I wanted to add one other little idea from the Berdichiver to the discussion we had yesterday about the naming of Yisachar. The Torah prefaces the birth Yisachar with the words, “Vayishma Elokim el Le’ah…” (30:17) What did Hashem hear – there was no tefilah on Leah’s part here? Rashi explains that Hashem “heard” the desire that Leah demonstrated to be the mother of more of the shevatim (R’ Shteiman is medayeik: more shevatim – not simply more children.) Leah’s tefilah was not a tefilah of words, but a tefilah of action.
What action is Rashi talking about?
Lichorah, Rashi is referring to the fact that Leah gave up the dudaim in order to be with Ya’akov. But that begs the question: how do we know that Leah was in fact motivated l’shem shamayim because she wanted to be the mother of more shevatim? Maybe she just wanted to spend more time with her husband Ya’akov?
The proof of Leah’s sincerity, says the Berdichiver, is the reason she gave for choosing the name Yisachar. Leah does not give the reason as “sachor sicharticha,” her hiring of Ya’akov with the dudaim, as that could have been done for any reason. She instead gives the reason as “nasati shifchasi l’ishi,” her giving of her maid to Ya’akov for another wife. Had Leah been thinking only of herself, she would never have given Ya’akov yet another wife to occupy his time. Her actions could only be explained by her being motivated l’shem shamayim to produce more shevatim through the surrogate of her shifcha.
The gemara (Nidah 31) darshens the pasuk “Yisachar chamor garem” (49:15) to mean that Hashem himself helped out in Yisachar’s conception by guiding Ya’akov’s donkey to Leah’s tent when he came home. “Chamor garem” – his birth was caused by the chamor, the donkey. Maharal and others often interpret “chamor” as a hint to chomriyus, materialism. I would like to suggest that Chazal are trying to teach us that where the motivation is l’shem shamayim, your ruchniyus is already at the goal line, Hashem will arrange for the chamor=chomriyus, for the physical means to follow.
Perhaps one can even say that it was Leah's l'shem shamayim here that caused sheivet Yisachar to have a special bracha of success in limud haTorah.
Why do we read the name as "Yisachar" as if it is spelled with a single letter "sin" instead of the double-letter? Why don't we read it as "Yisaschar?" Based on the hesber we gave yesterday, that the second letter hints (see Rashbam) to “sachor sicharticha,” it could be that Leah not only avoided giving voice to those words, but she also avoided saying the name in a way that would reveal the hint. The Da’as Zekeinim b’Ba’alei haTosfos gives a different reason. In Parshas vaYigash the Torah lists “Yov” among the children of Yisachar. In Parshas Pinchas there is no Yov listed, but there is a “Yashuv.” The Da’as Zekeinim explains that Yov sounds like the name of an avodah zarah, so Yisachar gave up a letter sin/shin from his name and added it to his son’s name. (Is there is a shortage of letters? Why couldn’t he just add a letter without borrowing it from his own name? Tzarich iyun). Based on this hesber, it seems that at least here, in Parshas VaYeitzei, when Yisachar is born, the name should be read as “Yisaschar”, with the double-letter, as at this point he had no son yet and that was his name. R’ Chaim Kanievski in Ta’ama D’Kra affirms that this was the Chazon Ish’s practice. I have heard other ba’alei kri’ah have the minhag to read it as Yisaschar (double-letter) through Parshas Pinchas and make the switch from that point onward. As for those who don’t do this, they must assume it is a kri u’kesiv.