{Bereishis 27:32-36}

(32) “Isaac his father said to him, “Who are you?” (33) And he said, “I am your son, your first-born, Esav.” And Isaac trembled a great trembling, and said, “Who – where – is he, the one who caught game and brought it to me, and I ate of all when you had not yet come, and I blessed him? He shall also be blessed!(34) When Esav heard his father’s words, he cried out an exceedingly great and bitter cry, and said to his father, “Bless me too, Father!” (35) But he said, “Your brother came with cleverness and took your blessing.” (36) He said, “Was his name called Jacob, and he outwitted me these two times? – He took away my birthright and see, now he took away my blessing!”

Rashi comments: Why did Isaac tremble? He said, “Perhaps I have sinned, that I have blessed the younger ahead of the elder, and I deviated from the order of lineage?” Esav began to cry out, “He outwitted me these two times!” His father said to him, “What other thing did he do to you?” Esav said to him, “He took my birthright as firstborn.” Isaac said, “Over this was I distressed and trembling, lest I crossed the line of the law. Now I see that I blessed the firstborn. “He shall also be blessed.”

Rashi explains that Yitzchak exclaimed “He shall also be blessed” when he realized that Esav had sold the first-born right to Yakov. Yakov was the deserved recipient of the blessing. No mistake had been made.

The order, however, is problematic. As can be seen above, “He shall also be blessed” (verse 33)  was exclaimed well before Esav admits that he sold the first-born right to Yakov (verse 36).

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Chayei Sarah

After witnessing Rivkah fulfill his test, Eliezer gives her jewelry as a gift:

{Bereishis 24:22}

“And it was, when the camels had finished drinking, the man took a golden nose ring, its weight a beka, and two bracelets on her arms, ten gold shekels their weight.”

The wording is seemingly off – “…the man took… on her arms…”

The Torah is describing the gifting of the jewelry, and the verb that should appear is gave.

(Even if the Torah wishes to hint that he was performing Kidushin, and thus taking Rivkah for Yitzchak, the sentence is still poorly written. After all, the Torah is describing the jewelry, not Rivkah.)

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{Bereishis 20:1}

When Avraham traveled to Egypt in Lech Lecha, he asked Sarah to pretend to be his sister. He was fearful that if their marriage would be known, he would be killed and Sarah taken. In this week’s Parsha, the same dilemma confronts Avraham when he travels to Gerar. This time, however, he does not ask Sarah for permission to use this ploy. Instead, he declares that Sarah is his sister without consulting her.

“…and he sojourned in Gerar. Avraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister”; and Avimelech, king of Gerar, sent, and took Sarah.”

Rashi comments: Here he did not take permission, but did it against her will, without her consent, for she had already been taken to the house of Pharoah through such a ploy.

Rashi is astounding.

A) How could Sarah possibly object? The other option is to say they are married which will result in Avraham’s death. (If Avraham suspects Sarah has a third option, he should discuss it with her.)

B) If Sarah is objecting because she does not want to be taken again, as Rashi says, then it would not even help to say that they are married. Regardless, she will be taken. The only difference would be that Avraham would first be killed.

C) Rashi is repetitive. He says Avraham acted without Sarah’s permission three times (“Here he did not take permission”, “but did it against her will”, “without her consent”).

V’Tzorich Iyun Gadol.

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Lech Lecha

{Bereishis 13:16}

“I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth so that if one can count the dust of the earth, then your offspring, too, can be counted.”

Rashi comments: Just as it is impossible for the dust to be counted, so your offspring will not be counted.

As Rashi explains, the blessing is that Bnei Yisroel will not be able to be counted, like the dust. Why then doesn’t the posuk write it that way – “just as dust cannot be counted so too your offspring will not be able to be counted”? Why is it written in the positive, thereby implying the opposite of the blessing’s intent?

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{Bereishis 6:18}

“…and you shall enter the ark – you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.”

Rashi comments: “The men separately, and the women separately. From here we learn that they were forbidden to have relations.”

A handful of pesukim later the Torah describes Noach and his family entering the ark.

{Bereishis 7:7} 

“Noach, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, went into the ark because of the waters of the flood.”

Rashi comments: “The men separately, and the women separately, because they were forbidden to have relations, for the world was in a state of distress.”

(A) Why is it necessary for Rashi to repeat himself?

(B) Why does Rashi supply the reason (“for the world was in a state of distress”) only in his second comment, and not initially?

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{Bereishis 3:16} “To the woman He said, “I will greatly increase your suffering and your pregnancy; in pain shall you bear children. And your craving shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

Rashi comments:

“your suffering” – This is the pain of raising children.

“and your pregnancy” – This is the pain of pregnancy.

“in pain shall you bear children” – This is the pain of giving birth.

The question is simple and strong: Why is the curse not in the natural order of pregnancy, birth, raising children?

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Welcome to Tzorich Iyun!

Tzorich Iyun is an exciting new website devoted to asking thought-provoking questions on the weekly Parsha.

The questions are intended to be thought about during the week or asked at the shabbos table. Everyone needs a strong kasha to think about. Hopefully, these questions will lead to serious discussion and ultimately resolutions.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section.


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