Vertlach: Parshas Toldos

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The pasuk (25: 27) says, “The lads grew up and Esav became a man who knows trapping, a man of the field; but Yaakov was a wholesale man, residing in his tent.” Rashi points out and explains that the reason why the Torah uses the terminology ‘ish’, man, is to explain its definition. ‘Ish yodeah tzayid’ means that Esav was sharp and clever ; he would ask Yitzchak interesting questions in halacha, to make him think that he was very meticulous in his observance of mitzvos. On the other hand, he was an ‘ish sudeh’, a man of the field. Rashi explains this to mean that he wasted most of his time and would hunt animal with his bow and arrow. However, Yaakov wasn’t as sharp as Esav and was not an expert in the mundane areas. He was simple; he would dwell in the tents of Shem and Ever by spending his days learning.
 
By Esav it stresses, he was a man who knows trapping and a man of the field. The word ish is used twice; but by Yaakov it is only used once. Why is there a change in the wording?  Shouldn’t it have said ‘ish’ twice and be read ‘Yaakov was a wholesome man; a man who sat in his tent’? What message is the pasuk trying to teach us?
 
Rav Chaim Shaul Kaufman Shlit”a, in his sefer Mishchas Shemen, explains with an important lesson that we must constantly keep in our minds.
 
Years ago, in the 1960’s, there was a certain Rebbe that when discussing the possibility of someone going to the moon he would say ‘it will never happen’. His reason was based on the pasuk, ‘Ha’shomayim shomayim l’Hashem v’ha’aretz nosson livnei adam’; the heavens belong to Hashem and land belongs to humans. However, that dream became a reality on July 20th, 1969. There was a certain Rosh Hayeshiva that met a very close friend of this Rebbe and asked him that the fact is that someone did land on the moon? The Rebbe’s friend answered him and said the Rebbe was right. How is this possible? His answer was very profound. A person can’t settle and live on the moon. We know that the astronauts who went up had to bring their own food, water, equipment, and even their own oxygen! They couldn’t breathe or stand without these apparatuses. It’s comparable to a person living underwater. Is it possible? No, but we see people have the ability to stay underwater? The answer is it is only temporary, for short periods of time. The same is true with the man on the moon. A person can’t survive up there, unless he brings his own provisions. Such a place, he said, is not called living.
 
What do we learn from this? A person gets his chiyus, his life, from a place where he can inhabit. If you can’t survive in a place, like the moon, then it’s not considered your place. If someone gets his life from a place of kedusha, e.g. a yeshiva, then he must understand that this type of atmosphere is where he belongs; THIS is his place, THIS is his home!! Sometimes he has to go out from there, but he takes his ‘life’ with him.
 
This is p’shat in the pasuk. Yaakov was an ‘ish tam yoshev ohalim’ he was a person who was the same no matter where he traveled. The same man as an ‘ish tam’ was the same that he was when he was ‘yoshv ohalim’. However, Esav had two different personalities. One was that he was a man who was sharp; he would trick his father. He would ask sly questions so his father would think he was choshev. His other existence was a man of the fields. He was a completely different person; a man who would kill for fun and waste his time. The Torah felt it important to stress that.
 
His entire life, Yaakov was a man of the Bais Medrash. Esav had his moments too; but in addition to him being sharp he had a second existence of an ‘ish sudeh’. Yaakov, however, was consistent. Wherever he went and whatever he did he was always an ‘ish tam’. He understood that what defined him-gave him life. He excelled at allowing the Bais Medrash to define who he was, no matter where he went. 
 
Our goal is to feel that our home, our life, comes from the Bais Medrash. If we have that realization then we will be able to be consistent and be able to understand that our sustenance comes from the Bais Medrash. We must all strive to be the same person, be it in shul or in the business world; having two existences is not an option.  If we are able to survive in a Bais Medrash then that is the place where we can call our home. 
 
HAVE A GREAT SHABBOS.
 
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