Oroh V'Simchoh

Meshech Chochmoh
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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 23, v. 18: "L'einei v'nei Cheis" - Translated literally, this means "to the eyes of the bnei Cheis." "LIFNEI bnei Cheis" would have been the preferred wording. This is explained by the Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh and the MESHECH CHOCHMOH. Although ownership of a field can be transacted through "kesef, shtar, o chazokoh," - financial payment, a document, or an act showing ownership, as is recorded in Ch.M. #190, nevertheless when a Jew buys from or sells property to a non-Jew, only the combination of payment and a document complete the transaction according to the opinion of Rav Hai Gaon (mentioned in the Biur haGR"A #194 on Ch.M. #190). If only a payment was made to the non-Jew an anomaly takes place. The property is no longer the non-Jew's, but it is not yet in the possession of the Jew. At the point when Avrohom had only given the payment of 400 shkolim for the field it was not yet his by Torah law. However the bnei Cheis viewed it as if he had acquired the land, thus the term "l'einei bnei Cheis," in their eyes it belonged to Avrohom. When he afterwards buried Soroh in the M'oras Hamachpeiloh, he did an act of ownership and at that point the field truly came into his possession. This is why the Torah reiterates in verse 20 that the field and the cave came into Avrohom's possession, leaving out the words "l'einei bnei Cheis" this time.

Ch. 24, v. 3 "Asher lo sikach ishoh livni" - Avrohom gave this command to Eliezer. The Moshav Z'keinim asks, "Why did he not tell Yitzchok directly?" He answers that Yitzchok was not at hand. After the A'keidoh Avrohom sent him away, as indicated by the words "V'Yitzchok bo mibo B'eir Lachai Ro'i" (24:62). As well, on verse 65 the Moshav Z'keinim says in the name of the medrash that Yitzchok came from Gan Eden.

The MESHECH CHOCHMOH answers that this is in consonance with the opinion of the Mahari"k shoresh #167, which is brought in the Ram"o Y.D. 240:25, that a son is not required to comply with his father's command to not marry a certain woman.

The MESHECH CHOCHMOH asks that if this is so, why did Yitzchok command Yaakov to not take a wife who is a descendant of Canaan, "Lo sikach ishoh mibnose Canaan" (Breishis 28:1). He answers that Yitzchok in verse 4 blesses Yaakov saying, "V'yi'ten l'cho es birkas Avrohom l'cho ulzaracho itcho l'rish't'cho es eretz m'gu'recho asher nosan Elokim l'Avrohom." Yitzchok passed on the blessing of Avrohom to Yaakov. For Avrohom to have received this blessing in the first place required "V'nosati l'cho ulzaracho acharecho eis eretz m'gu'recho eis kol Eretz Canaan laachuzas olom v'hoyisi lohem lEilokim" (Breishis 17:8). Avrohom was promised permanent ownership of the land subject to his children being "acha'recho," following his status. The gemara Y'vomos 100a says that if a ben Yisroel marries a non-Jewess, the children are not Jewish. In turn, Yitzchok ADVISED Yaakov to not take a wife from the people of Canaan so that he should merit the conditional blessing of inheriting the land, but this was not a command.

This is the intention of a later verse (28:6), "Va'yar Eisov ki veirach Yitzchok es Yaakov v'sholach oso Pa'denoh Aram lokachas lo mishom isho b'voracho oso va'y'tzav olov leimore lo sikach ishoh mibnos Canaan." Eisov fully realized that Yaakov received the blessing since Yitzchok commanded him to not take a wife from the Canaanites. Since a son does not have to follow his father's wishes regarding marriage, it must be that Yaakov received the blessing of inheriting the land, which is dependent upon not marrying a Canaanite woman, and Yitzchok advised him as a condition to receive the blessing and not as a command that one must fulfill because of the mitzvoh of honouring one's parents.

Ch. 25, v. 9: "Va'yik'b'ru oso Yitzchok v'Yishmo'eil bonov" - The gemara B.B. 16b says that Yishmo'eil repented for his bad ways, as indicated by our verse, where Yitzchok is mentioned before Yishmo'eil, indicating that Yishmo'eil allowed Yitzchok to take the lead in the activities surrounding the burial of Avrohom, and did not insist that he, Yishmo'eil, be given priority by virtue of being older. How is this an act of repentance for earlier wrongdoing? Horav Yaakov Yoseif Herman of "All for the Boss" fame answers that the Ramban on Breishis 21:9 explains that "ben Hogor haMitzris .. m'tzacheik" means that Yishmo'eil belittled and ridiculed Yitzchok. This was more than sufficient cause for Soroh to have Hogor and Yishmo'eil sent away. Thus by Yishmo'eil's giving Yitzchok proper honour, he repented for his previous negative behaviour. The Meshech Chochmoh answers with the words of the Sforno on 21:9. Verse 8 states that Avrohom made a festive meal upon the occasion of Yitzchok's being weaned. Yishmo'eil's scoffing in the next verse refers to the festive meal Avrohom gave. Yishmo'eil mocked, saying that Yitzchok was not the son of Avrohom, but rather, the son of Avimelech, a result of the happenings related in chapter 20. Thus when he included Yitzchok in the burial activities of Avrohom, this was an act of repentance, as he clearly rescinded his previous opinion, rather than saying that Yitzchok had no business involving himself with the burial of Avrohom, as he wasn't even his son.


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