by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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OROH V'SIMCHOH - MESHECH CHOCHMOH ON PARSHAS VA'YEITZEI 5766 BS"D
On a most simple level, we can say that Yaakov preferred to take the stones that had experienced Heavenly intervention, as the many stones he placed around his head became one, as pointed out by Rashi in verse 11 d.h. "va'yo'sem." Since they fused and became one stone, it was a "matzeivoh" and not a "mizbei'ach."
Ch. 29, v. 35: "Hapaam odeh es Hashem" - Rashi (M.R. 71:6) says that after the birth of her fourth son, Leah found it appropriate to offer special thanks to Hashem for bestowing upon her the merit to give birth to four sons. Since Yaakov had four wives and it was known to them that he would have 12 sons, if his wives would equally give birth to these 12 sons, each would have 3 sons. Now that Leah gave birth to a fourth son, more that her portion, she gave special thanks to Hashem.
The MESHECH CHOCHMOH in a homiletic manner explains that we do not make a blessing on three of our senses, sight, hearing, and touch. However, the gemara Brochos 43b derives from the words "Kole hanshomoh t'halleil Koh" (T'hilim 150:6) that we make a blessing when we SMELL fragrant objects. Thus upon the birth of Reuvein, whose name is based on "seeing" (verse 32), of Shimon, whose name is based on "hearing" (verse 33), and of Levi, whose name is based on "touching" (verse 34 as per Targum Onkeles on the word "yilo'veh," "yis'chabar") there was no blessing of Hashem. Yehudoh is the patriarch of the kingly tribe from whom Melech Hamoshiach will come, about whom the verse says, "VAHARICHO b'yiras Hashem" (Yeshayohu 11:3), - and he (Melech Hamoshiach) will be able to judge by SMELL.
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