Weekly Reading Insights: Veyeitsey 5766


Overview of the Weekly Reading: Vayetsey

To be read on 9 Kislev 5766 (Dec.10)

Torah: Genesis 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.")

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

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 holy Zohar, teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Z:0766/Vayetsei)

...Rabbi Shimon said: He left the [spiritual] realm of the Land of Israel, [as the verse states,] "Jacob departed from Be'er-Sheva and went..." to another domain [i.e. an unholy realm where divine severity and wrath are manifested, see Yalkut Shimoni, Bereishit 28:119], as is written, "and went toward Haran."

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:0766/Vayetsei)

This is because Jacob had not yet reached this level during this time, so these seven years were thus hidden from him. This is why Jacob hated Leah - he had not yet reached her level.

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

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From Rabbi Chaim (ben Moshe) Ibn Atar (S:0766/Vayetsei)

The Torah continues, "He took from the stones of that site." This is analogous to the statement by Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish (Berachot 5) that a person should constantly strive to provoke his Good Inclination, i.e. criticize himself by struggling against the Evil Inclination (Berachot 5). Should he fail to overcome his Evil Inclination, he should busy himself with Torah study, as suggested by David in Psalms 4:5.

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


"The land on which you lie, to you will I give it, and to your seed." (28:13)
"G-d folded up the entire land of Israel beneath him." [Rashi]
Unlike his forefathers, Jacob did not have to travel the length and breadth of Israel in order to refine the sparks of holiness contained in each location. Rather, when G-d "folded up the land beneath him," he was able to refine all of them at once, in one place.
(The Baal Shem Tov)

"Jacob answered and said to Laban, 'What is my trespass? What is my sin, that you have so hotly pursued after me?' " (31:36)
Jacob was disturbed by Laban's insistence on maintaining their relationship, as he interpreted it as a reflection of his own behavior. He worried that he might have committed a sin, for had he been completely innocent of wrongdoing, a person like Laban would be uninterested in being his friend.
(Der Torah Kval)


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

www.ascentofsafed.com and www.kabbalaonline.org

MOSHIACH THIS WEEK (M:0766/Vayetsei)

"Ufaratzta (you shall break through; spread out) to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south." (Gen. 28:14)

In our present days we have to serve G-d in a manner of ufaratzta, that is, without any restrictions and limitations - in the sense of "You shall love G-d .. with all your might" (Va'etchanan 6:5).

Thus we shall hasten the coming of Moshiach, a descendent of Peretz (the son of Yehuda and King David's ancestor), of whom it is said, "The poretz (the one who breaks through; i.e., the one who clears all obstacles and barriers) is gone up before them." (Micha 2:13)

[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:0766/Vayetsei)

On the statement that Jacob left Beer Sheva in this week's Torah portion, Vayeitzey (Gen. 28:10), Rashi explains that the departure of a righteous person from a place makes an ostensibly negative impact there. With the departure of the righteous person, "light turns (away), glory turns (away)…".From personal experience each of us knows that some places are more special than others. Rebbe Michil of Zlotshov explains why from a Torah perspective.

On examining the above verse and its commentary, and especially considering that the Torah is G-d's will and wisdom, why would the Torah present something negative about Jacob leaving? Just say that Jacob arrived somewhere. Alternatively, Jews have a strong tradition that when a righteous person leaves a place, an eternal positive impression remains behind. Even if we are not on a high enough level to experience it, it is possible to sense it if we try. This is why, for instance, one sits "shiva" (the 7 day ritual of mourning) in the home of the departed person, since that person's energy is more present there and therefore consoles us.

If so, then how can we understand the verse and Rashi's commentary? Let us try to understand Rashi in a different way - that when a righteous person leaves a place he leaves a positive impression! The "light turns [to the place], the glory turns [to the place]!" A place where a righteous person lived is always filled with positive energy! We can both sense this, as well as use it to help us grow.

Unfortunately, the opposite is also true; G-d creates a world where good and bad appear balanced (Ecclesiastes 7:14). Just as the presence of a righteous person in a place causes that place to be forever filled with light, so a place where an evil person was present is forever filled with darkness and impurity. We can sense that it is much harder to express ourselves spiritually in a place that is (or was) filled with evil! It could well be that bad thoughts and confusion are not a product of our own minds but rather the influence of negative surrounding! There is a strong hint to this in the teaching "Two that sit together and do not have Torah between them, this is a place of evil doers, as the verse says, 'Don't sit in a place of evil doers' (Psalms 1:1)" (Avot 3:2). What does it mean, "…there is no Torah between them"? Let it say, "who do not speak Torah."

Further, what proof does the verse from Ecclesiastes bring? Rather, let us understand it as saying: When two people that are having trouble saying Torah in a location that does not bring any positive spiritual energy between them, this is proof that that place was once a setting for evil doers. This is as the verse confirms, "Don't sit in a place of evil doers!"

If this is unconditionally true, however, we should all avoid going to certain places. Nevertheless, the Lubavitcher Rebbe sent his emissaries all over the world, even to many places overridden with "evil" behavior. Certainly with the power of a truly righteous person supporting us, we can overcome any problems. Also, we understand that difficulties are not always from within us, but rather a reflection of the place. If we redouble our efforts, we can overcome these obstacles and instill new positive energy wherever we go. Without question, this is the way to bring Mashiach.

Shabbat Shalom - Shaul

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

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