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Once a week our yeshiva is honored to hear a shiur from Rav David Gottlieb. These words of Torah are based on a shiur he related to us several weeks ago. The Avnei Nezer asks the following question: when we get home on Friday night we greet the Angels with the traditional song - Shalom Aleichem. In the opening of the song we joyously greet the angels with peace and only three verses later we usher them out with Tzeischem L’shalom - leave in peace. What kind of greeting is this? You invite them into your home and within minutes you are kicking them out! We can answer this question based on events from this week’s parsha - Vayaitzay.
When Yaakov left Israel he had the famous dream of the ladder to heaven "And behold there were angels of the L-rd ascending it and descending it." Rashi comments that the angels that accompanied him in Eretz Yisroel went up and those who accompany him in Chutz La’aretz came down to join him. Later, in the end of the parsha the posuk says: "And Yaakov met angels of the L-rd" (as he is returning to Israel)... "and he called the place ‘camps’." Again Rashi comments that the angels here refer to the angels that came to greet him who accompany him in Eretz Yisroel; and "camps", in the plural, is used because there were two camps of angels. The camp of those angels who guarded him in chutz la’aretz and the camp of those angels who guarded him in Eretz Yisroel.
Now the Avnei Nezer asks us to take a close look at these Rashis. When Yaakov leaves Israel, first the angels of Israel ascend and then the angels of Chutz La’aretz descent thus the wording "Olim V’yordim", go up first - then came down. But when Yaakov returns to Israel there is "Machanayim", 2 camps. Temporarily the 2 camps of angels overlapped. Those that were with him, and those that came to greet him as he entered holy ground. The chutz la’aretz angels paused before ascending causing an overlapping.
A similar scenario occurs when Shabbos begins. All week the angels of the week are with us. When Shabbos arrives the angels that are with us on Shabbos come and greet us, while the angels of the week are lingering with us, thus constituting a temporary overlapping of the 2 "camps" of angels. So the P’shat in Shalom Aleichem is that we are welcoming the Shabbos angels and 3 verses later we say Tzeischem L’shalom to the weekday angels who are leaving, NOT the Shabbos angels who have just arrived.
I’d like to thank R’ Gottlieb for sharing his knowledge with us, which I am happy to share with you. Good Shabbos.
Jacob’s stay with Laban culminates in the miraculous birth of Joseph to his supposedly barren mother - Rachel. The manner in which the Torah records this is extremely informative: ‘and it was when Rachel had given birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban : "Grant me leave that I may go to my place and to my land"’ (note the odd juxtaposition of Joseph’s birth with Jacob’s sudden request to leave Laban suggesting a connection between these two events).
One obvious question one sees from this verse: Why did Jacob need to wait for the birth of Joseph to leave Laban? An obvious answer could be that Jacob’s allotted time to serve under Laban had come to an end and that he was waiting for Rachel to give birth (as it is very difficult for pregnant women to travel) so that he could travel home with all his family.
The Midrash suggests a deeper concept that Jacob prophetically knew that only through the birth of Rachel’s first son "Joseph" would he be able to conquer Esav. The prophet Ovadiah compares Jacob to fire and Joseph to a jet of flames (which can consume from a distance) to illustrate this idea. Since Jacob realized that to journey home would entail a confrontation with Esav, he decided to wait until Joseph was born.
R’ Elie Munk also asks the above question and notes that the Maharal contends that Joseph’s descendants would always be able to distinguish themselves from the outside world through their decent conduct (as Joseph did in Egypt). R’ Munk proceeds to say that these virtues would triumph over the brute force of Esav, perhaps most fully demonstrated in Joshua’s (a descendant of Joseph) staggering defeat of Amalek (Esav’s descendants).
A further explanation of this juxtaposition in the Torah between Joseph’s birth and Jacob’s decision to leave "Padan-Aram" is the following. Jacob, after viewing a miraculous act performed to his most beloved wife, realized that G-d’s favor was shining upon him. This may have indicated to him and given him sufficient inner strength to leave his place of exile and to return home, being confident of G-d’s protection.
There are many insights to be found from this episode. Perhaps one is to realize that a relationship between G-d and man does exist. However, G-d will not always enlighten man through an outright miracle (such as the splitting of the Reed sea). On the contrary, in order to maintain free choice and simultaineously to hint to man G-d may permit a miracle within the boundaries of nature. These "hints" (such as G-d’s to Jacob through Joseph’s birth) can be interpreted in two ways. One is to explain "it’s a coincidence". The other is to acknowledge a divine hand in man’s life. The sensitivity of Jacob (in this instance) and Isaac and Abraham before him to recognize G-d and to interpret life correctly and positively is perhaps one of the key reasons why their descendants were chosen to become the Jewish nation.
The Yeshiva would like to take this opportunity to welcome to Israel Harav Hatzadik Ha’Admor Mi’Boston Shlitah.
The Yeshiva will be spending Shabbos with the Bostoner Chassidim and will be participating in the Fri. Night Tish and Shalosh Seudos with the Rebbe.
Yisrael Factor on his upcoming Ufruf
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