by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS VA'YISHLACH 5773 BS"D
Ch. 32, v. 5: "Im Lovon garti" - With Lovon I have sojourned - Rashi comments, "V'sarya"g mitzvos shomarti." This is alluded to in the word "garti," which contains the same letters as "tarya"g." Yaakov was in "chutz lo'oretz" when residing with Lovon, so numerous mitzvos do not apply there. How was he able to keep 613 mitzvos? Note that Rashi says "shomarti" and not "kiyamti." This means to await an opportunity. Yaakov maximized any available aspect of fulfilling all 613 mitzvos. He no doubt studied their laws. This is "Ko OMAR av'd'cho." I have spoken through study all 613 mitzvos. (Chasam Sofer, Chid"o in Pnei Dovid)
Ch. 32, v. 11: "Kotonti mikol hachasodim" - I have become diminished from all the benevolences - Yaakov was so modest that he said that his being modest is itself one of the kindnesses that Hashem bestowed upon him. (Chidushei Hori"m)
Ch. 32, v. 20: "Kadovor Ha'zeh T'dabrun el Eisov" - In this manner shall you speak to Eisov - The gemara Brochos in the 9th chapter tells of Rabbi Akiva being tortured and continuing to recite Shma. He said the Shma verse and "boruch shem ……" His students who were present asked, "Ad kan," until here? Kabalists explain that there is a power to overcome all difficult situations through concentrating on a Holy Name made up of the letters Kof-Hei-Tof. They asked him, "Until here," meaning "Why are you stopping to recite and not continuing with "V'ohavto eis Hashem Elokecho," whose last three words have the final letters Tof-Hei-Chof.
This same concept is found in "V'yiv't'chu v'cho yodei shmecho ki lo ozavTo dorsheCHo Hashem." All can rely upon Hashem through the final letters of "ozavTo dorsheCHo Hashem," again Tof-Chof-Hei.
Similarly in our verse, "Kadovor ha'zeH T'dabrun" has these same three letters at the head of the first three words, assuring that no harm would befall those who meet Eisov. (Chid"o in Pesach Einayim)
Ch. 32, v. 23,24: "Va'yaavor Maavar Yaboke, Va'yikocheim va'yaavi'reim es hanochal" - And he traversed the passageway of Yaboke, And he took them and he brought them over the stream - The seeming lack of order is obvious as he first brought them over and then finally passed over the Yaboke. The gemara Chulin 91 deals with this and answers that he brought everyone and everything over and finally passed over the Yaboke. However, he forgot small kegs and had to make an extra trip to fetch them.
The Chasam Sofer offers the following: The gemara B.K. 113b says that the law of the land is binding. A proof for this is that people use wooden bridges built by the government. No doubt the beams used to create the bridge are taken from nearby landowners who are not compensated. If so the bridge is created through theft, so how may an honest person cross a bridge? It is because the government rules that it may expropriate wood for this and similar uses.
Yaakov wanted no part of this leniency. The name Maavar Yaboke clearly shows that there was a passage over the stream, i.e. a bridge. Rather than use it he placed himself into the water and passed things and people over from one side to the other (M.R. 76:9). This is "Va'yaavor Maavar Yaboke," and he passed over the bridge and did not use it. Instead, "Va'yikocheim va'yaavi'reim es hanochal" - he took them and he brought them over the stream.
Ch. 32, v. 27: "Shalcheini ki oloh hashochar" - Send me because the morning has arisen - The gemara Chulin 91 explains that the angel begged of Yaakov to release him because the moment had come that he needed to ascend and to sing praises to Hashem. Angels have been around since the creation of the world, so at the time of our verse the angel existed for well over 2,000 years. Why then, was it at this point in time that his time to sing praises had arrived?
This angel was one of those whose job it was to seduce people into sinning. His wrestling with Yaakov was symbolic of the bnei Yisroel's challenges for all generations with the evil inclination. Although the "yeitzer hora" works very hard at bringing a person to sin, when he is overpowered he has not failed in his mission. To the contrary, he is only to try to make him sin and when the person successfully overcomes the evil inclination's attempted seductions the angel has also been successful. It was specifically now, when Yaakov overcame him, that it was his time to ascend to sing praises to Hashem since he has completed his mission. (Avodas Yisroel of Kozhnitz)
We might add that this is the meaning of "ki oloh hashochar." The evil inclination falsely represents dark pursuits as being bright, beautiful pursuits. When his "customer" overcomes his offerings it is through clarity of spiritual vision, seeing the negative for what it is. This clarity is expressed here as "ki oloh hashochar." (n.l.)
Ch. 32, v. 27: "Lomoh zeh tiishal lishmi" - Why is this that you ask my name - Rashi explains that angels undergo name changes based on their varying tasks. In Sh.O. Y.D. #335 it says that if a person is seriously ill his name may be changed. This is well understood in light of the words of Rashi. Since an angel's name is changed based on his task, so too, if a person is seriously ill and there is a fear that he will die, this might be because he has fulfilled his task on this ephemeral world. By changing his name it is an indication that he has another task, which has not been fulfilled, and he therefore would be allowed to live to fulfill the new task. (Shaa'rei Aharon)
Ch. 35, v. 27: "Kiryas ho'arba" - The town of four - The gemara Eiruvin 54 explains that 4 couples were buried there. The Maharsh"o ad loc. says that in actuality four pairs of people being buried there is based in halacha. Efron sold this plot of land to Avrohom for use as a burial spot. The gemara B.B. 100b says that one who sells a plot of land to another for burial is to open a cave-like cavity and further to carve out 7 "kuchin," horizontal spaces in the wall for placement of bodies. The logic behind this, says the Maharsh"o is that there be one space for the purchaser himself, and a further 7 spaces for the 7 relatives one is responsible for their burial. They are the same relatives for whom a Kohein is to defile himself.
Ch. 36, v. 38: "Va'yimloch tachtov Baal Chonon ben Achbor" - And Baal Chonon ben Achbor reigned in his place - The Ramban and others take note of the variations in names of Eisov's descendant kings. Some contain the names of both the person and his father, while some contain the name of his location, and some both.
There is an halachic dispute in how to write the husband's name in a get when he is known as the son of someone, when he is known by his city (i.e. Vilner Gaon, Kotzker), when he is known by both, and when one name is more dominant. The conclusion of numerous poskim is that the name should have the accompaniment of that which is more dominant, and where they are equal both additions are required. This is alluded to here in these verses where we have these variations. They are the result of how the people were known in relation to their fathers and their locations. (Mahari"l Diskin in the name of his father Rabbi Binyomin)
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