VAYEIZEI

".....and he (Jacob) took of the stones of the place and put it under his head.... " (28:11)

When Jacob departed from his father's house, he rested and made a stone head "pillow" for himself. Rashi comments that "Jacob made a sort of cape around his head for he was afraid of the wild beasts."A question can be asked as follows: If Jacob was truly afraid of wild beasts why did he only make a protection for his head, he should have also tried to protect his entire body as well ? Why did he only cover his head and not his entire body?

I would like to , Bezrat Hashem, propose an original answer. In Genesis chapter 4, we read about the killing of Havel by his brother Kyin. (Please refer there for further details.)After killing Havel, Kyin requested from G-d that he protected from the wild animals so G-d, thereby, inscribed His Holy name on his forehead. (Please refer to Genesis 4:15 and Rashi commentary there for further details.) It appears that after Kyin killed Havel something drastically changed in Kyin, namely his "Tzalem Elokim" (Man's divine Image).

The animals no longer feared him, and Kyin feared their attack. In other words , Kyin's "Tzalem Elokim " was diminished as a result of his brother's murder. Yet in regard to Jacob , we find that he left his father's house in order to prevent Esau from committing murder as stated in Genesis 27:41.( Esau intended to kill Jacob regarding the blessings.) We , therefore, find that Jacob had in essence prevented a conflict by departing from his father's house. Jacob , thereby, had increased his "Tzalem Elokim" by preventing a potential murder. Jacob ,therefore, emphasized only his head and not his entire body when protecting himself from wild beasts to point out the fact that he had done just the opposite of Kyin in preventing a murder from happening. The animals would never attack anyone with "increased" "Tzalem Elokim" like Jacob had. This Jacob did by putting an emphasis only on his head, and not his whole body. In reality, Jacob was not protecting his head, but rather was emphasizing his increased "Tzalem Elokim" with the stones around his head as a marker of his new state.

Have a good Shabbos

This Torah thought is being dedicated to my beloved father, Nachman Shimon ben Yehuda Meir Hakohan, Z"L.

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