Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 25, v. 23: "Ul'ome mil'ome ye'emotz" - And one nation over the other nation will dominate - Rashi says that the two nations represented by Yaakov and Eisov cannot both be on top. When one elevates itself the other falls. Who is in control of this see-saw, Yaakov or Eisov?

2) Ch. 26, v. 18: "Va'yoshov Yitzchok va'yachpore" - This verse relates that Yitzchok revitalized the wells that his father Avrohom's servants had dug, which were plugged up by the Plishtim after the death of Avrohom. Not only did Yitzchok remove the sand that was dumped into the wells, but also renamed the wells with the same names given by his father. This requires some explanation.

1) Why does the Torah tell us this at all?

2) Why would anyone in his right mind plug up a well, since potable drinking water and irrigation water are needed by all? (Rashi (Tosefta Sotoh 10:2) answers this.)

3) What is the significance of the names of the wells, let alone that Yitzchok insisted upon renaming them the same names that his father had given them?

4) What is meant by "Va'yoshov Yitzchok?" Did he then return?

3) Ch. 27, v. 13: "Ach shma b'koli v'leich kach li" - Only hearken to my voice and go fetch for me - Since Rivkoh was commanding Yaakov to do "this and that," what did she add with her words "Ach shma b'koli?"

4) Ch. 27, v. 15: "Eisov bnoh haGODOL ...... Yaakov bnoh haKOTON" - Many explanations are offered for this verse pointing out that Eisov was Rivkoh's BIG son and Yaakov her SMALL son. The Psikta Rabosi 15:20 says that Eisov, the BIG one, calculates his dates by the BIG one, the sun, while Yaakov, the SMALL one, calculates his dates by the SMALL one, the moon. Why is this being pointed out here?

5) Ch. 27, v. 29: "V'yishtachavu l'cho bnei I'MECHO" - Rashi and Rashbam (M.R. 66:5) note that we find by Yehudoh's blessing "V'yishtachavu l'cho bnei OVICHO" (Breishis 49:8). They explain that since Yitzchok had only one wife he said "bnei I'MECHO," while Yaakov who had four wives said "bnei OVICHO." Tosfos Hasho'leim adds that Yitzchok would have also said "bnei OVICHO" to forewarn the possibility that he might take another wife and have children with her, but he knew that he would not take another wife. However, he wasn't sure that he would outlive Rivkoh, and if he were to die first there was the possibility that she would remarry and have more children. He therefore said "BNEI i'mecho," your mother's SONS in plural form. How was Yitzchok so sure that he would not take another wife?



Note the order mentioned in Rashi. Had he said that when one falls the other rises, we may conclude that it is out of our control to gain mastery, as Eisov must act in a way that he lowers himself for us to go upwards, like a see-saw. However, Rashi says that when one rises the other falls. This teaches us that we are in control of the situation. We are always able to elevate ourselves, and as a result Eisov will fall. (Rabbi Mordechai Chaim of Slonim)


Haksav V'hakaboloh answers all these questions with a most remarkable insight. He says that Avrohom in all his endeavours attempted to bring the heathen populace to recognize the existence of Hashem. We find throughout Avrohom's experiences that he gave names to objects or places that indicated Hashem's existence or involvement in his life. Thus he gave such names as "Hashem yi'reh, Beis Keil, Hashem nisi," and "B'eir lachai ro'i." Thus when people would go to the wells, a very common occurrence, they would continuously say that they were going to "Hashem Keil olom" well, or "Hashem Elokei Tz'vokose" well, probable names that Avrohom gave. Using these terms on an ongoing basis would drill recognition of Hashem's existence into their minds.

Once Avrohom died, many of the people returned to their heathen ways, to the point that using the names of the wells was contrary to their mistaken beliefs. This was remedied by their plugging up the wells, even at the cost of limiting their water supply. Once the wells fell into disuse, the names became obsolete. Yitzchok revitalized these wells and insisted upon giving them the names his father had originally given them, having the same purpose in mind as did Avrohom.

Haksav V'hakaboloh adds that this insight might be that of the Holy Zohar, who writes in the addendum to 3:302b: When the Plishtim filled the wells with earth people returned to their idol worship. The world was desolate, as no one recognized the existence of Hashem. Yitzchok came and the verse says "Va'yoshov Yitzchok va'yachpore." "Va'yoshov" means that he RETURNED the world to the recognition of Hashem by revitalizing the wells.


Yaakov greatly feared that he would be caught when trying to impersonate Eisov. Rivkoh calmed him by telling him that he would be successful if he would not concentrate on wresting the blessings out of Eisov's hands, neither for the purpose of his personal benefit, nor for depriving Eisov of the blessings. He should carry out this act to fulfill his mother's wishes, the mitzvoh of "kibud eim." (The Holy Alshich)


Perhaps it is because Yaakov is about to receive blessings from Yitzchok. We find in the following verses that Yaakov's receiving the blessings is contingent upon his good behaviour (verses 22 and 40 as interpreted by Chazal). Eisov receives his blessing without conditions on his behaviour. Perhaps this is why by Yaakov it says "V'yi'tein l'cho hoELOKIM," to indicate that there is judgment, while by Eisov no mention of Elokim is mentioned. The steady bounty for Eisov is symbolized by the sun, which is always the same size. Yaakov's blessing will have its ups and downs as the spiritual level of the bnei Yisroel will unfortunately not always be exemplary. Hence he is symbolized by the moon, which waxes and wanes. At the end of days the bnei Yisroel will merit, "V'hoyoh or halvonoh k'or hachamoh" (Yeshayohu 30:26), may it be speedily in our days.


Perhaps it was because he was so old, or that he conclusively decided to not do so under any circumstances. Possibly there was an halachic reason that assured that he would not take another wife. The gemara Kidushin 41a says that one may not take a wife unless he sees her first. Since Yitzchok was blind he knew that he would not take another wife.



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

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