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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 32, v. 4: "Va'yishlach Yaakov malochim l'fonov" - And Yaakov sent angels ahead of him - Rashi (M.R. 75:4) says that "malochim" does not mean messengers, but rather literally angels. Why did Yaakov make use of celestial creatures rather than send flesh and blood human beings? M.R. 82:2 says that the likeness of Yaakov is engraved upon the royal celestial throne of Hashem. When the bnei Yisroel are fulfilling Hashem's will the image is bright and when they do not it is dull. Yaakov knew that he was about to encounter Eisov and was quite worried about the outcome. He knew that it depended upon merits. If his likeness above was sparkling it was a sure sign that he is meritorious and has nothing to worry about. Eisov can do him no harm. To find out if it was so he had no choice but to send angels to the heavens. This is the meaning of "Va'yishlach Yaakov malochim l'FONOV." He sent angels to the heavens to find out the status of his heavenly FACE. (Rabbi Yisroel Abuchatzira Baba Sali in Mo'ore Yisroel)

Ch. 32, v. 14: "Va'yikach min habo v'yodo minchoh l'Eisov" - And he took that which came to his hand as an offering to his brother Eisov - The words "habo v'yodo" require elucidation. Rashi offers that it either means that which belonged to him, or items that easily fit into the hand, jewels, or items that were tithed.

A novel interpretation by Rabbi Moshe Shimon Antkalski of Vilna: The Darkei Moshe on Tur Y.D. #35 writes that he read in the name of Rabbi Yehudoh Chosid that if one passes his hand over the nape of an animal and it bends its head downwards, this is a sign that the animal is kosher and not a treifoh. An allusion to this is found in T'hilim 51:19, "Lev nishbor v'nedkeh Elokim lo sivzeh," and in Yeshayohu 57:15, "Ushfal ruach l'hachayos." This is the intention of the words "min habo v'yodo minchoh l'Eisov." Yaakov passed his hand over the napes of his animals. Those that did not bend downwards, and remained against his hand, "min habo v'yodo," he sent to Eisov.

Ch. 32, v. 17: "V'revach tosimu bein eider u'vein eider" - And space shall you create between flock and flock - On a simple level this was to create the illusion of the offering being many animals, to satiate Eisov's greedy eyes (Rashi). Based on the axiom that all that happened to our Patriarchs is a portender of what will take place with the descendants, M.R. 75:13 says that when Yaakov sent the flocks in this manner he prayed to Hashem, "When You find it necessary to send retribution upon my children, please do not send one difficulty on the heels of the previous one." This is an allusion to the taxes and confiscations that the descendants of Eisov levy, that they not come all at once.

Ch. 32, v. 30: "Lomoh zeh tishal lishmi" - Why should you ask my name - Rashi says that angels have no set names. Their names change every time they are sent to carry out Hashem's assignment. This is the basis for changing the name of someone who is ill. Perhaps he is very ill and possibly close to death because he has not fulfilled his assignment. However, by changing his name, his assignment in this world (Although everyone is enjoined to fulfill the 613 mitzvos of the Torah there is often a specific "job" one must accomplish for his personal "tikun ha'nefesh.") could likewise change, and he is given renewed health to accomplish this. (Shaa'rei Aharon)

Ch. 32, v. 30: "Va'y'vo'rech oso" - And he blessed him - Who blessed whom? Most commentators say that the angel blessed Yaakov. Targum Yonoson ben Uziel says that Yaakov blessed the angel.

Ch. 33, v. 4: "Va'yisho'keihu" - And he kissed him - Targum Yonoson ben Uziel and Avos d'Rebbi Noson #34 say that Eisov cried because he was hurt when he attempted to bite Yaakov's neck when he fell upon him in an embrace. This word has dots above each letter. This indicates that the word is an acronym, each letter being the first letter of a complete word. This stands for "Va'yomer Hachi koro Shmo Yaakov Va'yaakveini" (27:36) in reverse. Eisov harboured no brotherly love for Yaakov, even after an absence of many years. (Minchas Yehudoh)

Ch. 33, v. 18: "Va'yovo Yaakov sho'leim" - And Yaakov came complete - Rashi (gemara Shabbos 33b) says that Yaakov came complete in his body, his money, and his Torah. The Kabalistic work Pirkei Heicholos writes that the three angels Shagbiel, Lahitziel, and M-T-T-R-N accompanied him to the city of Sh'chem. Rabbi Shimshon of Ostrapolia points out that the numerical value of the names of these three angels is 838, the same as "guf, momone, Torah. As well the first letters of the names of these three angels spells out ShoLeiM. Alternatively, he offers another explanation of ShoLeiM, and again as an acronym. The Ramam in Moreh N'vuchim writes that of the seven "traveling stars" (planets), four of them, Chamoh, Nogah, Tzedek, and Kochov, are portenders of positive things happening. The other three, Shabsai, L'vonoh, and Maadim, are portenders of of negative happenings. Shabsai indicates corporal punishment, L'vonoh punishment for insufficient Torah study, and Maadim monetary punishment. Yaakov came ShoLeiM, an acronym for these three celestial bodies, complete in all three areas that Shabsai, L'vonoh, and Maadim bring retribution.

Ch. 34, v. 1: "Va'teitzei Dinoh" - And Dinoh ventured out - This parsha relates Dinoh's being forcibly confined and raped. Rashi says that this was a result of Yaakov's hiding her in a box, out of sight of his brother Eisov. The Chasam Sofer explains that had Yaakov left her in the open, as he did all his other children, then his blessing of "asher chonan Elokim es avdecho" (33:5) would have included Dinoh and she would have been safe. Because he had her placed in a box she was not included in his positive words, and she lacked this protective blessing.

Ch. 35, v. 10: "Vayikra es shmo Yisroel" - And he called his name Yisroel - The name Yisroel encompasses our Patriarchs and Matriarchs, as the first letters of each of their names is found in the name YiSRoEL, - Yitzchok, Yaakov, Soroh, Rochel, Avrohom, and Leah. (Ar"i z"l in Likutei Torah)

Ch. 35, v. 17: "Gam zeh loch ben" - Also this is for you a son - "Gam" adds that this is a second son, or that besides the son who is now born with an accompanying girl, as was the case when every other boy was born, here a second girl was born as well, giving us triplets. (Rashi) "Gam" usually connotes a surprise, "in spite of .. nevertheless." Sforno explains that this refers to the words at the beginning of our verse. Although Rochel suffered extreme labour pains, which are indicative of the upcoming birth of a girl, as per the gemara Nidoh 31a, nevertheless, she gave birth to a boy.

Ch. 35, v. 18: "Ki meisoh" - As she died - Rashi on 31:32 writes that Rochel died as a result of the words of Yaakov that whoever stole Lovon's idols should die. It is of the utmost of importance to be careful with the words we utter, in particular if they are negative, as per the gemara Brochos 19a, Al yiftach odom es piv l'soton." The Holy Admor Rabbi Aharon of Belz was so careful that when he discussed Shabbos desecrators, he did not call them as such, since this is associated with many negative words of the gemara. He called them people who did not differentiate between Shabbos and Sunday. (Taam Vodaas)

Ch. 36, v. 15,16: "Aluf Knaz, .. aluf Gatom" - Chieftain Teimon .. chieftain Knaz - In verse 11 we find the order reversed, with Gatom mentioned ahead of Knaz. In verse 11 the point of information is the order of their births, "Va'y'h'yu bnei Elifoz .. v'Gatom u'Knaz." Gatom was older than Knaz and is mentioned first. Verses 15 and 16 are discussing who were the chieftains, "Ei'leh alu'fei vnei Eisov." Knaz was appointed as a chieftain earlier than Gatom was, and is therefore mentioned earlier. (Rabbi Avrohom ben hoRambam) This explanation does not seem to alleviate the switch in order of Teimon ahead of Knaz in verse 15, and Knaz ahead of Teimon in verse 42, as both verses discuss their being chieftains. Any help would be greatly appreciated.



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

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