TOLDOS

TOLDOS

Yitzchak entreated Hashem opposite his wife, because she was barren.

The Medrash (Bereishis Rabba 63:5) writes: “This teaches us that Yitzchak and Rivkah were lying on the ground in two different places. Yitzchak said: `Ruler of the World! May all the children You are giving me be only from this tzadeikes.‘ Rivkah also said: `May all the children You give me in the future be from this tzaddik.‘”

Why does the Medrash change from its use of the present tense, “You are giving me” said by Yitzchak Ovinu and instead use the future tense, “you will give me in the future” said by Rivkah Imeinu?

“With praises I call unto Hashem, and I am saved from my enemy” (Tehillim 18:4). Rashi explains: “This means that even before [my] salvation I praise Him since I am confident of being saved from my enemies.”Yitzchak, a

Yitzchak, a ma‘amin (a believer in HaKodosh Boruch Hu) ben ma‘amin (the son of a believer in HaKodosh Boruch Hu), possessed a high level of bitochon and was confident his salvation will come, therefore he thanked Hashem as if it already happened—“You are giving me.” On the other hand, Rivkah who was a ma‘amina but not a bas ma‘amin (she was the daughter of Besuel) was on a somewhat lower level of bitochon in comparison to Yitzchak and could only praise Hashem for the salvation that is forthcoming—“you will give me in the future.”

[Yismach Yisroel-Alexander]

 

The lads grew up and Esav became one who knows hunting, a man of the field, but Yaakov was a wholesome man, abiding in tents.

The posuk is telling us that, although Yaakov and Esav were twin brothers, they acted in a completely different manner and possessed opposite middos. Esav was attracted to bodily pleasures while Yaakov was attracted to follow the advice of his nefesh. “Esav became one who knows hunting”–which is the pastime of an idle person, of someone chasing after worldly ta‘avos. “A man of the field”–has the same meaning as, “a man of the earth.” For this reason Esav‘s name is called Edom” (v. 30) which is derived from adom (red) and from adomoh (earth). In other words, Esav was earthly, wholly interested in worldly desires.

Immersing oneself in eating, drinking and other pleasures such as hunting causes one to fall in avodas Hashem and fear of Him. Such a person views deriving pleasure as his main purpose in life and serving Hashem as something subordinate. This was the way of Esav (v. 33): “He ate and drank, got up and left; thus Esav spurned the birthright.”

Someone who lives in such a way eventually finds himself okuv (cheated), as Esav said (27:36): “Is it because his name was called Yaakov that he ya‘akveini (cheated, outwitted) me these two times? He took away my birthright and see, now he took away my blessing.” Even if one tastes the sweetness of honey [when engaging in ta‘avos] that is only a temporary pleasure, but at the end one becomes tremendously sorry for his deeds, just like the Torah writes, “When Esav heard his father‘s words, he cried out an exceedingly great and biter cry (v. 34).”Also

Also Shlomoh HaMelech discusses the bitter end of one who runs after worldly pleasures (Mishlei 5:3-4), “For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey … but her end is as bitter as wormwood, as sharp as a double edged sword.” This is the way of Esav and all those who follow him.

[Rabbeinu Bechaye on the Torah]

 

And they said, `We have indeed seen that Hashem has been with you.

This posuk can be explained according to the theme that I wrote about in parshas Vayeira. “He perceived, so he ran toward them” (18:2). The three malochim who came to visit Avrohom Ovinu enhanced Avrohom‘s sechel, his powers of attaining intellectual perception, since when a person gazes at a tzaddik a spirit of clarity envelopes him.

“A person is obliged to greet his Rav on Yom Tov” (Rosh Hashanah 16b). Through beholding his Rav, who is a tzaddik, a talmid attains clarification in matters of ruchniyus. After attaining such clarity, Avrohom understood that the three visitors are tzaddikim and therefore ran out toward them.

The Torah writes, “We have re‘o ro‘inu (indeed seen)” with a double expression of seeing to tell us that Avimelech and Fichol said that by their looking at him they gained a new sense of seeing. After they looked at his kedushah, their seichel became enhanced and they arrived at tremendous clarity. “Hashem has been with you”–because the Shechinah rests upon you, our looking at you has caused our seichel to be elevated. Therefore, after sensing your tremendous kedushah, we came to cling to you.

[Kedushas Levi]

 

“The voice is Yaakov‘s voice, but the hands are Esav‘s hands.”

Chazal (Bereishis Rabba 65:20) expound on this posuk: “When Yaakov‘s voice is found in botei kenesiyos the hands of Esav are non-existent, but if not–“the hands are Esav‘s hands.”

The berochoh of “the voice is Yaakov‘s voice” helps bnei Yisroel only when they study Torah humbly but not when they study with the intention of showing off and demonstrating their knowledge and acumen, chas vesholom. We learn this principle from what the King of Edom said to Yisroel: “You shall not pass through me–lest I come against you with the sword” (Bamidbar 20:18). Rashi (Ibid) writes: “You pride yourself with the voice that your father bequeated to you…and I will attack you with what my father bequeated to me `You shall live on your sword‘ (Bereishis 27:9).

What the King of Edom said is apparently incomprehensible. What difference does it make that Esav inherited the power of the sword? Didn‘t we learn from Chazal that the power of Yisroel is stronger and, “When Yaakov‘s voice is found in botei kenesiyos the hands of Esav are non-existent, but if not–“the hands are Esav‘s hands”? No doubt remains of Yaakov defeating Esav when they study Torah.

According to what we explained, the threat of the King of Edom makes sense. The King of Edom said, “You pride yourself with the voice that your father inherited to you…” and therefore “I will attack you with what my father inherited to me.” The “voice is Yaakov‘s voice” is only powerful when the Torah is studied by one who is humble and not when he is proud.

[Maran Rebbe Yehoshua of Belz zy‘a cited in Keren LeDovid, parshas Chukas, s.v. Zos Chukas Hatorah]