Rabbi Reisman – Parshas Vayeitzei 5782
1 – Topic – A Thought from Rav Druk on the beginning of the Parsha
As we prepare for Shabbos Parshas Vayeitzei and we see Chanukah coming towards us. We know Parshas Mikeitz is Chanukah so it is almost here. With that in mind let’s talk about Parshas Vayeitzei. All of the ideas that I want to discuss with you today are in the beginning of the Parsha. I would like to share with you first a thought from Rav Druk.
Rav Druk (in his Sefer on Chumash Darash Mordechai on page 207 – 209 on 28:10) makes the point that the Parsha begins (וַיֵּצֵא יַעֲקֹב, מִבְּאֵר שָׁבַע; וַיֵּלֶךְ, חָרָנָה). Yaakov left. Of course this follows the previous Parsha where it says as is found in 28:7 (וַיִּשְׁמַע יַעֲקֹב, אֶל-אָבִיו וְאֶל-אִמּוֹ; וַיֵּלֶךְ, פַּדֶּנָה אֲרָם). It says he left. However, there are two Pesukim in between that tells us about Eisav’s marriage. (וַיַּרְא עֵשָׂו) and (וַיֵּלֶךְ עֵשָׂו). We learn a little about Eisav’s life and it seems to interrupt. Since there is an end to one Parsha and the beginning of the next Parsha it seems to go over our head. But really there should be no interruption. (וַיִּשְׁמַע יַעֲקֹב, אֶל-אָבִיו וְאֶל-אִמּוֹ; וַיֵּלֶךְ, פַּדֶּנָה אֲרָם) and (וַיֵּצֵא יַעֲקֹב, מִבְּאֵר שָׁבַע; וַיֵּלֶךְ, חָרָנָה). One should follow the other. Why does it interrupt with Eisav?
We really have something similar at the end of Parshas Vayeira which is the Akeida and the beginning of Chaya Sarah is the burial of Sarah. What happened was that Sarah died right when they came back from the Akeidah and it interrupts with five Pesukim and it talks about the fact that Nachar the brother of Avraham Avinu had a beautiful family. Why does it interrupt here and there and what is the depth or the meaning of interrupting in middle of a story?
Rav Druk tells us something that makes it very much a practical idea, something which we can identify with and that is this. This world is full of challenges, there is a lot of pain in this world. A lot of people have disappointments, everybody has some disappointments in life. That is the way it is. A person is an Oved Hashem and he has Nisyonos, he has challenges. What is difficult is the pain of why Reshaim, why people who are not nearly as careful in Mitzvos, in Davening, and in learning, why they should be successful. It is a very difficult thing to see. The truth is, Tzadikim Techilasan Yesurim V’sofon Shalva. We say about a righteous person in this world, we see this world as a hallway, a Prozdor leading to something that is much greater and much more significant, and therefore, we understand that to accomplish a person goes through challenges in life and HKB”H presents all types of challenges.
Reshaim, people who don’t have that outlook on life, so HKB”H makes it that sometimes they are challenged too, but very often they have a nice calm easier life. Certainly that was true about the Avos. The Posuk here wants to present to us what Yaakov went through. Here it is Yaakov who was sitting and learning his whole life gets the Berachos and now Nebach he has to run for his life from Eisav. He is being very challenged. Look at this, Eisav sees his father’s desires and he doesn’t have to go out and work for seven years, Eisav goes out and marries a Bas Yishmael chik chac. Yaakov has to go through this whole long ordeal.
The Torah wants to tell us that that is the Derech of the world. The Derech of the world is that a righteous person is challenged. A good person is challenged. You don’t have to be Yaakov Avinu. A regular Frum Yid has challenges in life. We are in this world to work through challenges, to work through difficulties, to lift heavy weights. If you lift heavy weights you get muscle. That is Olam Hazeh. So the Torah does it twice, it does it by Avraham as well. Look at Avraham’s Tzaros in so many issues. He has to wait so long to have a child, then he is commanded to go to the Akeida, and then finally his child survives the Akeida and then his wife dies.
So the Posuk tells us look at this. His brother Nachar everything is beautiful, family with nice kids and a nice generation. The Torah is telling us that is the way of the world. The way of the world is that Tzadikim Techilasan Yesurim V’sofon Shalva. Reshaim have Techilasan Shalva V’sofon Yesurim. That is the way of the world. The Torah wants to present this to us in a way that we understand the Holeich Yeilech, the way our Avos lived their lives with the jealousy that could have been. Yaakov could have been so jealous of Eisav and Yaakov rolled up his sleeves and did what he had to do. Which is what Jews do in every generation. We do what we got to do without making G-d’s Cheshbonos for him.
2 – Topic – A Thought from Rav Schwab
Let us move on to a second significant thought. To get to this thought I have a Kasha and I would like first to review a Dvar Torah that I said on Parshas Vayeira which comes from Rav Schwab’s Sefer although I believe in Rav Schwab’s Sefer it is not on Parshas Vayeira it is on the Posuk later in Parshas Shelach 14:1 (on page 324 of the Sefer which was discussed in Parshas Shelach 5770). Be that as it may, Rav Schwab says that when Avraham Avinu went to the Akeida that he came to Har Hamoriah and he saw as it says in 22:4 Rashi (ראה ענן קשור על ההר). He saw the Shechina on the mountain. He brings a Medrash that he turned to Yitzchok and said what do you see? Yitzchok said (ענן קשור על ההר). I see a Shechina on that mountain. Then he turned to Eliezer and Yishmael and said what do you? They answered we see stones and trees, they didn’t see the Shechinah. Avraham told them as it says in 22:5 (וַיֹּאמֶר אַבְרָהָם אֶל-נְעָרָיו, שְׁבוּ-לָכֶם פֹּה עִם-הַחֲמוֹר). You stay here with the donkeys and I am going to go up the mountain with Yitzchok. As if to say, the donkeys also don’t see the Shechina and you don’t see the Shechinah so where are you going, stay right here. We who see the Shechina will go up to Har Hamoriah. This is the thought, the idea that two people look at the same thing and someone who is in tune to Kedusha can see more. Ad Kan what we said in the past.
Now I have a Kasha, Yaakov Avinu comes to the same mountain and he doesn’t see the Shechina as it says in 28:16 (וְאָנֹכִי, לֹא יָדָעְתִּי). He doesn’t realize that there is anything special about the mountain. Tzorech Iyun Gadol. What is going on? How could it be that Yaakov doesn’t know that it is Har Hamoriah?
I remember seeing the following answer. The Har Habayis, the Har Hamoriah sits in a very special place. There is a Yerushalayim Shel Maila and a Yerushalayim Shel Mata, there is a heavenly Yerushalayim and an earthly Yerushalayim. Between them is a portal, is a door, where there is an opening that Tefillos go up and where Hashpaa comes down. That is what a person feels when you go the Kosel and you feel something, and you feel that you are in a place that has awe, that is what you are feeling. The opening to the spiritual Yerushalayim.
What happened here is that Har Hamoriah moved. It moved towards Yaakov. Since it moved towards Yaakov miraculously, it was no longer opposite the Yerushalayim Shel Maila. Therefore, Yaakov didn’t feel it. Takeh, the Makom Hashechina didn’t go along with the mountain. The body of the mountain moved but the Makom Hashechina didn’t move along with it. So therefore, the Yesod Hadevarim is this idea. This concept that Yerushalayim you will see the Shechina there when it is K’negged the Yerushalayim Shel Maila which means the Beis Hamikdash which is right above.
When we learned Yechezkel and we learned the rather confusing description of where Yerushalayim will be L’asid Lavo, the Pesukim are far from clear that the Beis Hamikdash or Yerushalayim would be in its current location. When we learned it Rashi said Yerushalayim will be in its current location. The Beis Hamikdash not, but Yerushalayim yes. Why Yerushalayim yes? According to this we understand that it has to be Mechuvan K’negged the Yerushalayim Shel Maila and that has to take place.
3 – Topic – A Thought from Rav Yaakov
This third thought more than anything is a Mar Makom, is an opportunity to learn something really Geshmak. Again I refer back to a Dvar Torah from a previous week. Yaakov Avinu went to the Yeshiva of Eiver to learn for 14 years. Rav Yaakov asks why did he go to learn for 14 years he had already learned for 63 years. That wasn’t enough time in order to get married he needed another 14 years? Reb Yaakov answers that for 63 years he learned the Torah in Yitzchok’s Beis Hamedrash, the Beis Medrash of Menuchas Hanefesh, the Beis Medrash of a calm person. Now he is heading out to Lavan where he will be challenged, he needs to learn Torah of Sheim and Eiver. Sheim and Eiver they lived in a time that they lived with and among evil people. They had to put up with people. That Nisayon that Yaakov was heading to, he was going to live with Lavan the crook, for that he needed to learn Toraso Shel Sheim and Eiver. Rav Yaakov is saying that there are different Tekufos in a person’s life. There are different time periods. There is a time period to learn the Torah of Yitzchok and now he suddenly found out that he has to go out to Lavan so he has to learn the Torah of the Yeshiva Sheim and Eiver, and therefore, that is what he did.
This theme that a person has to recognize Tekufos in his life, was a constant theme of Rav Yaakov Kamenetzky. We heard it from him many times. I would like to give you a great Mar Makom. There is a journal Oraysa published in Eretz Yisrael. In the 18th volume of Oraysa there is published as the last piece in the Sefer Rav Yaakov Kamenetzky’s Hespid on Rav Yechezkal Ambramtzky. There he talks about the idea of Tekufos. This is something that he spoke about all the time. That there are different time periods. Not only that there are time periods that are different for Klal Yisrael there are time periods that are different for an individual’s life. He talks about the idea of there being Tekufos. He says the following amazing observation. He talks about the difference between the Tekufah of pre-Holocaust and post-Holocaust in the Torah world. He says the following. He says pre-Holocaust the Manhigim, the teachers were the Rabbanan, not the Roshei Yeshiva. The Roshei Yeshiva were Gedolim but those who were Manhig Klal Yisrael were the Rabbanim. The Ketzos Hachoshen was a Rav, the Nesivos was a Rav, Rav Akiva Eiger was a Rav, The Node B’yehuda was a Rav. These were Rabbanim. They were the Manhigim of Klal Yisrael. A change has taken place. In the post-Holocaust world there are Tekufos Tekufos Yeish. Now the Manhigim are for the most part the Roshei Yeshiva. You go to a wedding the Mesadeir Kiddushin is a Rosh Yeshiva. Why is that so? Because a person needs to connect through Torah, needs to connect through learning. We already live in a post-Holocaust world we live as exposed to the nations of the world as could be. We don’t have any of that sort of Ghetto protection with an inner connection. We live in a world that is wide open for all of us and the connection has to be one through Torah.
That Nikuda, that point is a point of Tekufos Tekufos Yeish which applies to us today. Rav Yaakov goes through Nach really in that piece and explains how the Tekufa of Yehoshua, was different then the Tekufa of Shoftim, different then the Tekufa of Shmuel etc. Historically as a practical matter in our world, you have got to connect to your learning. You are going to be a rudderless boat. I don’t say G-d forbid you can’t connect to your Rav, many people have Rabbanim that they can connect to, but if you want to connect in a meaningful way you have to learn his Torah. If you are into his Torah, you are into his learning then you will have a connection to him that is Tekufos Tekufos Yeish that we have Boruch Hashem.
With these three separate thoughts all on the beginning of the Parsha I would like to wish one and all an absolutely wonderful Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Vayeitzei. May we be Zoche in this wide open world to make it to Eretz Yisrael to live among Yidden, among Klal Yisrael, to live among Yidden who are Chareidim to the Dvar Hashem. May we have that great and awesome Zechus. A Gutten Shabbos to one and all!