Parshas Toldos:
 By: Yaacov Silverstein
e@mail: hm16@popeye.cc.biu.ac.il
HomePage: http://faculty.biu.ac.il/~hm16/

Parshas Toldos:


"And Yitzchak loved Eisav because he would bring him food to eat, but Rivkah loves Yakov".

Rashi explains that there are those that hold that the Pasuk comes to tell us, the obvious understanding, that Yitzchak loved Eisav, because Eisav would go hunting and bring Yitzchak food from the animals that he would catch.

Rashi also brings the Midrash Tanchuma, and it also seems from Unkelas, that the Pasuk is coming to tell us that he was not a hunter in the literal sense, yet he was a "smart mouth", and would ask his father questions in Halacha, that would make him look as one who is involved in Mitzvos and Torah.

We can see from these explanations why Yitzchak loved Eisav, yet what brought Rivkah to love Yakov?

The Shlah comes and makes note of the difference in the language that is used by Eisav and Yakov.

By Yitzchak the Pasuk tells us that Yitzchak "loved Eisav", in the past tense.

While by Rivkah, it says that she "loves Yakov".

The Shlah comes and tells us that we know from Pirkei Avos, that a love which is based on a "thing", when that thing is gone, so is the love. Such love can easily become, "a thing of the past."

Since Rivkah's love for Yakov was not based on a certain thing that Yakov did for her, but rather a love for what he was, a "Yosheiv Ohalim". This type of love, can always exist for it is not based on a "thing".

Rabbi A.J. Twerski, brings down that a lot of times we use the term "love" that one may have for another person, when the true case is that the subject really loves himself, and the other person is only "loved" for he/she gratifies the others desire.

There is self love, and there is love for the other person.

Self - love, will never last, but love for the other person is everlasting.

Rabbi Twerski brings down a similar case of love, that we find when Yakov worked in order to marry Rachel. There it says in the Pasuk, that to Yakov, it felt like only a few days, and not 7 years, for he loved Rachel.

Comes the Rebbi of Apt, and asks, if one loves someone, shouldn't 7 years feel like an eternity, why was it the opposite, only like a few days?

So he explains that when one has love for the other, because he wants the companionship of the other person, for their own gratification, that indeed it feels like forever. Yet by Yakov, the Torah tells us that he "had love for her", it was not selfish love, personal gratification, thus it was only like a few days. For he loved her for what she was, and not for what she could provide him. This was a spiritual love.

There is a famous parable that Rav Eliyahu Lopian z"tl brings down. (Thank you Y.M.S for showing it to me).

He gives a story of a man sitting in a restaurant and the waiter asks him what he would like to eat? The man answers him, Oh, I love fish.

The waiter hurried off into the kitchen and prepared a nice fish meal for the prestigious man. At the same time there was a guy sitting at the next table and he was a guest from out of town. Listening to the conversation, he expected the waiter to bring the man a small jar with a cute little fish swimming around inside, and let the guy take care of, and feed the fish, that he said he loved.

He was greatly surprised when he saw the waiter bring the fish to the table, and the man who supposedly claimed that he loved fish, took out a sharp knife and started slicing the fish and to his dismay, started placing it into his mouth. Piece by piece till he devoured the whole fish.

Shocked by what he saw, he walked over to this so called "prestigious man" and asked him, do you really love fish? For if you would love fish, how can you eat one?

The guy didn't answer...

What do we see from this?

Now it is really that the man doesn't love fish, but he loves his stomach, and fish makes his stomach feel good.

At times people say they love someone, yet they really love themselves.

We must not trick ourselves, for true love is based on giving, and not expecting to receive in return.

We can often discover, that the more that we give to another and share with others, the greater we have satisfaction, and the stronger a relationship we can build with others.

As Rabbi Dessler z"tl writes, is giving a consequence of love, or is love a result of giving?

For we know that one comes to love something that he has made, built or brought up with the work of his hands. For a person loves what he himself created or nurtured: for he recognizes in it a part of himself.

To sum it up, what one gives to another is never lost from him, for it is an extension of his own being. He can see a part of himself in the person to whom he has given to.

We must learn from this meaning of "love" the type of "love" one must have for Hashem.

We read in Kerias Shema, "and you should love Hashem your G-d".

Comes Rav Twerski and explains that the Gemarah tells us that one must reach the level of love for Hashem that one is willing to sacrifice his very life for Hashem.

The Torah tells us what true "love" is.

Pasuk (25:32):

"And Eisav said, behold I am going to die, so of what use is the birthright to me".

The Chafetz Chaim comes and tells us here, that we must try and live in our short stay on this world, on the best spiritual level that we can attain.

By Eisav, he felt that since he is going to die in the future, there is no need for a birthright, and physical pleasures is more important.

However, the Tzadik uses the same remembrance, "the day of death", and reaches great spiritual levels.

We see from here that each person has in his hands the ability to decide how he will lead his life, ones goal must be heading towards the spiritual, and not "eat and drink now, for tomorrow we will all die."

When Eisav was born, he was "red". The Midrash Rabbah brings down that when Shmuel went to appoint David to be the king over Israel, he saw that David was "Admoni", a ruddy complex person. Shmuel was worried that maybe David would be like Eisav and kill people, thus Hashem told Shmuel not to worry for unlike Eisav, David would only kill people by carrying out the just decision of the Sanhedrin, and not on his own whim.

We see that each person has his own personality, his own nature.

However, each person has free will to choose how his tendency will turn out in the future.

The Gra"h says that a person should not try to go against his tendency, for he wont succeed. However, he should rather train himself to use this negative nature to serve a good and straight path.

To help us reach the right path, we should take time out in our everyday life, and instead of justifying our behavior to ourselves, we should try to evaluate our deeds objectively, and we may be able to catch ourselves in time, and overcome our bad nature in time.


Beracha on what we smell:

"And Yitzchak smelled the fragrance of his garments, and he blessed him." (27:27)

We know that it is forbidden to enjoy something from this world, without saying a Beracha first.

When someone smells a nice (natural) fragrance, before he smells it, he should first make a Beracha.

There is a Gemarah (Berochos 43:b) that brings Rav who says that " One makes a Beracha on fragrance, for it says "Kol Haneshamah Tehalel Kah...", and what is it that the Neshamah enjoys and the body doesn't have any enjoyment from it? Smell."

Even though we do make a Beracha before we smell pleasant fragrances, we do not make a Beracha Achrona, we also do not make a Shehechianu on what we smell for the first time.

Different types of smell:


-If the smell comes from a tree type of plant, he must say "Baruch Atah ...., Borei Atzei Besamim".

An example of this is a Myrtle (Haddas) branch, roses, and Rosemarie.

These items are generally harder plants, something at least as hard as flax.

They also should be a type of plant that lives from year to year, and has branches from their main stem.

-If the fragrance comes from flowers or grass, he must say "Borei Isvei Besamim".

-If the smell is not from the above, that he makes "Borei Minei Besamim".

For example, most people say to make Menei Besamim on cinnamon and also "musk" according to certain opinions. (Otzar Dinim Uh Minhagim)

-If the fragrance comes from a fruit, one should say, "Hanosein Reach Tov Bah-Peiros".

An example of this is, a quince, or a "fragrant apple", or an Esrog (Year round, except during Succos.).

There are those that hold that now-a-days one doesn't make a Beracha on smelling fragrant fruit.

Since most of the fruits now-a-days are for eating and not smelling.

Therefore, there are Poskim that hold not to smell fruit unless they are specially used for their smell.

-If the fragrance is from "balsam oil" (not today's persimmon ), one makes, "Borei Shemen Areiv".



There is a Machlokes if one makes a Birchas Harayach on synthetic fragrances.

-Rav C. Pinchas Shienberg Shlita, Rav Abba Shaul, Rav Y.Schwartz, yes- Minei Besamim.

-Rav Y.Fisher, Rav Elyashiv, Rav S.Z. Auerbach zt"l - are in doubt if one should make a Beracha.

(Taken from Vezos Ha-Bracha)

One only makes a blessing over "Besamim", if they were made to smell and enjoy. However, if they were made only to take away a bad smell or sweat, like bathroom spray or deodorant, one doesn't make a Beracha on them.

However, when dealing with such things as : fragrant soap, smelling blocks in washrooms, or air fresheners;

If one bought these items only in order to smell them, according to Rabbi Schienberg we look at the intent of the buyer, and he can make a Beracha on smelling it.

While Rav Y. Fisher, holds that we look at the intent of the producer, since it was produced to take away foul smells, it is not made to smell and one would not make a Beracha when he smells it.

One also does not make a Beracha if he smells nice smelling clothing, since there is no physical source of the smell. The same would be by a cloth which held an esrog, and now contains a nice fragrance, without the actual esrog.

However there are those that say, that one who smells "hot grounded coffee", one should make a Beracha on it (Rav Y.Fisher)

However, by instant coffee and chocolate powder, one does not make a Beracha on its smell.



If one made a mistake on the Beracha, if he said "Menei Besamim", it is ok for any type of fragrance.

Yet one is not Yotzei if he said "Isvei" on a tree or "Atzei" on grass.

Don't smell...:


One is prohibited to make a Beracha on fragrances found in a place of Avodah Zarah, for one is forbidden to have any enjoyment from them.

Also one is not allowed to smell Orlah fruits, and Chametz on Pesach.

There are those that forbid smelling fragrance that is made for women.

Fragrance in storage:


If one has boxes of spices or fragrances in storage at his warehouse, one does not make a Beracha on their smell, since it is there to sell and not to smell.

If one enters a store and he smells the fragrance in the store, if the seller purposely wants people to smell the fragrance in order to bring clients, then one can make the Beracha upon the smelling of the fragrance.

The Poskim say, that now-a-days one must check in each case what the intent of the seller is.

This would apply in: fruit, flower, and spice stores.

Other smells:


What about fresh baked bread, freshly cut grass, gasoline?

So things that are not made for fragrance and have a weak fragrance, one does not make a blessing on smelling them.

However, in the case of freshly baked bread, there is a Machlokes under what category it falls, thus one should try and not smell it, if he does smell it, he should still not make a blessing over it. (M.B. ' Ramah 216:14).

Just testing:


There are those that say, if one smells a fragrance, just to see if it has a smell or not, one does not have to make a blessing over the smell. Rav Schienberg Shlita compares this to tasting a cooked dish to see how it tastes (not swallowing).



One is forbidden to smell fruit on trees, on Shabbos. For we are afraid that maybe he will pick the fruit on Shabbos.

If one cuts flowers or spices before Shabbos, he is allowed to smell them on Shabbos, and even take the flower or Hadas in his hand and scrunch it up in is hands in order to increase its fragrance.

Smelling Tobacco:


The Minhag is not to make a Beracha on this.

Yet there are those that want to learn to make a Beracha on it, if it was bought to smell (Like Rav Schienberg's opinion above.)

Motzei Shabbos:


One makes a Beracha on Besamim during Havdalah. However, if one doesn't have any available, he does not have to look elsewhere to find it.

According to the Minhag of Ashkenazim, one makes a "Borei Menei Besamim" on all types of spices, in Havdalah.

(The above is not to be taken as Psak Halacha, it is only here to increase ones knowledge, for final Psak please ask your "Local Reliable Orthodox Rabbi")

Good Shabbos!!

Note: This list is also available through email, have a look at: http://faculty.biu.ac.il/~hm16