Thursday, December 01, 2022

An unexpected encounter; the importance of a parent's blessing

1) R' Leible Eiger in Imrei Emes points out that the first nisayon Avraham faced was being told by Hashem, "Lech lecha," to leave his parent's home.  This is considered a major test despite the fact that Avraham's outlook on life was completely different than his father's -- he should have wanted to leave -- and despite the fact that he was being commanded to do so directly by Hashem.

Imagine what was going through Yaakov's head when he left his father's home.  He was not directly told to do so by Hashem; he was compelled to do so as a result of his stealing of the brachos.  Until now had been under the protective and nurturing wing of his parents, who were his guilding lights; he had been "yosheiv ohalim," and now he was forced to flee to parts unknown.  M'igra rama l'beira amikta! 


That's the meaning of  וַיִּפְגַּ֨ע בַּמָּק֜וֹם...  The term וַיִּפְגַּ֨ע implies an unexpected encounter, like when you are walking along and suddenly bump into someone you know.  At the very moment when Yaakov thought that he was on a road that would take him far from kedusha, here was the Beis haMikdash, here was the hashra'as haShechina.


R' Leible Eiger writes that it was precisely because Yaakov thought that his situation was so dire, that he was on a path that would take him far from ruchniyus, that led to this revelation.  Hashem's dwells among the broken and the downtrodden.  

2) I just want to point out a Seforno that every parent and grandparents should know.  At the end of the parsha, we read: וַיַּשְׁכֵּ֨ם לָבָ֜ן בַּבֹּ֗קֶר וַיְנַשֵּׁ֧ק לְבָנָ֛יו וְלִבְנוֹתָ֖יו וַיְבָ֣רֶךְ אֶתְהֶ֑ם וַיֵּ֛לֶךְ וַיָּ֥שׇׁב לָבָ֖ן לִמְקֹמֽוֹ  The Torah doesn't dwell on meaningless details.  We don't know what Lavan ate for breakfast, or how many people were in his entourage, or any number of other trivial facts because they are not important to the halacha or moral lesson of the story.  Here, we have a pasuk filled with details that all seem unnecessary. וַיֵּ֛לֶךְ וַיָּ֥שׇׁב לָבָ֖ן לִמְקֹמֽוֹ - obviously at some point Lavan returned home.  Why mention it?  Take a look at the Meshech Chochma, Netziv, and others.  I want to focus on the earlier half of the pasuk.  Why does the Torah go out of its way to tell us that Lavan kissed and blessed his children and grandchilden (see Ibn Ezra) before departing?  Seforno answers:

   להורות שברכת האב אשר היא על בניו בכל נפשו בלי ספק ראוי שתחול יותר בסגולת צלם אלקים המברך

When a parent/grandparent, even one like Lavan, gives a blessing to a child, they put their full heart and soul into it, and therefore it is of special significance and worthy of being fulfilled.  

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