Vayeitzei 2018 Q & E

Was Elifaz (Yitzchok’s Talmid) an Am HaAretz? Rashi tells us (Vayeitzei 29:11) that Elifaz came to kill Yaakov on the command of his father Eisav, but since he was a talmid of Yitzchok he was hesitant and agreed to Yaakov’s solution of taking all his money thereby technically fulfilling his father’s command. Was Elifaz the Talmid of the Gadol HaDor Yitzchok such an Am HaAretz that he didn’t know that the halacha says if your father tells you to do an aveira you need not listen, murder no less? The Maskil L’Dovid answers that Elifaz only listened to his father because it was Pikuach Nefesh. Eisav threatened to kill him if he doesn’t kill Yaakov. Even though murder is Yaharog V’Al Yaavor and one must die rather than commit murder, this is only for a Yid who is chayav in the mitzva of Kiddush HaShem. However Bnei Noach who have no mitzva of Kiddush HaShem, are exempted from any aveira under the threat of death, even murder.

Climb It Slowly Or Else You Could Fall The Klausenberger Rebbe zt”l says Yaakov’s ladder symbolizes the two approaches to self improvement. One way is to decide what you want to improve and map out a plan where you improve step by step until you reach your decided goal. This slow but steady journey has a good chance of success. If you work hard you will ultimately get there. That is what the pasuk says “V’Hinei Sulam Mutzav Artza V’Roishoi Magiah Hashamayma”; if the ladder is planted firmly on the ground, by climbing it one rung at a time you get you all the way as far as the heavens. The second way is to go straight to the top and immediately begin to act according to your loftiest ideals, like the perfect tzaddik. This method usually ends rather quickly in miserable failure. To this the pasuk says “V’Hinei Malachei Elokim”; if you want to be like a malach right away, then “Olim V’Yordim Boi” you will rise very quickly but you will go right back down just as quick.

How Did Yaakov Fly Back To Eretz Yisroel? Rashi says (Vayeitzei 28:17) that when Yaakov arrived in Charan he said to himself, is it possible that I passed the place where my fathers davened, and I didn’t daven there? He decided to return there and he had Kefitzas HaDerech. How did this Kefitzas Haderech work, did onlookers see Yaakov whooshing by in the air? The Mishulchan Gavoa brings from Rav Eliyahu Dessler that there are two types of nissim. One is where Hashem breaks the rules of nature. This is exemplified by Krias
Yam Suf where the water split. The second type is a nes that is above nature and no nature breaking phenomenon is required. An example of this is Moshe Rabbeinu living in Shamayim for 40 days without food or sleep. No miracle happened and no food was flown to Shamayim for him. He existed beyond nature whose laws no longer ruled over him. This occurs when a person himself becomes totally spiritual and sheds every vestige of physicality. When Yaakov Avinu decided he needs to Daven at the place where his fathers daven, he became so totally Davuk in the Tefila that he vaulted beyond nature. In his spiritually exalted state there were no distance that needed to be spanned. He was beyond any physical boundaries. He simply and suddenly found himself standing in the place of his Tefila without a need for any miraculous air or land travel whatsoever.

Eliphaz’s Bides His Time The Be’er Mayim Chaim brings the Medrash that says that when Elifaz came to kill Yaakov to avenge the stealing of the brachos from his father, Yaakov warned him that if he kills him it will be Elifaz that will suffer the consequences of the Bris Bein HaBesarim and it will be his children who will go through 400 of torture and slavery before he gets Eretz Yisroel. Upon hearing this Elifaz was convinced that it was not worth it for him and he let Yaakov go. But that wasn’t the end. When he returned he left specific instructions for his son Amaleik. Let Yaakov be and let his children go down to Mitzrayim. Once the bad part of the Bris Bain HaBesarim has been fulfilled and Bnei Yisroel is free and clear to march back into Eretz Yisroel, that is the time to attack them. Since the brachos are rightfully ours, we will get Eretz Yisroel after Yaakov already endured the slavery. This is why we find later in history that, in fact, as soon as Bnei Yisroel left Mitzrayim, waiting for them and the first to attack was none other than the children of the wicked Amaleik, son of Elifaz and grandson of Eisav HaRasha.

Yo Brother! What Are You Doing? When Yaakov came to Charan, he encountered a group of shepherds. He asked them, “Achai MayAyin Atem” – “My brothers where are you from?” R’ Yaakov Kaminetsky asks, why does Yaakov refer to these total strangers as “Achai” – “My brothers?” If you look a bit further in the pasuk, we find that Yaakov admonishes these shepherds for gathering the flock in middle of the day to take them home. Yaakov said, “Look, the day is still long; it is not time to bring the livestock in.” R’ Yaakov says, when one wants to give Mussar to another person, he must first have a relationship with that person. One cannot be the one to only offer admonishment. He must first be a friend and then can he be a mentor to criticize. Yaakov first creates a friendship with the shepherds of Charan by saying, “My brothers… where are you from?” Only after that was he able to admonish by saying, “it is not time to bring the livestock in.” By: Rav Mordechai Kamenetzky It just

By Ellen Sherman

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