Parshas Toldos 5776
Candle Lighting Time: 4:28 pm
Nov 13, 2015
Volume 12 Issue 5
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Dvar Torah


By Rabbi Yosef Prupas

In Parshas Vayigash, Yaakov Avinu is troubled by the prospect of having to leave Eretz Yisrael. G-d appears to him at night and tells him not to be afraid. The Meshech Chochma asks, why is G-d appearing to Yaakov at night? Don't only the wicked, like Bilam, receive visions at night? The Meshech Chochma's answer centers on the concept of night representing exile. G-d was demonstrating that even in exile, He will be with Yaakov. In this week's Parsha, G-d appears to Yitzchak at night.     What message is G-d conveying to Yitzchak?
To begin to answer this question, one must examine the events that led to this prophecy. Yitzchak, after being sent away from Avimelech, settles in Grar and attempts to re-establish himself by digging wells. The first two he digs are contested. After relocating, Yitzchak digs a third well that remains unchallenged. G-d then appears to Yitzchak at night. There is much commentary on the significance of these three wells. For example, the Ramban writes that they allude to the three Temples. The first two were destroyed, and the third Temple remains.  
The Vilna Gaon explains that the three wells symbolize the three facets of Gevurah . They are Binah /wisdom/knowledge, Gevuros /power/might, and Malchus /majesty/sovereignty. These attributes represent themselves in three presents that Hashem gives the Jewish people, but are acquired only with difficulty (tractate Berachos  5) - Torah ( Gevurah ), Eretz Yisrael ( Malchus ), and the World to Come ( Bina ).   Rabbi Meir Belsky shlit"a writes that it is for this reason Yitzchak had to remain in Eretz Yisrael. Yitzchak served Hashem primarily through Gevurah , and Malchus /majesty is the facet of Gevurah that manifests itself only in Eretz Yisrael. Nowhere else do the Jewish people exhibit this attribute. Therefore Yitzchak, who is metaphysically tied to Eretz Yisroel, must remain in Eretz Yisrael. Nowhere else could he accomplish his life's mission.
This struggle to acquire Eretz Yisrael (hinted to on a physical level in the difficulty of digging the wells) is mirrored in Yitzchak's descendants by force of the ruling principal " Ma'aseh avos siman la'banim ." The actions of the forefathers echo in the children. Yitzchak's exile in Eretz Yisrael, manifests itself with the exile of the Jewish nation under the Greeks. This exile was only in  Eretz Yisrael.
Based on the above we can now understand why G-d appeared to Yitzchak at night. It was to tell Yitzchak that even in the exile that takes place in Eretz Yisrael, He will be with him. However one question remains. Why does G-d appear to Yitzchak only after he already successfully dug the third well?
The answer could possibly be found in the commentary of the Netziv, in Emek Davar. The Netziv explains that the purpose of the second blessing to Yitzchak (bestowed to him that night) was to extend chein /endearment to those who involve themselves in Torah. They should be saved, as the Mishna in Avos says " Kol hamikabel alav ol Torah, ma'avirin mimenu ol malchus v'ol derecho eretz,"  Anyone who accepts upon himself the yoke of Torah, the yoke of government and earning a livelihood is removed from him. The Netziv points out that this is why, through individual divine providence, meritorious individuals survived the destruction of the Temples. All this took place in Eretz Yisrael.
Perhaps we have an understanding now why the Meshech Chochma focuses his discourse on Yaakov rather than Yitzchak. G-d's appearance to Yaakov took place prior  to Yaakov's leaving Eretz Yisrael. G-d's message had a personal, immediate, relevance. Therefore, the message of G-d "going down to Egypt with Yaakov," and the same for subsequent exiles, is clear. In contrast, by Yitzchak, G-d appears only after  the "exile." This is because the Torah, in its fullest meaning (Written Torah and Oral Torah) is the solution to restoring sovereignty to Eretz Yisrael, as in the Temple era, is sometimes only fully understood after the trial and tribulations of the exile is over. The facet of Bina /wisdom/knowledge needed to acquire the World to Come, finds it test in the ability to look back at the past and understand that difficulties had one purpose - to appreciate the ability to get as close as possible to G-d in His Holy Land. Hindsight is not always 20/20. This was part of the test under the intellectual onslaught of the Greeks, and will be the case in the era prior to Moshiach when confusion will reign supreme. As G-d revealed to Yitzchak the purpose of the test - after the test, so it will be on that when G-d reveals His Gevurah/Malchus/Bina to the world. The purpose of all the suffering and pain of exile with be clear. May that day come soon.

Dvar Halacha
Laws of Chanukah      
Part 2  
  By  Rabbi Yochanan Eskenaz i
The Shulchan Aruch [671:1] writes that one must be very careful with lighting neiros Chanukah .   The Gemara [ Shabbos  23b] says that anyone who is careful with lighting candles will merit children who are talmidei chachamim  ( Torah  scholars).   Rashi [ibid] explains that the candles the Gemara  is referring to is both ner Shabbos  and ner Chanukah  because by observing these mitzvos  one brings the light of Torah  into the world.
The minimal obligation is that there should be one candle per house, each night.   However, it is mehadrin min ha'mehadrin (highest level of mitzvah observance) for each person to light his own menorah  with enough candles for each night (Gemara Shabbos 21b & Be'ur Halachah 672:2 s.v. b'lailah).    Practically speaking, if there are two [males] living in one house, each one would individually light their own menorah , with one candle for each night (i.e. each would light one candle on the first night, two candles on the second night, etc.).
Both men and women are obligated to light Chanukah candles (Shulchan Aruch 675:3).   The reason women are obligated even though it is a mitzvas asei shehasman grama  (time bound positive commandment), is that they too were involved in the neis (miracle) (Mishneh Berurah 675:10).   The minhag is that women fulfill their obligation with the men's lighting (Mishneh Berurah 675:9).   Some Poskim  hold that a husband may only fulfill his wife's obligation to light if he is home, or even if he is traveling as long as he is together with her (Harav Eliyashiv zt"l & ybl"c  Harav Chaim Kaneivsky, shlit"a  quoted in Sefer Shloshim Yom Kodem Hachag pg. 262 ftnt. 27).   If a woman would want to light herself [even in the presence of her husband], she may, with a brachah  [according to Ashkenazic custom] (Shu"T Minchas Shlomo 2:58:2:3 s.v. u'v'misheh brurah).   There is a machlokes  whether a katan shehegiah l'chinuch (child of educational age)  is obligated (Shulchan Aruch & Rama 675:3).   The Mishneh Berurah [675:14] rules that regarding a minor it would suffice to light one candle per night.
It is permitted to use any type of oil or wicks (Shulchan Aruch 673:1).   However, it is considered mitzvah  min hamuvchar  (preferable) to use olive oil since it lights better (Rama 673:1).   The mitzvah  min hamuvchar is only with olive oil and not with other types of oils. Therefore, if one does not have olive oil there is no advantage of using oil over candles (Koveitz Halachos [ Piskei Harav Shmuel Kamenetsky, shlit"a ] 1:1).   All the neiros  should be of the same material [i.e. all candles or all oil] (Mishneh Berurah 673:2).   The shamash  may be different than the others (Koveitz Halachos 1:10).   If ready-made neiros  light better than neiros  one makes oneself, it is preferable to light the ready-made (Koveitz Halachos 1:ftnt.1).
The Gemara [Shabbos 21b] says one should light at the entranceway to his house. The reason is because it can be easily seen by people passing by and also shows that it is not for personal use. The Gemara continues that in times of danger [when people's lives were in danger if they practiced their Judaism] it is permissible to light the menorah inside on the table [i.e. in a place where it was shielded from public view]. Nowadays, in Chutz La'aretz the minhag is to light inside, however it is still proper to light in front of a window [because there will be parsumei neisa to the people outside] (Mishneh Berurah 671:38). According to Harav Moshe Feinstein, zt"l when lighting inside it is preferable to light by the place there will be the most parsumei neisa, ratherthan to place the menorah near the doorway on the other side of the mezuzah (Igros Moshe OC 4:125). If one is lighting inside, and lives higher than 20 amos from ground level [e.g. in an apartment a few stories up], if there are other buildings that are around the same height in close proximity, one should light by the window (Koveitz Halachos 9:3 ftnt. 3).

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