Baltimore, Md - Nov. 25, 2022 - RUUUUUUUNN! This word is usually associated with online deals that you don't want to miss. But if you think about it, this word is very much associated with Parshas Toldos. Rivka had two children inside of her, each one running in their own direction. In this week's episode of The Torah Sparks Podcast, we discuss an incredible Rashi in 25:22, and bring out a valuable lesson for our Divine service.
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Everyone associates the word “running” with different things. If you are a criminal, you probably think about running from the cops. If you are a politician, you probably think about running for a government position. If you are a grammar teacher, you probably think about run on sentences. If you are a Dan’s Deals follower, you probably think about RUUUUUNN!
In Parshas Toldos (25:22), the Torah introduces us to another type of running. The Torah says:וַיִּתְרֹֽצְצ֤וּ הַבָּנִים֙ בְּקִרְבָּ֔הּ - The children inside her [Rivka] struggled. The Rabbis explain that the word ויתרצצו stems from the root רוץ, to run. When Rivka passed the House of Study of Shem and Ever, Yaakov “ran” and tried to come out of the womb, and when she passed the House of Idolatry, Esav “ran” and tried to come out of the womb.
It is clear from the Torah that both Yaakov and Esav were involved in some type of running, but the difference between them was drastic. Whereas Esav spent his life physically running, Yaakov involved himself with a spiritual running. In fact, the word רוץ, to run, is related to the word רצון, a strong will of commitment in one's Divine Service. This was the lifestyle in which Yaakov tapped into; he was also a runner, just a far different type than his evil brother.
I think we can now understand the words of the Hadran that we’ve heard so many times:
אָנוּ רָצִים וְהֵם רָצִים. אָנוּ רָצִים לְחַיֵּי הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא, וְהֵם רָצִים לִבְאֵר שַׁחַת – We run and they run. We run to a life of Olam Habba, and they run to a destructive pit.
After all, we now understand that there are two types of running. There is the physical running, the running of Esav, spending time chasing pursuits of physical pleasures and desires. Notice, the clause of והם רצים לבאר שחת, it leaves out the word לחיי – to a life – since, simply put, that lifestyle is not a life worth living. It’s depressing and sad. It’s not even called a life! But there is another type of running, a spiritual running, a running exemplified by Yaakov Avinu. A running of רצון ה', firmly committed and devoted to a life of connection with Hashem.
This is not a joke, I ran some numbers, and the gematria of אָנוּ רָצִים וְהֵם רָצִים (mispar musafi) is 802, the same as the word ויתרצצו. I mean, like what better word in the Torah is there to symbolize the fact that there are two types of running.
Let us make sure we are running towards a life that is worth living, a life of לחיי עולם הבא. Let us learn from Yaakov Avinu about the importance of the spiritual type of running, and Be’ezras Hashem, in so doing, we will live with happiness and a valued sense of incredible purpose.
Have a holy Shabbos!