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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 32, v. 4: "Artzoh Sei'ir" - To the land of Sei'ir - How is it that Yaakov sent a message to Eisov who was in Sei'ir? In 36:6-8 we see that Eisov still resided in Canaan, and only left to Sei'ir a while after Yaakov's return because of their each having large flocks and limited grazing locally? The Ramban answers that although Eisov moved to Sei'ir much earlier, he left his sons with the majority of his livestock in Canaan. It was only after Yaakov returned and settled into Canaan with his vast flocks that Eisov left.

Rabbeinu Chaim Paltiel answers that Eisov himself still resided in Canaan, but his wives were from Sei'ir and resided there. Yaakov assumed that Eisov often went there.

Ch. 32, v. 7: "Bonu el ochicho el Eisov" - We have come to your brother Eisov - Why doesn't the verse say that they also did Yaakov's bidding, namely to relate Yaakov's message of verses 5 and 6? Yaakov sent his messengers to get an understanding of Eisov's attitude. He reasoned that if Eisov would be found in Sei'ir, the place of his residence (contrary to the opinions in the previous offering), then his ire was not aroused and Yaakov could feel secure. If however, they would find Eisov on the road to Canaan, and possibly with a sizeable army in tow, then it was obvious that Eisov was ready to do battle. It was only if they would find Eisov relaxed that they should relate the words of appeasement. If it seemed that he was coming for a confrontation it would be counter-productive to speak kindly to him, as this would indicate weakness on Yaakov's part. When they saw that Eisov was on his way to meet Yaakov, having left his residence to enter Canaan, and with 400 men in tow, they said nothing to Eisov, and quickly returned to report to Yaakov. (Abarbanel)

It does seem that a bribe/appeasement was in place as we find in verses 14-21.

Ch. 32, v. 14: "Minchoh l'Eisov ochiv" - A present to Eisov his brother - Throughout this story we find the title "ach," brother, preceding the name Eisov (verses 8,12). Why here is this inverted? Mahar"i Kolon answers that since they were indeed brothers, their brotherhood is normally mentioned first. However here, where Yaakov is preparing a present to alter his Eisov's attitude, he is attempting to turn Eisov into his friendly brother. Therefore the title brother only comes afterward.

It remains to be explained why we find Eisov and then "brother" in verses 4 and 18.

Ch. 32, v. 33: "Gid hanosheh" - The dislocated organ - Does the prohibition to consume "gid hanosheh" apply to a human "gid" as well? Targum Yonoson ben Uziel says "divira v'cheivosa," of a domesticated or undomesticated animal, seemingly excluding that of a human.

There is no additional prohibition on the "gid hanosheh" of a non-kosher animal. It would seem that the answer to our question is a direct result of whether human flesh is a Torah prohibition or not. The Mishneh L'melech hilchos maacholos asuros 8:1 cites the Rashb"a who posits that the "gid hanosheh" of a human carries this prohibition. The Shaar Ha'melech (ibid.) agrees, and bases this on the Rashb"a following through on his opinion that human flesh is permitted on a Torah level, as mentioned in the Magid Mishneh hilchos maacholos asuros 2:3. The Rambam, who posits that human flesh is prohibited for consumption on a Torah level (ibid.) in tandem posits that "gid hanosheh" does not apply to eating this part of a human. The Minchas Chinuch 2:3 expands on this.

Ch. 33, v. 10: "Al noh im noh" - Please not if please - This seems to be the translation according to Rashi. The first "noh" is surely translated as "please," and the second one seems to mean the same, although this is not conclusive. Targum Yonoson ben Uziel and Onkelos translate the second one as "now." Targum Yerushalmi Hasho'leim translates both as "now."

In parshas Vo'es'chanan 3:25, Moshe implores Hashem to allow him passage into Eretz Yisroel, saying, "e'ebroh noh." In verse 26 Hashem responds with, "Al toseif da'beir eilai badovor ha'zeh." Nachal K'dumim explains that Moshe received the following information from the angels when he was in heaven: If you pray to Hashem and invoke the word "noh" twice, Hashem will surely acquiesce to your entreaties. This is why Hashem stopped him from repeating "noh" in his prayer. "Al toseif da'beir eilai BADOVOR HA'ZEH." Do not repeat this DIBUR of "noh." When Moshe prayed for his sister's healing from the affliction of leprosy he said, "Keil NOH r'fo Noh loh" (Bmidbar 12:13), and it was effective.

Here Yaakov invoked "noh" twice. He was sure that Hashem would now protect him from Eisov's machinations. "Kir'ose pnei Elokim" means that Yaakov related that Hashem was with him, and he added "vatirtzeini," you have become appeased with me. How was Yaakov sure of this? It was because he invoked "noh" twice. (Divrei Yoseif)

Ch. 33, v. 10: "Ro'isi fo'necho kirose pnei Elokim vatirzeini" - I have seen your face as if it were viewing the face of Elokim and you have become appeased with me - After many years of separation it would seem only decent that Yaakov should make strong eye contact with his brother. However, our Rabbis tell us, "Ossur l'hista'keil bifnei rosho," it is prohibited to stare into the face of a wicked person (gemara Megiloh 28a). Although there is a prohibition against "l'hista'keil bifnei rosho," this only means to not STARE at his face, but a glancing look is permitted, which is what Yaakov did.

Yaakov therefore excused himself for this by comparing looking at Eisov with having a vision of Elokim. The great sanctity does not allow one to stare at such a vision as per the gemara Yerushalmi Megiloh chapter #4, that we may not look upon the hands of Kohanim when they pronounce their priestly benediction because there is some level of "Sh'chinoh" present.

Why indeed did Yaakov even bother to look at Eisov at all? Rabbi Yonoson Eibeschitz in Yaaros Dvash 1:7 writes that even an evil person sometimes has "sparks of sanctity" in him. They are trapped in a sinner's body. When a very holy person looks at his face he draws out these "sparks" and sets them free. At times this can even bring about the demise of the evil person, as there s absolutely no sanctity left in him. Such a story is related in the gemara Shabbos 34a. Since Eisov had some sanctity in him, as evidenced by his illustrious descendants Shmaya, Avtalion, and Rabbi Mayer, Yaakov wanted to draw these souls under his influence to a greater degree.

Ch. 33, v. 18: "Va'yovo Yaakov sho'leim" - And Yaakov came complete - Rashi says he came complete in his body, money, and Torah. The Rambam in Moreh N'vuchim writes that of the seven planets, four forebode positively, while the other three forebode negatively. The negative ones are named Shabsoi, L'vonoh, and Maadim. The gemara Eiruvin 65a says that Shabsoi effects a person's body, L'vonoh his Torah knowledge, and Maadim his money. This is the intention of "ShoLeiM," whose letters are an acronym for Shabsoi, L'vonoh, and Maadim. In spite of these three negative influences in these three realms, Yaakov escaped unscathed. (Rabbi Shimshon of Ostrapolia)



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

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