Saturday, December 03, 2011

lift up your feet

"VaYisa Ya'akov raglav..."  It's sounds poetic - lifting up your feet to get moving - but considering the context is a pretty prosaic parsha and the Torah doesn't throw around unnecessary verbiage, we have to wonder what the phrase means.  Why not just say Ya'akov went... why the focus on his feet?

Gemara in Avodah Zara 5b:
א"ר יוחנן משום רבי בנאה מאי דכתיב אשריכם זורעי על כל מים משלחי רגל השור והחמור אשריהם ישראל בזמן שעוסקין בתורה ובגמילות חסדים יצרם מסור בידם ואין הם מסורים ביד יצרם
The gemara darshens the pasuk in Yeshaya (32:20) that refers to those who "send out the feet of the ox and the donkey" to mean those who engage in Torah and chessed merit the yetzer ha'ara being under their control.

משלחי רגל. משלחים ומשליכין רגלי יצר הרע הבא על האדם מעליהם 
"Sending out the feet" means casting off the yetzer ha'ra. [feet=the lowest elements, the coarsest elements within a person]


  1. Anonymous12:08 AM

    Ya'akov's feet had been at the
    level of his head during his sleep in that awesome place-- still he had a vertical vision, for the neshama departs during sleep, & bechira chofshis with it...what one does during the minute of waking is critical: does he quickly get his feet under him*, & under control, or let them linger at head-level, to do their own thing?

    & David's feet that went their own
    way to the beis midrash (nov. 9,
    "it's the thought that counts"),
    didn't he use a small stone to
    shut the mouth of a giant, while
    Ya'akov moves here a huge stone to open the mouth of a well?

    *if only onto the floor by sitting up, since completely to rise of a sudden can be dizzying to some (when trying to rise like a lion)

  2. Anonymous1:53 AM

    {another indulgent correction, but
    wording can make as much as all the difference} David, whose feet lifted him to the beis
    midrash, who used a small stone to shut the mouth of a giant, with Ya'akov, who here lifts his feet, who soon moves a huge stone to open the mouth of a well...