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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS VA'YEITZEI 5771 BS"D

Ch. 28, v. 10: "MiBeir Sheva va'yeilech Choronoh" - From Beir Sheva and he went to Choron - Rashi on 29:11 relates that Eisov sent his son Elifaz to catch up with Yaakov and to kill him. When he caught up with Yaakov, Yaakov pleaded with him to take all his possessions, thus rendering him destitute, and a destitute person is equated to a dead person, and thus his father's wishes could be considered fulfilled.

The Mahar"i Asad says that this is alluded to in the first letters of these words of our verse. Miyad Boh Elifaz Rosho Shehu Ben Eisov Va'yitein Yaakov Lo Kol CHeilo Rak Nishar Hamakal.

Ch. 28, v. 16: "V'zeh shaar hashomayim" - And this is the gate of the heavens - A prayer that has been proliferated among us in more recent years than the rest of the body of our tefilos is that of "Brich shmei," said when the doors of the Aron Kodesh are opened and a sefer Torah is about to be brought removed. This is taken from the writings of the Holy Zohar parshas Shmos 8b. The Holy Zohar writes, "When a sefer Torah is taken out to be read in a congregation the heavens' portals of mercy are simultaneously opened, and great love in awoken above. At this time a person is to recite "Brich shmei " The final words, "V'sashlim mishalos d'libo'i v'libo d'chol amoch Yisroel" are thus most befitting.

Ch. 28, v. 20: "Ushmorani ba'derech ha'zeh asher onochi ho'leich v'nosan li lechem le'echol u'veged lilbosh" - And He will guard me in THIS PATH that I go and He will give me bread to eat and a garment to wear - Yaakov was destitute after Elifaz "relieved him" of his worldly possessions. Nevertheless, he assumed that he would eventually have financial stability, as his father and grandfather both had. His entreaty in our verse is to be understood as follows: And may He safeguard me in THIS PATH that I now go, realizing that all wealth comes from Hashem and at His will it can all disappear in a moment. If I do have the ability to purchase bread and a garment may I realize that, V'NOSAN li lechem le'echol u'veged lilbosh," that it all comes from Hashem. (n.l.)

Ch. 29, v. 11: "Vayiso es kolo va'yeivk" - And he raised his voice and he cried - Rashi relates that Eisov sent his son Elifaz to catch up with Yaakov and to kill him. When he caught up with Yaakov, Yaakov pleaded with him to take all his possessions, thus rendering him destitute, and a destitute person is equated to a dead person, and thus his father's wishes could be considered fulfilled. Yaakov entered into marriage a destitute person. Lovon definitely gave him no support and Yaakov generated an income through his own toil. Yaakov is our Patriarch who is the paradigm of Torah study. Maybe there is a message here for our "es kumt meer" generation that one can develop into a great Torah scholar without being spoon-fed.

Ch. 29, v. 18: "E'evodcho sheva shonim b'Rochel bitcho haktanoh" - I will work for you for seven years for Rochel your younger daughter - The gemara Y'vomos 65a says that it is appropriate for a person to marry numerous wives, but with one proviso, that he is able to properly support them. Given that Lovon was a person who pursued financial gain in a vigourous manner, he would most likely not have agreed to give his daughters in marriage to someone who had no means of supporting them, and it is likewise obvious that Yaakov would not undertake to marry and have numerous children without a visible means of support for his family. (Sforno)

I believe that the gist of this comment by the Sforno is to explain why Yaakov made such a grandiose offer to Lovon, and not try to get away with much less. Yaakov was showing that he was quite capable of generating income.

Ch. 30, v. 1: "Vatka'nei Rochel baachosoh" - And Rochel was jealous of her sister - Why was she jealous just now? It is either because Rochel assumed that each of Yaakov's four wives would bear three sons, but now that Leah had four sons and she still had none, that she became jealous (Nachalas Yaakov), or as Rashi points out, that Rochel was jealous of the merits Leah had that she herself didn't have, coming to this conclusion or else she would also have merited to give birth to sons. This is expanded upon by the Maskil l'Dovid. Although "Bnei chaya umzonei lo bizchusa talya milsa ella m'mazla," that having children, years of life, and income are not dependent upon merits, but rather on "mazel," but since Leah had more than an equal share of sons, it was likely that she had some gigantic merits as demonstrated by Leah's now for the first time expressing special thanks to Hashem, "Hapaam odeh es Hashem," and Tosfos explains that exceptional merit can overcome "mazel," so she was jealous of this type of merit which she felt she herself lacked.

Ch. 30, v. 1: "V'im a'yin meisoh onochi" - And if not I am dead - Rashi says that he who has no children is equated to a dead person. This is one of four people listed in the gemara N'dorim 64b who are considered as if they are dead, one who is either childless, poor, has tzoraas, or is blind. Rabbi Chaim Shmulevitz explains that there is a common denominator here. One who is poor has very limited opportunities to help another. One who is a metzora is quarantined and cannot help another. One who is blind does not see what another is lacking, and one who is childless does not have those who are normally the main people upon whom kindness is showered.

Ch. 30, v. 18: "Vatikra shmo Yiso(s)chor" - And she called his name Yiso(s)chor - We are all well aware of the anomaly of the silent letter Sin in Yisochor. Later on the tribe of Zevulun would generate sufficient income through shipping, fishing and trade with distant lands to support their own tribe and that of Yisochor, allowing Yisochor the freedom for full-time Torah study. Yisochor thus generated a double reward, both for himself and for Zevulun. The letter Sin represents "sochor, reward. One portion of it is for Yisochor himself, and that is the letter Sin that is verbalized, and the second portion of reward is for Zevulun ans not for himself, so this is why the second letter Sin = "sochor," is not verbalized. (Rabbi Avrohom Ostrolenker)

Ch. 30, v. 21: "V'achar yoldoh bas" - And afterwards she gave birth to a daughter - Rashi says that Leah realized that if the child she was carrying would be a male, Rochel would only have at the most one boy, less than either of the concubines. She therefore prayed for this child that she was carrying to be a girl.

This was very magnanimous of Leah, as being the mother of another child who would be the head of a tribe in Yisroel is of major importance. She did not lose out from her being magnanimous, as Dinah's daughter would eventually be Yoseif's wife and would give birth to Efrayim and Menasheh, so Leah ended up being the great-grandmother of an additional two tribes. (Rabbi Yoseif Weiss of Antwerp)

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See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a


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