A big week for mazel-tov shout outs. Here we go.
Mazel tov to our good friends Esther and Baruch Weinstein, proud grandparents to a new baby boy! Indeed a boy in the Weinstein mishpocho -keyn yirbu- born to their children Rebecca and Yossie Westriech. Mazel tov to the very happy and excited parents, to great grandmother Mrs. Bernice Weiss, and to all of Yossie’s mishpocho, too many to name.
Mazel tov to our good friends Judith and Shlomo Gottesman upon the birth last week of a baby girl -of course- to their children Aliza and Yitzy Fuld. Welcome to the world Ruthie Fuld! Mazel tov to the entire extended Gottesman, Fuld, and Lerer families.
Toivim hashnayim min hoechod (two are better than one). Mazel tov and mazel tov to our good friends Betty and Sheldon Greenspan upon the birth and upcoming bris of twin baby boys to their children Josh and Elizabeth Myers.
And a big mazel tov to one of the Oisvorfer’s oldest friends -going back to 1969- Rochelle and Moishe Jeger upon the birth of a grandson born to their children Rabbi Yudi and Ilana Jeger. Mazel tov to Ilana’s parents, Rabbi and Rebbetzin Aryeh Ginsburg, he the Ruv of the blue shul, and to both extended families.
Shoin, just last week as the parsha was coming to a close, Yaakov, not yet Ovenu, was 63, single and on the run. His older twin brother was out for revenge, he wanted to kill him mamish. Yaakov, in cahootz with his mother Rivka, planned and executed the bichoira (birthright) caper to perfection. His parents both told him to skedaddle out of town (from Be’er Sheva) and fast. His mother wanted him out for his safety and also to find himself a sheyna meydel (nice girl), and his father, spoke only about finding a suitable mate. As Parshas Vayeytzei opens, Yaakov’s story and saga continue ober this parsha will interrupt the feud between the brothers and will focus instead on Yaakov’s very complicated love life -he is center stage of the first ever love triangle- and, on his rather complicated relationship with his shver. Grada the heylige Oisvorfer enjoys a givaldige relationship with his shver. Then again, he only gave me his one daughter. Let’s not forget that Lovon was the father of the old ‘bait and switch’ trick. What taka happened to Eisav’s plans to kill his brother? The heylige Toirah will pick up the story of the two brothers next week, stay tuned. Going forward, from Vayetzei and until the end of sefer Bereishis, we will be focusing on Yaakov and his mishpocho.
Vayeytzei contains a healthy number of subplots, each quite mystifying. The action is fast and furious. We have previously covered most of them. In the past five reviews, we answered -with a dose of humor and sarcasm of course- many givaldige questions; new ones will be addressed this week. Yes, it’s all new for 2015. Topics of interest in Vayetzei include; Yaakov’s flight from an angry vengeful brother, his arrival at the ‘place’ later deemed holy, a dream about ladders which as an aside, has inspired artists of Judaica for generations and made a few famous and wealthy -yet another Toirah inspired gisheft, his deal making with the RBSO, his propitious arrival at the well -where else-, his negotiations with his future father-in-law for the girl of his dreams, and a few others he neither thought or dreamt about, his dealings with Lovon -now his shver- post marriage(s) to his daughters (all four of them), a most unusual story about animals in heat (more on this below), the interactions between Rochel and Leah, the birth of the boys who will eventually become known as the holy shevotim (tribes), and Yaakov’s clandestine escape from his shever’s house back to his parents after a 20 years.
Grada were you to read each storyline by itself, you would be left scratching your head in amazement mamish, that this same Yaakov became known for his ’emes’ (truth), as the last of our forefathers, and the one the RBSO chose to name Yisroel and we, his progeny, the B’nai Yisroel. There is lots of odd behavior, seemingly kosher back then or at least sanctioned, but extremely questionable bazman hazeh (in today’s times). That would include waking up in bed with a wife you didn’t marry, marriage to sisters -four of a kind, according to some-, kissing on the first date, deceiving one’s own father-in-law, watching animals mate, and much more. Yaakov watched animals in heat mate? So what? Is this normally forbidden? Indeed he did, and this myseh (story) which is described in great detail, is of course the subject of many a commentator. It’s found mamish in our parsha. Ober, who are we to question? If the RBSO decided that Yaakov was the man for the job despite some odd behavior, mistama there are lessons to be learned by all of us. What are they, ver veyst? Let’s see if we can find a few. On the other hand, efsher we need to kler azoy: It’s taka emes that were one to read but one subplot, any one, or even a few, that one could have questions, mistama many. One might wonder if he too, despite some questionable behavior might be in line for greatness. Not! On the other hand, efsher the lesson is azoy: We need to read the gantze parsha with Rashi and at least a few elucidations, to chap the RBSO’s master plan and we need to chap that the RBSO pulls the strings; we are but His marionettes. Looking back, it all makes sense.
As stated above, we have previously covered Vayetzei and quoted many very interesting medroshim which, were you to review instead of surfing the internet for some stimulation, will zicher have you smiling. We will be discussing internet stimulation later, stay tuned. We delved into Yaakov’s missing years and the yeshiva he was hiding out at. We discussed Rochel’s age at the time of her marriage and answered many other questions. You should avada check out archives at www.oisvorfer.com. They are givaldig! This year, we will look at a few new topics; hopefully you will be as entertained while also learning epes something new for the shabbis tish.
Shoin, very early in the parsha we will read how Yaakov arrived at ‘the place’ and then went to sleep. Says the heylige Toirah (Bereishis 28:11) azoy: “Vayishkav Bamokoim hahu…” (he slept in that place). There are dozens and dozens of medroshim that posit ideas as to what took place and where this ‘place’ was. Says Rashi azoy: That night he went to sleep mamish, ober in the previous 14 years while he was (supposedly) at the yeshiva of Shem and Ever, he did not go to sleep. This avada begs the question as to why not? Who can go 14 years without sleep? Not once did Yaakov close his eyes and go to sleep? And if not, why not? Ober, after attending a number of in-and-out of town yeshivas and after having exchanged war stories with others about their yeshiva (rebbe) experiences, we can now chap that Yaakov was no dummy. He chapped what the rebbes were trying to, if you chap, and therefore was nebech forced to either stay up at night, or, to sleep with one eye open. Nebech.
Shoin, having survived the cave and the yeshiva, Yaakov will eventually make his way to Choron where as mentioned above, he, unlike his father who had but one wife (Rivka) and unlike his Zeyda (Avrohom) who had one primary wife (and a healthy number of concubines), Yaakov, will have to endure living with and having children from four. Yikes! Though the text of the heylige Toirah tells us that he loved Rochel, or, that he loved Rochel more than the other wives and certainly more than Leah, not every medrish will agree. Some will argue that he loved Leah just as much, and whether he loved Bilah and Zilpah (Lovon’s daughters from one of his concubines), or just had children with them and loved them not, ver veyst? Of course, we can wonder why the RBSO set things in motion so that Yaakov’s love life was initially but a ‘love triangle’, efsher the first famous one. It’s taka emes that many medroshim will try convincing us that he loved Leah as much as, or equal to Rochel but will we ever know? Were we there? Not! One thing is zicher: None of the medroshim were there either and what went down in the privacy of Yaakov’s household is but guesswork. Another thing is zicher: Ad hayoim hazeh (until today), many men have and continue to emulate Yaakov’s ways and taka find themselves not just in the wrong triangles, if you chap, but also in love triangles. And rarely if ever, are both women loved equally. So happens that in most love triangles, one woman will be loved more -way more- and will not typically be sharing the abode, ober in the Yaakov household, they were mamish living together. Shoin, let’s go veyter. In any event, we can easily speculate that his love life and marriages were quite complicated. We can also safely assume that when he was the recipient of his father’s blessings just last week, the last thing he imagined was marrying four of a kind. Maybe he took the words of his father which were for him to take a wife ‘from the girls of the house of Lovon’, too literally. His father instructed him to take a wife from the girls of the house of Lovon, ober Yaakov, now a 75 year old bochur (bachelor), schooled for 14 years in the famous yeshiva, and by now an expert in life skills, decided that he needed to make up for lost time and took ‘all’ the girls from the house of Lovon. Shoin, was there a better way to make up for lost time? Not! Seemingly this was not a job for one rebbitzen, not even a triumvirate. Besides, having thee would just have created yet another triangle. His needs dictated an even four.
Ober Raboyseyee, parshas Vayeytzei is mamish full of deception and not just from Lovon. Was Leah not an active participant in the deception? Did she not sneak into the boudoir? Does the heylige Toirah not tell us beferisuh (Bereishis 29:25) azoy: “And it was in the morning and behold, it was Leah?” Indeed it does, mamish! Was this proper behavior from one of our foremothers, the very one that gave birth to the most shevotim (tribes) and is buried alongside her husband in the ‘meroas hamachpelo’, that famous cave over in Chevroin? And how taka does the medrish deal with Leah’s deception? Lomer lernin. Says the Medrish Rabbah (Bereishis 70:19) azoy: Said Yaakov to Leah: “You are a deceiver and the daughter of a deceiver.” Them are big biting and fighting words! Ober said Leah to Yaakov in response azoy: “Did your father not call you ‘Eisav’ and you answered him in the affirmative? So did you too call me and I answered.. A perfect match. Gotcha! Seemingly Leah chapped that Yaakov was not as innocent as he presented himself, and told Yaakov that her actions were no different than his. Counterpunch! Efsher you’re klerring azoy: Why would Yaakov want to stay married to a woman he had no intention of marrying, had no interest in, and did not love? Ober Raboyseyee, efsher we can kler that Leah had ‘ruach hokoidesh’ (Divine inspiration). She did? Indeed so and says the medrish so gishmak azoy: following the birth of Reuvain, she foresaw that Doson and Aviram -bad guys- would come from his lineage. Following the birth of Shimon, she foresaw that Zimri -another character- would be his descendant, and from Levi, her third child, she foresaw Koirach, oy vey. All went on to become notorious Toirah characters. Ober when the fourth child was born, she named him Yehudah saying …”this time I will thank the RBSO.” He was a good egg. Seemingly she was endowed with spiritual and divine inspiration.
Efsher we can kler that it was Leah and not Yaakov that chapped that she was part of the master plan. That she was destined to become one of the foremothers and deliver not fewer than six of the holy shevotim. Or, efsher we can kler that she knew how to throw Yaakov a good party, if you chap. Efsher, following the accidental encounter, Yaakov decided that she was a keeper, ver veyst? The bottom line: As we have discussed many times in the past, the RBSO had a master plan. Seemingly Leah, her sister Rochel and their two half-sisters were all part of it. The fact that we are left with a few questions about incestual relationships and that Leah somehow wound up under the covers instead of Rochel does not take away from the plan. That was the plan and that’s what the RBSO wants you to know. And just because your mind cannot grasp the RBSO’s mastery in pulling the strings that led to the birth of the Jewish people, does not mean it wasn’t all kosher. In any event, though we are taught to emulate the acts of our forefathers and foremothers, it is zicher not suggested, nor good for one’s health to be found under the wrong covers while claiming that you are but acting like Yaakov and Leah. Chazir that you are! On the other hand, we have already seen and will continue to see other examples in the heylige Toirah where the RBSO stamped His approval on questionable relationships and their offspring. Are you chapping all this? Veyter.
Let’s take a shtikel look at how Yaakov himself was involved in some fupperri (deceit). Says the heylige Toirah (Bereishis 31:40) azoy: “And Yaakov went and called Rochel and Leah to the field to his flock…..”. What took place in the field? Shoin the heylige Toirah will dedicate nine full pisukim to illuminate. Yaakov decided it was time to leave and rationally laid out his case on why the wives, the children, the flock and he, must all immediately check out of the Lovon hotel and skedaddle out of town. Not his first time.
Ober the emes was that but one posuk earlier, in a dream, the RBSO merely told Yaakov to leave the house of Lovon and return home. Shtelt zich di shaylo azoy: Why did Yaakov feel the need to get into a lengthy explanation and embellish the story? Why not just say ‘that’s what the RBSO told me to do’ and go pack your bags? Shoin, one gishmake medrish will tell us that there is a life lesson to be learned from the way Yaakov went about logically convincing his wives that it was time to leave their father’s house. From Yaakov we are to learn that one shouldn’t just come home and bark out orders to this wife and kinderlach by telling them ‘that’s what the Toirah says and that’s how it will be done.’ Instead, we are to learn that we need to better communicate and explain even to our own mishpochos (families) so that they chap what we want them to do. Of course this is good in theory and in the medrish, ober does this work in real life?
Shoin, earlier we mentioned that Yaakov watched while the animals mated. And what’s the big deal? Don’t farmers do this all the time? And wouldn’t we expect a shepherd who is around animals to encounter such mountings, if you chap, from time to time? We would! And why would this normally be verboten? Moreover, what’s this 11 posik myseh (storyline) about animals in heat doing in our parsha, in our heylige Toirah, where every word and letter is mamish accounted for? Why do we need to know what the animals were doing? Nu, as it turns out, the gantze animal mating storyline happens to be germane -seemingly very-to Yaakov’s spy vs. spy (recalling MAD magazine) relationship with his shver, and is the primary reason Yaakov gave his wives for his intended immediate departure from the house of Lovon. As mentioned, Yaakov was not inexperienced in quick get-aways as we learned just last week and in the opening sentence of this week’s parsha. And with that introduction, lets’ go back and try to chap, why the heylige Toirah dedicated kimat (nearly) 20 pisukim to discussing animal mating and Yaakov’s role.
Nu, following the birth of Yoisef to Rochel, Yaakov decided it was time to go home to see his elderly parents. Let’s not forget the dream in which the malach (angel) told him just that. Yaakov told Lovon that the time had come. Lovon, feeling blessed through Yaakov’s presence, was not happy and instead negotiated a deal with Yaakov to continue on as a shepherd. The deal, though subject to several interpretations as to its details, went something like this. Lovon’s stock of animals would be split into two. Yaakov would continue to care for all the normally colored non-striped, dotted, or speckled animals. Lovon’s son’s would care for the unusually colored animals. Halt kup; here’s where it gets complicated. Going forward, meaning from all future births, Yaakov was to keep (as his wages), all the unusually colored and spotted animals, the freakish ones. So far so good. Yaakov had a plan.
Yaakov went ahead and took some colored rods and peeled white streaks into them. Exactly what that means, ver veyst ober the bottom line was that he fashioned some rods that had some unusual looking spots, maybe stripes and colors. He placed those rods in or near the watering receptacles where the flocks came to drink. So far, this is all from the text mamish. Check it out. “And when the flocks would stare at these rods (that Yaakov designed), they became startled and stimulated” (also pregnant), and then gave birth to mamish the type of animal -spotted ones- that Yaakov was to keep under the arrangement. The newbie’s had mamish the markings they just visualized and internalized during stimulation and mounting. Shoin, as the animals gave birth, they all belonged to Yaakov. He became wealthy. He did what and the animals did what? Shoin, avada this topic has woken you up from your stupor, let’s chazir one more time.
Whenever it was mating time, Yaakov would place the spotted rods in the funnels and shoin, the rods always did their trick by stimulating the animals. The resulting births were exactly what Yaakov was to keep under the arrangement he made with his shver. Avada you’re thinking that the Oisvorfer is mamish out of his mind and in need of greener pastures, and taka both could be emes, especially greener pastures, if you chap. Ober Raboyseyee, this myseh can be found mamish in our parsha in Perek Lamid (30:35). Nu, efsher you’re klering azoy: How is it shayich (possible) that an animal could stare at a rod, internalize its image, mate, and then deliver offspring that look mamish like the image on the rod? Is its imagination mamish so vivid and powerful? Is yours? Shoin, don’t answer that, chazerim that you are; we will get to you and your imaginations mamish below.
Nu, taka an excellent question and soon, we will tie this all together and chap the role of the imagination and why taka imagination can lead to stimulation and to behavior that’s animalistic, especially among humans. Ober let’s go further and see what Rashi had to say about this amazing storyline that few have ever stopped to study. And why taka haven’t they? Because the parsha is so rich with other subplots and this rod-myseh typically falls through the cracks. Ober leave it up to the Oisvorfer to find it and its message.
Says Rashi and who knew more about farming and plowing that did he, azoy: When the animals saw the rods, they warmed up; think foreplay. Next, because they were efsher startled from gazing at the images, they jumped back or backed up. And when they did, they were mounted from behind by the waiting he-goats, chazerim that they were. Grada that’s exactly what Rashi says, check it out. Mamish bihaymis. Shoin, now you chap? Yaakov’s wages increased rapidly. OMG! Was Yaakov stacking the deck in his favor?
Way above we mentioned that Yaakov was there and was efsher looking at the animals during their mating sessions and avada we know that ordinarily a person should not be looking. Ober why not? Because seemingly it’s forbidden and so says the heylige Gemora (Avoida Zoro 2:2). Ober why not? Seemingly the visual of animals in heat, leads one to imagine himself maybe in that position and shoin, avada you all know how dangerous the imagination is. Once one sees certain images and internalizes them, it’s gantz probable that his natural vilde base machshovos will kick in. And when one conjures up images of things he desires and efsher fantasizes about, it’s all but impossible for his intellect to overcome such desires.
At that point, all bets are off because the yetzer horo (evil inclination) is now in firmly, if you chap, in full control. Normal behavior takes a back seat. At that point, it’s almost impossible to reign it in, and the resulting behavior, could epes lead one astray, efsher even to mixed dancing, if you chap. In other words: one’s animal instincts may come out as a result of his imagination.
And before we clean up this entire mess, let’s quote another Rashi who quotes the very choshovo Reb Oishia, whoever that was, and whomever he was, he was mamish a visionary. Said he azoy: The waters in the watering hole turned into sperm. It did what? Listen to this pshat: After staring at the poles Yaakov prepared, the animals went into heat which avada spurned their imaginations. And…somehow, the water in the troughs, turned into sperm and shoin, the animals became impregnated. How all this happened ver veyst, unless efsher the shepherds were all nearby and ….if you chap. Shoin, generations before biologist ever cholimed (dreamt) about test tube babies in animals and or humans, along came Reb Oishia and told us that in the Yaakov/Lovon caper, the water itself turned, just by staring at the spotted rods, into sperm. Shoin, no need for the animals to back up and zicher there was no mounting from behind. Gishmak or what?
As to Yaakov, efsher we can kler that he used his rod experience to figure out azoy. If the animals could stare at colored rods and internalize the images to a point where they delivered offspring resembling the images, avada a person could or should be staring only at holy things, have holy thoughts and then internalize those thoughts. And taka says the Kuzari azoy: A pious man commands his imagination to summon the images that lie in the recesses of his mind. Those images should avada be of holy things.
And now Raboyseyee, maybe you can chap why one shouldn’t look at animals while mating because as you can see and chap, such visuals could mamish lead to an explosion of thoughts and in other places, if you chap, and to dangerous results that include biah she-loi kidarko, if you chap. Moreover, avada you chap that imagery from any other source, limoshol from the magazines or internet, could have a similar result. Your rods could chas v’sholom (heaven forbid) become stimulated, and shoin.
A gittin Shabbis-
The Oisvorfer Ruv