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Thursday, November 29

The Weekly Shtikle - Vayishlach

In this week's Parsha, Rashi makes mention of the concept of "acharon, acharon chaviv". If asked what the meaning of this saying is, one would probably answer, "The last is the most dear." However, as a friend of mine pointed out, a closer look at Rashi shows that it is not quite that simple.

Pasuk 33:2 discusses the order of Yaakov's wives and kids as they approached Eisav. First were the shefachos and their kids. Then were Leah and her kids and then Yosef and Rachel. It is on this pasuk that Rashi invokes the idea of "acharon acharon chaviv." However, one might have expected Rashi's comment to appear as an explanation of Rachel's placement since she was last. In fact, it is going on the words "V'es Leah uvaneha acharonim". It seems clear that what is bothering Rashi is that the word acharonim is used even though Leah and her kids were not last. Rachel was behind them. Rashi then explains that acharonim really only means further behind but not the last. Rashi conveys this by telling us that acharon, acharon chaviv, which, as we see from the placement, does not merely mean that the last is the dearest but rather the further back, the more dear. Leah was specifically put behind the shefachos because she too was dear. She was more dear than the shefachos but not as dear as Rachel and Yosef. I later saw that the sefer "Lifshuto Shel Rashi" understands Rashi this way as well.

The above observation is made by Tosfos Yom Tov (Demai 7:3) regarding the phrase "Uma'aser sheni ba'achronah." He explains that this is a refutation of those who claim that there will not be a third Beis HaMikdash, based on the following pasuk in Chagai (2:9) "Gadol yihyeh kevod habayis hazeh ha'acharon min harishon," referring to the second Beis HaMikdash. This might lead one to believe that the second Beis HaMikdash was the last. But from the pasuk in this week's parsha, we see that this is not the true meaning of the word "acharon."

He brings yet another proof from the pasuk in Shemos (4:8) where HaShem declares to Moshe that if B'nei Yisroel do not believe Moshe's first sign, "vehe'eminu l'kol ha'os ha'acharon." However, in the very next pasuk, HaShem proceeds to give Moshe a third sign - the spilling of the waters of the Nile and turning them to blood. The Radziner Rebbe derived an amusing allusion based on this last proof. The pasuk (Shemos 12:13) states "vehayah hadam lachem le'os al habatim," the blood will be for you a sign on the houses. The blood, referring to the third sign that was given to Moshe, proving that the word acharon does not mean last, was a sign for the houses - an indication that the second Beis HaMikdash would indeed not be the last.

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:
DikdukianThe Great Dishon Confusion
Al Pi CheshbonGoats and Amicable Numbers by Ari Brodsky

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