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14 Kislev 5772/December 10, 2011
Beit Midrash Zichron Dov
Toronto TorahToronto TorahToronto Torah
Parshat Vayyishlach
Vol.3 Num. 11
as a stranger”,
has the numericalvalue (
) of 613, indicating thatYaakov communicated to his brotherthat he had remained true to the 613mitzvot even while living with the wickedLavan.Siftei Chachamim explains Rashi tomean that this statement was a warningto Eisav. Yaakov was telling his brotherthat he may as well give up on anyaggressive plans, for their fatherYitzchak's assurance that Eisav wouldhave the upper-hand applied only whenYaakov wasn't living up to the standardsof the Torah (see 27:40 and Rashithere).One must ask: Does such a statementreally fit with Yaakov's consistentmessage? As we've demonstrated,Yaakov approached Eisav in fear, tryingto keep the peace and assuage Eisav'sanger as much as possible. Why then, would he send a message that smacksof arrogance and indicates he is lookingfor a fight?Perhaps we need to understand Rashi'spoint another way. Looking back at theoriginal text in Bereishit Rabbati, wemight perceive a very different picture:
“[Yaakov] said: I will send messengers – 
perhaps he will do teshuvah.
… [Eisav]
should not say that when I was in myfather's house I learned Torah, but inLavan's house, because of thedifficulties of work, I did not. Rather,during the entire time I was in thehouse of Lavan, I learned Torah. Thenumerical value of 
is 613.”
 Far from looking for a fight, Yaakov was looking to bring Eisav closer tohimself, and to G-d as well. In additionto gifts and a message of peace, Yaakov wanted to use this meeting as anopportunity to communicate a messagethat he could not have told Eisavbefore.Living a life of closeness to the Creatorand following in His ways is not a
lifestyle limited to the “wholesome manof tents” (Bereishit 25:27), but Yaakov
could not prove that to his brother while he was at that stage in his life.Only after Yaakov continued living anhonest and good life while working as a
“man of the field” could he truly
communicate the message that Eisavneeded to hear: No matter who you are,no matter what world you're living in, you can be a faithful servant of G-d.Far too often, we leave the work of 
 Jewish outreach to the “professionals”
 who, in their training for such work,
may need to be “wholesome dwellers of tents.” Such a background is needed in
some respects, but we need toremember that those of us who live the working lifestyle, among the Lavans of the world, can accomplish somethingthat the professionals cannot. It is
specifically the “men of the field” who
can best show their coworkers,neighbors and acquaintances thebeauty of Judaism. Only with theirexample can our own brothers andsisters see the relevance and possibilityof their own intimate relationship withHaKadosh Baruch Hu.
Parshah Questions
R’ Meir Lipschitz
(Answers for some of the questions are on the back page)
What can be learned from "
v'Timna haytah pilegesh
"? (Rashi Bereishit 36:12,Sanhedrin 99b)
Why do we still refer to Yaakov as Yaakov, not Yisrael? (Ibn Ezra, Ramban, and OhrHaChaim to Bereishit 35:9-10, Berachot 13a)
What gave Shimon and Levi the right to eradicate the city of Shechem? (RambanBereishit 34:13,Ohr HaChaim Bereishit 34:25, Rambam Hilchot Melachim 9:14)
For children: Who was the
 who fought with Yaakov? (Rashi Bereishit 32:25)
To be a Man of the Field
R’ Ezra Goldschmiedt
To sponsor an edition of Toronto Torah, please email info@torontotorah.com or call 416-781-1777
Yaakov Avinu's preparation for meetingEisav seems fairly straightforward.Particularly when read through thelens of the Sages' commentary,Yaakov's message is one of peace, of trying to make amends with a brother who may still be bent on exactingrevenge.Yaakov sends lavish gifts to Eisav,giving them in a manner in which theyare sure to impress (see Rashi to32:17). In his message, Yaakov points
out that the blessings he had “stolen”
 were of no use, making revengeunnecessary - since that eventful day,Yaakov had lived life as a stranger, without significant wealth or property(see Rashi to 32:6). Yaakov tells hisbrother that he hopes to find favour inhis eyes (32:6).In some ways, this approach comesfrom fear. His brother, who haspreviously pledged to kill him (see27:41), is fast approaching with anarmy of four hundred men. Tominimize the potential disaster, Yaakovsplits his camp in two, prays to G-d forsalvation, and sends a gift. Yaakovcertainly has no desire to fight orconfront his brother.It appears somewhat strange, then, toread Rashi's explanation of Yaakov's
statement that he “lived as a stranger with Lavan” (32:5). Paraphrasing
Midrash Bereishit Rabbati (32:5), Rashi
notes that the Hebrew word for “lived
prayers and the sacrifices. Shacharitand minchah are based on the dailymorning and afternoon sacrifices, whichare obligatory. Maariv is based on theburning of the limbs and fats, which isnot obligatory; one who does not burnthe limbs and fats still fulfills hissacrificial obligation. Thus, maariv isoptional because the source for maarivis derived from optional Templesacrificial rites.We may ask, though: Would maariv beoptional if davening were based on ourforefathers, rather than the sacrifices? Is
there any reason that Yaakov‟s prayer
 would be different from Avraham and
Yitzchak‟s prayer?
 The Netziv (Haemek She‟elah 8:1) and
Rabbi Yaakov Yehoshua Falk (P'neiYeshoshua on Berachot 26b) suggestthat davening Maariv may be optionaleven if it is derived from Yaakov. WhenYaakov was travelling to Padan Aram, hedecided to pray only when he realizedthat he passed the place that hisforefathers had prayed in; his prayer was optional, rather than fulfillment of afixed obligation. Therefore, even if davening maariv is based on Yaakov, itmay still be optional.It is appropriate to conclude with the words of the Tur (Orach Chaim 235):
Even though Maariv is “optional,”
davening Maariv is nonetheless amitzvah, and should not be disregarded.
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is that it represents the
yetzer hara 
, as seen in Berachot17a.]
Honey is cloying; avoiding use of honey teaches us to pursue that which is valuable in life, even if it isnot sweet.Chatam Sofer offers another approach:Leavened dough, which inflates itself,represents arrogance. Honey, with itssweetness, represents indulgence. Weeschew both of these when standingbefore G-d with our korban.
 The Talmud (Berachot 26b) records adispute between Rabbi Yosi benChanina and Rabbi Yehoshua ben Leviregarding the source for praying threetimes a day. Rabbi Yosi says that thispractice is based on the deeds of ourforefathers: Avraham establishedshacharit, Yitzchak establishedminchah, and Yaakov establishedmaariv. Rabbi Yehoshua says thatpraying three times a day is based onthe korbanot that are sacrificed in theBeit haMikdash: Shacharit is based onthe daily morning offering, minchah isbased on the daily afternoon offering,and maariv is based on the burning of the limbs and fats of the offerings, which occurs throughout the night. The Talmud (Berachot 27b) alsorecords an argument between RabbiYehoshua and Rabban Gamlielregarding whether davening the maariv
prayer is “optional” or obligatory:
Abbaye rules that maariv is obligatory,and Rava rules that maariv is optional.What does optional mean here? The Baalei haTosafot (Berachot 27b)
explain that “optional” means that if 
there is another mitzvah to perform atthe same time, the other mitzvah takesprecedence over davening maariv.Maariv really is
, and it is
“optional” only when there is another
mitzvah to perform.Why should maariv be less obligatorythan shacharit and minchah? Rashi(Shabbat 9b) tells us that this view isbased on the connection between theMitzvah 117 instructs us not to addhoney or
(leavened material) toour flour-based korbanot. Rambam(Moreh haNevuchim 3:46) explainsthat idolaters of biblical times usedthese elements in their offerings, and we were required to distinguishourselves. However, the SeferhaChinuch offers several additionallessons to be learned from thisprohibition, including:
Flour becomes leavened only if leftto stagnate; avoiding use of leaventeaches us to avoid laziness andstagnation. [Similarly, Rav MosheIsserles (Torat haOlah 3:39)suggested that the reason to
613 Mitzvot: #117
Leaven and Honey in a Flour Korban
R’ Mordechai Torczyner
Hitoriri: Jewish Spirituality
Dress-Up Judaism
R’ Mordechai Torczyner
Why dress up for davening?A young man proposed to his inamorata while unshaven and wearing dirty jeansand a T-shirt, and he was stunned when she rejected his offer. He askedher, "Didn't you say you would take meas I am?"She replied sadly, "Yes, but I didn'tthink that
would."We intuit that G-d will "take us as weare", that prayer should require aproper heart rather than proper garb. The Creator who formed us knows ourmost intimate thoughts, and from atimeless perch outside of our reality Hehas already witnessed our weakestmoments as well as the fulfillment of our greatest potential, so what would bethe purpose of artifice? How coulddressing up disguise our failings? The case of the rejected suitordemonstrates the value of dressing up:Donning special clothing, like theuniform the kohen wore in the BeithaMikdash, is an act of respect.Dressing up shows that we value ourmeeting with G-d.Bereishit 33:18 mentions that Yaakovarrived in Shechem
(intact,complete). Per Rav Meir Simchah of Dvinsk, the Torah emphasizes Yaakov'scomplete state in order to explain anuance in his conduct.During Yaakov's travels, he brought akorban nearly every time he arrived in anew location (Bereishit 28:18, 31:54,35:1, 35:14, 35:19 and 46:1). However,Yaakov did not bring a korban when hearrived in Succot, despite having justsurvived his midnight battle with a
and his meeting with Esav. Why was this trip different?Rav Meir Simchah explains that Yaakovhad not healed fully from his fight whenhe arrived in Succot. Our patriarchconsidered himself blemished due to his wounds, and unworthy to approach hisCreator. Only when he arrived at thefollowing stop, Shechem, did he feelhimself 
and ready to bring akorban.We should never feel that G-d isunapproachable; we are taught thatHaShem's mercy is universal,regardless of our material or spiritual wounds and deficiencies. Nonetheless,our goal should be to emulate Yaakovand approach G-d in a state of 
, wholeness. G-d may take us as we are,but we should aim to become greater.
Maariv: “Optional” or Obligatory?
Yair Manas
Biography: Rabbi Shlomo Ganzfried
R’ Dovid Zirkind
Ariel, located in the central highlandregion known as Harei Shomron (theSamarian Hills), is the capital of theShomron (Samaria).After the 1967 Six Day War, Ministerof Defense Moshe Dayan said thecountry needed young Israelis to bemore involved in settlement, which heviewed as the true expression of Zionism. This call was answered by anumber of employees of Israel MilitaryIndustries, who developed a coregroup of people to found the newcommunity.Ariel was planned to be a city ratherthan a small settlement, and soselection of the right land was a keyissue. Eventually, the locationchosen was a barren hilltop named inArabic "mountain of death", as it couldnot be used for agricultural purposesand so it had never been populated.After more than ten years of planning,on August 17
, 1978, the first 40pioneering families arrived at "themountain of Death" and became thefirst settlement on the site forhundreds of years.With the collapse of the Soviet Union,the state of Israel received a largeinflux of new immigrants. More thansix thousand new immigrants choseAriel as their new home, doubling itsnumber of residents. As a directresult, Ariel's population reached10,000, and the community wasdeclared a city in October 1998. Today, Ariel is home to 18,000residents and another 10,000students. The city has a diversepopulation, including native Israelisalongside new immigrants, and ablend of religious and secular Jews.During the disengagement from Gazaa group of 40 families from thecommunity of Nezarim were welcomedto the city of Ariel. Their arrival in thecity, together with the arrival of manyEnglish-speaking families, hasstrengthened the religious communityof the town.
Adapted from www.ariel.muni.il 
Rav Shlomo Ganzfried, one of Hungary‟s
outstanding scholars of the 19
 century, was born in Ungvar in 1804.His father died when Shlomo was justeight years old, and his guardianship
 was assumed by Ungvar‟s Chief Rabbi,
Rav Zvi Hirsh Heller. The youngGanzfried was already known as a childprodigy, and he remained in the home of the Chief Rabbi for almost a decadeuntil his ordination and marriage.At first, Rav Ganzfried worked as a winemerchant, and then as a communityRav in Brezovica, but he wouldultimately return to Ungvar in 1849, where he served as a dayan (religious judge) until his death. He served underRav Meir Ash, a student of the ChatamSofer. Through correspondence it isclear that the Chatam Sofer held RavGanzfried in great respect (Responsa of Chatam Sofer Yoreh Deah 137). Hepassed away in 1886.Unquestionably, the greatest of RavGanzfried's published works was hisKitzur Shulchan Aruch, acomprehensive guide to Jewish law, written for laymen who lacked the timeor education to appreciate the nuancesof the Shulchan Aruch and itscommentaries. In his introduction Rav
Ganzfried writes, “The book is written
for G-d-fearing Jews who are not in aposition to study and comprehend theShulchan Aruch and its commentaries,and is composed in a Hebrew that canbe easily understood." The Kitzur hasbecome respected among laymen andscholars alike. It is estimated that over 2million copies of this work have beensold since its publication, making it oneof the highest-selling books in Jewishhistory.
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#2: We are taught (Chullin 95b),"Regarding a house, a child or a wife,sorcery involving them is forbidden, butthey may be [seen as] a sign." This meansthat one who built a house or whose child was born or who married a wife, and whothen had three successes or failures, maytake it as a sign for the future and say,
“This house is good for me etc.” One may
also ask a child which verse he studied andthen rely on it to perform an action, for thisis considered somewhat like prophecy.Some say that one may make a signregarding something which will happen inthe future, like Eliezer the servant of Avraham [Bereishit 24] or Yehonatan theson of Saul [Shemuel I 20], while othersforbid. One who follows the way of the pureand trusts in G-d will be surrounded bykindness.#3: [Devarim 18:10 prohibits various typesof magic, including
.] What is
One who suggests times [relatedto the root
, a designated time], sayingvia astrology that a certain day is good or acertain day is bad, a certain day is fit for aspecific venture or a certain year or monthis bad for something else.Our custom to marry only under a waxing
moon is not included in “sorcery and
” because we only do this as a
positive sign, along the line of anointing aking at a spring as a sign that his kingshipshould be prolonged. So, too, we do this asa positive sign, like the moon whichdevelops and becomes full. Nonetheless,one should not postpone a marriage forthis, and certainly should not perform a
chupat niddah 
for this.Similarly, there is a custom to beginstudying [Torah] on Rosh Chodesh. Somealso permit the practice of beginning (theschool year) on a Monday or Wednesday as well.#4: Our also sages said: "What is includedin
Someone who „grabs theeyes‟ [related to the root
, an eye], as
though he was grabbing people‟s eyes and
closing them, for he tricks them. It appearsto them that he is performing amazing,supernatural deeds, but in truth he doesnothing other than via the speed of hishands. With trickery he deceives them. The jesters who do this at weddings transgressa prohibition, and one who requests this
from them transgresses, “Do not place astumbling block before the blind.”
 Therefore, one who has the ability to object
R’ Ezra Goldschmiedt
Torah in Translation
Sorcery, Astrology & Magic
Rabbi Shlomo GanzfriedKitzur Shulchan Aruch 166:2-5
Translated by R’ Dovid Zirkind
is obligated to object, and certainly onemay not gaze and watch them.However, one may watch a non-Jew dothis.#5: One may not seek [the advice] of magicians other than for life-threatening situations. Alternatively,one who contracts a disease by way of magic or happenstance or bad spiritsmay be treated by a non-Jewishmagician.

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