Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vayeitzei

The following is a brief summary of some of 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 31:22, the Torah writes that on the third day after Ya'akov left Lavan's house, it was told to Lavan that Ya'akov had left. In the end of the following pasuk, the Torah indicates that Lavan caught up to Ya'akov at Har Gilad. Rashi writes that at the time that Lavan left to chase after Ya'akov, Ya'akov had a six day head start on Lavan, but Lavan caught up to him in one day because he had kefitzas haderech.

R' Frand quoted the Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh who asked -- why did Lavan have kefitzas haderech? If anything, Ya'akov should have had the speed in his trip, much like in his travels to get to Lavan! Eliezer had merited this assistance, so why would Ya'akov not have it on his return trip? And even if not, why would Lavan get it?

R' Frand answered that Hashem wanted Lavan to catch up to Ya'akov, so that Ya'akov would have the confrontation with Lavan in which he said in Bereishis 31:32 that whomever had taken Lavan's idols would die, because this would be the key to later ending the Jews' galus.

R' Frand quoted the famous Medrash in Eicha in which the patriarchs individually prayed that Hashem would end the galus. This began with Avraham praying and saying that in the z'chus of his sacrificing Yitzchak, Hashem should end the galus and Hashem said, no. Yitzchak then prayed and said that the galus should end in the z'chus that he did not challenge his father over the akeidah and Hashem said, no. Ya'akov too prayed and asked for the end of galus in the z'chus of his actions in the house of Lavan and Hashem said, no. Even Moshe prayed and asked that the galus end in the z'chus that he led the Jews in the desert for 40 years and Hashem said, no. Until Rochel prayed and said that the galus should end in the z'chus that she gave her sister the signs and helped her trick Ya'akov so that Leah would not be embarrassed, and for this Hashem agreed that there would be an end.

The Ohr HaChaim HaKadish explains that this conversation or prayer to Hashem occurred as the Jews were passing by Rachel's tomb on the way to Bavel. This needed to happen there and it was for this very reason that Lavan and Ya'akov had to have the confrontation that they did. Although the death of Rochel seemed to be a tragedy, it was the Divine reason that the Jews would have an end to their galus.

R' Frand also mentioned a vort in the name of the Rokeach who wrote in the sefer Galya Raza that Ya'akov was supposed to live 180 years like his father Yitzchak. However, he lost 33 years and only lived 147 years. He had a novel reason for this loss and it was also linked to Lavan. In 31:44, the Torah mentions the treaty made between Lavan and Ya'akov. As part of this event, they build a pillar of stones. Although Ya'akov called his pillar "Galed", Lavan called it Yiga Sahadusa. The Rokeach writes that this was the sole time that Aramaic was written in the Torah and it was a tragedy that Ya'akov was responsible for. As such, he lost 33 years (the gematria of Gal).

R' Frand closed the vort by quoting R' Simcha Zissel who said in the name of R' Epstein that on the same day that Columbus sailed for America, the Spanish began the expulsion of the Jews under the Inquisition. Although this seemed like Tzadik V'Ra Lo, it was the beginning of a process in which there would be an America to bring in and save the Jews who were fleeing oppression.

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