CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS ON THE WEEKLY SEDRAH - PARSHAS VA'YISHLACH 5769 - BS"D
1) Ch. 32, v. 5: "Im Lovon garti" - Rashi explains that Yaakov conveyed to Eisov that while he resided with Lovon he meticulously guarded all 613 mitzvos, as is indicated by the numerical value of "garti," 613. Why did Yaakov find it necessary to let Eisov know that he was still very Torah observant?
2) Ch. 32, v. 12: "Pen yovo" - The word "yovo" appears here with the letter Vov after the Veis, an exception to the normal spelling, which is without a Vov. Why?
3) Ch. 32, v. 12: "V'hikani eim al bonim" - Translated literally these words say "and he will smite me mother on child." This seems to indicate that only I will be hit in a situation of mother on child, most enigmatic.
4) Ch. 32, v. 23: "V'es achad ossor y'lodov" - Rashi quotes the M.R. 76:9 which asks where Dinoh was. The answer is that Yaakov hid her in a container so that Eisov should not gaze upon her. For this act Yaakov was punished since he restrained her from having contact with his brother since she might have affected him for the good, so Dinoh fell into the clutches of Sh'chem later on in our parsha.
We see in Shulchan Oruch Evven Ho'ezer 50:5 that if one has become irreligious that this is sufficient grounds to break up an existing engagement. Seemingly, all the more so should one refrain from entering into a marriage agreement with one who is not Torah observant. If so, why does Yaakov deserve any punishment?
5) Ch. 33, v. 2: "Va'yo'seim 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 such spiritual greatness of the stature of Yaakov fall prey to such considerations? The Ram"o in Shulchan Oruch Y.D. #157:1 says that if the enemy demands that you relinquish a person so that they may kill him, and they do not specify by name whom they want, it is not permitted to comply with their demand.
Rabbi Zvi Yaar in Chamudei Zvi answers with the explanation of the Shalo"h (and the Kli Yokor) of the words "Yik'r'vu y'mei eivel ovi" (Breishis 27:41), that Eisov said that he would wait for the days of mourning after his father's death. During that time Yaakov will not be learning Torah (see Shulchan Oruch Y.D. #380:1) and without that merit he felt that he would be successful in killing Yaakov. Yaakov sent a large amount of cattle as a present to Eisov. His messengers would relate to Eisov that Yaakov came back from his father-in-law Lovon's home with a flock of great magnitude. Eisov would likely assume that although Yaakov was the pride of the Yeshiva of Shem and Eiver, its most diligent student, once he left the hallowed halls of the Yeshivah he threw himself headfirst into the pursuit of a livelihood, along the way learning how to "swim with the sharks," even outdoing the wiliness of Lovon whose reputation as a cunning deceitful person was known far and wide. Yaakov was no longer the innocent Yeshivah bochur. He surely was no longer involved in Torah study, nor in behaving as the Torah dictates. There is no longer a need to wait for the mourning period for his father Yitzchok. Eisov therefore thought that this was ripe time for an attack.
Yaakov therefore sent a message that although he was involved in cattle farming by Lovon, nevertheless, he remained scrupulously Torah observant and had the full merit of Torah protection. Think twice before attacking Yaakov or his clan.
The M'ga'leh Amukos says that Eisov's name should really have been "Osuy," Ayin-Sin-Vov-Yud, as Rashi explains his name in 25:25, that Eisov was born fully developed like an adult, with hair covering his body. This would add a Yud to his name. Likewise, he says that Yaakov's name should have been "Eikev," Ayin-Kuf-Beis, as this is a reference to his having grabbed onto Eisov's heel, "eikev," when they emerged at the time of their birth. Grabbing onto Eisov's heel gave Yaakov the last letter of Ayin-Sin-Vov-Yud, leaving his brother with the name Eisov and adding this Yud onto his own name. (Possibly, by grabbing onto the END of Eisov and his own hand being the first organ to appear at his birth explains why the LAST letter was removed from Eisov and became the FIRST letter of his name.)
In the world to come Eisov will give up the Vov of his name as well, and it will be reduced to Ayin-Shin, "osh." (This means rot and decomposition according to the Sforno on T'hilim 39:12. The Metzudas Dovid says that "osh" means a moth. The idea is the same, as a moth eats garments and reduces them to rotting fibres.) Yaakov will receive the letter Vov and it will remain Yaakov, but with the Vov after the letter Kuf.
Perhaps it can be added that Rashi on Vayikra 26:42 says that Yaakov's name appears 5 times with a Vov and Eliyohu's 5 times without. (The list of places can be found in the commentary of Rabbi Eliyohu Mizrochi.) Yaakov took the letter Vov from Eliyohu's name as collateral to assure that he would redeem the bnei Yisroel. According to the above, Yaakov's name with a Vov is in its own right an indication that Eisov will be vanquished.
The Agro D'kaloh, the Holy Admor of Dinov, says that this is why the word "yovo" appears with a Vov. Yaakov feared the empowerment that Eisov had while his name still retained a Vov.
The Haa'meik Dovor explains that Yaakov was not concerned that he himself might be killed (this differs with Rashi on verse 8 d.h. "va'yiro"). He was however concerned about his wives. If they were to be smitten, Yaakov considered it as if he himself were hit, as per the dictum of "ishto k'gufo damyo" (gemara Brochos 24a and M'nochos 93b). He was also not afraid that his children would be annihilated, as per the gemara B.B. 115b, "gmiri d'lo kolo shivto," - we are taught that no tribe of Yisroel will be totally destroyed. He was only afraid that his wives would be destroyed while they prostrate themselves over their children to protect them from injury.
R. Chaim haKohein Rappaport answers that the intention of Rashi is not that Yaakov feared that if Dinoh would come into contact with Eisov that he would effect her negatively, but since there was also the possibility that she would instead effect him positively, Yaakov was punished for removing that possibility. If this were Rashi's intention then Rashi should read "v'shemo" with a Vov, rather than "shemo."
Rather, Rashi's intention is as follows: Yaakov was secure in knowing that Dinoh was strong in her religious convictions. "Shemno'oh mei'ochiv SHEMO sachazireno l'mutov," - He held back Dinoh from Eisov BECAUSE she might cause Eisov to turn a new leaf. This emotion might be the result of his hatred for his brother. For this he deserved to be punished.
The Divrei Yechezkeil, the Holy Admor miShinev, 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."
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