Monthly Archives: 25 Heshvan 5774

Parshas Toldos

ואֵלֶּה תּוֹלְדֹת יִצְחָק בֶּן אַבְרָהָם אַבְרָהָם הוֹלִיד אֶת יצחק

And these are the descendants of Yitzchak the son of Avrohom, Avrohom begot Yitzchak.

The Zera Shimshon asks 4 questions regarding this possuk:

1. Why did the Torah write the phrase “Avrohom begot Yitzchak”? In the beginning of the possuk the Torah already wrote that Yitzchak is the son of Avrohom so seemingly there is no reason to write that Avrohom begot him!

2. On the words “And these are the descendants of Yitzchak…” Rashi comments, “Yaakov and Eisav (who are) mentioned in the Parsha“. Why does Rashi stress that they are mentioned in the Parsha? We don’t find any other Yaakov or Eisav mentioned anywhere else in Tanach so why does Rashi specify which Yaakov and Eisav?

3. Later on in the Parsha; Why did Hashem cause that Yaakov receive Yitzchak’s blessing in a seemingly crooked way?

4. Why did Yitzchak and Rivkah deserve such a wicked child like Eisav since they  they were both tzaddikim? Some Meforshim explain that the reason is because Rivkah was the daughter of a  wicked person. However this doesn’t seem to be sufficient  since Sarah and Avrohom also came from wicked people and they begot only Yitzchak.

The key to answer these questions is the Midrash (Breishis Rabah 44/21) that says that Hashem gave Avrohom Avinu the choice of how his descendants will be punished, if the need be. They can either  receive their punishment  in Gehenom or to suffer under the hands of the nations. Avrohom chose the latter.

In light of this we can now answer all of the above questions.

The first question we asked was why did the Torah repeat that “Avrohom begot Yitzchak” after the Torah writes that Yitzchak is the son of Avrohom? The answer is that the Torah is stressing that Avrohom is at the root of everything that happens in this Parsha.

Yitzchak and Rivka who were tzaddikim didn’t really deserve such a wicked son like Eisav. However, in order to fulfill Avrohom’s request of subjugation to the nations, Hashem created a nation that would do just that and Eisav was born.
But simply creating Eisav isn’t enough. Why would Eisav be willing to subjugate his own brother? Therefore Hashem made Yaakov steal the blessings from Eisav. Like this,  Eisav hated Yaakov and therefore he  always looks for ways to harm and punish Yaakov.


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Parshas Vayairo

Rashi quotes Reb Chama B”R Chaninna (Babba Mitziya 86/b) that Hashem came to Avrohom on the third day of his Milah to see how he was feeling. The Meforshim ask where is there even a slight allusion in the Parsha that this happened on the third day and not the first, second, or tenth day.

To answer this question the Zera Shimshon asks another question, “Why did Hashem only come to visit Avrohom and not the rest of the people who also circumcised themselves with Avrohom?”

He answers in light of the Gemoro in Babba Basra that Avrohom wore around his neck a special stone that had the power to immediately heal anyone who looked at it. According to this, explains the Zera Shimshon, all of the other people who circumcised themselves with Avrohom looked at the stone and immediately were healed. By the time Hashem came they were all better and therefore there was no need to visit them.

Avrohom, on the other hand, didn’t want to go this route. Chazal teach us, לפום צערא אגרא “according to the pain so is the reward”. Avrohom was totally focused on the Word to Come and he didn’t want to  lose any potential reward.

Another reason that he didn’t heal himself on the first day is that he knew that the commandment to circumcise himself was a test to see if he was totally obedient to Hashem will. If he healed himself right away, people would say that he listened to Hashem and circumcised himself because he knew that it really wasn’t dangerous since he knew how to cure himself! (Would it be a big deal if Houdini was put in a box underwater with an oxygen tank?) He therefore opted to “sit tight” and wait for the circumcision to naturally get better.

According to this, the first question is also answered. If Hashem came on the first or second day after the Milah people would say that Avrohom healed himself by looking at the stone. Therefore Hashem waited to visit him on the day that he would naturally need to be visited.

We can understand another reason  for Avrohom not looking to lessen his  pain in light of  the Missilas Yesharim’s (chapter 19) description of someone who truly loves Hashem, “…. The more deterrents that cross their path (the people who truly love Hashem)…the more will their hearts fortify themselves and rejoice to show the strength of their faith, just as a military leader, who is famous for his strength will always throw himself into the heart of the battle, where a victory will serve all the more to reveal his prowess.

It is common that every lover of flesh and blood rejoices in a situation that he can show how far his love goes.

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