by Zvi Akiva FleisherBack to this week's parsha | Previous Issues
PARSHAS VA'YISHLACH 5759
Ch. 32, v. 9: "V'hoyoh hamachaneh hanishor lifleitoh" - The Ramban says that Yaakov's strategy created a "ma'asei avos siman labonim." When the bnei Yisroel are in exile under the rule of Eisov, even if in one country there are very harsh decrees against them, the leaders of another country have mercy and accept them. The Ramban adds that this is actually a Medrash Rabboh 76:3 which says that if "we experience "v'hikohu" as happened to our brethren in the south, then "v'hoyoh hamachaneh hanishor lifleitoh," there are our brethren in the Diaspora."
Ch. 32, v. 23: "Achad osor y'lodov" - Rashi asks where Dina was and answers that she was not seen because Yaakov hid her in a box so that Eisov would not cast his eyes upon her. The GR"A asks how do we know that it was Dina who was hidden and not one of her brothers. He answers that the reason Binyomin merited to have the Beis Hamikdosh placed in his tribe's land was because Binyomin, having not yet been born, did not bow down to Eisov(see Targum Sheini Megillas Esther 3:3). Therefore, had it been any of her brothers who was hidden, he would also not have bowed down to Eisov, so why would Binyomin merit to have the Beis Hamikdosh placed in his territory rather than the brother who was hidden and also didn't bow? This proves that it was Dina who was hidden.
Ch. 32, v. 32: "Gid hanosheh" - The Kreisi U'fleisi Y.D. #65 s.k. 16 relates that a man went from community to community in Europe, claiming that the sinew that was being removed was not in fact the gid hanosheh, and that he knew which gid was the true gid hanosheh. Upon coming to the community where R' Yonasan Ibishitz (author of Kreisi U'fleisi) lived, R' Yonasan convinced him that he was wrong by showing him the Sefer Halachos Gedolos, which says that the gid hanosheh applies to both males and females. The gid which this man claimed was the gid hanosheh was only to be found in male animals. This is extremely puzzling since it is well known that the intention of the SH"G was that the mitzvah applies to both men and women, and not in which gender of animal the gid is to be found. A number of explanations are given:
1) R' Yonasan writes that his first reaction was that the man must be wrong because ALL of klal Yisroel cannot be doing this mitzvah incorrectly. He therefore attempted with any means at his disposal to prevent him from spreading his incorrect opinion. Not knowing how great of a scholar this man was, he used this trick and was successful.
2) There is a printing mistake and in the place of SH"G it should have said SH"N, which stands for Sefer Hilchos Nikur. This is a book which deals with the technical removal of prohibited parts of the animal and here where it says males and females, it is indeed talking about the animal. Rabbi S. Neches of Los Angeles owns a Kreisi U'fleisi printed in the lifetime of R' Yonasan. It is annotated in numerous places with notes written by R' Yonasan himself. The letters SH"G were crossed out and in the margin SH"N was written by R' Yonasan. (Pardes Yosef)
3) See the responsa of the Chasam Sofer Y.D. # 69 for his explanation.
Ch. 33, v. 2: "V'es Rochel v'es Yosef acharonim" - Rashi comments that "acharon acharon choviv." The idea that "the best is saved for last" cannot be derived from here, since in this situation Yaakov wanted to distance his beloved Rochel as far as possible from Eisov. This has nothing to do with setting an order of speakers for example, and saying that the best is saved for last. However, there is a source for the best is saved for last from Shmos 12:35. There is a list of the objects that the bnei Yisroel took from the Egyptians: silver vessels, golden vessels, and garments. The M'chilta comments that this is listed in the order of "acharon acharon choshuv."
Ch. 33, v. 18: "Vayovo Yaakov sholeim ir Sh'chem" - The Rashbam says to read this verse, "And Yaakov came to the city named Sholeim, which was the city of the man named Sh'chem."
Ch. 34, v. 7: "Ki n'volo oso" - On a trip to northern Eretz Yisroel, as I passed near Sh'chem, our tour guide Reb Sholom Gefner told us that the Arab name for Sh'chem, Nablus, comes from the word "n'volo." I also heard that Nablus was a totally rebuilt city and is phonetically similar to New Villa.
Ch. 34, v. 13: "Va'yaanu vnei Yaakov" - On 24:15 where Lovon answered ahead of B'suel, Rashi comments that Lovon was a rosho for doing this. Why then did the bnei Yaakov answer ahead of Yaakov?
1) The Moshav Z'keinim answers that they feared that Yaakov might agree with Chamor's proposition, so they answered with their conditional offer.
2) Possibly, it is only wrong to answer ahead of one's father. Here Yaakov did not respond at all.
3) The Emes L'Yaakov, in a more detailed explanation of many difficult matters in this incident, says that Yaakov also wanted them to circumcise themselves, but since his midoh was "emes," he did not want to be the one to offer a false proposition, since he had no intention of allowing them to intermarry with his family. That is why he waited for his sons (34:5) and had them make the proposition.
Ch. 34, v. 25: "Va'y'hi ba'yom hashlishi" - Rabbenu Tam and the Ran on the Mishna Shabbos 134b are of the opinion that the greatest danger after miloh is not on the third day, but rather immediately, and decreases as time goes on. Why then did Shimon and Levi wait for the third day to wage a battle with the inhabitants of Sh'chem? The Baalei Tosfos say that they waited three days as it took this long until everyone had been circumcised. The Ran answers that although the danger is greatest immediately after miloh, the circumcised person is weakest on the third day.
Ch. 35, v. 10: "Vayikro ES shmo Yisroel" - In parshas Lech L'cho the name changes of the Ovos were discussed at length. A few reasons were given for Yisroel's retaining the name of Yaakov in addition to the name Yisroel. A few more are:
1) The Moshav Z'keinim (25:26) says that in 17:5 there is a "miut" (limitation) of "lo yikorei ode" followed by a dividing word "ES," and then ..."v'hoyoh shimcho Avrohom." Although there are two "miutim,'" they are divided and the "miut' eliminates the name Avrom totally. Here we have two "miutim" in a row, "lo yikorei ode" and "ki im Yisroel," which add on, as per the rule of "ein miut achar miut elloh l'rabos" (Yoma 43a, Bovo Basro 14a). A wonderful explanation of this rule can be found in the Tosfos Yom Tov in the first chapter of Orloh.
2) Rabbenu Chananel, which is brought in the commentary of Rebbi Avrohom ben hoRambam, says that "ode" here means "only." Your name shall not be called Yaakov "ode," only, but Yisroel AS WELL. I am bothered by the fact that in 17:5 it also says, "lo yikorei shimcho ODE Avrom."
3) The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh 21:2 d.h. "vatahar" says that the Torah mentions Yishmoel as a son of AVROM in 16:15-16. Since Yishmoel is later considered the child of Hogor only, the Torah does not want us to connect Yishmoel with AVROHOM. The Torah never mentions him as the son of AVROHOM. If we were to still use the name Avrom there would still be a connection. I am bothered by 17:23 where it says, "Vayikach AVROHOM es Yishmoel BNO."
In parshas Lech L'cho a Yerushalmi Brochos 1:6 was discussed which said that a name ordained by Hashem cannot be changed. The gemara Brochos Bavli did not mention this. With the commentary of the Holy Zohar parshas Noach and the Rashi 25:26 that Hashem named Yaakov, how could his name be changed? A possible answer is that those commentaries will disagree with the Yerushalmi, and assume that the Bavli's opinion is that the name could be changed. However, the Bavli will agree that a heavenly ordained name, even when changed, still exists as a secondary name. This would be another explanation of why the name Yaakov remains.
Ch. 35, v. 14: "Bamokom asher di'beir ito" - Rashi says that he doesn't know what these words teach us. This is extemely difficult. If not for these words we would not know where Yaakov built his altar. The answer is that there is a printing mistake, and these words of Rashi belong in verse 13 on the exact same words, "bamokom asher di'beir ito." Here it says that Hashem ascended from Yaakov "at the place that He spoke with him." It is obvious that Hashem left from the place at which He was, in front of Yaakov. Here Rashi's difficulty is understood. Some Chumoshim have this printed properly, indicating that these words of Rashi are on verse 13.
Ch. 35, v. 22: "Va'yeilech R'uvein VA'YISHKAV" - The Baalei Tosfos say that "va'yishkav" should be translated, "and he UNDID the bed of Bilhoh, as we find "va'yashresh" can mean it took root, or it was uprooted.
Ch. 36, v. 3: "Bosmas" - Rashi says that this is Mochlas (28:9). The name "Mochlas" comes from the source word "m'chiloh" to indicate that Eisov was forgiven for his sins when he married. Is this a freebie? The Breishis Zuto, the Medrash Breishis Rabboh 67:13, and the Medrash Rabboh Shmuel ch.17 all say that Eisov was forgiven because at the time of his marriage to Mochlas the idea of repenting entered his mind. Possibly, Hashem is very magnanimous with forgiveness at the time one marries, to allow the person to truly be b'simcho. As happy as he feels, if his n'shomo is not happy because of sins, there is a lack of true happiness. This might be what is meant with the words "samei'ach t'samach rayim ho'ahuvim," that Hashem should give happiness to the chosson and kalloh. His forgiveness is their true happiness, "k'sa'meichacho y'tzircho," just as you gladdened Odom and Chavoh, who were without sin at the time of their marriage.
I am departing from my normal format with the following write-up on TIMNA. It is done in three sections. The first is technical, explaining different opinions on some very difficult verses, some of which seem contradictory. If you decide to skip this, I still urge you to read sections two and three. Section two is a collection of statements by the gemara, medroshim, and Rishonim about Timna. Section three is insights into the composite picture of Timna as drawn in section two.
Ch. 36, v. 11: "And the children of Elifaz were Teimon, Omor, Tz'fo, and Gatom, and Knaz. (v. 12) AND TIMNA; was the concubine of Elifaz ben Eisov, and she bore to Elifaz, Amolek." (Please note the punctuation after the word Timna is a PSIK, a sort of semi-colon.)(v. 14) Oholivomo the wife of Eisov gave birth to Y'ush, Yalom, and KORACH. (v. 15-16) The chieftains of the children of Elifaz were ......Aluf KORACH......(v. 18) The chieftains of Eisov of the children of Oholivomo were...... Aluf KORACH.
(v. 22) ...... and the sister of Loton was TIMNA. (v. 40) And these are the names of the chieftains of Eisov......Aluf TIMNA...... In Divrei Hayomim 1:1:36 " The children of Elifaz were Teimon, and Omor, Tz'fi, and Gatom, Knaz, and TIMNA, and Amolek. (v. 39) ...... and the sister of Loton was TIMNA. (v. 51) ...... and the chieftains of Edom were Aluf TIMNA......
There are some very obvious problems in understanding the above. 1) Why isn't Timna listed as a child of Sayir, but only as a sister of Loton the son of Sayir? 2) Why is Timna listed as a child of Elifaz in D.H.? Wasn't she his concubine? 3) Why is she listed among men without a mention of her being a woman in D.H.? 4) How is she listed as a chieftain, since this is a position only relegated to men? 5) Korach seems to be the child of Oholivomo and of Elifaz. 6) Since Korach is mentioned as a son of Eisov in D.H. 1:1:35, why is Aluf Korach not mentioned?
Rashi alleviates some of these problems by saying that Elifaz took Sayir's wife and sired Timna. He then took his daughter Timna as a concubine. This explains why she is only the sister of Loton maternally, but not the daughter of Sayir. (Taken from Tanchuma parshas Vayeishev #1)
The Ramban offers four possibilities:
1) Elifaz took the WIDOW of Sayir as a concubine and they had Timna. Aluf Timna in v. 40 and in D.H. 1:1:51 refer to this concubine. This is also the opinion of the Rabbenu Tam as per the understanding of the Rashb"oh (Bovo Basro 115b). It is a difficult position as mentioned in #4 above.
2) Timna in v. 40 and D.H. 1;1:51 are both a male Timna. He does not explain Timna's lineage.
3) Timna the concubine died in the process of childbirth and just before dying called her child Timna. Elifaz called him Korach. This would allow for the same explanations as in #2, and also explain the two Korachs as being two different men (v. 14 and 18 Korach ben Oholivomo, v. 16 Korach ben Elifaz).
4) In v. 12 the first word "v'Simna" is connected to the end of the previous verse and is the sixth child of Elifaz. Verse 12 says that "There was a concubine to Elifaz who bore him Amolek." It is understood that his unnamed concubine is also named Timna, and the Torah skipped it so as to not say the same name twice in a row. This attachment to the previous verse and cut-off from the next verse is acceptable as per rule #11 of the 32 rules of expounding the Torah. (see this list in the preface to the Talmud, volume Brochos.) He adds that we can say that in D.H. 1:1:36 Timna is the female, and read as follows: "The children of Elifaz are ...... and Timna, "and Amolek," meaning and Amolek was her son. (The Metzudos Dovid explains these words just as the Ramban does.) Now we can say that Aluf Timna is the male (v. 40 and 1:1:51).
The Rashbam says that the word "v'Simna," which is the first word in v. 12 is to be understood as the last word in v. 11, and also doubles as the first word in v. 12. He brings a few places where this doubling is done. His proof for this is that after the word "v'Simna" there is a PSIK, a cantillation, trup mark, which is a stop, similar to a semi-colon. This is also pointed out by the Moshav Z'keinim. The Rashbam also says that there were two Korachs, and Aluf Korach (v. 16) is the male Timna, as in D.H. 1:1:36 Aluf Korach is not mentioned. Rashi (36:5) alleviates this problem by saying that Elifaz sired Korach through Oholivomo. This would explain why in v. 4 it says that Odoh gave birth L'EISOV, Elifaz ......, and in v. 5 it says that Oholivomo gave birth to ...... and Korach, leaving out the word L'EISOV, since Elifaz was his father.
Rabbenu Bachyei says that EISOV took the wife of Sayir and sired Timna. His son Elifaz took her as a concubine. She died in childbirth and Elifaz called this child Timna. This is the Aluf Timna of v. 40.
The R'dak on D.H. 1:1:36 says in the name of a commentator named Ezroh that the word "v'Simna" in v. 12 is connected to verse 11 only, and we do not know the name of Elifaz's concubine.
It was mentioned that the Ramban in #1 said that Elifaz took the WIDOW of Sayir. This is also the opinion of the R'dak in D.H. The Breishis Zuto says that Sayir was LIVING when his wife was taken by Elifaz, and that Elifaz took Timna as a concubine, assuming that she wasn't his daughter, but rather Sayir's. The Baalei Tosfos are in doubt regarding this matter.
Given this information you can either be more mixed up than when we began, or sort out the 6 problems mentioned above, according to the many options offered.
PLEASE NOTE: An all important issue is clarified by the Torah's specifying the lineage through Timna the CONCUBINE. Although there is a prohibition to war against the offspring of Eisov (Dvorim 2:5, 23:8) there is a mitzvoh to eradicate Amolek (Dvorim 25:19). How is this reconciled? Those who come from the CONCUBINE of Elifaz, namely Amolek and his descendants, are not to be considered the offspring of Eisov. (Ramban and Rabbenu Bachyei)
1) The gamara Sanhedrin 99b says that King Menashe remarked negatively that there is no need for the Torah to mention that Timna was the concubine of Elifaz or that Timna was the sister of Loton. The gemara says that a great lesson is to be learned. Timna was from the royal family of Sayir, as it says (v. 22) "va'achos Loton Timna." She wanted to convert to Judaism and marry into the family of Avrohom, Yitzchok, and Yaakov. The Ovos did not want to accept her as a convert. She went to Eisov, who offered her as a concubine to his son Elifaz. She agreed saying, "It is better to be a maidservant and be joined to this family, than to be with my royal family." This teaches us in what high esteem the Ovos were held. This is also recorded in Breishis Rabboh 82:14. The gemara goes on to say that since the Ovos denied her the opportunity to enter klal Yisroel, her descendants, the nation of Amolek, would cause untold misery to later generations of bnei Yisroel.
Why indeed did the Ovos not accept her? The Torah T'mimoh answers that the Rambam in hilchos Issurei Bioh 13:14 says that a person who wants to convert to Judaism with the intention of joining royalty is not to be accepted. If so, why did klal Yisroel deserve to suffer from Amolek? Possibly this can be answered by first posing another question. How was Hogor accepted as a convert (25:1)? An answer might be that since she was the daughter of the king of Egypt, she was ALREADY a member of a royal family and the ruling of the Rambam doesn't apply. Similarly, Timna thought that she was the daughter of Sayir (according to above-mentioned Breishis Zuta that Elifaz took Sayir's wife while he was still alive) and of royal lineage. This indicates her genuine intention. The Ovos knew that in reality she was the daughter of Elifaz and did not accept her.
2) The Hadar Z'keinim in parshas B'shalach 17:8 on the words "va'yovo Amolek" explains why Amolek came to attack the bnei Yisroel shortly after the splitting of the sea. He relates the following story. Timna saw Elifaz armed to the teeth with weapons. She asked him where he was going. He responded that his father Eisov asked him to kill Uncle Yaakov. She said to Elifaz that there is obviously nothing more enjoyable for Eisov to do than to kill Yaakov himself. Why would he give "shishi" away to his son? It is clear that he is afraid of Yaakov, and it is very realistic that Yaakov would kill Eisov. She therefore suggested that he not pursue this idea, and indeed when he met Yaakov, he was placated with taking away Yaakov's possessions. A short while later Timna saw her son Amolek similarly armed. The same conversation ensued. However, in response to his mother's remark about likely being killed by Yaakov, he said that he was willing to chance it, even at the risk of his own life. Timna said that it is known that there is a destiny for the descendants of Avrohom to go to Egypt and endure enslavement for many generations. If Yaakov is left alive, his descendants will fill this role. If Yaakov is killed then Elifaz and his children will have inherited this responsibility. This argument was successful in dissuading Amolek from his plan. Now that the bnei Yisroel had completed their exodus from Egypt, Amolek was ready to attempt to ch"v eradicate the bnei Yisroel, hence "va'yovo Amolek" right after krias yam suf.
3) Rabbenu Bachyei says that in the verse "v'Simna" there is a holy name of Hashem which is composed of eight words containing forty letters with which we can take revenge on Amolek. These eight words correspond to the eight chieftains of Eisov, who became leaders as a result of Yaakov calling Eisov "my master" eight times.
4) The Rambam in his preface to Sanhedrin perek Cheilek in klal #8 says that all parts of the Torah are equally holy, as they are all words given by Hashem, and that "v'Simna hoi'so filegesh" and "va'achos Loton Timna" are as holy and important as "Onochi Hashem Elokecho" (Shmos 20:2) and "Shma Yisroel" (Dvorim 6:4). He adds that "Toras Hashem t'mimo" (T'hilim 19:8). Rabbenu Bachyei (36:39) says quite similarly to the Rambam.
5) One of the Baalei Tosfos in Tosfos Hasholeim points out that the first letters of (T'hilim 19:8) "T'mimo M'shivas Nofesh Eidus," tof, mem,nun,ayin, spell out Timna. 6) There are five "chato'os ha'mei'sos," animals that have the sanctity of a "chatos" but are not able to be sacrificed on the altar as a chatos atonement. Instead they are killed (Horios 6b). They are Vlad chatos,Tmuras chatos, Meisu ba'al'e'ho, Niskapru b'acheres, Ovroh shnosoh. The sefer Ma'asei Torah chapter 11 says that the first letters of these five "chato'os ha'meisos" create the acronym VTIMNA,vov,tof,mem,nun,ayin.
In this section you will find insights into the above 6 topics by corresponding numbers.
1) The above-mentioned gemara and Medrash Rabboh may be a source for the name Timna. The source letters of Timna, mem, nun, ayin, means RESTRAINT, denying opportunity. She was denied the opportunity to enter into Klal Yisroel.
2) The above-mentioned story from the Hadar Z'keinim might also be a reason for the name Timna. She RESTRAINED Elifaz and her son Amolek from attempting to kill their Uncle Yaakov.
3) The eight words which are used to counter Amolek are taken from the verse "v'Simna." Why is the verse of the lineage of Amolek the one with which to counteract Amolek? Possibly, since Timna wanted to cleave to our Ovos, and because she deterred Elifaz and Amolek from trying to kill Yaakov, thus possibly saving Yaakov's life, the verse which introduces her is the one that has the power to save the lives of Yaakov's descendants from the diabolical schemes of Amolek.
4-5) Although there are many verses that at first glance seem to not teach us anything, it is obvious that the Rambam chose the verses of Timna because they are the example the gemara Sanhedrin 99b quoted. But why does the Rambam choose the verses "Onochi" and "Shma Yisroel" to equate in importance with Timna? Possibly he hints to the answer by ending his statement that all verses are equally holy, as it says "Toras Hashem t'mimo." It was mentioned above that the first letters of Tmimo, M'shivas, Nofesh, and Eidus, spell Timna. It is known from the writings of the Zohar, mentioned in the commentary of the GR"A on Dvorim 34:5 that all the letters of the Torah are combinations of different forms of Hashem's holy names. Hence, Toras Hashem is "t'mimo," completely Hashem's names. Interestingly, Toras, Hashem, and Timna each equals 26 in mispar koton. "M'shivas nofesh" refers to the verse of "Onochi" as mentioned in the Medrash Rabboh Shmos 29:4, that when the bnei Yisroel heard the words of the verse of "Onochi" directly from Hashem, their souls left them and the Torah pleaded on their behalf to Hashem to restore them to life. Hashem agreed. The Medrash says that this is what is meant by "m'shivas nofesh," that the Torah brought about a return of their souls. "Eidus" refers to the verse of "Shma" as it is a testimony that we declare that Hashem is one. Indeed the letters "dalet" and "ayin" in this verse are very large, to indicate that we are "ade," witness, to Hashem's oneness. This might be why the Rambam equated the verses of Timna and the other two verses specifically.
It is now not surprising at all that from the verse of Timna many holy names of Hashem are extracted, as mentioned before in the name of Rabbenu Bachyei.
6) Why did Timna merit to have her name used as a mnemonic for the five "chato'os ha'meisos?" As mentioned above, the five chato'os are all cases of an animal having the sanctity of a sacrifice capable of providing atonement which was not used, where instead another chatos was used or another manner of atonement was achieved. In section II, 2) the Hadar Z'keinim was mentioned who told the story of Timna's dissuading Amolek from attempting to kill Yaakov by advising him that if he would be successful, the burden of suffering for many generations as slaves in Egypt would fall onto his family. She saved Yaakov from possibly being killed. Golus Mitzrayim is an atonement for a shortcoming of Avrohom as mentioned in the gemara N'dorim 32b. There was the possibility of the atonement being achieved by either Yaakov's or Eisov's descendants. Timna, in her saving Yaakov's life, said to Amolek that his family should not be the one to bring about the atonement, but rather that Yaakov's should. It is therefore most befitting that she has a place in our Torah study by the subject of atonement not being achieved with chato'os ha'meisos, where the sinner receives his atonement through another means. The five chato'os are instead put to death. Correspondingly, may the ze'rah Amolek have a "kein yovdu kol oi'vecho Hashem" (novi Shoftim 5:31).
ANSWERS TO LAST WEEK'S QUESTIONS.
30:3 - Why did Rochel need the merit of giving Bilhoh to Yaakov to procreate? Wasn't the merit of helping Leah become his wife even greater?
ANSWER: It seems that indeed helping Leah was much greater as seen from Chazal on "Rochel m'vako al bo'ne'ho" (Yirmiyohu 31:14). However, this was not a merit for having children. Her intention was to save Leah from shame (see Rashi on 29:25). Soroh gave Hogor to Avrohom specifically for procreating (16:2). This was an appropriate merit for Soroh to also have a child.
30:18 - Which letter "sin" of Yisochor is pronounced? It is a b'feirishe Rashi.
ANSWER: Rashi says the first letter "sin." The Rashi can be found in Divrei Hayomim 1:15:24. In one edition this Rashi is not printed, but can be found in the R'dak.
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