Illuminations #137, Cheshvan 5778, Parshat Toldot

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Illuminations #137, Cheshvan 5778, Parshat Toldot

Torah Gems

The Pasuk says “Now sharpen if you please your gear, your sword, and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me” (27:3). The Talmud says (Beitzah 28a) that the words “שא נא” means “sharpening.” Rashi explains, “Sharpen your knife and make the right Shechita that you shall not feed me Neveilos. The question is, why just now does Yitzhak tell Eisav not to feed him Neveilos, after all, this is not the first time that Eisav feeds Yitzhak?

The explanation for this question is found iParashas Vayikra (11:3): “These are the creatures that you may eat.” The Midrash says Hashem showed Moshe a skull of a goat on fire and told him, “If there’s a punctured skull, however small it is, it’s forbidden.” So why did Hashem have to show him the skull on fire? The Or HaChaim answers since Adam ate from the Tree of Knowledge, the food had been mixed with good and bad, like meat with Sciatic Nerve, therefore we are not allowed to eat forbidden foods because it can affect a personThe Talmud says (Sanhedrin 59b) when Adam was in Gan Eden the angels were roasting his meat, so the Snake got jealousSo, he put his venom in Adam’s meat, and after that the angels roasted the meat, and the venom does not exist after roasting thus the meat is not harmful to the one who eats itBecause of the snake’s jealousy he persuaded Adam and Chava to eat from the Tree of KnowledgeSo, we can take this example for ourselves and say that if we burn the prohibition, then it is permitted because there is no taste of prohibition like the Snake’s venom. Chazal teach us that it’s not because of the taste that it’s not allowed, but because the Torah says so, even when there is no understandable reason. When Hashem tells Moshe, “You see the skull of the goat, there is a puncture even though it is on fire, you are still forbidden to eat from it.”

Now we return to our question, why did Yitzhak warn Eisav that he should not feed him Neveilos precisely this time? Eisav certainly was careful before not to feed Yitzhak Neveilosbut this time was Passover and the meat needs to roast on fire like the Korban Pesach, thus Yitzhak feared that Eisav will find a permit for roasting Neveilos claiming that anyway by fire it will burn the prohibition. Therefore Yitzhak warns Eisav precisely this time, “Sharpen your knife and make the right Shechita that you shall not feed me Neveilos.

Parsha Pearls

It’s written in The Parashah (Toldot 25:23), “Hashem said to her, two nations are in your womb.” Chazal explain the words, “Two Nations” are Great Nations, Antoninus and Rebbi. Why does Chazal mention Antoninus and Rebbi in our Parashah?

The answer is that Rivka was in pain and sad because she knew from Ruach Hakodesh that Eisav would be a cruel and wicked personbut then Rivka had been told that something good would come out of Eisav. One of Eisav’s descendant will be AntoninusAntoninus was a Gentile that later converted to Judaism and learned Torah with Rebbi. The second nation is Rebbi, one of the biggest Rabbi’s in the Talmud, that came out from Yaakov Avinu.

We can see from here that it was necessary to mention the two big tsaddikim to comfort Rivka which prevailed in sorrow.

Glimpses of Greatness

Rav Ovadia and his wife had a Non-Jewish maid. At the end of her employment period, the maid planned to go back to her country, and packed her belongings and went to receive the money she deserved. Before leaving, the Rebitzin gave her an apple. A few minutes after, the Rav entered the house and asked her, ”Rebbetzin, where is the apple which was lying on the table?” “I gave it to the maid,” replied the Rebitzin. “But this apple is an apple of the seventh year,” said the Rav. ThRebitzin hurried out to the bus stop in order to take the apple from the maid. From far away she saw the maid hurrying up into the bus, so the Rebitzin increased her speed and got on the bus. The maid noticed the Rebitzin and tried to hideFinally, the Rebitzin got to her and asked her, “Why did you run away from me, you saw me looking for you?” The maid was frightened and she replied, “Please forgive me, take everything, just don’t turn me in to the police.” Shopened her bag, and returned to the Rebitzin all her gold and chains that she had tried to steal from her!

Halacha Weekly

Q. When Can One Believe a Non-Jew in Religious Matters? (I-4-175)

A. We are generally not permitted to believe the testimony of a non-Jew in religious matters. If there is a question regarding something related to a ritual prohibition and the Non-Jew may have the answer, we cannot ask him directly. If they say that such and such is kosher, for example, we cannot believe them. However, if the Non-Jew is engaged in his profession, then there are certain conditions on which we can rely on what he says himself directly.

Chocham Tzvi (39, R. Tzvi Hirsch Ben Yaakov Ashkenazi, Z”L) writes that it is permitted to rely on a non-Jew who is practicing his profession in three  circumstances: 1.) If the thing which is prohibited is more expensive than the item which is permitted. Because in any event the non-Jew will incur loss himself in order to cause the Jew to transgress so we do not suspect his words in this case; 2.) if he knows that the Jew is very careful regarding [possible] deception , for example if he purchases something specifically for a mitzvah or for healing purposes. Finally, 3.) If the non-Jew will incur loss, causing loss to himself in the future because he will lose customers if he is caught in his deception. In all these cases we can rely on what the non-Jew says .