Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 25, v. 21: "Vatahar Rivkoh ishto" - And his wife Rivkoh conceived - The word "ishto" seems to be superfluous.

2) Ch. 25, v. 26: "Vayikra shmo Yaakov" - And he called his name Yaakov - Rashi offers two opinions, either that his father Yitzchok gave him this name, or that Hashem gave him this name. Rabbeinu Chaim ben Paltiel says that we can only accept the opinion that Hashem gave Yaakov his name, as we find in 27:36, "Va'yomer hachi KORO shmo Yaakov……" Eisov says to his father, "Has HE not called him Yaakov because he has tricked me twice." If Yitzchok gave Yaakov his name, Eisov would surely have said, "Hachi KOROSO shmo Yaakov," - haven't YOU called him Yaakov. This seems like a daunting question, especially with Rashi's keeping with the straightforward explanation of the verses (see Rashi Breishis 3:8).

3) Ch. 25, v. 24: "V'hi'nei somim b'vitnoh" - And behold twins in her uterus - "Hi'nei" is used where there is a surprise. Rivkoh was already advised that she was carrying twins, so what was the surprise?

4) Ch. 26, v. 7: "Va'yomer achosi hee ki yo'rei leimore ishti pen yaharguni" - And he said she is my sister because he was afraid to say my wife lest they kill me - There seems to be an inconsistency in the syntax of this phrase. The verse narrates that Yitzchok, 3rd person, said, "va'yomer." Then it quotes Yitzchok's actual words, "achosi hee." Since after this, the verse again narrates his thinking, that he was afraid to say ……, and is not quoting his words any more, it should have said "pen yaharguHU.

5) Ch. 26, v. 33: "Al kein shem ho'ir B'eir Sheva" - Therefore the name of the city is B'eir Sheva - In 21:31 by the incident of Avrohom and Avimelech we find, "Al kein koro lamokome hahu B'eir Shova," so it seems that it already had this name.



It alludes to her carrying Yaakov and Eisov, who are likened to "fire and straw" (Ovadioh 1:18). The numerical value of "ishto" is the same as "aish v'kash." (Rabbi Yochonon Luria)


The next verse answers this. The fact that Eisov emerged first was very unusual, since Yaakov was smooth and Eisov very hairy, the smooth baby should have slipped out ahead of the hairy one. (Sforno)


It seems that a careful analysis of our verse and an earlier verse will yield a most satisfactory answer. The last words of our verse are, "va'yomar halo otzalto li brochoh." "Va'yomer" seems to be superfluous, as the verse begins with Eisov speaking, "Va'yomer hachi ……" Since no narrative interrupts his words why place "va'yomar" in the middle? Note that in verse 31, where Eisov begins to speak to his father the first thing he says is, "YOKUM ovi v'YOCHAL," in the third person, a respectful manner of speaking. Immediately on the heels of this in verse 32 he says, "ani binCHO b'chorCHO." Although this is second person, since it is in response to the question, "mi otoh," Eisov could not say, "I am HIS son HIS firstborn." He had to respond unequivocally, "I am YOUR son, YOUR firstborn." The next time Eisov spoke, in verse 34, he said, "borcheini gam oni ovi." Here again third person form is improper, since it is a command, and "tzivuy" form only exists in second person. Back to our verse. Eisov is still in respectful mode. He therefore said, "Has HE not called him Yaakov because he has tricked me twice." Eisov means that his father Yitzchok gave the name, but is expressing himself in third person. Then out of extreme anger and disappointment his resolve bursts, and he changes to second person mode. This change necessitates a "va'yomar," a different type of speaking, and he says "halo OTZALTO li brochoh," haven't YOU, second person, set aside for me a blessing." (Nirreh li)


We must say that all of this is the direct quote of his words. Yitzchok responded by saying, "Even if she were my wife I would be afraid to say so lest they kill me." Although Avrohom said something to the same effect, his statement was not a lie, as Soroh was his niece, and as such could be called a sister, as explained by Rashi on 20:12. Yitzchok had no such explanation, and to avoid outright lying, he said this. (Mahari"l Diskin)

There still seems to be a syntax problem even after this. The verse should have said, "ki yo'reiSI." Any help would be appreciated.


The Rashbam offers that these are two different places. Rabbeinu Chaim Paltiel says that by Avrohom the MOKOME, the AREA, was called B'eir Sheva, while here, HO'IR, the CITY, was called B'eir Sheva. Alternatively, he offers that they were two cities with different names. By Avrohom, the city was called B'eir ShOva, based on the VOW that took place, while here, the city was called B'eir ShEva, based on the 7 sheep.



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

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