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This week’s Kiddush was sponsored by Mikey Perl in honor of the birth of his daughter Shoshana.

ואלה תולדות

This Shabbos is an appropriate Shabbos to celebrate a Kiddush being that the Parshah is about Toldos. There are two Parshiyos that begin with ואלה תולדות. One of them is called Toldos and the other is called Noach. If we don’t want to call two Parshiyos the same name, one would think it would be better to call a Parshah after Yitzchak instead of Noach. So what could be an explanation as to why Parshas Noach which begins ואלה תולדות is called Noach but Parshas Toldos which begins ואלה תולדות is called Toldos?

The beginning of Parshas Noach begins אלה תולדת נח נח איש צדיק תמים היה בדרתיו את האלקים התהלך נח. The Pasuk begins with אלה תולדת נח but then doesn’t mention his children. Rashi writes ללמדך שעיקר תולדותיהם של צדיקים מעשים טובים. According to this, תולדת נח is not really talking about his children rather about himself. Where as ואלה תולדת יצחק בן אברהם אברהם הוליד את יצחק, we are talking about hic children. Therefore, it could be that in Parshas Noach where the word תולדת is referring to the מעשים טובים of Noach himself, we call the Parshah Noach. Where as in Parshas Toldos that תולדת is referring to Yitzchaks children, so because the Parshah is about his children, we call it Parshas Toldos.

A daughter, even more than a son, is defined by her parents as Chazal say בת פלוני לפלוני. The פלוני, the husband, is defined by himself but she is referred to as בת פלוני because she is defined by her parents. Therefore we wish the parents of this baby that the פלוני shouldn’t just be a stam פלוני but should be a Talmid Chacham and then his daughter will be a בת ת"ח and in time IYH an אשת חבר.

Power of the צדיק בן רשע

The Pasuk says ויעתר יצחק לה' לנכח אשתו כי עקרה הוא ויעתר לו ה' ותהר רבקה אשתו. The simple reading of this Pasuk is that Yitzchak davened to Hashem to have a child and Hashem answered him and Rivka got pregnant. However, Rashi explains that לנכח אשתו that they were both davening. But now that they were both davening, there needs to be an explanation as to why it was ויעתר לו specifically, and not to both of them. Rashi, quoting the Gemara in Yevamos 64a explains לו ולא לה שאין דומה תפלת צדיק בן צדיק לתפלת צדיק בן רשע. But how could this be that the Tefilah of Yitzchak, the צדיק בן צדיק, was greater than the Tefilah of Rivka the צדיק בן רשע? After all, she was a self-made person. The Pasuk even describes again that she was בת בתואל הארמי מפדן ארם אחות לבן, to further express how impressive she was that she came from such a family and such a place and she didn’t learn from their ways and she became who she became. As opposed to Yitzchak whose father was Avraham, he was coming from such a holy place, his greatness would seem less impressive than Rivka.

In the new Chumashim, the Girsa in Rashi is changed to שאין דומה תפלת צדיק בן רשע לתפלת צדיק בן צדיק. However in the older Chumashim, the version is שאין דומה תפלת צדיק בן צדיק לתפלת צדיק בן רשע as is the Girsa in the Gemara in Yevamos. Whenever the Gemara has a שאין דומה וכו', the second is greater than the first. For example we says שאין דומה שמיעה לראיה. If Chazal were trying to express that the Tefilah of the צדיק בן צדיק is greater, then this version has it backwards.

The Rav said the following answer in the name of his brother Reb Chaim Yisrael. The continuation of the Gemara in Yevamos says מפני מה היו אבותינו עקורים מפני שהקב"ה מתאוה לתפילתן של צדיקים. According to this Gemara, the more interested Hashem is in one’s Tefilah, the more he will delay answering and fulfilling it because it’s sweet and he wants to hear it more. Therefore it makes sense to say that Yitzchak was answered first because שאין דומה תפלת צדיק בן צדיק לתפלת צדיק בן רשע that the Tefilah of theצדיק בן צדיק is less interesting to Hashem and therefore it is answered right away. As opposed to the Tefilah of the צדיק בן רשע which is much sweeter and Hashem has more interested in hearing from this person, therefore he delays fulfilling it.

This idea is seen further on in the Parshah by the Brachos. By Yaakov Avinu, the Pasuk says ויתן לך וכו' and Rashi writes יתן ויחזור ויתן. At first glance, this doesn’t seem like a good thing, because the Brachah from Hashem would be better if it was all given at once. So why is it that the Brachah for Yaakov is יתן ויחזור ויתן? And when it comes to the Brachah for Eisav, the Pasuk says הנה משמני הארץ יהיה מושביך ומטל השמים מעל. The indication from the word יהיה is that the Brachah will always be, and it will be in a constant way without break and not like יתן ויחזור ויתן. It would seem that Eisav got the better Brachah.

Furthermore, the Pasuk above says ויתן לך אלקים and Rashi says מהו האלהים בדין, אם ראוי לך יתן לך, ואם לאו לא יתן לך, אבל לעשו אמר משמני הארץ יהיה מושבך, בין צדיק בין רשע יתן לך. This is even more perplexing that it comes out that Eisav who is the sinner gains because his Brachah is בין צדיק בין רשע, but Yaakovs Brachah is only אם ראוי לך?

The answer to these questions is that the Brachah for Yaakov is specifically in a way of יתן ויחזור ויתן because only in such a way will there be a constant and ongoing connection between Klal Yisrael and the Hakadosh Boruch Hu. As opposed to Eisav, since Hashem doesn’t desire such a relationship with Eisav, so the Brachah is given in way where it’s everything at once. This is also why specifically for Klal Yisrael it’s given with מדית הדין that אם ראוי לך יתן לך, ואם לאו לא יתן לך because that qualifies our relationship with Hashem. This is the idea behind the Tefilah of the צדיק בן רשע that because it is much sweeter, and Hashem has more interested in hearing from this person, therefore he delays fulfilling it. Hashem wants the person to keep coming back.

Disgracing the Bechorah

The Pasuk says ויבז עשו את הבכרה. So we understand the reason why he sold the בכרה is because Eisav didn’t hold the Avodah in high regard, to the point where maybe he despised the Avodah. But that is rather shocking because Eisav grew up in the home of Yitzchak, and under the influence of Avraham Avinu so how is it possible that the Avodah meant nothing to him.

However, if one looks carefully, it becomes apparent that this Pasuk ויבז עשו את הבכרה only comes after the sale of the בכרה. But before the sale, the Pasuk says something completely different. The Pasuk says הנה אנכי הולך למות ולמה זה לי בכרה and Rashi says the following conversation took place between Eisav asked Yaakov: אמר עשו מה טיבו של עבודה זו אמר לו כמה אזהרות ועונשין ומתות תלויין בה וכו' אמר אני הולך למות על ידה אם כן מה חפץ לי בה. We see that the reason why he gave up the Avodah is not because he didn’t take it seriously and didn’t hold of it in high regard, rather it’s because he didn’t’ have self-respect, the self-confidence and the self-esteem. He felt inadequate and he didn’t feel that he was capable of doing the Avodah and fulfilling the mission.

This is precisely why he gave up the Avodah. It was only after he gave up the Avodah, in order not to feel that he gave up something that was worth holding on to did he rationalize it by saying that the Avodah is not really so important and not so worthy. But really it came from a place of not feeling worthy himself. But once he gave it up because of that, he convinced himself that the Avodah is not worth holding on to.

The Medrash says אברהם יצא ממנו ישמעאל וכו' יצחק יצא ממנו עשו וכו' אבל יעקב מיטתו שלימה כל בניו צדיקים. The meaning of יצא ממנו could mean that the offspring is really connected to the root of where he came from. Therefore, the קלקל of Yishmael was specifically within the Midah of Avraham Avinu and the קלקל of Eisav was specifically in the Midah of Yitzchak. It’s brought down in the Sefarim HaKedoshim that Yishmael is the פסולת of the מידת החסד ואהבה and Eisav is the פסולת of the מידת הגבורה והיראה. When Hashem offered the Torah to other nations, Yishmael rejected because of לא תנאף which has to do with the Midah of Chessed as it says by the עריות-חסד הוא because it is the excess of אהבה and Eisav rejected because ofלא תרצח which has to do with the Midah of Gevurah which is the root of כעס.

It’s clear in the Parshah that Eisav had this מידת היראה והגבורה within him. Eisav had the respect and חשיבות for the Avodah in the Beis Hamikdash however he had a fear from it. Thisפחד ויראה that Eisav had which is the reason he הנה אנכי הולך למות is the פסולת of פחד יצחק היה לי. The פחד ויראה that Eisav experienced was paralyzing. It caused him to have יאוש and he lacked the self confidence that was needed to rise to the challenge. Instead of having thisפחד ויראה to empower him, he allowed it to paralyze him. Only once he let that fear paralyze him, only then does it say ויבז עשו את הבכרה because a person can’t live with himself that he gave up and gave in on a major opportunity. Therefore only as a result of passing up on the בכרה did he disgrace it and say that it had no value.

אם כן למה זה אנכי

The Pasuk says ויתרצצו הבנים בקרבה ותאמר אם כן למה זה אנכי ותלך לדרש את ה'. The Rishonim differ in how to explain ותאמר אם כן למה זה אנכי. Rashi says אם כן גדול צער העבור למה זה אנכי מתפללת ומתאוה על ההריון. The Ibn Ezra writes כי שאלה את הנשים אם אירע להם ככה ותאמרנה לא, ותאמר אם כן - הדבר והמנהג למה זה אנכי - בהריון משונה. However the Ramban disagrees because והנה הכתוב חסר ואיננו שלם בפירוש הזה. The Ramban continues and says והנכון בעיני כי אמרה אם כן - יהיה לי למה זה אנכי - בעולם, הלואי אינני, שאמות או שלא הייתי. The Ramban explains that the למה זה אנכי is going on her existence in the world that if this is happening to her, why should she be in the world. It would be better if she didn’t exist. But the question is how a צדקת, one of the אמהות, could say למה זה אנכי - בעולם, הלואי אינני that הלואי she shouldn’t exist because of the pain of the pregnancy.

The Rav said the following explanation from his father. Avraham Avinu commanded and made Eliezer swear that he would only take a wife for Yitzchak from the old country, from his home land, and not from כנען. Why would Avraham have such a הקפדה? After all, it was in his home land where he was thrown into the כבשן האש and not only that but he was forced to flee his home land even after he was saved miraculously from the כבשן האש. As opposed to in כנען, Avraham was respected as the Pasuk says נשיא אלקים אתה בתוכנו and he influenced so many in כנען by introducing them to Hashem. So not only was he not persecuted in כנען but he also was successful in influencing the people to have אמונה באלקי העולם so why was he so adamant about specifically taking a wife for Yitzchak from his home land as opposed to כנען?

The Ran in Drashos (דרוש ה) writes that עבירות ודעות כוזבות are not passed on from father to son. However, תכונות הנפש ומידות-character traits, are passed on, father to son. Therefore, even though the behavior of the people in אור כשדים, Avraham Avinus home land, was far worse than the people of כנען, nevertheless he wanted a wife for Yitzchak specifically from there because of a certain character trait the people from his home land embodied and that the people of כנען lacked. One of the מידות of Klal Yisrael is that they are עם קשה עורף and the Gemara Beitzah 25a says ישראל עזין שבאומות. The roots for this character trait go all the way back to אור כשדים where the ideology of Avraham Avinu couldn’t be tolerated and even once he survived being thrown into the כבשן האש, it still had no effect on Terach to the point where Avraham had to flee. But in כנען, they lacked this character trait, of קשה עורף, they were easily swayed. Because of this, Avraham Avinu specifically wanted the wife of Yitzchak to be from his home land because they had this character trait of קשה עורף. Although it is this character trait that Hashem claimed against Moshe Rabbeinu by the חטא העגל, Moshe was able to turn it around to show how it’s specifically this character trait that will allow Klal Yisrael to survive throughout history.

On the word ויתרוצצו, Rashi writes רבותינו דרשוהו לשון ריצה, כשהיתה עוברת על פתחי תורה של שם ועבר יעקב רץ ומפרכס לצאת, עוברת על פתחי עבודה זרה עשו מפרכס לצאת. Rivka thought she was only having one child and it was the same child that would sometimes kick towards the Beis Medrash would also kick towards the פתחי עבודה זרה. So when she said אם כן למה זה אנכי, she was saying if she was going to have a child that didn’t have this character trait of קשה עורף because it was a child that was fluid, that it sometimes kicked for the Beis Medrash and sometimes for the עבודה זרה, then there was no reason for Avraham to have gone all the way back to his homeland to get a wife for Yitzchak. Therefore, she was answered when told שני גוים בבטנך that it wasn’t one child with both these ideologies rather it was two children. Even though it was determined that it was two children and not one child with two tendencies, nevertheless, we all have within ourselves this issue of knowing who the real me really is and we have this identity crisis. We all have this aspect of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde within us. Are we the person who does good or are we the person who does bad. But on this topic, the Sefer HaTanya Chapter 28 says the following:

ואפילו אם נופלים לו הרהורי תאוות ושאר מחשבות זרות בשעת העבודה בתורה או בתפלה בכוונה אל ישית לב אליהן אלא יסיח דעתו מהן כרגע וכו' אך אעפ"כ אל יפול לבו בקרבו להיות מזה עצב נבזה בשעת העבודה שצריך להיות בשמחה רבה אלא אדרבה יתחזק יותר ויוסיף אומץ בכל כחו בכוונת התפלה בחדוה ושמחה יתירה בשומו אל לבו כי נפילת המחשבה זרה היא מהקליפה שבחלל השמאלי העושה מלחמה בבינוני עם נפש אלהית שבו. ונודע דרך הנלחמים וכן הנאבקים יחד כשאחד מתגבר אזי השני מתאמץ להתגבר ג"כ בכל מאמצי כחו. ולכן כשנפש האלהית מתאמצת ומתגברת להתפלל אזי גם הקליפה מתגברת כנגדה לבלבלה ולהפילה במחשב' זרה שלה ולא כטעות העולם שטועים להוכיח מנפילת המחשבה זרה מכלל שאין תפלתם כלום שאילו התפלל כראוי ונכון לא היו נופלים לו מחשבות זרות. והאמת היה כדבריהם אם היתה נפש אחת לבדה היא המתפללת והיא המחשבת ומהרהרת המחשבות זרות. אבל באמת לאמיתו הן שתי נפשות הנלחמו' זו עם זו במוחו של אדם כל אחת חפצה ורצונה למשול בו ולהיות המוח ממולא ממנה לבדה. וכל הרהורי תורה ויראת שמים מנפש האלהית וכל מילי דעלמא מנפש הבהמית רק שהאלהית מלובשת בה וכו' ע"ש.

A Blessing Without Limitation

ויהי כי זקן יצחק ותכהין עיניו מראת The first Brachah that we have in the Torah is the Brachah that Yitzchak gave Yaakov. The only reason why it came to be was because of Yitzchaks inability to see as the Pasuk emphasizes that he lost his sight- ותכהין עיניו מראת. But if he would’ve seen, he wouldn’t have given this Brachah.

It could be that by Birkas Kohanim, we follow this idea. Meaning, there is a Halacha that the people shouldn’t look at the Kohanim. But there is also a Halacha in OH Siman 128 that the Kohanim shouldn’t see who they are being מברך. Why should that be? An explanation could be because when a person is actually seeing who he is blessing, the Brachah could be limited by what the person feels about the particular people he is blessing. Whereas if a person is not seeing who he is blessing, then it could be above and beyond as we are told לברך את עמו ישראל באהבה. It’s much easier to bless באהבה when a person doesn’t see who he is being מברך.

Haftorah

The Haftorah begins משא דבר ה' וכו' אהבתי אתכם אמר ה' ואמרתם במה אהבתנו הלוא אח עשו ליעקב נאם ה' ואהב את יעקב. The Psukim later on say בן יכבד אב ועבד אדניו ואם אב אני איה כבודי ואם אדונים אני איה מוראי אמר ה' צבאות לכם הכהנים בוזי שמי ואמרתם במה בזינו את שמך. The Psukim are describing how Kohanim disgraced the Avodas Hamikdash that they were chosen for. The connection to the Parshah is that Eisav lost his right to do the Avodah because he was מבזה it so by the Kohanim being מבזה the עבודה, they are in essence giving up their right to do the Avodah.

The Haftorah ends off כי שפתי כהן ישמרו דעת ותורה יבקשו מפיהו כי מלאך ה' צבאות הוא. The Gemara Moed Kattan 17 says אם דומה הרב למלאך ה' - יבקשו תורה מפיו that a person should seek out a Rebbe who is דומה to a מלאך. How should a person know if his Rebbe is comparable to a מלאך?

In the הקדמה to the ספר המקנה, he explains that a מלאכים are עומדים while people are מהלכים as it says מהלכים בין העומדים. מלאכים remain exactly how they are created with no ability to go up or down. If a person finds a Rebbe that is completely absorbed with the success of his student and he is willing to sacrifice his own growth and remain an עומדים for the sake of his students growth-a מהלכים, then you know he is דומה הרב למלאך ה' and יבקשו תורה מפיו.

Additionally it’s said jokingly that אם דומה הרב למלאך ה' that if he sees a person doing all sorts of mystical things, יבקשו תורה מפיו, ask him to say some Torah to see what he is really about.

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Greatness of the צדיק בן צדיק

The Parshah begins ואלה תולדת יצחק בן אברהם אברהם הוליד את יצחק. As far as the meaning of the word תולדות, there are two opinions in the Rishonim. The Ramban, Ibn Ezra, and Sforno in the beginning of Parshas Noach explain that תולדות mean the “life story of”, and in that context is of Noach and doesn’t necessarily mean children. They support this because the Pasuk in Noach opens up with אלה תולדות נח and doesn’t speak about his children rather it continues נח איש צדיק תמים היה וכו' and only in the next Pasuk does it then list his children.

However Rashi in Noach explains אלה תולדות נח as הואיל והזכירו ספר בשבחו שנ' זכר צדיק לברכה or because עיקר תולדותיהם של צדיקים מעשים טובים. It is obvious that according to Rashi, תולדות only refers to children and not to the “life story of” and therefore he is bothered that the Pasuk continues with נח איש צדיק תמים היה וכו' and therefore brings two explanations, as quoted above. Meaning really, the Torah want’s to list his children it’s just because we mentioned נח, the Torah must pause and ספר בשבחו and another Pshat that מעשים טובים are also considered offspring of the Tzadik.

In our Parshah, when it begins with ואלה תולדת יצחק, Rashi writes יעקב ועשו האמורים בפרשה because he holds תולדות really means children it’s just the Pasuk doesn’t mention the children until a while later. Therefore Rashi writes that ואלה תולדת יצחק is a caption to what happens in the Parshah which is יעקב ועשו האמורים בפרשה.

The end of the Pasuk says אברהם הוליד את יצחק and Rashi writes Hashem was צר קלסטר פניו של יצחק to look like Avraham Avinu to refute the ליצני הדור. It could be suggested that this point doesn’t need to be said according to the other Rishonim because they could say since ואלה תולדת יצחק refers to the story of Yitzchaks life, so the end of the Pasuk that says אברהם הוליד את יצחק is an essential part of the story of Yitzchaks life.

If one thinks about it, Avraham Avinu has multiple Parshiyos about his life as well as Yaakov Avinu. But Toldos is the only Parshah that discusses the life of Yitzchak Avinu and even so, it’s mostly about Yaakov and Eisav. We don’t really read much about his life. So it could be not only was he צר קלסתר פניו של יצחק דומה לאברה-the physical sense, but also that story of his life was him living as the son of Avraham. Avraham was the founder of the faith and Yitzchak was the keeper of the faith. He continued in the ways of his ancestors and that is the story of Yitzchaks life, meaning Yitzchak, being the son of Avraham, is the story of his life.

As we see that so much of the little bit that the Torah does tell us about Yitzchaks life seems to be a repetition of what happened to his father. If one looks in Parshas Vayera in פרק כ, the Psukim begin with Avraham going to live in גרר. Then it says ויאמר אברהם אל שרה אשתו אחתי הוא and Avimelech take Sarah and gives her back. The Parshah continues in פרק כא with the episode of Avimelech wanting to make a treaty with Avraham and Avraham complains about the באר המים אשר גזלו עבדי אבימלך and Avimelech says he didn’t know about it. Then this episode concludes with על כן קרא למקום ההוא באר שבע כי שם נשבעו שניהם.

Now if one looks in our Parshah, it seems to repeat everything said above, but happening to Yitzchak. In פרק כו it says ויחן בנחל גרר and then he went to dig up the wells which his father had dug and he has a disagreement with Avimelech to which they eventually make a treaty. And then this episode ends off with ויקרא אתה שבעה על כן שם העיר באר שבע עד היום הזה. So it would seem a complete repetition of Avrahams life from having his wife taken away, to digging wells, and making a treaty. So it’s clear that the story of Yitzchaks life is really continuing and repeating the life of his father.

The Pasuk says ויעתר יצחק לה' לנכח אשתו וכו' ויעתר לו ה' ותהר רבקה אשתו. The simple reading of the Pasuk is that Yitzchak was the one davening and he was the one answered. But Rashi explains on the words לנכח אשתו that they were each davening in separate corners and therefore when the Pasuk says ויעתר לו, it begs an interpretation why was Yitzchak answered and not Rivka. Rashi, quoting the Gemara in Yevamos 64a, writes שאין דומה תפלת צדיק בן צדיק לתפלת צדיק בן רשע. But how could this be that the Tefilah of Yitzchak, the צדיק בן צדיק, was greater than the Tefilah of Rivka the צדיק בן רשע? After all, she was a self-made person. The Pasuk even describes again that she was בת בתואל הארמי מפדן ארם אחות לבן, to further express how impressive she was that she came from such a family and such a place and she didn’t learn from their ways and she became who she became. As opposed to Yitzchak whose father was Avraham, he was coming from such a holy place, his greatness would seem less impressive than Rivka.

Perhaps one Pshat could be that as impressive as the צדיק בן רשע is, there is the excitement of being a trailblazer, a new beginning. As opposed to Yitzchak who was the צדיק בן צדיק, in a sense it was a unique challenge in being able to continue in his father’s way as children often want to differentiate themselves and be different. His path lacked newness and excitement. He had to just continue in the ways of his ancestors and he didn’t get to forge his own path. So much so that we see Yitzchak was busy with digging the wells that his father dug. The same exact thing.

Similarly, in Tehillim chapter 24, the Pasuk says מי יעלה בהר ה' ומי יקום במקום קדשו. There is a special challenge to climb the mountain, and there is an additional challenge to stay on the mountain. Sometimes, the challenge of staying on the mountain is the greater challenge. Sometimes, people that are born on the mountain are curious to what it looks like at the bottom of the mountain and therefore the courage to continue to in his father’s ways, and to remain on the mountain has special significance.

By the wells the Pasuk says סתמום פלשתים וימלאום עפר. This would seem backwards because סתמום means they stuffed them so it should first say וימלאום עפר that they filled it with dirt and then סתמום פלשתים that it was stuffed up. So why does the Pasuk say it in this order?

על פי דרוש, it can be explained that סתמום פלשתים is from the word סתם, that the wells first became insignificant, something סתם. Once it becomes something like סתם, then it becomes something stuffed with earth which is a second stage.

In the generation after the Holocaust, there was a revolution of creating Yeshivos. The Jews were starting from a new beginning. But in the next generation, our generation, we are like the צדיק בן צדיק, we were born on the mountain. Therefore out challenge is the מי יקום. Even every day, if you lived the way you were supposed to, it’s still the צדיק בן צדיק challenge the next day still has with it the challenge of staying on the mountain.

The greatness of the צדיק בן צדיק is that he must continue down the road that was paved for him. He must follow the trail that has been blazed, without the ability to deviate and create his own path. Therefore we say שאין דומה תפלת צדיק בן רשע לתפלת צדיק בן צדיק.

The Maharsha on that Gemara in Yevamos writes לענין שתהא התפלה מקובלת יותר לבטל גזירת העקרות קיימא הך סברא כדאמר הכא אינו דומה וכו'. He doesn’t elaborate but he seems to stress that specifically in Tefilah there is this מעלה of the צדיק בן צדיק over the צדיק בן רשע.

(This Shabbos ה כסלו, is the Yahrzeit of the Maharsha who died in 1631. It’s not clear what the acronym מהרש"א stands for. Either it’s his name, שמואל אליעזר, or the “א” is for אידל which was after his mother in law אידל so אידלש is אידל son in law. His mother in law was a very wealthy lady and she supported his Yeshiva. It shouldn’t be surprising that his mother in law supported his Yeshiva because after all אשת חיל really means an industrious women as the Targum interprets the word חיל in the Pasuk וישראל עושה חיל as ישראל יצלח בנכסין-property. Eishes Chayil really describes an industrious woman as it says היתה כאניות סוחר ממרחק תביא לחמה וכו' זממה שדה ותקחהו וכו'. But maybe that’s why its אשת חיל מי ימצא because we don’t really find women being the breadwinners.

It’s interesting to note that regarding the Maharsha, the Bach in Tshvos HaChadashos Siman 43 wrote to the heads of the ועד ארבעה ארצות who convened in Lublin the following:והנה עמכם גדול הדור הגאון מוהר"ר שמואל סג"ל אב"ד ור"מ דק"ק לובלין (מהרש"א) הי' לכם להמתיק סוד ועצה עמו. He was being critical of them that they shouldn’t have made a decision without first discussing the matter with the Gadol HaDor, the Maharsha. Additionally, the Chazon Ish writes in the first letter in Iggros Chazon Ish, the following: לא יפה עשו דור האחרון אשר עזבו לימוד ספר מהרש"א ז"ל אשר מתנה טובה נתנה לישראל לזכות בו הדורות הבאים אחריו וכו' והגאון ר' עקיבא איגר לא הניח דבר מספרו ומיום שעזבוהו אבדו את ידיעת הפשט כולו. Also, the איגלי טל quoting his father in the law the Kutzker Rebbeואותי הזהיר מאוד לישא וליתן בפשט כעין ספר המהרש"א ובספר מהרשש"ך.

As a side note, The Maharsha writes on the Gemara in Brachos 47a that says כל העונה אמן יותר מדאי אינו אלא טועה the following: שהוא סובר שעל ידי שיאריך באמן יאריך ימים ושנים כדאמרינן בסמוך כל המאריך באמן מאריכין לו ימיו ושנותיו והוא טועה דאריכות ימים ושנים יותר מדאי נמי אינן טובים כמ"ש והגיעו שנים אשר תאמר אין לי בהם חפץ וגו' וק"ל. He explains that he is making a mistake because he is מאריך יותר מדאי because he wants to live יותר מדאי but living יותר מדאי is not such a good thing.)

Perhaps an explanation as to why specifically regarding Tefilah it’s the צדיק בן צדיק who has the advantage over the צדיק בן רשע is as follows. Rabbeinu Yonah in Brachos 6b writes דרק מי שיש בידו מידת הענוה תפלתו מקובלת לפני המקום-only someone who has the character trait of humility will have his Tefilah accepted in front of Hashem. Similarly, the Chovos HaLevavos in Shar Cheshbon HaNefesh Chapter 3 writes the following:

וראוי לך, אחי, שתדע, כי כוונתנו בתפלה אינה כי אם כלות הנפש אל האלהים וכניעתה לפניו עם רוממותה לבוראה ושבחה והודאתה לשמו והשלכת כל יהביה עליו.

According to this, it could be said that as impressive as the צדיק בן רשע is, it is very difficult for him not to feel a sense of accomplishment that he reached through his efforts and therefore he will not be able to humble and be מכניע himself to the point which is required for his Tefilah to be accepted more than the צדיק בן צדיק. The צדיק בן צדיק however can reach such a level of humility because he is constantly in the shadow of his father and is constantly feeling that he has not yet reached the level of his father and therefore this feeling of humility and הכנעה exists much more by the צדיק בן צדיק than the צדיק בן רשע. Tefilah is about Hashem filling our emptiness and therefore the emptier a person experiences himself as, the more he can be a כלי for Hashem’s Brachah.

In the new Chumashim, the Girsa in Rashi is changed to שאין דומה תפלת צדיק בן רשע לתפלת צדיק בן צדיק. However in the older Chumashim, the version is שאין דומה תפלת צדיק בן צדיק לתפלת צדיק בן רשע as is the Girsa in the Gemara in Yevamos. Usually, whenever the Gemara has a שאין דומה וכו', the second is greater than the first. For examples we says שאין דומה שמיעה לראיה. If Chazal were trying to express that the Tefilah of the צדיק בן צדיק is greater, then this version has it backwards. The Rav said the following answer in the name of his brother. The continuation of the Gemara in Yevamos says מפני מה היו אבותינו עקורים מפני שהקב"ה מתאוה לתפילתן של צדיקים. According to this Gemara, the more interested Hashem is in one’s Tefilah, the more he will delay answering and fulfilling it because it’s sweet and he wants to hear it more. Therefore it makes sense to say that Yitzchak was answered first because שאין דומה תפלת צדיק בן צדיק לתפלת צדיק בן רשע that the Tefilah of the צדיק בן צדיק is less interesting to Hashem and therefore it is answered right away. As opposed to the Tefilah of the צדיק בן רשע which is much sweeter and Hashem has more interested in hearing from this person, therefore he delays fulfilling it.

Seeing with an earthly perspective

ויהי כי זקן יצחק ותכהין עיניו מראות (כז,א)

Rashi brings multiple explanations as to how Yitzchaks eyes dimmed. One of the explanation, from the Medrash, is that by the Akeida, Hashem opened up the heavens and the Angels began to cry and the tears went into the eyes of Yitzchak.

The Rav heard in the name of Reb Shmuel Birnbaum that he asked why was it necessary for Hashem to open the heavens in order for the Malachim to see what was going on? Were they not able to see through the clouds had Hashem not opened the Shamayim? He answered that from an angelic perspective, there is no place to cry as everything is clear and nothing is sad and tragic. Only when looking at something from an earthly perspective is there room to cry because we don’t understand. If Hashem wouldn’t have opened the heavens, the Malachim would be seeing what was happening from an angelic and heavenly perspective and there would be no need to cry as it would be clear, especially since the plan wasn’t for Yitzchak to be sacrificed. However, by opening the Shamayim, Hashem was giving them a perspective that humans experience and that’s why they cried.

In a similar vein, the Kedushas Levi in Parshas Chukas writes the following about a story in Berachos 34b:

ושוב מעשה ברבי חנינא בן דוסא שהלך ללמוד תורה אצל רבי יוחנן בן זכאי, וחלה בנו של רבי יוחנן בן זכאי. אמר לו: חנינא בני, בקש עליו רחמים ויחיה. הניח ראשו בין ברכיו ובקש עליו רחמים - וחיה. אמר רבי יוחנן בן זכאי: אלמלי הטיח בן זכאי את ראשו בין ברכיו כל היום כולו - לא היו משגיחים עליו. אמרה לו אשתו: וכי חנינא גדול ממך? אמר לה: לאו, אלא הוא דומה כעבד לפני המלך, ואני דומה כשר לפני המלך.

One time Reb Yochanan Ben Zakkai’s son fell ill and RYB”Z asked his Talmid Reb Chanina Ben Dosa to daven for his son’s wellbeing. So he placed his head in between his knees and davened and the child was healed. After he was healed, the wife of Reb Yochanan Ben Zakkai asked her husband, is Reb Chanina greater than you? To which Reb Yochanan answered that he himself is actually greater; but while he is like a minister to the king, Reb Chanina is more like a servant to the king.

Rashi explains כעבד - בן בית, נכנס ויוצא שלא ברשות and כשר לפני המלך - שאינו רגיל לבא לפניו.

The Kedushas Levi explains this story by saying that a minister is part of the king’s counsel and therefore he is totally identified with the king’s whole purpose and way of viewing things. However, a servant who is serving the king only has his particular job and has no access and insight to the broader picture.

So Reb Chanina could daven better for Reb Yochanan’s sick son, because he only relates to Hashem as a servant who doesn’t see and understand the big picture. However, Reb Yochanan Ben Zakai who is compared to that of a minister to the king, it is difficult for him to daven for a tragedy because he sees and understand the bigger picture that there isn’t really anything tragic as everything makes sense. This is expressed in the הניח ראשו בין ברכיו that he put his head down which is the idea of נפילת אפים that he is not looking from the high perspective in which everything is clear rather he is looking at it from the lower perspective which is painful.

Disgracing the בכורה

When Yaakov asks to buy the בכרה off of Eisav, he responds הנה אנכי הולך למות ולמה זה לי בכרה. Rashi says the following conversation took place between Eisav asked Yaakov: אמר עשו מה טיבו של עבודה זו? אמר לו כמה אזהרות ועונשין ומתות תלויין בה וכו' אמר אני הולך למות על ידה אם כן מה חפץ לי בה. Only later does the Pasuk say ויבז עשו את הבכרה.

The Medrash says אברהם יצא ממנו ישמעאל וכו' יצחק יצא ממנו עשו וכו' אבל יעקב מיטתו שלימה כל בניו צדיקים. The meaning of יצא ממנו could mean that the offspring is really connected to the root of where he came from. Therefore, the קלקל of Yishmael was specifically within the Midah of Avraham Avinu and the קלקל of Eisav was specifically in the Midah of Yitzchak. It’s brought down in the Sefarim HaKedoshim that Yishmael is the פסולת of the מידת החסד ואהבה and Eisav is the פסולת of the מידת הגבורה והיראה. When Hashem offered the Torah to other nations, Yishmael rejected because of לא תנאף which has to do with the Midah of Chessed as it says by the עריות-חסד הוא because it is the excess of אהבה and Eisav rejected because of לא תרצח which has to do with the Midah of Gevurah which is the root of כעס.

It’s clear in the Parshah that Eisav had this מידת היראה והגבורה within him. Eisav had the respect and חשיבות for the Avodah in the Beis Hamikdash however he had a fear from it. This פחד ויראה that Eisav had which is the reason he הנה אנכי הולך למות is the פסולת of פחד יצחק היה לי. The Gemara says that the Torah can either be the סם החיים or the סם המות. If a person looks at everything in the Torah as an awesome opportunity and responsibility and he rises to the challenge, then for such a person the Torah will be סם החיים as it’ll be empowering. However, if a person see everything in the Torah and throws in the towel and says הנה אנכי הולך למות, then for him it will be paralyzing and will be סם המות.

The פחד ויראה that Eisav experienced was paralyzing. It caused him to have יאוש and he lacked the self confidence that was needed to rise to the challenge. Instead of having this פחד ויראה empower him, he allowed it to paralyze him. Only once he let that fear paralyze him, only then does it say ויבז עשו את הבכרה because a person can’t live with himself that he gave up and gave in on a major opportunity. Therefore only as a result of passing up on the בכרה did he disgrace it and say that it had no value.

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