Sunday, December 6, 2009

Delights from the Shabbos Table: Why I Must Honor Judge Goldstone

Most of us know the famous dictum from Pirkei Avos (6:3):

הַלּוֹמֵד מֵחֲבֵרוֹ פֶּרֶק אֶחָד, אוֹ הֲלָכָה אַחַת, אוֹ פָּסוּק אֶחָד, אוֹ
דִּבּוּר אֶחָד, אֲפִלּוּ אוֹת אַחַת צָרִיךְ לִנְהוֹג בּוֹ כָּבוֹד

If one has learned a single item of Torah from a fellow Jew he must confer upon him honor.
As such, I hereby pay tribute to the "Honorable" "Judge" Richard Goldstone for shedding new light on a puzzling Rashi commentary that has plagued the scholars for centuries. In this past week's Parsha the Torah tells us:

וַיִּירָא יַעֲקֹב מְאֹד וַיֵּצֶר לוֹ

And Yaakov was very frightened and it was distressing to him...

Rashi explains based on the Midrash:

And Yaakov was very frightened - that he be killed
And it was distressing to him - that he may kill others
The question is obvious: We well understand that Yaakov will be concerned about being killed. But why should he be so distressed about killing those who are his enemies?

Rivers of ink have been dedicated to explaining this Rashi and many sharp explanations have been posited. But now, thanks to this learned Jew, the "Honorable" Grudge (er- I mean Judge) Goldstone we have a simple and pertinent insight into the words of Rashi:

Yaakov knew that should he kill anybody else, he would be charged with war crimes and sent to Azazel!

As they say: Win or lose - you lose!

Rashi was clearly ahead of his time. And kudos to our teacher, "Rabbi" Goldstone for unlocking this mystery.

Yaakov truly had reason to be distressed - ויצר לו.

And once again it is an עת צרה ליעקב -

וממנה יושע!!

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