Weekly Torah Portion – Parshat “Toldot”

The term “Freudian slip” is named after the Jewish-Viennese psychologist Professor Sigmund Freud.

In fact, the idea might have been discovered more than a century earlier by revered Gaon Rabbi Eliyahu of Vilnius.: 

Here it is: 

We all know (and will read this week) that Rivka Imeinu instructed Yaakov to pretend to be Esav – in order to get the Brachot (blessing) from Yitzchak. 

Yaakov listens to his mother and then says:

  וַיֹּ֣אמֶר יַעֲקֹ֔ב אֶל־רִבְקָ֖ה אִמּ֑וֹ הֵ֣ן עֵשָׂ֤ו אָחִי֙ אִ֣ישׁ שָׂעִ֔ר וְאָנֹכִ֖י אִ֥ישׁ חָלָֽק׃אוּלַ֤י יְמֻשֵּׁ֙נִי֙ אָבִ֔י וְהָיִ֥יתִי בְעֵינָ֖יו כִּמְתַעְתֵּ֑עַ וְהֵבֵאתִ֥י עָלַ֛י קְלָלָ֖ה וְלֹ֥א בְרָכָֽה  

 “Behold, my brother Esau is a hairy man, whereas I am a smooth man. Perhaps my father [who is blind] will touch me, and I will appear to him as a deceiver, and I will bring upon myself a curse and not a blessing.”

Now, the Vilna Gaon notices one word in Yaakov’s plea: “Perhaps my father will touch me and discover”. If Yaakov really feared to be discovered, he would use the word “Lest (פן, ולא אולי) my father will touch me”

And so, concludes the Vilna Gaon:  From his use of the word “perhaps”,  we learn that while Yaakov Avinu wanted to listen to his mother, very deep in his heart he did not wish to deceive, and was hoping to be discovered by his father.

Yaakov Avinu is indeed described by the prophet Micha, as the bearer of truth; “Titen Emet LeYaakov” 

 תתן אמת ליעקב

Perhaps we can redefine it “A Vilnius slip” 

Shabbat Shalom and a good New month Kislev!

Rabbi Chaim Michael Biberfeld