by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS VA'YICHI 5762 BS"D
Ch. 47, v. 29: "Vayikroh livno l'Yoseif" - The letter Lamed as a prefix to BOTH "bni" and Yoseif indicates that Yaakov called for him in his capacity as a son as well as in his capacity as Yoseif the Viceroy. The Taamo Dikro says that as a son Yoseif would do his bidding, and besides being his son, Yoseif was the cause for Yaakov's descending to Egypt, and in turn should see to it that his father's remains be brought back to his country of origin, Eretz Yisroel.
Ch. 47, v. 29: "V'osiso imodi chesed ve'emes" - Yaakov asked to be brought back to Eretz Yisroel and be buried in the M'oras Hamachpeiloh as a "kindness" and not as a requirement of "kibud ov," because he wanted to have Yoseif swear that he would do this, and if approached as a mitzvoh, then a vow would not be binding, as "ein nishbo'in al hamitzvos shekvar mushba v'omeid meiHar Sinai," a vow to do something that is already required to be done because it is a mitzvoh, is not binding. (Mahari"l Diskin)
Ch. 48, v. 1: "Hi'nei ovicho choleh" - The Sefer Chasidim #445 writes that if one is ill he can sell his ailment to another person.
Ch. 48, v. 5: "Efrayim uMenasheh kiReuvein v'Shimon y'h'yu li" - Why did Yaakov give Yoseif the privilege of having tribal status bestowed upon his two sons? The Chizkuni based on the gemara B.B. 123a answers that this was in response to Yoseif's sustaining him during the famine, or because Yaakov intended to marry Rochel first and foremost, so he gave the double potion privilege to Yoseif, or he did it for the honour of Rochel, so that she should have three tribal-head descendants, thus having more than his handmaids Zilpoh and Bilhoh.
Ch. 48, v. 7: "Kivras eretz" - Rashi says that t"kivroh" is a linear measure, 2,000 "amoh," the distance of "t'chum Shabbos" that one may travel beyond the end of an inhabited community. If Rashi's intention is to let us know what "kivras" means, why didn't he explain this earlier in 35:16, "va'y'hi ode kivras ho'oretz?" Rabbi Shmuel of Kovelle answers that in our verse Yaakov is excusing himself to Yoseif for burying Rochel on the road to Beis Lechem, and not bringing her to Beis Lechem. The simplest reason would be that we have a ruling that "meis koneh m'komo," - a person who dies away from a populated place should be buried where he died. Why did he explain to Yoseif that the location where she was buried would serve an important purpose in later generations? However, we have a ruling in Y.D. #364 that "meis koneh m'komo" does not mean that the dead person may not be moved at all. If he could be brought to burial in a cemetery that is within 2,000 "amos" of where he died, he should be moved. Thus Yaakov explained that he was not excusing himself because of "meis koneh m'komo," as Rochel died within the allowable distance. He therefore explained that he knew that by burying her on the road to Beis Lechem she would serve an important purpose in later generations when the bnei Yisroel would be on their way to exile in the days of N'vuzaradon.
Ch. 48, v. 7: "Vo'ek'b'rehoh shom" - The Chizkuni says that Yakov explained to Yoseif that he buried Rochel in Beis Lechem and not in the M'oras Hamachpeiloh because he knew that it would eventually fall into the portion of land allotted to the tribe of Binyomin, her son, and he also knew that the M'oras Hamachpeiloh would fall into the potion of land allotted to Yehudoh, a child of Leah. Alternatively, he says that Yaakov was reluctant to bring her to the M'oras Hamachpeiloh, which was at a distance, because she had died in childbirth, and Yaakov feared that she would stain her burial garments.
Ch. 48, v. 8: "Va'yar Yisroel es bnei Yoseif" - Rashi (Medrash Tanchuma #6) says that Yaakov wanted to bless them but his spirit left him because they would have evil descendants, Y'rovom and Achov from Efrayim, and Yeihu and his sons from Menasheh. Why don't we apply the rule of "baasher hu shom" (Breishis 21:17), from which the gemara R.H. 16b derives that we judge a person in his present situation, and do not take a negative future into account?
The Asifas Chachomim in the name of Rabbi Yitzchok of Szydlov answers that the Maharsh"o asks why we do not deal with the "ben soreir umoreh," a rebellious son, the same way, since at the present time he has not committed a crime deserving the death penalty, but rather we take what his future portends into consideration.
He answers that by Yishmo'eil in Breishis 21:17 there was no sin in his conception, but by the rebellious son, although the Torah permitted taking his mother, a "y'fas to'ar," a captive of war of goodly appearance, as a wife, this is a begrudging concession only, having an aspect of sin. Yaakov thought that Yoseif took an Egyptian wife without the rituals connected to marriage, thus producing these children based on sin, and he took their future into consideration. However, when Yoseif said "Bonai heim asher nosan li Elokim BO'ZEH" (verse 9), on which Rashi (ma'seches Kaloh 3:15 and Medrash Tanchuma #6) comments that "with this" means that Yoseif produced a writ of marriage and a "kesuboh," Yaakov realized that Yoseif married in accordance with halacha. Then he did not take their negative future into consideration, and gave them a blessing.
Ch. 48, v. 8: "Bonai" - Yoseif intimated to Yaakov that although his sons would have descendants who were not righteous, he still requested a blessing for them. The letters of "BoNaI," Beis-Nun-Yud are an acronym for Y'rovom Ben N'vot, and Yeihu Ben Nimshi. (Yalkut haGeirshuni)
Ch. 49, v. 8: "Yehudoh" -The family of kings was destined to descend from Yehudoh. The Rokei'ach says that the numerical value of the letters of Yehudoh "b'milluy," i.e. Yud=Yud-Vov-Dalet etc., equals that of "malchus." The first king from the tribe of Yehudoh was King Dovid. The Daas Z'keinim says that Dovid is alluded to in the first letters of the words "Gur Aryei Yehudoh," whose numerical value is that of Dovid, 14. Sefer Chasidim #504 explains why Dovid did not merit to become a king until he was 30 years old. He says that a person should not delay getting married. We see that Moshe was willing to marry the daughter of Yisro rather than a bas Yisroel, in order not to delay getting married. Because Yehudoh sold Yoseif and this brought about that Yoseif did not marry until the age of 30, likewise Dovid's reign began when he was 30 years old. The Rokei'ach says that an allusion to this is that the numerical value of Yehudoh is 30.
Ch. 49, v. 10: "Lo yosur sheivet m'Yhudoh" - Rabbeinu Bachyei notes that in these verses of Yehudoh's blessings we find every letter of the Alef-Beis, save the letter Zayin. This teaches us that the power of the kingdom of Yehudoh does not come from weaponry, "klei ZAYIN," but rather from the merit of the bnei Yisroel and the resultant protection offered by Hashem.
Ch. 49, v. 14: "Yisochor chamore go'rem" - Rashi translates "chamore" as a donkey, and "go'rem" as strong bones. Seemingly the word "go'rem" is taken from the Aramaic "garma."
The Daas Z'keinim, Rosh, and the Baal Haturim (M.R. 99:10) also translate "chamore" as a donkey, but translate "go'rem," as "caused." They relate that when Yaakov came home in the evening riding his donkey, it brayed. Leah heard this and realized that Yaakov had returned. She went out to meet him and direct him to her tent, as he had planned to spend the night with Rochel. As related in Breishis 30:13-18, Leah had bartered her mandrakes with Rochel for the evening with Yaakov and conceived Yisochor. Thus the donkey's braying was also a "cause" for Yisochor's birth.
The Tzror Hamor in parshas Va'yeitzei brings from the medrash on our verse that if one uproots mandrakes he will die shortly after. Reuvein, who brought the mandrakes to his mother, tied a donkey to the mandrakes and when the donkey moved it uprooted them and died. This, explains the medrash, is the meaning of the words of our verse. A donkey "caused" the birth of Yisochor, because it uprooted the mandrakes, which were bartered for the night with Yaakov, resulting in the birth of Yisochor.
There might be an indication for the concept of this medrash in the gemara Yerushalmi Shabbos 6:2. It states "D'kori al yavruchi osur," to speak on "yavruchi" is prohibited. Targum Onkeles on the word "dudo'im," mandrakes, in Breishis 30:14, says "yavruchin." The commentator on the Yerushalmi, Korban Eidoh, in his second explanation of "D'kori al yavruchi osur," says that one may not use an incantation to uproot mandrakes. Why wouldn't one just uproot them manually? Here we have an indication that there are dire consequences for doing this.
Alternatively, the Baal Haturim (M.R. 72:5) translates "chamore" as "cheimer," mud, since the word is spelled lacking a Vov after the Mem. Leah was so eager to have another child from Yaakov, that when he returned from his trip and had not yet even washed the mud off his feet from traveling, she bid him to join her for the night, bringing about the conception of Yisochor.
Ch. 49, v. 14: "Roveitz bein hamish'p'soyim" - The Sforno explains that a donkey crouches while still carrying the burden of two heavy parcels slung on either side. The word "mish'p'soyim" is of the same root as "hashofeh shtei k'deiros b'kirayim," one who places two pots into an oven. The contents of these two pots cook as they remain suspended in the air of the oven by virtue of being counterbalanced, connected outside the oven by a rope hanging over the top surface of the oven while the pots are placed inside, each in its own opening. This is why this type of oven is called "kirayim," a double "kiroh" oven. So too, a very strong donkey has two heavy pouches, one on either side, counterbalancing each other. The symbolism is that Yisochor, by virtue of his vast Torah knowledge, carries both the load of imparting Torah and guidance in daily life, on both the individual and community levels.
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See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha
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