Vol 30.35 - Vayechi 1 Spanish French Audio Video
“…..I buried her there along the road to Efras, which is Bies-Lechem…..” – Bereishit 48:7
״…..ואקברה שם בדרך אפרת היא בית לחם…״ – בראשית מח,ז
Rachel’s burial place would naturally have been in Me’aras Hamachpela, alongside her husband. Instead, Rachel was buried on the roadside in order to hasten her children’s eventual return from exile, as explained in the Midrash.“When they passed her grave as they were led to exile, Rachel emerged from her grave and wept and begged mercy for them, as it is said: ‘A voice is heard on high, lamentation, bitter weeping, Rachel is weeping for her children,’ and G-d answered her, ‘There is reward for your work… and the children shall return to their own border’ (Yirmiyahu 31:14-16).”
Rachel's burial place
(From https://www.atzmut.com/mothers-sacrifice-parashat-vayechi/ —Likkutei Sichos vol. 30, pp. 239-240
1. The verse states (Ex.48:7): “As for me, when I came from Padan, Rachel died to me etc. on the way, etc. and I buried her there on the way to Ephrath”.
‘“As for me, when I came from Padan, etc.: Although I burden you to take me to be buried in the land of Canaan, and I did not do so to your mother, for she died close to Bethlehem. “
It is not understood;
Many of the commentators explain “As for me, when I came” that the verse itself explains the excuse of Yaakov that he did not bring Rachel to the Me'aras HaMachpeilah.
As Ramban explains:
“She died suddenly and it was not possible to bury her (in the Me'aras HaMachpeilah) for how could Yaakov leave his children and flocks on the road etc.”
Or like the commentary of the Sforno that:
“My burden and mourning was so great that I did not have the strength to bring her etc.”
Why then did Rashi ignore those commentaries which are according to the simple understanding/ Pshat and cite the words of the Aggadah which is not hinted to at all in the verse?
On the contrary, according to Rashi’s commentary we find (according to commentators on Rashi) that his “comment is puzzling”,
(i.e., the actions of Yaakov that he buried Rachel on the way and did not take her even to Bethlehem)
since it is explicit in the verse, and the main point is that the reason for this action is not mentioned at all in the verse.
One must also examine the words of Rashi in G-d’s answer to Rachel:
“‘There is reward for your deed,’ says the L-rd” (and the children shall return to their own border).
For this is not understood:
For there is no “deed” mentioned here that Rachel did - that she should earn reward for (‘There is reward for your deed’), except that she “begs mercy for them”.
(The commentators cite the words of the Midrash - that with her begging Rachel mentioned that she brought her opponent (Leah) into her house and gave her the marriage signs etc. Therefore on this G-d answered her “‘There is reward for your deed” (The deed of your righteousness that you gave the signs to your sister). However, in Rashi that is not mentioned at all.
Aldo, it would have been fitting, seemingly, to cite here the concluding words of G-d that “There is hope for your future, says G-d” (especially since this was said in close proximity to ‘and the children shall return to their own border’)?
2. This can be understood by prefacing an additional explanation in Rashi‘s words that Yaakov said to Yosef:
“I know that you hold it against me”.
For this, seemingly, is not understood:
Since for all those years, Yaakov did not excuse himself to Yosef for the burial of Rachel on the way, it suggests that the main resentment of Yosef was awakened after Yaakov adjured him to trouble Yosef to bring him the land of Canaan and to bury him there.
(This is also understood from the language of Rashi:
“Although I burden you to take me to be buried in the land of Canaan, and I did not do so to your mother”.
In other words, the resentment for “not doing so to your mother” is a result of Yaakov’s saying ‘I burden you to take me etc.)
Therefore it is seemingly puzzling for it suggests a feeling of revenge, G-d forbid, (on Yosef's part)
For concerning the actual incident, Yosef had no resent towards Yaakov. Yet only when his father asks him to take the trouble to bring him to the land of Canaan, does this arouse feelings of resentment since Yaakov did not trouble himself to bury Rachel in the Me'aras HaMachpeilah.
However did Yaakov really suspect Yosef of this?
It therefore stands to reason that Rashi does not mean to imply with the words: "there is in your heart toward me," that it is an aspect of actual resentment.
- For G-d forbid should we suspect Yosef of having a claim (טענה) against Yaakov for not burying Rachel in the Me'aras HaMachpeilah. For surely Yosef understood that Yaakov would have done all he could to bury Rachel in the Me'aras HaMachpeilah, (so that she would be buried together with him). Especially since Yosef knew of Yaakov‘s great love for Rachel. And if Yaakov did not do so , he was certainly not guilty of this at all –
Rather, the emphasis is, "there is in your heart toward me”. For although Yosef understood rationally that he should not blame Yaakov, nevertheless, in the end, his mother, Rachel, was lacking the merit of being buried in the Me'aras HaMachpeilah – and since this lack existed, there was a (latent) resentment “in the heart” of Yosef toward Yaakov. For he still felt the pain in his heart - for why should Rachel‘s portion be diminished in that she should not be buried in the Me’aras HaMachpeilah?
And the strength of this latent feeling was awakened in Yosef when Yaakov told Yosef to bring him to be buried in the land of Canaan in the Me'aras HaMachpeilah. For this emphasized the great virtue of being buried in the Me’aras HaMachpeilah, a virtue so great that Yaakov adjured him (publicly, even though Yaakov accorded him honor) to bring him there. This aggravated the feelings of Rachel’s losing out in that she did not merit to be buried there.
In order to negate this feeling from Yosef‘s heart, Yaakov explained:
"And I, when I came from Padan . . I buried her there..."
as Rashi elucidates, that Yaakov explained to Yosef "that it was by Divine command that I buried here there, so that she should be a help for her children....".
It is therefore resolved simply why Rashi brought the words of the Aggadah and did not explain as the aforementioned commentators (par. 1).
In addition (and mainly?) this emphasizes the special virtue of Rachel (for specifically she evoked G-d’s promise that ‘the children shall return to their own border’) as will be explained below. Therefore this is a sufficient answer to remove the feelings in Yosef's heart.
The explanation is:
That Yaakov buried Rachel on the road "by divine command ... that she be a help to her children," does not mean that Rachel forfeited anything for the sake of her children. Quite the contrary, since this refers to the Geulah of Rachel's children – this is to the benefit and good fortune of Rachel. Thus, surely Rachel would have agreed and moreover, would even have demanded it.
And one could say that this is the Rashi's intent when he cites the verse (and G-d replies to her) "there is reward for your work” without mentioning anything in particular that Rachel has done -
for G-d is referring to the very act of her being buried on the road "so that she be a help to her children."
For the reason G-d commanded Yaakov to do so, is because this is the will and desire of Rachel.
Put slightly differently:
Rachel's pleas for mercy for her children, specifically have the power to insure the promise that "The children shall return to their borders." For it is in the merit of this “deed”, namely that she was prepared to forego the virtue of burial in the Me'aras HaMachpeilah so that she may be "of assistance to her children."
3. According to this one could explain (albeit according to Pnimiyut) the flow of the verses, for Yakov said the above words to Yosef subsequent to his words concerning Efraim and Menasheh
(and the commentators have already wondered about this – for Yaakov should have prefaced the words of excuse before this, when he adjured him “and carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their graves” and not here where the subject of his burial in the land of Canaan is not mentioned at all (rather they are just words of blessings and that Menashe and Ephraim will enter into the account of the other Shvatim and be accorded a portion in the Land).
For one could say that with this he was hinting to him the reason that “your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt, until I came to you, to the land of Egypt they are mine.”
This is so even though the sons that will be born in the land of Egypt (“until I came to you,”) are “accounted as your other sons” For the reason is because of the merit of Rachel.
For since she was prepared to be buried on the way (not together with Yaakov) in order that “she would be of assistance to her children”, therefore she merited that her grandchildren who were born “in the land of Egypt until I came to you, to the land of Egypt ( and not close to Yaakov ) - are mine.”
4. The Talmud states on his verse: “As for me, when I came from Padan, Rachel died to me” that:
“(The death of a man is felt by none but his wife); and that of a woman, but her husband”.
The Chiddushei Agadot Maharsha states that this statement comes in conjunction to the previous statement concerning a “first wife” (i.e. the “wife of one’s youth”). For since Yaakov said: "Rachel died to me/ עלי" “even though he had other wives is because “he did not find satisfaction except with his first wife since she was the ‘mainstay of the home’ (Akeret HaBayit)”.
(This is also cited by Rashi on Torah that Rachel was the “Akeret HaBayit” and this is also in the Midrash that “Rachel was the mainstay (עיקרו של בית) of the household” so much so that “Yisroel are called by her name”).
According to the aforementioned one could say that the two aspects in this verse:
1. The excuse of Yaakov for burying Rachel on the way in order that she be "of assistance to her children."
2. The precise words “Rachel died to me/ עלי" which emphasizes that she was the “Akeret HaBayit”
are connected to each other.
For this characteristic that we find in Rachel – the forgoing of her status (to be buried with Yaakov Avinu in the Me’aras HaMachpeilah) in order that she be "of assistance to her children." – is exactly the main characteristic that exists within every honorable woman of Yisroel, whose mission is to be the “Akeret HaBayit”.
The explanation is:
Even though the maxim: “I was only created to serve my Master” apples equally to men and women, nevertheless there is a difference between a man and a woman. For the main aspect of Avodat HaShem is on the man. Studying Torah and prayer and fulfilling all the Mitzvot. And in this is included (since he must engage in a Derech Eretz and a livelihood) also the maxim “In all ways you shall know Him” and “all your deeds should be for the sake of Heaven”.
Whereas women are - exempt from Mitzvot that are dependent on time (and also exempt for studying Torah) since they must be engaged in the needs of the home (as is explained in the Rishonim - that for this reason they are exempt from Mitzvot that are dependent on time – since the needs of the household are her responsibility).
One could possibly say that in this, the greatness of women is recognized:
With men, the main aspect of their Avodat HaShem is in a revealed manner – therefore this Avodah could lead to feelings of contentment (“happy with your lot”/ שביעת רצון (״שמח בחלקו״) and this could lead to a feeling (at least minimally) of self-worth – which is not so with women.
And with this, one could explain the reason for the difference in terms of Jewish identity (היחוס).
For the essential aspect and general identity (name) of a Jew is specifically dependent on the mother – for one who is born to a Jewish mother is Jewish (even if the father is a non-Jew). However regarding specifics, the differences between Jews themselves – such as Kohen, Levi, and Yisroel - is dependent on the family of the father.
To be a Jew – is dependent on that which he is an “Actual portion of G-dliness Above (חלק אלקה ממעל ממש), above division of parts. However the divisions such as Kohen, Levi, and Yisroel, which are different revealed levels in holiness is dependent on the man, where his Avodat HaShem is in revealed aspects of holiness.
5. And this is the intent of Yaakov when he said to Yosef:
“Although I burden you to take me to be buried in the land of Canaan, and I did not do so to your mother etc.” -
for this is the difference between Yaakov and Rachel:
From the standpoint of the Avodah and aspect of Yaakov – he must be buried in the Me’aras HaMachpeilah, together with the other Patriarchs – in a state and place of revealed holiness.
However, the special virtue of Rachel – the “mainstay of the house”, the “Akeret HaBayit” – is that she foregoes on the completeness and greatness of herself, to be buried in the Me’aras HaMachpeilah , in order that she be "of assistance to her children."
And she forgoes this, for children that will arise after many generations, and who are in an undesirable standing and condition, so much so that Galut was decreed on them.
Nevertheless, for these children that sinned and were exiled – Rachel Imeinu foregoes the merit of being buried in the Me’aras HaMachpeilah together with Yaakov Avinu for hundreds and thousands of years in order that through this, she will be able to “be of assistance to her children".
And this is the reason that she evoked the promise that “and the children shall return to their own border”. For since she forgoes her greatness, for the sake of these children, due to the essential attachment between her and them (whatever condition they are in), this evokes from Heaven “measure for measure”. For notwithstanding the visible condition of the children (who were decreed Galut), G-d promised that “the children shall return to their own border”. For since they are (her) children they will certainly return to their own border, with the true and complete Geulah, speedily and in our time, mamosh.
m’Sichas Shabbat Parshat Vayechi 5746
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