Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vayeitzei

The following is a brief summary of two of the three thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts 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.

Rabbi Frand's first vort on the parsha took a different look at the story of the stones which served as Yaakov's pillow when he dreamed about the angels ascending and descending the ladder. The Torah states in Bereishis 28:18-19, that Yaakov took the rock and made it a matzeivah in the city of Luz. The Ramban states that Yaakov did not actually place the rock as a matzeivah where he slept, instead Yaakov took the rock to Luz and set it up there.

R' Frand asked - why did he have to take the rock with him to Luz? It was a big rock! Couldn't he just have made a matzeivah in Luz with the rocks that were there? 

R' Frand answered that we see a truism from the story. If a person puts off doing something, he might not actually do it. Yaakov knew that people may become inspired, but the inspiration sometimes wears off before they get a chance to act. Therefore, Yaakov took the rock with him to Luz so that he would be able to follow through with his desire to make a matzeivah.

An additional vort that R' Frand said on the parsha dealt with a story at the end of Vayeitzei. After Yaakov leaves Lavan's house, Lavan chases after and catches up to Yaakov. Once he reaches Yaakov, he asks - why have you stolen my idols. Yaakov allows Lavan to search his tents and then when Lavan is done, Yaakov explodes in anger at Lavan (Bereishis 31:36-43). 

R' Frand asked - why did Yaakov choose this moment to get mad at Lavan? After all, Lavan had tricked and frustrated him in much more significant ways over the course of twenty years. Lavan switched Leah and Rachel. Lavan played games with Yaakov's compensation while Yaakov worked for Lavan as a shepherd. So why did Yaakov choose this moment to finally vent at his father in law?

R' Frand answered by quoting R' Yosef Salant who explained in the sefer Be'er Yosef that the context had changed. Until this point, the problems between Yaakov and Lavan were personal. When Lavan switched the brides, it was just between them. When Lavan played games with compensation, it was also only between them. 

But now, Lavan has chased down Yaakov with a posse full of people. When Lavan accuses Yaakov of theft in front of all the people, Yaakov explodes and says - go ahead and look. After Lavan does not find what he is looking for, Yaakov lets loose with a recitation of all that Lavan has done wrong to him. This occurs because Lavan has crossed a red line by publicly accusing Yaakov of dishonesty. This is too much for Yaakov to quietly tolerate, so he finally explodes at Lavan.

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