Weekly Reading Insights: Vayetsei 5765

 

Overview of the Weekly Reading: Vayetze

To be read on 7 Kislev 5765 (Nov. 20)


Torah: Gen. 28:10-32:3; Haftorah: Hosea 11:7-14:10 (because of 12:13 "And Yaakov fled to Aram...and served for a wife... and kept sheep.")

Vayetze is the 7th Reading out of 12 in Genesis and 7th overall, and 12th out of 54 in overall length.

(Genesis 28:10 - 32:3) On the way to Charan, Yaacov stopped to sleep. He dreamt of a ladder standing on the ground and reaching heavenward with angels ascending and descending. G-d told Yaacov that He would give him the land upon which he slept. Yaacov was awed by this vision and made the stone upon which he slept holy to G-d, and renamed the area G-d's Temple. He vowed that if G-d would protect him, he would dedicate his life to G-d and give Him a tenth of his possessions. Yaacov continued his journey, and arrived at a well near Charan. Seeing his cousin Rachel with her father's sheep, Yaacov lifted the heavy stone atop the well for her, and returned with her to Lavan's house. He made a deal to work for Lavan for seven years, and then marry Rachel. Lavan deceived Yaacov and substituted his older daughter Leah.

Lavan told Yaacov that he could marry Rachel after the celebrations of the marriage to Leah, but he would have to work another seven years. The Parsha relates the birth of Yaacov's children through Leah, Rachel, and their handmaids Bilha and Zilpah. Yaacov decides to leave with his family, but then agreed to continue working for Lavan. Lavan and his sons became jealous of Yaacov's wealth. After six years, G-d told Yaacov to return to his birthplace. When they left, Rachel stole Lavan's idols. Lavan learned that they had gone, and chased after them. He sought his idols, and Yaacov, who did not know it was Rachel, said that whoever was found with them would not live. Lavan and Yaacov made a treaty, with G-d as witness.


FROM THE MASTERS OF KABBALA (K:07-65/Vayetze)

From the holy Zohar, teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Z:07-65/Vayetze)

But Jacob was not yet married at that time and was therefore incomplete and not worthy of perceiving the spiritual at the level of prophecy.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

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From the holy Ari, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria of Safed (A:07-65/Vayetze)

Furthermore: what kind of question is the [second] question she asked, what has [G-d] been doing since then? Who doesn't know that G-d oversees all the details [of life] and sustains and provides for everything "from the horns of the re'eim to the eggs of the lice" ( Avoda Zara 3b ), that He causes the rain to fall, makes the dew blossom, makes the wind blow, "provides for the needs of every living thing" (Psalms 145:16) and so on ad infinitum?

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

* * * * *

From the Shelah, Shney Luchot HaBrit by Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz (S:07-65/Vayetze)

The Patriarchs and Matriarchs were on a spiritual level approaching that which in the future will exist amongst ordinary people. This enabled them to express themselves in a totally unrestrained manner.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.


FROM THE CHASSIDIC REBBES (V:07-65/Vayetze)

"He dreamed, and behold there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven." (28:12)
The function of a ladder is to connect top and bottom, to raise up whatever is below and bring down whatever is above. In spiritual terms, the ladder between the upper and lower realms is Torah and prayer, for they enable us to "touch" the very heavens. Prayer raises up and elevates us, whereas Torah study draws down Divine wisdom into the world. And just as one must ascend and descend a physical ladder by climbing its rungs, so too must spiritual progress be orderly and in successive steps.
(Sefer HaMaamarim 5708) (from L'Chaim #545)

If a person thinks that he has already perfected himself and "reached heaven," it is a sure sign that in fact, he has a long way to go. For it is only when an individual considers himself lowly and "on the earth" that he is able to ascend to greater spiritual heights.
(Toldot Yaakov Yosef) (from L'Chaim #647)


A MYSTICAL CHASSIDIC DISCOURSE

from the Chabad Master series, produced by Rabbi Yosef Marcus for

www.ascentofsafed.com and www.kabbalaonline.org


MOSHIACH THIS WEEK (M:07-65/Vayetze)

"Lo, the day is yet long; it is not the time to gather the cattle; water the sheep, and go and feed them." (Gen. 29:7)
"The day is yet long" -- the great and powerful Day of the L-rd is approaching; "it is not the time to gather the cattle" -- there's no time to waste accumulating possessions in this temporal world, as every moment is precious.
(Ma'ayanot HaNetzach)

Rabbi Meir of Premishlan used to pray: "Father in Heaven! If it is not yet time to gather the lost flock of Israel in the Final Redemption, at least bless them abundantly from Your full and Holy Hand, that they may be able to anticipate and look forward to Your salvation, may it come speedily in our day.


[Reprinted with permission from L'Chaim Magazine (www.lchaim.org).]


An essay from Rabbi Shaul Yosef Leiter, director of Ascent

(for a free weekly email subscription, click here) (W:07-65/Vayetze)

Vayetzei opens with the dramatic journey of one Jew alone, who leaves his home for a stange land. By his own testimony, he arrived with nothing but his walking stick. Nevertheless, he was filled with optimism and confidence, because he trusted G-d unconditionally.

Even when the situation worsened, when his own relatives were ready to deceive him, his faith still did not waiver. And we see the results: through this faith and confidence Jacob merited great wealth. But more important, each of his children, the fathers of the 12 tribes, turned out to be exemplary - each one connected spiritually to G-d.

Let us look a little deeper. Abraham had a good son, Isaac, but he also had Ishmael. Isaac had a good son, Jacob, and another son, Esau. This is really peculiar, because both of our forefathers raised their children in Israel, the Holy Land, a protected, special environment. On the other hand, Jacob not only lived and established his family outside of Israel (in exile), but he and his wives had to constantly worry that their 12 sons should not learn from or be affected by the customs and habits of the local people.

In fact, Jacob made sure to fill his children with Jewish knowledge, which he himself had previously received from his father and from his great-grandfathers, Shem and Eber. Jacob succeeded in the two areas in which each of us wishes to attain success: in physical things, and in his more spiritual endeavors. What was his secret? His absolute faith in G-d. Each of us has to look at our lives and realize that we have nothing to rely upon but our Father in heaven.

The Baal Shem Tov comments on Jacob's famous dream of a ladder resting on the ground, its top reaching the heavens, angels going up and down on it. He points out that the numerical value of the word "ladder" (in Hebrew, "sulam") is 136, the same as the word for "money" ("mamon"). Money either elevates us or drags us down. Let us be counted among those who are raised up.

The Shlah begins his weekly discussion commenting on the obligation of an employer to pay salaries - a commandment that we learn from Jacob's experience with his uncle Laban, who constantly tried to cheat him of his fair wage. This also applies to each of us in our relationship with G-d. If we do our job and fulfill what the Almighty requires of us, then G-d, our employer (see Ethic of the Fathers 2:15-16), by His own command, is required to give us our due reward - not sometime in the future, but now.

Shabbat Shalom, Shaul


P.S. Please also read my weekly Shabbat Law, below.)

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