1) THE 36 CROWNS ON THE COFFIN OF YAKOV AVINU
QUESTION: The Gemara relates that when Yosef brought Yakov Avinu's coffin to Eretz Yisrael, the kings of the nations came to meet them and they placed their 36 crowns upon the coffin until it was adorned liked a thorn bush. From where did these 36 crowns come?
ANSWERS:
(a) RASHI explains that 12 crowns came from the 12 Nesi'im of Yishmael (mentioned at the end of Parshas Chayei Sarah). Another 23 crowns came from the Alufim of Esav (mentioned at the end of Parshas Vayishlach), and one crown was the crown of Yosef.
The SHITAH MEKUBETZES asks that the Alufim of Esav are mentioned in two groups in the end of Parshas Vayishlach: the Torah first mentions a group of 14 Alufim, and then it mentions a group of 11 (with two repeated, as Rashi points out). However, the two groups could not join together to place their crowns on the coffin of Yakov because they lived during different periods. The members of the first group were the grandchildren of Esav. The members of the second group ruled only after the dynasty of Esav lost sovereignty, after the passing of the last of the eight kings from the direct line of Esav (see Divrei ha'Yamim I 1:35-54), and Rashi to Bereishis 36:40). Moreover, when the Torah lists the second group of Alufim, it does not mention their names, but rather it mentions the places where they lived (see also RASHASH).
Apparently, Rashi here in Sotah understands that the Torah refers to the Alufim at the end of the Parshah by their names and not by their places. Furthermore, Rashi maintains that these Alufim remained in power even after the last king of Esav died, while the power of most of the Alufim of the first group waned. (Rashi's explanation here differs from his explanation on the Chumash in other ways as well. For example, Rashi there (36:5) writes that there was only one Aluf of Korach and not two.)
(b) The TOSFOS SHANTZ here (and cited by the Shitah Mekubetzes in the name of the Tosfos ha'Rosh) explains that the 36 crowns included 12 of Yishmael and only 14 of Esav (the grandchildren, or the first group of Alufim)). The other 10 were from Bnei Keturah, who are also mentioned here in the Gemara.
When the Torah lists the descendants of Keturah (at the end of Parshas Chayei Sarah), it lists six children of Keturah, two grandchildren from one child (Yakshan), and five grandchildren from another child (Midyan), which totals 13. This, however, brings the total number of crowns to 39, but the Gemara says that only 36 crowns were placed upon Yakov Avinu's coffin. The SHITAH MEKUBETZES suggests two different ways to justify subtracting three of the descendants of Keturah from the count (see there). A simple approach might be to exclude the two fathers who had grandchildren, since they passed on their crowns to their children, and not to count 14 from Esav but 13, because -- as Rashi on the Chumash write -- the two Korachs were the same person.
(c) The VILNA GA'ON (Kol Eliyahu #100) cites the Tikunei Zohar which explains that the 70 nations of the world are divided into two groups: those who follow the lead of Yishmael and those who follow the lead of Esav. (See Insights to Avodah Zarah 2:4 and Sukah 55:2.) Perhaps the crowns did not include the descendants of Esav but only those of Yishmael. (Support for this may be found in the Midrash Tanchuma, end of Parshas Vayechi. This approach is logically sound as well, because Esav attempted to prevent the burial of Yakov Avinu and thus obviously he did not participate cooperatively with it.) Accordingly, 35 crowns came from the nations that follow the lead of Yishmael, and the last crown was that of Yosef, as Rashi writes.
(d) The KEREN ORAH explains the Gemara allegorically. He explains that the reason why 36 crowns were placed on the coffin of Yakov Avinu was to hint to his great spiritual attainment. The Chachamim point out that 36 sins are punishable by Kares, which is the lowest spiritual level to which a person can fall. Yakov Avinu reached the opposite extreme, the highest spiritual level. He was on such a high spiritual level that the Gemara says that "Yakov Avinu did not die" (Ta'anis 5b). Therefore, he was crowned with 36 crowns to represent the 36 degrees of Kares which he opposed as he reached the opposite extreme. The word "Keser" (crown) is comprised of the letters that spell "Kares," an allusion to the fact that Yakov Avinu attained the opposite of the low spiritual level represented by Kares and achieved instead the "Keser."
2) CHUSHIM'S REACTION AT THE BURIAL OF YAKOV AVINU
QUESTION: The Gemara relates that Chushim, the son of Dan, was hearing-impaired. When he saw that the funeral procession of Yakov Avinu was being delayed, he asked someone why it had stopped. When he was informed that they were waiting for Naftali to bring the deed of ownership from Mitzrayim to refute Esav's claim to the plot, Chushim became very upset and declared, "My grandfather lies in disgrace until Naftali returns from Mitzrayim?" He took a staff and struck the head of Esav, killing him.
The Gemara clearly implies that the fact that Chushim was deaf contributed to his reaction. What difference, though, did it make that he was deaf? Even those who could hear well would have been expected to act in that manner when Esav delayed the burial of Yakov Avinu.
ANSWERS:
(a) The simple explanation is that Chushim thought that Esav was just making a front, finding an excuse to delay the funeral, and that he did not have any valid claim since everyone knew that Yakov had bought the Bechorah from Esav and it was not necessary to bring any document of proof. Had he been able to hear, he would have heard that Esav's claim was not for the portion of the Bechorah in the burial grounds but for the portion due to him as an ordinary son ("Pashut") of Yitzchak. It was not as well-known that when Yakov returned from the house of Lavan, Esav sold to him his portion of the "Pashut" as well.
(b) RAV CHAIM SHMUELEVITZ zt'l in SICHOS MUSAR (5731, #32, and 5733, #6; see also MAHARAL in Chidushei Agados) explains that those who were able to hear did not become so upset because they heard Esav present his arguments, and they were able to argue back. As time passed during the argument, they became desensitized to the fact that a terrible injustice was being done. Chushim, on the other hand, who heard none of it as it was happening and then heard about the cause for the lengthy delay at one moment, naturally became very upset and therefore reacted the way he did.

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