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  • Rav Moshe Weiss

Nahar U'Pashtei Parshas Toldos

נהר ופשטיה Nahar U’Pashtei A Weekly Insight From מרן הרה״ג ר׳ שלו׳ ראובן פיינשטיין שליט״א לע״נ משה בן צבי אלטע שרה חנה בת אליהו מירל בת משה Issue #147 פרשת תולדות


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Hidden Evil

The pesukim in this week’s parshah tell us that both of Esav’s wives,“Yehudis” and “Basmas,” were from the Chiti nation. Yet, later, in parshas Vayishlach, we are told that Esav’s wives were Adah bas Eilon, the Chiti, and Ahalivamah bas Tzivon, the Chivi. Rashi famously explains that Basmas was really Adah, and Yehudis’ real name was Ahalivamah. Basmas earned her nickname on account of her offering incense (besamim) to idols, while Esav would call his wife Adah by the name Yehudis to try and trick his father into believing that she had adapted the Jewish way of life, free of idolatry. This is all familiar to us. What remains to be addressed is that in our sidrah Yehudis is referred to as a Chiti, while in Vayishlach she is of Chivi descent. What are we to learn from this discrepancy? The truth is that Avraham Avinu saw a flaw in the Chivi nation, and therefore sought to keep his nation free of these character traits by not allowing any of the Chivi to marry into Klal Yisroel. Timnah, who was the concubine of Elifaz son of Esav and the mother of Amalek, originally had wished to marry into Klal Yisroel. She was turned away from joining Avraham’s family, due to her Chivi descent and the middos that came along with it. Esav knew that his father Yitzchok also despised what the Chivi brought with them, and he therefore pretended that “Yehudis” was of the Chiti instead. And what was this unique trait that the Chivi presented that Avraham felt was so important to eradicate? It was the ability to act, to pretend and assume an alternate identity. And Ahalivamah the Chivi did just that. She served idols, and still put up the facade of being a Torah observant woman, Yehudis the Chiti! However, the great Rivkah Imeinu wasn’t fooled by her charade, seeing through it all. There is a powerful lesson for us to learn from Avraham and Yitzchok’s attitude toward the Chivi way. A person that always has the ability to pretend and to slip from one identity to another will have a difficult time growing spiritually. The ability to act is also the ability to hide. When one can act in a way that is completely not his own nature, it allows him to forgo any necessary reckoning with his true self. To truly grow in avodas Hashem, one must be constantly aware of his direction and his actions, working to improve and eradicate evil. Pretending, and charades, are the opposite of this honest and open approach that propels a person forward. To properly gauge one’s true madreigah, or the madreigah of those he seeks to influence, complete transparency is needed. And not only can one fool others this way, but he can also fool himself! Once he trains himself to live a certain way, he will be convinced that he has come to that madeigah, even though he is not being genuine. Putting on a smile and acting as if he is on a higher madreigah may help a person, and even be mechazek others, but he must make sure it comes from inside, and that he does not build a habit of hidden realities. A gut Shabbos! A Project of the YSI Alumni Association Written by R’ Moshe Weiss


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