Weekly Parsha Review Laced with Humor and Sarcasm from The Oisvorfer Ruv

Vayetzei 2017: The Perils of Working for One’s Father-in-Law & Animal Foreplay

We begin with happy news: Big mazel tov wishes to friends and cousins Suzanne and Barry Rozenberg, and to Lynn and Joel Mael, upon the birth of a baby boy, born to their children Fani and Jonathan Mael. Welcome to the world baby Mael. The bris will take place IM’H tomorrow morning; all are invited.  Mazel tov to all grandparents, great grandparents, siblings, uncles, aunts, and all cousins in the Rozenberg, Sirota, Grumet and Mael mishpochos.  Keyn yirbu!   


A second mazel tov shout out to Brenda and Larry Levitan upon the engagement of their beautiful daughter Marissa to Doron Moskowitz, he the son of Lori and Jeffrey Moskowitz, they of East Brunswick New Jersey. Mazel tov to Doron’s grandmother, Mrs. Rita Moskowitz, to Marissa’s grandmother -Brenda’s mom- Mrs. Sonja Mostel, and to Larry’s dad and wife, Morton and Lynn Levitan.

Raboyseyee and Ladies:


The Perils of Working for One’s Father-in-Law  &  Animal Foreplay

Shoin, as last week’s amazing parsha of Toldois was coming to an end, Yaakov (not yet Ovenu but showing potential) having somehow -with assistance from his mother Rivka- outsmarted his older brother Eisav out of the special brochis (blessings) his father Yitzchok had intended to bestow upon him, is a wanted man. His brother Eisav is plotting to kill him at the opportune time. Under instructions from both his mother and father, Yaakov skedaddled out of town where he was to find himself a suitable wife from his mother’s family over in Choron. Shoin, after a 14 year unscheduled stopover at the famous (but perhaps mythical) yeshiva of Sheim and Ever, he arrives to Choron, where for the next 20 years he will be in the employ of his future, and then actual, father-in-law, Lovon, farbrecher that he was (bad guy!). It is not always healthy to work in the family business; we shall explore that below.
Parshas 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 seven 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 2017. 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- perhaps recalling that his own mother Rivka was discovered near a water source, to find himself a suitable wife, 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 shver’s house back to his parents after 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, the last of our forefathers, and the only one the RBSO chose to name Yisroel, and we his progeny, the B’nai Yisroel, became known do rand most associated with ’emes’ (truth).  Was conniving and plotting and being a co-conspirator a prerequisite?  Let’s find out. 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 he 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 (exegesis) 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.


Let’s begin by taking  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 ten full pisukim (verses) 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.  In fact, let’s read them innayveynig (let’s read the text): Says the heylige Toirah (Bereishis 31: 4-13), azoy:

4.  So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field, to his flocks. דוַיִּשְׁלַ֣ח יַֽעֲקֹ֔ב וַיִּקְרָ֖א לְרָחֵ֣ל וּלְלֵאָ֑ה הַשָּׂדֶ֖ה אֶל־צֹאנֽוֹ:
5.  And he said to them, “I see your father’s countenance, that he is not disposed toward me [as he was] yesterday and the day before, but the God of my father was with me. הוַיֹּ֣אמֶר לָהֶ֗ן רֹאֶ֤ה אָֽנֹכִי֙ אֶת־פְּנֵ֣י אֲבִיכֶ֔ן כִּֽי־אֵינֶ֥נּוּ אֵלַ֖י כִּתְמֹ֣ל שִׁלְשֹׁ֑ם וֵֽאלֹהֵ֣י אָבִ֔י הָיָ֖ה עִמָּדִֽי:
6.  And you know that with all my might I served your father. ווְאַתֵּ֖נָה יְדַעְתֶּ֑ן כִּ֚י בְּכָל־כֹּחִ֔י עָבַ֖דְתִּי אֶת־אֲבִיכֶֽן:
7.  But your father mocked me and changed my wages ten times, but God did not permit him to harm me. זוַֽאֲבִיכֶן֙ הֵ֣תֶל בִּ֔י וְהֶֽחֱלִ֥ף אֶת־מַשְׂכֻּרְתִּ֖י עֲשֶׂ֣רֶת מֹנִ֑ים וְלֹֽא־נְתָנ֣וֹ אֱלֹהִ֔ים לְהָרַ֖ע עִמָּדִֽי:
8.  If he would say thus, ‘Speckled ones shall be your wages,’ all the animals would bear speckled ones, and if he would say thus, ‘Ringed ones shall be your wages,’ all the animals would bear ringed ones. חאִם־כֹּ֣ה יֹאמַ֗ר נְקֻדִּים֙ יִֽהְיֶ֣ה שְׂכָרֶ֔ךָ וְיָֽלְד֥וּ כָל־הַצֹּ֖אן נְקֻדִּ֑ים וְאִם־כֹּ֣ה יֹאמַ֗ר עֲקֻדִּים֙ יִֽהְיֶ֣ה שְׂכָרֶ֔ךָ וְיָֽלְד֥וּ כָל־הַצֹּ֖אן עֲקֻדִּֽים:
9.  Thus, God separated your father’s livestock and gave it to me. טוַיַּצֵּ֧ל אֱלֹהִ֛ים אֶת־מִקְנֵ֥ה אֲבִיכֶ֖ם וַיִּתֶּן־לִֽי:
10.  And it came to pass at the time the animals came into heat, that I lifted my eyes and saw in a dream, and behold, the he goats that mounted the animals were ringed, speckled, and striped. יוַיְהִ֗י בְּעֵת֙ יַחֵ֣ם הַצֹּ֔אן וָֽאֶשָּׂ֥א עֵינַ֛י וָאֵ֖רֶא בַּֽחֲל֑וֹם וְהִנֵּ֤ה הָֽעֲתֻּדִים֙ הָֽעֹלִ֣ים עַל־הַצֹּ֔אן עֲקֻדִּ֥ים נְקֻדִּ֖ים וּבְרֻדִּֽים:
11.  And an angel of God said to me in a dream, ‘Jacob!’ And I said, ‘Here I am.’ יאוַיֹּ֨אמֶר אֵלַ֜י מַלְאַ֧ךְ הָֽאֱלֹהִ֛ים בַּֽחֲל֖וֹם יַֽעֲקֹ֑ב וָֽאֹמַ֖ר הִנֵּֽנִי:
12.  And he said, ‘Now lift your eyes and see [that] all the he goats mounting the animals are ringed, speckled, and striped, for I have seen all that Laban is doing to you. יבוַיֹּ֗אמֶר שָׂא־נָ֨א עֵינֶ֤יךָ וּרְאֵה֙ כָּל־הָֽעֲתֻּדִים֙ הָֽעֹלִ֣ים עַל־הַצֹּ֔אן עֲקֻדִּ֥ים נְקֻדִּ֖ים וּבְרֻדִּ֑ים כִּ֣י רָאִ֔יתִי אֵ֛ת כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֥ר לָבָ֖ן עֹ֥שֶׂה לָּֽךְ:
13.  I am the God of Beth el, where you anointed a monument, where you pronounced to Me a vow. Now, arise, go forth from this land and return to the land of your birth.'” יגאָֽנֹכִ֤י הָאֵל֙ בֵּֽית־אֵ֔ל אֲשֶׁ֨ר מָשַׁ֤חְתָּ שָּׁם֙ מַצֵּבָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֨ר נָדַ֥רְתָּ לִּ֛י שָׁ֖ם נֶ֑דֶר עַתָּ֗ה ק֥וּם צֵא֙ מִן־הָאָ֣רֶץ הַזֹּ֔את וְשׁ֖וּב אֶל־אֶ֥רֶץ מֽוֹלַדְתֶּֽךָ:


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 his 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?

Our parsha dedicates 16 of its 148 pisukim to the family business Yaakov married into: he was a shepherd!  Shoin, what else was there to do back then? In any event, as mentioned, the detail provided regarding Yaakov’s mostly contentious relationship with Lovon while caring for the flock, is somewhat astounding. The heylige Toirah, in vivid color, tells us how much Lovon appreciated Yaakov’s hard work; he was an excellent employee. Ober having sired 11 sons and one daughter (though a medrish here and there suggests that each son was also born with a twin sister), Yaakov apprised Lovon of his plans to resign and head back home. Lovon urged Yaakov to stay in his employ. The next 8 pisukim are dedicated to the deal Yaakov made. He was being upgraded from employee to a shtikel partner. Yaakov was to continue shepherding the sheep but going forward, he was also to be an equity player.  Henceforth, under the new arrangement, any and all flock (lambs and kid-goats) born either speckled, blotched and russet colored, would belong to Yaakov; others would remain Lovon’s property. Both parties agreed to the deal and shoin!  Ober what happened next?

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?  Animals mount, mate and give birth to animals, it’s what they do! And shepherds are charged with making sure all is fine and that the animals taka do just that.  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 sons 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.


The heylige Toirah tells us that 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.  Rods have been known to do just that, if you chap.  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.  Normative behavior takes a back seat.  At that point, it’s almost impossible to rein 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 somehow assisted, 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.  And when that happens, one can start behaving like a movie star, news celebrity, or heaven forbid, even a Senator and or Congressman, say it’s not so!  Happy Thanksgiving!


A gittin Shabbis-


The Heylige Oisvorfer Ruv


Yitz Grossman

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