Vol 35.21 - Vayishlach 1 Spanish French Audio Video
|Hebrew Text: Chumash-Vayishlach Or Torah-Bereshit Vol 5|
(5752) (Gen. 32:31,32). The reason for the differences in the name - "Peniel" or "Penuel" according to the view of Rashi in the simple understanding of the verse;
Explanation of the words of the Tzemach Tzedek (Or HaTorah ibid) that "Peniel" is avodah Pnimiyut of the heart and "Penuel" is the effluence of G-dliness in the world
1. “And Jacob named the place Peniel, for [he said,] "I saw an angel face to face, and my soul was saved.And the sun rose for him when he passed Penuel, etc” (Gen. 32:31,32)
The commentators have noticed the change in the verses, that the name was changed from “Peniel” (with a yud) to “Penuel” (with a vav)
At first glance, one must examine why Rashi on Torah does not explain this in his commentary
[ And as it has been explained many times, that Rashi’s style on Torah is to resolve all questions that arise in learning the Chumash, as is proven by the fact that many times Rashi writes on a specific aspect: “I do not know” (or similar terms), which implies that that in all other places where there is, seemingly, a difficulty in the verse, and Rashi is silent and does not state: “I do not know” – it is because according to Rashi’s view there is no question, according to the simple understanding of the verse, that requires an explanation. Or the question has already been answered in a previous commentary by Rashi]
Seemingly, one could answer, that according to Pshat, this question does not require an answer, for we are not particular with names. This is, seemingly, proven from what we have already found in a similar difference previously in Parshat Bereshit – “and Irad begot Mehujael, and Mehijael begot Methushael” where the verse changes from “Mehujael” (with a vav) to “Mehijael” (with a yud) – and Rashi does not comment on this change.
This view is cited in Ibn Ezra: “Do not look for grammatical rules (dikduk) in names”, “The names are not scrutinized like the verbs”. In other words, one need not be particular regarding the letters and vowels of a name, for there is no necessity that it be exact, regarding the reason for the name. Accordingly one need not question the change of the name from “Peniel” to “Penuel” (and as other examples have been cited that the (writing of a) name can change slightly from one verse to another)
However, it is seemingly difficult to answer it this way in our case. For even though the Chumash is not particular with names, and as above, like the change from “Mehujael” to “Mehijael” (and many other instances) –
there is a big difference between normal names that are mentioned in the verse (without explaining the reason for the name), where one could say that that there is no precision in the names –
to our case, where the verse explains the reason for the name.
For with these names, Rashi would hold that we need to be exact in the letters of the name, as much as possible - that we should choose a word whose interpretation is exactly fitting to the reason of the name.
And like Rashi explains on the verse: “And he named him Noah, saying, "This one will give us rest etc” - “He will give us rest (“Yaniach”) from the toil of our hands etc. and If you do not explain it that way, however (but from the root, the sense of the word does not fit the name, and you would have to name him Menachem [i.e., If we explain the word according to its apparent meaning, “this one will console us,” the child should have been called Menachem, the consoler.]”
From this we see that we are particular about the name when there is a specific reason for the name. Therefore one can not say that “Noach” is a shortened from of the word “Nechama” (consolation), but that it is from the phrase: He will give us rest (“Yaniach”).
And as such, it is perplexing. After the verse explains the name “Peniel” – “I saw an angel face to face” (“Peniel” – pnei (face) E-l (G-d)), what reason is there to change the name to “Penuel”?
[And even though, that even with names that have their reasons explained in the verse,
there is no requirement that that the letters of a name exactly match the letters of the etymology of the name, and it is sufficient that they be similar to the root letters (as is proven from the names of the tribes, and other cases etc) – this still does not answer the change in our verse.
For after the he calls the name of the place “Peniel” which is exactly like meaning for the name, what reason is there to change the name to “Penuel” (whose meaning is not clear)?]
2. Seemingly, one could answer, that the change from “Peniel” to “Penuel” is not a true change, because the letter yud and the letter vav is interchangeable. As we find previously (in Parshat Bereshit 3:20) regarding the name “Chava” –
“And the man named his wife Chava, because she was the mother of all life”.
Rashi comments: “This coincides with the expression of חַיָה, living, because she gives life to her offspring, as you say, (Ecc. 2:22):“For what does a man have (hoveh)?” with the expression“being” (haya) “
And at the surface, it appears that the intent of Rashi is like the Ibn Ezra (and other commentators) there, that Chava coincides with the expression of חַיָה, living for the “vav” and the “yud” are interchangeable.
Therefore, also in our case there is no difficulty, for “Peniel” and “Penuel” is not a true change, for the “yud” and the “vav”are interchangeable.
But from the wording of Rashi there, it is understood that, that the intent of Rashi is not (like the other commentators) that the “yud” and the “vav”are interchangeable.
For this concept of interchanging in not mentioned in Rashi there – Rather he writes that it is similar to the difference between the word "hoveh" ("have") and "haya" ("being") (as cited in Rashi ibid)
The explanation of the word “hoveh“ (in the verse: “For what does a man have”) is – that the word is in the present tense.
For ‘haya” is past tense and “hoveh“ is present tense. [ Like it is written (Ex. 9:3) ‘hand of the L-rd will be (Hoya) upon your livestock etc: and Rashi explains: “This is the present tense, for so it is said in the feminine gender: in the past היְתָהָ, in the future תִּהְיֶה, and in the present הוֹיָה, like עוֹשָֹה (does), רוֹצָה (wants), רוֹעָה (pastures).” And also in the masculine gender, for “in the present tense” we say “hoveh”]
And this is also the reason for the name “Chava”, “because she was the mother of all life” For the reason that the name “Chava” coincides with the expression of “Chaya” חַיָה, living, is because “Chava” and “Chaya” are the same root, and the difference between the “yud” and the “vav”are only in the usage (shimush) of the word (like ”haya” and “hoveh”)
And the reason that Rashi does not suffice with explaining that the “yud” and the “vav” are interchangeable, could be, because it corresponds with his view (above) that when the verse explains the reason for the name, one should be as exact as possible that the letters of the name precisely match the meaning of the name.
Accordingly, we need an explanation in our case.
For since according to Rashi one should be as exact as possible,
[ even if one were to say that the name “Penuel” corresponds to ““I saw an angel face to face” (pnei E-l), for the “yud” and the “vav”are interchangeable, nevertheless]
why change the name from “Peniel” to “Penuel” (which is not exact)?
3. One could say that even “Peniel and Penuel” is similar to “Chava” coinciding with the expression of “Chaya”. For they are the same, the difference between the “yud” and the “vav” are only in the usage (shimush) of the word
And Rashi does not need to explain the reason for the difference between the usage of the “yud” and the usage of the “vav” in the two names of “Peniel” and “Penuel” - for it is understood from the verse itself:
The reason for the name “Peniel” is: “I saw an angel face to face”. There are two “faces” found here, the face of Jacob and the face of G-d. And accordingly it is understood simply, that the two names correspond to the same event.
When Jacob saw the face of G-d, he called the place “Peniel” corresponding to “pnei (face) of E-l (G-d).
Yet “when he passed” from the place he called it “Penuel” corresponding to “panav” (his face - the face of Jacob) that saw G-d – “panu E-l” [ for “panu” corresponds to “panav” as if to say: “his face (Jacob’s) was to (el) E-l (G-d)]
And this explanation fits with the inner explanations in this verse. For it is explained in Or Torah from the Tzemach Tzedek that "Peniel - I saw an angel face to face” is like the verse (psalms 27:8): “On Your behalf, my heart says, "Seek My presence (panai)." Your presence (panecha), O L-rd, I will seek” which is the avodah from the pnimiyut of the heart, in which is revealed the level of: "Your presence (panecha), O L-rd,” the supernal pnimiyut which is revelation of “panim el panim” (face to face)
There are thus two aspects:
a) Bakshu Panai ("Seek My presence”) – G-d “seeks” the pnimiyut of man and
b) Es Panecha HaShem Avakeish ("Your presence, O L-rd, I will seek”) – that man seeks and is drawn to the pnimiyut above.
And these are the two aspects of “Peniel” and “Penuel”:
a) The supernal pnimiyut (“pnei E-l)
b) And the pnimiyut of the heart below (“panu E-l”)
4. In Or Torah there, there is another explanation for the change from of “Peniel” to “Penuel”.
“Peniel” is the essential Avodah from the pnimiyut of the heart (as above). And this is why it states “Peniel” with a yud, because the connection and cleaving with the pnimiyut of G-d is tied up with the Bitul (abnegation) of the materialism of this world, until there is nothing left save a mere point, similar to the point of the letter yud;
However the purpose of Avodah is - to draw down G-dliness into this world. And that is why after “Peniel” "I saw an angel face to face", comes the aspect of “And the sun rose for him when he passed Penuel, etc” with a vav which is the drawing down of G-dliness into this world (as is known that the letter vav “depicts on (and its form is) drawing down from above to below)
And this explanation that “Penuel” with a vav depicts drawing down into this world, fits with the explanation of Bachya in the reason for the change from “Peniel” to “Penuel”. For “since his (Jacob’s) thoughts were occupied with the angel, he called the place Peniel with a yud to hint that this angel was the tenth level of angels who are called Ishim - and when he passed that place, and he was divested of that thought, he returned as in the beginning to feel this world which is six sided (three dimensional); therefore he called it “Penuel” with a vav”
And similarly the Rav HaMaggid of Mezeritch explains that: “In the beginning when Jacob overpowered the guardian angel of Esau, there still was no revelation [in the world]. . . (therefore it is) written “Peniel” with a yud, hidden. And afterward, it is written “And the sun rose for him when he passed”. In other words, a second effluence was drawn down to be revealed and he had strength to overcome Esau [and not just the spiritual guardian angel of Esau but literally over Esau] it was called Penuel with a vav for it was already drawn down and revealed.
And one could say that the difference between “Peniel” (with a yud) and “Penuel” (with a vav) fits also with the difference between in the explanation of these two words - “pnei E-l” or“panu E-l” :
“pnei E-l” is the pnimiyut of G-d, namely the G-dly light that is above the world
“panu E-l” – is from the words turning (pniya and netiya) – namely the way that the G-dly
Light “turns” “Poneh” (and noteh) and is drawn from above to below to enlighten the world.
It appears, simply, that this explanation of “Penuel” contradicts the previous explanation (Par, 3) of “Penuel” referring to the pnimiyut of the heart of man (who “seeks” the Supernal pnimiyut, "Your presence (panecha), O L-rd) because this explanation refers to drawing down into this world.
But since these two names “Peniel” and “Penuel” refer to one place, it is logical to say, that according to all explanations, even the name “Penuel” is connected to the Avodah from the pnimiyut of the heart.
5. And this can be understood by prefacing the question in the above explanation of “Peniel” – that it refers to the Avodah from the pnimiyut of the heart, in which is revealed the pnimiyut of G-dliness ("Your presence (panecha)). –
For, seemingly, how does this explanation fit with the simple explanation of the verse, that “I saw an angel face to face” refers to the war of Jacob with the “guardian angel of Esau”. That they are not just two different and opposite explanations, but methods in Avodat HaShem that are completely opposite.
For the difference between the Avodah stemming from the outwardness of the heart which is connected to the outer aspect of G-dliness compared to the Avodah of Bakshu Panai ("Seek My presence”) is:
The Avodah stemming from the outwardness of the heart, is connected with the contemplation in the greatness of G-d, the way it comes into expression in the creation of the worlds: “How many are your works HaShem” and “How great are your works HaShem”.
For this is the outer aspect of G-dliness, namely, the way that G-d contracted His essence, as it were, to create the worlds and to enliven them. For this is a lowering compared to G-d Himself.
But there is a much higher Avodah - that man “seeks” the pnimiyut of G-dliness, the innermost aspect of G-dliness, the way He is above all worlds – “His greatness is unsearchable”, which is the revelation of the pnimiyut of G-dliness in the innermost aspect of the heart and soul.
And the difference in actual Avodah is –
When man “seeks” and reveals just the outward aspect of G-dliness, whose level recognizes the existence of the world - his Avodah is in a manner of war. For he needs to overpower the obstacles and hindrances, both from an inner aspect (from his inclination etc) and also from an outer aspect, until he is successful in vanquishing them.
However, when one has the revelation of G-d’s face (panecha HaShem), the innermost aspect of G-dliness, which is above all worlds – then he is completely connected and attached to G-d, such that he has no relation to any obstacle or hindrance.
Accordingly, how does the above explanation of: "I saw an angel face to face”, which refers to the Avodah from the innermost aspect of the heart which has revealed in it “G-d’s face” (panecha HaShem), fit with the simple explanation that it refers to the battle of Jacob with the guardian angel of Esau (in a manner of “And a man wrestled with him” in a way of struggling one with the other)?
One could say that the connection between the inner explanation and the simple explanation of “Peniel” can be understood according to the inner meaning of the names Peniel” and “Penuel”.
For truthfully they are one concept (just like they are names for one place). For the difference between the yud and the vav does not make a change or difference in the subject of the name.
6. The explanation of this aspect is:
That which the letter yud being just a point, and the letter vav “depicting the drawing down from above to below” represent two opposites –
Where the bittul of the letter yud depicts the revelation of the Pnimiyut of G-dliness - that from its standpoint there is nothing beside Hashem.
And the vav depicts the G-dly light, the way it manifests itself from above to below in the confines of the world –
is only from a perspective of “revelations” (giluim) of G-dliness.
Thus the revelation of the Pnimiyut of G-dliness is above the confines of the world (and effects Bittul, the point of the letter yud)
And only the contracted revelation of the G-dly light manifests itself into the existence of the world ( which is represented by the letter vav);
But from the perspective of the Pnimiyut and essence of G-dliness , the way HaShem is above all boundaries of “above” and “below”, he transcends all worlds equally. Below is like above, and there is no difference between the Bittul of the letter yud to the manifestation of the letter vav. For the Bittul of the letter yud, which is a complete Bittul (abnegation) (due to the revelation of G-dliness which is above the worlds) is drawn into the existence of the world itself, connecting the letter yud and the letter vav.
And one could say that this aspect if hinted in the explanation of the two names Peniel” and “Penuel” - - “pnei E-l” and“panu E-l” :
On the verse (Lev. 26:17): “I will set My attention (panai) against you”, Rashi comments:
“Just as it is said regarding the good, “I will turn (paniti) towards you” (verse 9), so it is said regarding the bad, “I will set My attention [against you.” Our Sages] drew a parable to a king, who said to his servants [when they had not obeyed him]: “I am now turning (poneh) my attention away from all my affairs, and I am occupying myself with you etc”
From the plain wording of Rashi it is understood that he explains the word “panai” from the root paniya (turning – like the word “u’paniti”). And the subject of turning (“paniya”) that is hinted in the word “panai” (from the word face (panim)) is – that “I am now turning (poneh) my attention away from all my affairs, and I am occupying myself with you etc”. In other words, a “turning” with His entire being and essence,
(and that is why it is hinted in the word “panai” which depicts essence (Pnimiyut and Atzmut), as Rashi comments on the verse ( Ex. 23:14): “My Presence will go, and I will give you rest.", “I Myself will go,” )
because this “turning” is not connected to Tzimtzum (contraction) etc, but it the way G-d turns with all of His essence to Yisroel.
And this “turning” from the perspective of G-d’s essence manifests itself below like above, a connection of the letter yud and the letter vav, as above
And this is also the connection between the two explanations of “Peniel” - the Avodah from the innermost aspects of the heart, and the battle with the “guardian angel of Esau” –
for they are not different aspects, but they are the same thing. For the completeness of the Avodah of: “Seek My presence (panai)." Your presence (panecha), O L-rd, I will seek” is when the Bittul from the pnimiyut of the heart, is drawn into revelation, in all its strength, in all its aspects (even in the outer aspects).
And this was exhibited by Jacob. For his battle with the “guardian angel of Esau” was with the strength of his attachment to HaShem from the pnimiyut of the heart. For even when he “descended” and was drawn into dealing with the “guardian angel of Esau” (to overpower him and to defeat him), his attachment and Bittul to HaShem was not diminished, for he had this complete Bittul in all situations.
And this is also why the victory over the “guardian angel of Esau” was in a manner of: “because you have commanding power (sarisa) with [an angel of] G-d”, from the word “rulership” (serara).
For the aspect of wrestling was only with the “man” (and a man wrestled), the “guardian angel of Esau”.
But from Jacob’s perspective, the victory was in a manner of “rulership”, since the victory was with the strength of his attachment to HaShem in a manner of “"I saw an angel face to face”, as above.
(m’Sichas Yud Kislev
Shabbat Parshat Vayishlach and Shabbat Parshat Vayeishev 5741)
Gutnick Chumash pp. 137
|Date Modified:||Date Reviewed:|