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So there's this promise of land and children that Abraham gets and he gets this over and over again throughout his life. It happens in the beginning of Lech Lecha, just about the first time we meet Abraham we hear this promise that he's going to go and his name is going to be very great and he'll have lots of children. Then shortly thereafter he's promised that he's going to get the land and he's going to have the land forever. Then there's a fourth and climactic time that he gets these promises and that actually is in the aftermath of the Akeidah. And we've seen that's when the angel comes out of the clouds and says, because you've done this and you haven't withheld your son, I'm going to greatly increase your progeny, they'll be like the stars of the heaven, like the sand of the sea and your children are going to come in and they're going to conquer the land. Everything sounds wonderful.
So let's just watch how these promises develop. Let's just read some text together. So Abraham dies and he has one child that's going to carry the things on, and if you're Isaac - you're Yitzchak, what do you think your job is? What's your mission? Your mission is kind of make this promise come true. My father was told that he's going to have land, he's going to have children, here I am, I'm in Israel, but then all of a sudden there's a famine. Vayehi ro'ov ba'aretz milvad haro'ov harishon asher hayah b'yemei Avraham - there is this famine and Yitzchak goes to Avimelech; Melech Plishtim Gerarah - he goes to the land of the Philistines which is on the just the outskirts of the land of Israel. G-d actually appears to him and says, no, don't go actually down to Egypt where there's a lot more food; Shechon ba'aretz asher omar eilecha - just stay over here; Gur ba'aretz hazot - stay here, sojourn here in this land, and I will be with you and I will bless you. Why? Because; Ki lecha ulezaracha eten et kol ha'aratzot ha-Kel - because I'm going to give this land to you and to your progeny, and I'm going to fulfill this promise that I've made to Abraham your father.
If you look at this text carefully, if you are Yitzchak, you think, well I'm going to be the one through which these Abraham-idic promises are going to come true. I'm supposed to have lots of children, I'm supposed to stay in this land, because this is going to be our land. But there's actually something very subtle over here, which is this language over here. You see in Hebrew there are different verbs for to be somewhere. On the one hand you could say; Gur ba'aretz hazot - which literally means sojourn. Literally Ger can mean stranger, be a stranger in the land, it doesn't actually mean it's yours yet. In a subtle kind of way G-d is hinting, I'm not necessarily saying that this is going to be yours, I'm just saying stay here. It's not necessarily happening yet that you're taking possession of the land. The word for taking possession is more Vayeishev, Leishev - to settle in the land, and you don't get that word here in G-d's promises. But there is this idea that you're going to start having lots of children; V'hirbeiti et zaracha kekochvei hashomayim - you're going to have children like the sands of the seas, we've heard this language before, like the stars of the heavens.
So Yitzchak does what it is that G-d asks. Vayeishev Yitzchak b'Gerar - although not quite, if you look at it. Because G-d had said, stay in this land - using the language of Ger, Gur - sojourn in the land, over here look at the language; Vayeishev - he's dwelling in Gerar. He dwells there and what happens is, is that he amasses a lot of wealth and the Plishtim - the Philistines, look at him as just a sojourner in the area, someone who doesn't really have a right to be in the area. Yet he's settling in the land and they become very jealous of him. Vayigdal ha'ish vayeilech haloch v'gadel ad ki gadal me'od - he became very rich, and when he was very rich he started getting into these fights with the Philistines about all of these wells and the Philistines got into these wars with him, where Isaac was digging these wells, he was desperately trying to take possession of the land, and the Philistines dug up all the wells.
So finally Yitzchak manages to dig a well and not have the Philistines fight over it. So over here in verse 22. Vayachpor be'er acheret v'loh ravu aleha - they didn't dispute it; Vayikra shema Rechovot - and finally he called it - the name of the well - Rechovot; Vayomer ki atah hirchiv Hashem lanu uparinu ba'aretz - finally, he says, G-d has given us some space and allowed us to have our progeny here and to be fruitful in the land. You see by the way, what he thinks. He thinks finally it's happening, finally it's coming true, finally I'm beginning to do what I'm supposed to do, which is actually build a nation here in this land.
Well interestingly, sort of chillingly, look where he goes; Vaya'al misham Be'er Shovah - and then he goes from there to Be'er Sheva, and then G-d appears to him in a vision in the middle of the night. Hmm, we've heard this before, haven't we? We just actually finished talking about a vision in the middle of the night. A vision in the middle of the night that takes place in Be'er Sheva. The one we were talking about happens years later to Yitzchak's child Yaakov, but years before that when Yitzchak himself was on the run he too had a vision in Be'er Sheva, and actually it's a very similar vision to what his son will have.
G-d comes to him in this dream at night and says; Onochi Elokei Avraham avicha - I am the G-d of your fathers - you remember by the way how Jacob heard, I am the G-d of your father Isaac, well Isaac now a generation earlier, hears I am the G-d of your father Abraham. Al tirah - do not fear - fascinating, that's exactly the same thing that Jacob heard a generation later; Do not fear. Do not fear, G-d tells to Yitzchak now; Ki itcha onochi - because I will be with you; U'beirachticha v'hirbeiti et zaracha ba'avur Avraham avdi - don't worry, everything will be fine, you'll have lots of children. Sounds great, right? Just like a generation later, everything sounds great with what G-d tells to Yaakov.
Except just like then how a generation later it wasn't just what G-d said but what G-d didn't say, so too here, it's not just what G-d says, but what G-d didn't say. There - remember a generation later when G-d is talking to Jacob, there's no explicit reference to Egyptian slavery, but it's there between the lines. Don't worry Jacob if you go down to Egypt I'll go down with you, I'll come back with you, you'll die there, everything will be good. The unspoken idea you're going to be there for 210 years. Here too there's this little piece of things which G-d is not saying. The significance of this is in what G-d is not saying, not what G-d is saying. What is G-d saying? Remember there's always the promise of land and children - what is G-d talking about? G-d is talking about children, He's not talking about land. What was it that Isaac was focused on? Isaac was focused upon land. Remember he was building these wells, he was clearing these wells, I'll finally have this well, they haven't disputed me; Atah hirchiv Hashem lanu - finally it's by the grace of G-d we have this well. G-d is saying, sort of without saying - G-d is saying implicitly, hey look, you're going to have lots of children, you'll eventually get the land but not now. Remember? I told you sojourn in the land, don't settle in the land, sojourn there, you're not there for good yet.
Okay, so here we are in Genesis Chapter 26 and look what happens next. Isaac calls the place Shivah, that's how it gets its name Be'er Sheva, and then the next thing we hear about here is that Eisav - remember Isaac has two children Eisav and Yaakov - so Eisav is 40 years old and he takes a wife, Yehudit Bat Be'eri. Interestingly, Yehudit the daughter of Be'eri. Be'eri a play off of the word well. Yehudit the daughter Be'eri haChiti v'et Basmat bat Eilon haChiti. Vatiheyena morat ruach l'Yitzchak ul'Rivkah - however, these wives were of bitterness of spirit to Isaac and to Rebecca, they didn't like them, they felt that these were not appropriate wives.
But the very next story interestingly enough, if we just fast-forward here to Genesis 27, the very next Perek - the very next chapter, Yitzchak is old and he's blessing his children, he has to figure out who to bless. Who is he going to pass on this blessing of Abraham to? Well what's the last thing G-d told him? The last thing G-d told him was, hmm don't focus so much on land, your main thing is children. Well if his main job is to have lots of children - I have two children here, I have Eisav on the one hand and I have Yaakov, and one of these is going to have to carry on the promise, you know, one of the things Eisav has going for him is that at least he got married. On the one hand he got married, but his wives - is this the kind of family that I want carrying on my name? It's a challenge and then we have the story of the deception of Yitzchak, where Yaakov with Rebecca conspire to deceive him and Yaakov walks away with the blessings of Abraham.
In the aftermath of that blessing the focus is still on children, Yitzchak tells Yaakov - he blesses him and says, whatever you do, don't you disappoint me, don't take a wife from the wives of Canaan, take a wife from the family. Go. Go to Lavan's household and find a wife. He sends him out to Lavan's household and it falls to Yaakov to somehow be the one who is going to carry this promise forward. If you're Yaakov you're thinking, okay what's my job? I'm leaving the land of Israel, I guess I'm not going to be so focused on land, but I'm supposed to go and start this nation, I'm supposed to have lots of children, and I want to be able to fulfill this promise. And that, I think, provides the setting for the dream that Yaakov has as he's leaving the land of Israel, running away from the hatred - from the bitterness of Eisav, who he just deceived and took the blessing that was actually intended for him.
So here Yaakov is, he's on his way out of the land of Israel, and all of a sudden he has a dream. And listen to the dream. In the dream G-d is at the top of a ladder and G-d says, the land that you are sleeping upon - you're about to leave Israel but this land that you're sleeping upon; Lecha etnenah ul'zarechah - I will give it to you and to your progeny. Ve'haya zaracha - and here's the promise, the promise of children - Ve'haya zaracha k'aphar ha'aretz. But look carefully at that promise of children, you'll see that it's interlaced - kind of subtly - with the promise of land. Listen to this metaphor; Your children will be like the dust of the earth; Upharatzta yamah va'keidmah v'tzafona va'negbah - you'll go north, south, east and west, and through you blessing will come into the world. You could be excused for thinking - I mean it's like this metaphor is a land metaphor that's talking about children. Your children are going to be like what? Like dust of the land.
Here indeed is the next promise; V'hinei onochi imoch - and don't worry I will be with you; Ushemarticha b'chol asher teilech - and I will watch you; Va'hashivoticha el ha'adamah hazot - and these are words that will echo on throughout history, so pay attention to them; Hashivoticha el ha'adamah hazot - I will return you to this land, here's the promise of land. You will eventually come back here and when you do, don't worry; Loh e'ezavcha - I will not leave you; Ad asher im asiti et asher dibarti loch - until I have done for you what it is that I promised you.
So if you're Yaakov and you get this promise what do you think? Well you think okay, what's my job? I'm going to have lots of children, they're going to be like dust of the land and then G-d is going to come and bring me back and I'll go into the land, and I'll settle the land, and I'll start to build this nation. Lo and behold what happens? He goes into Lavan's house spends 21 years there, feels like it's slavery, looks at himself and says, hey - as we talked about before - I think I'm the fourth generation. Abraham generation number 1, Yitzchak generation number 2, me, Yaakov, generation number 3, Yosef my Bechor, my firstborn child from Rachel, the woman I was always supposed to marry, generation number 4, time to leave, time to go back to the land. This was the promise of Abraham, that after four generations you're going to go back to the land. I need to go and fulfill my promise. I'm going to go into the land, I'm going to have these children, I'm going to bring my children into the land, and it all happens together.
It all looks like it's going to happen together because again, look at this language; Ve'haya zaracha k'aphar ha'aretz - these two promises are interwoven - seem to be interwoven, the promise of land and children it will all happen together. I'm going to go back into the land, G-d promised He wouldn't leave me, and look 21 years later, He didn't leave me and He brought me back. You could imagine the euphoria of Yaakov leaving the house of Lavan and thinking I'm going back into the land and I am going to be the one to fulfill this promise.
So now keeping all this in mind, take a look at Yaakov introducing the idea of leaving Lavan's house to Rachel and Leah his wives, after the birth of Yosef. So he tells them that G-d appeared to me and G-d says; Onochi ha-Kel Beit E-l - I am the G-d of Beit E-l. Where is Beit E-l? Beit E-l was actually the place that he had that dream when he was leaving the land of Israel, where G-d said, don't worry, I will take care of you; Va'hashivoticha - and I will bring you back. Again Va'hashivoticha - I will bring you back. I'm just going to write out that word over here and I want you to pay attention to it, and in particular, its root. Hashivoticha - I will return you, the root word over here is Shav. Shav can mean a few different things depending on context. It can mean return, it can mean settle or sit. It probably can mean a couple of other things too, but let's start with this.
So; Onochi ha-Kel Beit E-l asher mashachta sham matzeiva asher nadarta li sham neder - and He says remember you made a promise to Me there, you promised that you would tithe your possessions if I did what I said to you. So; Atah kum - I am G-d and I say to you, I am the G-d who appeared to you before, that it's time to go. Tzei min ha'aretz hazot - time to leave this land of exile, Lavan's land, it's time to return; Shuv - here is this word; V'shuv el eretz moladetecha - to the land of your birthplace, to the land of Israel. You know if you're Yaakov what does this language imply to you? It sounds like the dream is coming true. This was G-d's promise; Va'hashivoticha el ha'adamah hazot - I will return you and now G-d is coming to him and saying, go, return, it's happening now, go return to the land. The implied message seemingly, go into the land and he thinks he'll take possession of the land, it's going to be yours, bring all your children back, everything is going to be great. The dream is coming true, you're coming back to the land, you're going to establish the nation of Abraham there.
Of course on the way out, Jacob meets up with Eisav, he's scared seeing Eisav for the first time, the brother that he deceived, he thinks Eisav might destroy him, he goes and appeals to G-d. But listen how he appeals to G-d. Vayomer Yaakov - and Yaakov says; The G-d of my fathers, the G-d that told me; Shuv l'artzecha ulemoladetecha - You are the one who told me to leave, You told me that the promises are coming true, go back to the land, I will do good for you. Please take care of me, please don't allow Eisav to destroy me. You promised I would have lots of children, You promised that I would go back to the land. Land and children together one more time.
As it happens, Yaakov is not destroyed by Eisav, he succeeds, he survives the encounter, he comes back and he's coming back into the land of Israel. At that point G-d seems to confirm everything that he's thinking. G-d says to him, I am G-d, be fruitful and multiply; Prei u'reveih - there's the promise of children and he says; V'et ha'aretz asher natati l'Avraham ul'Yitzchak lecha etnenah - I'm giving you the land, I'm giving it to your progeny, go into the land. Land and children together. It's always land and children together. It looks like again the dream is alive, the dream is really happening.
In many ways, the circle really is complete here. Where is Yaakov? Over here in Genesis 32, on his way out from Lavan's household, after he's encountered Eisav, Yaakov finds himself in Beit E-l one more time. Beit E-l was that place where he had heard that word the first time; Shev, Hashivoticha - I am going to be with you, I am going to return you. Now, G-d has done it, He's returned him to the land, G-d has done everything He's promised. All that now has to happen is Yaakov to fulfill his part of the bargain he's got to have - bring his children in, he's got to take possession of the land, he's got to build this nation.
Once we understand this, by the way, we understand a very fascinating comment of Rashi. Take a look at this verse over here. This is the first verse of the Joseph story. The Joseph story takes place right after all of this, right after Yaakov leaves the house of his father-in-law Lavan, right after he survives the encounter with Eisav, right after he shows up in Beit E-l on his way into the land and offered these offerings to G-d, praising Him for letting him come into the land and bring his children in and fulfill these promises. Look at this word, very first word of the Joseph story; Vayeishev Yaakov - it all goes back to G-d's promise. G-d had said, I will return you - and as I mentioned to you before - the word can mean return but the word Shav - Shin, Beit is the root - can also mean settle. In fact, that's exactly what Yaakov is doing here. It's like the fulfillment of this Hashivoticha promise, not only have you returned me, but now I am settling in the land, this is what I'm supposed to do, I am taking possession of the land.
Yitzchak wasn't able to do it, he was just a Ger, he just sojourned - and that by the way is the meaning of - look at the contrast over here. Vayeishev Yaakov b'eretz megurei aviv - Yaakov is finally settling in the land that his fathers had only succeeded in sojourning. They were Geirim, they were mere sojourners. Not Yaakov, Yaakov is settling there, and he's going to be the one - he thinks he's going to make this promise happen. The four generations are complete, I've gone through the slavery, I've gone through the promise of that your children will be slaves in another land, and you're going to come back after four generations - he thinks it's happening.
Now read Rashi; Vayeishev Yaakov - Yaakov settled. What does that mean? Bikesh Yaakov leishev b'shalva - Yaakov at that point wanted to live in tranquility, he thought his life was over. He thought he did what he was supposed to do, he went through a lot, he deceived his brother, he paid for it, he was in this kind of slavery, in this Egypt-like land, in the land of Lavan. He finally comes home, he survived another encounter with his brother, he's supposed to be the one to finally fulfill this promise to go in the land and settle there and finally he can live in tranquility. What happened? It wasn't to be. Why? Kofatz alav rogzo shel Yosef - the strife involving Joseph and his brothers caught up with him, jumped on him, and all of a sudden the promise started to disintegrate. Yes, Yaakov was still going to get land and children but at the end of it all land and children will not come together. You'll become great nation but you'll become a great nation in Egypt. The 21 years in the house of Lavan in the end will not be enough, there's going to be 210 years in the house of Egypt.
Interesting, when was it that Yaakov had to spend 21 years in the house of Lavan? What propelled Yaakov to go into slavery in the Lavan story? The event immediately preceding that, was he deceived his father over the child his father thought was his firstborn. Remember that was the struggle; Yitzchak had thought that Eisav was the firstborn, that Eisav was the child that was supposed to get the blessing. Yaakov had other ideas, he was a murky firstborn, Yaakov had bought the firstborn from him, who really has the firstborn? Well Isaac has one idea, the father, but Yaakov has another idea, he ends up deceiving him. Interesting, he deceives him with what? Yaakov dresses up with coats made of the skins of animals, the coats of Eisav and kills a goat and gives it to his father. Deceptions involving a Bechor, involving a firstborn, involving goats and coats, where a father thinks that one person is the firstborn, but the child thinks someone else is the firstborn. What does this remind you of? It reminds you a lot of the story of Joseph and his brothers.
Rashi; Kofatz alav rogzo shel Yosef - it's happening again. When in Yaakov's generation his own children deceived him, taking a goat and slaughtering it and putting blood on the coat and bringing it to his father and said, do you recognize this? When Yaakov had his idea about who his Bechor was, Yosef, but it was a murky Bechor, and the brothers had ideas of somebody else being the Bechor, of Reuven the first child of Leah being the Bechor, and they deceived their father. You were doing nothing but the same thing that Yaakov himself had done to Yitzchak. And Yaakov in the wake of that, was propelled into 21 years of slavery, and now the brothers and their children will be propelled into 210 years of slavery, in a macrocosmic re-enactment of Yaakov's life in the house of Lavan.
In the words of the Medrash that Rashi quotes, when Yaakov was Vayeishev - Yaakov settled in the land, G-d says, you want to settle in the land and be tranquility? Tzadikkim mevakshim leishev b'shalva - righteous people want to live in tranquility, you don't get to live in tranquility in your life. Omar Hakadosh Baruch Hu - the Master of the Universe said; Loh dayan l'tzadikkim mah shemetukan lahem l'olam habo, elah shemevakshim leishev b'shalva b'olam hazeh - you want to live in tranquility not just in the next world but in this world too? Life isn't always so easy and life is not so easy for Yaakov here.
When we come back I want to trace for you the continuing story of this word, of this root, Hashivoticha; this elusive promise that G-d makes; I will return you to the land, I will take care of you, you will go back to the land. Yes, He did, He did return him, but it wasn't the end of the story. If you keep on reading our story and you keep on watching out for this root, you'll find some very, very interesting and surprising things. I'll see you in the next video.
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