This D’var Torah should be a Zechus L’Ilui Nishmas my sister, Kayla Rus Bas Bunim Tuvia A”H, my maternal grandfather Dovid Tzvi Ben Yosef Yochanan A”H, my maternal grandfather Dovid Tzvi Ben Yosef Yochanan A”H, my paternal grandfather Moshe Ben Yosef A”H, my uncle Reuven Nachum Ben Moshe & my great aunt Rivkah Sorah Bas Zev Yehuda HaKohein.
It should also be in Zechus L’Refuah Shileimah for:
-My father Bunim Tuvia Ben Channa Freidel
-My grandmothers Channah Freidel Bas Sarah, and Shulamis Bas Etta
-MY BROTHER: MENACHEM MENDEL SHLOMO BEN CHAYA ROCHEL
-Mordechai Shlomo Ben Sarah Tili
-Noam Shmuel Ben Simcha
-Chaya Rochel Ettel Bas Shulamis
-And all of the Cholei Yisrael, especially those suffering from COVID-19 and the Meiron tragedy.
-It should also be a Z’chus for an Aliyah of the holy Neshamos of Dovid Avraham Ben Chiya Kehas—R’ Dovid Winiarz ZT”L, Miriam Liba Bas Aharon—Rebbetzin Weiss A”H, as well as the Neshamos of those whose lives were taken by terrorists (Hashem Yikom Damam), COVID-19, and the Meiron tragedy.
-It should also be a Z’chus for success for Tzaha”l as well as the rest of Am Yisrael, in Eretz Yisrael and in the Galus.
לע”נ שמואל מנחם בן אריה לייב
לע”נ לאה בת אברהם
לע”נ יהודה חסדא יקיר בן הרב שלמה
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Parsha Paradise/פרשה פרדס – Toldos: What Did Yitzchak Smell & Why Did it Matter? 👃🏻🍎
Although the blind Yitzchak Avinu was not sure which of his sons was standing before him, seeing as the “voice [was] the voice of Yaakov, and the hands [were] the hands of Eisav,” the Torah tells us that Yitzchak smelled the garments and rest assured that the son before him was the one suitable to be blessed. Thus, Yitzchak exclaimed, “Re’eih Rei’ach B’ni K’Rei’ach HaSadeh Asher Beiracho Hashem”-“See, the fragrance of my son is like the fragrance of a field that is blessed by Hashem” [Bereishis 27:27].
The question though is what exactly it was that Yitzchak smelled. Moreover, why did the fragrance reassure him and restore his confidence?
Although we might be familiar with the famous answer provided by the Midrash, Bechor Shor suggests simply that Yitzchak smelled the familiar smell of Eisav’s clothes. In other words, he was confident that the man before him was Eisav. As for his exclamation, Yitzchak concluded that Eisav must have been “blessed by Hashem” as he returned successfully and swiftly from the field to deliver the requested dish for his father. Of course, little did he know that Eisav did not return that quickly as it was actually Yaakov Avinu who stood before him.
However, Ba’al HaTurim cites an opinion that Yitzchak smelled something more which happens to be hinted to in the word, “Vayarach”-“and he smelled.” Ba’al HaTurim notes that this word appears only one other time in Tanach, namely in the story of Noach when he offered a Korban to Hashem in the aftermath of the Flood. The Pasuk there states, “Vayarach Hashem (Es Rei’ach HaNichoach)”-“and Hashem smelled (the pleasing fragrance)” [Ibid. 8:21]. Ba’al HaTurim explains, as per this connection that Yitzchak “smelled” the scent of Gan Eden (presumably as if to say, “Vayarach Hashem” can be rendered, “and he (Yitzchak) smelled Hashem”).
The above Remez is suggested in support of the famous tradition cited by Rashi in the name of the Midrash [Bereishis Rabbah 65:22], that the scent of Gan Eden entered room with Yaakov, thus Yitzchak smelled the garden, i.e. “field that is blessed by Hashem” (apparently an apple field [Ta’anis 29B]).
The question is how this Midrash answers our question. Why did this particular scent of reassure Yitzchak? We could answer this question with another Midrash that suggests that Eisav actually won his special garments from Nimrod who obtained them from Adam who was clothed with them in Gan Eden [Pirkei D’Rebbi Eliezer 24]. Thus, as we suggested Al Pi P’shat, Yitzchak might have concluded from the smell that these were clearly Eisav’s garments.
However, there is another more basic solution for this Midrash which emerges ironically from a comment of the Zohar.
Zohar [1:142B] implies that it was not just the garments that Yitzchak smelled, but “Bigadav,” “his garments,” i.e. Yaakov’s garments, as if to say that it was only once Yaakov wore them that they emitted aroma of the “Chakal Tapuchin Kadishin” or the “field of holy apples.” He insists further that had Yitzchak not smelled the holy aroma of the garments, he would not have blessed him; the wearer of the garments would not have been worthy.
In this vein, the Pasuk continues with the exclamation: “Re’eih Rei’ach B’ni K’Rei’ach HaSadeh Asher Beiracho Hashem”-“See, the fragrance of my son is like the fragrance of a field that is blessed by Hashem.” Zohar admits that it is unclear if it was Yitzchak declared these words or the Shechinah itself that had announced this affirmation. Indeed, it could be easily understood both ways, and perhaps both simultaneously. The point is that Al Pi Sod, Yitzchak did not merely confirm that man before him was Eisav. Rather, he saw the smell of Gan Eden as a Divine endorsement of the man before him, a go-ahead to bless this son, perhaps whomever he was.
And the truth is that Midrashic and mystical approaches don’t have to disagree with the simple read in essence. Because even according to the P’shat we cited earlier, Yitzchak draws a conclusion that the son before him was provided special Siyata D’Shmaya (Divine Assistance), suggesting that, indeed, the son before him was worthy of blessing. And although perhaps Yitzchak might have been hoping it was Eisav, it was Yaakov Avinu whom the Shechinah endorsed that day.
We should all be Zocheh to merit being accompanied by the fragrance of the Shechinah, worthy vessels of Hashem’s blessings, especially that of participating in and experiencing the Geulah and the coming of Moshiach, Bimheirah BiYomeinu! Have a (Gutten Chodesh Kisleiv & a) Great Shabbos!
-Yehoshua Shmuel Eisenberg