The full text of the Daily Shiur which our Rebbe Rav Eliezer Berland shlit”a gave over on Sunday, 11 Kislev, after the Maariv prayer:
It’s written, “He kissed him” (Bereshit 33:4). He gave such kisses…with all his strength, he kissed him, with all his strength, fell on his neck and cried. Poor thing, cried, cried, cried, cried and kissed, and cried and kissed. This is seven dots – “he kissed him” – there are seven dots [over the word, when it’s written in a Torah scroll], seven prophetesses – Sarah, Rivka, Rachel, Leah, Esther, Avigail, Channah.
Channah was a prophetess and prophesized about Chanukah. Even though this was 700 years before Chanukah – the whole First Temple [period] and 200 years of the Second Temple, and the Babylonian exile. 700 years ago she already prophesized, that in the astrological sign of Keshet [the Bow, e.g. Sagittarius], there wouldn’t remain any vestige of the bows of the Romans, of the Greeks, may their names be obliterated.
And Yehudit cut off the head of Nikanor, because on 13 Adar is Nikanor Day, that Nikanor came with a thousand elephants and with 100,000 soldiers. All of them were lost, finished. A thousand elephants is a thousand tanks – the arrow cannot penetrate an elephant. Elazar tried to penetrate an elephant; then the elephant crushed him. He thought that this was the king’s elephant. Who can battle elephants – there’s no such thing. Today there are already cannons; once there were only arrows. So there’s nothing to do. The elephants then were all lost. Then Yehudit said, “I’m going to marry him.” She brought him a jug with milk, a jug with cheese. She said, “I have come to marry you, but by us Jews we customarily go to the mikveh before the wedding ceremony. We must go to the mikveh – we must. What is there to do – if there’s no mikveh, we go to the spring. So tell [them] not to check me, because I’m going to the spring – that they shouldn’t check me. Suddenly they see her leaving the king’s tent – of the Army Chief – of the king. Where are you going? To the spring. In the basket already was the king’s head – Nikanor’s head. It was already there, wrapped up well. She came, hung it on the wall. When the Greeks saw the head of the king’s general, they all fled. Therefore, women are obligated in the Chanukah light. This is the reason, because women performed the miracle. Women performed the miracle of Chanukah. Like in Purim, then in the Fast of Esther, Megilat Ruth, Megilat Esther.
The monarchy of the House of David came from Ruth, because Ruth went to gather stalks [of grain]. She didn’t give up. She said I won’t give up. She [Naomi] said to her, “Go back to your home. Find someone else to marry. Get married, build families, build generations.” She said, “I don’t want a family [in Moav] and don’t want generations. You are my family, and that’s it. Where you go, I will go. Where you die, I will die…Your people is my people. Your God is my God.” Because everything is dependent on the woman. The woman directs everything. She navigates her husband. She improves him.
Like Rachel said to Rabbi Akiva, “Go learn!” The Tosafot say, “How could she take such a criminal, an underworld criminal. He was an underworld-nik – man of the underworld mamash. He said, “Who will give me a talmid chacham and I will bite him like a donkey. I will break the bones of all the talmidei chachamim. I won’t leave one bone whole by them.” So you want to take someone to rehabilitate – fine… There are women who take a cripple, who take a handicapped person – they want to rehabilitate them. They want to do kindness, but such a wicked evildoer, underworld-nik, man of the underworld, who said, “Who will give me a talmid chacham and I will bite him like a donkey.”
But Rachel had two degrees in psychology. She did two degrees and finished the university – did two degrees in psychology. She said, “He’s smarter than all of them, even if he says such nonsense, because he doesn’t understand. He’s not guilty… For example, you bring a technician to your home, to fix the refrigerator, to fix the air conditioner, then it’s forbidden for him to touch anything. If he touches anything, you need to immerse [it]. So a table it’s still possible to immerse – it’s wood, but a sofa? A sofa is totally cotton, it’s totally wool, then the sofa is lost. They scream at him – “What? You touched it? You went up on the sofa to fix the air conditioner. You don’t know that it’s forbidden to go up on the sofa. You’re an ignoramus – it’s forbidden for you to touch the sofa.” So he began to cry – “I didn’t know. What do you want from me?” Rabbi Akiva received such screams. He was a technician, and also an electrician, and also fixed air conditioners, and also fixed refrigerators, and every time, they screamed at him, “How did you enter without a supervisor, that you shouldn’t touch anything? What did you touch? Tell [us]…!” “I don’t remember what I touched…” So we need to immerse the entire house! If he doesn’t remember what he touched… He came to the kitchen, to the refrigerator, went through three rooms. Now we need to immerse all the furniture. We don’t know – perhaps he rested on a seat. Then the seat will be impure. Because whatever an ignoramus touches will be impure. So there was such, such demeaning of ignoramuses. And Rabbi Akiva didn’t know how to read. He was a complete gentile. She just took a gentile. Simply a gentile! I would have gone crazy because of this. If I saw this, I would have made a scandal there. It was a miracle that I wasn’t there. I would have made such a scandal. What, you’re taking a sheep herder? He says here, “Who will give me a talmid chacham and I’ll bite him like a donkey.” Whatever you touch will be impure. How is it possible to take such an impure person, such a person as this? But Rachel said he’s smarter than all of them. He has such potential – I see [it]. Only the woman sees. The man doesn’t see anything. The man is blind. He doesn’t see anything. Only the mother sees.
The mother sees that you need to separate Yishmael from Yitzchak. So it’s possible to say, “Well, she’s jealous…,” but, behold Rivka – this is her son [Esav], her sweet son, her charming one, as charming as can be. Was already born with hair – he’s [already] made. Yitzchak mamash loves him. He says it’s forbidden to write off a child. I don’t understand Rivka. Go to a psychologist, go to counseling. There’s clinics, there’s counselors – go to counselors. You don’t write off a child. There’s no such thing as writing off a child. He was in a home with his criminal women who would burn incense to idolatry. In this way Yitzchak was made blind – by the smoke. They lived by him. He [Esav] didn’t have money for an apartment. From where would he have money? He was a bachur yeshiva. He had long side curls until his waist. He was a bachur yeshiva; he didn’t have money. He lived with his two wives with his mother, and they would burn incense to idolatry. She was already a psychologist; she didn’t criticize him. She didn’t even criticize him, and he would burn incense there. And she would burn incense – his wife would burn incense. And there was smoke throughout the entire house, and Yitzchak was made blind just from the smoke. She was the greatest psychologist, Rivka. You don’t need to teach Rivka to be a psychologist. [If] we try to teach her – oy vavoy to us. She was the greatest psychologist in the world.
And it’s not written the day that she passed away. “Devorah, Rivka’s nurse, died” (Bereishit 35:8). Now we read the parashah. She was [buried in] “Alon Bachut.” Rashi says it isn’t written when she died. Everyone cursed her – what type of son you have…? A bandit, a murderer – murdered Nimrod. What did Nimrod do to him? If he had done this [to kill Nimrod] for Heaven’s sake, a tiny bit for Heaven’s sake, he would have done teshuva [repentance]. Because when a person does something for Heaven’s sake, then this shines, even Esav! But he…
Therefore, it’s written about Machala [his third wife, the daughter of Yishmael] that his sins were forgiven, and Rashi says that he took another wicked one. Why [does Rashi say:] “another wicked woman?” Behold, his sins were forgiven? But he didn’t intend that his sins should be forgiven; he intended to kill his father. “May the days of mourning for my father draw near” (Bereishit 27:41). He can’t kill. Yitzchak is at the age of 180. At the age of 180, he lengthened his life. Esav went crazy because of this. “What, how long is he alive? How long is he alive, this father. This father continues to live and live and live. I’m already sick of it. I already want to be rid of him. Enough! I want to sit shiva for him. Why isn’t he dead…? Why does he do such as this to me? Why does he do this to me? He says that he loves me. Then let him die if he loves me. Why does he do this to me? Already 180.” Esav almost went completely crazy. He didn’t know what to do. He went to Yishmael. “Yishmael, perhaps you would kill him?” Yishmael suddenly dies. Somehow he comes to him to propose to him, brought him a knife, brought him a dagger. At the second that he came to him, he [Esav] took Machala. A minute before the wedding ceremony – boom. He collapses. In the wedding canopy, he collapses. This was because of so many debts. A person takes on such debts – a million shekels – to marry off a child. So he collapses. So this is what happened to Yishmael – he took on a million shekels in debts, or a million pounds he certainly took on, built them a beautiful villa. And in the end he collapsed, poor thing. A minute before the wedding ceremony he passed out, had a stroke, and they brought him an ambulance – United Hatzalah, brought him… It’s already impossible to live. They did for him resuscitation. Already nothing helped. However much resuscitation they did for him, it didn’t help him. He, after everything, was a poor thing.
So we know that he died at the age of 137, the day that Yishmael died. [Esav] was at the age of 63, and he [Yishmael] was at the age of 137. According to this, it comes out of all the calculations that fourteen years are missing. Then he [Yaakov] went to take a marriage partner. Instead of a marriage partner, he went to yeshiva. Once again, everything is upside down. Don’t know from where he learned this. You go to make a match, they brought you a bride. You have two brides, Rachel and Leah, and you go to learn in yeshiva…? Decide what you want – a match or yeshiva?! No, he goes to yeshiva, another time confusion. Don’t know… Lavan is waiting for him. Lavan waits for him fourteen years, that they said that in a little while he will arrive. So they wrote immediately the letters – immediately letters to Lavan: “Yaakov is coming, prepare the brides, prepare the wedding canopy.” He doesn’t arrive for fourteen years. He waits for him. Lavan waits for him. He runs to him, wants to kill him, wants to poison him. “I waited for you fourteen years. Where were you?” “I was in yeshiva.”
So why does Esav not come to capture him. Esav now – Esav is looking to kill Yaakov. So he already knows that he’s by Lavan. But by Lavan they were slaughtering [first-born sons for sorcery]. We’ll say that I’m a first-born, then they slaughter me. I remember: this was 3,700 years ago. 3,300 years to leaving Egypt; another 210, they were in exile. This is 3,500, and another 100 years – that Yitzchak was at the age of forty when he got married. Then another 100 years is 3,700. I remember that they slaughtered me. I was a first-born – they slaughtered me. I screamed, such screams I made – gevalt. All the screams didn’t help me. They slaughtered me, made Terifim out of me, salted me, put me in myrrh oil, fragrant oil, they were of a spice-compounder – thoroughly mixed, pure and holy… And they would speak to me, and I would answer. They would make candles to me, burn incense to me, and I would speak, speak, speak. In the end, Rachel stole me. Rachel stole the terifim. Because Rachel would steal from the day she was born. This is known, that Rachel stole. Her son stole the goblet, and Yosef speaks lashon hara (malicious gossip) – a family of thieves.
So Yaakov says to Leah, “Tell [me] – are you Leah or Rachel? Decide!” He asks her. She says to him, “I am Rachel.” In the morning, he asks her – “In the morning, and, behold, it was Leah” (Bereishit 29:25). In the morning, they see that it’s Leah; it’s not Rachel. “How [could] you lie!? Rachel is anyways a liar, a deceiver, but you are a good girl. You’re an innocent girl. How [could] you lie to me!? I asked you, ‘Are you Rachel or Leah?’ [If] I had known that you are Leah, I would have said to you, ‘Go home. Shalom. It was a mistake. Your father is a deceiver. So cry five minutes and it’s over. How much is it possible to cry?’” Perhaps a little bit that night she wouldn’t sleep, and after this she would calm down. Wait for your match – to sweet Esav. What’s wrong with Esav? The most wonderful person in the world! So she said to him, “There is no rabbi who doesn’t have students. You are my rabbi. You taught me to lie. You also lied. You said that you are Esav, so I said that I am Rachel!” But he did what his mother told him to do. He didn’t want to lie. It’s written that he went against his will and cried, and angels came to hold him up so that he wouldn’t collapse, that he wouldn’t fall. What’s this comparison? Leah tells him, “I am like you.” Why? He didn’t lie; his mother forced him to. Everything was his mother; he wasn’t guilty of anything. Rather, she said to him, “You said that you are Esav, right? And I belong to Esav. So I am your match, because you are Esav. You said that ‘I am Esav’ – ‘I am Esav, your first-born,’ and from him the King Messiah will emerge,” and the complete redemption will come, speedily in our days, Amen!