Friday, December 30, 2005

Avraham vs Yaakov

I saw a very nice vort from the Meshech Chachma on Parshas VaYishlach. (I know this took place a few weeks ago, but I think the vort deserves to be posted).
We know that the gemara says that Avraham kept kol hatorah kulo including eruv tavshilin. The gemara also says that Ya'akov kept kol hatorah kulo including eruv techumim. The Meshech Chachma asks why by Avraham does it stress eruv tavshilin and by Yaakov it stresse eruv techumim.? He answers that the gemara is trying to show us what the strengths of both Avraham and Yaakov were. Avraham lived in a time where monotheism was a foreign concept. Avraham's job was to go spread the word of Hashem to the entire world. This was accomplished by having an open tent and being known as a paradigm of chesed. This role is represented by eruv tavshilin. An eruv tavshilin is food and food is what you give guests. It is the perfect representative of chesed.
Yaakov on the other hand had a different role to play. He was the father of the 12 shevatim. His job was not to spread monotheism to the world, but rather to teach his children and inculcate them with an understanding of what it means to be a Jew. Rather than open up to the world, Yaakov had to set techumim/ boundaries. This is represented by eruv techumim.
The Meshech Chachma ends off that thru the setting of boundaries Yaakov was zocheh to a "nachala b'li mitzorim"- an inheritence without borders. In fact we say this every Shabbos in the zemer of Mah Yedidus: "nachalas Ya'akov yirash, b'li mitzarim nachalah...".
Although the Meshech Chachma doesn't explain what he means I believe one way to understand it is that the "nachala b'li mitzarim" is referring to the essence of Klal Yisroel. Klal Yisroel has the ability to soar to great heights both in ruchniyus and gashmiyus. The only thing required of us is that we remain an am kodosh. Part of being k'doshim is setting boundaries and limits. If we set the appropiate limits and boundaries and remain true to the Torah then we will be zocheh to great things without a limit, a real nachala b'li mitzarim.

1 comment:

Esti said...

very nice, even i understood!