Friday, November 1, 2013

Sweet Fifteen

Rabbeinu Bacheye does an interesting calculation to show us exactly how old Yaakov and Eisav were at the time that Yaakov purchased the bechorah from Eisav. Avraham was 100 years old when Yitchak was born and 140 when Yitzchak married (Yitzchak was 40 when he married Rivkah). Yitzchak and Rivka were unable to have children for 20 years which brings the total to 160. Since we are taught that the day of the sale was the day of Avraham's passing, we can figure out exaclty how old Yaakov and Eisav were. Avraham lived a total of 175 years, this means that at the time of this sale Yaakov and Eisav were 15. Rabbeinu Bacheye points out that they had to be at least 13 from the fact that they are referred to as men in this segment and prior to 13 they would only be referred to as boys. (Rabbeinu Bacheye 25:27)

It is interesting to point out that this world is considered to have been created with the letter heh and the next world with a yud. (Menachos 29b) Heh is the fifth letter and yud is the tenth. Together they equal fifteen. There are countless drashos that focus on Eisav wanting this world and disregarding, even degrading, the World to Come. It is interesting to see that the age of the participants in this exchange express the idea of this world and its interaction with the next.

As an aside, this segment of the Torah seems to display that Avraham was not born on Pesach. Rebbi Yehoshua maintains that Avraham and Yaakov were born in Nissan. While many might naturally assume that this would have been on Pesach, from the sugyah itself it seems that is not the case and the parsha reinforces that. The sugyah maintains that Yitzchak was born on Pesach, the fact that Avraham and Yaakov's births are only described as in Nissan implies that they were not on Pesach. A close look at Rashi seems to also make this seem to be the case. The parsha reinforces it, though. If this sale happened on the day Avraham died then we can assume it was also his birth. This concept is taken for granted in this exact sugyah. If so, Yaakov made bread for Eisav, so presumably it was not Pesach. (It is possible it was matzoh, but it does not seem like it.) (See Rosh Hashana 11a; for more on why Yaakov gave Eisav bread see my Tiferes Aryeh Shas Inyan Mechiras Habechorah or click here.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Of course it wasn't Pesach....lentils are kitniyot!!