Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Toldos

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, the Torah relates the conversation between Hashem and Yitzchak when Yitzchak desired to leave the land of Israel. After being informed that he must stay in Israel, Hashem tells Yitzchak of the brachos that he will receive and that they are due to Avraham's listening to Hashem and keeping the laws, commandments and Torah.
R' Frand quoted the Ramban who learns from this pasuk that the Avos kept the entire Torah before it was given. However, the Ramban then questions - if the Avos kept the whole Torah, how could Yaakov marry two sisters? The Ramban answers that the Avos only kept the whole Torah before it was given while they were in Eretz Yisrael. However, since the story took place in Haran which was outside of Eretz Yisrael, he could marry two sisters.
R' Frand then quoted R' Yaakov Kaminetsky who explains that the Ramban was stating that the reason that Yaakov married two sisters was because he gave his word to Rachel that he would marry her. After he got tricked into marrying Leah, he still had to keep his word and therefore he married Rachel. Yes, it is true that one cannot marry two sisters, but the Ramban (as interpreted by R' Yaakov Kaminetsky) is explaining that this is merely a chumrah and should not be an impediment to Yaakov marrying Rachel as she should not be bound by his mistake.
The problem with this explanation of the Ramban is that one must wonder - what question was the Ramban answering when he said that this was merely a chumrah which should not prevent Yaakov from marrying Rachel?
R' Frand quoted R' Kaminetsky who explains that there is a general principal that Hashem does not allow a Tzaddik to fall through a mistaken occurrence. Thus, the Ramban was bothered, how could Hashem allow Yaakov to be tricked into marrying Leah, when it would mean that Yaakov would be halachically prevented from marrying Rachel? The answer that the Ramban gives is that Yaakov was outside of Israel and therefore the bar to marrying two sisters did not apply.
R' Frand then developed this vort to explain that R' Kaminetsky meant by this that one should always keep his word. R' Frand did this by telling two stories about R' Yaakov. The first story related to how R' Yaakov started putting on Rabbeinu Tam tefillin at the end of his life. Why did he do so? The story is told that when R' Kaminetsky was younger, he was approached by someone who said - why don't you wear Rabbeinu Tam's tefillin like the Chofetz Chaim did when he was older? He answered, when I get to be the age of the Choftez Chaim, I will wear it. Fifty some odd years later, when R' Yaakov reached the age that the Chofetz Chaim started wearing the Rabbeinu Tam tefillin, R' Yaakov started wearing the tefillin. Why? Because you keep your word.
The second story related to eating gebruchts on Pesach. R' Yaakov did not eat gebruchts, but allowed his family to do so. Why? Because when R' Yaakov was a young man, he was in yeshiva over Pesach and he was assigned out to a family to eat with them over Pesach. R' Yaakov had some concerns about the kashrus of the family and needed a way to escape eating with them without hurting their feelings. He decided to tell the yeshiva that he could not eat there because he did not eat gebruchts and they served that food on Pesach. Since this was his personal problem, he himself did not eat gebruchts because he said that he does not eat it. But his family could eat gebruchts.
R' Frand closed the vort by repeating that to R' Yaakov, one's word is his word. A chumrah does not trump your word. That a man is not allowed to marry two sisters is only an issue to the Avos when they were living in Eretz Yisrael. But since the story took place in Haran, Yaakov was able to keep his word.
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