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Saturday, November 24

The Weekly Shtikle - Vayishlach

I know it's after Shabbos already but it didn't make sense to send a shtikle for Vayishlach.

A Weekly Shtikle mazal tov to my niece, Rikki Ash (née Bulka), and her husband Daniel on the birth of a not-so-little baby boy this past Tuesday. Mazal tov to my brother and sister-in-law, Shmuel and Chani, on becoming grandparents and to the extended Bulka, Hook and Ash mishpachos as well as the great-great-grandmother, Oma Jakobovits.

When Yaakov sends the angels to Eisav, he commands them to tell him, (32:5) "im Lavan garti", I have lived with Lavan. Rashi adds that garti has the same gematria as tarya"g, 613, and that Yaakov was saying I have lived with Lavan and, nevertheless, "vetarya"g mitzvos shamarti", I have kept the 613 mitzvos. There are two difficulties with this. Firstly, the statement in and of itself is not quite accurate. He did marry two sisters, after all. Secondly, why is he telling Eisav this? How is this supposed to affect Eisav when coming to confront Yaakov.

My Zadie, R' Yaakov Bulka, a"h, offers the following explanation: We assume that the meaning of the word shamarti is 'I kept'. But this is not necessarily so. We see in this coming week's parsha, after Yosef had his dreams, the pasuk recounts (37:11) "ve'aviv shamar is hadavar." Rashi there interprets this to mean that he waited and watched [to see] when it would come. This is the meaning of shamarti here as well. Yaakov may not have actually kept all 613 mitzvos while in Lavan's house. But being outside of Eretz Yisroel, there were many mitzvos he could not keep. In fact, Ramba"n is of the opinion that all the mitzvos did not apply to the avos while outside of Eretz Yisroel. So for 20 years, Yaakov had been waiting and yearning for his opportunity to once again be in the position to keep the 613 mitzvos. He was telling this to Eisav to show him how long he had been waiting for this moment, and how determined he was and therefore, there will be no stopping him.

Have a shavua tov..

Eliezer Bulka

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

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