Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Parshas Vayishlach 5778

Isaac's Burial vs Abraham's Burial

The Torah writes (Genesis 35:28-29) about Isaac's burial, with Esau being first:
Isaac was a hundred and eighty years old when he breathed his last and died. He was gathered to his kin in ripe old age; and he was buried by his sons Esau and Jacob.
Earlier, the Torah writes (Genesis 25:7-10) about Abraham's burial, with Isaac being first:
This was the total span of Abraham’s life: one hundred and seventy-five years. And Abraham breathed his last, dying at a good ripe age, old and contented; and he was gathered to his kin. His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite, facing Mamre, the field that Abraham had bought from the Hittites; there Abraham was buried, and Sarah his wife.
Rashi (ibid) comments:

ISAAC AND ISHMAEL — From this we gather that Ishmael repented of his evil ways (cf. Bava Batra 16b) and yielded the precedence to Isaac. This is what is meant by the “good old age” mentioned in connection with Abraham (Genesis Rabbah 38:12).
Therefore, there are two indications that Ishmael repented: one is that Ishmael gave preference to Isaac, and that it says "good old age".

However, here we find that Esau comes first. There are several reasons for that.

Radak (also mentioned by Bechor Shor, Chizkuni, Ibn Ezra and Rashbam):
Esau is mentioned first, seeing that he was the firstborn although he had sold his birthright to Yaakov.
Moreover, Yaakov had been in the habit of according the honour due to a firstborn to Esau, ever since the two had made peace between themselves.
On the other hand, when describing the funreal of Avraham, the Torah names Yitzchok first, seeing that Yitzchok had been the son by the major wife of Avraham, Sarah, whereas Yishmael had only been the son of the servant maid (25,9)
The Alshich explains somewhat differently:
And the fact that it doesn't mention "good old age" like it does by Abraham, is because he was buried by Esau who was wicked, unlike Abraham where Ishmael repented. And a hint to the fact that he did not repent, is the fact that it doesn't say "Jacob and Esau" like it does by Ishmael who repented and gave honor to Isaac. By Esau on the other hand, he did not honor Jacob and that's why it says "Esau and Jacob". And this is the meaning of what the Talmud writes (B"B 14)

Bela and Bilaam

The Torah writes (Genesis 36:32):

Bela son of Beor reigned in Edom, and the name of his city was Dinhabah.
Sefer Tziuni (ibid) writes:
He was Bilaam the son of Beor
The Ibn Ezra (ibid), however, disagrees:
This is not Bilaam, and Bilaam is also not the same as Laban the Aramean, however he may have been a sorcerer like the other one for nothing falls to the earth from the words of our Rabbis. And also Bela was an Edomite, while Bilaam was an Aramean
This is referring to the Talmud (Sanhedrin 105a):
We learned in a Braisa that Beor was the same person as Cushan-Rishasaim and the same person as Laban the Aramean

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