Reply To: YWN Coffee Room Nightly D’Var Torah

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Short thought on Parshas Vayishlach. Yakov says, “Kotonti MiKol HaChasadim etc.” the simple meaning is that I am unworthy of the good that you have dealt me. Rashi refuses to explain it like that, saying instead that “I have become small because of all the kindness etc. that you have performed on my behalf”. The question is that kotonti literally means I have become small. According to Rashi’s explanation it should say niskatnu zechuyosai, or something to that effect.

The answer is that ultimately a person is nothing more than his zechuyos. Only they have true significance, and in the ultimate sense only they define the true essence of a person’s being.

I once heard from Rav Moshe Shapiro shlit”a that people have a mistaken notion of Olam Habba. They think that resembles Olam Hazeh, only they they will be a bit frummer. Actually, Olam Habbah is a place where a person has no existance beyond what they managed to create while in Olam Hazeh.

This is actually quite a sobering thought as to how we view the pursuit of mitzvos. We are doing nothing less than defining our eternal existence.

Getting back to the Parsha, this is what Yakov was saying I have become smaller because of my zechsim having been consumed. Yakov, the Av who represented the ultimate, eternal truth, viewed his existence as nothing more than his zechusim.