(29) וירץ AND HE RAN — Why did he run and what did he run for? (The next verse explains why). ויהי כראות הנזם AND IT CAME TO PASS WHEN HE SAW THE RING —he said, “This must be a rich man״, and he had an eye to his money.
(כ) על בלי הגיד לו ... הראה יעקב עצמו כאלו בלתי מרגיש באיבת לבן מלבד שלא הגיד לו שחפץ ללכת וכל זה עשה לא להעדר מוסר אלא כמוכרח וזה כי בורח הוא. מדאגה שיגזלהו לבן בעזרת אנשי עירו כמו שאמר בהתנצלותו ללבן אחר כן:
(20) על בלי הגיד לו, ...Yaakov showed himself as if he didn't sense Lavan’s hatred, besides not telling him that he wanted to go. He did all this not to escape morality but rather by sheer necessity, and this is "for he was fleeing".
כי בורח הוא; he fled for fear that Lavan would rob him with the aid of the people of his town. He said so in his explanation to Lavan later.
(5) ארמי אבד אבי A SYRIAN DESTROYED MY FATHER — He mentions the loving kindness of the Omnipresent saying, ארמי אבד אבי, an Aramaean destroyed my father, which means: “Laban sought to uproot the whole [nation]” when he pursued Jacob. Because he intended to do it the Omnipresent accounted it unto him as though he had actually done it (and therefore the expression אבד which refers to the past is used), for as far as the nations of the world are concerned the Holy One, blessed be He, accounts unto them intention as an actual deed (cf. Sifrei Devarim 301:3; Onkelos).
(יט) כָּל מִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ בְּיָדוֹ שְׁלשָׁה דְבָרִים הַלָּלוּ, מִתַּלְמִידָיו שֶׁל אַבְרָהָם אָבִינוּ. וּשְׁלשָׁה דְבָרִים אֲחֵרִים, מִתַּלְמִידָיו שֶׁל בִּלְעָם הָרָשָׁע. עַיִן טוֹבָה, וְרוּחַ נְמוּכָה, וְנֶפֶשׁ שְׁפָלָה, מִתַּלְמִידָיו שֶׁל אַבְרָהָם אָבִינוּ. עַיִן רָעָה, וְרוּחַ גְּבוֹהָה, וְנֶפֶשׁ רְחָבָה, מִתַּלְמִידָיו שֶׁל בִּלְעָם הָרָשָׁע. מַה בֵּין תַּלְמִידָיו שֶׁל אַבְרָהָם אָבִינוּ לְתַלְמִידָיו שֶׁל בִּלְעָם הָרָשָׁע. תַּלְמִידָיו שֶׁל אַבְרָהָם אָבִינוּ, אוֹכְלִין בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה וְנוֹחֲלִין בָּעוֹלָם הַבָּא, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (משלי ח) לְהַנְחִיל אֹהֲבַי יֵשׁ, וְאֹצְרֹתֵיהֶם אֲמַלֵּא. אֲבָל תַּלְמִידָיו שֶׁל בִּלְעָם הָרָשָׁע יוֹרְשִׁין גֵּיהִנֹּם וְיוֹרְדִין לִבְאֵר שַׁחַת, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהלים נה) וְאַתָּה אֱלֹהִים תּוֹרִידֵם לִבְאֵר שַׁחַת, אַנְשֵׁי דָמִים וּמִרְמָה לֹא יֶחֱצוּ יְמֵיהֶם, וַאֲנִי אֶבְטַח בָּךְ:
(19) Anyone who has these three things is from the students of Abraham, our father, and [anyone who has] three other things is from the students of Bilaam the evildoer: [one who has] a good eye, a humble spirit and a small appetite -- is from the students of Abraham, our father. [One who has] an evil eye, a haughty spirit and a broad appetite - is from the students of Bilaam the evildoer. What [difference] is there between the students of Abraham, our father, and the students of Bilaam the evildoer? The students of Abraham, our father, eat in this world and possess the next world, as it is stated (Proverbs 8:21), "There is what for those that love Me to inherit, and their treasuries will I fill." But the students of Bilaam the evildoer inherit Gehinnom (Purgatory) and go down to the pit of destruction, as it is stated (Psalms 55:24), "And You, God, will bring them down to the pit of destruction; the people of blood and deceit, they will not live out half their days; and I will trust in You."
ואת בלעם, “and Bileam;” after Bileam had returned from Moav to Aram Naharayim, his home base, he traveled toMidian in order to collect a fee from the elders of Midian who had been in the first delegation Balak had sent to him to ask him to curse the Israelites. When he heard that a great plague had befallen the Israelites, he wanted to cash in on this, claiming that he had been the instrument that brought this about, by having suggested that the Moabite women seduce their males into promiscuity by sleeping with their women. (Ibn Ezra) An alternate interpretation explaining Bileam’s sudden presence amongst the Midianites: when he had explained to the Moabites that the reason that he was unable to curse these people effectively was because they had been so loyal to their G-d and His Torah, (Numbers 23,21) the Moabites took the hint and succeeded to lead them into sin. Having succeeded in this, they sent Bileam another invitation stressing that now he could curse them effectively. He followed their advice and was killed as a result.
(1) Now the serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild beasts that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say: You shall not eat of any tree of the garden?” (2) The woman replied to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the other trees of the garden. (3) It is only about fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden that God said: ‘You shall not eat of it or touch it, lest you die.’” (4) And the serpent said to the woman, “You are not going to die, (5) but God knows that as soon as you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like divine beings who know good and bad.” (6) When the woman saw that the tree was good for eating and a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable as a source of wisdom, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave some to her husband, and he ate.
והנחש היה ערום וגו׳. פירש״י בשם מ״ר שנתקנא בהם במה שראה אותם מזדווגים יחד ונתאוה לה. והוא פלא. שהרי כל בריה אינו מתאוה אלא למינו כדאי׳ במס׳ ב״מ צ״א מיניה בתר מיניה גריר. והרי לא חסר להנחש נקבה שלו. ואי משום ששימשו לעין כל. הרי גם הנחש לא ידע בושת. אלא הענין שהרגיש דהדביקות האשה לאישה אינו כמו נקבה שלו אליו שאינו בא אלא בשעת התעוררת לזיווג. וזה אינו אלא במקרה והכנה לדבר. משא״כ האשה תמיד דבקה אליו באשר היא עצם מעצמיו הי׳ הדביקות יותר עוד מאח ואחות שגם המה כבשר אחד. אבל מ״מ אינם אחד ממש כמו האשה הראשונה לאדם שהי׳ כמו אבר להראש ובזה התקנא:
Now the snake was the most cunning...
Rashi expounded in the name of Midrash Rabba: He [the snake] became jealous of them [Adam and Chavah] through having seen them pairing off together and he desired her. And this is a wonder! For every creature desires only after its own species, as it says in Tractate Bava Metzi'a 91 - Each species is pulled after its species. And the snake didn't lack for his own female. And if it was because they [Adam and Chavah] engaged in intercourse before all eyes--see, the snake also didn't know shame. But the matter was that he felt that the cleaving of the woman to her man was unlike that of his female to him, for that did not occur except at the time that she was aroused for pairing. And this was only upon occasion and by preparation for the thing. Which was not so for the woman who was always cleaving to him [the man] in that she was "bone of his bones"; the cleaving was more even than between brother and sister who are also like one flesh. But in any case, they are not truly one like the first woman and Adam, for she was like a limb to him [Adam] as the head, and it was of this that he [the snake] was jealous.
The primeval snake--He turned his eyes upon Chavah and came to her, and this explains why it is written: "The snake beguiled me/hishiani...", which is a term of intercourse/tashmish and betrothal/nisuin.
Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg, The Beginnings of Desire: Reflections on Genesis (Doubleday, 1995)
The Talmud makes an extraordinary observation about the paradoxes of "standing": "No man stands on [i.e., can rightly under-stand] the words of Torah, unless he has stumbled over them." To discover firm standing ground, it is necessary to explore, to stumble, even to fall, certainly to survive the chaotic vibrations of a world that refuses to be. The gelid certainties of the fully created world are immediately undermined; only because of death and failure is man impelled to created the world anew. "Tremble in His presence, all the earth! The world stands firm; it cannot be shaken" (I Chron. 16:30) One might read this by tuning the strings of paradox tighter: "Tremble in His presence--so that the world may stand firm and not collapse." For how can one stand at all, if one does not know the tremor?
(יח) וַיְצַו פַּרְעֹה לְכָל עַמּוֹ, אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹסֵי בֶּן רַבִּי חֲנִינָא, אַף עַל עַמּוֹ גָּזַר, וְלָמָּה עָשָׂה כֵן, שֶׁהָיוּ אִסְטְרוֹלוֹגִין אוֹמְרִים לוֹ גּוֹאֵל יִשְׂרָאֵל נִתְעַבְּרָה מִמֶּנּוּ אִמּוֹ, וְאֵין אָנוּ יוֹדְעִין אִם יִשְׂרָאֵל הוּא אוֹ מִצְרִי הוּא. בְּאוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה כִּנֵּס פַּרְעֹה כָּל הַמִּצְרִים וְאָמַר לָהֶם הַשְׁאִילוּ לִי אֶת בְּנֵיכֶם תִּשְׁעָה חֳדָשִׁים שֶׁאַשְׁלִיכֵם לַיְּאוֹר, הֲדָא הוּא דִכְתִיב: כָּל הַבֵּן הַיִּלּוֹד הַיְאֹרָה וגו', כָּל הַבֵּן שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל אֵין כְּתִיב כָּאן, אֶלָּא כָּל הַבֵּן, בֵּין יְהוּדִי בֵּין מִצְרִי: וְלֹא רָצוּ לְקַבֵּל מִמֶּנּוּ שֶׁאָמְרוּ בֵּן מִצְרִי לֹא יִגְאַל אוֹתָם לְעוֹלָם, אֶלָּא מִן הָעִבְרִיּוֹת... וְכָל הַבַּת תְּחַיּוּן, מַה צֹּרֶךְ לְפַרְעֹה לְקַיֵּם הַנְּקֵבוֹת, אֶלָּא כָּךְ הָיוּ אוֹמְרִים נָמִית הַזְּכָרִים וְנִקַּח הַנְּקֵבוֹת לְנָשִׁים, לְפִי שֶׁהָיוּ הַמִצְרִיִּים שְׁטוּפִים בְּזִמָּה:
...And Pharaoh commanded for his whole nation... R. Yose ben R. Khanina said: He decreed even on his own nation. And why did he do so? Because his astrologers told him: The mother of the saviour of Israel is now pregnant with him, and we do not know if he is an Israelite or an Egyptian. At that hour Pharaoh gathered together all the Egyptians and said to them: "Lend me your sons for 9 months, so that I can throw them into the river." This is why it is written: Every son - throw him into the river and it is not written here "every son of Israel", but rather "every son", whether Jewish or Egyptian. And they did not want to accept this from him, for they said: No Egyptian son will ever save them, but rather [they will be saved] from among the Hebrew women's [offspring]...And what need was there for Pharaoh to allow the females to survive? But rather, they were saying: Let us kill the males and we can take the females as wives, for the Egyptians were steeped in sexual license.
(ח) ... כי אני הכבדתי את לבו (שמות י') א"ר יוחנן מכאן פתחון פה לרשעים לומר לא היתה ממנו שיעש' תשובה. אמר ריש לקיש יסתם פיהם של רשעים... מתרה בו פעם ראשונ' ושנייה ושלישית ואינו חוזר בו והוא נועל דלת מן התשוב' כדי לפרוע ממני מה שחטא כך פרעה הרשע כיון ששגר הב"ה אצלו חמשה פעמים ולא השגיח על דבריו א"ל הק"בה אתה הקשית את ערפך והגבהת את לבך הריני מוסיף טומאה על טומאתך (ש"ר פ' י"ג) וכתב הרב ז"ל עליו והטעם השני כי היו חצי המכות עליו בפשעו כי לא נאמר בהם רק ויחזק לב פרעה ויכבד את לבו והוא לא רצה לשלחם לכבוד הבורא אבל כאשר גברו עליו המכות ונלאה לסבול אותם ארך את רוחו ואמץ את לבבו ... ואשר אמר קודם המכות ואני אחזק את לב פרעה וגו'. הודיע למשה העתיד לעשות במכות האחרונות וגו' כמו שכתוב בפירושיו. והכוונה בזה הפך הראשונה. וזה כי לא יאמר בשום צד שיקשה הש"י את לב האדם למנוע ממנו התשובה האמתית אבל יאמרו שקשתה ידו על האנשים הרשעים הצועקים בפיהם חטאנו ולבם עקש ופתלתול...
(8) ...For I have made his heart heavy [Shmot 10] R. Yokhanan said: This offers an opening for the wicked to say that he had no way to do teshuvah. Said Reish Laqish: Let the mouths of the wicked be closed...He warned him one time, and a second, and a third, and he would not return from his conduct. So He locked the door from repentance, in order to settle accounts with him for what he had sinned. Just so Pharaoh the wicked, once the Holy One (blessed be He) had cast His eye upon him five times and he did not pay attention to His words, the Holy One (blessed be He) said to him: You have stiffened your neck and made your heart haughty. See, I will add tumah to your tumah. [Shmot Rabbah Ch. 13] And the Rav Z"L wrote of this: that the second explanation is that half the plagues were upon him in his own wrongdoing, for it says of them only "And Pharaoh's heart was strengthened" and "His heart was made heavy". And he didn't want to send [the Israelites] away for the honour of the Creator, but when the plagues overcame him and he wearied of suffering them, then He lengthened his spirit and fortified his heart...And as for telling him before the plagues that "I will strengthen the heart of Pharaoh, etc." He informed Moshe of the future for the latter plagues... And the intent of this is the reverse of the first [reason]. And this is that it should not be said from any aspect that Ha-Shem, may He be blessed, would harden the heart of a person to close off true repentance from him but they may say that He hardens His hand against the wicked who cry out with their mouths "We have sinned" but their heart is perverse and twisted...
(ב) ותשלח איזבל ראתה כי לב אחאב נוטה אל אליהו ומצדיקו ולא ערב לבה להרגו תיכף וחשבה כי בלילה תהפך לב אחאב לשוב אל רשעו :
...And Jezebel sent...She saw that Akhav's heart was turning to Eliyahu and justifying him. And her heart wasn't happy with killing [Eliyahu]immediately, and she thought that during the night, Akhav's heart would reverse, returning to his wickedness.
...Only there was never, etc. Which means to say: The reason that Akhav became more wicked than them all was only on account of his wife Jezebel enticing him.
הֲדָא הוּא דִכְתִיב אַחַר הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה גִּדַּל הַמֶּלֶךְ אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ אֶת הָמָן בֶּן הַמְדָתָא הָאֲגָגִי וַיְנַשְֹּׂאֵהוּ, וְצִוָּה הַמֶּלֶךְ שֶׁיְהוּ כּוֹרְעִים וּמִשְׁתַּחֲוִים לוֹ, מֶה עָשָׂה הָמָן, עָשָׂה לוֹ צֶלֶם מְרֻקָּם עַל בְּגָדָיו וְעַל לִבּוֹ, וְכָל מִי שֶׁהָיָה מִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה לְהָמָן הָיָה מִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה לַעֲבוֹדַת כּוֹכָבִים.
“Some time afterward, King Achashverosh promoted Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite; he advanced him and seated him higher than any of his fellow officials. All the king’s courtiers in the palace gate knelt and bowed low to Haman, for such was the king’s order concerning him; but Mordecai would not kneel or bow low.” (Esther 3:1-2) What had Haman done? He attached an embroidered [idolatrous] image to his garment upon his breast, and everyone who bowed down to Haman bowed down to the idolatrous image.
Even to overpower the queen. This is an expression of wonder. לִכְבּוֹשׁ [denotes] to subdue with force, as in “and the land is conquered [וְנִכְבְּשָׁה].”5Bamidbar 32:22.
And she stretched out her other hand hastily and she drew a sword from under her garments and she placed it upon Joseph’s neck and she said: Arise now and gratify my wishes or else thou diest this very day. And Joseph was afraid of her and her action and he rose up to flee from her. But she had taken hold upon the front of his garments and when Joseph fled in terror, the garment which Zulycah had seized was torn, and Joseph left the garment in Zulycah’s hand and ran away into the street, because he was afraid.
ותתפשהו בבגדו, “she grabbed him by his outer garment.” According to Kohelet Rabbah on Kohelet 7,26, where the author describes a woman’s hands as having been artificially restrained, אסורים, the kind of woman described by Solomon there would grab men in the street and try and seduce them. Even the relatively chaste women are described there as aggressive in that respect. During the 12 months that Joseph was in Potiphar’s house, he was exposed to those tactics by Potiphar’s wife on a daily basis. When the Torah speaks of these ongoing attempts at seduction (verse 10) as occurring יום יום, “every day,” this must be considered as if Joseph had withstood a year’s temptation. The word is used as meaning “year” as in Esther 3,7. He would literally have to take evasive action, such as covering his face, practically shrinking to the ground. She would use instruments in order to force him to resume his normal posture. She would use the argument that she was not really married to Potiphar; he was a homosexual and had never consummated the “marriage.” He had to explain to her that the Hebrews were not allowed to have sexual relations with Egyptian women even if the latter were unmarried. She would threaten him with having him consigned to jail. Joseph would reply that his G–d had means of freeing him from jail. She would threaten to have him blinded, to which he replied that his G–d could make the blind see. Eventually, if it had not been for the priests who testified hat the drops of semen she produced as evidence that he had tried to rape her were in fact not from a human being, he might have been sentenced to death. This eventually became the reason why he dealt so extraordinarily generously with the Egyptian priests during the years of the famine. (Tanchuma, section 8)
(4) After that, he fell in love with a woman in the Wadi Sorek, named Delilah. (5) The lords of the Philistines went up to her and said, “Coax him and find out what makes him so strong, and how we can overpower him, tie him up, and make him helpless; and we’ll each give you eleven hundred shekels of silver.” (6) So Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me, what makes you so strong? And how could you be tied up and made helpless?” (7) Samson replied, “If I were to be tied with seven fresh tendons that had not been dried, I should become as weak as an ordinary man.” (8) So the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven fresh tendons that had not been dried. She bound him with them, (9) while an ambush was waiting in her room. Then she called out to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” Whereat he pulled the tendons apart, as a strand of tow comes apart at the touch of fire. So the secret of his strength remained unknown. (10) Then Delilah said to Samson, “Oh, you deceived me; you lied to me! Do tell me now how you could be tied up.” (11) He said, “If I were to be bound with new ropes that had never been used, I would become as weak as an ordinary man.” (12) So Delilah took new ropes and bound him with them, while an ambush was waiting in a room. And she cried, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” But he tore them off his arms like a thread. (13) Then Delilah said to Samson, “You have been deceiving me all along; you have been lying to me! Tell me, how could you be tied up?” He answered her, “If you weave seven locks of my head into the web.” (14) And she pinned it with a peg and cried to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” Awaking from his sleep, he pulled out the peg, the loom, and the web. (15) Then she said to him, “How can you say you love me, when you don’t confide in me? This makes three times that you’ve deceived me and haven’t told me what makes you so strong.” (16) Finally, after she had nagged him and pressed him constantly, he was wearied to death (17) and he confided everything to her. He said to her, “No razor has ever touched my head, for I have been a nazirite to God since I was in my mother’s womb. If my hair were cut, my strength would leave me and I should become as weak as an ordinary man.” (18) Sensing that he had confided everything to her, Delilah sent for the lords of the Philistines, with this message: “Come up once more, for he has confided everything to me.” And the lords of the Philistines came up and brought the money with them. (19) She lulled him to sleep on her lap. Then she called in a man, and she had him cut off the seven locks of his head; thus she weakened him and made him helpless: his strength slipped away from him. (20) She cried, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” And he awoke from his sleep, thinking he would break loose and shake himself free as he had the other times. For he did not know that the LORD had departed from him. (21) The Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes. They brought him down to Gaza and shackled him in bronze fetters, and he became a mill slave in the prison.
TALMUD SOTAH 9b (Koren Talmud Bavli, Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz)
"And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. It was taught in a baraita that Rabbi Judah HaNasi says: Even if she had not been called by the name Delilah, for she weakened (dildela) his strength, she weakened his heart, she weakened his deeds, thereby decreasing his merits.
The Germara explains: 'She weakened his strength', as it is written: "And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man and had the seven locks of his head shaved off; and she began to afflict him and his strength went from him" (Judges 16:19). 'She weakened his heart', as it is written: "And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying: Come up this once, for he has told me all his heart" (Judges 16:18). 'She weakened his deeds,' thereby decreasing his merits, as the Divine Presence left him, as it is written: "And she said: The Philistines are upon you, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep and said: I will go out as at other times, and shake myself. But he knew not that the Lord had departed from him" (Judges 16:20).
...just like a snake receives some mysterious whisper which causes it to act aggressively, so Samson would respond to the whisperings of Delilah. This is the deeper meaning of Judges 16, 16-17: “Finally, after she had nagged him and pressed him constantly, he was wearied to death and he confided everything to her. He said to her: ‘no razor has ever touched my head; for I have been a Nazirite to G’d since I was in my mother’s womb. If my hair were cut, my strength would leave me and I should become as an ordinary man.’” Furthermore, just as a snake is also known as שרף due to its venom which burns, so Samson burned down the fields of the Philistines when the corn in them was close to being harvested. (Compare Judges 15,5).