Torah Tidbits

3 September 2014 / 8 Elul 5774
Issue 1023
Shabbat Parshat Vayishlach
November 29, 2012

Portion of the Portion

What Kind of Kiss?

I guess I am still naive. I was shocked when I saw the title of the article on Arutz Sheva by Giulio Meotti titled “The Vatican on Gaza: Israel is a Baby-Killer”. 
To quote from the article, “Not a word was heard from the Vatican all the years Sderot babies were in mortal danger. They began noticing the violence last week.
Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Vatican Council for Culture, commenting on the war between Israel and Hamas, delivered a severe attack on the Jewish people: “I think of the ‘massacre of the innocents’. Children are dying in Gaza, their mothers’ shouts is a perennial cry, a universal cry”. 
How could someone in a leadership position be so blind and one sided? How could he not promote the cause of so many of his fellow Christians persecuted, murdered and maimed by Muslims around the world? Instead he has to point a finger at Israel.
But I should know better. Just in this week’s portion we read about the meeting of Yaakov and his brother Eisav. Yaakov is very nervous about this encounter since they hadn’t parted from each other as friends and his brother was on his way to meet him with a 400 man strong army. And yet the encounter goes better then Yaakov expected. Eisav ran forward to meet Yaakov. He hugged Yaakov, threw himself on his shoulders, and kissed his younger brother. VAYAROTZ EISAV LIK- RATO VAYCHAB’KEIHU VAYIPOL AL TZAVARAV VAYSHAKEIHU (33:4) The commentators wonder about this encounter especially because the word VAYSHAKEIHU - he kissed him, is written with dots above each letter.  Rashi here brings a dispute brought in the Sifri. One opinion is that the dots above the word signify that Eisav didn’t kiss Yaakov with all his heart. R’ Shimon bar Yochai says no, although we know that it is a halacha that Eisav hates Yaakov - at this specific encounter he had mercy on his brother and kissed him with all his heart.
Everyone asks about the language that R’ Shimon bar Yochai uses - it’s a well-known halacha that Eisav hates Yaakov. Why does he use the word halacha? What kind of halacha is this? Rabbi Menahem Zemba HY"D explains that RASHBI was known to look for the reason behind every law. But here he tells us there is no logical reason for the hatred of Eisav towards Yaakov. It is simply a fact - a halacha - it is not necessarily logical.
Throughout the generations we have been hated by the other nations. Being a logical nation, we have always tried to find a reason - maybe it’s because we are poor, maybe because we are rich, maybe because we dress differently, maybe because we are too smart, maybe because we don’t work - the list of excuses goes on. RASHBI tells us that this is a halacha - Anti-Semitism is not based on logic - it is just a fact of Jewish Life. We have to remember this throughout the generations. We must stop trying to impress the nations and bend over backwards so they will like us. They will never really like us. And when we see a Cardinal quoted as placing blame on Israel we should look at it as another example of this halacha.
SINCE EISAV KISSED Yaakov, here is a recipe for peanut kisses. You can make them milky (and serve them on Chanuka as well) and use Hershey’s chocolate kisses - or if you want to make them parve you can use pareve chocolate chips instead.

1 1/4 cup peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp softened butter or margarine
1 Tbsp milk or soy milk
1 tsp vanilla
Hershey Kisses or pareve chocolate

Preheat oven to 170C degrees. In a bowl with an electric mixer, beat together peanut butter and sugar until combined well.
In a small bowl lightly beat the egg, milk, baking soda and vanilla, then beat in melted butter or margarine. Beat the egg mixture into the peanut butter mixture until combined well. Chill dough for 30 minutes in freezer or 1 hour in the fridge. Roll level teaspoons of dough into balls and arrange about 1-inch apart on baking sheets. Bake cookies on greased baking sheets in batches in middle of oven until puffed and pale golden, about 8 minutes.
Immediately place Kisses (or choc. pieces) in the center of the cookie. Cool cookies on baking sheets for 2 minutes before transferring.

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