Monday, November 26, 2012


The Torah Portion of Vayishlach

"...I have sojourned with Lavan..."  (Bereisheet 32:5)

Rashi explains this to mean that "I kept the 613 commandments", since the Gematria of the Hebrew word "Garti" (in English: "I have sojourned") is 613.  This presents a difficulty, since there are many Mitzvot such as the laws relating to a Cohen and the laws related to Leprosy, etc., that Yaakov did not fulflll, so how was it possible for him to say that he observed the 613 Mitzvot? In answer to this, it has been explained in Kiryat Sefer (in the Introduction, Chapter 7), that it is possible for every person to fulfill all the 613 Mitzvot, by means of reading and learning about each and every Mitzvah in the Torah, for learning about the Mitzvot is equivalent to performance of the Mitzvot.  This is similar to what is written by the Sifrei (on the Torah Portion of Shalach) about the verse "and you will remember and do all the Mitzvot of Hashem"; from this verse we see that remembrance of the Mitzvah is similar to performing the Mitzvah.  That is to say, that by reading about them and accepting upon himself that if he had been commanded  to do them he would fulfill them, it's thought of as if he did perform them.

"And Yaakov was very frightened and he was distressed..."  (Bereisheet 32:8)

Rashi says that he was frightened  that perhaps he would be killed, and he was distressed that perhaps he would kill others.  The Sages say that Rebbe Meir is referred to as "others".  Since Rebbe Meir came from the Caeser Niron, who was a descendent of Eisav, Yaakov was afraid that he would kill Eisav and Rebbe Meir would not come out from Eisav.

"Deliver me, I pray Thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Eisav..."  (Bereisheet 32:12)

It is written in the Zohar that someone who prays needs to explicitly specify the matter he is praying about, and the proof is that Yaakov specified "from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Eisav".  Even though the Holy One Blessed Be He knows everything, it is still necessary to be explicit. 

The Torah Portion of Vayishlach has 145 verses. Haftora: "Chazon Ovadiah" (Ovadiah 1:1 in Trei Eser). 

May you all have a  light-filled and happy Shabbat.  Shabbat Shalom.

L'ilui Neshamat HaGaon HaTzaddik R' Gershon Avigdor Ben R' Chaim ztz"l, Nilkach L'Bait Olamo Yud Gimmel Tishrei 5772

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