Parsha Vayeitzei

Notes for Chumash Shiur to be given at Anshe Sholem on 11/7/13 at 4:50 PM and hopefully at the Bais Ment at the Glenners.

Thanks to Rabbi David Wolkenfeld for giving me the time to give a Chumash Shiur.  I plan to speak on four Verses:

Torah Thought #1:

Chapter 28, Verse 19:

Source:  Beautiful Dvar Torah heard from Rabbi Abner Weiss, Rabbi of the Village Shul in Westwood, LA, Martin Brody’s Shul. 

יט. וַיִּקְרָא אֶת שֵׁם הַמָּקוֹם הַהוּא בֵּית אֵל וְאוּלָם לוּז שֵׁם הָעִיר לָרִאשֹׁנָה:

19. And he named the place Beth El, but Luz was originally the name of the city

Question – What is the significance that Luz was the original name?

Answer:   Luz is mentioned in Sotah 46b as a place where people lived forever and when the old men became tired of life,  they go outside the wall and then die.

Luz represents stagnation, lack of growth.    Yaakov brought the concept of growth, that we must all grow in our service to God, in spirituality, and in life.  This is behind the name change.  Yaakov taught the world the we must became   a   בֵּית אֵל – a house of God, always growing in our connection to God, our learning, and our helping others and in spirituality.

Torah Thought #2:

Chapter 29, Verses 10 and 11:

Source:   Mitch Morgenstern in LA at Aunt Florence’s house after a beautiful Friday night Shabbos meal at Madeline and Martin’s house.

י  וַיְהִי כַּאֲשֶׁר רָאָה יַעֲקֹב אֶת-רָחֵל, בַּת-לָבָן אֲחִי אִמּוֹ, וְאֶת-צֹאן לָבָן, אֲחִי אִמּוֹ; וַיִּגַּשׁ יַעֲקֹב, וַיָּגֶל אֶת-הָאֶבֶן מֵעַל פִּי הַבְּאֵר, וַיַּשְׁקְ, אֶת-צֹאן לָבָן אֲחִי אִמּוֹ.

10 And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother.

יא  וַיִּשַּׁק יַעֲקֹב, לְרָחֵל; וַיִּשָּׂא אֶת-קֹלוֹ, וַיֵּבְךְּ.

11 And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept.

Question:      Why did Yaakov give water to sheep before he kissed Rochel?

Observation:   The Hebrew words for “watered” and “kissed” are the same letters.

Answer:  When Yaakov saw Rochel for the first time, he was bubbling with emotion.  Yaakov sees Rochel and knows that this is the person he is to marry; this was why he was in Choren.  Yet while seeing Rochel, he also takes note of the sheep.  He understands that he cannot take care of his own needs (introducing himself to Rochel) until the sheep are watered.  They are innocent animals that rely on their shepherd to take care of them.    So, he rolls the stone from the well, waters the sheep, and only then does he let his emotions flow, he kisses Rochel.   This is what a righteous person does, and this is what is expected from every Jew.

The Hebrew word for watering is       וַיַּשְׁקְ       and the Hebrew word for “kiss” is  וַיִּשַּׁק   ,  Both are the same letters, albeit with different punctuation.  Yaakov’s love for Rochel was, what can I do for Rochel.  It is not about me, it is about my future wife, Rochel.   

Perhaps this is why the Torah used the word    וַיִּשַּׁק – and he kissed.  The question is asked did Yaakov actually kiss Yaakov.  If you do not want to say that Yaakov actually kissed Rochel, perhaps you can answer that the Torah uses the word kissed to mean, that he loved Rochel, with a love that she was the center of his universe.  They were together to start a family life and start the nation of Israel.              

It is the same idea noted by Rabbi David Wolkenfeld in last’s week Sedra and in my post from last week.  Yitzchok prayed for his wife to have children because she was barren.   It was not about him, it was about his suffering wife.

Torah Thought #3:

Chapter 29, Verse 17:

 Source – Mitch Morgenstern explains the meaning of the word  רַכּוֹת ;  and the Kotzker Rebbe.

Chapter 29, Verse 17 says the following:

 יז  וְעֵינֵי לֵאָה, רַכּוֹת; וְרָחֵל, הָיְתָה, יְפַת-תֹּאַר, וִיפַת מַרְאֶה

17 And Leah’s eyes were weak; but Rachel was of beautiful form and fair to look upon.

Observation – Onkalys and Rasbam seems to argue with Rashi.

Onkalys and Rasbam  explain the word       רַכּוֹת;     to mean “nice”.    She has beautiful eyes and eyes are the window of the soul.  

Rashi  understands the word  רַכּוֹת;   to mean just the opposite based on the Gemorah in Baba Basra 123a.  The Gemorah says that     רַכּוֹת;    means “weak” or “cried out”. The Gemorah says that her eyelashes fell out due to her crying and she was not pretty.  The Gemorah later on seems to say that her prettiness was that she was worried about her spiritual future and did not want to marry an evil person.  This is her beauty.

Kotzker Vort – on Rashi

 Page 14 of the attached Notes for Chumash Shiur .  It is worthwhile to read the Kotzker Vort in Hebrew.  The Kotzker said:

“One should always take note of what people are saying, proof of this because of this Passuk and Rashi.  “Leah’s eyes are weak, because she cried, she heard that people were saying the she would  marry Eisav.  Who was saying this, Lavan and friends, so why should she cry about this” (meaning, why cry because someone says something.  They were just pointing out something that may happen because Lavan’s mother married Yitzhcok and maybe his sons will marry Yaakov, not that this would necessarily happen).  The Kotzker concludes, “but you have to be aware of what people are saying”, especially someone who has control.  

The Kotzker is saying listen and observe what people are talking about to protect yourself, to be prepared to have a response when that thing happens and you do not want it to happen to you.     You have to control your life; do not let others dictate to you.  They may or may not be acting for your benefit.  Only you can decide.

Torah Thought #4:

Chapter 31, Verses 36 – 43:

 Source:    Meir Chase was given a copy of a speech by his seatmate on a flight approximately 10 years ago.  She found it in her seat pocket and said to Meir, you would be interested in this speech.   It was a Shabbos Drasha from Rabbi Jack Riemer.   I  called him at the time and thanked him for his beautiful speech.  I just called Rabbi Riemer again to thank him for his powerful speech.

 Observation – Yaakov explodes at Lavan, verses 36 – 42,  and notice Lavan’s unrepentant response in Verse 43. 

Read the power of the words in Verses 36 through 42.  It is powerful.  For 20 years Yaakov has said nothing to Lavan.  He took and took and took the abuse.  Finally after suffering the indignity of being powerless in front of his family, as Lavan ransacks through Yaakovs belongings, Yaakov explodes in anger.  He  has held it in for 20 long, hard-suffering years, and 20 years of abuse comes out of Yaakov:

36. And Jacob was angry (livid), and he quarreled with Laban, and he said to Laban, “What is my transgression? What is my sin, that you have pursued me?
37. For you have felt about all my things. What have you found of all the utensils of your house? Put it here, in the presence of my kinsmen and your kinsmen, and let them decide between the two of us
38. Already twenty years have I been with you, and your ewes and she goats have not miscarried, neither have I eaten the rams of your flocks.
39. I have not brought home to you anything torn [by other animals]; I would suffer its loss; from my hand you would demand it, what was stolen by day and what was stolen at night.
40. I was [in the field] by day when the heat consumed me, and the frost at night, and my sleep wandered from my eyes.
41. This is twenty years that I have spent in your house. I served you fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for your animals, and you changed my wages ten times ten times.
42. Had not the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, been for me, you would now have sent me away empty handed. God has seen my affliction and the toil of my hands, and He reproved [you] last night.”

After Yaakov finally confronts Lavan, Lavan responds:

43. And Laban answered and said to Jacob, “The daughters are my daughters, and the sons are my sons, and the animals are my animals, and all that you see is mine. Now, what would I do to these daughters of mine today, or to their children, whom they have borne?

Lavan has zero empathy for Yaakov; and says to his son-in-law,  nothing is yours, not your wife, not your kids, not your money.  It is all mine.  Lavan does not have the humility to acknowledge Yaakov; he only lashes back with the arrogance of a man who is corrupt through and through, without a shred of decency.

 Rabbi Jack Riemer looked around his congregation and said.  How many people here have lived the life of Yaakov, where we work for years for a boss who has no appreciation for his employees,  does not compensate properly, makes us work long hours and on our days off.   We work for these people for years negatively affecting our health, or self-worth, our family lives. 

 

לו  וַיִּחַר לְיַעֲקֹב, וַיָּרֶב בְּלָבָן; וַיַּעַן יַעֲקֹב, וַיֹּאמֶר לְלָבָן, מַה-פִּשְׁעִי מַה חַטָּאתִי, כִּי דָלַקְתָּ אַחֲרָי.

36. And Jacob was angry (livid), and he quarreled with Laban, and he said to Laban, “What is my transgression? What is my sin, that you have pursued me?

לז  כִּי-מִשַּׁשְׁתָּ אֶת-כָּל-כֵּלַי, מַה-מָּצָאתָ מִכֹּל כְּלֵי-בֵיתֶךָ–שִׂים כֹּה, נֶגֶד אַחַי וְאַחֶיךָ; וְיוֹכִיחוּ, בֵּין שְׁנֵינוּ.

37. For you have felt about all my things. What have you found of all the utensils of your house? Put it here, in the presence of my kinsmen and your kinsmen, and let them decide between the two of us

לח  זֶה עֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה אָנֹכִי עִמָּךְ, רְחֵלֶיךָ וְעִזֶּיךָ לֹא שִׁכֵּלוּ; וְאֵילֵי צֹאנְךָ, לֹא אָכָלְתִּי.

38. Already twenty years have I been with you, and your ewes and she goats have not miscarried, neither have I eaten the rams of your flocks.

לט  טְרֵפָה, לֹא-הֵבֵאתִי אֵלֶיךָ–אָנֹכִי אֲחַטֶּנָּה, מִיָּדִי תְּבַקְשֶׁנָּה; גְּנֻבְתִי יוֹם, וּגְנֻבְתִי לָיְלָה.

39. I have not brought home to you anything torn [by other animals]; I would suffer its loss; from my hand you would demand it, what was stolen by day and what was stolen at night.

מ  הָיִיתִי בַיּוֹם אֲכָלַנִי חֹרֶב, וְקֶרַח בַּלָּיְלָה; וַתִּדַּד שְׁנָתִי, מֵעֵינָי.

40. I was [in the field] by day when the heat consumed me, and the frost at night, and my sleep wandered from my eyes.

מא  זֶה-לִּי עֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה, בְּבֵיתֶךָ, עֲבַדְתִּיךָ אַרְבַּע-עֶשְׂרֵה שָׁנָה בִּשְׁתֵּי בְנֹתֶיךָ, וְשֵׁשׁ שָׁנִים בְּצֹאנֶךָ; וַתַּחֲלֵף אֶת-מַשְׂכֻּרְתִּי, עֲשֶׂרֶת מֹנִים.

41. This is twenty years that I have spent in your house. I served you fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for your animals, and you changed my wages ten times ten times.

מב  לוּלֵי אֱלֹהֵי אָבִי אֱלֹהֵי אַבְרָהָם וּפַחַד יִצְחָק, הָיָה לִי–כִּי עַתָּה, רֵיקָם שִׁלַּחְתָּנִי; אֶת-עָנְיִי וְאֶת-יְגִיעַ כַּפַּי, רָאָה אֱלֹהִים–וַיּוֹכַח אָמֶשׁ.

42. Had not the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, been for me, you would now have sent me away empty handed. God has seen my affliction and the toil of my hands, and He reproved [you] last night.”

מג  וַיַּעַן לָבָן וַיֹּאמֶר אֶל-יַעֲקֹב, הַבָּנוֹת בְּנֹתַי וְהַבָּנִים בָּנַי וְהַצֹּאן צֹאנִי, וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר-אַתָּה רֹאֶה, לִי-הוּא; וְלִבְנֹתַי מָה-אֶעֱשֶׂה לָאֵלֶּה, הַיּוֹם, אוֹ לִבְנֵיהֶן, אֲשֶׁר יָלָדוּ.

43. And Laban answered and said to Jacob, “The daughters are my daughters, and the sons are my sons, and the animals are my animals, and all that you see is mine. Now, what would I do to these daughters of mine today, or to their children, whom they have borne?
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