Sunday, July 18, 2021

Rabbi Zev Leff on Esav Sonei L'Yaakov

We have perused this topic many times. Most recently:

This Tisha b'Av I was in Mattityahu and went to Rav Zev Leff's Kinnos. While Rav Leff's approach is not my approach, I feel it is a valid alternative.

Among many other topics, he addressed the topic of Sinah, which is a focal topic of the day (as in Sinas Chinam).

He suggested that we misunderstand the definition of sinah

As evidence he cited Yaakov's relationship with Leah. 

The Torah (Bereishis 29:30)  says that Yaakov loved Rachel more than Leah - clearly indicating that both were loved, but that Rachel was loved more.

Yet immediately afterwards (29:31) the Torah says that Hashem saw that Leah was senu'ah. In context, it does not make sense to say this means that she was hated.

Rather, contended Rav Leff, sinah means not hatred but any form of pirud, of separation. It is thus that we understand the command of Lo tisnah es achicha b'lvavecha (Vayikra 19:17): There should not be a separation between you and your brother.

Accordingly, when the Gemara (Shabbos 89a) states that at Har Sinai there came down sinah to the nations, it connotes not hatred, but an inevitable separation. 

Rav Leff thus explained the Esav sonei l'Yaakov does relate to the nations of the world and the Jews, but that it does not connote the non-Jews hate Jews intrinsically and universally. He noted that many non-Jews are friends, supporters and advocates of Jews individually and collectively.  Nonetheless, there will always exist an inevitable separation that can never be fully (and should not ever be fully) obliterated or ignored.

1 comment:

  1. I am reminded of R Wolbe's Olam haYdidus, where the antonym to ידידות is אכזריות, a/k/a אך-זריות