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MIKETZ

   (41:1) “Vayehe Miketz Shnosayim Yomim U'Pharoh Cholam-It was at the end of two years that Pharoh dreamed.” Alternately this verse can be read “At the end of two years of Pharoh dreaming” For two years Pharoh was having the same disturbing dream night after night. But every morning he forgot the dream. Now at the end of two years he awoke and this time remembered the dream!

Rashi says that the word Miketz is the same as Sof-end. But why then is Miketz used? The Torah is hinting at what we should view as the real cause and effect. Yosef was not released from prison because Pharoh needed a dream interpreted. Rather because Yosef was now released from two additional years of incarceration, Pharoh now had a dream. This is hinted at in the word Miketz-from the Keitz Pharoh dreamed.

   Why was Yosef subject to these two additional years? Not out of punishment, but out of Teva. Yosef, at the end of last weeks parsha asked the butler to remember him. In doing so he was placing his fate into the hands of Teva. These two years were not punishment but rather a result of a cause and effect.

Why do we read from this parsha on Chanuka every year? Because when Yosef was explaining the dreams of Pharoh he told him to store food during the years of plenty. He uses the word Chemash which means to prepare the land for the famine. The initial letters of Chemash are Chet, Mem, Shin. The Chet stands for Chodesh, Mem for Mila, and Shi-Shabbos. These are the three things that the Greeks tried to decree against the Jews. Now when Yosef was preparing for the eventual beginning of the golus he instituted this word to prepare for the future golus, in order that the Jews would be able to withstand these decrees. In addition this is the only parsha that lists the amount of words it contains rather than the number of verses, at the end of the parsha. (2025). This is a hint to Chanuka because the word ner equals 250 and there was eight nights that the miracle occurred. Therefore eight times ner equals 2,000. Plus Chanuka happened on the 25th of Kislev which together totals 2025.

The Sholosh Regalim each correspond to one of the Avos. Avraham to Pesach, Yitzchok to Shevuos and Yakov to Succos. Each have supporting verses in the Torah connecting them to these holidays. Yosef was the bridge between the Avos and the Shevotim. Therefore his connection is to Chanukah, which is the last holiday instituted and serves as a bridge to our time.

Besides the fact that we always read the events of Yosef during the time of year that is Chanukah, there is a deeper explanation. One of the decrees placed on the Jews by the Greeks was to have every Jewish bride be violated before her wedding by a Grecian. The intent of the Greeks was to defile the Kiddusha of Klal Yisroel. They did not mind us having a temple or even the Torah. What they did object to was our connection to the spiritual. A Jew will always remain a Jew even after sinning. The only way to become lost is through intermarriage. Yosef’s Midah, his strength, was his ability to withstand the advances of the wife of Potifar. His incredible resilience to this sin was ingrained into the spiritual DNA of every Jew. This enabled Yisrael to withstand 210 years of bondage in a land filled with immorality. This has kept Jews in good standing throughout the millennia of persecution. And although weakened greatly, it still survives to this day.  

Last week we learned that when the brothers threw Yosef into the pit they stripped him first. Why was this mentioned? This was a humiliation which Yosef had to endure that would later be an aid to him to overcome the advances of Potifar's wife. There he also was stripped and had to run out naked to escape from her. That humiliation helped him to overcome the other test.

       (41:1) Vayehe Miketz....U'Pharoh Cholam-And it was at the end of two years And Pharoh dreamt.” The Tur writes that the letter “Vav” before the name of Pharoh indicates that in addition to Pharoh's dreaming, someone else had the same dream. This follows the dictum that Hashem informs his righteous ones of impending hardships that effect the world. Yosef was the one who dreamed the same dream as Pharoh.

   The posuk mentions after two years but the Meam Loez writes that Pharoh had the same disturbing dream each night for two years but forgot it every morning.

   (41:8) “Vayisaper Pharoh Lohem es Chalomo V’ein Posare Osom L’Pharoh-Pharoh related his dreams to them, but there was no one who could interpret them for Pharoh.”Rashi says they did interpret them but not for “Pharoh”. The Gemarrah (Brochos 55b) says that dreams follow the interpreter. If so why didn’t the dreams follow the interpretation of Pharoh’s sorcerers? Their mistake was that they offered interpretations that applied to an individual, but not as a Pharoh! The dream of a king must have nationalistic implications. They can only interpret dreams if it conforms to the significance of the dream.

   (41:33) “V’atoh Yarae Pharoh Ish Novin V’Chochom-Now Pharoh find a man wise and understanding.” How could Yosef offer such unsolicited advice? The Zohar writes that appointing a wise and understanding man was part of the prophecy. A prophet must reveal everything included in the prophecy. The Oznayim L’Torah writes that Yosef understood that Hashem does not punish a nation with a famine as this, without there being a reason. There was a need to appoint a leader who could save the country from its sins.

   (41:41) Reaye Nosati Oscha al Kol Eretz Mitzrayim- See now you are placed above the entire land of Egypt.” Why is the word "See" used here? Pharoh saw astrologically that Yosef’s mazel was now dominate.

   (41:42) “Vayalbash Oso Bigsei Shesh- He dressed him in clothes of linen.”Linen contains properties that can protect a person from evil spirits. Pharoh knew this and gave Yosef jewelry which counter acts the protective properties of linen. Yosef only wore the jewelry when in the presence of Pharoh.

(41:37) "Vayitav Hadovor B'aynei Pharoh- The matter was pleasing in the eyes of Pharoh." Why did Pharoh accept Yosef's interpretation over his own advisors? The Sechel Tov writes that Pharoh dreamt the interpretation every night but then forgot it in the morning. Now that he heard Yosef's words he remembered that this was the very interpretation he had dreamt.

(41:45) “Vayikra Pharoh Shem- Yosef Tzafnas Paneach- Pharoh called Yosef revealer of hidden things.” How could Pharoh call Yosef Tzafnas Paneach when he didn't know how to speak Loshon Kodesh? We learn that when Yosef was being considered for this position his servants complained that he was a slave and a slave couldn't become a prince in Egypt. Pharoh devised a test to show that Yosef was from a noble background. There were seventy steps to reach the throne. At each step Pharoh would speak to Yosef in a different language. Only someone of nobility would know all the languages. The Malach Gavriel had come the night before and taught Yosef all seventy languages. But Yosef was not able to retain all of that information. So the Malach added a letter of Hashem's name to Yosef's name. Yehoseph. When Yosef reached the top step he spoke to Pharoh in Hebrew, which Pharoh did not understand. He made Yosef swear that he would not reveal this fact to anyone. This later helped Yosef when he wished to bury his father by telling Pharoh that he had sworn to his father that he would not bury him in Egypt. So how could Pharoh call Yosef Tzafnas Paneach when he didn't know how to speak Loshon Kodesh? The answer is that the words have a different meaning in Egyptian. Tzafnas Paneach means savior of the world.

   There still remains the question of why we never use this new name given to Yosef? Avraham and Yakov Avinu had their names altered but we find only one use of Yosef's altered name?

   Why didn't the rest of the world store food when they heard that there would be a famine? It seems that the word was out that a famine was coming they should have stored food like they did in Egypt. From Pharoh's dream it would seem that the years of plenty were only in Egypt. Because in the dream it says by the healthy cows that they were grazing, which would mean that they stayed there in Egypt. This indicates that the years of plenty were only in Egypt. The other lands would be unable to store up food even if they heard about the impending famine. That the famine was universal is hinted in the dream by the fact that the thin cows did not remain on the river banks after consuming the fat ones but dispersed. Another answer is that they tried to store food but it all became rotten. That is why later (41:55) when the people came to Pharoh complaining that they have no food, he told them “Lechu el- Yosef Asher - Yomar Lochem Ta'asu-Go to Yosef whatever he tells you do.” Yosef told them to preform Bris Milah on themselves and they feared what had happened to the city of Shechem would happen to them. Pharoh told them look you tried to store food and Yosef made it rot. What would happen if he makes you rot, he could have all of you die if he wanted to. Therefore you had better do as he says. Really what Yosef did was place some of the earth from which the grain came from, inside the store houses to preserve it.

   One of the reasons Yosef made them perform Milah was so that when Benei Yisroel would become slaves in Mitzraim they would be able to withstand the long servitude without any incidents of sexual harassment that would usually be associated with servitude. Another p'shat is that it was a Tikun for the Mitzri'im. The famine was brought upon them because of their lack of sexual morals. The Maharal say's that Bris Milah has the ability to confer life. The word Bris in Aramaic is Kiyum. Why would Bris Milah save lives or preserve food? R.Yonasan Eibeshitz wrote that when Yitzchok gave the blessings to Yakov he said “V’yitain Lecha Ho’Elokim Mital Hashomayim, which is an acronym for the word Milah.

   Another possibility could be because a leader is only as great as the nation he leads. Billem was a prophet given to the nations of the world so they would not complain to Hashem saying “If we only had a prophet like Israel we to would have obeyed Hashem.” How could this appease them if they were given someone as degenerate as Billem? The answer is that he was an equal to Moishe Rabeinu. But due to the level of the nations he represented he became the evil person that was Billem. Here too Yosef understood that to lead a nation like Mitzrayim he would need something to elevate the people to a degree. Since it says that Mitzrayim were steeped in immorality he felt that by having them all perform circumcision would raise their spiritual stature.

   (41;55) “ Vayitzak H’om el-Pharoh-The nation cried out to Pharoh.”The people had heard about Yosef’s brothers and knew they had once been in Shechem where Shimon and Levi decimated the entire town of people after they submitted themselves to circumcision. They feared this would be repeated now in Egypt. Yosef only gave food gratis to the poor, since they could not afford to pay for it. Obviously the rich would want to take advantage of this loophole and claim that they too were destitute. Yosef therefore instituted that whoever was poor and wanted free food would have to have himself circumcised. The wealthy, who could afford the food, would not want to go through this surgery just to save themselves money.

   Rabeinu S.R.Hirsch offers that since Yosef was the conduit for their sustenance the Egyptians needed a connection to him to derive the benefits he brings down from the heavens. Since Yosef’s dominant characteristic was the sanctity of the reproductive organs, they therefore had to be circumcised to connect with Yosef. 

(41:57) “Ve'chol Ha'aretz Bo'u Mitzraimoh Lishbor el-Yosef - And all the land came to Mitzraim to buy to Yosef.” The posuk say's they came to buy to Yosef. It should have said from Yosef. The posuk here is telling us that all of these events that Hashem directed, was towards Yosef. The entire world could be turned on its head for the sake of one righteous person.

(42:1) “Vayar Yakov Ki Yesh-Shever B'Mitzroyim- Yakov saw that there was grain in Egypt.” Only Yakov saw? The rest of the brothers didn't see this? But Yakov was able to retain some form of prophecy to know that there was hope in Egypt. The word Shever also means hope.

   (42:1) “Vayomer Yakov Livonav Lamah Tisro'u- Yakov said to his sons why should you appear as if you have food.” After Yakov saw that they needed to go down to   for food he noticed that the brothers all were looking at each other. The word Tisro'u also means afraid. He was saying why are you afraid to go to Mitzraim? They were thinking that this was some kind of an omen about the sale of Yosef.

(42:2) “Ridu- Shomoh- Go down there.” The numerical value of the word “Ridu”equals 210 the amount of years that the exile was shortened to. (Rashi)

(42:3) “Vayerdu Achai - Yosef Asarah- The ten brothers of Yosef went down.” The number ten is mentioned because Yakov thought that if they were ten then nothing bad would happen to them because the Shechina would be with them. Also they need ten so they could have a Minyan on their journey.

   (42:4) “Ves- Binyomim Achi Yosef Lo- Sholach Yakov- And Binyomim the brother of Yosef - Yakov did not send.” Yakov feared that the children of Rachel were in danger while traveling. Rachel died in transit, Yosef never came back, now Binyomim was not going to go with them.

   (42:5) “Vayovo'u Benei Yisroel Lishbor - And Benei Yisroel came to buy.” In posuk three and four they are referred to as Yosef's brothers here they are called "Benei Yisroel?” This was the first time that they are called “Benei Yisroel” in the Torah. They were standing at the crossroads of what was to be the root of all future exiles that Yisroel was to endure. The purpose of which was for them to gather in all the Nitztos (holy sparks) that Hashem spread across all of his creation and to elevate them. This was the mission of “Benei Yisroel” in this world. And since the reference is for all future generations this term was used instead of just “Achi Yosef.”

   (42:7) “Vayar Yosef Es-Echov Vayakiraim - Yosef saw his brothers and recognized them.” When the brothers came down to buy food from Egypt they had to come to Yosef. It says   that Yosef saw his brothers and recognized them. Then in posuk 8 it repeats that he recognized them? The repetition intimates that he recognized them as a group now he could distinguish each one individually.

   Why didn't the brothers recognize Yosef? One of the reasons given is because Yosef left while still young and without a beard. But we learned that Yosef had the same appearance as Yakov if so they should have been able to recognize him? The answer is that Yosef was now 39 years old they never saw their father at 39 but the youngest age he had children was 85 so they didn't recognize him.

   (42:9) “Vayizkor Yosef es Hachalomos asher Cholam Lohem Vayomer Aleyhem Miraglim Atem - Yosef remembered the dreams which he dreamed about them and said you are Spies!” What is the connection between the dreams and calling them spies? The Me'am Loez say's the word “Meraglim” is an acronym for M'imie Rachel Gonavtem L'midyanim Yishmaelim Mochartem- From my Mother Rachel I was kidnapped - to Midianim and Yishmaelim I was sold. It was due to the dreams that Yosef wound up in Mitzraim through his kidnapping and sale.

   (42:9) “LiRa'ous es Ervas Ha'aretz Bosem - To see the nakedness of the land you have come.” The Midrash relates that when the brothers first came to Mitzraim they went to the brothels in search of Yosef since he was very handsome and might have been sold as a slave there. This was implied by Yosef when he said Ervas Ha'aretz.

   (42:18) “Vayomer Aleihem Yosef Bayom Hashlishi- Yosef said to his brothers on the third day.” Originally Yosef said to his brothers that one of them should return to Canaan to bring Binyomin, the others would remain locked up in Mitzraim. Now he says he will allow all but one of them to return to fetch their brother and the one will remain in Mitzraim locked up? Why did he change his mind? We see that immediately following this change of mind that the brothers say to each other (42:21) “We are indeed guilty for we saw our brothers heart felt anguish when he pleaded with us and we did not listen.” This was the response Yosef was looking for. He wanted them to see how even a non-Jew can be compassionate how much more so should they have been towards their own brother!

   (42:27) “Vayar es Kaspo Vhinei Hu B’pi Amtachto-And he saw his money and behold it was in the mouth of his sack” Only in the sack of Levi was the money placed at the mouth of his bag. The other brothers had their monies placed at the bottom. This was to insure that they would not return immediately to Mitzraim upon discovering the returned funds. As long as only one of them found his money it still might have been some kind of oversight. But when they returned to the father and found money returned to all of them they realized it was not an accident.

   Yosef planted the money in their sacks in order to test them, to see if they would blame each other or stick together. The word “Amtachto” appears in this chapter no less than 15 times in some form or another and does not appear anywhere else in the Torah.. The gematria of the word equals 855 which is the numerical equivalent to the phrase “Da Ki Al Kol Ayleh Yaviacha H’Elokim B’mishpat-Know that through all of these Hashem brings judgment.”

   (42:36) “Olaye Hayu Kulana - Upon me has it all befallen.” Yakov was bemoaning the fact that Yosef was gone and Shimon was gone. When Rivka, his mother told him to deceive Yitzchok into giving him the Brachos she said “Olaye Kililoscha Beni - Your curse be on me my son.” (27:13). We have learned over there that the word Olaye is the acronym of the three troubles that Yakov would have in his life time. Ayin- Essav, Lamed- Lavan, Yud- Yosef. Now Yakov was remembering this promise and saying why is Shimon missing? What happened to my mother’s promise? (Vilna Goan)

   What about the trouble he had with Dina? Why is the abduction and rape of Yakov's daughter overlooked? R.Eytan Feiner suggests that her episode is included in the fate of Yosef. Both Yosef and Dina were soul mates. At the time when Leah conceived she was carrying another son, Yosef. Rochel conceived at the same time but she was carrying a female, Dina. Leah prayed that her sister not have less of a contribution to Klal Yisroel than the maid servants. So a Malach came and switched the embryos. This would explain some of the tendencies exhibited by Yosef and Dina. Yosef curled his hair, Dina went out in the world. Both are tendencies of the opposite sex. Both Dina and Yosef were linked from birth, therefore their troubles are as one.

   (43:11) “Vayomer Aleyhem Yisroel Avihem Im Kain-Yisroel their father said to them If it must be so...” Why did Yakov now accept Yehudah’s offer and not the earlier offer made by Reuvein? One answer is that Reuvein offered the lives of two of his sons, even though he had four sons. Yehudah on the other hand was putting everything on the line.

   Another answer is that Yakov alone was truly able to feel the pain of losing a child. The brothers could not. However Yehudah did lose two of his sons, so when he spoke to his father the words carried much more weight with him.

     (43:18) “Ve'Lokachas Osanu Liavodim V'es-Chamoreinu- We will be taken as slaves and our donkeys.” Why did they mention their donkeys? If they would become slaves why care about the donkeys? The Ramban answers that their concern for their donkeys was due to the consequences of such a loss. Without their donkeys and the sacks they could not send food back home and their families would die of hunger.

   When Binyomin was finally brought down to Egypt it says that Yosef had them stay for a meal. This was the first time they had drank wine since Yosef was sold. But at this point only Yosef knew he was their brother why did they drink? Perhaps they thought that Yosef was testing them to see if they would reveal things after drinking. If they refused to drink it would show they had something to hide. Later it says that Yosef gave Binyamin a portion 5 times larger than the rest of the brothers. Rashi says that he received the portion of Yosef, Osnas, Menashe and Efraim. Why? What do the 5 portions mean? It could be that Yosef was testing them to see if they still had the kind of jealousy that got him there in the first place.

     (44:12) “Vayimotzeh Hagovia B'Amtachas Binyomim- And the goblet was found in Binyamin's sack.” When the brothers found the goblet in Binyomin's sack they began hitting him on the shoulders and said “Thief, son of a thief” referring to his mother who stole the Terphim from Lavan. When a person is wrongly accused he has the right to receive compensation. His descendants received this compensation. They had the privilege of having the Shechina rest between their shoulders. The Beis Hamikdosh was built in their territory.

     (44:13) “Vayikriu Simlosam - They rent their garments.” Everything eventually gets paid back. This was repayment for the tearing of clothes their father had done twenty two years prior to this.(37:34) In both cases it was done because of a falsehood. Since Menashe was the agent that caused the brothers to rent their garments, in the future the descendants of Menashe would be 'torn' in two. Their territory was split in two when they settled in Eretz Yisroel.

   (44:17) “Ve'atem Alu Li'Shalom el-Avichem - And as for you go up in peace to your father.” In the last two parshas the Torah refers to the brothers as Anoshim ten times instead of the usual Achi Yosef or Benei Yakov. In this the Torah is hinting to the Ten Martyrs which they are connected to. In the second century ten sages from the leaders of the Jewish nation were tortured and killed by the order of the Roman emperor. The sins of the brothers were never brought to justice and as a result were never atoned for. This lasted for many centuries until these ten martyrs underwent death through which the brothers could finally “go up in peace to their Heavenly Father.”

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VAYEISHEV

(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)

   (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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

   The Gemarrah writes that a person engaged in a mitzvah is protected from harm. If so why 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 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!

(37:29) “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 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 is 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 he might 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 in found) in our posuk instead of the word normally used Yutzais (as in taken out).

(38:27) “Vehinei Somim B'vitnah- Behold there was twins in her womb.” The Midrash draws attention to the similarity of the words here and by 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 it say's that through Yosef the world was saved from famine. And Avodah Zorah, 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 becomes“V’Chol Loshon Yitain B’yodo-All tongues were given to his hand”

(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 words of Vayimoane are Vayar Yosef Mareh Aviv Negdoe -Yosef saw the image of his father before him. Vayomer Yakov Mechoshen Atoh Nimchak - Yakov said from the Choshen you will be erased. Vayirah Yosef Militameh es Nafsho -And Yosef feared contaminating his soul.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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BenOni

(35:18) "Vatikro shmo Ben Oni v'oviv koro lo Vinyomin-” - Why didn't Yaakov follow the wish of Rochel's name choice? These even seem to be her final words on this earth. 

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

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VAYISHLACH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

   The question is why this particular event here with the angel of Essav did this show up? There was a complaint against the children of Yakov for letting him cross over the river alone. They should not have let him be by himself. In some form they were lazy not to accompany him. 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 “what is your name” and tells him that he will no longer be called Yakov but Yisroel instead. The question is that by Avraham when his name was changed we no longer refer to him by his previous name, whereas Yakov is called Yakov even after his name is changed? We see that Yakov came away limping after his struggle with the malach. The other Avos were successful in their struggles with Tumeh. But Yakov was left with a residual wound.        

   The Pachad Yitzchok says 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. He had no release. 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. We need to act like a Yakov (the Eikvas - cunning) to survive among the goyim 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? Th answer is that really he feared he might kill Essav and that Essav was carrying the seeds of future converts. The achairim that Rashi speaks of is the Neshama of R.Meir who was a convert that was a descendant of Essav's. In fact when the Talmud says “Acharim Omerim-Others say” they say this is really R.Meir. So Yakov was afraid of killing “Achairim.” He was afraid of killing R.Meir.

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

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

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

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

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

   (32:12) “Hatzilani Na Miyad Achi Miyad Essav.” 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.

   (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 ancestor of 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 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 “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 was Samael, which in Hebrew when the letters are switched around spells 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 “ayin” for eye. It was the place that held some advantage over Yakov’s vision. (R.Shmuel Brazil)

(32:23) “Vayavor es Mavar Jabbok-And he crossed the river Jabbok.” Why was this place chosen for the confrontation between the Sar of Essav and Yakov? In last week’s Parsha it says (30:43) “Vayifrotz Ho’ish Ma’od Ma’od-The man became tremendously wealthy.” Why does it use the word Ish when describing Yakov's becoming wealthy? The term Ish is a term that was used to describe Essav. Yakov had stolen the brachos from Essav and now he had become wealthy, a man of the world, successful. Earlier when Yakov amassed this wealth, he is referred to as Ish (30:43) The man (Ish) prospered exceedingly and he possessed great herds and maids and servants and camels and donkeys. So when the posuk says Yakov was left alone it means he had to face what he had become, the struggle was with 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 brachas. He had taken on some of the characteristics of his brother. He had a part of Essav in him. Originally they were to share in the rebuilding of the world. Yakov was to mend the spiritual while Essav was to handle the physical aspect of the world. But when the demands of the physical world proved to be too much of a temptation for Essav, Yakov had to assume both roles. He no longer would just be the dweller in tents content to study Torah. He would have to learn the ways of the world. He would become a hunter. “Vayivater Yakov Livado-Yakov was left alone” equals 846 the same as the words B'choroso L'Yakov-The firstborn rights are Yakov's.

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

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

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

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

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

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

   (32:31) “Vayikra Yakov Shaim Hamokem Pene'ale - Yakov named the place Pene'ale.” In the very next posuk Hashem calls the place Penuael? Yakov had a very personal reason for naming the place. He had just overcome his greatest obstacle, Essav's malach. For him the place represented Hashem turning his face towards him to save him. (Pani- ale) Hashem on the other hand named the place for the future generations. So that when a person is tested he should turn towards Hashem (Penu-ale). The numerical value of the word Pene'ale is 171 the same as the word Lehatzilo- to be saved. The word Penu'ale equals 167 the same as the word Anisenu - to be tested.

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

The angel wanted to discover whether Ya'akov 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 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-” - Why didn't Yaakov follow the wish of Rochel's name choice? These even seem to be her final words on this earth.

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

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Ba Gad

(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.  

   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. She therefore gave her maidservant, Zilpah to Yakov out of  which Gad was born. 

   The Rambam asks why was it necessary for Leah to give Yakov her maidservant? She already at this point had four sons and in fact she later had even more children. Why did she not wait? Perhaps this is the betrayal that Rashi alludes to. 

   Originally by the Bris bein Habisorim Hashem promised Avraham the lands of ten nations. But later on in Devarim when they were actually taking over the land we find only seven nations were conquered. Hashem delayed the conquest of the last three nations for the future 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. We find that his portion in Eretz Yisroel was part of Ammon and Moav’s territory. When we add those lands to the ones conquered in Eretz Yisroel proper we have a total of nine nations equal to the numerical value of the word Bagad as written in the Torah. The one nation that he could not effect was Edom. Gad was supposed to have been born from Leah. Had he been, he would have even been able to overcome Edom. The difference between the words “Bagad” and “Bah-Gad” is the Aleph which represents Edom. The words “Bah-Gad” equals ten. This is why the Torah reads the words “Bah-Gad” but it is written “Bagad” without the aleph. The potential was never realized.

      Why was the fact that Leah was not the mother of Gad, the difference between his overcoming Edom? 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. 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 Yakov was criticized for hiding Dinah in a box. He feared that Essav might see her and take her, Yakov was criticized for doing that since Leah might have been able to reform Essav. Again the power of Leah to overcome Essav.

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