by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS TOLDOS 5762 BS"D
Ch. 25, v. 21: "L'nochach ishto" - Rashi (M.R. 63:5) translates "l'nochach" as across from, saying that Yitzchok stood in one corner and entreated Hashem, while his wife did the same in another corner. The Rashbam translates "l'nochach" as "bishvil" - for her benefit. Although Rashi disagrees with the Rashbam in translating the word "l'nochach," nevertheless, Rashi clearly agrees that Yitzchok prayed to Hashem for Rivkoh to bear children, as Rashi states in verse 26 d.h. "ben." Rashi calculates that after being married to Rivkoh for 20 years Yitzchok realized that Rivkoh was barren. He then prayed FOR HER. The gemara B.K. 92a says that when a person is in need of something and prays to Hashem to fulfill this need for another who is also lacking it, Hashem first responds to the one who prays for his fellow man. We thus find that Yitzchok prayed for Rivkoh, and Hashem responded to his prayers and not to Rivkoh's, in keeping with the dictum of the above-mentioned gemara, as indicated in the words in our verse, "va'yei'o'seir LO Hashem," from which the gemara Y'vomos 64a derives that Hashem responded to Yitzchok's prayers. (Horav Yitzchok Zev Brisker)
Ch. 25, v. 21: "Va'yei'o'seir lo Hashem" - Rashi (gemara Y'vomos 64a) derives from the word "lo" that Hashem responded to Yitzchok's prayers, and not to Rivkoh's prayers. This is because we cannot compare the prayers of a righteous person, Yitzchok, who is the child of a righteous person, Avrohom, to the prayers of Rivkoh, who is a righteous person, but the child of an evil person, B'su'eil. Is there more prominence to a Torah scholar who is the son of a Torah scholar over a Torah scholar who is the son of an unlearned person? The gemara Taanis 21b says that a Torah scholar who is the son of an unlearned person should act subserviently to a Torah scholar who is the son of a Torah scholar.
Ch. 25, v. 25: "Kulo k'a'derres sei'or" - Rabbeinu Bachyei writes in the name of the medrash that Eisov's power is dependent upon the hair on his chest. At the time of the final redemption his power will wither as this hair will fall out upon the sounding of the shofar that is mentioned in Z'charioh 9:14, "VaShem Elokim bashofor yisko v'HOLACH B'SAAROS Teimon." (Rashi on this verse refers us to the gemara Yerushalmi Taanis 2:4, which explains that this refers to the kingdom of Edom in the final days.)
Ch. 25, v. 26: "V'acha'rei chein yotzo ochiv" - Rashi relates a medrash that he heard to explain why Yaakov had a right to the primogeniture benefits. He gives an example of placing 2 stones into a narrow tube that is closed at the bottom. The stone that was placed into the tube first will be the second one to be removed from the tube, as the second stone placed into the tube will by necessity have to be removed first. Similarly, Yaakov was created from an earlier placed seed of Yitzchok, and could only leave his mother's womb after the later placed Eisov would be expelled.
The GR"A says the same as our Rashi on Dvorim 21:15-17, in his explanation of the parsha of the first-born birthright of the two children born to a man's two wives. However, the Tur Ho'oruch totally disagrees, saying that the first-born birthright depends solely upon who was born first. The Haa'meik Dovor in parshas Ki Seitzei and Rabbi Meir Arik in "Imrei Yosher" 2:114 go so far as to say that the words of the GR"A were falsified, as what was said in his name is totally incorrect.
Reconciling these two opinions with our parsha requires a balancing act. If indeed, Yaakov was the rightful "b'chor," why was it necessary for him to purchase this right from Eisov (verse 33)? On the other hand, if Eisov was the rightful "b'chor," how could this right be sold? There are numerous answers to this dilemma.
It is interesting to note that in spite of all the flak on the words of the GR"A, including the disagreement of the Tur, nevertheless, Tosfos Hasholeim on 25:31 #11 and 25:33 #3, and the Hadar Z'keinim both say the same as the GR"A in parshas Ki Seitzei.
The GR"A seems to be in consonance with our Rashi, as mentioned earlier, but Horav Mordechai Friedman of Mezeritch explains that Rashi is not to be taken literally, as twins are the result of a splitting of the male seed as per the gemara Nidoh 27a. Perhaps there will be an expansion on this in parshas Ki Seitzei, bez"H.
Ch. 25, v. 26: "V'yodo ochezes ba'a'keiv Eisov" - Rabbi Yitzchok Weiss, Rav of Verbau, homiletically suggests that "v'yodo" should be understood as "his Yud-Dalet," Yaakov's 14 years that he attended Yeshivas Eiver, "ochezes ba'a'keiv Eisov," gave him the skills to have a grip on Eisov's heel, how to react to Eisov's negative behaviour. (Siach Yitzchok)
Ch. 26, v. 5: "Eikev asher shoma Avrohom" - The gemara Yoma 28b says that these words teach us that Avrohom even fulfilled Rabbinical decrees, such as "eiruvei tavshilin." The GR"A sees no indication that Avrohom abided by this specific Rabbinical ruling more than any other one from the words of our verse. He therefore suggests that the original text in the gemara was the acronym Eiyin-Tof, which stands for "eiruvei t'chumin," which involves the laws of walking a prescribed distance on Shabbos or Yom Tov, understandably indicated by the word "eikev," which can be translated as "heel." The printer mistakenly thought that these letters stood for "eiruvei tavshilin."
It is interesting to note that in Medrash Agodas Breishis, a compilation of medroshim based mostly on verses in T'hilim, but dealing with subjects in Breishis, which was edited by Rabbi Menachem d'Lanzia, it also says "eiruvei t'chumin."
Ch. 26, v. 12: "Mei'oh sh'orim" - Rashi (M.R. 64:6) says that Yitzchok's produce was estimated at 100 fold the normal yield, AND our Rabbis said that this estimation was for tithing a tenth of the produce, "maa'seir." Are these two thoughts connected? They seem to be as Rashi says "AND our Rabbis said." Another question can be raised. The mishneh in Pirkei Ovos 1:16 says that one should not readily tithe by estimation, "v'al terbeh l'a'seir m'umodose." If so, why did Yitzchok do so by estimation, rather than accurately measure his total yield, and then accurately measure a tenth of that?
The Rada"k on M'lochim 2:4:7 brings a Tosefta that says that produce that is the result of a miracle need not have "maa'seir" separated. Rashi (M.R.) on our verse says that the land produced poorly and that it was a year of famine, and in spite of these two drawbacks, Yitzchok's fields yielded a 100 fold crop. This was clearly a miracle. Although he was not required to tithe the complete produce, he still wanted to tithe the amount that the field would have produced sans miracle. This brought about the need for estimating what the field would normally produce and in no way contravenes the rule of the mishneh in Pirkei Ovos. This also explains the connection between the two statements, that the field produced 100 fold and that the Rabbis said that the estimation was for the "maa'seir" tithe. (Rabbi Y.D. Babad of Busk)
Ch. 26, v. 18: "Va'yoshov Yitzchok va'yachpore" - This verse relates that Yitzchok revitalized the wells that his father Avrohom's servants had dug, which were plugged up by the Plishtim after the death of Avrohom. Not only did Yitzchok remove the sand that was dumped into the wells, but also renamed the wells with the same names given by his father. This requires some explanation.
1) Why does the Torah tell us this at all?
2) Why would anyone in his right mind plug up a well, since potable drinking water and irrigation water are needed by all? (Rashi (Tosefta Sotoh 10:2) answers this.)
3) What is the significance of the names of the wells, let alone that Yitzchok insisted upon renaming them the same names that his father had given them?
4) What is meant by "Va'yoshov Yitzchok?" Did he then return?
Haksav V'hakaboloh answers all these questions with a most remarkable insight. He says that Avrohom in all his endeavours attempted to bring the heathen populace to recognize the existence of Hashem. We find throughout Avrohom's experiences that he gave names to objects or places that indicated Hashem's existence or involvement in his life. Thus he gave such names as "Hashem yi'reh, Beis Keil, Hashem nisi," and "B'eir lachai ro'i." Thus when people would go to the wells, a very common occurrence, they would continuously say that they were going to "Hashem Keil olom" well, or "Hashem Elokei Tz'vokose" well, probable names that Avrohom gave. Using these terms on an ongoing basis would drill recognition of Hashem's existence into their minds.
Once Avrohom died, many of the people returned to their heathen ways, to the point that using the names of the wells was contrary to their mistaken beliefs. This was remedied by their plugging up the wells, even at the cost of limiting their water supply. Once the wells fell into disuse, the names became obsolete. Yitzchok revitalized these wells and insisted upon giving them the names his father had originally given them, having the same purpose in mind as did Avrohom.
Haksav V'hakaboloh adds that this insight might be that of the Holy Zohar, who writes in the addendum to 3:302b: When the Plishtim filled the wells with earth people returned to their idol worship. The world was desolate, as no one recognized the existence of Hashem. Yitzchok came and the verse says "Va'yoshov Yitzchok va'yachpore." "Va'yoshov" means that he RETURNED the world to the recognition of Hashem by revitalizing the wells.
Ch. 26, v. 26: "Vaachuzas mei'rei'eihu" - Targum Onkeles translates "mei'rei'eihu" as "mei'rachamohi," and similarly translates "rei'ei'hu" (Breishis 38:12) as "racha'mei." Rashi translates Targum Onkeles back into Loshon Hakodesh as "ohavov." What is the difference between a "rei'a' and an "oheiv"? The Magid Mishneh in his commentary on the Rambam hilchos shechitoh chapter #1 says that "ohavim" are people who out of love one for another come to agree with each other. "Rei'im" are people who love each other in spite of remaining in disagreement regarding certain issues. Perhaps with this difference we have an insight into the words of the "sheva brochos," "rei'im ho'ahuvim." Are the choson and kaloh "rei'im" or "ahuvim"? Perhaps these words indicate that we expect them to come to an agreement on many issues that they originally did not see eye to eye, "ahuvim," but are also expected to hold their ground on some matters, "rei'im."
Ch. 28, v. 9: "Va'yikach es Mochalas" - Medrash Shmuel chapter #17 derives from these words that one who marries has his sins forgiven, "Mochalas" = "m'chiloh." The Tashba"tz (#465) and the Rokei'ach r'mozim parshas Nitzovim, on the Haftorah "Sose osis" write that this applies equally to the bride and the groom. However, the Eishel Avrohom of Butshatsh writes that this only applies to the groom.
Last week's question: The M.R. 58:8 says that the words "bnei Cheis" appear ten times regarding the purchase of the burial site by Avrohom. We only find this eight times.
Answer: The Sfas Emes says that we include 25:10, "Haso'deh asher konoh Avrohom mei'eis BNEI CHEIS," and 49:30,32, "Asher konoh Avrohom, mei'eis BNEI CHEIS."
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See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha
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