Thursday, December 4, 2014

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vayishlach

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.

R' Frand started the vort by quoting the Rabbeinu B'Chaye which mentions a medrash recorded in the Medrash Tanchuma. The medrash recites a conversation which took place between Chamor and Yaakov when Chamor told Yaakov that his son Shechem wished to marry Dina. Chamor said to Yaakov - I am a Nasi and your grandfather Avraham was a Nasi - this would be a great shidduch.

Yaakov of course rejected Chamor's suggestion. In so doing, Yaakov said to him, I am an ox and you are a donkey. You are not allowed to plow with an ox and donkey together, so this cannot be a good shidduch.

The medrash obviously requires explanation. However, prior to beginning the explanation, R' Frand made mention of a Rashi in Parshas Vayishlach (32:5). Rashi explains that when Yaakov told Esav that Yaakov had lived with Lavan, Yaakov told him - I was only a ger when I was in Lavan's house. I did not have a position of power. Look - the berachos of Yitzchak did not come true - so why be mad? You got the better end of the deal!

There are several problems with this Rashi. R' Moshe Feinstein notes that the berachos were a nevuah. Was Yaakov saying that they were a false prophecy and worthless? Also, merely because the berachos had not come true now did not mean that they would never come true. After all, they really only came to fruition in the time of Shlomo HaMelech!

R' Frand answered that Yaakov knew who he was dealing with and how to approach Esav. The Seforno in Parshas Toldos on Bereishis 25:31, explains that where Yaakov says "Michrah Kayom" - Yaakov is saying to Esav - you live for today. You put so much effort into today that you cannot appreciate the bechor. 

R' Frand explained that the difference between a tzaddik and a rasha is that the tzaddik looks to the long term, while the rasha wants instant gratification. The rasha wants the today and does not think about the reward which will come in olam haba.

Yaakov knew that the berachos would come true in the future and was willing to wait. But Yaakov also knew that Esav would not understand this. So he said to Esav - I have nothing now so the berachos must be worthless.

With this introduction, R Frand quoted R' Avraham Bukspan who explains the difference between an ox and a donkey. The ox is used for plowing and planting which is a long term plan. In contrast, the donkey is used for short term deliveries of items.

R' Frand also explained that an ox ruminates and uses the food for a long time, whereas the donkey eats for the present. 

This was the message to Chamor - you are only interested in the short term, whereas we think about the long term. This shidduch just cannot work.

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