by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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PLEASE DAVEN FOR A REFUOH SHLEIMOH FOR ITOMOR EFRAYIM BEN LEAH HA'LEVI BS'SH'CH"Y
SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS TOLDOS 5766 BS"D
Ch. 25, v. 21: "L'nochach ishto ki akoroh hee" - Across from his wife as she was sterile - Rabbi Yoseif Bchor Shor translates "l'nochach" as "to rectify." Yaakov knew that he was capable of reproducing and the problem was with his wife. (See Targum Yonoson ben Uziel and Baal Haturim)
Ch. 25, v. 22: "Lomoh zeh onochi" - Why is this for me - Rabbi Chaim Vi'tal in Eitz Hadaas Tov writes that Rivkoh knew of the twelve tribes being born to the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, but did not know to which generation. She thus calculated, " If I am bearing two sons who are already internally ripping each other apart, al the more so, will they fight once born, and even worse, if I were to bear the 12 tribes they would surely fight about the apportionment of the Holy Land. She therefore prayed that she not give birth to the 12 tribes and Hashem listened to her pleas. They were then pushed off another generation.
Perhaps we can say that this is alluded to in these words of our verse, "lomoh zeh onochi." "Zeh" has the numeric value of 12. Why should the 12 be to me? (Nirreh li)
Ch. 25, v. 23: "Va'yomer Hashem loh" - And Hashem informed her - Just as we note in verse 21 on the words "vaa'yei'o'ser LO Hashem," that Hashem responded to HIM and not to HER, likewise here, Hashem HER and not HIM. Yitzchok was therefore not aware of Eisov's bad ways until the time of bestowing his blessings. (Chizkuni)
Ch. 25, v. 23: "V'rav yaavod tzo'ir" - Rabbi Mordechai Banet interprets: "V'rav," if one wants to become great, "yaavod tzo'ir," he should begin when he is young.
Ch. 25, v. 24: "Va'yimlu yo'mehoh lo'le'des" - Although Rivkoh suffered greatly, she did not give birth until she was full-term, having a gestation period of 271 days. (Targum Yonoson ben Uziel)
Ch. 25, v. 24: "V'hi'nei somim b'vitnoh" - And behold twins in her uterus - "Hi'nei" is used where there is a surprise. Rivkoh was already advised that she was carrying twins, so what was the surprise? The next verse answers this. The fact that Eisov emerged first was very unusual, since Yaakov was smooth and Eisov very hairy, the smooth baby should have slipped out ahead of the hairy one. (Sforno)
Ch. 25, v. 26: "V'acha'rei chein" - And afterwards - Rashi on Dvorim 11:30 differentiates between "achar" and "acha'rei," stating that everywhere that we find "acha'rei" it is to be interpreted as not only afterwards, but also a while or distance afterwards. The difficulty from our verse is obvious. This problem is compounded with the opinion of Haksav V'hakaboloh, who differentiates between "achar" or "acha'rei" and "ach'rei CHEIN," stating that the added "chein" indicates distancing, and not an immediate sequence. Perhaps, even though Yaakov emerged gripping Eisov's heel, he was not born until a while later. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 25, v. 26: "V'acha'rei chein yotzo ochiv v'yodo oche'zes baa'keiv Eisov" - M.R. #63 relates that a Roman officer asked one of the Rabbis, "Who will reign in the end of days." He took a blank sheet of paper and wrote upon it the words "V'acha'rei chein yotzo ochiv v'yodo oche'zes baa'keiv." Why didn't he answer directly, verbally, rather than write it down? Secondly, why did he leave out the final word of this phrase, "Eisov"?
Binyan Ariel answers this based on the words of Rabbeinu Tam on the gemara Gitin 60a. The gemara relates that Queen Hilni commissioned the writing of a tablet of gold with the text of the parsha of Sotoh to be used as a master from which a scribe could copy the parsha of "sotoh" when needed. Rabbeinu Tam explains that the actual words of the Torah were not written in full, but rather, the first letters of each word were redacted. This is because we are not permitted to write three/four or more words of the Torah except when actually writing a Torah or Nach.
We can similarly say here that the Rabbi would not have written these words as that is not permitted. What he actually wrote was the first letters of these words, but without the word Eisov. The numeric value, sans Eisov, is the same as the first letters of Moshiach Ben Dovid. He did not verbalize the words, as the message would not be understood. He did not want to clearly write the answer so that there would be no evidence that he stated that the Jewish nation would rule over the Romans.
Ch. 25, v. 26: "Vayikra shmo Yaakov" - - Rashi offers two opinions, either that his father Yitzchok gave him this name, or that Hashem gave him this name. Rabbeinu Chaim ben Paltiel says that we can only accept the opinion that Hashem gave Yaakov his name, as we find in 27:36, "Va'yomer hachi KORO shmo Yaakov……" Eisov says to his father, "Has HE not called him Yaakov because he has tricked me twice." If Yitzchok gave Yaakov his name, Eisov would surely have said, "Hachi KOROSO shmo Yaakov," - haven't YOU called him Yaakov. This seems like a daunting question, especially with Rashi's keeping with the straightforward explanation of the verses (see Rashi Breishis 3:8).
However, it seems that a careful analysis of our verse and an earlier verse will yield a most satisfactory answer. The last words of our verse are, "va'yomar halo otzalto li brochoh." "Va'yomer" seems to be superfluous, as the verse begins with Eisov speaking, "Va'yomer hachi ……" Since no narrative interrupts his words why place "va'yomar" in the middle? Note that in verse 31, where Eisov begins to speak to his father the first thing he says is, "YOKUM ovi v'YOCHAL," in the third person, a respectful manner of speaking. Immediately on the heels of this in verse 32 he says, "ani binCHO b'chorCHO." Although this is second person, since it is in response to the question, "mi otoh," Eisov could not say, "I am HIS son HIS firstborn." He had to respond unequivocally, "I am YOUR son, YOUR firstborn." The next time Eisov spoke, in verse 34, he said, "borcheini gam oni ovi." Here again third person form is improper, since it is a command, and "tzivuy" form only exists in second person. Back to our verse. Eisov is still in respectful mode. He therefore said, "Has HE not called him Yaakov because he has tricked me twice." Eisov means that his father Yitzchok gave the name, but is expressing himself in third person. Then out of extreme anger and disappointment his resolve bursts, and he changes to second person mode. This necessitates a "va'yomar," a different type of speaking, and he says "halo OTZALTO li brochoh," haven't YOU, second person, set aside for me a blessing." (Nirreh li)
Ch. 26, v. 7: "L'ishto" - Rashi explains this to mean ABOUT his wife. However, Knesses Hagodoloh translates this as TO his wife. They asked Rivkoh directly what her relationship was to the man who accompanied her. Because Yitzchok did not warn her earlier to say that she was his sister, he cut in and answered that she was his sister.
N.B. In parshas Va'yeiro the following question was raised: What effect, if any, was there on the children Soroh nursed on the day of the festivities of Yitzchok's being weaned?
I have been directed by Y.M. to Psikta Rabosi d'Rebbi Kahana, piska 44, va'Shem pokad es Chanoh," #4. Rabbi Pinchos haKohein the son of Rabbi Choma said in the name of Rabbi Chilkioh, "There were two groups of women who gave their children to Soroh to nurse, those who did it to test her, to see if she really gave birth to a child, and was truly lactating (see Rashi on Breishis 21:7 d.h. "heinikoh"), and those who believed that she gave birth to a son, but just took up her offer to nurse their children. Rabbi Levi said that both groups benefited greatly. Any person in the future who would be elevated to a position of prominence would be a descendant of a child whom Soroh nursed. The children who were given to Soroh to nurse not as a test, ALL converted. Not only that, but ALL future converts, or even those who have fear of Heaven, are their descendants. This is a fulfillment of the verse "Eim habonim smeichoh (T'hilim 114)." Rabbi Dovid Luria, Bichover Rav, in his commentary on Psikta Rabosi says that "those who have fear of Heaven" are the same as "chasi'dei umos ho'olom." Medrash Tanchuma on parshas Va'yeiro #38 says that every child of the Mitzrios (interesting to note, as our verse does not mention the nationality of the attendees) who nursed from Soroh became a convert.
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