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The Posuk says (Gen. 25:22) regarding Rivka:

וַיִּתְרֹצֲצוּ הַבָּנִים בְּקִרְבָּהּ וַתֹּאמֶר אִם כֵּן לָמָּה זֶּה אָנֹכִי וַתֵּלֶךְ לִדְרֹשׁ אֶת יְ־הֹוָ־ה

Translated as: And the children struggled within her, and she said, "If [it be] so, why am I [like] this?" And she went to inquire of the Lord.

Rashi comments on this:

ותלך לדרוש: לבית מדרשו של שם

Translated as: And she went to inquire - to the academy of Shem.

The question is why go to Shem and not Avraham or Yitzchok, and what happened to Eiver?

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I don't remember it (which is why I'm not posting it as an answer), but I seem to recall once reading an answer to this question that was based on the Radak to I Sh'muel 9:9. Anyone know it? –  msh210 Nov 22 '11 at 7:10
@msh210: looks like it's the Netziv's answer given in the blog post that simchashatorah linked below. –  Alex Nov 23 '11 at 21:03
@Alex, ah, thank you. –  msh210 Nov 23 '11 at 22:12

3 Answers 3

Found an answer Here:


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Can you summarize it (in case of link rot)? –  Alex Nov 23 '11 at 3:26
Bite-sizedness is not required here. Readability is. A reference is useful, but, as Alex points out, has no independent value on its own. If you could write something indicating what the answers that haven't yet appeared here are, that would make this answer much more valuable. –  Isaac Moses Nov 23 '11 at 4:08
@Barzilai, I really don't buy this "impossible to summarize" concept. A summary may not do your writing justice (which is part of why a link is recommended as well), but it could certainly be useful to people who are interested in answers to the question at hand. This is especially true when at least some of the answers presented come from various commentaries, each of which could be summarized or even (in some cases) translated here in full, at great value to readers. –  Isaac Moses Nov 23 '11 at 15:13
Also, there seems to be a misconception that this site means to deal specifically in "bite-sized" shticklach or "cocktail-party Torah." It means to deal in interesting, worthwhile, well-written questions and in accurate, interesting, well-written answers that directly address the questions asked. In all cases, the length should be, as a professor of mine specified for assignments in his classes, the minimum required to get the point across clearly, and the writing, organization, formatting, and referencing should all be designed to present maximum value to the reader. –  Isaac Moses Nov 23 '11 at 15:54
Reb Isaac, thank you for your explanation. I didn't chalila mean to denigrate this wonderful and remarkably accomplished site of harbatzas Torah. I would be thrilled to see the teirutzim summarized, although it's hard for me to do. I just was put in mind of this recently published abstract. boingboing.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/bestabstract.jpg –  Barzilai Nov 23 '11 at 16:31
  • The Gur Aryeh (Bereshit 25:27) writes that when making a halachic inquiry, you don't go to a lesser Rabbi in place of the greater Rabbi. Since Shem was greater, she went only to him.

  • See the Toras Menachem in the Gutnik Chumash, where the Lubavitcher Rebbe points out that Rashi previously wrote that Shem was MalkiTzedek, high priest of G-d (Bereshit 14:18). Where did Rivka go to when "she went to inquire of the Lord."? She went to Shem, not in his capacity as a teacher, but in his capacity as the high priest of G-d. Therefore Ever was excluded.

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The midrash that I assume Rashi is quoting actually does say that she went to "מדרשו של שם ועבר". However, lower on that same page, it does identify Shem as the one who is the official navi (though not clear if it's talking about Rivka or Hagar). Interestingly, Abarbanel quotes the midrash as saying that she went to the beis midrash of Shem and Eiver, but it was Shem who told her the nevua.

Radak, however, writes that it could just as easily have been Avraham that Rivka went to. (See also the Abarbanel linked above, who writes that it is "more correct" to say that it was Avraham.)

As to why not Yitzchak, I would venture to say that we have no evidence that Yitzchak was capable of nevua at this point in his life (he lived one third of his life by this point). And even if he was, I'm not really surprised that she didn't go to him first. We don't find that Yitzchak and Rivka were the greatest of communicators. It seems evident that Rivka never told Yitchak what the navi told her about Eisav and Yaakov. Yitzchak and Rivka remained, according to the Torah, on completely separate wavelengths when it came to Yaakov and Eisav. But that is another question entirely.

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see here where a Tur Ha'Aruch is quoted as saying that she didn't want to distress Avraham with the news of a difficult pregnancy. books.google.com/… –  Menachem Nov 22 '11 at 4:26
@Menachem: daat.ac.il/daat/vl/tohen.asp?id=164 –  msh210 Nov 22 '11 at 20:45
Do you have a source for Yitzchak and Rivka's not being good communicators? The only thing I can think of that we know they didn't communicate on (at least according to many commentators) is Esav's being good or bad; extrapolating from that to a generality is a big step. That they didn't communicate much in chumash means nothing: chumash leaves out large swaths of history and biography. –  msh210 Nov 22 '11 at 20:52
@msh210, Although I don't have an explicit source, I see several instances in which they did not communicate: (1) Rivka did not tell Yitzchak about her going to a navi, nor what the navi told her. (2) She did not tell Yitzchak anything negative about Eisav. (3) She did not tell Yiztchak that she thought he should give the b'rachos to Yaakov instead of Eisav, preferring instead to concoct a whole plan to trick him. (4) She did not tell Yitzchak that Eisav was harboring murderous feelings toward Yaakov, instead telling him that he should send Yaakov away to get married. –  jake Nov 22 '11 at 23:22
Yeah, I sorta lumped those together as "Esav's being bad". :-D –  msh210 Nov 22 '11 at 23:24

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