Thursday, November 27, 2008

Divrei Torah: Parshas Toldos

Divrei Torah for this week posted for download here (I try to keep these to 2 pages) -- feedback welcome.

Some thoughts from my wife on the relationship between Yitzchak-Rivka vs. Avraha-Sarah here.

For those of you too lazy to click the link and download, one idea that I liked: Rivka tells Ya'akov that she overhead Yitzchak saying to Eisav that he wished to bless him "lifnei Hashem lifnei mosi" -- "before Hashem and before I die." (27:6-7) Rashi explains lifnei Hashem to mean that Hashem should agree to the blessing.

Yet we look back at the actual words Yitzchak said to Eisav, it seems Rivka is misquoting. Yitzchak told Eisav he wished to bless him, "b'terem amus" -- "before death", but Yitzchak made no mention of "lifnei Hashem". Why did Rivka add these words?

The Koznitzer Maggid explains that the remez to Hashem was couched in the words of Yitchak, "v'tzudah li tzayid." Yitchak could have simply said one word, "v'tzad." The word "v'tzudah" is the same as "v'tzad" except it contains the additional letters of vav and hey. The extra word "tzayid" is strangely spelled here with an additonal hey, which means it contains the letters yud and hey in addition to the letters of "tzad." Add it all together and you have the full yud-key-vuv-key name of Hashem.

If you stop there all you have is a cutesy vort, which is probably not a good enough reason to read this post. The follow up question (asked by the Medrash Moshe, R' Moshe Mordechai Morgenstern) is the crucial point: so why is it that Rivka spelled out "lifnei Hashem" when she spoke to Ya'akov, but Yitzchak just hinted to it using this remez?

I think the answer (the M.M. gives a different one) is that Yitzchak was hinting to the nature of the brachos and why he was about to give them to Eisav. You can easily find G-d in the Heavens and in the Beis Medrash; the trick is to find G-d everywhere else. Yitzchak was hinting to Eisav that because he was a "man of the field" he had the potential to fulfill that mission. G-d is not just in the tent of Shem v'Eiver, but is also found in the tzayid as well if you are a good enough hunter and know where to look.

Rivka agreed in principle with this message but thought it could be carried out another way. Instead of taking the "man of the field" and trying to inspire him to find G-d, Rivka thought the future of the Jewish people would be more secure in the hands of a man of G-d charged with the mission of taking that message out to the field.

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