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Friday, December 1

The Weekly Shtikle - Vayishlach

A special Weekly Shtikle mazal tov to my nephew, Shlomo Yitzchok Shonek of Far Rockaway, who is celebrating his Bar Mitzvah this Shabbos.


When Yaakov learns that Eisav is coming to meet him with 400 men, he expresses great fear as stated (32:8) "vayira Yaakov me'od vayeitzer lo." There are various suggestions given as to the exact definition of the word vayeitzer. The predominant interpretation seems to be that it is from the same root as tzar, implying that Yaakov was stressed.


I suggest that perhaps this word is from the root of the word yeitzer which comes from the same root as tzurah, a form. While the body is the physical form of the human being, the yeitzer - both the yeitzer tov and the yeitzer hara - comprises spiritual form of the human being. Yaakov's yeitzer, his spiritual form, was one that directly opposed murder and violence, unlike his brother Eisav. Rashi writes that while vayira was indicative a fear that he himself may be killed, the connotation of vayeizter is that Yaakov was worried that he might be put in a position where he would have to kill others. In other words, Yaakov was troubled that he would be forced to act in a way that is antithetical to his yeitzer. Thus, vayeitzer can be interpreted to mean that his yeitzer was being bothered.

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:
Dikdukian: Appearances
Al Pi Cheshbon: Goats and Amicable Numbers by Ari Brodsky

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