Yeshiva Shem V'Ever

Levi Yitzchok Rothman (
Sun, 23 Feb 1997 00:14:33 -0500

Reb Yaakov Kamenetsky zt"l spoke about the Yeshiva Shem V'Ever on several
occasions and this topic is discussed in Reb Yaakov's sefer on Chumash,
Emes L'Yaakov Genesis 28:11. Reb Yaakov here deals with the question why
Yaakov Avinu when he flees home to avoid his vengeful brother Esau goes to
study Torah at the Yeshiva Shem V'Ever. He is now 63 and has been studying
Torah all of this life in his father's home. What is it that he was missing
that he now goes to learn in the Yeshiva Shem V'Ever.

Reb Yaakov explains -- Yaakov Avinu had grown up in the sheltered
environment of his great father Yitzchok Avinu. However Yaakov Avinu is now
at a stage in his life where he must leave this protected framework and go
to the corrupt Laban. He therefore understood that he needed to acquire the
survival Torah needed for this situation. Indeed, this area of Torah was to
be found in the Yeshiva Shem V'Ever. Shem V'Ever had lived through such
periods themselves, the Generation of the Flood and the Generation of Tower
Babylon. They were the experts on this subject and Yaakov Avinu had to now
become one himself.

Reb Yaakov also uses this insight to explain how the Yaakov Avinu's
teaching of this unique Yeshiva Shem V'Ever Torah to Yosef (see Rashi
Genesis 36:3) was a contributing factor to the Brothers jealousy of Yosef.
The Brothers were aware of this Torah and knew it was necessary for future
Golus survival. They did not understand why it was not being taught to them
too. Were they not part of the future of the Jewish People. What happened
in the end was that Yosef lived for 22 years alone in an alien environment.
He needed this Torah for his own survival. Having triumphed in this
difficult experience, he was capable to create a suitable environment for
the rest of the family when they then descended to Egypt and remained there
for the next 210 years. Apparenty Yaakov Avinu knew that it would be Yosef
who would need this survival kit most and therefore singled him for its


Levi Yitzchok Rothman