Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Toldos

Out of fear for his life in Grar, Yitzchok said that Rivkah was his sister. After Yitzchok had lived there for some time ('ki archu lo shom hayomim'), King Avimelech looked closely ('vayashkeif') and saw ('vayar') that Yitzchok was 'metzacheik' with Rivkah, demonstrating that Rivkah was, in fact, his wife. (26:7,8)

Rashi, explaining 'ki archu lo shom hayomim', says that after having lived there and there being nothing, seemingly, to be concerned about, Yitzchok let down his guard and 'lo nizhar lihiyos nishmar' - he wasn't careful to take precautions. Rashi says, further (under the heading 'vayashkeif'), that Avimelech witnessed Yitzchak being engaged in marital relations.

1. Why does the pasuk say Avimelech both (i) looked closely/vayashkeif and (ii) saw/vayar, a somewhat redundant formulation.

2. Why does Rashi say 'lo nizhar lihiyos nishmar/he wasn't careful to take precautions', also a somewhat redundant formulation.

3. Rashi's headings (dibur hamatchil) are very precise. Why does Rashi use the heading 'vayashkeif' for the explanation of what Avimelech witnessed; this explanation belongs under a 'metzacheik' heading.

Beyond these questions we can also ask a threshhold question: How is it possible that Yitzchok would have been 'metzacheik' in a way that could be seen by outsiders, whether or not he thought the locals were suspicious? The Zohar's answer to this threshhold question is that Avimelech did not physically witness anything; rather he peered into the astrological signs to see if he could determine the relationship between Yitzchok and Rivkah. Vayashkeif means he consulted with the messages contained in the stars and perceived this detail about Yitzchok.

Based on this Zohar the Maskil L'Dovid answers the three questions above.

Avimelech first undertook to consult with the astrological signs (vayashkeif) and, upon investigating, 'saw' ('vayar') or perceived through this medium that Yitzchok was 'metzacheik'. This explains the use of both vayashkeif and vayar. Rashi explains what Avimelech saw under the heading 'Vayashkeif' because it was only through this medium that he perceived this detail about Yitzchok. But any physical perception of this detail is unthinkable.

According to the Zohar, why didn't Avimelech see this in the stars until now? At the time when Yitzchok's guard was still up we can imagine that he knew of Avimelech's ability to gaze into the stars to glean information about people. Accordingly, Yitzchok had to counter-act, perhaps by uttering certain names of HaShem or using other methods to block or jam Avimelech's 'reception'. Now that Yitzchok's guard was down, however, he no longer took those precautions. Therefore Rashi says both 'lo nizhar' and 'lihiyos nishmar': Lo nizhar, he wasn't careful any more; 'lihiyos nishmar', to take the precautions he had been taking - taking action to interfere with Avimelech's ability to 'see' in the stars.


Gal Einai, Copyright 2006 by Gedalia Litke and Torah.org


 






ARTICLES ON DEVARIM AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

That's Not What Friends Are For
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5772

Because of Us, not Through Us
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

Body Language
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5770

Looking for a Chavrusah?

In Our Best Interest
Rabbi Elly Broch - 5764

It's Not What You Want - But How You Ask
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759

How?
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5761

> The Three Weeks: What Are We Trying to Achieve?
Rabbi Naphtali Hoff - 5768

The Way to a Person's Soul is Through His Dignity
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5757

Appreciation
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5772

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Honesty
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5761

Born To Be Wise
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

When Moshiach Comes
Rabbi Label Lam - 5768

ArtScroll

Mourning on the 9th of Av: The Reasons
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

Taking Stock
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5757

Wise Rebuke
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5758

What Causes One to be Appreciative?
Rabbi Yosef Kalatsky - 5763



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information