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

Parshas Vayaitzai:

Pasuk (29:10-11)

"And it was when Yakov saw Rachel, and the flock of Lavan. And Yakov went forward and rolled the stone off the well...

Then Yakov kissed Rachel, and he raised his voice and wept."

Like a bottle's stopper:


Rashi tells us that Yakov easily rolled the stone off the well, this shows us Yakov's great strength.

What happened when Elifaz chased after Yakov, and what happened to Yakov's great strength when Lavan chased after Yakov and when Eisav chased after him? Why only here do we see his great strength, yet when he really needed to protect his life, we don't see any of this great strength?

Comes the Sefer Shay Le-Torah(in the name of Rav Chaim Shmulevitz zt"l) and explains that Yakov only used his great strength for acts of kindness and other good deeds. However, when it came to situations like Elifaz, here the greatness in his strength is tested Davkah in his ability to hold back these powers, and to hide them and not use them.

We all have special talents and powers that were given to us from Hashem, our job is to use these talents for good deeds, and to hide them from evil.

Why the outcry?


There are two main explanations on why Yakov cried out here.

a)No presents present:

Rashi brings down a Midrash that one of the reasons for his cry, is because he came empty handed to Rachel. For when Eliezer, who was a servant of Avraham, came to Rivkah, he came full of presents, and Yakov came empty handed.

Why did Yakov come empty handed?

So there is a Midrash Rabah that brings down that Eisav sent his son Elifaz after Yakov in order to kill Yakov.

When Elifaz reached Yakov, he was in a dilemma. On the one hand he had to do Kibud-Av, for his father commanded him to kill Yakov, on the other hand Elifaz grew up amongst his Gandfather Yitzchak, and it was therefore hard for him to kill Yakov, thus Yakov told Elifaz to take away all his possessions, and it is known that one without possessions is equated to a dead person.(Gemarah Nedarim 7:b)

Rav Chaim Shmulevitz z"tl expands on this explanation and says that Elifaz had in him a mixture of good and evil influences, a sort of fight between the light and darkness within his soul.

We see that the basis of his wanting to fulfill his fathers commands, a Mitzvah, was to kill another human being. Thus the light that he inherited from his Grandfather Yitzchak was distorted by his inner darkness.

The very Mitzvah of Kibud-Av-Veeim, is elevated in the hands of a Tzadik, yet the Mitzvah in the hands of a Rasha, is an instrument of destruction.

He continues by explaining that Davkah out of Elifaz comes Amalek, from all of Eisav's children.

Why? Because all the other children, had in them the evil of Eisav.

However, Elifaz also absorbed the good of Yitzchak, thus enabling Elifaz to distort the Torah's teachings and thus transform it into a wicked nation called Amalek. Thus, Amalek is not just the evil inside him, rather it is the fusion of evil and good which formed a monstrosity which would not have been produced by evil alone.

We see from here what results come from, evil feeding upon and drawing from the sources of good.

The darkness of evil, is not only the lack of understanding the existence of Hashem, rather it is an entity on its own, creating a lust and urge which must be consciously overcome and overpowered.

It is not enough to have "just" an awareness of the creator, in oneself.

One must uproot the bad and evil that is present in him, for if one fails to do so, we see where it may lead to, for when the "light" comes and gives fuel to the "darkness", it can create a new form of evil, Amalek.

We saw a similar mixture of forces in our generation.

The Nazis(Yemach Shemam) who were called "prestigious people", they cared for animals, yet they didn't hesitate to wipe out millions of people.

The care that they had was infected by darkness, which gave birth to the greatest evil in our generation.

b)Rachel was buried on the Way:

Rashi gives yet another explanation for Yakov crying, for he foresaw in Ruach Hakodesh that Rachel will not be buried with him in the Maaras-HaMachpela.

Comes the Be-er Yosef and explains a deeper reasoning to this cry, and the root of this reason is the fact that Rachel will not be buried with him in the same burial place.

What was the reason for Rachel not entering the Maaras-HaMachpela?

So Rashi in Parshas Vayechi(48:7) explains that Rachel was buried on the way to Efrat, for when Nevuzardan will send her "children" out to Galus, they would pass her grave, and Daven there. And then Rachel would cry out to Hashem and ask for mercy.

This cry that Rachel would cry out in the future, was no simple cry, it was "Kol BERAMAH Nishma", a loud cry.

She was buried on the way, for this loud cry that she would cry out.

When Yakov foresaw this, he too cried out a loud cry, for his children in the future, when they would be sent to Galus.

Was it all just sentimental:

Comes Rav Pliskin and says that when we look at these two reasons that we see in Rashi, it seems that maybe both reasons seem to be overly sentimental. So he answers that Yakov had a deep sensitivity for other people, and thus he empathized with another persons pain.

If Yakov cried over such matters, then they must have significance and we should never look down upon a person for having such feelings.

The more sensitive one is to his own emotional pain, the easier it will be for him to be compassionate towards someone else's suffering.

Also, as we see here, the two reasons given above showed his care for others. Either he cried because he didn't have gifts to give to others, or he cried for his children in the future, that they would be sent off to Galus.

A few shorties:


Pasuk (28:12)

1) Gematriah:

Sulam: Mamon: Ony:

Samech - 60 Mem - 40 Ayin - 70

Vav - 6 Mem - 40 Vav - 6

Lamed - 30 Vav - 6 Nun - 50

Mem - 40 Nun - 50 Yud - 10

------------ ------------ -----------

total 136 total 136 total 136

Thus we see that Sulam(ladder) = Mamon(money) = Ony(poverty).

The ladder is the ladder of life, where we find that there are those that go up the ladder and become rich, while there are those that go down and are poor.

(Taken from the Baal Ha Turim)

Pasuk (28:17)

2) Behold, I...

There are four Partzufim (faces) carved into the upper "Merkavah" (chariot). A lion, a Keruv, an eagle, and a man.

The face of the man in the carving, is that of Yakov Avinhu.

Yakov knew that there are four faces carved, yet he didn't know that one of them was his. Only now in his dream did he see the holy chariot, and thus he knew that his face was on the chariot.

We see this hinted in the Pasuk.

When Yakov says, "And Behold There is Hashem in this place..."

Achein(behold), has the words Alef - Aryeh, Chof - Keruv, Nun - Nesher.

This Yakov knew already, yet however, Anochi(me), Alef - Aryeh, Chof - keruv, Nun - Nesher, Yud - Yakov Avinhu.

This "I didn't know".

(Rav Shimon Mei Ostropoli)

Pasuk (28:17)

3) Daf Yomi...

The Pasuk uses the terminology of "Ki-Im, Beis Elokim...".

Why does the Pasuk write, Ki-Im.

It is as if the Pasuk is coming to exclude something?

It would make sense if there was an argument and one would say, no it is not that, but this.

How does it fit in here?

No one claimed that this place was something else?

Comes the Sfas Emes and explains according to what we found recently in our Daf Yomi Shiur, that each one of the Avos Davend to Hashem at the place of the Temple Mount. Avraham saw it as a mountain, Yitzchak saw it as a field, and only Yakov saw it as a house.

Thus the Pasuk is telling us that Yakov saw the "Makom" different than the other Avos.

The Maharsha explains that each of the three descriptions corresponds to one of the Three Bais Hamikdashes.

The first Temple, Hashem guarded over from a strategic position. Yet this wasn't permanent, for eventually the first Bais Hamikdash was destroyed.

The field was the second Bais HaMikdash, which had even a less degree of Divine protection.

We know that certain miracles that were present by the first Bais Ha Mikdash were not present by the second one. Yet, the Third Bais HaMikdash, the "house of Yakov", will enjoy a complete and permanent Divine protection.

May we all merit to the rebuilding of the House of Yakov, speedily in our days.


Pasuk (28:11)

"Yakov encountered the place, and spent the night there..."

Rashi on the Pasuk comes and tells us that Yakov Davend at that place. And there is a Gemarah in Maseches Berachos(26:b) that says that Yakov was the one who enacted the Tefilah of Ma-ariv.



I will try to discuss a few of the many Halachos of Ma-ariv.

We learn in the Gemarah Berachos that the correct time for one to Daven Ma-ariv is between Tzays Ha-Kochavim and Chatzos Halaylah (middle of the evening - Shaot Zmaniyot). Yet in the time of need, one can Daven until Alos Ha Shachar.

Since the Tefilos are prayed in the time that the Korban Tamid was brought, and there was no Korban Tamid at night, thus the Rabbis tell us that Ma-ariv is optional, unlike Mincha and Shacharis.

There are those of the opinion in Chazal, that one is required to Daven Ma-ariv just like he is required to Daven Mincha and Shacharis, and since in our days we have taken upon ourselves the Minhag to Daven also Ma-ariv, it is therefore considered to us, a requirement and it is not optional.

When is Tsayz Ha Kochavim?:


There are various opinions.

There are those that say it is between 15-20 minutes after Sunset (Shekias Ha Chama).

Others say that it is 40 minutes after Sunset. (M.B. 235)

And there are those who hold like Rabbeinu Tam, that it is 72 minutes after Sunset.

One must be careful to say the Kerias Shema, after Tzays Ha Kochavim. If one does say it before, he should repeat it again after T.H. .

Late Comers:


You were sitting with your family eating Shalosh Seudas, and you take a glance at your watch, what, five minutes to Ma-ariv.

You quickly Bench, and run out of the house hoping to catch the Minyan for Ma-ariv, two blocks down.

When you enter the Shul, you realize that they already started Ma-ariv.

What should you do??

Well, if the Tzibur is about to begin Shemonei Esrei, and if he doesn't Daven with them now, he won't find a Minyan later on, then he should join them in Shmonei Esrei.

After Shmonei Esrei, he should go back and say Krias Shema and its Berachos.

Since there is the need to be "Someich Geulah L'Tefilah", if one sees that he has enough time to first say the Pesukim of Yetzias Metzraim, one should.

There are two main opinions brought down on how one should complete Kerias Shema and its Berochos, after Davening. (Brought down in the Sefer Eshei Yisroel)

1) Rav Shlomo Zalman tz"l :

Holds that one should say the Berochos right after the Barchu Basra(said at the end of Davening).

If the Tzibur says Aleinu after this Borchu, he should say Borchu and first say Shema with its Berochos, and only afterwards say Aleinu.

2) Rav Chaim Kaniesvsky Shlita:

Holds that one does not have to be Somech the Berochos to Borchu, and he could say Borchu -> Aleinu -> Birchas Kerias Shema and Shema.

Chazaras Hashatz:


Unlike Mincha, there is no Chazarat Ha-Shatz by Ma-ariv. We also do not say the Pasuk "Ki sheim Hashem Ekra..." before the Shemonei Esrei.

The Rambam writes that the Sheliach Tzibur does not repeat the Shmonei Esrei by Ma-Ariv, because as we said above, it is a Reshut(optional).

Therefore we also do not say this additional Pasuk (Ki Sheim...), because Chazal said to say it only by Mincha and Mussaf, in order for the Sheliach Tzibur to tell the Tzibur to get ready to answer Amen, for he is starting Shmonei Esrei. And since there is no repitition, there is no need to say this Pasuk by Ma-Ariv.

It is also not considered a Hefsek. (The above is taken from Minhagei Yeshurun, Siman 24, I think that there are those that disagree with this opinion).

Vehu Rachum:


Vehu Rachum is only said by Ma-ariv, for this is the time of the "Midas Ha-Din". (Shviele Haleket)

The Tur also brings down, that there was no Korban Tamid for Kaporah, brought at night. Thus we say this Pasuk instead.

Kadish before Shmonei Esrei:


The Chazan says a Kadish before he starts Shmonei Esrei, Rav Moshe Feinstein z"tl writes that the Chazan should take the three steps before he starts the Kadish, for this Kadish is part of the Shmonei Esrei.

Baruch Hashem:


After Hashkeveinuh, there are those that say Baruch Hashem and Yiru Eineinu before Shmonei Esrei.

Today, most people have the Minhag to say it in Chutz L'Aretz, while in Eretz Yisroel, the Minhag is not to say it.

There are those that say, if a person who lives in Chutz Laretz comes to Israel, he says these Pesukim even in Eretz Yisroel.

And a Ben Eretz Yisroel who goes to Chutz L'Aretz, doesn't say these Pesukim. (Igros Moshe O.C. part2 102)

Kedusha of Mincha:


If one Davens Ma-ariv and then he hears a Minyan Davening Mincha, one should not say Kedusha with the congregation, yet he can answer Amen. If it is already after Tzays HaCochavim, he should even try to stop the Minyan from saying Kedusha. (Elef Lecha Shlomo 94)