That same night he arose, and taking his two wives, his two maidservants, and his eleven children, he crossed the river of the Jabbok.
Yaakov found himself alone because he had forgotten some oil flasks and went back to fetch them.
These flasks were extremely valuable because they miraculously provided Yaakov with the oil he needed to anoint the monument he set up on Mt. Moriah. Indeed, as he poured oil out of the flask it would be immediately replenished. Yaakov then realized that this oil was supernatural and would eventually be used to anoint the Tabernacle, its vessels, Aaron the priest, and his sons. Eliyahu would also use this flask of oil to perform a miracle for the woman of Tzarepath, and Elisha would later do so for Ovadia’s wife.
Some of the women in his camp were niddah at the time, so Yaakov didn’t want them to touch the sacred bottles. As such, he hid them while helping everyone cross the river. Unfortunately, due to being exhausted, he forgot about them and was therefore forced to return alone to retrieve them. The word levado should be read as lekado from the word “kad/flask” hinting at this idea.
The dove that Noach dispatched brought back an olive branch from which Noach made pure olive oil. That oil was given to Noach’s first born, Shem, who sealed it in a little flask and gave it to Avraham. Avraham passed it down to Yitzchak who later passed it down to Yaakov. It is these flasks that he went to retrieve. He later hid these flasks at the site of the Beit Hamikdash, thereby preparing for the future miracle of Chanukah.
(Chulin 91a, Siftei Cohen, Horayot 11b, Bereshit Rabbah 69:8, Tzedah Laderech, Siftei Cohen, Imrei Shefer, Daat Zkenim, Imrei Noam in “Moadim”, on Chanukah, p.100-130, Pri Mayim Chaim in Shir L’Shlomo p.20-21)
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Dedicated Today L'iluy Shmuel Ben Guershon
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