Torah Teaser – Parshat Vayetzei Questions & Answers – December 09 2017-5777

Yaakov, the True Tzaddik, Married Two Sisters All the Meforshim ask, how was Yaakov able to marry two sisters if the Avos kept the Torah even before it was given. One common answer, based on the Ramban, is that the Avos only accepted to keep the Torah in Eretz Yisrael and Yaakov was in Charan at the time. However, we find that the Avos did keep the Torah in most instances, even in Chutz LaAretz, so why was this different? Furthermore, the Avos kept the Torah because they understood the way of the world and knew how Kiyum HaMitzvos builds the world and Aveiros destroy. So why did Yaakov choose to violate the Torah just because he was in Chutz LaAretz? Rav Yaakov Kaminetzky says that the Kabalah, the commitment was only in Eretz Yisrael. In Chutz LaAretz it was a Chumra. While Yaakov surely wanted to keep the entire Torah, even in Chutz LaAretz, in this case he had promised Rochel that he would marry her. It was only because of Lavan’s deviousness that he married Leah, but he still needed to keep his word to Rochel. While keeping extra Chumros are wonderful, Yaakov was not about to break his promise to Rochel over a Chumra. Without hesitating, Yaakov married Rochel at the first possible opportunity, even while violating a future prohibition.

When Lavan Is Ready To Be Moser Nefesh
Lavan chases Yaakov and when they meet he demands his idols back. After searching all the tents and not finding anything, Yaakov says (31:36) “MaPish’i U’Mah Chatosi Ki Dalakta Acharai; What was my sin that you chased me?” Rav Meir Shapiro explains differently. Lavan was no match for Yaakov Avinu whose strength was legendary, ever since the first day he set foot in Charan and flicked the boulder off the well. Not only that, but his sons, the Shevatim, were cut in their father’s mold and made a veritable army. Nevertheless, Lavan was ready to go to battle and risk his life. For what? To retrieve his avodah zara. At this point, Yaakov is amazed at Lavan’s Mesiras Nefesh. Questioning his own mesiras nefesh, Yaakov says, “Ma Pish’i U’Mah Chatosi; How great is my own sin… Ki Dalakta Acharai; That you chased me in hot pursuit and were ready to give your life for nonsense, whereas, I have never shown this kind of dedication to my Hashem who is King of the universe!”
Rav Chaim Kanievsky answered this complaint when asked what can Klal Yisrael say when our enemies are ready to commit suicide missions in the name of their god, while we can’t claim the same willingness and dedication. He said that our mesiras nefesh needs to overcome the mighty Yetzer Hara, while in their case, the Yetzer Hara is the one behind them, giving them the strength and fortitude to carry it out.

A Kiss and A Scream “Vayishak Yaakov L’Rochel Vayisa Es Kolo Vayeivch; Yaakov kissed Rochel and raised his voice and cried.” (Vayeitzei 29:11) The Ben Ish Chai says that it is common for people to cry during an emotional reunion. In this case, however, Yaakov did not simply shed emotional tears when he met Rochel, he raised his voice in loud cries. “Adults,” says the Ben Ish Chai, “do their crying quietly, so why did Yaakov make so much noise?” He answers that the Medrash says when Yaakov kissed Rochel he saw the other shepherds whispering behind his back. They were saying that since the Mabul all the nations refrained from inappropriate behavior and Erva, and now this stranger comes along and starts the whole thing all over again by kissing Rochel in public. When Yaakov heard this, he cried very loudly to show them that this kiss was not, Chas V’Shalom, Erva. Had it been so, he would be laughing and acting light hearted. He, therefore, cried loudly to show all of them that this was purely emotional and nothing more.

Rochel Never Had a Wedding Party “Vaye’esof Lavan Es Kol Anshei HaMakom Vaya’as Mishteh.” (Vayeitzei 29:22) “Lavan gathered all the people for the long-awaited wedding and he made a party.” Why does the Torah tell us he made a party, is this something new that one makes a party by a wedding? The Daas Zikeinim says that the only reason Lavan made a wedding party is because he wanted to get Yaakov drunk in order that he should not realize the scam he had pulled by switching Rochel and Leah. Otherwise the cheapskate Lavan, would not have made one, when he could save the money. How does the Daas Zikeinim know this? Because one week later after agreeing to give Rochel to Yaakov as well, the Torah says (29:28) “Vayitein Lo Es Rochel Bito;” Lavan gave Rochel to Yaakov without even the slightest mention of a party or celebration.

Created By Rov Avrohom Sherman
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