KOSHER DELIGHT - YOUR JEWISH ONLINE MAGAZINE!
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Shalom and Bracha!
Last week’s Torah portion concluded with
Yitzchak and Rivkah sending Yaakov to Charan to get married.
This week’s portion describes his journey to Charan, his
weddings, the birth of his children and his amassing of wealth.
Interestingly, although most of his life was spent in Israel,
all of these were accomplished outside of the borders of Israel.
“The acts of the forefathers are a sign to the children,” and
Yaakov’s life in Charan serves as an example for our service of
Hashem in the time of Galut (exile).
When Yaakov was
departing Israel, he prayed that Hashem would watch over him. He
vowed, If G-d will be with me, and He will protect me on the
path which I go, and give me food to eat and clothing to wear… I
will dedicate a house for G-d and a tenth of all He gives me I
will dedicate to charity. Before entering exile, the first thing
he did was pray. This is because he understood that his path to
success is based Hashem’s blessings, not Yaakov skills. Further,
he made a vow. This is because in order to overcome the negative
influence of Galut, he needed a deeper commitment, a vow.
Yaakov’s vow teaches us the approach by which we can not
only endure through Galut, but also prosper. We know each word
of the Torah is exact. Yaakov asked for Hashem to protect him.
We must be cognizant that Galut is a place from which we need
protection. Often, following the Torah restricts our mingling
into certain aspects of society. For example, keeping Kosher and
Shabbat put constraints on our social lives. We must realize
that this is a divine blessing and protection rather than a
Further, Yaakov asked for bread to eat and
clothing to wear. The words of the Torah are exact and none of
them are extraneous. Why did he ask for bread to eat and
clothing to wear? What else would one do with bread and
clothing? Yaakov was promising Hashem that he would not confuse
the means with the goal. Our physical needs are an intermediary
by which we serve Hashem. When we are healthy and well clothed,
we can serve Hashem in a better manner. The mentality of Galut
is that the means are themselves goals. We seek to compete with
our neighbors in garb and in lifestyle, accumulating and
ingesting all that is within our power in order to create envy
among our neighbors or satisfy our own envy towards them. Yaakov
vowed not to be drawn into the Galut mentality, but rather have
bread to eat and clothing to wear.
Further, he promised
to tithe his earnings and create a house for Hashem. Rather than
seeking wealth as a goal, he perceived earning money as a part
of service to Hashem, an opportunity to help others and serve
Hashem. When wealth is a goal, possessions are a burden. When
wealth is a means, possessions are a blessing. Understandably,
when making money is a part of serving Hashem, it must be done
in an honest manner without hurting others. This approach
elicited a tremendous blessing of wealth from Hashem.
While he was working for Lavan, Yaakov demonstrated remarkable
integrity. Lavan was a thief and consistently dealt dishonestly
with Yaakov. Rather than respond with similar dishonesty, Yaakov
lived his life according to his principle, those of decency and
honesty. This left him with a pure heart and conscience.
Furthermore, his integrity was a Kiddush Hashem, a
sanctification of G-d’s name. Thus, every moment of his work was
service of G-d.
Escaping the Galut mentality brings us
closer to the reality of Moshiach. May we merit Moshiach’s
to Edna Bat Leah. May Hashem grant her long, healthy and happy
years together with her family
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