The parsha begins with Yaakov’s departure from his parents and the city of Be’air Sheva as he began his journey to Charan. Chazal question, why did the Torah feel it necessary to mention that Yaakov left Be’ari Shevah when it would have been sufficient just to say that Yaakov went to Charan since the logical deduction would have been that Yaakov left Be’air Sheva?
Rashi brings the answer of Chazal that the Torah is stressing with these seemingly superfluous words that Yaakov’s leaving the city of Be’air Sheva was very noticeable for it left a gaping vacuum, פנה הודה פנה זיוה פנה הדרה. As long as the tzadik dwells in the city, he is its magnificence, its splendor and grandeur. The moment that he leaves, all of the above departs with him as well.

To obtain a clearer definition of these three attributes of a tzaddik, by not willing to settle for these very vague translations of magnificence, splendor, and grandeur, let us learn the incredible explanation of the Maharal.  The tzadik has the role of influencing the inhabitants of the city in three ways. One aspect of his influence is in the area of yiras shamayim. Yirah is a middah which is to be lauded and praised as the passuk says (Mishlei 31,30)  אשה יראת ה’ היא תתהלל. Themiddah of yirah parallels the title of הוד which means praise as found in the passuk of הודו לה’ .

A second element, with which the tzadik graces the city, is chachmah, Torah wisdom. This parallels the aspect of זיו which means shine and radiance. We find this relationship between light and wisdom in the passuk (Koheles 8,1) חכמת אדם תאיר פניו the wisdom of man makes his face glow.

The third directive of the tzaddik to the inhabitants of his city is middos tovos. The tzadikmust be a walking mussar sefer displaying refined character traits. A Baal Middos emits kovod andtiferes. The element of middos tovos portrays the aspect of הדר  as we find in the passuk (Shmos 23,3) ודל לא תהדר בריבו do not be prejudice to the poor person by giving him kovod.

According to the Maharal, the loss of a tzadik is a loss in his influence of wisdom, yiras shamayimand exemplary middos. A significant lesson that can be gleaned from his interpretation is that a spiritually healthy Yid must toil to fix himself in all three areas in order to be complete. Yaakov is described in the Torah as an איש תם a complete person (Bereishis 25,27) who possessed all three attributes. Therefore even if one studies Torah many hours of the day, as long as he has shortcomings in middos then he is incomplete in his avodas Hashem. One can even excel in yiras shamayim to the point of being meticulouslymedakdaik (strict) with every new chumrah that comes out but nevertheless in the area of Bain Adam Lechavairo he is lax and fails miserably. We must realize that this person is nevertheless considered a failure in attaining shelaimusbecause of his middos of anger or stinginess that is not yet under control.

The backdrop of Yaakov’s removing these three attributes from Be’air Shevah is during his leaving the emes of Eretz Yisrael and his entering into thegalus of falsehood associated with Lavan, whose main objective is to obliterate any spirituality. Why did the Torah choose to tell us the spiritual resume of a tzadik specifically during this scenario? The answer could very well be that this galus of Yaakov was to rectify the first galus to ever occur which was that of Adam Harishon being sent out of Gan Eden. Adam Harishon was the Tzadik Yesod Olam who possessed all three attributes. He possessed the greatest intellect for he was able to see from one end of the world to the other aided by the light created on the first day of creation. His yiras shamayim and middos were impeccable for his body was hand created by Hashem and shone with the light of the neshama. He was theהדר זיו הוד of Gan Eden. The gematriah of all three attributes equals 247 רמז. Wherever one findskedusha he will find tumah lurking as a next door neighbor. The שכן רע of Adam was the Nachash. The Nachash was out to destroy these three attributes of Adam.  This is alluded to by examining the neighboring letters to רמז which is the gematriah of זיו הוד הדר . The yeridah (down) neighboring letter of raish is shin, of mem is nun, and of zayin is ches which spells נחש. The Nachash’s sole purpose was to blemish  רמז, these three maalos of Adam and have him ousted from Gan Eden.

The Nachash understood that Adam cannot be seduced to eat from the Aitz Hadaas by merely presenting him with a desire to transgress the will of Hashem. His approach was therefore to take Adam’s positive attributes and use them to facilitate his own downfall. This is called in sefarim the art of צובע to color, to make an aveirah appear like a mitzvahAdam Harishon was seduced to eat the fruit from the forbidden tree because of its alluring wisdom זיו)) as the passuk says ונחמד העץ להשכיל . The Nachash claimed that by eating from its fruit he will attain even greater knowledge than what he possesses now – the knowledge of Hashem.

Chazal say that the Aaitz Hadaas was an esrogtree. When addressing the Four Minim and their parallel to the body parts of Man, the Medrash says that an esrog symbolizes the heart. The heart is the seat of the middos. The Nachash led Adam to believe that by eating the esrog, which is called a פרי עץ הדר, he would thereby be granted more middos tovos הדר)) than what he possessed already.

The Chazal also tell us that even though the earth did not obey Hashem’s command to produceעץ פרי עושה פרי   fruit bearing trees which the tree itself tastes like their fruit, the esrog was the exception. The esrog tree thereby was a testimony to its dedication and tenacity to fulfilling the word of Hashem.  Adam viewed this event to mean that the Aitz Hadaas specifically had more yiras shamayim than all the other trees. By partaking and nourishing himself from its fruit he would gain even more yiras shamayim הוד)) than he already possessed.

Because of Adam’s falling he was sent out of Gan Eden. Man was now on a mission to regain entry to Gan Eden by restoring the shelaimus of these three attributes. Am Yisrael who became the second edition of Adam, starting from our Avos were sent to fulfill this destiny. Avraham Avinu was the first who undertook this task and his name was changed to אברהם  248 which equals the word רמז (including the word) which alludes toהדר הוד זיו  as we mentioned above. Yitzchak Avinu according to the Medrash spent three years in Gan Eden after the Akaidah giving evidence that he too possessed the shelaimus of these three attributes. Yaakov Avinu, the shalaim of the Avos, goes togalus just like Adam Harishon but with a major difference. With his departure from Eretz Yisrael he takes with him these three attributes in contrast to Adam’s galus, where he left them behind.

This is why we find the word הזה by each one of the Avos. The wordהזה  is the acronym of the three attributes of shelaimus הוד זיו הדר . By Avraham’s bris with Hashem the passuk uses הזהas it states (Bereishis 17,26) בעצם היום הזה נימול אברהם. With the landmark of bris, Avraham was given the mission of rectifying the falling of Adam with these three attributes. Once again it uses the word at the Akaidah, the pinnacle of Avraham’s tests (Bereishis 22,16) יען אשר עשית את הדבר הזה ולא חשכת את בנך יחידך. The passuk could have simply said יען אשר לא חשכת את בנך ממני. Why did it speak lengthy and add עשית את הדבר הזה  and then go on to explain what הדבר הזה is? The answer is, that the Torah wants to testify that at the Akaidah, Avraham attained the shelaimus of these three attributes. That is why his name was repeated אברהם אברהם , one to call his name and the second to tell him of his attainment of הוד הדר זיו  which is the same gematriah.

By Yitzchak we find him being described asהאיש הזה  by Avimelech (Bereishis 26,11) הנוגע באיש הזה ובאשתו. Why was it necessary to call himהאיש הזה  instead of calling him by his name? The answer is that by describing him with this title, Avimelech was also describing his spiritual greatness of attaining these three attributes hinted by  הזה’s  acronym.

Yaakov is also depicted by this title of הזה in the passuk (Bereishis 28,16) ויקץ יעקב משנתו ויאמר אכן יש ה’ במקום הזה ואנכי לא ידעתי . The passuk is to be read and translated that Yaakov acknowledged that the place of the Beis Hamikdash was a makom that manifested הזה, the place on earth where the closest tikkun of the Aitz Hadaas can be experienced. Besides the Beis Hamikdash being described asהזה  but alsoואנכי , that I myself is on the level of הזה  possessing the three attributes to rectify the sin of the Aitz Hadaasלא ידעתי this I wasn’t aware of. In summary, this fixing of the chait fo Adam Harishon was told to us by the Torah in the firstpassuk of Vayeitzei that Yaakov took with him these attributes which was in contrast with Adam Harishon who left them behind.

With this we can understand the esoteric explanation of the Megaleh Amukos on the first words of the parsha ויצא יעקב . The word ויצא  is the acronym of וירא יעקב צורת אלף As he departed to galus, Yaakov saw the form of the letter aleph. The letter aleph has three messages. One is that it symbolizes chachma as the passuk says אאלפך חכמה (Iyuv 33,33). The second message is that aleph is the smallest number equaling to one. It therefore symbolizes the middah ofעניוות  humility. This middah is the foundation of all midos tovosfor it leads to yiras shamayim and the love of Hashem (Avoda Zarah 22, Tosfos Yevamos 103b). Yaakov realized that going into galus to Lavan he was about to give birth to Klal Yisrael who will possess all three attributes that will bringMoshiach.

The ultimate tikkun for the chait of Aitz Hadaaswill come with Moshiach’s arrival when we will all return to Eretz Yisrael out from the galus. Meanwhile, it is incumbent upon every Yid to toil and excel in these three attributes of the tzadikועמך כולם צדיקים , to make his coming as quick as possible. This means that we must strive on all three attributes: the tikkun of midos, learning Torah, and yiras shmayim in order to hasten the geulah shelaimah. An incredible allusion to this is the acronym of these three avodos: מדות יראת שמים חכמה which spells משיח. His name suggests all three attributes. One or two of them will not be enough. If we really want him to come in our days then let us upgrade in each of these avodos. It is only then that we can rid ourselves from the נחש, the gematriah of  משיחwho caused all this damage to happen. Then we will be finally able to proclaim that עת הזמיר הגיע (Shir Hashirim 2,12). The word זמר  has two interpretations. One which means to cut and the other which means to sing. When we will reach the shelaimus of the coming of משיח , brought about through the shelaimus of the three attributes הוד הדר זיו which is the gematriah of זמר(song), we will then completely cut ourselves free from the Nachash enabling us to sing the ultimateshira to Hashem.

Gut Shabbos,
Rav Brazil