Sunday, December 24, 2006

Vayigash, 46:1. Honoring One's Grandfather

Leilokei oviv Yitzchok. Rashi says that a person is chayov more to be me’chabed his father than his grandfather. See the Torah Temimah, who brings the machlokes of the Ramoh and the Maharik as to whether there is any chiyuv of Kibud at all to the grandfather, and the shittah of the Gaon as to ben habas, and the Torah Temimah’s sevoro to be mechayev in kvod z’kaino.

The question remains, though, why couldn’t Ya’akov have been mispallel in the name of both his father and his grandfather. Just because he had a greater chiyuv for his father does not mean that he may not be mechabed his grandfather, and certainly doesn’t mean that he should not invoke his grandfather’s zechus. Why did he davka say Elokei Yitzchok?

Harav Dovid Zupnik (shlitah) zatzal, niftar Erev Shavuos tof shin samach zayin, a talmid of Mir in Europe, has an excellent pshat in this possuk. He points out that in Bereishis 12:8 and 13:4 we find that Avrohom was makriv on a mizbeyach between Bais El and Ai. Yitzchok, on the other hand, as we see in 26:25, was makriv in Be’er Sheva. More importantly, not only was Yitzchok makriv there, it also says that “vah’yiven”. When Ya’akov went to Mitzrayim, if you will look at a map, you will see that he could have passed Avrohom’s mizbay’ach, but he davka went to Yitzchok’s and was makriv there. Since it was Yitzchok’s mizbay’ach, it was proper that when he was makriv there that he call Hashem in the name of the one who established the mizbay’ach there, Yitzchok.

Harav Ahron Eisenberg (shlita) Zatzal, HKM, niftar Rosh Hashanna tof shin samach ches, of the gedolei talmidei Slabodkeh, pointed out that the Yerushalmi in Yevomos (2:6) says that the reason Bilodon had a din of a meyuchos was that he was mechabed his grandfather. [This means that Yichus only matters if the m’yuchos is mechabeid his past, if the m’yuchos is mis’yacheis.. If a m’yuchos is indifferent to his history, then he is not a m’yuchos at all.

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