Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Toldos

The following is a brief summary of some of the 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.

In Bereishis 25:29 the Torah writes about Yaakov making lentil soup and that Esav came from the field and was tired. The Medrash explains that Yaakov was making the lentil soup because the word had just come that Avraham had died and Yaakov was making round food which was the  traditionally meal made for a mourner.

R' Frand cited the Tolner Rebbi who asked three questions on this story. The first question is - why does the Torah use the word Nazid as a synonym for cooking? The verb Mevushal is much more common, so why does the Torah need to go out of its way to use a less familiar word for cook?

The second question - why does the Torah wait so long to tell us that Yaakov was making lentil soup and bread? The story begins at Bereishis 25:29, but we don't learn what was actually cooked until Bereishis 25:34.

The third question relates to a Medrash which states that Avraham and Yitzchak were very wealthy men. They certainly had servants who could cook. Yaakov had been sitting and learning - why does he need to stop his learning to cook the soup for Avraham? 

The Tolner Rebbi quoted the Malbim who explained that Vayazed can mean cook, but it can also mean planning or scheming. The connection between the two words is that when a person plans or schemes, he cooks up a plan. The Torah's use of Vayzed teaches that Yaakov had great planning and forethought because he wanted to honor his father. He did not want his servants to cook the food and he would just serve it. Yaakov wanted to do this himself and he did not want the servants to assist.

This is also why the Torah does not tell us immediately what Yaakov was cooking. The end result was not important yet, the Torah just wants us to know that Yaakov was cooking something for his father. Later, we can learn what was being cooked.

R' Frand explained that this was a fundamental difference between Yaakov and Esav - Esav just wanted to have something done and the process is immaterial. But to Yaakov, the process and the stages are important as well. Esav is similar to the word Asu - was done. But Yaakov is a heel which is a way to get to the end result.

R' Frand closed the vort by mentioning a story about the Meitzitur Ilui. When he came from Europe in the 20's and saw children playing with toys he cried. He later explained that if he had a chance to play with toys when he was a child, he could have been a bigger Talmid Chacham. Why? Because there is what to be said for learning how things work and going through stages of childhood and adolescence and "figuring things out." Growing up in Europe he had been deprived of this stage and he felt that exposure to this part of life could have made him even greater.

After finishing the vort, R' Frand mentioned the tragedy that took place earlier this week in Jerusalem. He noted that the people who were killed were Kedoshim because they died Al Kiddush Hashem. He observed that they died in a holy place, while doing the holy act of praying, while wearing the holy tefillin and tallis.

R' Frand suggested (and he stressed that it was not meant to be binding on anyone) that people should take on an additional level of kedusha this Shabbos because these evil murders were a breach in the kedusha. R' Frand suggested that people try to make their Shabbos more kodesh by limiting the reading of secular periodicals and discussing secular things.

R' Frand closed with the disclaimer that he is not a prophet and that he does not know that this is the right thing to do, but everyone should do something to make a tikkun for what occurred.

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