November 7, 2013


10. And Jacob left Beer sheba, and he went to Haran. י. וַיֵּצֵא יַעֲקֹב מִבְּאֵר שָׁבַע וַיֵּלֶךְ חָרָנָה

And Jacob left: Scripture had only to write: “And Jacob went to Haran.” Why did it mention his departure? But this tells [us] that the departure of a righteous man from a place makes an impression, for while the righteous man is in the city, he is its beauty, he is its splendor, he is its majesty. When he departs from there, its beauty has departed, its splendor has departed, its majesty has departed. And likewise (Ruth 1:7): “And she went forth from the place,” stated in reference to Naomi and Ruth. – [From Gen. Rabbah 68:6]


ויצא יעקב מבאר שבע: לא היה צריך לכתוב אלא וילך יעקב חרנה, ולמה הזכיר יציאתו, אלא מגיד שיציאת צדיק מן המקום עושה רושם, שבזמן שהצדיק בעיר הוא הודה הוא זיוה הוא הדרה, יצא משם פנה הודה פנה זיוה פנה הדרה וכן (רות א ז) ותצא מן המקום, האמור בנעמי ורות:

Rashi as usual has raised the obvious question – we already know where Yaakov lived so why does the Torah need to tell us from where he departed? He answers that this is to teach us that when a great Zaddik leaves town, then it has an effect.

There is a famous (to those who know it!) explanation of Chazal in the Talmud, tractate Megilla 17a that we were taught in Cheder, that Yaakov broke his journey. He went out of Beersheba to go to Haran but spent 14 years in the Yeshiva of Shem and Ever to prepare himself for his years in exile with the wicked Laban. Therefore the verse is in two parts. He went out from Beersheba; to go to Haran but it was not direct.

The question is why doesn’t Rashi use this Chazal to explain the verse though he does allude to it in his commentary on the last verse of the Sedra?

It is because Rashi did not consider it to be the peshat and Rashi was a Pashtan. His brief was to explain the verse in its simple meaning.
Where was the Yeshiva of Shem and Ever?
If we look into the commentary of the Maharsha on the Talmud quoted he writes that it was on the outskirts of Beersheba. Therefore it could be that Rashi was of the same opinion as to the yeshiva’s location and web the verse says that Jacob went out from Beersheba, to go to the Yeshiva of Shem would not be considered enough to “go out” from the town. Therefore Rashi gives a different explanation from Chazal, according to the peshat.

In honour of the bar mitzvah of the son of my beloved Talmid – Yaakov ( Kobi) Ben Reb Shimon Moshe Jackson, I’d like to offer a third explanation to the verse in the name of the Brisker Rav.

Sometimes a person goes from A to B because they need to be in place B. Not that they really want to leave place A but they have business in place B.

Sometimes a person needs to get out of place A – fast. So they go to place B. Their destination is unimportant so long as they leave place A.

Rivka told her son “קום ברח לך” get up and flee ( for your life)! She wanted him to get away from the murderous Esau. So she told her husband Yitzchak that she, like Avraham her father-in-law before her, didn’t want Yaakov to marry a local girl.

Yitzchak told Yaakov (at the end of last weeks sedra)
To go to Aram.

Chapter 28,5. And Isaac sent Jacob, and he went to Padan aram, to Laban the son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebecca, the mother of Jacob and Esau. ה. וַיִּשְׁלַח יִצְחָק אֶת יַעֲקֹב וַיֵּלֶךְ פַּדֶּנָה אֲרָם אֶל לָבָן בֶּן בְּתוּאֵל הָאֲרַמִּי אֲחִי רִבְקָה אֵם יַעֲקֹב וְעֵשָׂו

7. And Jacob listened to his father and his mother, and he went to Padan aram.

His mother told him to get out of Beersheva. His father told him to go specifically to Aram. That is how the Brisker Rav explains the first opening verse of our Sedra of Vayeitze.

Now read the verse again.
10. And Jacob left Beer sheba, and he went to Haran. י. וַיֵּצֵא יַעֲקֹב מִבְּאֵר שָׁבַע וַיֵּלֶךְ חָרָנָה

He left Beersheba – to obey his mother – and went to Haran – to obey his father. So now the first part of the verse is not superfluous at all.

This is what the verse (7) and he listened to his father and his mother alludes to.

It is not always easy to obey ones father and mother especially if they don’t agree. Yitzchak and Rivka did not see eye to eye at the beginning, nevertheless Yaakov was clever enough to obey both of them.

Our blessing to Kobi ( Yaakov) is that he will always be able to fulfil the wishes of both his dear parents and bring glory to them, his family and the House of Israel.

Shabbat shalom and Mazal tov.


2 Responses to “Vayeitze”

  1. Moshe said

    Very nice. Thanks for sharing. kol tuv.

  2. Simon said

    גדול! רב תודות עבור כל הברכות. יה”ר שנזכה כולנו לכבד את הורינו כראוי.

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