Meir Tzvi Berman

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Parsha Vayetze

"Vayaitzai Yaakov Mibeer Sheva Vayailech Charanah" "And Jacob (Yaakov) departed from Beer Sheva and he went to Choron"

Rashi poses the following questions: Why is it necessary for the verse to state "Yaakov departed from Beer Sheva"? The fact that Yaakov left Beer Sheva is obvious from the statement, "he went to Choron". In order for Yaakov to have gone to his destination, Choron, he must have left his starting point, Beer Sheva.

The phrase "Yaakov departed from Beer Sheva" is explained by Rashi to mean that his departure was made an impression. This town had lost the splendor it had enjoyed as the dwelling place of a righteous man.

Rashi's explanation puts this verse into its proper perspective as, one takes note of a righteous man's (i.e.Yaakov's) departure. However, this now poses another question. When Avrohom left Choron (Gen. Chapter 12 vs. 4) the Torah makes no mention of Choron's diminished glory. Why?

Notwithstanding thesimilarity between the episodes, a clear distinction may be made between them. In Avrohom's case, the people of Choron were not righteous and they were not sensitive to the spiritual vacuum left in the wake of his departure. Consequently, the Torah does not emphasize Avrohom's exit from Choron.

In contrast, Yaakov's departure did not go unnoticed by Yitzchak and Rivkah. Besides being his parents, they were sensitive to spiritual and moral issues and they were aware of this dimension of loss from Yaakov's departure.

(Chasam Sofer)


Yaakov was told by Hashem to leave Lavan's house and return to Beer Sheva. Yaakov needed to convince his wives to come along.

To heed off any objection, he started by discussing with them how their father, Lavan, had deceived and mistreated him. He afterwards told them of Hashem's command.

Given the idealsm of Yaakov's wives, our Matriarchs, their trust of Hashem was implicit and unquestioning. It would therefore seem appropriate for Yaakov to come directly to the point. Why was it at all necessary to speak of material matters and, so to speak, prod the Matriarchs to comply with Hashem's directive.

The lesson we can learn is that notwithstanding a person's high spiritual level, it is always best to take into account the material benefits which will accrue due to the acceptance of Hashem's directives. Although our focus must always be to serve Hashem, it is wise to safeguard ourselves from temptations to do otherwise. Making ourselves aware of the material benefits will help a person overcome his impulses and will result in an enhanced observance of Hashem's will.

(R' Simcha Zissel of Kelm)

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