Vol 30.13 - Chayei Sarah 2 Spanish French Audio Video
|Hebrew Text: Chumash-Chayei Sarah|
1. On the verse (Gen 24:42):
“So I came today to the fountain etc.”
Rashi cites the words, “So I came today” and explains:
“Today I left, and today I arrived. From here we learn that the earth shrank for him”
(מכאן שקפצה לו הארץ - i.e., his journey was miraculously shortened)
In other words, from the extra words “today I arrived”,
for seemingly “why must he mention “today”,
we learn that Eliezer’s intent was, “I left today and I came today . . for the earth shrank for him“.
It has been mentioned many times, that when Rashi writes, “from here” (מכאן) (and does not suffice with just writing the explanation) that his intent with this is to precisely note that this is specifically learned “from here” and to negate that it could be learned from another place before this (even though, there is seemingly a supposition that one could learn this from another place).
One must understand this in our case (where he adds the word “from here” (מכאן)) – what “other place” is Rashi negating when he writes, “From here we learn that the earth shrank for him”?
Rashi’s source is in the Talmud – Tractate Sanhedrin. It states there that:
“For three individuals the land contracted: Eliezer, servant of Abraham, (Yaakov and Abishai, son of Zeruiah). Eliezer, servant of Abraham, is as it is written: ‘And I came that day to the well’. Eliezer’s intention was to say that on that day he left”.
(The same is in Pirkei d’Rebbe Eliezer and in the Midrash Tanchuma).
However, in the Midrash Rabbah on our Parsha, on the verse (verse 10),
“and he arose, and he went to Aram Naharaim, to the city of Nachor”,
“R’ Yitzchak states ‘on that very day’”
(in other words, “on the very day that he left from there, on the very day he came to the well”)
Thus, we see that the aspect of Eliezer’s path contracting for him (K’fitzat HaDerech) was already alluded to, according to the view of the Midrash, where it is written previously in Scripture, “and he arose, and he went to Aram Naharaim”. Namely, that entering “Aram Naharaim” was “on the very day that “he arose, and he went” (from Canaan).
According to this, it is possible to say that Rashi’s intent in writing,
“From here we learn that the earth shrank for him”
is to negate the view of the Midrash that we derive this from the verse,
“and he arose, and he went to Aram Naharaim”.
The reason for this is also understood. For in the simple meaning of the verse there is no necessity in the verse “and he arose, and he went”, that he journeyed through having the path contracting for him.
(Whereas, in our verse - “here” - there is the extra word of “today”, as aforementioned).
However, this explanation is not sufficient:
For Rashi’s necessity in negating other places is solely when there is a supposition, in the simple meaning of the verse, to derive this from another place. However, in our case, from the plain wording “and he arose, and he went”, there is no indication or necessity that the path shrank for him. Therefore, there is seemingly, no need for Rashi to negate this.
(Especially since even the Midrash continues,
“This is the view of R’ Yitzchak that, ‘So I came today to the fountain’ (verse 42) means ‘today I left from there, and today’”.
For one could say that the Midrash‘s intent is that the primary learning, of the earth contracting for Eliezer is derived from the verse, “So I came today” (verse 10). Therefore, there is a proof from this, that the words, here, “and he arose, and he went” refer to “today”.
2. Afterward Rashi continues:
“R’ Acha said: The ordinary conversation of the servants of the Patriarchs is more beloved before the Omnipresent than the Torah of their sons, for the section dealing with Eliezer is repeated in the Torah, whereas many fundamentals of the Torah were given only through allusions”.
This is very puzzling:
What is this aspect doing here, in the middle of Eliezer’s words? Seemingly, Rashi should have written this explanation (that concerns the entire “section dealing with Eliezer”) immediately in the beginning of Eliezer’s words (that were repeated) or at their conclusion. Moreover, why does Rashi cite this specifically on this verse?
It is even more puzzling:
Seemingly, it is possible to explain, that Eliezer‘s words before this verse (“So I came today etc.”) are a recounting of Avraham’s words. Therefore, one need not be (so much) puzzled why the Torah repeats them.
However, specifically on the verse, “So I came today etc.”, where the story (and words) of Eliezer himself begin, one must precisely note why Scripture is coming to repeat (also) this aspect. Therefore, Rashi answers, “The ordinary conversation of the servants of the Patriarchs is more beloved etc.”
However, notwithstanding the difficulty in the essence of the difference,
(Namely, that the question of the repetition of the episode is solely over Eliezer’s words),
in the end, even Eliezer’s beginning words are not (Avraham’s words) but rather “The conversation of the servants of the Patriarchs”. They are a part of Eliezer’s story. Plainly, Rashi’s intent in writing “The conversation . . is more beloved etc.” also applies to these words, as is understood from the continuation of Rashi’s words,
“for the section dealing with Eliezer is repeated in the Torah”,
and it is plain that also his initial words are included in the “section”.
3. One must also understand:
“So I came today: From here we learn that the earth shrank for him”.
This is an independent issue, and Rashi should have written it in a separate comment?
(As we find in many places in Rashi’s commentary on Torah, that when he explains two separate aspects, in the same words of a verse, that his style is to cite the words of the verse twice – to distinguish the two aspects by using two separate headings (since there is no connection between them – in their subject).
There are those who explain:
“Rashi has a difficulty what Scripture is coming to teach us that the earth contracted . . For one cannot say that this also proves that the matter came from G-d in order to give him Rivka. For this miracle, that was done for him, is not a proof regarding Rivka. For perhaps another maiden was in this city, that he should take. Or it may be that the earth contracted in the merit of Avraham. However, one must say: even if there is no need to write this, and we do not learn anything by it, nevertheless it was written because it comes to tell us that it is beloved before the Omnipresent - like the words of R’ Acha etc.“.
However, this answer requires great examination:
For even if we say, regarding this miracle
(of the path shrinking for him)
that there specifically “is no proof regarding Rivka”, nevertheless it is simple that it visibly depicts that G-d succeeded Eliezer’s journey in this mission (in general). Indeed, this was Eliezer’s intention, to prove to Besuel that G-d is with him and grants him success in everything. Therefore, how is it possible to say that this matter “does not tell us anything”?
Especially since this matter is also related to the main question regarding Rivka. Namely, Eliezer’s request, “Do not delay me, since the L-rd has made my way prosper”.
In other words, to take Rivka without delay or obstacle, claiming that, “the L-rd has made my way prosper”. For plainly, the proof that G-d made a miracle for him by contracting the way, is itself proof that one should not delay sending Rivka.
(Which is why Rashi does not need to expressly answer it, but rather solely to mark the name of the author. In other words, to indicate that the answer is alluded to, in the opinion (or conduct, and so forth) of this Tanna or Amora).
4. One could say that one aspect is answered by the other. In other words, that Rashi’s precise noting (aforementioned in Par. 1) that,
“From here we learn that the earth shrank for him”
is the very thing that proves the continuation of his comment,
“R’ Acha said: The conversation . . is more beloved”:
The very repetition (even when it is in an elaborate and detailed manner) is not questionable or requiring explanation, according to the simple meaning of the verse. For we find, many times in the Torah, the repetition of an aspect. Yet Rashi does not deem necessary to explain, each time, the reason for the repetition.
(For example, regarding the story of the creation of Adam HaRishon, where it is repeated twice (once, in general, and once, in detail). Yet Rashi does not explain the reason why it is stated in two places (and why the Torah does not write the entire story in one place)).
The question only arises in the verse, “So I came today”, where “From here we learn that the earth shrank for him”.
The verse tells us regarding this miracle “that the earth shrank for him”, not previously, in its place – when it tells of the main occurrences of Eliezer’s travelling to Aram Naharaim,
“and he arose, and he went to Aram Naharaim, etc.”)
Rather it is alluded to solely in Eliezer’s recounting to Besuel regarding them.
Therefore, one must say that the reason is:
Since primarily, this is related to Eliezer’s words to Besuel. For with this, he wanted to prove to him that the matter comes from G-d, and that he should not delay the engagement (as aforementioned). Therefore, it writes and informs us that the earth contracted, specifically in his story here.
However, if this is so, since we see that Scripture does not want to recount this miracle two times. So much so, that it omits it from its place (the story of the occurrence itself – in order that there not be a repetition). Moreover, it tells it solely in a place that is necessary to understand the aspect – there arises a great puzzlement:
What is the reason for the elaboration, in the section regarding Eliezer – which is repeated in the Torah, for each detail, two times? Yet, is it not enough to tell this aspect except just one time (and certainly regarding the story of the miracle)?
To address this Rashi states:
“So I came today . . From here we learn that the earth shrank for him”
(and not previously in its place).
And regarding the puzzlement of the one learning – if so, why is the entire story repeated?
Rashi continues and answers,
“R’ Acha said: The conversation of the servants of the Patriarchs is more beloved before the Omnipresent . . for the section dealing with Eliezer is repeated in the Torah, whereas many fundamentals of the Torah were given only through allusions.”
5. However, an “exceptional student” could ask:
This itself requires a reason. Why weren’t many fundamentals of Torah given except through allusions, and not with explanation and elaboration?
(Especially since it is simple that by giving the fundamentals of Torah through allusion one could come to err in the understanding of the Halacha etc.?)
Rashi alludes to the answer to this question, by citing the name of the author of the statement – “R’ Acha”:
On the verse, “and you shall talk of them” (ודברת בם - words of Torah),
R’ Acha expounded,
“‘Talk of them’ means one must make them permanent, and do not make them temporary”.
This requires explanation:
What is the innovation of R’ Acha? This is an express Mishnah, “Shammai says: make your Torah (study) a fixed practice”.
One could say that the explanation of this is:
The emphasis of the negative (השלילה) - do not make them – does not pertain to work, but rather to Divrei Torah (words of Torah) themselves. Namely, one should not make Divrei Torah a “temporary” matter. In other words, it is possible for a person to occupy a great deal of time in Torah study, yet the Torah that he studies, is for him – “temporary”. For its aspects are not fixed in his soul. So much so, that he forgets them quickly.
This is what R’ Acha is telling us by “make them fixed, and do not make them temporary”. That study of Divrei Torah must be in a manner that they are fixed in a person’s mind, through learning and reviewing each Halacha many times until he understands them clearly and they are set in his mind, and he remembers them well etc.
From this it is understood, that according to R’ Acha‘s view, it is not a question why many fundamentals of Torah were given through allusion. For according to his view, that there is an obligation to study Divrei Torah in a “permanent” manner, it is sufficient through allusion. For through study and review, in a fixed manner, time after time, one will certainly comprehend and understand them clearly, and determine the Halacha according to the Truth of Torah.
(Which is not so when they will be (just) words of Torah – even if not in allusion – yet they are learned in a temporary manner).
6.However, according to the aforementioned, that the “section dealing with Eliezer is repeated” in order to show the great dearness of the “conversation of the servants of the Patriarchs” – it is not understood from the other side:
Why wasn’t this detail – the miracle of contracting the path - also repeated? Moreover, why was it “given only through allusion” (through the extra wording of the verse)?
According to Pshat, this is not a question. For besides that, which if this detail would have also been repeated, there would not have been a reason (ניתן לדייק) to discern the reason for the repetition of the Parsha,
(As aforementioned, the whole question specifically arises when we see that the verse is precise to inform us regarding this detail, only once, in the place that it matters).
Just as in the “fundamentals of Torah” that “were given only through allusions”, the meaning is not that all the fundamentals of the Torah were given through allusion. Rather (like Rashi’s precise wording) “many fundamentals of the Torah”. There are many that are indeed expressly stated, and even repeated.
(As is understood, the question is not, in study according to Pshat, why these were expounded upon, and why these were given through allusion).
So too, on the other hand, regarding the “conversation of the servants of the Patriarchs” – the intent is not that Scripture deemed to repeat all the details of the “section dealing with Eliezer”. For even a repetition of the majority of the Parsha is sufficient to emphasize the dearness of the, “conversation of the servants of the Patriarchs”.
(And even in this, there is no question, according to study in the manner of Pshat, why these details were specifically chosen).
However, according to the Pnimiyut of the matter, there is reason to note, why specifically this miracle, in the section of Eliezer, which is the most visible miracle in this Parsha - is not only – not repeated in the Torah - but moreover was “only given through allusion” (through the extra words of the verse)!
One can explain the reason of the matter:
The miracle of, “the earth contracting for him” is uniquely related to the “Torah of their sons”.
(Note: “The ordinary conversation of the servants of the Patriarchs is more beloved before the Omnipresent than the Torah of their sons”. Rashi)
Therefore, it specifically comes through allusion.
7. This can be understood by prefacing what is written in another place (Likkutei Sichos vol. 20 pg. 330ff) regarding the (inner) reason why the fundamentals of Torah were only given through allusion:
According to what is explained in the writings of the Tzemach Tzedek on our Parsha, there is an aspect of “conversation” (שיחה), as it were, even Above. This is G-d’s Word (דיבורו ית׳), in which the world was created
(as it states, “The world was created with Ten Utterances”) and as it states in the morning prayer of the high holidays, “He spoke and it was” (הוא שח ויהי).
The difference, Supernally, between “conversation” and “Torah” is:
כביכול ומצמצם את עצמו) through the Ten Utterances to create, through them, the world and to give it vitality. From this comes natural conduct (ההנהגה הטבעיח).
(This is like the precise wording, “there is nothing new under the sun”. Solely, “under the sun” is it impossible for there to be an innovation in the work of Creation. However, through Torah, which is “above the sun”, it is possible for there to be an innovation in the work of Creation).
Therefore, the Tannaim and Amoraim performed wondrous miracles like: “He said: Ginai (River), part your river for me”, and as it states, “even the least among you can revive the dead”. This was through the power of their Torah.
This is the reason that many fundamentals of the Torah were only given through allusion. For since the Torah‘s aspect is to draw down “new light” (אור חדש), that is above the world, Therefore, it was only given below specifically through allusion. This is similar to the saying, “For the wise person, a hint (is sufficient)”, where a very complex aspect is transmitted specifically through allusion.
It is similarly understood in our case. The miracle of Eliezer’s journey contracting for him – which was in a manner of overturning the machinations of nature, is not explained in the Torah (at length). Rather, specifically in “allusion” like the “fundamentals of the Torah”.
(Whereas, the rest of all the details of the story of Eliezer, that are expressed in the Torah, at length – even though from them, it is clearly visible that G-d prospered his path in a manner that “her have You designated for Your servant, for Yitzchak”, nevertheless, they did not possess the aspect of overturning the machinations of nature).
One could say that the reason that in the “section dealing with Eliezer” (the “conversation of the servants of the Patriarchs”), the miracle of contracting the path, that is related to the “the Torah of their sons”, is also included is because:
It is explained in many places, that the reason for the dearness of the “section dealing with Eliezer”, so much so, that it is “more beloved . . than the Torah of their sons” is because the mission of Eliezer in the matter of the marriage of Yitzchak and Rivka was related to the general aspect of the giving of the Torah.
(As is also alluded to in the giving of the “two bracelets for her hands, weighing ten gold (shekels)” to Rivka, as Rashi explains that they are an “allusion to the two Tablets . .and an allusion to the Ten Commandments”).
From this it is understood that also the “section dealing with Eliezer” itself must possess a semblance of the “new light” (אור חדש) that above the nature of the world, that is revealed through Torah. This was in the miracle of the path contracting for him (קפיצת הדרך).
8. One can connect this with the explanation of the Baal Shem Tov on this verse, as he states:
“From the verse, ‘So I came today to the fountain etc.‘ emanates the (mystical) name for contracting the earth” (שם של קפיצת הארץ).
It is explained in the Sefer Avodat Yisroel (from the Maggid of Kosnitz) that,
“This is the explanation (of Rashi’s words):
‘Today I left, and today I arrived. From here we learn that the earth shrank’,
This means, “From here” (מכאן) itself. From these words in this statement”. Namely that “from this verse itself emanates the name for contracting the earth”.
According to what has been mentioned above, that the miracle of contracting one’s journey is related to the “Torah of their sons”, one could say that this is why the name for contracting the earth is specifically alluded to in this verse (and not previously in the verse “and he arose, and he went”).
For in the verse, “So I came today to the fountain”, the aspect of Torah is alluded to, as it is explained in the Zohar that:
“The fountain of water” (עין המים) in this story alludes to the spring of Wisdom, the source of the Torah (למעיין החכמה, מקור התורה).
This is why it states, “And she went down to the fountain”. For she descended to draw water of wisdom of Torah (מי החכמה דתורה), with the pitcher (כדה) that was on her shoulder etc. and she filled the pitcher – this refers to the twenty-four books of Torah”.
We therefore find that the verse, “So I came today to the fountain” is related to the source of the aspect of Torah, Therefore, from this verse emanates the name for contracting the earth – miraculous conduct that is above nature.
M’Sichas Shabbat Parshat Chayei Sarah 5737
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