23 Nov TURN YOUR EYES TO HASHEM
The Torah tells us (26:19- 22) that Yitzchak’s servants dug wells. When the Pelishtim came and claimed ownership over the wells, Yitzchak’s servants moved to another location. This happened three times until, after the third well, there was peace. No one challenged them there; therefore, Yitzchak called this well רחובות†, because כי
given us respite, and we will prosper in the land.”
We are therefore surprised when we read the next pasuk (26:23), , ויעל†≠†משם†באר†שבע
Yitzchak went from there to Be’er Sheva.” He†finally†found†a†tranquil†place†where†there†was†water¨†where†peace†reigned¨†and†they†could†find†wealth†and†successÆ†Why†move†on?
Reb Shimon Shwab zt’l explains that Yitzchak†always†wanted†to†remember†Hashem. Therefore, he appreciated the challenges and hardships, as these were opportunities for him to turn to Hashem in prayer†and†with†bitachonÆ
When†everything†was†finally†peaceful¨†and†there were no challenges in his life, he wanted to move on. The next pasuk states that†Hashem†blessed†Yitzchak¨†as†it†says¨†וירא†אליו†ה’†≠†בלילה†ההוא†ויאמרÆÆÆ†≠†אל†תירא†≠†כי
אברהם†≠†עבדי†, “Hashem appeared to Yitzhak
that†night†and†saidÆÆÆ†‘Don’t†be†afraid†because†I†will†be†with†you¨†and†I†will†bless†you¨†and†I†will†increase†your†offspring¨†in†the†merit†of†Avraham¨†my†servantÆ’”†Reb†Shwab explains that Yitzchak earned this blessing because he sought new opportunities to connect his heart with Hashem.
Yitzchak blessed Yaakov ( ©¨†ÆÆÆ†ויתן†לך†אלקים
27:28 “And†Hashem†will†give†youÆÆÆ”†The†וא†ו†” of ויתן†is extra. Rashi explains that the
וא†ו, ” “and he will give” implies that ויתן
ויחזור†ויתן†, Hashem will give to Yaakov
again†and†againÆ†If†the†bounty†runs†out¨†Hashem will give him more.
Why†is†it†necessary†for†Hashem†to†give†again†and†againø†Why†wouldn’t†doesn’t†Hashem†give†all†at†once†an†amount†sufficient†for all Yaakov’s needs? Tzaddikim explain that the blessing ויתן†ויחזור†ויתן†means that
Our†eyes†should†also†constantly†be†turned†to Hashem because without Hashem we cannot manage.
Helps, Saves, and Protects
During†the†last†sheva†brachos†of†an†old†man’s†youngest†child†©after†marrying†off†ten†or†fifteen†children)¨†he†announced¨†“I†married†off†all†my†children¨†and†Hashem†didn’t help me.”
The†family†was†concerned†to†hear†him†say†that. “Is he getting old and losing his mind? What does he mean that Hashem didn’t help himø”†They†were†thinking†of†asking†him†to†stop†his†speech¨†but†he†immediately†explained himself. “Hashem didn’t help me; Hashem†did†everything°”
In last week’s parashah, Eliezer expressed concern†that†he†might†encounter†difficulties†finding†a†spouse†for†YitzchakÆ†Avraham†assured him (24:7), ה’†אלקי†≠†¨השמיםÆÆÆ†הוא
ישלח†≠†מלאכו†לפניך†“Hashem the G-d of
heaven…He will send His malach before youÆÆÆ”
Avraham told Eliezer that he didn’t need to worryÆ†A†malach†will†go†before†Eliezer†and†arrange†everythingÆ†But†when†Eliezer†repeated Avraham’s words to Lavan and Besuel¨†Eliezer†changed†the†words†slightlyÆ†) ‘ He†told†them†that†Avraham†said†©24∫40†¨†ה
ישלח†≠†מלאכו†אתך†…, “Hashem… will send his
malach†with†youÆ”†The†implication†is†that†Eliezer will do his share, and Hashem will help him.
Lavan and Besuel couldn’t understand the concept of לפניו†, that Hashem will do
everythingÆ†Therefore¨†when†Eliezer†spoke†to them, he told them that Avraham said Hashem would help him arrange the shidduch.
However, in truth, Avraham said that Hashem would go before him and take care of the entire shidduch.
ומגן†, “A King Who helps, saves, and
protects.” What is the difference between these three expressions of assistance – ,¨†עוזר
מושיע¨†ומגן†“helps, saves, and protects”? We
protection, in reference to Avraham?
Why†not†ø†עוזר†ומושיע†Reb Avraham zt’l, the
son†of†the†Vilna†Gaon†zt’l†says†that†the†three†words hint at three levels of bitachon. The first†level†is†עוזר†, “helps.” This is when a
person does hishtadlus and believes that Hashem will help him and bring blessing into what he does. A higher level of bitachon is , מושיע†saves. This is when one doesn’t
even do hishtadlus, and he trusts that Hashem will protect and take care of him. Finally¨†the†highest†form†of†bitachon†is†. מגן
This is when one does something that can harm himself, but he trusts that Hashem will save him.
מגן†was Avraham’s Avinu’s level of
bitachonÆ†He†went†into†the†fire†at†Ur†Kasdim¨†he†fought†a†war†against†four†mighty†kings†and had bitachon that although he was doing something dangerous, Hashem would protect him. Therefore, the brachah concludes, מגן†אברהם†(not עוזר†אברהם†or מושיע
אברהם†) because Avraham’s level was , מגן
completely†trusting†in†Hashem†to†help†him¨†even when his actions seemed to predict danger.
Kibud Av v’Eim
The†Chayei†Adam†©67) writes¨†“Honoring†parents†means†to†honor†them†in†your†thoughtsÆÆÆ†You†should†consider†your†parents†to be gedolim, from the most important people†in†the†worldÆ†This†is†the†primary†obligation of honoring parents.” The Torah tells†us†that†Yitzchak†had†that†type†of†admiration for his father, Avraham. He held his father in the highest esteem, and he therefore tried to resemble his father in as many†ways†as†he†couldÆ
The Torah (26:18) tells us, וישב†יצחק†ויחפר
dug anew the water springs that were dug in the†days†of†his†father¨†Avraham†©which†the†Pelishtim sealed up after Avraham’s death) and Yitzchak called the wells the names that his father called them.”
The†Rabbeinu†b’Chaya†explains†that†he†didn’t change the names of the wells. He wanted to call the wells the names his father called them. “He did this to honor his father. If†the†Torah†tells†us†about†this¨†it†is†apparently†counted as one of Yitzchak’s merits. We should do the same for our parents.
Yitzchak didn’t even want to change the names that his father gave to the wells. Kal vachomer we should follow our parents’ good†customs†and†waysÆ”†As†the†Chayei†Adam teaches, we should honor our parents in our hearts. We should consider them as the most important people in the world. And when†we†have†that†admiration¨†we†will†try†to†emulate†their†good†waysÆ
The†Rabbeinu†b’Chaya†concludes¨†“Perhaps this is the reason Yitzchak’s name wasn’t changed, unlike the other avos.” אברם
was changed to אברהם†; Yaakov became .
ישראל†However, Yitzchak’s name remained
the same. Yitzchak didn’t want to change the names his father chose; therefore, he deserved that his name remained the same, too.
Eisav also honored his father; however, the Yaaras†Dvash†©Yaaras†Dvash†pgÆ70) says†that he honored him in action and speech, but he didn’t honor Yitzchak in his heart.
To prove this, consider that Eisav brought to†Yitzchak†dog†meat°†As†the†Targum†Yonoson (27:31) writes, “Hashem prevented Eisav†from†finding†kosher†gameÆ†So¨†he†found a dog, killed it, made a meal from it, and†brought†it†to†his†fatherÆ†He†said¨†‘Father¨†get†up†and†eat†from†your†son’s†gameÆ’”
He wouldn’t have done that if he honored his father in his heart. Furthermore, Rashi (Bereishis 29:11) tells us that Eisav sent his son†Elifaz†to†kill†Yaakov°†He†wouldn’t†do†that if he cared for his parents, for how would†they†feel†if†Elifaz†actually†carried†that†out. And in this week’s parashah (26:35) it states, ותהיין†מורת†≠†רוח†ליצחק†ולרבקה†, that
Eisav’s wives caused Yitzchak and Rivkah much†distress†because†they†worshipped†avodah zarah to spite and to anger Yitzchak and Rivkah. Eisav didn’t stop them. He honored his father with his deeds and with his†speech¨†but†the†primary†aspect†of†honor†was lacking.
Yet, Eisav was rewarded for his kibud av v’eim. One reward was the strength and power that was passed over to his grandson, Amalek. Reb Yehonoson Eibshitz zt’l writes, “Amalek’s power comes from Eisav’s merits because he honored Yitzchak. As it states (22:28), , ויאהב†יצחק†≠†את†עשו
‘Yitzchak†loved†Eisav…’ But it was all ציד†בפיו†, from
Eisav’s glib tongue, because Eisav didn’t honor Yitzchak in his heart. He didn’t do†anything†from†his†heart¨†only†with†his†mouth…”†And†since†his†honor†was†only†in†deeds, we can cancel and revoke Eisav’s merits when we honor our parents with our deeds, with our speech, and with our thoughts, too. This perfect form of kibud av v’eim will annul and cancel Eisav’s merits for his imperfect kibud av.
Additionally¨†Reb†Yehonoson†Eibshitz†says†that if we serve Hashem with all our heart, we can also annul Eisav’s strength. Since Eisav’s†good†deeds†were†only†in†action¨†when we serve Hashem with our heart, mind, and soul, it cancels out all of Eisav’s credit.
Reb Yonoson Eibshitz laments the fact that we†lack†heart¨†and†especially†during†tefillahÆ†He†writes¨†“I†talk†about†this†matter†all†day†and all night, and I don’t stop speaking about it: A Yid should serve Hashem with his heart, with kavanah. He shouldn’t serve Hashem†by†rote¨†due†to†custom…†especially†tefillah¨†because†tefillah†is†avodah†shebalev¨†the†primary†service†of†the†heartÆ†But†due†to†our†many†sins¨†people†got†into†the†habit†of†mumbling†their†tefillos…†The†lips†and†tongue†move†by†habit¨†and†his†heart†is†thinking about business and other matters. Woe†to†him†for†the†day†of†judgment°†When†he is old, there won’t be more than two or three†proper†prayers†that†he†said†with†kavanah his entire life… The same is with kriyas†ShemaÆ†How†many†weeks†and†years†pass¨†and†we†don’t†say†kriyas†Shema¨†the†three†parshiyos¨†with†a†whole†heart¨†without†interspersing†other†thoughtsø°†Woe†to†us°†This empowers our enemies because we are in galus under Eisav’s domain, and their merit comes from their forefather [Eisav] whose power was with his mouth ( .( ציד†בפיו
If we serve Hashem with our hearts, he loses his strength. But if we will be like them and only†serve†Hashem†with†our†mouths¨†Eisav’s†merit remains in its place.”
The†Yaaras†Dvash†adds†that†this†is†the†intention of the pasuk (27:22), הקול†קול†יעקב
והידים†ידי†עשו†, “The voice is the voice of
Yaakov, and the hands are the hands of Eisav.” This means, that if all we have is the קול†יעקב, the voice of Yaakov, such as the
sound†of†Torah†and†tefillah¨†but†it†is†without†the heart, then והידים†ידי†עשו†, Eisav still has
power over us. When we serve Hashem with our heart, Eisav’s merit will be canceled, and†Amalek†and†the†goyim†won’t†have†any†power over us.
Also, when we honor our parents in our hearts, recognizing their greatness and desiring to emulate their good deeds, that will annul Eisav’s merit of kibud av v’eim.