Burying a Rasha with a Tzaddik

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By Rabbi Berach Steinfeld

In Bereishis 50:13 the passuk says; the brothers carried Yaakov to eretz Knaan and buried him in the Me’Aras Hamachpeila.

The Gemara in Sotah 13a says that during the time of burying Yaakov, Eisav arrived and tried to stop the proceedings. He claimed that the Me’aras Hamachpeilah was sets of couples and since Yaakov already buried Leah there, he felt that he deserved the other plot. The shvatim said you sold your chelek. Eisav demanded a shtar mechirah. They responded that they left it in Mitzrayim. They sent Naftali who was fleet footed. During this give and take Chushim the son of Dan stood there. He was hard of hearing and did not comprehend why the proceedings were being held up. After the shvatim explained the situation to him, he said this is not acceptable, that we should have to wait for Naftali to come back and during this time Yaakov should lie in a state of bizayon. He took a club and hit Eisav on the head. The eyes of Eisav fell out and fell to the knees of Yaakov. Yaakov opened his eyes and laughed. During this time the prophecy of Rivka took place when she had said why should both brothers be buried in one day?

Tosfos in Gittin 55b asks that from the Sifri is mashma that it was Yehuda that killed Eisav. The Yerushalmi in Gittin chaper 5 says that the Goyim decreed many terrible decrees on the neighborhood of Yehudah. They had a mesorah that Yehuda killed Eisav therefore, they had it in for Yehudah. Here in this Gemara we see that Chushim killed Eisav? Tosfos answers that it is possible that Chushim started by hitting Eisav, but Eisav did not die until Yehudah finished him off.

The Targum Yonasan ben Uziel wrote that when Eisav came to argue against the burying of Yaakov, Chushim cut off his head and it rolled into the Me’aras Hamachpeilah. The question is How could they bury the head of Eisav together with Yaakov? In Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 362:5 it says one should not bury a Rasha next to a Tzaddik? And it is an issur De’Oraysa.

There are a few answers. The first answer is from Rav Shteinman in Ayeles Hashachar that since Eisav excelled in the mitzva of Kibbud Av he merited being buried next to Yaakov.

The second tirutz is once his head fell in there, they did not remove it anymore. The only problem is how come they buried Yaakov there afterwards. Could be since there were other Tzaddikkim there, it was not a problem.

A third tirutz is that since this took place before mattan Torah they were not makpid on it.

A fourth tirutz is that it was not within daled amos.

A fifth tirutz is that since the children of Eisav would use that as an excuse to torment klal Yisroel therefore they left him there.

A sixth tirutz is based on Rav Chaim Kanievski who brings a Yerushalmi in Nedarim 3:8 that says that le’ased lavo when all the Tzaddikim will assemble Eisav will join them until Hakadosh Boruch Hu will take him out. For the fact that he will be able to sit there until Hashem removes him proves that he has some maalos and therefore it was fitting for him to be buried in Me’aras Hamachpeilah.

May we be zocheh to witness Techiyas Ha’Meisim in our lifetime! Amen!



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