Friday, November 23, 2007

Parshas Vayeitzei - "Got Water?"

To all of those who are studying hard for midterms, BEST OF LUCK! In case you didn't have time to prepare anything for Shabbos here is a little something.

Quickie/Fun Fact: Q: Breishis 28:11 says, "And he [Jacob] arrived at the place and lodged there because the sun had set, and he took some of the stones of the place and placed [them] at his head, and he lay down in that place". Why does this Pasuk say the word "makom/place" three times?!

A: The Baal HaTurim answers that the Pasuk says the word "place" three times to foreshadow that in the future Klal Yisroel will come to that very spot three times a year on the Shalosh Rigalim.

Parshas Vayeitzei starts with the Pasuk, "And Jacob left Beer Sheva, and he went to Haran."

Rashi asks a famous question on this pasuk. Why does the Torah explicitly state where Yaakov left and where he was going? We know where he was coming from, the Torah says in last week's Parsha!

Rashi answers that the departure of a Tzaddik from a town has an effect on the society in which he leaves. Often times a Tzaddik has an aura of truth and piousness that exudes an immense amount of reverence. After residing in society for an extended period of time he has an enormous amount of influence that molds his surroundings. Such a departure has detrimental effect on the remaining inhabitants.

If it is true, that when a pious person departs a place his presence is eternally missed, then why doesn't the Torah mention this by Avraham and Yitzchak when they departed their hometowns?

The Kli Yakar, a 15th Century Torah Commentator answers, when Avraham and Yitchak departed their hometowns, they brought with them "their societies". They brought their entire families and all of their righteous students. There was no one in their hometowns that after their departures would have even remotely missed them. By Yaakov however, when he left Be'er Sheva, alone, he was leaving a town where Talmidei Chachamim and Scholars were greatly appreciated. It is therefore understandable that Yaakov's leaving for the people of Be'er Sheva was something to bemoan.

Rav Asher Balanson Shlit"a (Rosh Kollel of OJ) once said in one of his famous Friday morning shiurim, that a lot is said about a person when they get emotional about something. If a person gets excited about mundane materialistic things, chances are that their priorities are probably within that same frame of mind. If person gets upset about missing a family simcha or a chavrusa chances are that those things are what the dearest to them.

After the death of the great Torah Scholar Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Aurbach Zt"l it is said that 300,000-500,000 came to his funeral to lament over klal yisroel's great loss.

The Gemara states that Ezra Hasofer made a takana that Klal Yisroel were going to read the weekly Torah readings on Mondays and Thursdays. The reason behind his Takana was because just like a person cannot go three days without water he also cannot go three days without Torah.

The Torah adds the detail that Yaakov left Be'er Sheva to show that although he was going to Haran to find a wife. The town of Be'er Sheva was losing its prime source of "water"/Torah, Yaakov Avinu.


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