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

Parshas Vayeichi

Pasuk (50:13)

"And his sons carried him to the land of Canaan, and they buried him in the Maaras Ha Machpeila which Avraham bought the field as a burial plot..."

There is a Gemarah in Masheches Sotah (13a) that brings down, when the brothers arrived at the Maaras Ha Machpeila to bury Yakov, Eisav was there, and stopped them.

He claimed, falsely, that the burial plot belonged to him.

Therefore Naftali quickly ran back to Egypt to bring proof that it really belonged to Yakov.

As we know in the blessings that Yakov gave to his sons, Naftali was blessed as a "...hind let loose...", meaning that he was very swift.

The Yalkut Shimoni brings down, that when we read in Pasuk(49:21) "Naftali Ayalah Shlucha, Hanotein Imrei Shefer", don't read it as "Imrei Shefer", yet "Imrei Sefer"( a Samach instead of a Shin). Meaning that Naftali who was swift was sent to bring the book of proof that the plot really belonged to Yakov.

We see that the brothers were willing to wait till Naftali would return, and they were unmindful of the desecration caused to Yakov by delaying his burial.

Then came Chushim, who was the son of Dan, and he was hard of hearing and some say he also had a speech problem.

He then asked the brothers, "why the delay?"

When the brothers explained him the reason, Chushim was shocked by the disgrace to Yakov's honor and he hit Eisav on the head, and killed him.

There is also a Tosefta in Gitin(55:b Beh Yehudah...) which writes that Chushim didn't kill Eisav, he hit him on the head and Eisav was badly injured from the blow, and it was actually Yehudah who killed Eisav the Rasha.

Some say that Eisav's head rolled into the Maaras Ha Machpeila.

This, says the Yalkut, is what Rivkah said, "why should she loose both sons on the same day."

Unclear Vision:


Comes Rav Henach Leibowitz and asks what could have obscured the vision of Yakov's sons?

It seemed like they forgot the purpose of traveling all the way to Canaan to bury their beloved father.

How could they even let Eisav stop them now?

Also, why was it only Chushim who realized this wrong act of the brothers?

So Rav H. Leibowitz explains that when the argument arose with Eisav, the brothers got totally involved with overcoming this new obstacle.

They now had a new goal, to disprove Eisav.

They lost sight of their main goal, to bury their father.

They felt that the more they argued the closer they were in winning the argument. They were sure that they would soon finally convince Eisav.

They thus got used to the situation, and people can even get used to the worst of situations. (Rav Chaim Shmulevitz)

We too must be careful, when we get in an argument, we must not forget the original reason for the argument, and we should not get side-tracked on the goal of proving the other wrong.

Only Chushim, who was hard of hearing, and thus did not partake in this side track of proving Eisav wrong, was the only one who was not distracted, and he clearly saw the impropriety of the present situation.

When we are involved in doing a Mitzvah, we must make sure to preserve an undistorted clear perspective of our goal.

The Yetzer Hara tries hard to convert even one's holiest motivations, into grievous misdeeds.

We must constantly check ourselves that we have a clear goal, and that we are heading there with a pure heart, and not a distorted mind.

It is important for one to step out of the argument and to see where one is headed to, even if one is certain that he is right.

On the other hand, one must be careful not to act out of haste for, "the fruit of haste is regret". (Rav Sholom Schwadron)

When one acts out of haste, without thinking what he is doing, it usually causes future remorse.

One must carefully think before one acts, and see what his true goals are, and what is pushing him, his Secheil or his Yetzer.

Along the same lines, the Chofetz Chaim said, "People say that 'Every fool is a wise man in his own eyes', but the opposite is really true, 'Every wise man is a fool in his own eyes', for a prisoner cannot release himself from his cell."

On the same idea, the Kotzker says, "Better a Rosha who knows he's a Rosha, than a Tzadik who knows he is a Tzadik".

At times we are so biased by our self love, that it is almost impossible for us to discern the roots of our behavior. Every person does whatever he thinks is right without feeling the slightest pangs of conscience. (Rav Michel Barenbaum.)


There is a Minhag to bless ones sons and daughters on Friday and YomTov night, on ones return from Shul.

The one who blesses places his hands on the others head and says for boys "Yesimcha Elokim K' Efrayim Uh K' Menashe", for a girl one would say, "Yesemeich Elokim, K' Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel V' Leah."

One then continues with "Yevarecha Hashem...."(like the Birchas Cohanim), and one ends off, according to his Nusach.

The Siddur Ha Yevitz writes that there is also a Minhag for a Rebbe to bless his Talmidim, after Davening.