Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Lavan - The Intuitive Future Shvir (FIL)

The following dvar Torah was sent to me in an email. I looked it up in Tiferes Yonasan to confirm that it is authentic. Sure enough, this vort can be found in Tiferes Yonasan Breishis 29:9:

From Reb Yonasan Eybushitz Z"L.

The parsha says that Rochel was the shepherd of her father's sheep. The gemara (or medrash) says that the reason for this was because Lavan did not have any sons. So why wasn't Leah also a shepherd? After all, she was older than Rochel.

Reb Yonasan says that Lavan was training Leah to be an "Akeres Habayis" - a housewife that will take care of the home.

So why was Lavan training Leah for one job and Rochel for a different one?

Lavan's cheshben was as follows: He knew that Leah was destined to marry Eisav, while Rochel was supposed to marry Yaakov. Eisav was an "Ish Tzayid" - a hunter who made a living. Therefore, Leah was being trained to be a housewife.

Yaakov, however, was an "Ish Tam" - who sat and learned all day. A kollel yungerman. Therefore, his wife was being trained as a shepherd so she can make a Parnassah and support her family!

Here is yet another nail in the coffins of those who maintain that there was no Chareidi ideology or "Kollel" concept before the 19th century (the Enlightenment). Rav Yonasan Eibeshitz, ZT"L, passed away in 1764. And the events of this pasuk occurred in 2185 (1573 BC).

11 comments:

G said...

Bzzzzzzz, sorry - thanks for playing.

She was being trained as a shepard to "make" a parnassah or to "manage" an existing estate? - big difference.

Yaakov was to inherit from the already wealthy Yitzchak. Wealth in those days meant, to a very large extent, animals. So, as stated, since Yaakov was an Ish Tam she would presumably need to know how to handle such things. NOT that it would be her responsibility to support him or bring in the wealth, only to maintain what was already there.

Alex said...

No, because in that case Leah would have had to have the same training. Eisav was a hunter of wild beasts; he wouldn't have known the first thing about taking care of the domesticated animals he inherited from his father.

Besides, there's not that great a difference between making parnassah and maintaining existing wealth. The classic image of the wife supporting her kollel husband is her managing a shop or other business, where the premises and the initial stock of merchandise were bought with the couple's dowry - not all that different than inheriting a bunch of sheep from one's father. Either way, you can't live for very long off the capital without using it to generate profits.

joshwaxman said...

i believe that this may well be a straw man you are setting up.

even within Rav Yonasan Eibeshutz, assuming he says exactly this, there is a difference between one individual doing something and the society as a whole doing something like learning in kollel. And do we need Rav Yonasan Eibeshutz for this idea? What about the Ran, on ha lan and ha lehu? There is also a difference between this being an agreement within a family, and an arrangement where support for these individuals is cast *upon* society.

"And the events of this pasuk occurred in 2185 (1573 BC)."
Yes, but that seems to assume that this quasi-midrashic explanation from R Yonasan Eibeshutz is historical. It almost certainly is not. I am not certain as to whether it was *intended* to be historical or not, though.

Shadal and others, by the way, explain Yoshev Ohalim by Yaakov as being a shepherd, and cites other psukim in Tanach to bolster this idea.

Avie said...

Note that Ramban on the pasuk says it was a matter of Tznius. Leah was older and it was not proper for her to be out. He even contrasts this with Yisro who allowed his older daughters to be shepherds. Being a shepherd was not considered a Tzanua job for women. (Interesting that that did not prevent Moshe from marrying Tzipora.)
If we combine Ramban with R' Yonasan then we would conclude that women may take jobs that compromise their Tznius in order to support their husbands.

G said...

No, because in that case Leah would have had to have the same training. Eisav was a hunter of wild beasts; he wouldn't have known the first thing about taking care of the domesticated animals he inherited from his father.

Perhaps but something tells me that Esav would not have been overlty dependant on whatever he inherited and would have been just fine having to fend for his own on his own.

not all that different than inheriting a bunch of sheep from one's father.

I thought the whole reason that so many of the Avos and other major biblical characters were shepardim was becouse it was not a labor intensive job and allowed for extensive time devoted to thought/prayer etc to God? Seems a great deal different that being responsible for the running and upkeep of a small business.

Either way, you can't live for very long off the capital without using it to generate profits.

What does that have to do with anything?

Ari said...

To me, this seems like the exception, not the rule. How many Yaakovs are there that can sit and learn all day? Very few, I should think.

And those that kollel wives that do support the family -- surely they can get professional training from university teachers who are far less evil than Lavan?

josh waxman said...

also, if Lavan's goal was to train Rachel so that she could support Yaakov while he learned, how come Laven made Yaakov work for him shepherding for so long, day and night?

Freelance Kiruv Maniac said...

(To continue the anachronism,) I guess when he raised Rachel, Lavan assumed Yaakov was an incompetent batlan warming the bench.Once he saw how well this "yungerman" (of 77) could really work, he changed his plan.

(Sounds like a Yonasson Rosenblum-type storyline.)

josh waxman said...

I saw the other day on Lion of Zion an interesting Seforno:
http://agmk.blogspot.com/2008/12/sfornos-jewish-work-ethic.html

אעבדך שבע שנים ברחל (Gen. 29:18): אין ספק שלא היה הצדיק נושא אשה ומעמיד בנים אם לא היה בידו לפרנסם בפרט בשאר וכסות

joshwaxman said...

By the way, I just looked up the Tiferet Yehonatan, and he does not say what you claim said. He says וגם בקש ליתן רחל ליעקב ויעקב היה איש אוהלים על כן הרגיל את רחל להיות צאת בשדה אל הצאן.


Here is a image of it:
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_xWFKiPJDO_I/STlZhR_0T-I/AAAAAAAACBs/yv8cKKxpFGE/s1600-h/tiferesyehonatan.bmp


and here is the page, available online:
http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=19492&pgnum=61

The important words that Yaakov would not be learning Torah all day and thus not working is chaser min hasefer. They are *your* insertion, based on bringing in the midrashic explanation of Yoshev Ohalim. One can fairly readily cast this as that he was not the type to go out into the field, and was more the stay-at-home type. So for Leah, *she* would be the Akeret haBayit while Esav went out, while Yaakov would be the stay-at-home dad while Rachel went out.

Final nail in the coffin, indeed!

Good Shabbos,
Josh

Ari said...

Looking at this week's parsha, it's pretty evident that Yaakov had the luxury of sitting and learning only when he was single. When he got married, he performed hard physical labor in the fields raising and managing sheep -- in other words, working for a living to support his family.