Friday, November 05, 2010


Since I touched on the Tiferes Shlomo’s earlier in the week, let me end the week with some other ideas of his:

1) Rivka was upset because she felt strange pounding in her womb. When she passed a Beis Medrash, she felt kicking; when she passed a place of avodah zarah, she also felt kicking – a tartei d’sasrei. She was comforted only when she heard that she was having twins – there were two babies kicking, not one.

Why does the Torah go into such detail and relate to us Rivka’s suffering? The Torah is telling us that our lives cannot be a tartei d’sasrei. There are people who try to make their home in beis medrash and kick around there, but then also go and kick around other inappropriate places and enjoy themselves there. They want to be Ya’akov and Eisav in the same body. Rivka knew this was impossible. Twins – yes; one person – no.

2) Yitzchak asks the Plishtim why they have now approached him when they hate him and previously drove him away. They reply that they have now seen, "Ki haya Hashem imach...ka'asher asinu imcha rak tov." We are sometimes like the Plishtim -- we send away our teachers and mentors thinking that we can do it all without them. We don't realize that the success we enjoyed while under their tutelage is not the product of our own efforts and skill, but is simply a reflection of their guidance. And so we return and we acknowledge, "Ka'asher asinu imcha rak tov," only while with you, our mentors, were we able to do good.

3) Yitzchak tells Eisav to prepare a meal, "ba'avur tevarechecha nafshi," so that he may bless him. Rivka tells Ya'akov that she heard Yitzchak saying, "Aseh li matamim v'ocheila v'avarechecha...," to bring food in order to receive a blessing. She instructs Ya'akov to bring his own food to Yitzchak, and she repeats again, "ba'avur asher yevarechecha," so that Yitzchak should bless him. When Ya'akov serves the food, he again repeats that the meal is, "ba'avur tevarchani nafshecha," to receive bracha. Why does the Torah reiterate each time it mentions food that it's purpose was to get Yitzchak's bracha?

The parsha is telling us that the whole purpose of Eisav's service to his father, his preparation of this meal, was in order to receive bracha. Ya'akov had to step into the character of Eisav to trick his father. He had to present this meal not lishma, but as a means of getting something in return. This is what Yitzchak meant when he said, "Hakol kol Ya'akov v'hayadayim y'dei Eisav" -- with every good thing that Eisav does, his hand is outstretched to get something back.

4) Ya'akov's dressing up in Eisav's clothes symbolizes the power to take behaviors that we might not associate with a Torah Jew and use them for our own, kosher means. (The key is to be able to remove those clothes when you want and not get too comfortable wearing them all the time).

5) Ya'akov doesn't have to do anything -- Rivka cooks the food for Yitzchak, she bakes bread, she even dresses Ya'akov in Eisav's clothes -- but Ya'akov carries the tray through the door to his father and gets all the credit. Hashem is always working behind the scenes taking care of everything for us, but he gives us the opportunity to put the icing on the cake, to do just one little step so that we can take credit.

6) "Veyevarcheyhu vayomer hinei reyach b'ni k'reyach sadeh... v'yiten lecha haElokim..." The word "vayevarcheyhu" sounds like it belongs just before "v'yiten lecha," as that is the start of the bracha. Why does it appear before the description of Ya'akov as smelling like a field blessed by Hashem?

A bracha is meaningless unless the recipient is capable of absorbing it. Part of Yitzchak's blessing was that the recipient of his bracha should have this capacity. Yitzchak first blessed Ya'akov to be like a field into which seed can be planted to produce fruit, to be a worthy recipient of his brachos. Only then did he give the gift of, "V'yiten lecha..."

Much more is there in the sefer.

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