Parshas Chayei Sarah 5776
Candle Lighting Time: 4:35 pm
Nov 6, 2015
Volume 12 Issue 4
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Dvar Torah

  

THE FALL OF YISHMAEL
 
By Rabbi Yosef Prupas

This week's parsha concludes with the death of Yishmael. Referring to Yishmael, the last verse states "al pnei chol echav nafal," literally translated as "over all his brothers he dwelt." Rashi picks up on the peculiar terminology used ("nafal" usually means falling or dying), and contrasts it with "yishkon" (literally to dwell) used in the angel's prediction to Hagar concerning the birth of Yishmael. To explain, Rashi cites a medrash that says that until Avraham died, Yishmael's dwelling is referred to as as "shachen," after Avraham's death, Yishmael's dwelling isconveyed as "nafal." The Kli Yakar questions whether the two expressions should be in reverse? It wasn't until Avraham's death that Yishmael repented. Would it not be proper for the period of life that Yishmael sinned to be articulated as "nafal"? The Kli Yakar proposes that these words may actually have the opposite connotations. "Yishkon" could mean to dwell with self-confidence, sure of oneself and not recognizing error. This was the case until Yishmael repented and then he was "nafal," subdued - he now recognized his faults. However, the Kli Yakar's explanation might hint to something much deeper.

Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner in Ma'amarei Pachad Yitzchak on Succos, quotes a Ba'al Haturim on the above verse: "The reason for the juxtaposition of "al pnei chol echav nafal," to "v'eileh toldos Yitzchak (and these are the offspring of Yitzchak)," is to tell you that only when Yishmael falls, then will ben Dovid (moshiach) arise - who is from the offspring of Yitzchak." Rabbi Hutner says that from the words of the Ba'al Haturim arises a very interesting question. We are well aware of the special dynamics of the relationship between Ya'akov and Eisav. It is understood clearly from Shem's prophecy in next week's parsha, "ul'om mil'om ye'ematz," that when one falls the other will rise. If such a dynamic exists between Yishmael and Yitzchak as well, why is it not stated clearly in the Torah?

Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner answers that Eisav and Yishmael are positioned very differently from each other. Yishmael's children are "nesi'em,"chieftains for their nations. Eisav's children, on the other hand, are "alufim," which the Talmud in tractate Sanhedrin explains to mean as "kings without a crown." Although his descendants did not deserve to serve as kings, they were royalty nonetheless - by virtue of their dictatorship. By contrast, Yishmael's offspring may have been in lofty positions, but they never became kings. This difference is because only Eisav became an inheritor, while Yishmael was sent away from the house of Avraham. That is why concerning Eisav's offspring the verse says "These are the chiefs of Edom... in the land of their possession." Whereas by Yishmael the verse merely says "These are their names by their open cities and their strongholds." There is nothing signifying possession/inheritance of land for Yishmael.

This has multiple ramifications. The Rambam points out that it is only the Christians (descendants of Eisav) that contest ownership of the Written Torah, claiming that they are the true keepers of the "bible." They dispute the Oral Torah that explains "b'Yitzchak v'lo kol Yitzchak," "in Yitzchak -but not all of Yitzchak," to the exclusion of Eisav. Yishmael is not involved. The Torah is clear that he will not inherit. On the other hand, being that the progenies of Eisav inherited land, they will not fight for ownership of Eretz Yisrael. The offspring of Yishmael are therefore eternally jealous of their lack of inheritance and will contest every bit of land owned by the Jewish People.

Rabbi Hutner goes on to say that because Yaakov and Eisav contest ownership of the Written Torah, it makes perfect sense that their struggle is stated explicitly in the Torah. Whereas Yishmael cannot lay claim to the written Torah, therefore his fight is only hinted to in the Written Torah.

Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner concludes, that now we can understand the medrash quoted by Rashi, as mentioned earlier. The reason why the Torah uses the word "nafal" after the death of Avraham is because it is after death that the inheritors become clear. It was now obvious that Yishmael will not inherit. 

   
 
Dvar Halacha
 
Laws of Chanukah      
Part 1  
 
  By  Rabbi Yochanan Eskenaz i
 
  It is important to learn the halachos of Chanukah in proximity to the Yom Tov , in order to familiarize oneself with the relevant laws (Koveitz Halachos [Piskei Harav Shmuel Kamenetsky, shlit"a] 18:1).
 
There is a difference between the miracle of Chanukah and the miracle of Purim.  With Purim, Haman decreed that the Jewish people should all be killed.  He would not have allowed them to live even if they converted.  If he would have succeeded there would no longer be mishteh v'simcha (feasting and being joyous).  Therefore, Chazal instituted that Purim is a day of praising Hashem through feasting and joy.  However with the miracle of Chanukah, Antiochus Harashah did not plan to kill them.  Rather he wanted them to cease practicing their religion.  Therefore, Chazal instituted that days of Chanukah should be days that we praise Hashem and be thankful we have the merit to serve Him, but not days of feasting (Shulchan Aruch 670:1 & Mishneh Berurah 670:6).
 
In view of the fact the days of Chanukah are days of hallel v'simcha (praise and joy), generally one may not say a hespid (eulogy) or fast [even if one has yahrtzeit for a parent] (Shulchan Aruch 670:1 & 3 & Rama 670:3).  If one did fast, he is required to fast another day after Chanukah for fasting on Chanukah (Mishneh Berurah 670:11).  Similarly, Tachanun is not recited beginning at Mincha of Erev Chanukah (Rama 683:1), nor do we say Lamnatzei'ach (Shulchan Aruch 683:1) or Kel Erech Apayim before taking out the Torah (Mishneh Berurah 683:1).
 
On Chanukah there is no mitzvah of having a seudah (festive meal) (Shulchan Aruch 670:2).  The Rama [670:2] comments that if one makes a seudah and sings zemiros v'tishbachos (songs and praises) to Hashem , this would have the status of a seudas mitzvah.   The Chafetz Chaim adds that one should be careful to say divrei Torah (Be'ur Halachah 670:2 s.v. v'nohagin).
 
We recite the complete Hallel all 8 days of Chanukah (Shulchan Aruch 683:1).  There is a machlokes whether women are also obligated to recite Hallel throughout Chanukah (see Sefer Ishei Yisroel 48:11).  If one accidentally said chatzi-Hallel on Chanukah, one would be required to repeat the complete Hallel (Koveitz Halachos 17:12).
 
Chazal established that we say Al Ha'neesim during bentching [in the brachah of nodeh lecha] and in Shemoneh Esrei [in the brachah of Modim] (Shulchan Aruch 682:1) since these 2 brachos are birchos ho'daah (blessings of praise)(Mishneh Berurah 682:2).  We do not mention Al Ha'neesim in the brachah mei'ain shalosh [Al Ha'michya] (Mishneh Berurah 682:2).  If one forgot to mention Al Ha'neesim one does not go repeat Shemoneh Esrei (Shulchan Aruch 682:1).  However, if one did not yet say Hashem's Name, he should go back and say it (Shulchan Aruch 682:1).  It is important to note, even in cases where one skipped Al Ha'neesim, one may add it later as a ba'kasha (request); in bentching during the Harachamuns and in Shemoneh Esrei during Elokei Netzor (Mishneh Berurah 682:4).  If one accidentally mentioned Be'may Mordechai v'Esther [which is recited on Purim] instead of Be'may Mattisyahu [and finished the brachah] he does not need to repeat (Koveitz Halachos 17:8).


 
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