For the week ending 19 December 2009 / 1 Tevet 5770

Bava Batra 121 - 127

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Become a Supporter Library Library
  • Why the fifteenth of the Month of Av was such a special day
  • Seven men who spanned all of history
  • Who was exempt from the decree to die in the wilderness
  • How Eretz Yisrael was divided amongst the tribes and how it will be divided in the future
  • Designating one child as the only heir
  • Why the firstborn birthright was transferred from Reuven to Yosef
  • When the oldest son gets a double portion of the inheritance
  • Designating the order of recipients of a gift
  • The firstborn who waived his right to double portion
  • How one can determine who will get his property when he dies
  • A father's credibility in regard to status of son

The Mistaken Voice

  • Bava Batra 123a

The Patriarch Yaakov was about to marry Rachel for whose sake he had worked for her father Lavan for seven years. He was afraid, however, that his deceitful employer might try to switch Rachel with her older sister Leah. To foil such a plot he made up with Rachel that she would say some secret simanim code words known only to the both of them. When it came time for the marriage ceremony, however, Rachel was afraid that her sister, who indeed replaced her at the command of her devious father, would be embarrassed if exposed, and revealed to her the secret code.

The question raised by the commentaries is why such a strategy was necessary when Yaakov could have detected the swindle by recognizing the voice alone.

The same question arises in regard to the failure of Yaakov's father to recognize his voice when he impersonated his brother Eisav in order to gain the blessing intended for him. Ramban's approach there is that siblings have similar voices or that Yaakov was capable of impersonating the voice as well. Maharsha's solution is that in both cases there was a slight suspicion because of the variance of the voices, but it was dismissed in favor of the hairy arms in the case of Yitzchak's blessing and the simanim code in the case of Yaakov and Rachel.

What the Sages Say

"The descendants of Eisav will be overcome only by the descendants of Yosef."

  • Rabbi Shmuel bar Nachmani - Bava Batra 123b

© 1995-2024 Ohr Somayach International - All rights reserved.

Articles may be distributed to another person intact without prior permission. We also encourage you to include this material in other publications, such as synagogue or school newsletters. Hardcopy or electronic. However, we ask that you contact us beforehand for permission in advance at ohr@ohr.edu and credit for the source as Ohr Somayach Institutions www.ohr.edu

« Back to TalmuDigest

Ohr Somayach International is a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation (letter on file) EIN 13-3503155 and your donation is tax deductable.