Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vayishlach

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

In this week's parsha there is a discussion in Bereishis 32:25-33 of the story of Yaakov's battle with the angel of Esav. The Torah relates that Yaakov and the angel fought all night, until the angel struck Yaakov in the thigh and that as a result Jews may not eat the gid hanasheh.

R' Frand related that there are many perushim on the story and there is much symbolism found in the events. Having said that, R' Frand stated that he recently saw an explanation of the story that he had never seen before.

R' Frand quoted the Chizkuni who explained that the punishment of not eating the gid hanasheh is a punishment that applies until today (as Jews cannot eat the prime cuts of meat such as the porterhouse or sirloin). The Chizkuni explains that it is only right that we cannot eat the gid hanesheh because Yaakov's sons allowed him to go unattended, even though they were strong boys. Because the sons did not provide an accompaniment to their father, they are prohibited from eating the gid hanasheh.

R' Frand said that similar statements are also made by the Rosh and the Sefer Chasidim.

R' Frand then quoted a sefer called the Shabbas U'Moadim which provides a deeper understanding of the events involving Yaakov and the angel. He notes that Yaakov went back alone to retrieve the pachim k'tanim and was struck by the angel. He quoted the Drashas HaRan who explained that the reason that Yaakov was struck by the angel now was because the angel wanted to reclaim the bechora at this juncture. Why now?

The Derashas HaRan answers the question by first referring back to the story of the day that Yaakov bought the bechora. Avraham had died and Yaakov prepared a meal for his father who was mourning for Avraham. Where was Esav at this time? He was out in the field and was not distressed by his father Yitzchak's mourning. Esav then came in from the field and saw that Yitzchak was in mourning. However, Esav did not sit down and console his father. Instead, Esav demanded food.

When Yaakov saw Esav acting this way he said to Esav - you are the bechor? The bechor should be acting like the father. You see that your father is in mourning, yet you are thoroughly unmoved? You are not like your father, so sell me the bechora!
You have not showed your father any respect and have neglected him. I can show proper respect and will be like my father, so sell the bechora to me.

Now in parshas Vayishlach, the angel says to Yaakov - you may have respected your father, but you have not passed this on to your kids. Look! Your children have neglected and abandoned you! Your rationale that you should have the bechora was because Esav was not like Yitzchak and showed no respect - your kids are not respecting you, so I should be able to reclaim the bechora for Esav.

This manifested in a shot to the thigh. The gemara calls descendants - yotzei yereicho - those that come from the thigh. They are also called the supporters of the father - like the thigh supports the person. The Jews are punished that they cannot eat the gid hanasheh, because we must pay the price for failing to properly support and respect Yaakov.

If you have seen this post being carried on another site, please feel free to click to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!

No comments: