Parshat Hashavua - Vayishlach Part 2
By: Rav Nissim Mordechai Makor
There are some very interesting incidents in Vayishlach.
First, when Yaacov and Eisav finally meet, it says that Eisav kissed Yaacov. The word that is used is "Vayishakaihu", Genesis 32:4. The interesting thing about this word is that there are six dots above the word. There are no dots in the Torah, so it must mean that there is a big secret with this word. There is a Midrash that says that Eisav wanted to bite and kill Yaacov and that Yaacov's neck turned to stone and Eisav broke his teeth and cried out in pain. This is a nice Midrash but it is s simple one. We know that there are seventy faces to the Torah, so I will now give a very deep secret to these dots. Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai writes a big discourse about this secret in the Mishnah. He says that these dots have to do with the root of antisemitism.
There is a Halacha that says:
Eisav sonei Yaacov - Eisav hates Yaacov.
What does this all mean???
Rabbi Shimon says that Eisav has to hate Yaacov unless Yaacov does his work. What is this work? Yaacov and Eisav were brothers and when Yaacov came to meet Eisav he came with unconditional love. Eisav came to kill Yaacov, he came with 400 men(there are 400 negative forces). When he encountered Yaacov, Rabbi Shimon says his kiss was sincere by Eisav. At that moment he didn't want to kill Yaacov anymore, because Yaacov's love turned his hatred around. Hate cannot stay in the same place as love. Either it gets turned around or it has to run away.
Shlomo Hamelech in Kohelet brings down that the same way as a persons face is reflected in water, the same way a persons emotions are felt by the person opposite one. This is a big secret and I am sure everybody has experienced this with other people. Many times one encounters a person in a bad mood and immediately feels the negative vibes the person is giving off or a person walks into a room and one automatically does not like them.
The way to turn people around is to come to them with love. When you meet a person, send them love and they will suddenly be nice to you. Use this idea and you will be amazed at the results. Use the combination from the Ana Becoach prayer. The acronym of the first line has a numerology of 506 which is the same numerology as Ahavat Chinam/Love for Reason. Think of this meditation and send love to people. It worked for Yaacov!!!
This is what Yaakov’s job is, to be in unity with his brother. If we could do this, Mashiach would come today.
Another very interesting thing in this portion is when Yaacov goes back across the Yabok river to retrieve a little flask of oil. It does not make sense. Again there are big secrets with this episode. First this was not just a regular flask of oil. When Yaacov woke up from his dream in the last portion, he realized he was in a holy place and anointed the stone with this oil. What he found was that the flask refilled itself and he realized that it was very special oil. In fact it was the same oil that was used in the Temple later on and also the oil that was found on Chanukah. This is why he went back to get this flask.
Also the name Yabok is a very big secret. The numerology of Yabok is 112, which is the total of three of Hashem's names.
26-65-21. These three represent the worlds of Briah 21, Yetzirah 26 and Asiah 65. They represent an elevation. When Yaacov went over the river he was Yaacov and when he came back he was Yisrael. He elevated himself to a much higher level. This is what happens when we grow spiritually, we become a different person, we elevate to a higher level. When we hear the Torah on Shabbat we can elevate ourselves to this higher level to become a new person and our own Yisrael.
Something I read...
There is a vort in this week's parsha of Vayishlach which is not a vort but rather a yesod, a concept that can change our lives. For that reason, I often share it with the alumni on Parshat Vayishlach. We heard it from Rav Hillel Zaks shlita, the Rosh Yeshiva of Knessia Gedolah in Kiryat Sefer and grandson of the Chofetz Chaim ztz"l.
How strong is a malach - an angel? Is he macho with bulging biceps? If you think for a moment you'll probably realize that he is as strong as he needs to be to accomplish the task for which Hashem created him. The malach that destroyed Sodom must have been quite powerful to cause such an upheaval.
But if so, why was the malach of Eisav unable to defeat Yaakov? The verse tells us, "he wasn't able to overcome him". Once again, with a little thought, we can understand that Hashem gave this malach enough strength to engage Yaakov in combat but if Yaakov fights back, Hashem did not give the malach the power to defeat Yaakov. We know that the malach of Eisav is the yetzer hara. It's mind boggling but it's true. If we allow it to tempt us and our struggle is merely wishful thinking and not real, we lose. But if we would only fight back we are assured that we will win. This yesod is an insight to life and its challenges.
It teaches us that we only came to this world to change our bad character traits and if we don’t fight with all our might, Chas veShalom, the malach can beat us.
Rav Yeruchum ztz"l of the Mir asks, what is a tzaddik? If it is that a tzaddik does mitzvos and a rasha does aveiros, that's not true because the pasuk says that there is no tzaddik in the world that doesn't (at times) "mess up". Furthermore, we can be "as full of mitzvos as a rimon (pomegranate) and still be a rasha". The difference is that a tzaddik fights back when the yetzer hara tempts and challenges him. A rasha doesn't bother to fight, follows the path of least resistance and gives in. This is the essence of change. Remember it is a 24/7/365 day job. The yetzer hara never sleeps.
The Ben Ish Chai writes something very interesting about this portion. With regards to the verse, Bereishit 35:1,
“Arise-go up to Beth-el.... And make an alter there to Hashem who appeared to you”.
The Ben Ish Chai writes that in Midrash Bereishit Rabbah, Hashem told Yaacov that all the sorrow and anguish that happened to him regarding his daughter, Dinah and being side-tracked in his travels for no specific reason were because Yaacov Avinu was late in fulfilling his neder(vow). Yaacov made an oath to give one tenth of his income to charity. Hashem, therefore, told Yaacov to hurry up and go to Bet-El in order to fulfill his vow.
The great mussar lesson that we all need to take from this story, is that Yaacov Aveinu, who was one of the greatest Tzaddikim, was punished for not fulfilling his vow. Being a Tzadik did not help him. Hence, the average person should really watch out regarding what he obligates himself to do and not to take lightly what he promises to do regarding Holy items.
Shlomo Hamelech in Kohelet, 5:1-5, says:
“When you make a vow before Hashem, do not be late to pay it”.
The Ben Ish Chai says that the important thing is that the words of a person regarding holiness are not the same as his speech regarding mundane items. A person must consider very carefully what he undertakes to do regarding Holy matters and not to produce words from his mouth or from his heart and make empty promises before Hashem.
The biggest example of this is the promises we make to give charity. Many time we buy aliyot in Shul and forget about them or a meshulach comes to our door and we promise to send money. Be careful of this as we see that Yaacov’s righteousness could not even save him. Another example is promises to help a friend, which we sometimes forget to do. Sharing is a very big spiritual deed. One will one day have to give an accounting before the Heavenly court for these mistakes.
Rather don’t promise or say “Bli Neder”.
The Ben Ish Chai says that regarding mundane items, that a person will not have to give an accounting, however, to train ourselves, we should never make promises we can’t keep. If one says something mundane and doesn’t keep his word, he might cause a Chilul Hashem which is a more serious offense.
Have a great Shabbat. Shabbat Shalom.