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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 25, v. 21: "Va'yetar Yitzchok laShem l'nochach ishto ki akoroh hee" - And Yitzchok pleaded to Hashem across from his wife because she was barren - Should not the verse have switched these two phrases, placing the statement that his wife was barren ahead of stating that he prayed, since her being barren brought about his praying? The gemara Y'vomos 64a says that Hashem greatly desires the prayers of the righteous, and He therefore made our Patriarchs and Matriarchs barren. They would then pray for children. Accordingly, the prayers that they would offer to Hashem were the cause for being barren. (Rabbeinu Bachyei)

Ch. 25, v. 22: "Va'yisrotz'tzu habonim" - And the sons jostled - Although the Tur says that Eisov's hairy body itched Yitzchok, causing him to jostle with Eisov, Sefer Chasidim writes that Hashem, in His infinite kindness, wanted Yitzchok to not be negatively influenced by Eisov, a realistic fear even in the womb, so He brought mutual animosity into their hearts, causing them to jostle with each other.

Rashi says that when Rivkoh was near the Torah study hall of Shem and Eiver Yaakov wanted to exit, and when she stood near idol worship Eisov wanted to exit. Understandably, Eisov wanted to exit when near idol worship because he had no such environment inside his mother's womb, but since the gemara Nidoh 30a says that when one is inside is mother's womb he is taught the entire Torah by an angel, what was Yaakov lacking inside his mother's womb?

From this we can derive that Yaakov preferred to forego learning from an angel rather than "going to "cheder" with Eisov. (Admor Rabbi Yisochor Dov of Belz)

Ch. 25, v. 23: "Ul'ome mil'ome ye'emotz" - And one nation over the other nation will dominate - Rashi says that the two nations represented by Yaakov and Eisov cannot both be on top. When one elevates itself the other falls. Note the order mentioned in Rashi. Had he said that when one falls the other rises, we may conclude that it is out of our control to gain mastery, as Eisov must act in a way that he lowers himself, and as a result we go upwards, like a see-saw. However, Rashi says that when one rises the other falls. This teaches us that we are in control of the situation. We are always able to elevate ourselves, and as a result Eisov will fall. (Rabbi Mordechai Chaim of Slonim)

Ch. 25, v. 23: "V'rav yaavode tzo'ir" - And the greater will serve the lesser - Given the explanation of Rashi just mentioned in the previous offering, that when one rises the other falls, how can the verse end by saying that the older will serve the younger, since this situation changes from time to time?

1) As translated above, the verse is not mentioning the older and younger. Rather, it is saying that he who is at the time "rav," greater, because he elevated himself, he will dominate over the lesser. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh) To fit this into the words of our verse seems problematic, as the verse should have said that the lesser will serve the greater. This is explained by Likutei He'oros al Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh. He who was FORMERLY the greater, when he falls, he will serve the FORMERLY lesser.

This seems to not be in consonance with the offering of the Admor of Slonim. He said that we are in control of who is on top, and not pawns in the hands of Eisov. If so, the Torah should have stressed who will master over whom, and not who will be subservient to whom.

2) We can translate these words as "The younger one will accomplish a lot." (Chizkuni)

3) As mentioned in a previous Sedrah Selections on parshas Breishis, the word "es" serves the purpose of identifying who is the doer of an action and who is the recipient. For example, if one says "Reuvein hikoh Shimon," we can either understand this as "Reuvein hit Shimon," or "Reuvein, Shimon hit," the exact opposite. Although the word "es" has no intrinsic meaning, when we place it into this statement and say "Reuvein hikoh ES Shimon," we have clarified that Reuvein did the hitting and Shimon was the victim. We can thus say that the Torah consciously left out the word ES and did not say "v'rav yaavode ES tzo'ir," allowing us to translate these words as either "the older will serve the younger," or "the older, the younger will serve," again dependent upon merit. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 25, v. 25: "Va'yikru shmo Eisov" - And they called his name Eisov - Rashi, Ramban, and others say that he was called Eisov from the expression "osuy," he was all made, complete. Eisov was born fully developed with adult hair growth. However, the Sforno says that the midwives already knew that Rivkoh was carrying twins. When the first child emerged fully coated with hair they were very surprised, as a hairy child is quite difficult to expel from the womb. Correctly assuming that only this one of the twins was hairy and the other had baby soft smooth skin, they said that the firstborn must have exited earlier only by virtue of the other child pushing and forcing him out, "issuy." They therefore called him Eisov.

Ch. 25, v. 33: "Hishovoh li" - Swear to me - The Sforno says that Yaakov asked Eisov to swear, not out of lack of trust, but rather, since he was asking for ownership of something that was not tangible, the sale would not be binding. Swearing compensates for this drawback and makes it binding. The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh says that Yaakov insisted that Eisov swear as a means of not allowing Eisov to wheedle out of the sale. By saying "Hishovoh LI" Yaakov stated that the transaction should take place according to HIS terms and understanding.

Ch. 25, v. 33: "Va'yimkor es b'choroso" - And he sold his primo-geniture right - The Sforno says that the payment for the sale was not the food Yaakov gave Eisov. Rather, he sold it for an undisclosed amount of money. In the next verse he writes that the act of acquisition was through "kinyan chalipin," either with the lentils or the dish. The Ramban disagrees with the Sforno, saying that the payment was the "n'zid adoshim" itself and not money.

Ch. 26, v. 30,31: "Va'yaas lo'hem mishteh va'yochlu va'yishtu, Va'yashkimu vaboker va'yishovu" - And he made for them a feast and they ate and they drank, And they rose early in the morning and they took an oath - In verse 28 we find that they agreed to make an oath of peaceful co-existence. Why did they wait until the next morning to take the oath and not do this at the meal that was served? Yitzchok insisted that the swearing not take place at the meal because they drank intoxicating beverages and might later excuse themselves by saying that they were not of sober mind when making the commitment. He therefore had them push this off until the next morning, but even then, specifically early in the morning before they hit the bottle again. (Tosfos Hasho'leim)

Ch.26 , v. 35: "Vati'h'yenoh moras ruach l'Yitzchok ul'Rivkoh" - And they were of a rebellious spirit to Yitzchok and to Rivkoh - This is relevant to the upcoming story of Yaakov wresting the blessings away from Eisov. Had these two women not behaved in a religious manner in front of Yitzchok and Rivkoh, they would have been patient with their daughters-in-law. However, since these women disrupted and spitefully aggravated them, they were driven out of their parents-in-laws' home. Had they spent much of their time there it would have been impossible for Yaakov to receive the blessings. These women would surely have advised Yitzchok that Yaakov entered his chambers when he wanted to bestow his blessing upon Eisov. (Chizkuni)

To illustrate how nasty Yehudis and Bosmas were, Tosfos Hasho'leim writes that when Rivkoh would be in the middle of her prayers they would place their pagan idol forms in front of her face and force her to stop praying. Yitzchok was forced to leave the house to pray.

Ch. 27, v. 13: "Ach shma b'koli v'leich kach li" - Only hearken to my voice and go fetch me - Yaakov greatly feared that he would be caught trying to impersonate Eisov. Rivkoh calmed him by telling him that he would be successful if he would not concentrate on wresting the blessings out of Eisov's hands, neither for the purpose of his personal benefit, nor for depriving Eisov of the blessings. He should carry out this act to fulfill his mother's wishes, the mitzvoh of "kibud eim." (The Holy Alshich)

N.B. - Last week a question was raised on the Chasam Sofer's stating that Eliezer only had "kfitzas ha'derech" on his way out of Eretz Yisroel, as he was not a "ben Eretz Yisroel." Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer chapter #16 states clearly that he experienced "kfitzas ha'derech" on his way back as well. However, a simple reading of the words that follow clear up this problem. It clearly states that this happened so that Eliezer should not be together with Rivkoh overnight, for fear of his acting immorally with her. Thus, although he had "kfitzas ha'derech," it was not in his own merit.



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

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