Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Parsha Toldos, Part IV Jews of the West, Short & Sweet

Parsha Toldos

Twice so far Parshiyos have started with “and these are the generations”. Once we called the Parsha ‘Noach’ and in our Parsha ‘Toldos’ or generations for we are about to establish the origins of two empires that of Rome and that of Yisrael we are to see with the blessing that when one is up the other is down. Rome is on the wane in our days and Yisrael is a new rising star in the east. Physical upheavals will occur as well as Spiritual upheavals in our days if we merit surviving we will see the blessing of Yitzchak to Yacov fulfilled soon. We are watching before our eyes the culmination of history between the Jihad and the Crusades where Yishmael and Esav want to dominate the world physically and Yisrael is crushed in between but not for long as with the four kings vs. the five kings we shall over-come all odds with the help of HASHEM and the blessings below will come to fruition. So please this week spend extra time on the blessings of Yitzchak to Yacov.

25:19 And these are the generations of Isaac, Abraham's son: Abraham begot Isaac.

Why is it necessary to state that Avraham begot Yitzchak? Because of the incident with Avimelech before his birth that people might say that Yitzchak came from the union of Sarah with Avimelech.

And these are the generations of Isaac the son of Abraham: [תּוֹלְדוֹת refers to] Jacob and Esau mentioned in this section. Abraham begot Isaac: (Only after the Holy One, blessed be He, named him Abraham, did he beget Isaac. Another explanation:) Since Scripture wrote: “Isaac the son of Abraham,” it had to say: “Abraham begot Isaac,” because the scorners of the generation were saying that Sarah had conceived from Abimelech, for she had lived with Abraham for many years and had not conceived from him. What did the Holy One, blessed be He, do? He shaped the features of Isaac’s face to resemble Abraham’s, and everyone attested that Abraham had begotten Isaac. This is the meaning of what is written here: “Isaac, the son of Abraham,” because here is proof that “Abraham begot Isaac.” - [From Midrash Tanchuma, Toledoth 1]

20 And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean, of Paddan-aram, the sister of Laban the Aramean, to be his wife.

Here I did not take Rashi who uses the Medrash to say that she was 3 years old because it is hard to imagine a 3 year old watering the ten camels of Eliezer but Ibn Ezra holds that she was 14 which is more feasible to me. The above shows that she is from a worthy family. In choosing a wife it is preferred that both the woman and the family have good Midos so that it will be passed both in genes and in teaching to the children.

21 And Isaac entreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD let Himself be entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.

During the first ten years one does not worry that the woman or he is barren but here it is 20 years. Rashi’s way of thinking works out nicer here that it took 10 years for her to mature to 13 and puberty and then after 10 years of being barren at the age of 23, did Yitzchak pray but even 34 is young still.

22 And the children struggled together within her; and she said: 'If it be so, wherefore do I live?' And she went to inquire of the LORD.

struggled: Perforce, this verse calls for a Midrashic interpretation, for it does not explain what this struggling was all about, and [Scripture] wrote,“If it be so, why am I [like] this?” Our Rabbis (Gen. Rabbah 63:6) interpreted it [the word וַיִתְרוֹצִצוּ] as an expression of running (רוֹצָה) . When she passed by the entrances of [the] Torah [academies] of Shem and Eber, Jacob would run and struggle to come out; when she passed the entrance of [a temple of] idolatry, Esau would run and struggle to come out. Another explanation: They were struggling with each other and quarreling about the inheritance of the two worlds (Mid. Avkir). If [it be] so: that the pain of pregnancy is so great. why am I [like] this?: [Why did I] desire and pray to conceive?- [From Gen. Rabbah 63:6] And she went to inquire: to the academy of Shem. — [Aggadath Bereishith, ch. 73, Targum Jonathan and Yerushalmi] to inquire of the Lord: that He should tell her what would happen to her in the end.

This was not a normal pregnancy as two forces were at play. There were paternal twins in the womb one hairy with bad genes and to obtain the bad Midos and the other not hirsute with the better genes and good Midos. This was to play throughout history until the coming of the Moshiach.

 23 And the LORD said unto her: Two nations are in thy womb, and two peoples shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

And the Lord said to her: through a messenger. Shem was told through Divine inspiration, and he told it to her. — [From Gen. Rabbah 63:7] Two nations are in your womb: [The word גוֹיִם] is written גֵייִם [which is pronounced] like גֵאִים (exalted persons). These were Antoninus and Rabbi [Judah the Prince], from whose tables neither radishes nor lettuce were lacking either in the summer or in the winter. — [From Avodah Zarah 11a] and two kingdoms: לְאֹם always means a kingdom. — [From Avodah Zarah 2b] will separate from your innards: From the womb they are separated, this one to his wickedness, and this one to his innocence. will become mightier than the other kingdom: They will not be equal in greatness; when one rises, the other will fall, and so [Scripture] states (Ezek. 26:2): “I shall become full from the destroyed city.” Tyre became full [gained power] only from the destruction of Jerusalem. — [From Meg. 6a, Pes. 42b]

There will be a see-saw relationship in History when Yacov is up Esav is down and vice versa.

24 And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.

And her days…were completed: But regarding Tamar it is written (below 38:27):“And it came about at the time of her travail,” because her term [of pregnancy] was not filled, for she gave birth to them after seven months. — [From Gen. Rabbah 63:8, 85:13] there were twins in her womb: [תוֹמִם is spelled] defectively [missing an “aleph” and“yud”], but concerning Tamar, it is written תְּאוֹמִים, with the plene spelling, [with an “aleph” and“yud”] because they (Perez and Zerah) were both righteous, but here, one was righteous and one was wicked. — [From Gen. Rabbah 63:8]

This is what is important the missing Aleph shows a defect in the pregnancy and one of the twins.

25 And the first came forth ruddy, all over like a hairy mantle; and they called his name Esau.

ruddy: That is a sign that he will be a person who sheds blood (Gen. Rabbah 63:8). he was completely like a coat of hair: full of hair like a woolen cloak, which is full of hair, flochede in Old French. and they named him Esau: They all called him this because he was complete (עָשׂוּי) [lit., made,] and fully developed with hair, like one many years old.

26 And after that came forth his brother, and his hand had hold on Esau's heel; and his name was called Jacob. And Isaac was threescore years old when she bore them.

And afterwards, his brother emerged, etc.: I heard a Midrash Aggadah that interprets it (the verse) according to its simple meaning: He (Jacob) held onto him lawfully, to restrain him. Jacob was formed from the first drop and Esau from the second. Go forth and learn from a tube that has a narrow opening. Insert two stones into it, one after the other. The one that entered first will emerge last, and the one that entered last will emerge first. The result is that Esau, who was formed last, emerged first, and Jacob, who was formed first emerged last, and Jacob came to restrain him so that he (Jacob) should be the first to be born as he was the first to be formed, and he would open her womb and take the birthright by law. — [From Gen. Rabbah 63:8] Esau’s heel: [This is] a sign that this one (Esau) will not manage to complete his reign until this one rises up and takes it from him. — [From Gen. Rabbah 63:9] and he named him Jacob: The Holy One, blessed be He [gave him this name]. (He said, “You named your firstborn [i.e. this refers to those who named Esau (verse 25)]. I too will name My firstborn.” This is what is written: “and He named him Jacob”) (Mid. Tanchuma Shemoth 4). Another explanation: His father called him Jacob (יַעִקֹב) because of the holding of the heel (הֶעָקֵב). (Yerushalmi Ber. 1:6) sixty years old: Ten years since he had married her until she became thirteen years old and able to conceive, and the [following] ten years he looked forward and waited for her, as his father had done for Sarah. Since she did not conceive, he knew that she was barren, and he prayed for her, but he did not wish to take a maidservant [as Abraham had done] because he had been hallowed on Mount Moriah to be a perfect burnt offering. — [From Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer, ch. 32]

Eikev is also the word for heel so Yacov is the heel grabber. Rashi in the first section justifies why Yacov should have been the Bechor and we see Peretz jumps out before Zerach in the case of Tamar.  The last section of the Rashi I already mentioned above and this is the main reason while Rivka being 3 works out better for Rashi.

27 And the boys grew; and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a quiet man, dwelling in tents. 28 Now Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison; and Rebekah loved Jacob. 29 And Jacob sod pottage; and Esau came in from the field, and he was faint. 30 And Esau said to Jacob: 'Let me swallow, I pray thee, some of this red, red pottage; for I am faint.' Therefore was his name called Edom. 31 And Jacob said: 'Sell me first thy birthright.' 32 And Esau said: 'Behold, I am at the point to die; and what profit shall the birthright do to me?' 33 And Jacob said: 'Swear to me first'; and he swore unto him; and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. 34 And Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way. So Esau despised his birthright.

26:1 And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar.

The desert climate of the Mediterranean by Eretz Yisrael between the winds from the southern and eastern deserts droughts can be caused for a certain number of years drying up the wells and other water sources so the prayers for rain are very important.

2 And the LORD appeared unto him, and said: 'Go not down unto Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of. 3 Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore unto Abraham thy father; 4 and I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these lands; and by thy seed shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves; 5 because that Abraham hearkened to My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.' … 34 And when Esau was forty years old, he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite. 35 And they were a bitterness of spirit unto Isaac and to Rebekah.

27:1 And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called Esau his elder son, and said unto him: 'My son'; and he said unto him: 'Here am I.'

Were too dim: Because of the smoke of these [wives of Esau] (who would burn [incense] to the idols) (Tanchuma, Toledoth 8; Pesiktha Rabbathi 12). Another explanation: When Isaac was bound on the altar, and his father was about to slaughter him, the heavens opened, and the ministering angels saw and wept, and their tears fell upon Isaac’s eyes. As a result, his eyes became dim (Gen. Rabbah 65:6). A third explanation: to enable Jacob to take the blessings (Gen. Rabbah 65:8).

The Pshat is that Yitzchak was 123 years old as he chose to bless his son(s) at an age 5 years prior to the death of his parent as explained in Rashi below. Now at that age, Avraham was still alive. Yacov appeared either to have suffered vision loss in his old age "And the eyes of Yisrael were stricken with age"(48:10)  and either this also happened to Yitzchak or he got a cataract whatever it was he could not see well or was close to blind.

2 And he said: 'Behold now, I am old, I know not the day of my death.

I do not know the day of my death: Rabbi Joshua ben Korchah said: If a person reaches the age of [the death of] his parents, he should worry five years beforehand and five years afterwards, and Isaac was one hundred and twenty-three years old. He said, “Perhaps I will reach the age of [the death of] my mother, and she died at one hundred and twenty-seven, and I am thus within five years of her age; therefore, ”I do not know the day of my death," -perhaps [I will die] at my mother’s age and perhaps at my father’s age. [From Gen. Rabbah 65:121]

3 Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me venison;

Although one can theoretically slaughter kosher with an arrow aimed precisely and sharpened by a Shochet, the truth of the matter is that Avraham and the rest of the Patriarchs had the Dinim of Bnei Noach with the addition of the Bris and for Yisrael later on the sinew view in the thigh.

Your sword: Heb. תֶּלְי, your sword, which is usually hung לִתְלוֹתָה. So, now, sharpen: שָׂא נָא an expression of sharpening, as we learned in the Mishnah (Beizah 28a): “We may not sharpen a knife [on a whet-stone] but we may sharpen it (מַשִּׂיאָה) against another one [on Yom-Tov].” [Isaac said]: “Sharpen your knife and slaughter properly, lest you feed me neveila” [an animal not slaughtered according to ritual law] (Gen. Rabbah 65: 13). and hunt for me: from ownerless [game], and not from stolen [animals]. [Gen. Rabbah 65:13]

4 and make me savory food, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; that my soul may bless thee before I die.' 5 And Rebekah heard when Isaac spoke to Esau his son. And Esau went to the field to hunt for venison, and to bring it.

To hunt game, to bring: What is the meaning of “to bring” ? If he would not find game, he intended to bring [meat] from stolen [animals]. - [from Gen. Rabbah 65:13

Sometimes, the mother, being closer to the children know certain things that are obvious to her, while we fathers seem to gloss over things.
6 And Rebekah spoke unto Jacob her son, saying: 'Behold, I heard thy father speak unto Esau thy brother, saying: 7 Bring me venison, and make me savory food, that I may eat, and bless thee before the LORD before my death.

Before the Lord: with His consent, that He will approve of what I do.

Rivka wants that her seed will be worthy to continue Avraham’s legacy and Esav does not foot the bill any more than Yishmael but only Yacov is pure and sits and studies the creation story and lessons in his tent.

8 Now therefore, my son, hearken to my voice according to that which I command thee. 9 Go now to the flock, and fetch me from thence two good kids of the goats; and I will make them savory food for thy father, such as he loves;

And take for me: [“לִי” indicates that] they are mine, and they are not stolen, because so had Isaac written for her in her marriage contract, that she might take two kids every day (Gen. Rabbah 65:14). Two choice kids: Now did Isaac’s menu consist of two kids? But [the explanation is that] he sacrificed one as a Paschal offering, and one he made into tasty foods. [This is found] in Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer (ch. 32). As he likes: for the taste of a kid is like the taste of a deer.

And I have heard I believe from Rav Yerachmiel Boyer Shlita that the two goats are like the two goats on Yom Kippur one for an atonement for the nation and one is the scapegoat.

10 and thou shalt bring it to thy father, that he may eat, so that he may bless thee before his death.' 11 And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother: 'Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man.

Yacov is “Ish Emmes” the man of truth and therefore he wants to listen to his mother but honor his father and not take away Esav’s blessing: A hairy man: Heb. אִישׁ שָׂעִר, one possessing hair.

12 My father peradventure will feel me, and I shall seem to him as a mocker; and I shall bring a curse upon me, and not a blessing.'

Will touch me: Heb. יְמֻשֵּׁנִי, similar to (Deut. 28:29):“feeling (מְמַשֵּׁשׁ) at noon.”

13 And his mother said unto him: 'Upon me be thy curse, my son; only hearken to my voice, and go fetch me them.'

We see that accidently a Tzaddik can curse even somebody beloved of himself. Rachel steals the Terrapin and Yacov says “Whomever stole the Terrapin shall die” 31:32 had he said “punished” she would have lived.

14 And he went, and fetched, and brought them to his mother; and his mother made savory food, such as his father loved. 15 And Rebekah took the choicest garments of Esau her elder son, which were with her in the house, and put them upon Jacob her younger son.

The costly: הַחַמוּדֹת [means] the clean ones, as the Targum renders: דַּכְיָתָא [clean ones]. Another explanation: The ones [garments] that he had coveted [שֶׁחָמַד] from Nimrod. [From Gen. Rabbah 65:16] Which were with her in the house: But He [Esau] had many wives, [with whom to entrust his garments] and yet he entrusted them [his garments] with his mother?! He was well aware of their deeds, and he was suspicious of them. [From Gen. Rabbah 65:16]

Remember the boys of Rivka are 63 years old what is there to be if Esav was stout or Yacov was stout and Esav was thin therefore it is interesting that they both remained the same garment size.

16 And she put the skins of the kids of the goats upon his hands, and upon the smooth of his neck. 17 And she gave the savory food and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob. 18 And he came unto his father, and said: 'My father'; and he said: 'Here am I; who art thou, my son?' 19 And Jacob said unto his father: 'I am Esau thy first-born; I have done according as thou bade me. Arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me.'

I am…Esau…your firstborn: [He meant]: I am the one who is bringing you [food] and Esau is your firstborn. [From Tanchuma Buber] I have done: many things, as you have spoken to me. Sit down: Heb. שְׁבָה, an expression of sitting around the table [at a meal]. Therefore, it is rendered [by Onkelos] אִסְתְּחַר.

20 And Isaac said unto his son: 'How is it that thou hast found it so quickly, my son?' And he said: 'Because the LORD thy God sent me good speed.'

The love for his father was Esav’s specialty but the love for HASHEM was Yacov’s and Yitzchak’s suspicion gets aroused here that he asks Yacov to come near.

21 And Isaac said unto Jacob: 'Come near, I pray thee, that I may feel thee, my son, whether thou be my very son Esau or not.'

Please come closer, so that I may feel you: Isaac said to himself, “Esau does not usually mention the name of Heaven with frequency, but this one said: ‘Because the Lord your God prepared it….’” [from Gen. Rabbah 65:19]

22 And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father; and he felt him, and said: 'The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau.'

The voice of Jacob: who speaks entreatingly: “Please rise,” but Esau spoke harshly, “Let my father arise!” [From Tanchuma Buber, Toledoth 15]

23 And he discerned him not, because his hands were hairy, as his brother Esau's hands; so he blessed him. 24 And he said: 'Art thou my very son Esau?' And he said: 'I am.'

And he said, “I am.”: He did not say, “I am Esau,” but “I am.” [From Num. Rabbah 10:6]

 25 And he said: 'Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son's venison, that my soul may bless thee.' And he brought it near to him, and he did eat; and he brought him wine, and he drank. 26 And his father Isaac said unto him: 'Come near now, and kiss me, my son.' 27 And he came near, and kissed him. And he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said: See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the LORD hath blessed.

And he smelled, etc.: Is it not so that there is no odor more offensive than that of washed goat skins? But this teaches us that the fragrance of the Garden of Eden entered with him. [From Tanchuma Buber 16] is like the fragrance of a field, which the Lord has blessed: for He gave it a pleasant fragrance, and this is a field of apples. So did our Sages explain it. [From Ta’anith 29b]

Rashi implies that for the sake of Rivka and Yacov a miracle occurred and the washed goats skins took on the fragrance of Gan Eden.

28 So God give thee of the dew of heaven, and of the fat places of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine.

And may the Lord give you: May He give and repeatedly give (444 Gen. Rabbah 66:3). According to its simple meaning, it refers back to the previous topic: “Look, the fragrance of my son” which God has given him, “is like the fragrance of a field, etc.,” and furthermore,“May He give you of the dew of the heavens, etc.” of the dew of the heavens: [It is to be interpreted] according to its simple meaning, and there are Midrashic interpretations of many kinds. (Another explanation: What is the meaning of הָאֱלֹהִים [I.e., why is the Divine Name which signifies God’s attribute of Justice used here? To teach that He will treat you] with justice. If you deserve it, He will give to you, and if not, He will not give to you. But to Esau he said, “The fat places of the earth shall be your dwelling place.” Whether righteous or wicked, He will give to you. And from him [Isaac], Solomon learned; when he built the Temple, he arranged his prayer, [saying that] an Israelite, who has faith and justifies the Divine decree upon himself, will not complain about You; therefore (I Kings 8:39): “and give to every man [Israelite] according to his ways,” for You know what is in his heart. But a gentile lacks faith; therefore [Solomon] said (ibid. verse 43): “You shall hear in heaven, etc., and do according to all that the stranger calls upon You for,” i.e., whether he is deserving or undeserving, give to him, so that he should not complain about You. [This is found] in an old and correct edition of Rashi .) [From Tanchuma Buber, Toledoth 14]

The Romans pillaged Eretz Yisrael and destroyed the forests and left the land barren and the Arab Goat Herders did not give the seeds a chance to regrow and what we see today is not the fat places of the earth but it is slowly returning by natural processes and toil of the Bnei Yisrael.

29 Let peoples serve thee, and nations bow down to thee. Be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee. Cursed be every one that curse thee, and blessed be every one that blesses thee.

Your mother’s sons: But Jacob said to Judah, “your father’s sons” because he [Jacob] had sons from many mothers, but here, since he [Isaac] had married only one wife, he said, “your mother’s sons” (Gen. Rabbah 66:4). Those who curse you shall be cursed, and those who bless you shall be blessed: But concerning Balaam, Scripture says (Num. 24:9):“Those who bless you shall be blessed, and those who curse you shall be cursed” (Gen. Rabbah ibid.). [The reason for this is that, for] the righteous-their beginning is suffering and their end is tranquility; and thus, those who curse them and cause them pain precede those who bless them. Isaac therefore mentioned the curse of those who curse before the blessing of those who bless. As for the wicked, however, their beginning is tranquillity, and their end is suffering; Balaam, therefore, mentioned the blessing before the curse. [From Gen. Rabbah 66:4]

30 And it came to pass, as soon as Isaac had made an end of blessing Jacob, and Jacob was yet scarce gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting.

Had just left: Heb. יָצֹא יָצָא, [lit., going out, had gone out.] This one was leaving, and that one was coming in. [From Gen. Rabbah 66:5]

HASHEM had given Yacov just enough time to get the blessing and leave before Esav came.

31 And he also made savory food, and brought it unto his father; and he said unto his father: 'Let my father arise, and eat of his son's venison, that thy soul may bless me.' 32 And Isaac his father said unto him: 'Who art thou?' And he said: 'I am thy son, thy first-born, Esau.' 33 And Isaac trembled very exceedingly, and said: 'Who then is he that hath taken venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest, and have blessed him? yea, and he shall be blessed.'

And Isaac shuddered: [וַיֶּחרָד is to be explained] as the Targum, וּתְוָה, an expression of bewilderment. According to the Midrash, however, he [actually shuddered because] he saw Gehinnom open beneath him. [From Tanchuma, Vezoth Haberachah 1] Who then: [the word] אֵפוֹא is an expression by itself, which has many usages. Another explanation: אֵפוֹא is a combination of אַיּה [where] and פֹּה [here], [so that מִי אֵפוֹא means]: Who is he and where is he, who hunted game? and I ate of everything: Any flavors I wished to taste, I tasted in it (Gen. Rabbah 67:2). He, too, shall be blessed: That you should not say that had Jacob not deceived his father, he would not have received the blessings. Therefore, he concurred and blessed him intentionally (Gen. Rabbah 67:2).

34 When Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with an exceeding great and bitter cry, and said unto his father: 'Bless me, even me also, O my father.'

The Bnei Yisrael would cry out with the outcry of Mordechai from Esav’s Grandson Amalek via his seed Haman.

35 And he said: 'Thy brother came with guile, and hath taken away thy blessing.' 36 And he said: 'Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright; and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing.' And he said: Have you not reserved a blessing for me?'

And he said,“Is it for this reason that he was named Jacob: הִכִי is an expression denoting the interrogative, as in (below 29:15):”Is it because (הִכִי) you are my kinsman…?“ Was he named Jacob (יַעִקֹב) because of the future, because he was destined to deceive me (לְעָקְבֵנִי) ? Midrash Tanchuma (Buber, Toledoth 23) [asks]: Why did Isaac shudder? He said, ”Perhaps I am guilty of an iniquity, for I have blessed the younger son before the older one, and thus altered the order of the relationship.“ [Thereupon], Esau started crying, ”He has already deceived me twice!“ His father said to him, ”What did he do to you?“ He replied, ”He took my birthright.“ He [Isaac] said,”That is why I was troubled and shuddered, for [I was afraid that] perhaps I [had] transgressed the line of strict justice, [but] now [that I know that] I actually blessed the firstborn, ‘he too shall be blessed’." for he has deceived me: Heb. וַיַעְקְבֵנִי. [To be explained] according to the Targum וּכַמַנִי [meaning]: and he lay in wait for me. [The word] וְאָרַב [(Deut. 19:11):“and he lies in wait,”] is translated by the Targum as וּכְמַן Others read in the Targum [not וּכַמַנִי, but] וְחַכְּמַנִי [meaning]: he outwitted me. reserved: [אָצַלְתּ] an expression of separation, as in וַיָּאצֶל (“and he separated”) (Num. 11:25). (Other editions read: וַיַּצֵּל (below 31:9). [From Targum Onkelos]

37 And Isaac answered and said unto Esau: 'Behold, I have made him thy lord, and all his brethren have I given to him for servants; and with corn and wine have I sustained him; and what then shall I do for thee, my son?'

Behold…a master: This is the seventh blessing [given to Jacob] and yet he puts it first? Rather, he said to him, “What use will a blessing be to you? If you acquire property, it will be his, for I have made him a master over you, and whatever a slave acquires, belongs to his master.” [From Gen. 67:5] so for you then, what shall I do: Where will I seek for something to do for you?

The reason for the 7th blessing first is that Esav is a man of this world and sold his next world to Yacov while Yacov is a man of the next world.

38 And Esau said unto his father: 'Have you but one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father.' And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept.

And the people of Shushan fasted and wept for three days.

39 And Isaac his father answered and said unto him: Behold, of the fat places of the earth shall be thy dwelling, and of the dew of heaven from above;

Behold…the fat places of the earth: This is the part of Italy belonging to Greece (from Gen. Rabbah 67:6).

40 And by thy sword shalt thou live, and thou shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt break loose, that thou shalt shake his yoke from off thy neck.

And…by your sword: וְעַל חַרְבּ is the same as בְּחַרְבּ [by your sword]. Sometimes עַל takes the place of the letter “beth,” as in (Ezek. 33:26);“You stood by your sword (עַל חַרְבְּכֶם),” [which is the same as] בְּחַרְבְּכֶם (Exod. 6:26);“by their hosts (עַל צִבְאוֹתָם)” [is the same as] בְּצִבְאוֹתָם. and it will be, when you grieve: [תָּרִיד] is an expression of pain, as in (Ps. 55:3):“I will lament (אָרִיד) in my speech” ; i.e., when the Israelites will transgress the Torah, and you will have cause to grieve about the blessings that he took, “you will break his yoke,” etc. [From Targum Onkelos]

41 And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him. And Esau said in his heart: 'Let the days of mourning for my father be at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.' 42 And the words of Esau her elder son was told to Rebekah; and she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said unto him: 'Behold, thy brother Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself, purposing to kill thee.

And Rebecca was told of: She was told by Divine Inspiration what Esau was thinking in his heart. [From Gen. Rabbah 67:9] regrets [his relationship] to you: Heb. מִתְנַחֵם. He regrets the brotherly relationship, to consider other [than brotherly] thoughts, to behave towards you as a stranger and to kill you. The Midrash Aggadah (Gen. Rabbah 67:9), however, explains [it as an expression of consolation]: In his eyes, you are already dead, and he has drunk a cup of consolation [a cup of wine customarily drunk in the house of mourning] over you. But according to its simple meaning, it is an expression of consolation. By killing you he consoles himself about [losing] the blessings (Tanchuam Buber, Vayetzei 1).

He might have muttered the words out loud and having ate a limb from a living animal, stolen Nimrod’s coat,  raped a betrothed woman, committed idol worship and killed Nimrod on the day that Avraham died (Behold a People by Rabbi Avigdor Miller based on the Medrash) he was capable of killing Yacov.

43 Now therefore, my son, hearken to my voice; and arise, flee thou to Laban my brother to Haran; 44 and tarry with him a few days, until thy brother's fury turn away; 45 until thy brother's anger turn away from thee, and he forget that which thou hast done to him; then I will send, and fetch thee from thence; why should I be bereaved of you both in one day?' 46 And Rebekah said to Isaac: 'I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth. If Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these, of the daughters of the land, what good shall my life do me?'

28:1 And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him: 'Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan. 2 Arise, go to Paddan-aram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother's father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother's brother. 3 And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a congregation of peoples; 4 and give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land of thy sojournings, which God gave unto Abraham.' 5 And Isaac sent away Jacob; and he went to Paddan-aram unto Laban, son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob's and Esau's mother. 6 Now Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Paddan-aram, to take him a wife from thence; and that as he blessed him he gave him a charge, saying: 'Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan'; 7 and that Jacob hearkened to his father and his mother, and was gone to Paddan-aram; 8 and Esau saw that the daughters of Canaan pleased not Isaac his father; 9 so Esau went unto Ishmael, and took unto the wives that he had Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael Abraham's son, the sister of Nebaioth, to be his wife.

Shalom on the Range: In search of the American Crypto-Jew Part 4

Stanley Hordes moved to Santa Fe in 1981, when he was named state historian of New Mexico. Almost immediately, he began to receive some rather curious visitors: nervous folks who would look both ways before entering his office and then whisper, “My abuelita doesn’t eat pork”; “She hides in the basement on Friday night and lights candles”; “She sweeps dirt into the center of the room”; “My grandfather let the blood run from the sheep onto the ground”; “Before my tía died, she swore I was a Jew.”
Hordes at first dismissed these visitors as cranks. “It’s not unusual for Catholic women to be lighting candles,” he told me when we spoke in a hotel lobby in downtown Albuquerque. “People eat things and don’t eat things. Why should I care?”
Still, Hordes had written a dissertation on the topic of Crypto-Judaism in New Spain, and his research on Mexico’s Crypto-Jews had indeed unearthed a community of conversos that included bakers, tailors, barbers, silversmiths, merchants, miners, doctors, military officers, accountants, a municipal mayor, and even one man who sang in the choir at the Cathedral of Querétaro. One of Cortés’s conquistadors (Jewish conquistadors!) turned out to be a Crypto-Jew and was burned at the stake in Mexico City in 1528. Most Crypto-Jews, however, lived relatively safely in New Spain until 1571, when the Holy Office was formally established in the colony, after which periodic campaigns against suspected judaizantes took place over the next hundred years. It was these persecutions that served as the basis of Hordes’s research; the Inquisition kept excellent records of its interrogations, trials, and autos-da-fé. For example, Hordes learned that 80 percent of the men accused as Crypto-Jews had in fact been circumcised, a figure, one Inquisition record noted, that did not count the 11 percent whose penises bore “a mark of undetermined origin, raising the suspicion . . . that some Jewish ritual had resulted in such scarring.”
Yet none of Hordes’s earlier work helped account for the wayward Jews who now came slinking into his office. He developed a new theory for that. In 1598, as conditions for the Crypto-Jews were deteriorating in New Spain, a settler party of 460 men, women, and children headed north into the frontier wilderness, traversing the barren stretch of desert known as the jornada del muerto (“journey of the dead man”) into Pueblo Indian territory. At the confluence of the Rio Grande and Rio Chama, they founded a town, San Gabriel del Yunque, which became the first permanent European settlement in what is today known as New Mexico. Hordes could never confirm how many conversos there were among the settlers, but he did know that within a couple of generations the Inquisition, now in New Mexico, began prosecuting their descendants for Judaizing.
“The testimony from these trials,” Hordes told me, “indicates pretty clearly that not only was Crypto–Judaism being practiced but it was being practiced and nobody cared. Witness after witness after witness comes forward and says, ‘Well, yeah, we knew Francisco Gomez was a Jew. We knew that he lived and died as a Jew. We knew that his sons were circumcised. So what?’”
Hordes spent the next twenty-five years playing what he called “the down and dirty game of who begat.” He interviewed anyone in New Mexico (including both Perry Peña and Daniel Yocum) who evinced vestiges of Jewish practices, and compared their surnames with the Catholic birth, baptismal, marriage, death, and burial records archived in the state. He cross-checked these records against Inquisition trial and confession documents from Mexico, Spain, and Portugal. And he found links—clear, verifiable, genealogical links—between these modern-day candle-lighters and pork-abstainers and the ancient deceased.
I asked Hordes what it felt like when he first began to believe that these people really were the historical Crypto-Jews. “It was like a light bulb went on,” he said. “I asked myself, Could these possibly be the same people? Could there really have been a survival?”
I was beginning to understand that these weren’t questions at all. They were an affirmation.

Next year is Shmita Year (Sabbatical) what does Shmita have to do with Chanucha

The “Missing Yom Tov” of Chanukah Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir

One of the special laws of the Shmita year is the prohibition of sefichin – grains and vegetables which were not planted in the seventh year but rather grew by themselves as the after growth of the sixth year. For most produce, the prohibition of sefichin extends until Chanukah (Yerushalmi Demai 2:1, Rambam Shmita 4:6). In the time of the Mikdash, Chanukah was also the latest date for bringing Bikurim (Mishna Bikurim 1:6).
We see that Chanukah has not only a historical aspect but also an agricultural aspect, like the Torah holidays of Pesach (beginning of barley harvest and bringing of Omer), Shavuot (beginning of wheat harvest and bringing of shtei halechem and Bikurim), and Sukkot (the end of the harvest season for most crops and building of sukkah from their stalks etc.)
The Torah festivals all have special sacrifices. While there are no special observances of Chanukah in the Temple service, there is a powerful connection to the Mikdash, for the holiday commemorates the inauguration of the altar and the renewal of the avoda in the Mikdash. With all of these likenesses, we could almost call Chanukah a “quasi-festival”.
While Greek philosophy was focused on truth, ultimately Greek religion and thought were focused on usefulness. Greek civilization’s best minds were occupied in ascertaining the laws of beauty (aesthetics), the laws of language, the laws of nature, the laws of human society. There is an interesting hint of this in the Midrash. On the one hand, the Sifri learns that the periodic clearing out of tithes (biur maasrot) could not be on Chanukah because the Torah refers to “miktzeh shalosh shanim” – at the end of three years, and the word ketz, or end, refers specifically to a festival – not Chanukah. (Sifri on Devarim 14:28.)
Yet in Bereshit Rabba the expression “miketz yamim” (at the end of some days) which describes when Kayin murdered Hevel is understood to refer specifically to Chanukah! (Bereshit Rabba on Bereshit 4:3.) So this terminology also hints at a festival-like status for Chanukah.
Indeed, there seems to be a “missing festival” at the time of Chanukah. After all, the other three tekufot (equinoxes and solstice) have festivals – why not the winter solstice? And the other demarcators of the agricultural year have holidays: beginning and end of the crop harvest (Pesach and Sukkot) and beginning of fruit harvest (Shavuot); why not the end of the fruit harvest – Chanukah, when the last olives are gathered and can be brought as Bikurim?
We can view Chanukah as a festival which was intended from the beginning, but which HaShem “kept in store” for us, waiting to bestow it until the time of the Maccabim. Perhaps this “solstice” of Jewish history was the time when it was most needed.
After hundreds of years of “shortening days” for the Jewish people, with no prophets and no sovereignty, HaShem gave us two things. He gave us a source of light, with the victory of the Maccabim who returned partial sovereignty to the Jews of Eretz Yisrael and restored the Mikdash. And He gave us the miracle of the oil, which reminds us that with His aid, a lamp which seemingly can last only a short time – even partial Jewish sovereignty lasted only about two hundred years – can actually illuminate the Jewish people for a much longer period, until new oil is pressed.
So the Rabbinical festival of Chanukah reminds us that the spiritual might of the Maccabim is not extinguished, but will continue to burn until the impending final Redemption, when complete material and spiritual sovereignty will be restored here in the Land of Israel.
Rabbi Meir’s book Meaning in Mitzvot is now available as an e-book through AmazonibooksGoogle Play and B&N.

I have been busy travelling this past week so I have made the blog a bit short and sweet.

Paula Abdul wants to officially be a woman!!!,7340,L-4446358,00.html

On the east coast Wonder Bread is certified and in the Midwest not: The Orthodox Union is now certifying Wonder Bread products in certain (but not all) regions of the USA. Wonder Bread products that are certified by the Orthodox Union bear the OU symbol. Wonder Bread products that do not bear the OU symbol are not certified by the Orthodox Union.

From Mike, the growing Talmud study around the world.

Inyanay Diyoma

Your school tax dollars at work funding an agenda which is not too kosher to put it mildly: This came from B.R. but I cut it short so as not to endanger the child or school The grade was learning vocabulary, supposed to choose the appropriate word from a list to replace the phrases in one of the words on the list.  The subtle indoctrination is horrifying.
    The speaker called on us to take part in the organized refusal to attend performances of theatres that use non-union actors.
    Greenpeace is taking part in a series of actions to stop the killing of whales.
    The king of Norway presents the Nobel Peace Prize in a formal event in honor of the occasion held in Oslo.
    The separate companies were brought together and formed into one large corporation.
    The people in the courtroom eagerly awaited the decision at the end of the trial.
    Conditions in the jail take away the self-respect of the prisoners housed there.
    The immigrants were kept from going on their way by inspectors who demanded to see their papers.
    Students felt that their privacy was being treated in a disrespectful and improper way when their lockers were being searched in a rude manner.
    The separation of the different races in public schools was outlawed in 1954.
    During the fire drill, students moved out of the school in an orderly way.
    The children will remain in the state’s care and control until their parents can be located.
Just to make the point clear, I did not cherry-pick these examples. These are the first 11 which constitute the first page.
I don’t know if it is necessary to say this, but it is an extraordinary degree of politicization and it is all toward the left side.
If you need a list of why, I say this:     Union activism (the teachers all belong to one; Right to Work states? Corruption, the union I was a member of betrayed the workers.)
    Environmentalist cause.
    Undeserved prize won by their leader
    Monopoly; evil corporations.
    Possibly neutral but law and order; no justice
    Prisoner rights
    Poor treatment of immigrants
    Poor treatment of students; the radical Weatherman of the 1960s called their school policy, “Jailbreak.”
    Racism! Injustice of America.
    But you have to obey our authority. We are only justifying rebellion when we tell you to.
    Remember we own you if we decide to do so.
Just to show some potential different questions:
5. Potentially dangerous problems in the jail, where violent criminals were kept, required strict conditions.
7. The inspectors did their job and protected the public by keeping immigrants from going on their way by demanding to see their papers.
8. Unfortunately, the amount of drugs and weapons in school required violating the privacy of some students because of a disrespectful and improperly behaving minority.
9. It was a proud day for America when school discrimination was ended in 1954.
Bonus story: One friend, who is a lecturer of sociology, said that the far right controls the media in America! She also teaches her students that the corporations are doing better than ever, making record profits, because they’ve downsized and are overworking everyone. [Obamacare makes it tempting to make workers part-timers so greedy companies get blamed!]
The pro-Obama people seem to think there’s an economic recovery, but then are telling me that they haven’t seen so many empty storefronts of businesses that have closed!

Down under anti-Semitism rears its ugly head, fortunately the authorities are civilized.

Al Qaeda Terror is advancing against Israel: Arab  students also try to build a terror RPV:’s-thrust-toward-Golan-Israel-Saudis-Jordan-share-urgent-need-to-stem-the-fast-multiplying-peril-

Iran continues Uranium enrichment and missile that can hit DC, NYC development:,7340,L-4445821,00.html

Releasing Terrorists only allows for more terror:,7340,L-4446333,00.html

The US is abandoning common sense. In fact I am beginning to think that common sense is limited to people born before Obama was born.

European pressure on Israel this is the result and will they press more tune in for our next episode of HASHEM vs. mount Seir:,7340,L-4446772,00.html

Obama pushes Egypt into the Russian Camp with intercontinental missiles on their shopping list:

There was no ‘Good Shabbos Story’ last Friday. Have a peaceful, wonderful and healthy Shabbos,
Rachamim Pauli