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Friday, November 20

The Weekly Shtikle - Vayeitzei

A hearty Weekly Shtikle mazal tov to my nephew, Dovid Nisson Shonek and his wife Tova on the birth of a baby boy in Eretz Yisrael last night. Mazal tov to the extended Bulka and Shonek families!


When Yaakov finally manages to escape the clutches of his evil father-in-law, Lavan, Rachel decides to do a little housecleaning and steals her father's idols. It didn't take long for Lavan to realize this. When he catches up with Yaakov and family he charges Yaakov with the theft of his gods. Yaakov pleads not guilty but, not knowing that Rachel had stolen them, offers Lavan to look around for them and declares that the one with whom they are found will not live. The pasuk that follows (31:33) is a rather confusing one and is the subject of much discussion. It reads, "And Lavan came into Yaakov's tent and in Leah's tent and in the tents of the two maids and did not find them. He then exited Leah's tent into Rachel's tent." How did he exit Leah's tent when he was in the tent of one of the maids? Rashi adds to the confusion by commenting that the tent of Rachel and the tent of Yaakov were one and the same and he was there twice. Is the pasuk out of order? It remains quite difficult to try and map out Lavan's exact search path.


R' Chayim Kanievsky, in Ta'ama D'kra, gives a fascinating and even slightly entertaining interpretation of the pasuk. He describes that the four tents were arranged in a 2x2 cube with the tents of Leah and Rachel on top, each of them above the tents of their respective maids. After passing through Yaakov's tent he began to search in Leah's tent because she was the oldest. From Leah's tent he came down to inspect the tents of the two maids and after coming up empty there he realized he may not simply be searching for his idols but rather chasing them. Maybe the idols were being passed from room to room as he made his way around. So, he thought, he would pull a fast one on them and go back the other way to look for them. Therefore, instead of entering Rachel's tent from Bilhah's tent, he came from Leah's tent because he had backtracked through the tents he had already visited. This explanation is even compatible with Rashi. He went through all the tents and then traced his steps back to Rachel's tent where he began. This resolves much of the confusion concerning with this pasuk. There are, however, many different ways to understand this pasuk amongst the commentaries but this, to me, was the most novel and most interesting.

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:
Dikdukian: From his Sleep
Dikdukian: Complete it
Dikdukian: Qualification of the "ahoy" rule

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