Was Rivka a Reincarnation of Chava?
Shoin, in our sixth time around parshas Toldois, let’s get mystical. From time to time the Oisvorfer will take a look at the heylige Zoihar, Arizal, and Targum Yoinoson Ben Uzeil, because they, besides being great mystics, also had mamish vilde (wild) imaginations. And this week, they will try to convince us that it’s efsher possible that Rivka Emanu, she the wife of Yitzchok Ovenu -our second forefather- and sister of that farbrecher (bad guy) Lovon who will next week become the father-in-law of Yaakov, was mamish a gilgul (reincarnation) of Chava. She was what? Moreover, the Zoihar as quoted by the Beni Yisoschor will tell us that Yaakov whom we will meet very early in the parsha, came down to this world to do ‘tikkun’ (rectification) for sins committed by Odom Horishoin (Adam) and that Eisav his twin older brother was somehow connected to the nochosh (snake). Aren’t we all, if you chap? Shoin, let’s begin by going over what the Arizal – he most famous for shrinkage in the coldest mikveh in the world- had to say about this Rivka/Chava gilgul. Many times, views coming from these giants among men that mamish chapped what may have gone down, will be vild mamish and will contain epes some sexual content. Don’t blame the Oisvorfer; he’s mamish just quoting and repeating what these great men had to say.
And how great was Reb Yoinoson ben Uzeil? Heck, his interpretations -as he imagined them- made their way in the finest version of the Chumish -the big one- the Mikro’ois Gidoilois- the version that yeshiva boys get as bar mitzvah presents never to be seen again until they move out, and the very version that our finest high schools want our boys to purchase so that it appears as if they are leaning something. They don’t! They can barely read. Anyway, said the Arizal azoy: Rivka was indeed a gilgul (reincarnation) of Chava, the first woman. Shoin! She was? And why are people reincarnated? Shoin that avada depends on who you ask ober hakol moidim (all agree) that one of the main reasons for reincarnation is so that the new ‘he/she’ can rectify the sins that were committed in an earlier lifetime by the old ‘he/she’. Taka when a he acts like a she, there are usually a few sins that require rectification. In plain English: reincarnation and rectification are closely related. And how taka did Rivka rectify Chava’s sins?
Shoin, let’s roll back the clock to parshas Bereishis where avada you will recall learning -everyone remembers this part- the myseh where the nochosh (snake) somehow convinced Chava to eat from the Eitz Hada’as (Tree of Knowledge). And what did Chava do immediately after she was enlightened and after -according to some- a shtikel relationship with the snake itself? A relationship with what? Leyda (sadly), it’s emes that a number of medroshim, especially the mystics, believe that Chava and the snake who was still upright back them -was he ever, if you chap- mamish had relations. Says the heylige Toirah that Chava went and gave some of that forbidden fruit to her husband. Rashi will tell us that she did so out of fear. She was afraid that Odom, following her death, would seek out another woman. She was taka enlightened! Shoin, just last week we talked about the jealousy of women and how they do crazy irrational things when jealousy takes over, and this week we learn that Chava was not just the first woman, she was also the first such woman. She did not want Odom with another woman, her eventual passing notwithstanding. Odom, being a man, was weak. He partook of the forbidden fruit and shoin, both were cursed. He with death and struggling to make a living and she with birthing pains and insane jealousy. Let’s also keep in mind that ever since Odom, men have enjoyed -very much so- in partaking of forbidden fruit, oy vey. Let’s not forget that woman was also cursed with long term memory; they don’t forget a thing. The list goes on.
Nu, what to do and how to fix this mess? Shoin, along came Rivka whose job now was to untangle and rectify. And she did this how? Halt kup (pay attention), it’s mamish so gishmak. Back in Bereishis Chava fed her husband something forbidden, ober here in our parsha, along comes Rivka and with her devious plan to help her younger son outwit her older son, and will prevent her husband Yitzchok from eating something forbidden. And what was that? The very food that Eisav had just hunted down and prepared at his father’s behest. Says Reb Yoinoson azoy: the dish Eisav prepared was not kosher. Moreover, it was not slaughtered in accordance with the rules of the ‘not-yet-given-Toirah’. Of course you recall that our Ovois (forefathers) kept the heylige Toirah in its entirety. And it so happens that Targum Yoinoson will tell us that Eisav brought him dog food, ver veyst. Wait: There’s more ober since we mentioned that the Ovois (our forefathers) kept the entire Toirah and since many readers have over the years asked question if this was emes, and also wondered that if it’s taka emes, how could they at times, not tell the entire emes.
Shoin it so happens that it’s from this week’s parsha and from these words “Because Avrohom listened to My voice and obeyed My charges, My commands, My statutes and My laws (Bereishis 26:5) that Rashi and others including the Rambam, conclude that our heylige Ovois taka kept the entire Toirah (written and oral, though not yet written). Except when they didn’t of course and avada many of you will point to examples where they didn’t. Wasn’t Moishe married to his Tanta (Aunt)? And wasn’t Yaakov married to either two or four sisters? And wasn’t Avrohom married to an Egyptian and the list goes on. That’s taka emes ober the Rambam is way more clever that are you and after being bombarded with similar examples of their indiscretions, will take the position that it’s taka emes that they seemingly violated certain mitzvois, yet, kept the heylige Toirah voluntarily before it was given generations later. How is that possible efsher you’re klerring? Shoin it’s simple: when did they keep the entire Toirah kulo? Only when they were in the land of Israel then known as K’nan. Ober when they ventured out or weren’t in the land, they didn’t. Shoin. Ober when that defense wasn’t 100% foolproof, he concluded that the verse found in our parsha, only refers to the Seven mitzvois given to Noaich and his descendants.
Not just did Rivka prevent Yaakov from being cursed by his own father, had he been exposed, her shenanigans -seemingly sanctioned as we will read below- resulted in Yaakov being bentched (blessed) by his father. In fact, while plotting the old ‘switch the brother trick’, she told Yaakov not to worry about being cursed. Said she, as quoted in the heylige Toirah mamish (Bereishis 27:13) azoy: “His mother said to him (Rivka to Yaakov), the curse is on me, just listen to my voice, and go and take for me…”. Shoin, she now completed the rectification of generations back where Chava caused Odom to be cursed. Mamish gishmak.
Ober was Yaakov not complicit, a co-conspirator mamish, in fupppig (tricking) his own father? Is this the same Yaakov that the heylige Toirah (Bereishis 25:27) describes an ‘ish taam yoishev oiholim’? Yaakov was a simple man, a dweller of tents. Oib azoy (if so), where did Yaakov acquire and polish the skill set necessary to pull off the scheme with perfection? It’s not like he went to the famous Yeshiva of Shem and Ever and studied shtick 101 and advanced courses, did he? Grada he did ober according to most, he only enrolled and hid out there for 14 years following this incident. Nu, it would appear that he may not yet have had this particular skill set ober his mother Rivka, was seemingly an expert at shtick. Ober where did she learn such zachin? Nu, efsher we can kler that growing up with her father Bisual and her brother Lovon that she, like most sisters, watched them operate and epes a little something rubbed off which she used when she needed it. And taka now she did. Or, efsher we can kler that she developed this skill set when she herself went to the yeshiva of Shem and Ever. Rivka went to yeshiva?
Was that yeshiva co-ed, efsher the first to cater to boys and girls mamish at the same time? Shoin, no wonder Yaakov stayed 14 years and that Yitzchok may have run there following the akeydo incident. And no wonder that this yeshiva continued to attract students, ver veyst. Ober, another famous Rashi will teach us that taka that’s exactly where she went during her pregnancy when she felt various pains. Instead of going to her obstetrician gynecologist or even Goggling her symptoms, she instead went as the heylige Toirah tells us ‘lidroish es hashem; she went to yeshiva. And we can kler that in the yeshiva, she taka got answers about her pregnancy, and during the second seder, she was also taught a few life skills like fupperrei (trickery) which she very cleverly used against her own husband. Mistama she also learned some gemora (Talmud) because avada you all recall rebbe teaching us that ‘alas shteyt in the gemora (everything stands in the gemora). Sadly at times, the rebbe took these words literally and was also caught standing, if you chap.
Ober was Rivka the first woman to make such decisions and to select one child over another? Not! She was the second of our own foremothers that played favorites. Just three parshas back, we learned how Soro, chased Hogor and her son Yishmoel out of the house. Soro decided that Yishmoel made her sick, and with that move, she avada changed the course of history. This week, along comes Rivka with a similar move. She will decide that only one of her children will receive her husband’s blessings. Ober this time, though having pulled off the trick to perfection, she will be forced to send her favorite son Yaakov out of the house.
Earlier we mentioned that as a result of the chicanery as plotted by Rivka and executed by Yaakov who snookered his older brother, he was now the proud owner of the birthright while Eisav was left seething and plotting revenge. Rivka had no choice but to send Yaakov out of the house and the city. She was avada concerned for his safety and was seemingly also concerned that he was still single. Not just single but 63 years old and still single; yikes! And, having seen the ethnicity of the women Eisav already married -two Chitites- Rivka was mamish tzibrochen that her son ‘married out’ and warned Yaakov not to marry a girl from Chiti. Next we will learn that after hearing Rivka’s instructions, Yitzchok spoke up and asked Yaakov not to marry any K’nany girls either. The next posik (Bereishis 28:7) tells us azoy: “and Yaakov obeyed his father and mother and went to Paddan-aram.” So happens that the Oisvorfer mamish a few months back, came across a street named Padanaram while on a drive to CT and was taka wondering if this street has epes biblical connections. Ober that for another day; let’s go veyter.
Ober what could Yaakov have been thinking when, after obeying his mother and having been blessed by his father, suddenly found himself kicked out of his own house and city? He was mamish on the run. Was this his reward for ‘kibud Eim’ (honoring and obeying his mother?) Was this new life of his the manifestation of his father’s brochis? Not! His new reality was that of a fugitive; he was exiled from his mishpocho and heading to places unknown. Would he see them again? Moreover, Yaakov’s adventures as will be detailed from here until the end of Sefer Bereishis are mistama not what he had in mind when he heard his father promise him an abundance of spiritual and materialistic success.
Ober Raboyseyee, we have to chap that pshat is mistama azoy. Only in looking back can one see that the journey was necessary. Yaakov’s journey was taka shver. There are zicher times when many of you feel like Yaakov. Ober we have to keep in mind azoy: though one may find himself on a circuitous and perilous road filled with aggravation and embarrassment, it’s efsher part of the master plan, ver veyst. As to Yaakov, efsher it was only because he was on the run and only because he needed to escape from his brother, that he did propitiously somehow end up -where else but at the well- meeting the love of his life, Rochel and her older sister Leah. Let’s avada not forget Bilah and Zilpah. In the end he did marry all four. Each gave him children and twelve of them went on to became the fabulous holy shevotim (tribes). Avada we will have lots more to say about these twelve and their sister Dina, ober that for another parsha. What’s taka the take-away from all this?
Nu, for those seeking inspiration and hope, for those currently down on their luck, their lives, or marriages, or, whatever else, and see only darkness, this darkness may in reality be the beginning of the new dawn, the new light. Not always of course but let’s not lose hope. When Yaakov set out from his parent’s home, he was on a journey and did not yet know what may lie ahead. It was a journey into the unknown; ober in the end, because he kept his faith -although he did taka make a deal with the RBSO- as we will learn in the upcoming parshas- he did lead a productive life, had a name change to Yisroel and we, his progeny, are all referred to as the B’nai Yisroel. Gishmak.
As Yaakov’s story is further developed, we will find him deeply involved in the plot to outwit his older brother Eisav out of his birthright. Zicher you recall this famous myseh, everyone does. Ober how could honest Yaakov taka be involved in so nefarious a plot? Ober says the Zoihar and who had a better imagination that did he, azoy: it’s quite poshit (simple). It was Yaakov’s tafkid (his mission) to come down to earth to rectify the sins of Odom and his lovely wife Chava. They were enticed by the snake who used his cunning ways to bring them to sin. Therefore Yaakov was sent down to use some of his own cunning (with help from his mother Rivka of course) to outwit his brother Eisav out of the birthright. Shoin, even-steven. It’s what the RBSO wanted and if the RBSO wanted that outcome, as He seemingly did, and for Yaakov to be the father of the B’nai Yisroel, He enabled Rivka to cook up (pun intended) this givaldige plot. And it so happens that the Zoihar will tell us that Eisav represented the bad snake that needed to be rectified. Shoin the loop is closed. Rivka is the reincarnation of Chava, Yaakov came down to rectify the sin of Odom and Eisav was here so that through him losing the birthright, the snake too would be rectified, though erect he would never again be. He continues to slither and cause trouble ad hayoim hazeh (until today), if you chap.
A gittin Shabbis-
The Oisvorfer Ruv