by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS VA'YEITZEI 5773 BS"D
Ch. 28, v. 10: "Va'yeitzei Yaakov miB'eir Sheva" - And Yaakov left B'eir sheva - M.R. 68:6 says that it would have been sufficient for our verse to only say that Yaakov went to Choron. By adding on that he left B'eir Sheva the verse is informing us that the presence of a righteous person in a city is its glory, its illumination, its beauty. When he leaves, its glory, illumination, and its beauty leave with him. These three terms are "zivoh, hodoh, v'hadoroh." By removing the numeric value of Yaakov, 182, from B'eir Sheva, 575, we are left with 393, the numeric value of "Ponoh zivoh hodoh vahadoroh." (Yalkut Lekach Tov)
Ch. 28, v. 16: "Va'yikatz Yaakov mishnoso" - And Yaakov woke up from his sleep - The M.R. 69:7 says that we should interpret "mishnoso" as "mimishnoso," from his learning. Simply, this means that even when he slept he was learning. However, the famed "masmid" Rabbi Sho'ul Moshe Silberman, Rov and R"M of Viroshov, a talmid of the Avnei Nezer, interpreted this to mean that his drive to learn every given moment brought him to wake up earlier than when he had sufficient sleep.
The Avnei Nezer admonished him in his early years to sleep more than four hours a night lest he suffer from health issues as he would get older. He was so driven that he found it too hard to take this advice, but did admit when he was older that he should have taken his Rebbi's advice.
Ch. 28, v. 16: "Ochein yeish Hashem bamokom ha'zeh v'onochi lo yodoti" - Indeed Hashem is in this place and I did not know - Yaakov sensed there was a great amount of holiness where he was. He surmised that this was a result of his being there. But how would this bring a great spirit of holiness from above? It must be that Yaakov acted in a way that was totally devoid of his "self worth," his "onochi." (Tiferes Shlomo Admor of Radomsk)
Ch. 28, v. 22: "V'chol asher ti'tein li a'seir aasrenu loch" - and all that You will give me I will surely give a tenth to You - The word "loch" seems problematic, as Yaakov did not give to Hashem. The gemara Taanis 9a says that he who tithes a tenth will as a result become wealthy, based on a verse in Dvorim 4. Yaakov is saying that he wants no such reward. He will give a tenth for YOU, and not for himself. (Tiferes Y'honoson)
Ch. 28, v. 22: "A'seir aasrenu loch" - I will surely give a tenth to You - The concept of giving away a tenth of one's holdings is not limited to finances. One who has the ability to teach Torah to others is likewise required to give away of his time, notwithstanding that he will lose out on learning by himself or with an equal level scholar during that time. Rabbi Moshe Feinstein states this unequivocally, although he is not sure that the requirement is a tenth of his time, and similarly does not know if one may be limited to not give away more than a fifth of his time, as is the halacha with money.
Ch. 29, v. 7: "Lo eis hei'oseif hamikneh hashku hatzone ulchu r'u" - It is not the time to collect the cattle give to drink for the sheep and go to pasture - If it is not yet the time to collect the bnei Yisroel from all over the world for the appearance of Moshiach, let there in the meanwhile be ample drink and food to sustain them. (Rabbi Meir of Premishlan)
Ch. 29, v. 21: "Hovoh es ishti ki molu yomoy v'ovo'oh ei'lehoh" - Give my wife because my days are complete and I will come upon her - Rashi comments that "molu yomoy" means that he is already 84 years old. This is further indicated by the first letters of these words adding up to 84. (Kesef Tzoruf)
Ch. 29, v. 21: "V'ovo'oh ei'lehoh" - And I will come upon her - The gemara Sotoh 17 says that when peace reigns in a home the Holy Spirit is present in the form of the letters Yud and Hei. When a son is born the letter Vov is added, and when a daughter is born the letter Hei is added, completing Hashem's Holy four-letter Name. "V'ovo'oh ei'lehoh" allows for a reading of "V'ovi Vov Hei el Yud-Hei." (Ben Ish Chai)
Ch. 29, v. 31: "Va'yar Hashem ki snuoh Leah" - And Hashem saw that Leah was hated - Medrash Tanchuma explains these words to mean that Hashem saw that in Leah's eyes the actions of Eisov were hated. Why does the medrash explain our verse in this seemingly convoluted manner? Hashem made it difficult for our Matriarchs to conceive because He yearns for the prayers of the righteous. We see that Leah conceived with no delay or ado. Why was this? She was also certainly righteous. The answer is that Leah hated the behaviour of Eisov and had continuously prayed to Hashem that she not fall into his hands in marriage. Thus Hashem had already heard her many, many prayers and readily allowed her to conceive time and time again. (Kedushas Levi)
Ch. 31, v. 6: "Ki v'chol kochi ovadti es avichem" - Because with all my strength I worked for your father - The Rambam in chapter 13 of hilchos s'chirus writes that just as the hirer of workers is not allowed to shortchange them by not paying what was stipulated, nor to delay their payment, the labourer is likewise prohibited to waste time even in small increments. He is held accountable for the full time for which he was hired. This can be seen from the halacha of the labourer being freed from the fourth blessing of grace after meals, allowing him more time to work. He also is not to work lethargically, but rather, to use all his energy, as we see from our verse.
Tosefta B.M. eighth chapter says that a worker is not allowed to pain his body in a manner that weakens it, nor to also hire himself for more work at night.
Although today the halacha is that a worker recites the fourth blessing of birkas hamozone (Sh.O. O.Ch 191:2) the worker may not take on self made leniencies that are beyond "minhag hamdinoh." If the worker is one of a group and sees that the others do not comply with halacha, that is no excuse for him. This is especially relevant for "melamdim" who teach Torah. If they do things that weaken their stamina they will be taken to task for not maximizing the teaching of Torah. (Taam Vodaas)
Ch. 31, v. 20: "Va'yignove Yaakov es lev Lovon hoArami al bli higid lo ki bo'rei'ach hu" - And Yaakov stole Lovon the Arami's heart for not telling him that he is escaping - It is well understood that Lovon was displeased with Yaakov's fleeing, but what does the verse mean when it says that Yaakov did not relate to Lovon that he is escaping? Escaping requires the element of secrecy.
Yaakov went to Lovon in Padan Aram at the bequest of his father and his mother. Each had a different reason. His father told him to go there to pursue a wife, while his mother told him to go there to escape Eisov's wrath. There is a major difference between these two reasons. If one goes to a new community to marry a woman and has a viable livelihood there, it is very likely that he would stay on. If however, he has gone there to escape a situation, it is likely that he will want to go back when things improve "bach home." Lovon was originally only apprised by Yaakov of his coming to him to seek a wife. He now became aware that Yaakov ran away from Eisov and now wanted to return home. Lovon was fooled by not being told that Yaakov is a fugitive, a "bo'rei'ach." (Pardes Yoseif)
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