Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 32, v. 8: "Va'yiro Yaakov" - What did Yaakov fear?

2) Ch. 33, v. 2: "Va'yoseim es hashfochos" - It would seem at first glance that the underlying factor in the order of placement of Yaakov's family members was dictated by his level of caring. Would a giant of spiritual greatness of the stature of Yaakov fall prey to such considerations?

3) Ch. 34, v. 25: "Va'y'hi ba'yom hashlishi bi'h'yosom ko'avim .. va'yahargu kol zochor" - Why was the general populace of Sh'chem deserving of death?

4) Ch. 34, v. 25: "Va'yovo'u al ho'ir betach va'yahargu kol zochor" - And they came upon the city assured - How could two youngsters, aged 14 and 13 years respectively, feel so assured that they could kill all the males of the city and not be stopped? Even if they felt that the weakened males would offer no resistance, would the women of the community not offer resistance?

5) Ch. 36, v. 39: "Va'yimloch tachtov Hadar" - We find no mention of the death of Hadar as we find by each previous king. Why?



1) Rashi explains that Yaakov feared that he might be killed and was distressed that he might kill others in his encounter with Eisov and his 400 men.

2) Yaakov felt fear enveloping him and this itself caused him distress, since Hashem had promised him that he would emerge safely from his adversaries. (Rabbi Eliav haKohein)

3) When Yaakov was apprised that Eisov was coming with 400 henchmen to kill him, he feared that he might be killed, and he was distressed because Eisov said that when his father Yitzchok would die he would then take revenge on Yaakov (Breishis 27:41). Yaakov thus realized that his father died. (Daas Z'keinim)


The Divrei Yechezkel, the Holy Admor miShinov answers that Yaakov's guiding force was not his level of caring, as one might be led to believe at first glance. Rather, Yaakov placed them in an order that was most beneficial for saving them all. We derive from "V'ho'Elokim y'va'keish es nirdof" (Koheles 3:15), that Hashem protects one who is being pursued, even if he is evil and the one who pursues him is righteous. However, the more righteous the pursued, the greater is his protection. Since the maidservants Bilhoh and Zilpoh and their children were harassed by the children of Leah, they had a humble spirit and received greater Divine protection. Yaakov was not afraid to place them in the most visible position. Leah and her children came next. Although they weren't broken of spirit by being called servants, nonetheless, they knew that their father had a greater affinity for Rochel. They also had a humbled spirit, although much less so than Bilhoh and Zilpoh and their children. They were therefore placed second. Rochel and Yoseif had no such spiritual advantage, and were not afforded this extra Divine protection, and therefore had to be placed last, "Acharon acharon choviv."


1) The Rambam in hilchos m'lochim 9:14 says that the people of Sh'chem deserved this punishment because they did not bring Sh'chem to justice.

2) The Ramban says that it was a punishment for their idol worship.

3) Rabbi Yaakov of Vienna says in the name of Rabbi Yehudoh Chosid that "bi'h'yosom ko'avim" refers not to their aching from circumcision, but rather to their being pained over having agreed to and having gone through circumcision. In other words, they totally regretted doing this and they said that once they recover they would kill the bnei Yaakov. The bnei Yaakov were apprised of this and applied the rule "habo l'hor'g'cho hashkeim olov l'horgo" (gemara Sanhedrin 72a), - if someone arises to kill you, preempt him and kill him first.


The doctors in Sh'chem had no previous experience with circumcision. Shimon and Levi told the people that they needed a follow-up visit to see if they were on the mend. Stating that they were from a family that circumcised all its males, including male servants, they also claimed that they would provide the follow-up check-up gratis. They came to every home that had a post- circumcision patient recovering. In each home they requested privacy during the examination of the patient. When alone with each male they very successfully brought a clear-cut end to his recuperation (humming to themselves "ish ha'yo'rei v'rach ha'leivov avodoso psuloh"). They left the room and requested that the patient be left alone, and to not wake him from his well-deserved sleep. We can explain the word "betach," assured, as referring to the people of the city, as does Targum Onkelos and Yonoson ben Uziel. The people were assured of the competence of these two doctors. (Rabbi Yehudoh Chalavoh)


1) Perhaps since he is the last king listed and the Torah does not write the name of his successor, it is not necessary to mention his death.

2) The GR"A says that his death is not mentioned because he outlived Moshe. He says that Hadar's death is mentioned in Divrei Hayomim 1:1:50 since at the time Ezra wrote Divrei Hayomim Hadar had died. Please note that in Divrei Hayomim 1:1:50,51 the name is not Hadar, but rather HadaD. The GR"A says that this is a corruption of the name Hadar of our verse. Do not think that this is the same Hadad of verse 35 in our parsha, since he is already mentioned earlier in 1:1:47, and he was the king who had Samloh as his successor, as stated both in our parsha and in Divrei Hayomim. As well in both places his city of Po'u (Po'i in Divrei Hayomim) and his wife M'heitaveil are mentioned.



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

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