Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vayishlach

The following is a brief summary of a thought said over by R' Frand in his shiur this evening. I have attempted to reproduce this vort to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistencies are the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

This week's parsha contains a discussion of the battle between Ya'acov and the Saroh Shel Eisav which occurred after Ya'acov went back to retrieve small vessels ("pachim kitanim") which he had left behind. Rashi on Bereishis 32:25 explains that this is a proof that tzadikim treat their possessions with care, so they should not come to theft.

R' Frand quoted the Alter M'Kelem who had a different take on why tzadikim are careful with their possessions. R' Frand explained that the tzadikim treat their possessions with care, because if they know that if they lose them, they will have to lose time to go shopping for new items. R' Frand then said that to tzadikim, shopping is a waste of their time and they would seek to avoid it. He said that he has to get his teeth cleaned, so he does it, but does not enjoy it. He said that to him, the same concept applies to shopping. He does not enjoy it, but sometimes it has to be done, so he goes out to shop.

R' Frand then said that to Ya'acov, if he lost the pachim kitanim he would have had to go to out and buy new ones. Rather than waste the time, he went back to retrieve the old ones. The Saroh Shel Eisav did not understand this. He looked at Ya'acov and thought that maybe Ya'acov had been influenced by his time spent in Lavan's house and that Ya'acov had become materialistic. Saroh Shel Eisav said to himself, now must be the time that is right to attack Ya'acov because he has been influenced by olam hazeh. However, the angel was not succesful ("Vaya'ar ki lo yachol lo"). Ya'acov responds to the angel with the expression he will later tell Eisav directly - Eem lavan garti, v'taryag mitzvos shamarti - I lived with Lavan, but I kept the mitzvos of the Torah.

The Torah relates at Bereishis 33:17 that following the battle with Saroh Shel Eisav and the subsequent meeting with Eisav, Ya'acov goes to Succoth. Ya'acov then lives there for 18 months. The only facts provided in the pasuk is that Ya'akov built a house and and huts (succoth) for the animals. The Targum Yonasan Ben Uziel explains that the house that Ya'acov built was a beis medrash which was constructed from mortar and stone. However, in constructing the huts for the animals, Ya'acov used sticks and straw. The Targum explains that Ya'acov set an example for his children that in building the beis medrash, he used solid materials which would last for generations, while the animal huts were functional but spartan. In so doing, Ya'acov told his children, no, I never got into the gashmius while in Lavan's home. These animal pens are transitory to serve their purpose, but are not the priority.

R' Frand finished by quoting the Tur. He said that each one of the Avos is connected with a holiday based on an act. Avraham is Pesach because of the Matzos baked for the angels who visited him. Yitzchak is Yom Kippur, because of the shofar which was made from the horn of the ram which was offered on the akeidah in his place. Ya'acov is connected with Sukkos because of his role in building succoth as a way of teaching the proper way to conduct one's life.

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