) “Vayomer Achein Nodeh Hadovor-He said indeed the matter is known.” When Moshe took action against the Egyptian who was beating a Jew, someone from Klal Yisroel revealed the matter. The Midrash explains that now Moshe understood why the Jews deserved to suffer so. They were tale bearers. The question is why is this the reason for their suffering? There were many other sins committed by the Jews that had sunk them down to the 49th level of Tumeh? The answer is that Hashem created the world to operate Midah Keneged Midah (measure for measure). What this means is that a person is only punished through the same act with which he sinned. If that person never spoke badly about anyone in his entire life, the accusing angel can never say anything bad about that person when he stands in judgement. Therefore only through Loshen Horoh can the prosecutor accuse them. If not for their evil speech no mouth would ever have been opened against them.
(2:21) “Vayoel Moshe Losheves es Ho’Ish-Moshe desired to dwell with the man.”Moshe thought that he would be safe with Yisro since Pharoh treated “Priests” well. Due to the fact that Yisro had seven daughters, Moshe knew he would be accepted.
Moshe lived two thirds of his life among gentiles. He had to set the example for every Jew to follow. People might say “I can not be like a Moshe, I was not raised by the Gadol Hador. The response is that Moshe was cut off from his people at childhood. Only from his inner strength did he become the “Man of G-d.”
How could Moshe be the one to bring down Pharoh when he owed him a tremendous debt of gratitude, so much Akoras Hatov? Moshe was raised on Pharoh's lap? However Hashem is the true Judge of man. When Pharoh forgot the Akoras Hatov he owed to Yosef, for saving not only his country but the world. Measure for measure he was repaid by having the very child he raised not exhibit Akoras Hatov to him as well.
(2:23) “Vayomos Melech Mitzrayim Vayianchu Bnei Yisrael Min H’Avodah-And the King of Egypt died and the Jewish people sighed from their work.” What does the death of the King have to do with he Jewish people sighing? The Egyptians knew that if the Jews would ry to Hashem He would answer their prayers and free them from slavery. Therefore they made the Jews work extremely hard. Whenever a supervisor would see a Jew crying, he would beat him.
But when Pharoh died all of the Egyptians attended the funeral leaving the Jews to cry out to Hashem.
(3:2) “V’Hinei H’Seneh Bo’er Bo’aish V’Hasneh Einenu Ukal-The bush was on fire but the bush was not consumed.” This is a metaphor for Yisroel. We have endured centuries of suffering (fire) but remain not consumed.
(3:18) “V’Atoh Nailcha-Nah Derech Shloshes Yomim Bamidbar V’Nizbecha L’Hashem Elokim-And now please let us go on a three day journey in the wilderness, and we shall bring offerings to Hashem our G-D.” The question is why did Hashem use such devious methods against the Mitzriim? First he had Moshe speak to Pharoh about a three day religious holiday as well as borrowing the gold and silver from the Egyptians with no intention of ever giving them back?
The Gemarrah in Sotah 11 relates how the Egyptians had cleverly entrapped Benei Yisroel into slavery. They began by rallying the Jews to special duties that were reserved for aliens. Next they secretly ordered the midwives to kill all the newborn males, before the mothers had a chance to realize what was happening. Lastly, the Egyptians were ordered to drown all young Jewish males wherever they might be found. When the Egyptians realized that the king had loosened the restrictions they broke into Jewish homes at night, kidnapped their sons and immediately drowned them.(Ramban)
Hashem uses the Midah of “Measure for Measure.” Just as the Mitzriim acted deceitfully so to Hashem gradually brought them into their own trap. First he had Moshe speak to Pharoh about a three day religious holiday. Then gradually they became drawn into following them to the Red Sea by borrowing their gold and silver. The Egyptians thought that if Benei Yisroel really intended to steal their valuables, they would have done so, when they had the opportunity during the three days of darkness.
(3:16) “ Pokod Pokadity - I will surely remember you!.” When Hashem spoke to Moshe by the burning bush he gave him a sign that the Benei Yisroel would accept. The words “Pokod Pokadity” would be used by the person who would deliver Yisroel. But if this was given over from generation to generation what kind of sign could it be if everyone knew it? The Ramban asks this question and he answers that it was told over that only the true savior would use this phrase.
The Gur Arye questions this answer because throughout history we see that there were many false prophets who claimed to speak the words of Hashem. Why should this be different? Instead he suggests that this is the reason why Moshe had to be removed from his parents’ home at such an early age. Having grown up in Pharoh’s house this mesorah could not have been handed down to him. He therefore would not know about it.
This Loshon of “Pokod Pokadity” is used because the word “Pokod” is a term used at times for bad and at times for good. When Sarah is informed that she will have a baby the words “Pokod es Sara” is used. When Hashem will remember the sins of the father. The term used is “Pokod es Avon Avous”. Here the word is used because we know that there will be both bad and good. For every negative act that was done to the Egyptians a comparable positive act was done for the Benei Yisroel. This is why the term of Pokod is used here. In addition the fact only one fifth of the nation went out shows that the remembering (Pokod) was both good and bad. It was good for those Jews who followed Hashem and bad for the ones who did not.
According to the Baal Haturim the word Pokod equals 190. The meaning behind this is that only the true redeemer would know that length of the servitude, which was foretold to be 400 years, would be shortened by 190 years. Thus the meaning of this secret phrase reads “Pokod=190, Pokadity I will remove.” Only the true redeemer could explain this phrase to mean the time of redemption has arrived! The Gematria of the phrase Pokod Pokadity is equal to the phrase “Ki Ase Kaitz Higiya-The time of the redemption has arrived.”(778)
The fact that Moshe had difficulty speaking was a factor in proving him to be the true savior. He had difficulty with the letters “d t l n th.” Therefore the phrase “Pokod Pokadity” would have been virtually impossible for him to pronounce clearly. When Moshe said the words with perfect clarity, the people knew that he was sent by Hashem. (Meam Loez)
(3:11) “ Vayomer Moshe el H’Elokim Mi Anochi-Moshe said to Elokim “who am I" The use of the word "Anochi" instead of the usual "Ani" indicates that Moshe was asking "what became of the promise made to Yakov when Hashem said "Anochi Imo B'Tzorah-I will be with you in your troubles" and take you out of Egypt? Moshe is asking "Mi Anochi?" Where is G-D? (Shemos Rabbah)
(3:11) “ Vayomer Moshe el H’Elokim Mi Anochi Ki Aylech el Pharoh V’chi Otzi- Moshe said to Elokim “who am I that I should go to Pharoh and that I should take them out?” When Moshe said “Me Anochi Vechi Otzi” who am I to speak with kings and with what merit should they go out? Hashem answered him that they will in the future serve me on this mountain and receive the Torah. But how can this be an answer? We learned with regard to Ishmael that Hashem judged him as he was at that time. Even though his descendants would kill Benei Israel. We see that a person is not judged by his future actions but rather as he is now. So how could Hashem say that he will take them out of Mitzraim now because in the future Benei Israel would accept the Torah on this mountain? The answer is that Hashem does a tremendous chesed for Israel. When it’s something bad he does not judge them on something they have not yet done. But if it’s something good he counts it as if it was already done.
Why was it that Moshe thought the Benei Yisroel would not listen to him? Hashem said they would listen? Moshe heard Hashem say that he would harden Pharaohs heart and that Pharoh would not let them go. If after appearing before Pharoh and he would not listen how can I expect Benei Yisroel to listen?
The Arizal writes that Moshe was a Gilgul of Hevel. Why did Hevel deserve to die? When Hevel brought a sacrifice to Hashem he knew it was accepted because a fire came down and consumed it. Hevel stared at this fire and did not turn away. This is the reason he deserved to die. Moshe was the Tikun of this act because it says that when Moshe first came to the burning bush he turned his face away so as not to gaze at the Shechina. This is alluded to in the very name of Moshe mem, shin, hey. From (min) Shes and Hevel. The argument that Kayin and Hevel had is not mentioned in the Torah but the Midrash says that Kayin was born with a twin sister Hevel was born with two sisters. Kayin thought that he should be the one to have two wives since he was the bechor. So he killed Hevel. The seforim write that Tziporah was the Gilgul of that sister. So Moshe, by marrying Tziporah, fulfilled what was denied to Hevel. The name Tziporah equals in Gematria the word L’Moshe. Yisro was the Gilgul of Kayin as we learned in the Midrash, Yisro was an adviser to Pharoh.
When Moshe was a baby he would play in the presence of the king. Once while playing he removed the crown from Pharoh and placed it on his own head. Bilam, who at the time was an adviser, told Pharoh that this child was the future Jewish savior foretold by his astronomers and he must dispose of him before he takes over the kingdom. Yisro advised Pharoh to test Moshe with a diamond and a glowing coal. This saved Moshe’s life so it comes out that the Gilgul of Kayin fixed this Chet with the Gilgul of Hevel.
(3:22) “V’Shoalah Isha Mishechentah U’Migoras Baisah Klei Kesef Ukilei Zahav Usimolos V’samtem al Benechem-Every woman shall ask of her neighbor and those who dwell in her house, silver, gold and raiments and you shall put them on your sons and daughters.
When the women were hiding their newborn babies they would offer gifts to the Egyptians to keep them from reporting the births. Now they were asking for those gifts to be returned.
The Oznayim L’Torah writes that the parents should not feel it immoral to take from the Egyptians and hide what they were doing, rather they should place them on their children to show how those Egyptians who exposed their hiding places were now being paid back.
(4:1) “Lo Yishmu B’Koli-They will not listen to my voice” But Hashem said they would listen? Moshe did not argue that Israel will not believe in Hashem, he argued that Yisroel will not believe that I spoke with Hashem. We see this from the words exchanged between Moshe and Hashem.
(B’Koli vs L’Koli) In 3:18 Hashem says “V’shomu L’Kolecha-They will hearken to your voice.” This means they will hear in your voice Hashem’s words. L’Koli implies the words coming from a higher authority. However in this verse the words are “Lo Yishmu B’Koli.” B’Koli hints that the words are mine not Hashem’s. This means that the words are coming from your voice, not from a higher authority, Hashem.
(4:2) “Vayomer Aylav Hashem Mahzeh B’yadeha-Hashem said to Moshe What is in your hand?” The word “Mazeh”is written as one word but read two, which can be understood as “Mi Zeh-from this.” From this rod you deserve to be punished for slandering Yisroel, saying they will not believe. If not for this skepticism the signs would have been unnecessary and Moshe would have been able to inspire the nation through hisprophecy and conviction. Thus the rod served a dual function. It helped Moshe perform the miracles plus it turned into a snake to remind him that he slandered Yisroel. Later it even became the instrument of his sin striking the rock twice and becoming denied entry into the land.
(4:9) “V’hoyo L’dam B’yabosheh-And it will be blood on the ground.” Moshe was given the additional sign of turning water into blood. Why was this needed? Seeing blood sends a serious message. This was not going to be some magic trick or slight of hand. Often the mere sight of blood can cause a person to faint. Hashem wanted the Jews to know that Moshe was coming to avenge the innocent blood of those cast into the Nile. This would send a stark message that Elokim would be working in the capacity of strict justice and that all of their years of oppression would be avenged.
(4:14) “Vayichar Af Hashem B’Moshe Vayomer Halo Aharon Achicha Ha’Levi- The wrath of Hashem burned against Moshe and he said “Is there not Aharon your brother the Levite?” Whenever the Torah uses the phrase “Wrath of Hashem” there are consequences involved. Here Rashi points out, that the use of the word “Ha’Levi” implies that Moshe lost the opportunity to be the Kohen Gadol. Moshe was projecting his own inadequacies on to his brother. Moshe’s reasoning for refusing the position of leader was due to the fact that he felt his older brother was more deserving. Had Moshe been passed over for a younger sibling he would have felt resentment. However Hashem testifies that this was not the case. Aharon was coming out to meet him and held no reservations about Moshe leading the nation. This Lev Tov was a trait Moshe lacked and was essential for the priesthood thus it was taken from Moshe.
(4:17)“V’es Hamateh Hazeh Tikach B’yadecha-And this staff shall you take in your hands.”
The staff that Moshe took with him was one of the ten things created just before the first Shabbos in the twilight of creation. Adom handed it down to Noach and it survived the flood. It was further passed on to Avraham, Yitzchok, Yakov and Yosef. After Yosef’s death it became part of Pharoh’s treasure. Yisro, who was one of Pharoh’s advisors, knew there was something unique about it and took it with him when he left Egypt. He placed it in the ground in Midian where no one was able to remove it. Only the savior of the Jews would be able to remove it from the earth. Moshe came to Midian and recognized the engraving on the staff to be Loshon Kodesh. Engraved on the staff was one of Hashem’s mystical names plus an abbreviation of the Ten Plagues that Hashem was to bring to Egypt. Also engraved on the staff were the names of the Patriarchs, the Matriarchs and Yakov’s twelve sons. Although being made of sapphire, it was quite heavy, however Moshe was able to lift it with one hand. This indicated to Yisro that the savior of Israel had arrived. Only someone who could carry the history of a nation with him, would be worthy of that role. He then gave his oldest daughter to him for a wife.
At the end of the Parsha Pharoh tells Benei Yisroel that they will have to produce the same amount of bricks as before but they will no longer be given straw to make the bricks. For this Pharoh was later punished Midah Kinegged Midah. When he finally agreed to let Yisroel go Hashem hardened his heart. His Bechira was taken away. This is what Pharoh did to Benei Yisroel by taking away the straw he was making it impossible for them to accomplish their task. As we see in the next Posuk they weren’t able to meet their quota. In essence their Bechira was taken away. This is what allowed Hashem to prevent them from falling into the fiftieth gate of Tumah. Hashem took away this choice of falling further into Tumah.
At the end of the Parsha the Posuk says Benei Yisroel spread out all over Mitzraim to gather straw. The word used is “Vayofetz” the same word used by the generation of the tower of Bavel. When Hashem spread out the Dor’ Hafloga the word used is also “Vayofetz”. The Arizal says that this was a Tikun for that generation. Benei Yisroel are the second edition of the original man. "Atem Keruyim Adom-You are called Man" Their mission in this world was and is to correct the failings of the previous generations. Now a process had begun that would culminate in the Ten Macos which paralleled the Ten Mamoros through which the world was created.
Perhaps we can suggest that the reason Hashem made it harder for Benei Yisroel at the end of this Shibud was to weed out those who really had Emunah from those who lacked true Emunah. Also to bring out the underlying viciousness of the Egyptians for they would harass the Jews whenever they were found searching for straw in their fields. This was done so they could not later complain about the plagues befalling them by saying "It was Pharoh who refused to let you go, we did nothing to deserve this?" So through this “Mekoshesh Kash” Benei Yisroel brought out the true nature of the Egyptians. In essence they were gathering the Tumah of the Egyptians. This is hinted in the word “Likoshesh” which equals 730 the same as the word “Titzuraim” which means to harass.
(4:22) Koh Omar Hashem- Beni Bechori Yisroel-So said Hashem my first born son is Israel.” When Pharaoh refuses to let Yisroel go Moshe is to tell him that Israel is his firstborn son? What relevance does this have here? Besides how can Israel be considered firstborn when they were in fact the last nation of that time to emerge? Rashi says that this is where Hashem confirmed Yakov’s taking of the firstborn rights. The Maharal explains why here is the place to mention this. By Yakov taking the firstborn rights KlalYisroel is able to be the firstborn of the nations. The Chasam Sofer adds that just as Shabbos was the culmination of creation, it was the goal of the original plan. In other words although it was the end, the completion of creation, never the less it was the purpose of creation. So too Klal Yisroel although last on the scene was the purpose as well.
(4:23) “Henei Anochi Horeg es-Bincha B’chorecha - Behold I shall kill your firstborn son.”
Why is this prophecy told here a full twelve months prior to its happening? It appears that Hashem wanted to supply Moshe with some information which would temper any disappointment he might have at the long drawn out process of the broken promises by Pharoh. With this knowledge Moshe now knew that until he saw the Makos Bechorous there was no reason to believe that Pharoh was ready to give in or that Hashem was finished with him.( Ohr Hachaim)
(5:19) “Lo Sigru M’Livainim-Don’t diminish the quota of bricks.” The word for bricks L’vainim can also be read L’Beinim - To Bonim as in children.The Midrash explains that if they were short bricks the were forced to s
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(37:1) “Vayeshev Yakov B'eretz Megurei Aviv Yakov settled in the land of his fathers sojourns.” At the Bris Bein Habisorim Hashem promised Avraham that his descendants would be strangers in a land 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 initials 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 wasYosef 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.
- Written by Boruch Fischlewitz
- Category: Torah
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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 streaming 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 connection 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. 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.
- 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” (182) 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 letters of 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 the Torah writes (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 their 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)
Throughout the narrative about Yakov much attention is given to the monetary aspects of his life. How he went from being penniless when he came to Lavan to his confrontation with Essav and all the wealth he amassed in the years he was apart from his father. Even in this Parsha much attention is given to even the small Pachim which were left behind when he crossed his camps over the river. Rashi comments that Tzadikim care about even the smallest of their possessions because they take such care to make sure that they came into their possession in the purest manner. Why all this attention to materialism?
Yakov's mission in this world was to transform every aspect of the physical world to Kiddusha. He had to survive twenty years with a thief as his father in law. He had as his soul mate for this mission Rachel. Together they came through all of this and even facing his brother Essav. He divided his people into two camps one for this world (the physical) and one for the spiritual world. Having accomplished all of this he was now ready to assume a new role, that of Yisroel and for this part of his mission he had Leah as his soul mate. Not coincidentally very soon after his name was changed we find that Rachel died. He would now have Leah to spend eternity with him in the Moros Hamachpela.
After Yakov met with Essav he arrived at Shechem Shalaim (whole). How is it possible that Yakov was able to fight with a Malach physically? Yakov was able to elevate his physical body to the level of his Neshama. Like Adom before the Chet, his Neshama wanted the same things that his physical body wanted. The word Shalaim represents the letters Shin for Shofar, Lamed for Lulav, and Mem for Magilla. The Shin that stands for shofar represents the Neshama that was blown into man. The spiritual side of man. The Lamed for Lulav represents the spine or the physical side of man. And the Mem of Magilla represents the overcoming of Amalek which is the Yetzer Hora in man. When we overcome that, the spiritual and physical will be as one again like Adom before the chet.
(35:19) “Vatikover Baderech Efrosah-And was buried on the road to Ephrath.” With regard to Rachel, everything occurred in the open. As for Leah it was different. Everything surrounding her life is shrouded in mystery. Yakov didn’t know that he was working seven years for her. He did not know that Leah was the one he spent his first night with. And her death is not even mentioned in the Torah whereas Rachel’s tomb stands as a monument on a main thoroughfare. The veil over Leah’s life had a beneficial effect in that it produced exemplary children. The Gemarrah (Tanis 8b) says that “Blessings rest only upon those things hidden from view.” Leah was blessed with both Malchus (Yehudah) and Kehunah (Levi) Kingdom and Priesthood, both in the open, both from her offspring.
There is no mentioning of the death of Rivka in the Torah. There is only a hint at the mentioning of the death of Devorah. Why is there no mention of her death? Rashi say's that so people should not curse the mother who gave birth to Essav. The Ramban doesn't like this answer because for one thing the death of Leah is not brought either? Another reason is because the death of Yitzchok is brought at the end of this Parsha and he was the father of Essav. Instead he quotes the Midrash Tanchuma which states that when Rivka died there was no one to bury her. Avraham had passed away, Yitzchok was blind, Yakov was in Padan Aram and Essav hated her. What they did then was Benei Ches buried her at night so no one would see. Therefore the Torah only hints at this funeral.
The Gemarrah states that of the three partners in the creation of a child. The mother contributes the flesh and sinews, the basic physicality of man. This is why she would be held responsible for the outcome of her son Esav.
(35:8) “V’Tomus Devorah M’nekes Rivka Vatikover M’tachas ...Tachas H’ailone Vayikra Shmo Ailone Bochus-Devorah, Rivka’s nursemaid, died, and she was buried under the oak tree, He named it Weeping Oak.” It was named that because of the excessive weeping, on the part of Yakov, for his mother. It is interesting that soon after, Yakov not only lost his mother, but his beloved spouse as well. Both in the same year, approximately the same time. Rivka was 122 years old at the time of her death.
(35:22) “Vayelech Reuvein Vayishkav es Bilhah Pilegesh Aviv-Reuvein went and lay with Bilhah, his fathers concubine.” Rashi explains that it means he disturbed the couch of his father, which was considered as if he had lain with her. The Kabbalists write that Efraim and Menasha were destined to be conceived that night from Yakov. But because he interfered they were not born. This was considered as if he had lain with his father’s wife. But if this were so, why could Yakov not be with Bilhah the next night? He could just as easily have moved the couch back? The Maharal explains that Reuvein had to actually commit a sin with Bilhah in order that his father Yakov could no longer live with her. Reuvein’s intention did not come to fruition because he was overcome by a feeling of Teshuva. In the world of absolute purity, in which Yakov operated, Reuvein’s mere intention was enough to force Yakov away from Bilhah. His reasoning originally for moving into Bilhah’s tent was to fulfill the prophecy that nations would descend from her. When she died he assumed it was meant to be from Bilhah. The fact that Efraim and Menashe were eventually considered like Yakov's own sons makes even more sense because they were worthy of being the sons of Yakov.
After the incident of Dinah's abduction and the subsequent destruction of Shechem, Yakov say's to Shimon and Levi (34:30) “You have made trouble for me ..and I am few in numbers.” (Ve'ani Mesai Mispar) Right after this Hashem tells Yakov to go to Beis Eil. There he instructs his sons to “Rid themselves of all foreign gods in their midst.” What were they doing with these Idols in the first place? And why here are they told to remove them?
The reason for the inhabitants of Shechem decree of death was in part due to the fact that they should have kept the seven Mitzvos of Noach, which include the prohibition of Idol worship. Yakov and his household feared that the neighboring nations upon hearing what had transpired in Shechem would join forces to attack Yakov's household for unjustly murdering the inhabitants of Shechem. They therefore brought proof of Shechem's transgression along with them. Now after successfully arriving at the land of Canaan they no longer needed the Idols along as proof. Also the fact that they were going into Eretz Yisroel, where the land itself spits out transgressors, they needed to purify themselves before entering the land.
Yakov uses the term Ani when saying that they are few in numbers. Why use this term instead of “we” are few in numbers. When Binyamin was born his mother called him Ben Oni. The word Oni has the same letters as Ani which refers to this lack of numbers. So by saying Ani he was referring to Binyamin who was not yet born. The difference between Binyamin, which completed their numbers, and Ben Oni is 43. Yakov is immediately commanded to go to Beis Eil, the place where Hashem promised to protect them, and there he changes its name to El Beis Eil. The word El equals 31 which when added to the twelve equals the 43 that was the difference between Ben Oni and Binyamin.
(35:10) “Vayomer-Lo Elokim Shimcha Yakov Lo Yikorei Shimcha Ode Yakov Ki Im Yisroel-Elokim said to him Your name is Yakov. No longer will your name be Yakov, but Yisroel will be your name.” This Posuk confirms what the Malach told him earlier (32:29) “Lo Yakov Yaiomer Ode Shimcha-No longer will your name be called Yakov” but there seems to be a discrepancy in the two verses. The earlier verse implies that the name Yakov 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.
- Written by Boruch Fischlewitz
- Category: Torah
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(28:10) “Vayetze Yakov M’baer Sheva Vayeilech Choronah-And Yakov left Baer Sheva and went to Charan.” At the end of last week’s parsha we read that Yitzchok sent Yakov to Padan Aram. (28:2) Now we learn that he left Baer Sheva and went to Charan? Padan Aram is no longer mentioned. Also why is the word Choronah used? It should read L’Charan-To Charan. The Ohr Hachaim says that the word refers to Charan as in anger. Meaning that Yakov left the anger of Beer Sheva, the anger of Essav.
(28:11) “Vayifgah Ba’Mokom Vayolon Shom Ki Voh Ha’Shemesh-He reached the place and spent the night there because the sun had set. Rashi writes that it implies that the sun set suddenly for him not at the appointed time so that he should spend the night there. The Gemmara in Chulin 91 writes that Hashem made the sun set early on that day so that would spend the night in that place. Could this not have been accomplished without interfering with the sun’s orbit, something that affected all of mankind?
The Alschich answers that the early setting of the sun was to impress Yakov with the fact that for the Tzaddik not only the higher worlds are at his command, but even the laws of nature on earth can be bent for the sake of the righteous.
(28:11) “Vayikach M’avnei Hamokom-He took from the stones of the place.” The word “H’Mokom equals B’Akeidah. The stones he took came from the altar of the Akeidah.
The Midrash teaches that Yakov took 12 stones, symbolic of the decree that the Jewish people would be founded based on a family consisting of twelve tribes. Since neither his father nor his grandfather had fulfilled this decree Yakov said “If these 12 stones that I am placing under my head will merge into one, I will take it as a sign that I will be able to fulfill this decree.” In the morning when Yakov saw that the 12 stones did indeed merge into one, he knew that he would be the progenitor of a single nation emerging from a family of 12 sons. R.Simcha Schepps, z’tl, asks would it not be more logical to request a sign of one stone turning into 12? The symbolic sign seems counter intuitive of what he was looking for.
R.Simcha Schepps, z’tl, answers by citing a Midrash that says Hashem promised Avraham that he would make him into a great nation (Am Gadol). What is the meaning of Gadol? It cannot mean large in size for Klal Yisroel never was large in size by comparison to the nations of the world. R.Dessler points out that the interpretation of the word “Gadol” is revealed to us by its first appearance in the Torah. (Bereishis 1:16) “Es Ha’Meor Hagadol-The great luminary” the Sun. Gadol means the ability to give to others. The sun is not called Gadol because it is big. The sun is called Gadol because it provides light and heat for the universe. When we refer to Hashem in Shemoneh Esrei we say “HaKel Hagadol” this does not mean that Hashem is large but rather “He is the master of Kindness and Goodness.” So too Yakov says “If I take 12 stones and they become one, there is unity, and they become Gadol, they are not just concerned about themselves, then I will know that this is a sign that I will fulfill the promise made to Avraham.
The question is why here, why now? Oznayim L'Torah writes that Yakov was worried about the fate of the twelve tribes which had been delayed. Avraham did not establish them nor did Yitzchok because their children quarreled. Seeing the twelve stones unite indicated that they would unite at the solemn moment when he addressed them on his deathbed.
This is the place where Yakov instituted the Mariv prayer. Yakov wanted to Daven Mincha However because the sun set early he was unable to. He therefore instituted the Mariv prayer.
(28:12) “V’Yachalom V’Hinei Sulome-He dreamt, and behold A Ladder” The word for ladder (Sulome) is equal to the word Momone-money. It’s base was planted in the ground with the top reaching the heavens and angels were going up and down.
(28:13) “Elokai Avraham Avicha Elokai Yitzchok-The G-d of Avraham my father the G-d of Yitzchok.” This seems to be out of order? Yitzchok was his father. The term father is used here to exclude Essav from the Abrahamic tradition.
(28:14) “V’Haya Zaracha K’Afar H’aretz- Your offspring will be as the dust of the earth.” In life the dust of the earth is stepped upon by all man. In death man is covered by the earth.
(28:16) “V’Anochi” Yaakov didn’t know that this would also be the place of Matan Torah! (Bobove Rebbe)
(28:16) “V’Anochi Lo Yodati-And I did not know” Yakov is saying the had he known how awesome this place was he would not have slept there. The Ohr Hachaim asks, but if he had not slept there he would not have had that dream! He answers that had he known he would have properly prepared himself so that he could have had the prophecy while awake.
(28:22) “V’Chol Asher Titain Li Aser Asrenah Loch-Whatever You will give to me I shall repeatedly tithe.” The Midrash explains that when Yakov gave a tenth in that vow it refers to the tribes and that Levi was the tenth that he gave because Levi did the service in the temple. But if he had 12 children how could one be counted as the tenth? The answer is that really Yakov had 14 tribes Yosef's children were considered as Yakov's. But since there were four mothers each of their first born were considered holy that leaves ten of which Levi was the tithe. (Maisser).
(29:7) “Vayomer Hain Ode Hayom Gadol-And he said the day is yet long.” At this point Yakov had just arrived in the area and already he is telling people what to do? Perhaps since the day before the sun set early in order for him to be forced to stay the night, the shepherds of Charan thought that the same thing would occur again. Therefore Yakov felt obliged to inform them that “The day is yet long.” Don’t think that what happened yesterday is the norm.
(29:10) “Vayehe Ka’asher Roah Yakov es Rochel Bas-Lavan Achei Imo-And it was when Yakov saw Rachel the daughter of Lavan his mother’s brother.” In this posuk the words Achi Emo (my mother’s brother) are found three times when Yakov first sees Rachel. The Or Hachaim says this is to show that his intentions were honorable, for all of these actions were only because of his mother. Another explanation is so that the shepherds who were around should not get the wrong impression of the next Posuk where he gives Rachel a kiss. But according to this it should have said my mother’s brother in the Posuk where he gives Rachel a kiss (29:11) not in the Posuk before? Also why say it three times? It could be that this mentioning of my mothers brother three times was an allusion to the three wives that Yakov would marry besides Rochel. Yakov ultimately married four daughters of Lavan. Leah and Rachel were his daughters from his wife. Bilah and Zilpah were his daughters from his concubines. So it would come out that the first mentioning of my mothers brother refers to Leah since it says Bas Lavan Achi Emo. Then it says Tzone Lavan Achi Emo. The Tzone (sheep) refers to the possessions of Lavan or the daughters of the concubines. And then in the next Posuk it says that he kissed Rachel with no mention of Achi Emo since she is the one he intended to marry. This thought is hinted at by the Gematria. The words Achi Emo three times equals the Gematria of Leah, Zilpah and Bilah.
(29:10) “Vaygash Yakov Vayogael es-Ho’Even M’al Pi Ha’Baer-Yakov stepped near and rolled the stone from the mouth of the well.” Rashi comments that this was to show his great strength. Why would we need to know how strong Yakov was? The Tolner Rebbe writes that when it says “Vayigash Yakov ” it means that he prayed. Yakov prayed for strength to be able to move the stone himself in order to protect the honor of Rochel. He didn’t want her to have to remain in the company of theses shepherds any longer than needed.
(29:11) “Vayishak Yakov L’Rochel Vayisaw es-Kolo Vayevch-And Yakov kissed Rachel and he lifted his voice and cried.” When Yakov came to Charan and saw Rachel for the first time it says he kissed her and then he cried. How could it be that Yakov kissed Rachel? And why did he cry after? It could be that according to some she was very young at this time. But according to the Seder Haolam she was 15 at the time. She was 22 at her wedding 7 years later. Also that could be why he cried right after because she was a relative. He had just spent 14 years studying at the yeshiva of Shaim Ve'Aiver and the sight of his relative moved him to tears and the kiss. But certainly Yakov's motives were of the highest possible calibre. Standing before him was his life partner to embark on the mission of uniting the spiritual and physical worlds. The words “Vayishak Yakov L’Rochel” is numerically equal to the words “Kodesh Hakodoshim - -The holy of Holies” which is the place in the world where Heaven and earth kiss.
(29:11) Rashi says that Yakov arrived at Lavan's house with no possessions. Essav had sent his son Elipaz to kill Yakov, but since he grew up on the knees of his grandfather Avraham, he spared him by taking all that he owned, thereby rendering him an Ani which is considered as if dead. The question is why would Essav send his son to kill Yakov when he previously said he would wait till his father died? (27:41) “Vayomer Esav B’Libo Yikrivu Yimei Aivel Avi V’Ahargah es Yakov Achi-Essav said in his heart The mourning days of my father are approaching I will then kill my brother.”Targum Yonason writes that Essav was not acting out of respect for his father. He wished to wait for his fathers death before killing Yakov so that his father would not replace him with more children. Thus all the inheritance would go to Essav. The Chidah writes that this posuk should be read “Essav said in his heart I will hasten the day of my fathers death by killng Yakov my brother.
Another question arises as to what went through the mind of Essav’s son Elipaz. His father told him to kill his uncle, against one of the seven Noachide laws, and he goes for the deception of taking all of his possessions instead? If he did indeed grow up on his grandfather’s knees he should have just disobeyed his father? The answer might be that Yakov was the one who came up with the plan to give away his possessions. The reasoning being that Yakov knew Essav’s one redeeming trait was his Kibud Av. He was now witnessing how that lesson was being transmitted to the next generation. Yakov did not want to see this act of Kibud Av die. He therefore devised a plan to satisfy both.
The Chidah writes that Elipaz took everything including Yakov’s clothes. Yakov left there without anything at all, not even his clothes. He had no choice but to go to a nearby river and go into the water, so he could at least be covered. As he was in the water, a wealthy nobleman was passing by in his carriage and decided he would stop by to swim in the river. He took off his clothes and went into the water, and drowned. Yakov realized that a miracle had occurred. He left the river and put on the nobleman's clothing, and went to the yeshiva of Shem and Eiver where he would spend the next fourteen years. Through all of this Yakov never gave up hope. He was forced to flee from his family and home, he was headed towards an uncertain future and wound up with nothing at all. All of this after receiving the blessings from his father! But he did not despair, and sure enough Hashem sent a miracle to save him. The key to enduring difficult situations is to always know that everything Hashem does is for our good.
The Midrash Shocher Tov writes that Esav went to Yishmael to convince him to kill his father. He thought Yishmael shared his hatred since he too was left out of the inheritance of Avraham. His plan was to then kill Yishmael and inherit everything. While this was being done Essav sent his son to kill Yakov thinking that he would have it all.
(29:18) "Vayomer Evodecha Sheva Shonim-He said I will work for her seven years." Why did Yakov offer seven years of work? He could have negotiated less? The Ohr Hachaim writes that mystically the number seven represents something complete, whole. Yakov knew that he would be building the foundation of Klal Yisroel and he wished to make it whole. Similarly Oznayim L'Torah writes that Yakov was fleeing Essav's anger. He feared that Essav might come to kill him at any time. This anxiety would effect his marital relations and thus his offspring. By waiting seven years not only would Essav's anger abate but Yakov's anxiety would as well.
(29:21) “Vayomer Yakov el-Lavan Hovah es-Ishti-V’yavo Ayleha-Yakov said to Lavan give me my wife…and I will come unto her.” A vulgar sort of expression, Rashi quickly sites the Midrash and says “only to have children did he speak this way.” In order to prevent the Mekatregim (prosecuting angels) from interfering with the building of our great nation did Yakov speak this way. We find this often at crucial moments of Jewish history. The seeds of Moshiach were planted in a similar way. When Lot had relations with his daughters and Yehudah with Tamar, all were meant to trick the Satan into thinking that something evil was taking place. (This fits in well with the words of Rashi)
How can it be that the future of Klal Yisroel came partially from servants who weren't even Jews? We learned that these servants were also the daughters of Lavan by his concubines so they too were from Avraham's family.
(29:25) “Vayehe Baboker V’hinei He Leah-And it was morning and behold it was Leah!” Rashi explains that Yakov had given Rochel signs to ensure he would be marrying the right person. However l gave over the signs to her sister to prevent her embarrassment. What were those signs? Yakov taught Rochel the three Mitzvos incumbent on all Jewish women. Nidah, Challah and Neros. The numerical value of which equals Moshiach.
(29:30) “Vaye'ehav Gam Es Rachel Mi'Leah- He loved Rachel more than Leah.” But in the very next posuk we find that Leah was the hated one? The wording is also very unusual. At this point Yakov had already found out what Rachel had done by giving over the signs to her sister. It was known that twins were born to Yitzchok and twins were also born to Lavan. It was assumed that the older one of Yitzchok was to marry the older daughter of Lavan. Rachel knew that by giving over the signs she might end up marrying Essav. She knew that she would give up her chance to be the mother of the Tribes. Still she could not humiliate her sister. This is what the posuk means when it says “Vaye'ehave Gam Es Rachel Mi'Leah.” He loved Rachel from what she did for Leah.(Imri Shefer)
(29:35) “VaTaheir Ode V’teled Bein V’tomar Hapam Odeh es-Hashem Al Kein Koroh Shemo Yehudah-She conceived again and bore a son and declared “This time let me gratefully praise Hashem, therefore she called his name Yehudah.” The Chidushei Harim notes that the Jews have come to be called Yehudim after Yehudah, because it is a Jewish characteristic always to be grateful to Hashem, with the attitude that He has given more than our rightful share. The Gemarrah (Brochos 7:a, Kiddushin 7:b) writes that Leah was the first person in history to thank Hashem. How can this be? Did Noach not thank Hashem and Avraham following his victory with the 4 kings and the 5 kings not thank Hashem? The Mashgiach of Mir R.Yeruchem Levovitz teaches that when Leah came and said “This time I will thank Hashem” something unprecedented occurred when she named her son Yehudah. She indicated that she never wanted to lose that sense of gratitude to Hashem. Every time she would address her son she would bring to mind the great debt she owed the Creator of the universe.
(30:7) "Vateiled Bilah Shifchas Rochel-Bilah, Rochel's maidservant gave birth." Why was it necessary to mention that she was Rochel's maidservant? Because Bilah continued to treat her childless mistress with respect. Unlike Hagar who after having a child began mistreating Sarah. (Haamek Davar)
(30:11) “Vatomer Leah Bah-Gad-And Leah said Bah-Gad.” The Torah writes these words as one, but it is read as two words.(Bah-Gad) What is the meaning of this? Rashi says that he doesn’t know why these words are contracted? But he says three things. One that Bah-Gad means good fortune comes, two that Gad was born circumcised, and three that Bagad means betrayal. Rabeinu Bachye writes that the reason it is spelled without the letter Aleph is to allude to the fact that Gad was the tenth person in history to be circumcised. However he was born circumcised. The numerical value of the words Bah-Gad equals ten if read as two words but nine if read as one. He was the tenth but there were still nine born who needed a Bris.
Alternatively we find in the previous Posuk that Leah stopped having children. Plus we see that Rochel, who had still not become pregnant, gave her maidservant to Yakov in order for him to father more Shevatim. Leah therefore gave her maidservant, Zilpah to Yakov out of which Gad was born.
The Rambam asks why was it necessary for Leah to give Yakov her maidservant? She already at this point had four sons and in fact she later had even more children. Why did she not wait? Perhaps this is the betrayal that Rashi alludes to. Gad was the tribe that led Klal Yisroel into Eretz Yisroel when they began conquering it. Originally at the Bris Bein Habisorim Hashem promised Avraham the lands of ten nations. But later on in Devarim when they were actually taking over the land, we find only seven nations were conquered. Hashem delayed the conquest of the last three nations until the days of Moshiach. The name Gad equals seven in Gematria. The Maazal-Tov that Rashi referred to was this ability to conquer seven nations. He was born circumcised. The Maharal says that this means that the limitations of this world have little effect on that person. So Gad had the potential to transcend this world and could have conquered all ten nations were it not for the fact that he was born to Zilpah rather than Leah. His portion in Eretz Yisroel was part of Ammon and Moav’s territory. When we add those lands to the ones conquered in Eretz Yisroel proper we have a total of nine nations equal to the numerical value of the word Bagad as written in the Torah. The one nation that he could not effect was Edom. Gad was supposed to have been born from Leah. Had he been, he would have even been able to overcome Edom. The difference between the words “Bagad” and “Bah-Gad” is the Aleph which represents Edom. The words “Bah-Gad” equals ten. This is why the Torah reads the words “Bah-Gad” but it is written “Bagad” without the Aleph. A potential that was never realized.
Why was the fact that Leah was not the mother of Gad, the difference between his overcoming Edom? The Torah writes (29:17) “V’Eynei Leah Rakos-The eyes of Leah were dimmed.” Leah thought that she was destined to marry Esav. Her eyes were puffy from the tears of prayer. She prayed not to fall to the lot of Essav. And we see that her prayers were effective. So it was Leah’s power of prayer that was able to frustrate Essav. Had Gad been born to Leah this power would have enabled Gad to overcome Edom. We also see that Leah had this dominion over Essav later on in Parshas Vayishlach where we find that Yakov was criticized for hiding Dinah in a box. He feared that Essav might see her and take her, but Yakov was criticized for doing that since Leah might have been able to reform Essav. Again the power of Leah to overcome Essav.
With this we can perhaps explain why two and a half tribes requested their portion on the other side of the Jordan. They each had a slight blemish at their conception. Gad as explained above should have been born to Leah instead of Zilpah. Reuvein was one of the two Tribes that took his inheritance on the other side of the Jordan because his conception was defective as well. When Yakov married Rachol he found that in the morning it was Leah! While the night before his thoughts were on Rachol! Reuvein was the product of that union. This caused some slight spiritual blemish which later became manifest in his desire to settle on land that was a level below that of Eretz Yisroel proper. But what about Menashe, they never even requested to settle there. Why would half the tribe be settled there? The Yalkut Ruvenie answers that their conception had a flaw as well. Yosef married Osnas who was the product of Dina's rape by Schem. Of Yosef's two children the firstborn carried that impurity. Half of Menashe's spiritual DNA was from Yosef. The other half was from Osnas. Therefore half the tribe was separated over to the Jordan side. This served to purify Yosef's other son from any residue she might have had from the rape by Shechem.
(30:14) “Vayelech Reuvein-Vayimtza Dudaim-Reuvein went out and he found Dudaim.” In the incident with the Dudaim, Reuvain brings these flowers to his mother because he knows that she desires to have another son. These Dudayim were thought to help a woman conceive. When Rachel saw them she asked her sister to give some to her for she was barren. But if this is so why would she then give up her night with Yakov?
It would seem that the price paid was equal to the request for the flowers. Rachel needed them for fertility. Leah on the other hand could have children. What she needed was Yakov! So the price of giving up Yakov for a night would make sense since having him as she did was not working.
(30:22) “Vayizkor Elokim es-Rachel Vayishma Aylehah Elokim Vayftach es- Rachmav-Hashem remembered Rachel, and Hashem listened to her, and He opened her womb.” Why was it that the Matriarchs were all barren? Among the Avos we also find that Avraham was barren, while Yitzchok and Yakov were not? The Dubno Maggid explains that as the founders of the Jewish nation, Hashem’s chosen people, it was necessary to restrict their lineage, to the exclusion of all wicked forebear’s. Like Terach and Besuel. This was accomplished by causing those Avos and Imohos who were children of Rishoim, to be barren. Since they did not inherit the ability to procreate from their parents, the family connection ended with them. Afterwards when Hashem blessed them with children He infused them with a new ability to procreate that was in no way connected to their parents. There was no continuity in their spiritual genes. So the roots of the Jewish people were able to be pure. Avraham and Sarah were the children of Terach and Haran. They were therefore barren and all previous connections were severed. Yitzchok their son was the first child born of two Jewish parents so there was no need for him to be barren, while Rivka was the child of Besuel and did need to be barren. The same applies to the next generation. Yakov was of two Jewish parents while his wives were not. Rochel was barren for years and while Leah conceived on her wedding night, it seems that it was only because Hashem was merciful towards her because she was less loved.
(30:38) “Vayatzeg es Hamakolos- And he set up the rods.” Why does the Torah go to such great lengths to describe how Yakov bred his cattle? What lesson are we to learn from al of this? Yakov was the forefather of the twelve tribes. The founder of the Jewish nation. The Torah teaches that not only did he understand the DNA of his livestock, but he understood how each of his 12 children had unique talents. He was able to bring out the potential of each one of them.
Rabeinu Bechaya writes that from here we learn that the thoughts we have during marital relations affects the offspring.
(30:43) “Vayifrotz Ho’ish Ma’od Ma’od-The man became tremendously wealthy.” Why does it use the word Ish when describing Yakov's becoming wealthy? A similar term is used by Yitzchok (26:13) which expressed a sense of jealousy by the Phlishtim. Here as well there was jealousy by Lavan.
(31:1) “Vayishma es Divrei Benei-Lavan-And he heard the words of Lavan’s sons.” When Yakov hears the people of the area saying negative things about him he doesn't mind. But then right after that it say's that Lavan no longer looked at him the same way. When the gentiles start to say the Jews have all the wealth, they have too much power, that’s one thing. But when the leaders of the area begin to show signs of Anti-Semitism, then the next Posuk says Hashem told Yakov to go back to his father to Eretz Yisroel. When Jews forget that they are in Golus Hashem needs to give them a reminder. Now this fledgling nation would leave Beis Lavan and return to the land of Israel. These words Beis Lavan translate to mean “White House”. We must know when it is time to leave Golus and go back to our homeland.
(31:2) “Vayar Yakov es Pinei Lavan Vehinei Ainenu Emo Kismol Shilshom- Yakov saw that the face of Lavan was not the same towards him as before.” Two possukim later Yakov tells Rachel and Leah the same thing but the Torah writes the words “Kismol Shilshom” Chassar meaning without the letter Vav in either word. Why this change in the spelling? It is possible that since we know Lavan wanted to uproot Klal Yisroel by destroying the Shivatim, this could be what Yakov was hinting to them. They knew that Lavan would not harm his daughters but what affect his influence might have on his grandchildren was not known. The missing two Vavs equal 12 ie. the twelve tribes. What Yakov saw in Lavan's face was what he was capable of in regards to the twelve tribes. Hence the missing letters.
(31:19) “Vatignov Rachel es Haterafim-Rachel stole the Terafim.” (Idols) of her father. Rashi says this was in order to sever her father from Idol worship. But if this is so why did she wait 20 years to help her father. Why now? The Midrash says that the Terafim were objects of an ancient form of Idol worship by means of which the worshipers divined the future. Rachel wanted to prevent the Terafim from revealing to her father word about their flight. That also explains later on in posuk (31:30) when Lavan says “Ki Nichsof Nichsaftah Le'Bais Avicha” (for you yearned for your father’s house) and then “Lama Gonavta Es Elokoy” (why did you steal my Gods?). As if he is saying I knew that you longed for your father’s home, I knew that you would go there so why did you have to steal the Terafim? Another reason could be that since Hashem appeared to Lavan the night before he met up with Yakov this could only have taken place if he was no longer in possession of any Avodah Zorah. Rachel may have realized that the only way for this to happen would be if she were to remove the Idols herself.
In this week’s parsha we have the birth of the tribes. Yakov was the first of the Avos to have “Mita Shelaima.” All his sons were Tzadikim. Also we have the concept of “Yisroel Af Al Pi Shechoteh Yisroel Hu.” That a Jew is still a Jew even if he does sin. This was not the case by the previous Avos. Avraham had a Yishmael, Yitzchok had an Essav. They were cast out. But Yakov had only Tzadikim. This came about through a process of purification. Avraham split the wood before the Akeida. This is comparable to separating the wood of the Eitz Hadas. Separating the mixture of good and bad. Avraham, after the Akeida, reached a level where the Yetzer Hora had no power over him. Yitzchok also separated the bad from the good. He gave the qBrachos to Yakov thereby separating the bad (Essav) from the good (Yakov) which were mixed together in the same womb. So it comes out that Avraham, who was the second edition of Adam, was able to fix up part of the Chet of Adam in a spiritual sense. Yitzchok purified this further in a physical sense through his genes. Now Yakov was able to have Mita Shelaima. Now we can say Yisroel Af Al Pi Shechoteh Yisroel Hu.
How do we know that Essav is to be cast out? The Gemarrah in Bava Basra says that we learn from the Posuk “Ki B’Yitzchok Yikara L’cha Zera-In Yitzchok will your seed be called.” The gemarrah learns B’Yitzchok Velo Kol Yitzchok-In Yitzchok but not all of Yitzchok. Hashem promised Avraham that his descendants would become strangers in a strange land. For four hundred years they would remain under the rule of another nation. But afterward they would receive the land of Israel as an inheritance. The years of servitude were to clarify which of his seed would earn the right to the land. Essav received the land of Seir while Klal Yisroel remained in Egypt for a period of two hundred and ten years. The numerical value of the word B’Yitzchok is equal to 210.
As told over to us by Rav Moshe Chaim Hunger. In the world of TEVAH there really should be NO existence of K'lal Yisrael. Our IMAHOS were all barren. In fact the Meforshim say that Sarah didn't even have a womb - no possibility of a K'lal Yisrael. We are not bound by nature. We are indeed L'Malah Min Hateva. This was how Yitzchak was born.
RAV DESSLER asks - But Eisav was also born miraculously B’derech Nais? What does he have to do with L'malah Min Hateva? Rav Dessler answers - Eisav's existence is also L'malah Min Hatevah. Yitzchok's Brocha to Eisav was "You'll live by the sword and you'll serve your brother." Eisav has two roles. He was born to serve Yaakov - to maintain our existence if we keep the Torah. ( Such was the ideal relationship of Rebbi & Antininus - the descendants of Yaakov & Eisav) But if we don't keep the Torah then he's also our Shomer. He, then, persecutes us and gives us Tzorus. In this way, he serves us by keeping us as Yidden when our existence is at risk, by not letting us go off the track. Both ways Eisav is providing for Yaakov. His role as Shomer of K'lal Yisroel is determined by us.
Bereishis Boro Elokim
- Written by Boruch Fischlewitz
- Category: Torah
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(1:1) “Bereishis Boro Elokim-In the beginning G-D created.” We begin the Torah with the name of Hashem Elokim that means strict judgment. Rashi says that this was the original plan, to create a world that would be judged immediately. But Hashem saw that the world could not exist this way so he tempered it with Rachamim. Thus the second chapter adds Hashem Elokim to the narrative. But the entire first chapter does say that Elokim created the world? Where is this world? Also in the entire first chapter there is no mention of the first sin? In fact it says that man may eat from all the trees of the garden with no exception? Then the story of creation advances into Shabbos with no interruption?
The first place in the Torah where we find the use of the name of Hashem that implies the attribute of mercy is (2:4) “Ayleh Toldos Hashomayim V'Haretz B'heBorom B'yom Asos Hashem Elokim Eretz V'shomayim-These are the products of the heaven and earth when they were created in the day that Hashem Elokim created earth and heaven.” Rashi explained that the original plan was for the world to be created with strict judgment but Hashem knew that it could not endure. Therefore he tempered it with mercy. Thus the expression in this verse of the two names of Hashem/Elokim are used. The Kli Yakar adds that in telling of the creation of the Universe as a whole, Elokim is used. This is why this verse mentioned heaven first, for indeed the celestial beings can endure being governed by Justice alone. But when man is to enter the scene, earth is mentioned first and the added use of Hashem signifies that His justice must be tempered with mercy. This would seem to imply that the entire first chapter of the Torah deals with the creation of the spiritual realm. This is why there is no mention of the original sin. No mention of the forbidden fruit. We know that every physical aspect of creation has its spiritual counterpart. Perhaps we can say that this is the meaning of this first chapter. Elokim did create a world able to withstand strict justice, the spiritual world.
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