Tidbits of Veyetzei by Mr. Arthur Poleyeff – Principal for General Studies

(2004/5765) This week’s Parsha, is chock full of numbers and
activity. For a mathematician, it is a delight.
When Yaakov is tired and needs a pillow, he takes a bunch of
rocks and puts them under his head. How many rocks did he
use? Rabi Yehuda says there were twelve, alluding to the
twelve Shevatim. Rabi Nechemya says there were three, a
reference to the three basic tenets on which the world exists:
Torah, Avoda, and Gemilut Chasadim.
Additionally, we learn from the words ˜Vayifga
Bamakom Vayalen Sham” that Yaakov established Tefillat
Arvit. There is an easy way to remember which of the Tefillot
were established by the Avot. The second letter in each Av’s
name indicates the Tefilla he founded: Avraham has a Bet for
Boker (Shacharit); Yitzchak has a Tzady for Tzohorayim
(Mincha); Yaakov has an Ayin for Erev (Maariv). There is
also a hint to the Tefillot in Shema. Shin is for Shacharit,
Mem is for Mincha, and Ayin is for Maariv.
Elsewhere in the Parsha where numbers play a
prominent role is in Pasuk 12 where the Torah talks about the
ladder, or Sulam, in Yaakov’s dream. In the Torah, the word
Sulam is written without a Vav, and its Gematria is therefore
130, which is equivalent to Sinai (spelled Samech Yod Nun
Yod). If one does a great deal of Gemilut Chasadim and has
fine Ben Adam Lachavayro skills, he can ascend Sinai to
receive the Torah. However, if, Chas Vishalom, a person is
concerned only with himself, the Sulam may be written with a
Vav, thereby having a Gematriah of 136, which is equal to
Oni, poverty. Therefore, a ladder can be used to go up to
receive the Torah or to descend to a level at which one is
poor in his dedication to Hashem.
The final word of our Parsha lends itself to a nice
Gematriah as well. Rashi says that the word Machanayim,
camps, refers to the two camps of angels that traveled with
Yaakov. The first camp of angels traveled with Yaakov
outside of the boundaries of Eretz Yisrael while the second
camp of angels traveled with Yaakov within the boundaries of
Eretz Yisrael. The Gematriah of the word Machanayim is
148, the same as the number of Pesukim in Parshat Vayetzei.

Although these four insights on this week’s Parsha may
seem separate from each other, they are rather closely connected to
each other. Using numbers and hints in the Torah in order to find a
deeper meaning in the text is a skill that is valuable for one’s
understanding of the words of Hashem. The Gemara occasionally
utilizes hints and numbers to clarify various Halachot and meanings
of Pesukim. Therefore, when you encounter a Pasuk that contains
numbers, try to discover an additional aspect of what the Torah is

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