Pearls of Rashi – Vayishlach

In this installment of “Pearls of Rashi,” I have decided to do something a bit differently than usual. As a rule, we point out a difficulty in understanding a Rashi in the weekly Torah portion. We offer an explanation given by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, together with a positive lesson.

Here, my idea is to present a lesson which teaches us the importance of learning Torah in general, and Chumash in particular. We will also see how this is connected to the study of Chumash with Rashi’s commentary.

This week’s Torah portion, Vayishlach, tells us of Yaakov Avinu’s travails while returning to Israel from Lavan’s home. On his way, he had to meet up with his brother Aisov. This is the same brother who 20 years earlier had declared that he wanted to murder him. The Torah tells us how Yaakov and his family were miraculously saved.

The Parshah continues, telling us that Hashem reveals Himself to Yaakov. He tells Yaakov to travel to Bais El; and there to build an alter to Hashem. The Torah tells us that[1] “they traveled, and the fear of G-d was upon the cities that were around them. Therefore, no one pursued Yaakov’s sons.”

The Torah uses an unusual word for fear, “חתת – Chitas.” We can understand the reason for the use of this word from the following story told by the Tzemach[2].

“In the year 5603 (1843) I was asked to attend a rabbinic conference in S. Petersburg. I stopped to pray at the resting place of my saintly mother (the Rebbetzin Devorah Leah) in Liozna. She told me, that due to her self-sacrifice for Chassidus and Chassidim, she would merit to enter the heavenly chamber of the Baal Shem Tov, in order to request mercy on my behalf. My mother asked the Baal Shem Tov for something that I could use to stand up against the opposition.

The Holy Baal Shem Tov told her, ‘your son is versed in each letter of the Chumash, the Tehillim and Tanya. These three works are an acronym for Chitas; Chumash, Tehillim and Tanya. With this knowledge one can break through any concealment of G-dliness.”

This is certainly related to the Previous Rebbe’s institution, that everyone learns Chitas, Chumash, Tehillim and Tanya, every day. The daily study of Chumash is Chumash with Rashi’s commentary from the weekly Parshah. Sunday one is to learn the first aliyah of the Parshah, Monday the second, etc. By following these instructions, we will certainly be able to transcend all limitations and bring Moshiach now!

Wishing everyone a good Shabbos.

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Kitzurim and Hearos Lesefer HaTanya, Page 127

Mrs. Brocha bas Reb Tzvi Nechemiah Hacohen O.B.M. Cohen
Passed away on 8 Shevat, 5778
May Her Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
* * *
לעילוי נשמת
מרת ברכה בת ר’ צבי נחמי’ הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטרה ביום ח ‘שבט, ה’תשע”ח
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
יוצא לאור ע”י בני משפחתה שיחיו

[1]. Our Parshah, Bereishis 35:5.

[2]. See Kitzurim and Hearos Lesefer HaTanya, Page 127.

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