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Volume XVII

The Weekly Torah Publication of the Yeshiva University High School for Boys

12 Teves 5772 ◊ January 7, 2012

LIVING IN ERETZ YISRAEL etuu| `|v{txÄ gtâuxá When Yosef tells the Egyptian leaders of his father Yaakov’s wishes to be buried in Eretz Canaan, he explains that his father had asked him to swear that he would fulfill this request, and he describes Yaakov as having identified the place of burial as the grave “Asher kariti lee b’eretz canaan”, “which I dug for myself in the land of Canaan” (Bereshis 50:5). The commentators are troubled by the word “kariti,” “Idug,” used here, presumably because Yaakov did not in fact dig the grave where he was to be buried. Rashi (ibid) consequently quotes other interpretations for this word, one of which is that Yaakov made a Kari, a pile, of the gold and silver that he had accumulated while living with Lavan. Prior to resettling in Eretz Yisrael, Yaakov gave this pile to Eisav in exchange for the rights to the burial plot in Me’oras HaMachpeilah; it is that transaction that is being referred to by the word “Kariti” here. Rashi explains elsewhere (Bereshis 46:6) that Yaakov gave Eisav specifically the gold and silver he had earned while with Lavan because he felt that “Possessions of outside Israel are not worthwhile for me,” indicating that when entering into Eretz Yisrael, he wanted no part of any wealth he had acquired when living outside of Eretz Yisrael. The Avnei Neizer (Shailos U’Teshuvos Avnei Neizer – Yoreh Deah: Siman 454) uses this notion to support an interesting insight regarding the Mitzvah of living in Eretz Yisrael. He first documents that it is in fact a Mitzvah from the Torah for a Jew to reside in Eretz Yisrael. He further claims that this Mitzvah is certainly applicable today, even according to the Rambam, who others claim does not hold this way (Hasagat HaRamban-Sefer Hamitzvos-Hashmatas Ha’Asiyan Mitzvah 4: and Megillat Esther: ibid.). He explains the Rambam’s striking omission of this Mitzvah from his list of the Taryag (613) Mitzvos in the following manner. In the first part of his Sefer

HaMitzvos, the Rambam outlines ———— the principles which he uses to de‫ויחי‬ termine whether or not a particuVayechi lar Mitzvah ought to be enumerated as on the Taryag. One of his ———— rules is that whenever the Torah presents two Mitzvos where one is intended to facilitate the performance of the other, he lists only the first of the two and regards listing the second as unnecessary (See Sefer Hamitzvos-Shoresh: 9). For example, the purpose of building the Mishkan in the desert was to have a place for the Aron which contained the Luchos. The Rambam thus lists the Mitzvah to build the Mishkan (ibid; Mitzvas Aseh 20), but does not find it necessary to list the Mitzvah to build the Aron. The Avnei Neizer (ibid) suggests similarly that there is a Mitzvah of “Hachareim Tacharimeim” which enjoins us to destroy the nations who occupy Eretz Yisrael, as presented later in the Torah (Devarim 20:13). The purpose of that Mitzvah is obviously not in order that the land should be unpopulated, but rather so that the Jews should be able to enter and inhabit it. Having enumerated this Mitzvah of Hachareim Tacharimeim (ibid; Mitzvas Aseh 187), the Rambam did not find it necessary to count independently the Mitzvah of settling in Eretz Yisrael. But he certainly considers Yishuv Ha’aretz, settling the land, a Mitzvah from the Torah. It should be noted that the Chazon Ish (Kovetz Igros LeHaChazon Ish 1:175) agrees that this Mitzvah is MideOraisa even according to the Rambam; this may also be deduced from statements of the Rambam himself in his Mishneh Torah (Hilchos Shabbos 6:11, Hilchos Ishus 3:19-20). The Avnei Neizer (ibid) is troubled, however, by the question of why, if this is indeed a Mitzvah, so many Jews, including Rabbonim and Gedolim, do not live in Eretz Yisrael. After dismissing the answers of earlier Poskim which focus on traveling dangers and economic and other hardships as no longer being applicable today (See Tosfos-Kesubos: 110: “Hu Omer”, and Terumas

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Hadeshen – Siman 88) he suggests that the Mitzvah of Yishuv Ha’aretz is not fulfilled merely by physically residing in Eretz Yisrael. Rather, one must live on, and benefit directly from the land, so that one’s primary livelihood comes from the land. If a person’s income is provided mainly from abroad, he perhaps does not fulfill the Mitzvah, even though he may physically live in Eretz Yisrael. For this reason, The Avnei Neizer (ibid) suggests, many Rabbonim and Gedolim did not, and do not move to Eretz Yisrael, because they know that they would have to be supported by funds sent from outside the land and thus would not be fulfilling the Mitzvah properly anyway. A similar idea is suggested in a completely different context by the Chasam Sofer, in his commentary on the Torah entitled “Toras Moshe” (Devarim 20: 5-6: “Mi Ha’Ish HaRishon), where he writes that the Mitzvah of Yishuv Ha’aretz implies a requirement to work on and contribute to the economic development of the land. To bolster this view, the Avnei Neizer (ibid) explains that Yaakov sought to dispose of the wealth he had garnered in Lavan’s house, outside of Eretz Yisrael, so that when he would reenter Eretz Yisrael, he would live off the land. In suggesting that one does not fulfill the Mitzvah of Yishuv Ha’aretz when most of one’s money is sent from outside the land, the Avnei Neizer (ibid) apparently feels, as he suggests Yaakov did, that the main goal of living in Eretz Yisrael is to benefit from Hashem’s direct Hashgacha over the land (See Devarim 11:12). It is noteworthy that the Pischei Teshuvah (Even HaEzer Siman 75:6) quotes another authority who also discusses the Mitzvah of Yishuv Ha’aretz at some length, and who concludes in a somewhat similar vein that the Mitzvah to live in Eretz Yisrael applies only if one can go there and have the ability to make a decent living, and not have to live off Tzedakah or with undue hardship.

THE LEGACY OF THE AVOS XÄtÇ fàÉv{xÄ In this week’s parsha one must pay close attention to the narrative framing. This powerful conclusion to the first book of the Torah needs to pull together the legacy of all the avos while preparing the reader for the next chapter of the story, which will continue with the Exodus. Let us inspect the opening piece of Vayechi with these ideas in mind. The first segment of the parsha seems strangely at odds with the second. We find out about Yaakov’s imminent demise and instead of heading straight for the tearful family gathering at the patriarch’s bedside there is a private conversation between Yaakov and Yosef. Why does Yaakov speak specifically to Yosef before communicating his parting words to his children? What does Yaakov ask of Yosef? Reading the language Yaakov uses one is struck by the pleading tone employed. “If I have found favor in your eyes… please don’t bury me in Egypt.” Yaakov asks of Yosef to take a solemn oath to ensure that Yaakov’s body is buried in Israel. The Midrash Tanchuma suggests that Yaakov’s choice of Yosef for this critical final appeal was no accident. This is an expression of a common phenomenon: honoring the person in power at the time. Yosef is uniquely positioned to bring true this wish of Yaakov’s because, as Viceroy of Egypt, he can make anything happen. The Midrash explains that Yaakov’s pleading tone results from the sense of degradation and despondence that seized Yaakov as he neared his death. “If I have found favor in your eyes,” Yaakov says to remind Yosef that he has suffered on his behalf. He has left his home for Egypt for his son, and he has been through emotional turmoil because of him. It is as though as he prepares for this real death he is brought back to the two times he has approached death in the past, one through sadness and one through joy, when he learns of Yosef’s ‘death’ and when he is reunited with him (amutah hapa’am). “Do for me charity and truth” – Yaakov presents Yosef with an opportunity to right the wrongs of the past and to heal the historical wound he has wrought upon his father by returning him to Israel, a sure way to make up for bringing him down from Egypt. But there is a further parallel. Through the emotional travails Yaakov has experienced because of his children he has felt farther from his parents and his heritage. He has become alienated from G-d

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through suffering, and now it is in Yosef’s hands to return It is between these two pillars of galus and redemption Yaakov to his place before G-d, gathered with his ances- that Sefer Breishis comes to a close. It is the legacy of these tors. two forefathers that guides our progression to Sefer Shemos where both the endurance of Yosef and the guiding light This indicates that the request we are witnessing is not as of Yaakov will have crucial roles to play. Yaakov bows to simple as a burial alone. The language of the shvuah: “Place Yosef and to G-d recognizing that thanks to Yosef’s comyour hand under my thigh,” recalls an earlier story about mitment to preserving the tradition of the avos in galus, G Yaakov’s grandfather. In it, Avraham tells his servant to -d’s promise to guide and redeem the children of Israel undergo a journey, in the opposite direction. Eved Avwill be realized. raham is told to leave Israel and find a mate for Yitzchak, THE CONSTANT REJECTION OF THE to go in search of a suitable mother for none other than FIRSTBORN Yaakov, a matron of Israel. This parallel story clues us in to the real function of this promise. Yaakov is not only Tä| fxuutz asking Yosef to commit to returning his body to Israel. He asks Yosef to swear to ensure the future redemption of the When Yaakov places his hand on Ephraim, the younger of children of Israel and their return to the land. Yosef’s sons, the Meforshim say this is yet another blow to the right of the firstborn. This has already been a disThe question that still remains is why Yosef? Why does Yaakov appoint Yosef the steward of Israel’s fate? The an- cussion between Yaakov and Esav, but this is the final swer lays both in the answer of the Midrash we referenced blow. The preference given to the younger son is usually earlier as well as the conclusion of our parsha. At our par- explained as being a vision for the future. But we know sha’s end Yosef passes away. This speaks to the framing of that according to Judaism, a person is judged by his preour parsha. Two deaths, two burials, one begins our parsha sent situation. In this case Yaakov showed a connection to and the other concludes it. And on both instances a shvuah the younger son, which is connected with a conceptual is elicited. At the parsha’s end Yosef adjures his brothers. message. The Kli Yakar has one approach to explaining this. He says that Hashem chooses the weak, basically the He tells them that a time will come when G-d will take them out of Egypt and they will be responsible for Yosef’s underdog. He favors the underdog over the favorite, so he chooses the younger son over the clearly superior return to Israel then as well. firstborn. Where can we see that Hashem chooses the This is precisely the point of the dialogue between Yaakov underdog? The clear example, is by Har Sinai, which was and Yosef. Yosef and Yaakov occupy two parts of the same the smallest mountain in the area, and the Torah was givtradition. Yaakov represents Israel in the land and Yosef en on it. It also says explicitly in a Passuk (Devarim - 7:7) represents Israel in galut. In Egypt, Yaakov is despondent; “Hashem did not desire you, or choose you, because you he longs to return to his home. Yosef in Egypt flourishes. were a numerous people; for you are the smallest peoHe is one of the most powerful people in Egypt, when he ple”. speaks, Pharaoh listens and acts, granting every request. During the harsh times to come in Egypt the spirit of The Kli Yakar demonstrates how this unfolds in the famiYosef will accompany the children of Israel. His bones will ly of Avaraham. Yishmael was the first born, and Yitzchak remain with them and give them the strength to endure got the Bechor; Esav was the first born, and Yaakov got the suffering that will end in glory. He endured slavery the Bechor; and now Menasheh is the first born, and and abuse and was rewarded with wealth and power. He is Ephraim gets the Bechor! R’ Samson Raphael Hirsch also the spirit of the Jew in exile, who succeeds and falls, suc- adds Shem, one of Noach’s sons, into this mix. Although ceeds and falls, yet proudly endures. Yaakov is buried in the Torah does not say who was the oldest of the three, it the land. He is the angelic warrior who blesses his children is known the Shem was not the oldest, and yet he went with regard to their portions of Israel, their roles in the on to create Yeshivat Shem V’Ever. nation that will not be born for decades. Yet, he is a beacon to all those in exile. He is mourned by Egypt because The Pa’aneach Raza compares what is said about Yaakov of what he represents, a connection to divine truth emand Yitzchak when they were giving the brachot. Regardbodied in a national soul. ing both, it says that they were old, and in both cases,

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heaven intervenes and gives the firstborn blessing to the younger son. In both cases our forefathers wanted to favor the firstborn, but Hashem said not so, and the Torah stresses who was the firstborn in both cases. There are many who rely on a phrase from Yirmiyahu (Ch. 31) regarding the exile of Ephraim, and it says “Ephraim, My firstborn”, but when examined closely the phrase is a sign of affection toward Ephraim. In any event, Yaakov still places his right hand on Ephraim’s head, and Yosef says this is the wrong one. Yaakov responds “yida’ati bni, yida’ati”- “I know my son I know”. The Pesikta Rabbasi expands on this, he says clearly Yosef was shaken by this! Yosef is thinking “look father, you favored me and look what happened, I got a Ketonet Passim and my brothers hated me! I was sold into slavery, accused of all these terrible things, and I was thrown in jail. It took 22 years for me to get back to normal life! And now you want to favor my son!?” He thought Yaakov was not aware of what had happened to him. But when Yaakov responds “I know”, Yosef understand that his father is fully aware and there is a reason for everything, and all his fears were then gone. **** YU Contributor **** etuu| etÑ{| `tÇwxÄáàtÅ In this week’s parsha Yaakov Avinu blesses all of his sons and even some of his grandsons, namely, Ephraim and Menashe. We are familiar with the famous question asked as to why Yaakov switched his hands from Ephraim and Menashe placing is right hand on Ephraim although he was the younger of the two brothers. At first glance we may say it’s simply strange but upon further thought we should realize it was a potentially huge mistake. After all, what happened the last time time Yaakov favored one son over his brothers? They through him in a pit!!! So why would Yaakov seemingly commit the same mistake by showing favoritism towards Ephraim over Menashe? Rav Yaakov kamenetsky (z”tl) notices that when we were introduced to Menashe and Ephraim originally in parshas Miketz there are some important differences between them. First, he points out the differences between the reasons for each name. Menashe, the pasuk explains, (breishis 41:51) is that Hashem has blessed Yosef despite all of his struggles. However, for Ephraim, Yosef specifically mentions how Hashem has blessed him in the land of Egypt. Now, why would Yosef highlight that Ephraim was born in Mitzraim? Perhaps, R’ Yaakov suggests, as Ephraim was

born later and Yosef had already become more acclimated to MItzraim he incorporates MItzraim in the naming, suggesting that Epraim was a more assimilated child than Menashe. Additionally, R’ Yaakov notes how the name Ephraim actually resembles a typical Egyptian name. If you look at all the Egyptian characters throughout chumash you may notice that they all have at least two letters of Pharaoh’s name in them indicating that such was the Egyptian custom as a sign of reverence towards the king. Notice, Potiphar, Poti-phera, Tzafnat-Paneach, Shifra, Puah, all have some of the Pharaoh’s name mixed in. And so does the name Ephraim!! Additionally, chazal point out that Menashe, not Ephraim, was the translator between Yosef and his brothers. Perhaps, it was specifically Menashe who was less assimilated and was therefore more fluent in lashon kodesh than his brother Ephraim who was perhaps less so. Therefore, R’ Yaakov explains, by no means was Yaakov Avinu showing favoritism towards Ephraim, rather he was giving a bracha which Ephraim simply needed more! Ephraim was the one who was more at risk since he was born as a real Egyptian child and was therefore in need of a stronger bracha. We must realize that all of the brachos of Yaakov Avinu are only meant to demonstrate the unique qualities of each and every shevet. So too, we were all blessed with different things as we as individuals have different challenges in life that we must overcome than our piers. Therefore it is silly to look at another and be jealous of his\her talents because we were all created different as we all have different tasks in this world and we must use our unique strengths to accomplish our unique mission in life. Menahel: Rabbi Michael Taubes Rabbinic Advisor: Rabbi Baruch Pesach Mendelson Distribution Coordinator: Binyamin Pfeiffer T.S.A.: Philip meyer Associate Editor: Akiva Schiff Editors-in-Chief: Meir Finkelstein, Yoni Schwartz

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