subscribe.gif (2332 bytes)

by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

Back to This Week's Parsha| Previous Issues

For sponsorships and advertising opportunities, send e-mail to:SHOLOM613@ROGERS.COM


Ch. 32, v. 4: "Artzoh Sei'ir" - To the land Sei'ir - Rashi explains that the letter Hei at the end of the word "artzoh" serves the same function as the prepositional letter Lamed at the beginning of a word, meaning "to." The mahara"l of Prague in Gur Aryeh on parshas Breishis and Va'yeitzei explains these two manners of expressing the prepositional "to." We find the use of the suffix letter Hei only in reference to a location, but not with a person, i.e., we can say "YerusholoymOH" or "Mitzroymoh," but not ShimonOH when we want to say "to Shimon." The reason is that although the prefix Lamed and the suffix Hei basically serve the same purpose there is a difference. The letter Hei at the end of a place or location means not only TO, but also entering INTO. When Reuvein goes to Shimon he does not enter him, hence the only way of expressing this is with the prefix Lamed. The positioning of the prepositional letter is indicative of this difference. The letter Lamed is at the beginning of a word, indicating TO, but not necessarily INTO, while the prepositional suffix Hei is used it means INTO and is likewise positioned at the end.

Ch. 32, v. 6: "Va'yi'hi li shor vachamor" - And I possessed an ox and a donkey - "Va'y'hi" is an expression of pain. It pained Yaakov that he spent so much time on amassing material possessions. (Sifsei Kohein)

Compare this with "Va'y'hi Hevel ro'ei tzone V'Kayin hoyoh oveid adomoh." As explained by the Holy Admor of Ruzhin, Hevel begrudgingly, "va'y'hi," was a shepherd, preferring to pursue spirituality instead, but finding it necessary to work to sustain himself, while Kayin happily worked, "hoyoh," as an agrarian.

Ch. 32, v. 33: "Al kein lo yochlu bnei Yisroel es gid hanosheh" - Therefore the bnei Yisroel will not eat the gid hanosheh - How do we explain "therefore?"

1) Yaakov sustained an injury in his gid hanosheh. To minimize our evaluation of this injury we do not eat it, rendering it an unimportant part of the body. (Sforno)

2) Yaakov's sons were remiss in their not accompanying him. They are to be blamed for his injury and in turn may not partake of the sinew which came to harm. This will serve as a constant reminder that we should accompany a traveler. (Chizkuni)

3) To serve as a reminder that Yaakov was an exceedingly powerful person and was able to overpower even an angel (Chizkuni)

4) As a remembrance of the miracle that Yaakov was saved from the attempt of the angel to totally do him in (Riv"o)

5) To serve as a remembrance that Yaakov was injured and endured pain in that sinew - This is akin to someone who often suffered from headaches. Even when he is free of pain he would refrain from eating the meat of the head of an animal as a remembrance that he often suffered headaches. (Riv"o)

6) To serve as a remembrance that Yaakov through his great cleavage to Hashem merited to have this prophetic encounter (see Rambam Moreh N'vuchim 2:42) Belief in prophecy is one of the cornerstones of our belief, so it deserves a memorial. (Rada"k)

Ch. 33, v. 9: "Va'yomer Eisov yeish li rav ochi" - And Eisov said I have much my brother - At this point in time Eisov conceded that his father's blessings belonged to Yaakov. This might lie in these words of our verse. Eisov told Yaakov that he has a RAV, a master over himself, as the recipient of Yitzchok's blessings would have mastery over his sibling. Not only does Eisov say that he has a master over himself, but he also says that he is none other than "ochi," my brother. (Degel Macha'neh Efrayim, Kli Yokor)

Ch. 33, v. 10: "Yeish li kole" - I have everything - Commentators point out the difference between Eisov's RAV and Yaakov's KOLE. Eisov said that he had possessions in abundance, but implicit in this is that there is plenty of room for more and more. Yaakov's KOLE means that he has absolutely everything that he needs to have, and this is because Hashem gives a person exactly what he needs, no more, no less. It could well be that with the power of this attitude, Yaakov staved off the threat of being attacked by Eisov's 400 henchmen. "Yeish li kole" has the numerical value of 400. (n.l.)

Ch. 33, v. 14: "Ad asher ovo el adoni Sei'iroh" - Until I will come to my master to Sei'ir - Why here does the verse express itself with "Sei'iroh" and in the first verse of our parsha (32:4) it says "artzoh Sei'ir"?

1) Perhaps when a further detail in pinpointing the location is used we must mention the land. In 32:4 the verse says not only that the location was in Sei'ir, but also that it was "s'dei Edom," similar to Jerusalem, Eretz Yisroel. 2) Since the emissaries sent to Eisov were actual angels, it was necessary to stress the word form "eretz." (M'oros hadaf ha'yomi #416)

3) Yaakov was alluding to the time that the bnei Yisroel would inherit the land of Edom. It would no longer be "the land of Sei'ir," referring to Eisov and his descendants.

4) Yaakov did not want to say an outright lie, so his hidden intention was that he would come to Eisov when he would be hairy. This was not to ever happen, as the Torah states that Yaakov had smooth skin, "v'onochi ish cholok" (Breishis 27:11).

Ch. 33, v. 16: "Va'yoshov ba'yom hahu Eisov l'darko Sei'iroh" - And he returned on that day Eisov to his path to Sei'ir - Targum Yonoson ben Uziel says that a miracle took place and Eisov reached his destination of Sei'ir on that same day. Peirush Targum Yonoson explains that this was necessary so as to distance Eisov from Yaakov lest Eisov would revert to his default normal hatred for his brother and harm him.

The next time you hear of someone experiencing "kfitzas ha'derech" don't immediately jump to the conclusion that he must be very righteous. Eisov also had "kfitzas ha'derech."

Ch. 33, v. 16: "Va'yoshov ba'yom hahu Eisov l'darko Sei'iroh" - And he returned on that day Eisov to his path to Sei'ir - Based on the previous offering we understand the unusual structure of this verse. Normally one would say, "Va'yoshov Eisov l'darko Sei'iroh ba'yom hahu." Since this happened miraculously and he reached his destination on the same day the verse stresses this right at the beginning.

Ch. 33, v. 17: "V'Yaakov nosa Sukosoh" - And Yaakov traveled to Sukos - Rabbi Avrohom ben hoRambam says that his grandfather mistakenly understood that this Sukos is the same Sukos in Egypt where the bnei Yisroel gathered before they left Egypt. He says that this is not so, but rather, this Sukos was in Eretz Yisroel or at least very nearby, and both locations happen to have the same name.

Ch. 33, v. 17: "Va'yiven lo boyis ulmikneihu ossoh sukos" - And he built himself a house and for his cattle he made shacks - We have an allusion here for the "diras aro'i" requirement of a sukoh. The house was BUILT, and the sukos were MADE. (shomati)

Ch. 33, v. 17: "Va'yiven lo boyis ulmikneihu ossoh sukos" - And he built himself a house and for his cattle he made shacks - For himself, his spiritual component, he built a permanent structure, i.e. he made his spiritual pursuits stalwart, while for his possessions, his physical needs, he sufficed with temporary dwellings.

Ch. 33, v. 20: "Va'yatzev shom mizbei'ach" - And he set up there an altar - Since the verse does not say "Va'yiven," it teaches us that he set up a single stone altar, rather than a multi-stone one that requires building. (Radak) The altar was a multi-stone structure but there was no mortar between the stones. (Rabbeinu Menachem)



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

Back to This Week's Parsha| Previous Issues

This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Permission is granted to redistribute electronically or on paper,
provided that this notice is included intact.

For information on subscriptions, archives, and
other Shema Yisrael Classes,
send mail to
Jerusalem, Israel