• Rabbi Shmuel Brazil

The Beautiful Eyes Tell it All | Parshas Vayishlach

I once merited discovering a very intriguing pattern throughout the tefilla of Kabalas Shabbos. Unknowingly we encounter the number 112. The structure of Kabalas Shabbos is that we first recite chapters of Tehillim commencing with perek צה until צט, then perek כט, and followed by the tefillah of Rebbi Nechunya Ben Hakanah אנא בכח. If one takes the last letter of every last word of each perek מנוחתי באמונתו קדשו במישרים אלהינו בשלום ועד we arrive at the gematriah 112. Now take perek צו beginning with שירו לה' שיר חדש and count the words you will find that the total amount is also 112. After לכה דודי, we say מזמור שיר ליום השבת, perek צב, which is also composed of 112 words. With this recurring theme over and over again one cannot say that this is merely a coincidence. Let us delve into the significance of the number 112 and how it relates specifically to Kabbalas Shabbos?


In this week's parsha we find the battle of Yaakov and the angel of Aisav who is called .סמאל at the crossing of the river Yabok. The Keli Yakar explains that the reason the name סמאל was given to the malach of Aisav is because his purpose is to blind a Yid לסמא from seeing Hashem's presence in the world and seducing him to forget his mission that he must achieve during his lifetime. The Keli Yakar describes that there are two types of eyes, one that is physical and the other is called עין שכלי an intellectual spiritual eye. The leaders of the generation are called the עיני העדה for they look and view the world through different lenses than we do.


The Satan, yetzer harah and סמאל are all partners of ענבים grapes from which we make wine. Just look at the letters that compose the two words. After ס comes ע, after מ comes נ, after א comes ב and after ל comes מ which together spell ענבם grapes. The partnership of סמאל and ענבם is that they both blind the reality. Intoxication blinds the physical eye from functioning properly while the סמאל distorts the intellectual eye from seeing the emes. The gematriah of עין השכלי equals מלכות. The intellectual eye, when not hijacked from the סמאל, will focus on the recognition of מלכות the Kingdom of Hashem.


The letter כ in the Aleph Beis represents דמיון imagination and comparison. The reality of this world is that everything is only a mashal to a nimshal. It exists to be a parable or comparison to something more lofty and spiritual. Every physical existence possesses a spiritual component which serves as its roots. The עין השכלי guides a person to focus on the spiritual roots of the נמשל and not to settle on the משל which can be very deceiving. The yetzer harah and the סמלא entice a person to go against Hashem's will with the letter כ the power of imagination. He presents man with the imagination that if would only listen to his advice he will have pleasurable lasting experiences together with wealth, fulfillment, fame, and feel good about himself. This is how the Nachash approached Chava to seduce her to eat from the Aitz Hadaas ""והייתם כאלקים Imagine what it would be for you to be like Hashem. Subsequent Adam Harishon ate from the Aitz Hadaas, Hashem addressed him with the word איכהwhich is the combination of איה כ look to where your כ imagination brought you!


The power of imagination has both a true and false side. Adam was swayed by the כ imagination of tumah. However the כ can also be utilized for emes and kedusha when one looks upon the world only as a משל to something more spiritual and sublime. If one sees the world as the malach of Aisav and the Nachash desires, he will be lured through his imagination not to view the world as המשל. The gematriah of עשו exceeds one more than המשל. Aisav strives to blot out from man's עין השכלי that the world is only a mashal and not the destiny of life. By saying a hundred berachos ברוך אתה ה' אלקינו מלך העולם every day which is gematria כף the letter כ as it is pronounced, one can bring a consciousness to himself that the world is only המשל the greatest parable in existence. With this we can understand the derasha from Chazal on the passuk על כן יאמרו המושלים בואו חשבון the rulers are those who rule over their יצר הרע . The usage of the word מושל is to tell us that the method to control one's yetzerhara is by viewing the world as a משל. With this realization he will not be lured into an intoxicated imaginative state for he will know that this road erected by outside influence will lead him only to a dead end.


This is what the passuk (Devarim 33,28) ישראל בטח בדד עין יעקב וישכן When does Yisrael dwell securely? When they are בדד, separated from Aisav and the Nachash. How did they attain this separation? This is hinted in the acronym of בדד which is the acronym of בכל דרכיך דעהו (Mishlei 3,6) In all your ways you should recognize Hashem. How does one accomplish this? עין יעקב to have the עין שכלי of Yaakov which is the realization that the world is only a כ a parable to reveal the deeper meaning and source of all existence - Hashem.


Why did the malach of Aisav choose this place of מעבור יבק to defeat Yaakov Avinu.? We suggest that the name of a place hints to its substance and character as the Maharal points out that the word שם which means name also spells שם shawm there. The name describes what is there its hidden potential. It is so interesting to note that the name יבק possess the identical letters of יעקב except that it is missing the letter ע. This was a cue for the malach of Aisav that here he could successfully defeat Yaakov or at least blind him. יבק spells the name of יעקב without his עין which refers to the עין שכלי which describes Yaakov's inner spiritual look at the world.


This is the reason why the malach injured Yaakov in the כף the thigh. However, the deeper meaning is that he injured Yaakov in his letter כ. Yaakov who was the middah of emes was fully cognizant that everything in the world was merely a משל to the sparks of Hashem. The malach was able to weaken Yaakov's כ in the future generations when the clarity of seeking the emes will be compromised and Yidden will be dazzled by the overwhelming glittering Olam Hazeh that the gentile nations offer and lure us to.

The sefarim write that during the week we are clothed with כתנות עור clothing of skin. The Sfas Emes says that the word עור skin also spells עיוור which means blind. For six days of the week the malach of Aisav and the Nachash have accessibility to our eye sight to taint and blemish it making our spiritual vision distorted. However on Shabbos we have the neshama yesairah which transforms the עור into אור. The flames of the Shabbos candles are not fire but light. The gematriah of מלך העולם פוקח עורים equals ביום שבת. On Shabbos the עין שכלי is returned to us and we can easily defeat those forces that seek to spiritually blind us.


In the payit of Lecha Dodi at the last stanza we say בואי כלה בואי כלה twice. The Maharsha explains that Shabbos is the Kallah and Yisrael is the Chassan. As the Kallah leaves her father's house the chassan calls to her come my bride to the chuppah and afterwards come my bride to my house בואי כלה בואי כלה. After the two בואי the marriage is final and complete. Shabbos is the day of פוקח עורים . Every Yid has been given accessibility to cross the יבק without being harmed or lured by Aisav or his malach. Two times the word כלה including the two words equals יבק. Shabbos lets our עין יעקב function properly without interference from foreign influences.

That is why we find the number of 112 gematriah יבק prominent in the Kabalas Shabbos tefillos. It is a call to be prepared for your marriage with Shabbos, a kallah who will gift you with the spiritual view of the world and its creator. When taking the inner letters of שבת such as שין בית תיו you get the gematriah of עין השכל .


Chazal say (Medrash Shir Hashirim 4,3) כל כלה שעיניה יפות כל גופא אינה צריכה בדיקה a Kallah who has beautiful eyes then the rest of her body does not have to be checked out for blemishes. Shabbos has beautiful eyes and gifts us with her עין יעקב . if we can receive the face of Shabbos and her eyes פני שבת נקבלה, then for sure our entire body will be elevated.



- Rabbi Shmuel Brazil

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