These are my notes of the Schmuess delivered by the Rosh Yeshiva of Mir Yerushalaim, Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel, for Parshas Vayishlach 5760. Rav Nosson Tzvi's shloshim is this week.
First, Yaakov Avinu sent a message to Eisav: im lavan garti. Rashi has two peshatim. The first pshat is Yaakov telling Eisav that he lived as a stranger, not as an important person and Eisav should not hate him for receiving the brachos. His second pshat is while he lived with Lavan harasha, Yaakov kept all the mitzvos.
Secondly, we see Yaakov said Katonti mikol hachasadim. Rashi says his zechuyos were decreasing in number and shema nislachlachti bechait. The Ramban and Sforno say Yaakov wasn't deserving of the chasadim. The Rashbam says a third pshat. Hashem did chesed and Yaakov did not fulfill his duties to Hashem. This is really a machlokes in midrash. Rabi Abba said aini kedai, Rabi Levi said kedai, but katonti mekol hachasadim. The meforshim explain Rabi Abba like the Sforno and the Ramban, and Rabi Levi like Rashi. The pshat is that it's not a machlokes, it's just two dargos. He said I'm not fitting but if I am, maybe I used the zechuyos up and even so, maybe I'll do a chait.
Thirdly, vayei'aveik ish imo ad alos hashachar. It was vayivaser Yaakov levado - a chisaron: since he went alone, the saro shel eisav attacked him. From here we learn it is asur for a talmid chacham to go somewhere alone at night.
The midrash says just like it says venisgav Hashem levado, also by Yaakov - vayivaser Yaakov levado. The Midrash brings down levado is one of the middos of Hashem. So levado is a ma'aleh in Yaakov, not a chisaron. What is the ma'aleh of levado, and ho does one reach it?
From the three things we mentioned, Yaakov reached vayei'aveik ish imo. I'm not saying pshat, but to reach each of the three dargos lies in a Mishnah in Avos 1:14. Im ain ani li mi li uchshe'ani le'atzmi ma ani ve'im lo achshav masai.
Im lo achshav aimasai. As it says in Chazal, one shouldn't say I'll learn when I have time because maybe he won't have time. Don't push it off as it says if you leave it, it will leave you. If you push it off one day it will turn into two days. Im lav garti was Yaakov's first taina - the entire time he was oseik betorah umitzvos.
Keshe'ani le'atzmi ma ani. I think one pshat is - I know there are several peshatim - a person succeeded. But if he thinks he will pat himself on the back and think he did it himself, he is missing middos tovos and is a ba'al ga'ava. Keshe'ani le'atzmi a ani - if you think you did it all yourself, ma ani - what's it worth? You must have middos- anava, chessed - all the middos tovos. How do you reach this? Only by learning Mussur. As the Gaon says it's the hardest thing in life is to break a middah ra'ah. Besides taryag midos shamarti, you need good middos. Without them you can't succeed. If a person doesn't know how to treat his friend, his roommate, his chavrusa, his family, he is lacking in his Torah. Im ain ani li mi li. Baruch Hashem, in our gashmiyosdike world, a person can have everything he wants. Today luxury has become neccesity. But a person can have gashmiyos also. You can have chavrusos, sefarim, what's missing? Im ain ani li mi li. One can have everything, but if he doesn't work onhimself, mi li? Who will think of him if he doesn't think of himself? How does a person get to levado? Ameilus - im brchukosai teileichu - ameilus batorah. This week's parsha teaches us exactly what a shiv is all about. Taryag mitzvos shamarti, middos tovos (katonti mikol hachasadim), and ameilus batorah (levado). If a person doesn't work on himself and doesn't rely on anyone else to feed him,if t to grow in learning or middos tovos, become a gadol batorah, have
When is the matziv of levado? Why does the Torah say here that Yaakov reached the darga of levado? The pshat is simple. First it says vayomer lo ma shimech vayomar Yaakov. Vayomer lo Yaakov yai'omair od shimcha ki im Yisrael. First his name was Yaakov - Veyaakveini zeh paamayim, and after this fight with saro shel Eisav he was zoche to be named Yisrael. He reached a higher level. To reach this higher level of Yisrael, he had to reach the darga of levado. What is the name Yaakov? Veyaakveini zeh pa'amayim. Because of his desire for shleimus, he fooled Yitzchak and received the berachos. It's a maaleh that he did it to become shaleim. Because of this desire to become shaleim, he was zoche to the name Yisrael.
How does a person reach levado? He must have a desire to be shaleim, to be a complete person in all respects - Torah and mitzvos, yiras Shamayim and middos tovos. If a person's desire is to be partial, halevai he will get up to being partial. If he wan to get complete, he can be complete. It doesn't have to do with brains or how smart you are or how quick you are - it's only dependant on your desire.
Klal Yisrael needs gedolim and shleimim that are shaleim in all his avodas haBorei. If a bachur strives for shleimus, he will get there. And that's all dependant on im ani li mi li: if he has a small goal, maybe he will reach it. If he has a bigger go , he can reach it, but you need ameilus.
In this lies another nekudah. Sometimes one feels all alone; he feels lost. It could be it's the opposite - Hashem gives him a test to see if he can pass that test. That's one of the dargos of levado - that he can pass the tests. He doesn't need any help. If he does it alone, he can be zoche to become Yisrael. How does he do that? His desires. Hashem should help the zechus of ain ani li mi li that we should all be zoche to taryag mitzvos shamarti, katonti mikol hachasadim and lo Yaakov yai'omair od imcha ki im Yisrael.