The Rabbis have asked for Tehillim (Psalms) 83, 121, 130, 91 and 144 to be said during the crises and because of Iran it might be a good idea if you have the time to say them and even 120 which I mention below.
Hillary Clinton came to Israel with a promise from Leon Panetta not to supply spare F-15 and F-16 parts to Israel if we go into Gaza on land so either IAI revs up production after firing or retiring all the Lavi Project people or we stay out of Gaza a very nice choice. In addition it is filtering out that Israel was threatened with no aid for more Iron Dome Systems. Morsi was bribed with a $4,500,000,000 “loan” from the IMF. Hamas celebrates victory in Gaza and a lot of members of the Israeli public feel betrayed. Could this effect the vote for the Likud in January?
A friend of mine lost an arm and a leg in a Terror Attack in Netanya about two weeks before the infamous Park Hotel attack on Pessach and now hit again by terrorists. With great sorrow we regret to inform you of the falling in action of Private Yosef Nachman Partuk, HY’D the son of Alma (Avraham) and Avraham Partuk from Emanuel, and grandson of Shlomo and Chana Avraham of our Yeshuv. The soldier, Corporal Yosef Partuk, 18, was promoted posthumously. The kibbutz where he was hit was barraged for several minutes. On Monday, a rocket exploded a short distance from the site where he was killed. For a photo of the young man: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4309432,00.html
Parsha Toldos Part II
26:34 And when Esau was forty years old, he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite. 35 And they were a bitterness of spirit unto Isaac and to Rebekah.
It was not a matter of marrying a Shicksa for there really was no such thing as a Jewish girl in Canaan but the fact that he married a local girl instead of going to Padam Aram for a girl from a worthy family rather than these usurpers of the land of Shem. The Hittites were nations that were supposed to be kicked out by the seed of Avraham and here Esav goes and marries among them – what a disappointment and embarrassment (even if it was quiet same in the family).
27:1 And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called Esau his elder son, and said unto him: 'My son'; and he said unto him: 'Here am I.' 2 And he said: 'Behold now, I am old, I know not the day of my death.
And before he knew the day of his death or when Sarah or Avraham passed on he did not think of his own mortality rather he was within the age of 5 years of the passing age of his mother so he had to be cautious. He therefore wanted to pass on the blessings to his children. He wanted to give to Esav who he did not know sold his first born right the main blessing to strengthen him.
3 Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me venison; 4 and make me savory food, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; that my soul may bless thee before I die.'
My Soul! Yes because if a person is under stress as I was last week with a mother-in-law twice in the hospital, the city where my children were born and the other city where they grew up and I worked for years under fire, a nephew and cousin(s) called up it adds for tension and the Drasha is not with the full soul. So too Yitzchak in order to make a blessing from the soul needed a happy and full body but not one bursting at the seams.
5 And Rebekah heard when Isaac spoke to Esau his son. And Esau went to the field to hunt for venison, and to bring it.
to hunt game, to bring: What is the meaning of“to bring” ? If he would not find game, he intended to bring [meat] from stolen [animals]. - [from Gen. Rabbah 65:13]
6 And Rebekah spoke unto Jacob her son, saying: 'Behold, I heard thy father speak unto Esau thy brother, saying: 7 Bring me venison, and make me savory food, that I may eat, and bless thee before the LORD before my death.
before the Lord: with His consent, that He will approve of what I do.
8 Now therefore, my son, hearken to my voice according to that which I command thee. 9 Go now to the flock, and fetch me from thence two good kids of the goats; and I will make them savoury food for thy father, such as he loveth;
and take for me: [“לִי” indicates that] they are mine, and they are not stolen, because so had Isaac written for her in her marriage contract, that she might take two kids every day (Gen. Rabbah 65:14). two choice kids: Now did Isaac’s menu consist of two kids? But [the explanation is that] he sacrificed one as a Paschal offering, and one he made into tasty foods. [This is found] in Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer (ch. 32). as he likes: for the taste of a kid is like the taste of a deer.
As for me, I seem to remember a commentary talking about the two animals slaughtered on the Korban Tamid in the morning and towards evening.
10 and thou shalt bring it to thy father, that he may eat, so that he may bless thee before his death.' 11 And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother: 'Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man.
a hairy man: Heb. אִישׁ שָׂעִר, one possessing hair.
12 My father peradventure will feel me, and I shall seem to him as a mocker; and I shall bring a curse upon me, and not a blessing.' 13 And his mother said unto him: 'Upon me be thy curse, my son; only hearken to my voice, and go fetch me them.' 14 And he went, and fetched, and brought them to his mother; and his mother made savory food, such as his father loved. 15 And Rebekah took the choicest garments of Esau her elder son, which were with her in the house, and put them upon Jacob her younger son.
the costly: הַחַמוּדֹת [means] the clean ones, as the Targum renders: דַּכְיָתָא [clean ones]. Another explanation: The ones [garments] that he had coveted [שֶׁחָמַד] from Nimrod. [From Gen. Rabbah 65:16] which were with her in the house: But He [Esau] had many wives, [with whom to entrust his garments] and yet he entrusted them [his garments] with his mother?! He was well aware of their deeds, and he was suspicious of them. [From Gen. Rabbah 65:16]
I think that he would rub them with flowers from the fields to smell pleasant before his father like the French use perfume to cover up their body odors.
16 And she put the skins of the kids of the goats upon his hands, and upon the smooth of his neck. 17 And she gave the savory food and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob. 18 And he came unto his father, and said: 'My father'; and he said: 'Here am I; who art thou, my son?' 19 And Jacob said unto his father: 'I am Esau thy first-born; I have done according as thou bade me. Arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me.'
I mentioned last week that Yacov was Ish Emmes. So if the truth is what Yacov is saying, it is now in half truths. He uses the Hebrew Ani for I which is the normal way of talking. I am your son who brought you food as commanded (but by Rivka and not Yitzchak but then again Isha is like his body according to the Sages). Esav is your first born. I hope that my explanation makes the Rashi below even clearer.
I am…Esau…your firstborn: [He meant]: I am the one who is bringing you [food] and Esau is your firstborn. [From Tanchuma Buber] I have done: many things, as you have spoken to me. sit down: Heb. שְׁבָה, an expression of sitting around the table [at a meal]. Therefore, it is rendered [by Onkelos] אִסְתְּחַר.
20 And Isaac said unto his son: 'How is it that thou hast found it so quickly, my son?' And he said: 'Because the LORD thy God sent me good speed.'
He also wants to hear the voice of his son for verification. Yacov in this case does not lie for he has been given speed through Rivka and the desire of the Shechina that he be truly blessed and not the wicked Esav.
21 And Isaac said unto Jacob: 'Come near, I pray thee, that I may feel thee, my son, whether thou be my very son Esau or not.'
Yacov must have been perspiring here and very tense. Yitzchak is suspicious by the voice recognition pattern so he wants to double check.
Please come closer, so that I may feel you: Isaac said to himself, “Esau does not usually mention the name of Heaven with frequency, but this one said: ‘Because the Lord your God prepared it….’” [from Gen. Rabbah 65:19]
22 And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father; and he felt him, and said: 'The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau.'
the voice of Jacob: who speaks entreatingly: “Please rise,” but Esau spoke harshly, “Let my father arise!” [From Tanchuma Buber, Toledoth 15]
It is more than just manners but a voice of truth and real fear of G-D. For centuries the inheritors of Esav have killed Jews with their hands and the voice of Yacov in prayer and learning has keep this people alive unto this day will other nations came and went. Where is the people of Avimelech, Pharaoh, Canaan, Plishtim, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, and others either non-existent or the remaining people are not the glorious nation that was.
23 And he discerned him not, because his hands were hairy, as his brother Esau's hands; so he blessed him. 24 And he said: 'Art thou my very son Esau?' And he said: 'I am.'
And he said, “I am.”: He did not say, “I am Esau,” but “I am.” [From Num. Rabbah 10:6]
This is stretching it by more than a little. Not everybody buys every Medrash but it does try to defend Yacov perhaps we only see him answering the part about being the son like the Medrash says and only a half-truth but it is deceptive.
25 And he said: 'Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son's venison, that my soul may bless thee.' And he brought it near to him, and he did eat; and he brought him wine, and he drank.
Suspicious as he was and knowing that Yacov was not the lying type only then did he eat.
26 And his father Isaac said unto him: 'Come near now, and kiss me, my son.' 27 And he came near, and kissed him. And he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said: See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the LORD hath blessed.
and he smelled, etc.: Is it not so that there is no odor more offensive than that of washed goat skins? But this teaches us that the fragrance of the Garden of Eden entered with him. [From Tanchuma Buber 16] is like the fragrance of a field, which the Lord has blessed: for He gave it a pleasant fragrance, and this is a field of apples. So did our Sages explain it. [From Ta’anith 29b]
So was the smell of Esav's garments as I mentioned above and Yacov passed the smell test with the garments.
28 So God give thee of the dew of heaven, and of the fat places of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine.
.And may the Lord give you: May He give and repeatedly give (444 Gen. Rabbah 66:3). According to its simple meaning, it refers back to the previous topic: “Look, the fragrance of my son” which God has given him, “is like the fragrance of a field, etc.,” and furthermore,“May He give you of the dew of the heavens, etc.” of the dew of the heavens: [It is to be interpreted] according to its simple meaning, and there are Midrashic interpretations of many kinds. (Another explanation: What is the meaning of הָאֱלֹהִים [I.e., why is the Divine Name which signifies God’s attribute of Justice used here? To teach that He will treat you] with justice. If you deserve it, He will give to you, and if not, He will not give to you. But to Esau he said, “The fat places of the earth shall be your dwelling place.” Whether righteous or wicked, He will give to you. And from him [Isaac], Solomon learned; when he built the Temple, he arranged his prayer, [saying that] an Israelite, who has faith and justifies the Divine decree upon himself, will not complain about You; therefore (I Kings 8:39): “and give to every man [Israelite] according to his ways,” for You know what is in his heart. But a gentile lacks faith; therefore [Solomon] said (ibid. verse 43): “You shall hear in heaven, etc., and do according to all that the stranger calls upon You for,” i.e., whether he is deserving or undeserving, give to him, so that he should not complain about You. [This is found] in an old and correct edition of Rashi .) [From Tanchuma Buber, Toledoth 14]
Yacov's blessing starts with the dew of heaven but Esav's starts with the earth so we see the difference between Ruchaniyos and Gashmiyos.
29 Let peoples serve thee, and nations bow down to thee. Be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee. Cursed be every one that curses you, and blessed be every one that blesses you.
your mother’s sons: But Jacob said to Judah, “your father’s sons” because he [Jacob] had sons from many mothers, but here, since he [Isaac] had married only one wife, he said, “your mother’s sons” (Gen. Rabbah 66:4). Those who curse you shall be cursed, and those who bless you shall be blessed: But concerning Balaam, Scripture says (Num. 24:9):“Those who bless you shall be blessed, and those who curse you shall be cursed” (Gen. Rabbah ibid.). [The reason for this is that, for] the righteous-their beginning is suffering and their end is tranquility; and thus, those who curse them and cause them pain precede those who bless them. Isaac therefore mentioned the curse of those who curse before the blessing of those who bless. As for the wicked, however, their beginning is tranquillity, and their end is suffering; Balaam, therefore, mentioned the blessing before the curse. [From Gen. Rabbah 66:4]
Maybe somebody will clue in the nations of the world regarding the blessing and the curse for they seem to be missing something in their education.
30 And it came to pass, as soon as Isaac had made an end of blessing Jacob, and Jacob was yet scarce gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting.
Here we see Chashgacha (guidance or providence) and Chanchaga (leadership) from HASHEM. For had Esav came a few minutes earlier Yitzchak might have been alerted and a confrontation might have occurred between him and Yacov on the spot. Rashi goes further to say from Beresheis Rabbah that one was leaving and the other was coming.
31 And he also made savory food, and brought it unto his father; and he said unto his father: 'Let my father arise, and eat of his son's venison, that thy soul may bless me.' 32 And Isaac his father said unto him: 'Who art thou?' And he said: 'I am thy son, thy first-born, Esau.' 33 And Isaac trembled very exceedingly, and said: 'Who then is he that hath taken venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all before you came, and have blessed him? yea, and he shall be blessed.'
And Isaac shuddered: [וַיֶּחרָד is to be explained] as the Targum, וּתְוָה, an expression of bewilderment. According to the Midrash, however, he [actually shuddered because] he saw Gehinnom open beneath him. [From Tanchuma, Vezoth Haberachah 1] Who then: [the word] אֵפוֹא is an expression by itself, which has many usages. Another explanation: אֵפוֹא is a combination of אַיּה [where] and פֹּה [here], [so that מִי אֵפוֹא means]: Who is he and where is he, who hunted game? and I ate of everything: Any flavors I wished to taste, I tasted in it (Gen. Rabbah 67:2). He, too, shall be blessed: That you should not say that had Jacob not deceived his father, he would not have received the blessings. Therefore, he concurred and blessed him intentionally (Gen. Rabbah 67:2).
Yitzchak experienced a transfer of spiritual power as the Shechina transferred the energy over to Yacov during the blessing. Yitzchak had no illusions that he was in control rather it was a time that HASHEM used to best further Yacov. (Similarly I have told most of my Republican Friends we can analyze this way and that way how the elections went the way it did it was the will of HASHEM. Reuven Kossover Shlita pointed it out before the election when he sent me the Gematria of Barak Hussein Obama and Gog and Magog. He accepted it and we both did out utmost to have opposite election results. As soon as it turned out the way it did one could understand that this was the will of HASHEM). The Medrash says that he saw Gehennom in Esav via Ruach HaKodesh and that is why he shuddered.
34 When Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with an exceeding great and bitter cry, and said unto his father: 'Bless me, even me also, O my father.'
The bitter cry of Esav was contracted by the bitter cry of Mordechai when Esav’s descendant Haman tried to do what Esav failed to do to Yacov.
With cunning: with cleverness. [From Targumim]
36 And he said: 'Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright; and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing.' And he said: 'Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me?'
And he said,“Is it for this reason that he was named Jacob: הִכִי is an expression denoting the interrogative, as in (below 29:15):”Is it because (הִכִי) you are my kinsman…?“ Was he named Jacob (יַעִקֹב) because of the future, because he was destined to deceive me (לְעָקְבֵנִי) ? Midrash Tanchuma (Buber, Toledoth 23) [asks]: Why did Isaac shudder? He said, ”Perhaps I am guilty of an iniquity, for I have blessed the younger son before the older one, and thus altered the order of the relationship.“ [Thereupon], Esau started crying, ”He has already deceived me twice!“ His father said to him, ”What did he do to you?“ He replied, ”He took my birthright.“ He [Isaac] said,”That is why I was troubled and shuddered, for [I was afraid that] perhaps I [had] transgressed the line of strict justice, [but] now [that I know that] I actually blessed the firstborn, ‘he too shall be blessed’." for he has deceived me: Heb. וַיַעְקְבֵנִי. [To be explained] according to the Targum וּכַמַנִי [meaning]: and he lay in wait for me. [The word] וְאָרַב [(Deut. 19:11):“and he lies in wait,”] is translated by the Targum as וּכְמַן Others read in the Targum [not וּכַמַנִי, but] וְחַכְּמַנִי [meaning]: he outwitted me. reserved: [אָצַלְתּ] an expression of separation, as in וַיָּאצֶל (“and he separated”) (Num. 11:25). (Other editions read: וַיַּצֵּל (below 31:9). [From Targum Onkelos]
Yacov learned his lesson in history well and blessed all 12 sons although some of his blessings such as Reuven and Shimon were not the greatest for there was more Mussar and cautioning in his words yet still they were blessed.
37 And Isaac answered and said unto Esau: 'Behold, I have made him thy lord, and all his brethren have I given to him for servants; and with corn and wine have I sustained him; and what then shall I do for thee, my son?'
Behold…a master: This is the seventh blessing [given to Jacob] and yet he puts it first? Rather, he said to him, “What use will a blessing be to you? If you acquire property, it will be his, for I have made him a master over you, and whatever a slave acquires, belongs to his master.” [From Gen. 67:5] so for you then, what shall I do: Where will I seek for something to do for you?
Yitzchak sees that by blessing one son over the other he has been unjust in his behavior. For even if he had by Ruach HaKodesh knowledge that only one son would inherit him spiritually she should have had a blessing of repentance ready for the second son something was lacking in his train of thought and now he realized his mistake.
38 And Esau said unto his father: 'Hast thou but one blessing, my father? bless me, even me also, O my father.' And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept.
Have you [but] one blessing: The“hey” [in הַבִרָכָה] indicates an interrogative expression, as in (Num. 13:19):“are they in open cities (הַבְּמַחֲנַיִם) ?” ;“is it fat (הַשְּׁמֵנָה) ?” ; (II Sam. 3:33):“[Should Abner die] like the death of (הַכְּמוֹת) a wicked man?”
39 And Isaac his father answered and said unto him: Behold, of the fat places of the earth shall be thy dwelling, and of the dew of heaven from above; 40 And by thy sword shalt thou live, and thou shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt break loose, that thou shalt shake his yoke from off thy neck. 41 And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him. And Esau said in his heart: 'Let the days of mourning for my father be at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.' 42 And the words of Esau her elder son were told to Rebekah; and she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said unto him: 'Behold, thy brother Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself, purposing to kill thee.
One commentary says that an Angel told her another possibility is that Esav when he got angry would mumble to himself and Rivka or somebody else over heard him or Esav, himself, told Rivka.
43 Now therefore, my son, hearken to my voice; and arise, flee thou to Laban my brother to Haran; 44 and tarry with him a few days, until thy brother's fury turn away; 45 until thy brother's anger turn away from thee, and he forget that which thou hast done to him; then I will send, and fetch thee from thence; why should I be bereaved of you both in one day?'
Rivka underestimated the hatred of Esav for Yacov.
46 And Rebekah said to Isaac: 'I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth. If Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these, of the daughters of the land, what good shall my life do me?'
This is a very good pretext to send off Yacov to get married and save him from the wrath of Esav.
28:1 And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him: 'Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan. 2 Arise, go to Paddan-aram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother's father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother's brother. 3 And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou may be a congregation of peoples; 4 and give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that you may inherit the land of thy sojournings, which God gave unto Abraham.' 5 And Isaac sent away Jacob; and he went to Paddan-aram unto Laban, son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob's and Esau's mother. 6 Now Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Paddan-aram, to take him a wife from thence; and that as he blessed him he gave him a charge, saying: 'Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan';
Suddenly it clicked. He knew how his mother met his father for marriage but it never dawned upon him other than the cute physical beauty of his wife that there was a spiritual element. However, he does not take the logic further and go to Aram instead he takes the least common denominator that might make his father feel better.
7 and that Jacob hearkened to his father and his mother, and was gone to Paddan-aram; 8 and Esau saw that the daughters of Canaan pleased not Isaac his father; 9 so Esau went unto Ishmael, and took unto the wives that he had Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael Abraham's son, the sister of Nebaioth, to be his wife.
The Pshat version of the Parsha is that Yacov flees sort of pony express from Beer Sheva and gets to Beis El in a full day’s trip. The Medrash has him followed by Eliphaz the son of Esav and he comes to murder Yacov. However, Yacov over powers him and tells him that he does not want to murder him as he is his nephew. Yacov tells Eliphaz that here is all my money and a poor man is considered dead. With this they make a pact and Eliphaz shows Esav the purse and Esav is inwardly happy. Yacov then goes for 14 years to learn in the Kollel of Shem and Ever and then goes to Beis El.
The Rabbi of the Sephardi Synagogue near me was away so one of the congregants said a few words. Then another one said something that I found refreshing and taking the theme into my own words I would probably call this section “All in the family”. Terach has three sons Avram, Haran and Nahor. Avram marries the daughter of Haran named Sarai and they have a son Yitzchak who marries Rivka a great-granddaughter of Terach, granddaughter of Nahor and a grandniece of Avraham. Yacov, great-grandson of Terach, marries his first cousin who happens to be the great-great-granddaughter of Terach. We don’t usually hear Rabbis going into these details.
28:10 And Jacob went out from Beer-sheba, and went toward Haran. 11 And he lighted upon the place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took one of the stones of the place, and put it under his head, and lay down in that place to sleep.
I assume that he made a fire to keep wild animals away. It must have been a moonless night as otherwise he could have continued on his way. Some details that we are missing here if the road had areas with lean-too shelters or if there was a caravan in which case he would not have had to light a fire. He supposedly took 12 stones from the place. He probably used them to shied himself and put under his head under some clothing. (During my stint in the IDF, I would use my uniform or my spare undergarments as a pillow as a soldier I travelled with the minimum amount of equipment.)
At first I thought to skip the Rashi as it is very long but then because of the section regarding the evening prayer I decided to bring it down. And he arrived: Heb. וַיִפְגַע, as in (Josh. 16:7):“and it reached (וּפָגַע) Jericho” ; (ibid. 19: 11):“and it reached (וּפָגַע) Dabbesheth.” Our Rabbis (Gen. Rabbah 88:9, Ber. 26b) interpreted it [the word וַיִפְגַע] as an expression of prayer, as in (Jer. 7:16):“And do not entreat (תִּפְגַּע) me,” and this teaches us that he [Jacob] instituted the evening prayer. [Scripture] did not write וַיִתְפַּלֵּל, [the usual expression for prayer], to teach that the earth sprang toward him [i.e. the mountain moved toward him], as is explained in the chapter entitled גִיד הַנָּשֶׁה (Chullin 91b).and placed [them] at his head: He arranged them in the form of a drainpipe around his head because he feared the wild beasts. They [the stones] started quarreling with one another. One said, “Let the righteous man lay his head on me,” and another one said, “Let him lay [his head] on me.” Immediately, the Holy One, blessed be He, made them into one stone. This is why it is stated (verse 18):“and he took the stone [in the singular] that he had placed at his head.” [From Chullin 91b]
12 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.
The Angels were created by himself and Esav. He learned Torah and prayed and Esav honored his father and in the presence of his father also prayed. The Angel of Yacov rose and then suddenly Esav’s went up over 2000 rungs. When his was up Esav’s was down and reverse. It was very rare that they were equal or on the same rung. From a lecture of Rabbi Simcha HaCohain Kuk Shlita condensed and put in my words. The places where he slept is in the middle of the Shomron but perhaps because he was traveling the words of Rashi make more sense.
Ascending and descending: Ascending first and afterwards descending. The angels who escorted him in the [Holy] Land do not go outside the Land, and they ascended to heaven, and the angels of outside the Holy Land descended to escort him.[From Gen. Rabbah 68:12]
13 And, behold, the LORD stood beside him, and said: 'I am the LORD, the God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac. The land whereon thou lie, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed.
And the God of Isaac: Although we do not find in Scripture that the Holy One, blessed be He, associates His name with that of the righteous during their lifetimes by writing “the God of so-and-so,” for it is said (Job 15:15):“Lo! He does not believe in His holy ones,” [i.e., God does not consider even His holy ones as righteous until after their deaths, when they are no longer subject to the evil inclination,] nevertheless, here He associated His name with Isaac because his eyes had become dim, and he was confined in the house, and he was like a dead person, the evil inclination having ceased from him (Tanchuma Toledoth 7).
14 And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south. And in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
This is the first confirmation that Yacov is continuing the blessed line of Avraham and he is predicted with a glorious future for his seed over all the area.
15 And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee whithersoever you go, and will bring thee back into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.' 16 And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said: 'Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.' 17 And he was afraid, and said: 'How full of awe is this place! this is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.'
than the house of God: Said Rabbi Eleazar in the name of Rabbi Jose ben Zimra: This ladder stood in Beer-sheba and the middle of its incline reached opposite the Temple, for Beer-sheba is situated in the south of Judah, and Jerusalem [is situated] in its north, on the boundary between Judah and Benjamin, and Beth-el was in the north of the territory of Benjamin, on the boundary between Benjamin and the sons of Joseph. Consequently, a ladder whose foot is in Beer-sheba and whose top is in Beth-el-the middle of its slant is opposite Jerusalem. This accords with what our Sages said, that the Holy One, blessed be He, said, “This righteous man has come to My lodging place [i.e., the Temple Mount]. Shall he leave without lodging?” And furthermore, they said: Jacob called Jerusalem Beth-el. But this place [which he called Beth-el] was Luz, and not Jerusalem. So, from where did they learn to say this? [i.e., that Luz was Jerusalem.] I believe that Mount Moriah was uprooted from its place, and it came here, [to Luz, i.e., at that time, Luz, Jerusalem and Beth-el were all in the same place], and this is the “springing of the earth” mentioned in Tractate Chullin, i.e., that the [site of the] Temple came towards him until Beth-el. This is the meaning of ויפגע במקום “And he met the place.” Now if you ask, “When Jacob passed by the Temple, why did He not detain him there?” [The answer is:] If he did not put his mind to pray in the place where his forefathers had prayed, should they detain him from heaven? He went as far as Haran, as it is stated in the chapter entitled, “Gid HaNasheh” (Hullin 91b), and the text, “and he went to Haran” (verse 10) supports this. When he arrived in Haran, he said, “Is is possible that I have passed the place where my forefathers prayed, and I did not pray there?” He decided to return, and he went back as far as Beth-El, and the earth “sprang toward him.” [This Beth-El is not the one near Ai, but the one near Jerusalem, and because it was the city of God, he called it Beth-El, the house of God, and that is Mount Moriah where Abraham prayed, and that is the field where Isaac prayed, and so did they say in Sotah (sic.) (Pes.88a) [concerning the verse] (Micah 4:2):“Come, let us go up to the Mount of the Lord, to the House of God of Jacob.” [It is] not [called] as did Abraham, who called it a mountain, and not as did Isaac, who called it a field, but as did Jacob, who called it the House of God. An exact edition of Rashi.
18 And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put under his head, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. 19 And he called the name of that place Beth-el, but the name of the city was Luz at the first.
Yacov did not realize the holiness of the spot and therefore he put up a pillar to consecrate it.
20 And Jacob vowed a vow, saying: 'If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, 21 so that I come back to my father's house in peace, then shall the LORD be my God, 22 and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God's house; and of all that Thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto Thee.'
His request was over modest the minimum to sustain himself in food and clothing and not even a roof over his head it makes me embarrassed to think of all the things that I wanted my parents to buy me as a child.
29:1 Then Jacob went on his journey, and came to the land of the children of the east. 2 And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, three flocks of sheep lying there by it.--For out of that well they watered the flocks. And the stone upon the well's mouth was great. 3 And thither were all the flocks gathered; and they rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone back upon the well's mouth in its place.-- 4 And Jacob said unto them: 'My brethren, whence are ye?' And they said: 'Of Haran are we.' 5 And he said unto them: 'Do you know Laban the son of Nahor?' And they said: 'We know him.' 6 And he said unto them: 'Is it well with him?' And they said: 'It is well; and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep.' 7 And he said: 'Lo, it is yet high day, neither is it time that the cattle should be gathered together; water ye the sheep, and go and feed them.' 8 And they said: 'We cannot, until all the flocks be gathered together, and they roll the stone from the well's mouth; then we water the sheep.' 9 While he was yet speaking with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep; for she tended them. 10 And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother.
Yacov was 63 when he fled Esav and he supposedly learned 14 years with Shem making him 77 years old and yet he has the strength to lift either via a fulcrum with his staff or via a NAME to move the boulder from the well to impress Rachel. This section starts off romantically with a bit of puppy love impression of Rachel.
11 And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept.
Boy was Yacov lucky that the Tznius (modesty) Patrol of the Charedim didn’t get hold of him and beat him to a pulp for kissing Rachel! In fact if one thinks about it we have all the elements here of a Broadway Romance all we need is a duet singing “Stranger in Paradise”. We can speculate the age of Rachel as Lavan would have been at the best considering that he talked to Eliezer like an adult over 13 and Rivka was married 20 years before Yacov was born so he must have been somewhere between 96 to below 110 years old. I would suspect that she must have been around puberty as a minimum to tend the sheep which would fit well with the Eben Ezra who says that Rivka at the time she tended the sheep was 14 and the age seems appropriate here too.
I have always wondered if he hugged and kissed her on the forehead or lips - for Rashi describes later on the kiss of Lavan to Yacov as a French kiss for Lavan is look for Jewels that might be hidden in Yacov’s teeth. Whatever it was it was in public and acceptable contrary to the fanaticism of today.
12 And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father's brother, and that he was Rebekah's son; and she ran and told her father. 13 And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister's son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things.
And he embraced: When he (Laban) did not see anything with him (Jacob), he said, “Perhaps he has brought golden coins, and they are in his bosom.” [from Gen. Rabbah 70:13] and he kissed him: He said, “Perhaps he has brought pearls, and they are in his mouth.” [from Gen. Rabbah 70:13]
Even though the Pshat is that he kissed him which would be more like a on the check pressing hard but I saw a commentary about a kiss feeling around for items in the mouth.
And the simplest Pshat of all is because as mentioned above they were very close relatives and he now had a Shidduch for at least one of his daughters who were not getting younger.
14 And Laban said to him: 'Surely thou art my bone and my flesh.' And he abode with him the space of a month.
Indeed, you are my bone and my flesh: “In view of this, I have no reason to take you into the house, because you have nothing. Because of kinship, however, I will put up with you for a month’s time.” And so he did, but this too was not gratis, for he (Jacob) pastured his sheep. — [from Gen. Rabbah 70:14]
Not bad a laborer who only needed a place to sleep and food for a full day’s work. Even in those days labor costs were higher than that. (See Hostess Story below)
15 And Laban said unto Jacob: 'Because thou art my brother, should thou therefore serve me for nought? tell me, what shall thy wages be?' 16 Now Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17 And Leah's eyes were weak; but Rachel was of beautiful form and fair to look upon.
tender: Because she expected to fall into Esau’s lot, and she wept, because everyone was saying, “Rebecca has two sons, and Laban has two daughters. The older [daughter] for the older [son], and the younger [daughter] for the younger [son]” (B.B. 123a). features: Heb. תֹּאַר. That is the form of the countenance, an expression similar to (Isa. 44: 13)“he fixes it (יְתָאִרֵהוּ) with planes (בַשֶׂרֶד) ,” conpas in Old French, outline, shape. complexion: That is the shine of the countenance.
My wife is B”H younger looking for her age and takes care of herself but the first impression that I had she was bare foot, short having horrible glasses which were narrow and square on her round face and I was not overly impressed. However, her intelligence shown forth and I fell in love with her personality. She got rounder glasses and suddenly she good looking. When a person goes out on a date, he/she need something to make a good impression on a partner. Always look your best. I could have killed my ex-wife who told me that her mother was an ultra-liberal that I dressed more like a hippie type than my own conservatively dressed self to make an impression on the poor woman. I did not know that my ex disliked her mother. In the end, Yacov buries Leah in Chevron and he asks to be buried next to her.
18 And Jacob loved Rachel; and he said: 'I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.'
I will work for you seven years: (Gen. Rabbah 67:10, 70:17) They are the few days of which his mother said, “And you shall dwell with him for a few days.” (27:44 above) You should know that this is so, because it is written: “and they appeared to him like a few days.” (verse 20) For Rachel, your younger daughter: Why were all these signs necessary? Since he (Jacob) knew that he (Laban) was a deceiver, he said to him, “I will work for you for Rachel,” and lest you say [that I meant] another Rachel from the street, Scripture states: “Your daughter.” Now, lest you say, “I will change her name to Leah, and I will name her (Leah) Rachel,” Scripture states: “[your] younger [daughter].” Nevertheless, it did not avail him, for he (Laban) deceived him. — [from Gen. Rabbah 70:17]
This is 7 years of living in his head romantic dreams and the same for Rachel. One commentary says he married her within a week and began to work immediately but Lavan deceived him with Leah and then got another seven years and he married her the week after. The Pshat seems to bear out 7 full years.
19 And Laban said: 'It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man; abide with me.' 20 And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her. 21 And Jacob said unto Laban: 'Give me my wife, for my days are filled, that I may go in unto her.'
For my days are completed: [The days] of which my mother told me. Moreover, my days are completed, for I am already eighty-four years old. When will I raise up twelve tribes? This is what he [meant when he] said, “that I may come to her.” Now, isn’t it true that even the most degenerate person would not say this? But he (Jacob) meant [that he intended] to beget generations. — [from Gen. Rabbah 70:18]
22 And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast. 23 And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her. 24 And Laban gave Zilpah his handmaid unto his daughter Leah for a handmaid.
I heard a Medrash years ago from Rabbi Mushkin and discussed it today with Rabbi Lustig that Zillah and Bilhah were daughters of Lavan through his maid servant and given over to their sisters. Essentially Yacov married 2 pairs of paternal sisters. (See the Rashi on 31:50 below)
25 And it came to pass in the morning that, behold, it was Leah; and he said to Laban: 'What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? Wherefore then hast thou beguiled me?'
And it came to pass in the morning, and behold she was Leah: But at night, she was not Leah, because Jacob had given signs to Rachel, but when she saw that they were bringing Leah, she (Rachel) said, “Now, my sister will be put to shame. So she readily transmitted those signs to her.” - [from Meg. 13b]
We learn two lessons here. 1) It is better to risk everything than cause embarrassment to your fellow for Rachel could not embarrass her sister Leah. (2) The laws of modesty require marital relations to be conducted in a completely dark environment. Of course with LED lights on many things and street lamp light peek through the blinds one can find himself quiet well lit up but we try our utmost to be modest. This gives also the new bride and the shy groom a chance to adjust to married life and not encroach upon their modesty and former innocent years.
26 And Laban said: 'It is not so done in our place, to give the younger before the first-born. 27 Fulfill the week of this one, and we will give thee the other also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years.' 28 And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week; and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife.
Complete the [wedding] week of this one: Heb. שְׁבֻעַ. This is the construct state, because it is vocalized with a chataf (a sheva), [and means] the week of this one, which are the seven days of feasting [celebrated by a newly wedded couple]. [This appears in the] Talmud Yerushalmi , Mo’ed Katan (1:7). It is impossible to say [that it means] really a week [in the absolute state and should be rendered: this week,] because, if so, the “shin” would have to be vowelized with a “patach,” (he means to say a“kamatz” שָׁבֻעַ). Furthermore, שָׁבֻעַ is in the masculine gender, for it is written: (Deut. 16:9)“ You shall count seven weeks (שִׁבְעָה שָׁבֻעֹת) .” Therefore, it does not signify a week but seven [days], septaine in Old French. and we will give to you: [This is] a plural expression, similar to (above 11;3, 7), “Let us descend and confuse” ; “and let us fire them.” This, too, is an expression of giving. this one too: immediately after the seven days of feasting, and you will work after her marriage. — [from Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer , ch. 36]
The next section deals with the order of giving birth of his children and the marriage of the two maid servants and the names of the tribes. Rachel wanted so badly to have children and it became a competition and a tug of war between the two primary sisters.
… 30:25 And it came to pass, when Rachel had borne Joseph, that Jacob said unto Laban: 'Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country.
When Rachel had borne Joseph: When the adversary of Esau was born, as it is said (Obadiah 1:18): “And the house of Jacob shall be fire and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau shall become stubble.” Fire without a flame does not burn anything a distance away. As soon as Joseph was born, Jacob trusted in the Holy One, blessed be He and desired to return [to Canaan]. — [from B.B. 123b, Targum Jonathan ben Uzziel, Gen. Rabbah 73:7]
26 Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served thee, and let me go; for thou know my service wherewith I have served thee.' 27 And Laban said unto him: 'If now I have found favor in thine eyes--I have observed the signs, and the LORD hath blessed me for thy sake.'
I have divined: He was a diviner. [He said:] I ascertained with my divination that a blessing came to me through you. When you came here, I had no sons, as it is said (above, 29:6): “and behold, his daughter Rachel is coming with the sheep” (is it possible that he has sons, yet sends his daughter along with the shepherds?). Now, however, he had sons, as it is said (31: 1):“And he heard the words of Laban’s sons.” - [from Tanchuma Shemos 16]
When Yacov arrived Laban only had daughters and through Yacov so that he could return to Aretz HASHEM provided Lavan with sons. However, still like with Avimelech and Yitzchak, he was afraid to lose the Bracha.
28 And he said: 'Appoint me thy wages, and I will give it.' 29 And he said unto him: 'Thou know how I have served thee, and how thy cattle have fared with me.
He knew that Lavan would try to deceive him so he engineered via the thoughts of the sheep the way the conception would influence the birth of different types of sheep.
…. 40 And Jacob separated the lambs--he also set the faces of the flocks toward the streaked and all the dark in the flock of Laban--and put his own droves apart, and put them not unto Laban's flock. 41 And it came to pass, whensoever the stronger of the flock did conceive, that Jacob laid the rods before the eyes of the flock in the gutters, that they might conceive among the rods; 42 but when the flock were feeble, he put them not in; so the feebler were Laban's, and the stronger Jacob's. 43 And the man increased exceedingly, and had large flocks, and maid-servants and men-servants, and camels and asses.
31:1 And he heard the words of Laban's sons, saying: 'Jacob hath taken away all that was our father's; and of that which was our father's hath he gotten all this wealth.' 2 And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as beforetime.
He realized that he and his wives and children had better leave while the going was good.
3 And the LORD said unto Jacob: 'Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee.'
In case Yacov had any doubt what he must do to escape the hatred for the sons of Lavan, G-D had now confirmed it for him that it was time to leave and return to Eretz Yisrael.
Return to the land of your forefathers: And there I will be with you, but as long as you are still attached to the unclean one, it is impossible to cause My presence to rest upon you. — [from Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer , ch. 36]
4 And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock, 5 and said unto them: 'I see your father's countenance, that it is not me as beforetime; but the God of my father hath been with me. 6 And ye know that with all my power I have served your father. 7 And your father has mocked me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me. 8 If he said thus: The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the flock bore speckled; and if he said thus: The streaked shall be thy wages; then bore all the flock streaked. 9 Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me. 10 And it came to pass at the time that the flock conceived, that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw in a dream, and, behold, the he-goats which leaped upon the flock were streaked, speckled, and grizzled. 11 And the angel of God said unto me in the dream: Jacob; and I said: Here am I. 12 And he said: Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the he-goats which leap upon the flock are streaked, speckled, and grizzled; for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee. 13 I am the God of Beth-el, where thou didst anoint a pillar, where thou didst vow a vow unto Me. Now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy nativity.' 14 And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him: 'Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father's house? 15 Are we not accounted by him strangers? for he hath sold us, and hath also quite devoured our price. 16 For all the riches which God hath taken away from our father, that is ours and our children's. Now then, whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do.'
G-D had spoken to Yacov yet he does not force his will or HASHEM’s will upon his wives but consults with them and persuades them and so we should learn from this. My wife and I are first born and we have strong opinions but more often than not, I follow her advice sometimes against my own judgement.
17 Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon the camels; 18 and he carried away all his cattle, and all his substance which he had gathered, the cattle of his getting, which he had gathered in Paddan-aram, to go to Isaac his father unto the land of Canaan. 19 Now Laban was gone to shear his sheep. And Rachel stole the teraphim that were her father's.
This would be the cause of her death because of the curse of Yacov. His sons were no better with hasty words too regarding Benyamin and the ruler of Egypt but in that case it was all is well that ends well.
20 And Jacob outwitted Laban the Aramean, in that he told him not that he fled. 21 So he fled with all that he had; and he rose up, and passed over the River, and set his face toward the mountain of Gilead. 22 And it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob was fled.
Yacov fled with sheep and cattle that can only be driven at a certain maximum speed for otherwise they will die of exhaustion. Lavan pursues them on horseback or camel and it is easy enough to catch up with Yacov.
23 And he took his brethren with him, and pursued after him seven days' journey; and he overtook him in the mountain of Gilead. 24 And God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream of the night, and said unto him: 'Take heed to thyself that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad.'
Either good or evil: All the good of the wicked is considered evil to the righteous. — [from Yev. 103]
Even a cease fire which is supposed to save lives when done by wicked people ends up bad for the righteous.
25 And Laban came up with Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mountain; and Laban with his brethren pitched in the mountain of Gilead. 26 And Laban said to Jacob: 'What hast thou done, that thou hast outwitted me, and carried away my daughters as though captives of the sword? 27 Wherefore didst thou flee secretly, and outwit me; and didst not tell me, that I might have sent thee away with mirth and with songs, with tabret and with harp;
What a fable it is more so than the stories of Baron Von Munchhausen!
28 and didst not suffer me to kiss my sons and my daughters? now hast thou done foolishly.
Yeah sounds like a politician right before a person goes into the voting booth.
29 It is in the power of my hand to do you hurt; but the God of your father spoke unto me yesternight , saying: Take heed to thyself that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad. 30 And now that thou art surely gone, because thou sore longest after thy father's house, wherefore hast thou stolen my gods?'
Oops the truth just came out of the mouth of Lavan.
31 And Jacob answered and said to Laban: 'Because I was afraid; for I said: Lest thou should take thy daughters from me by force.
Saddam Hussein did not hesitate to murder two of his sons-in-law so Yacov was justified.
32 With whomsoever thou find thy gods, he shall not live; before our brethren discern thou what is thine with me, and take it to thee.'--For Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them.—
When a Tzaddik declares something it becomes so. Because Benyamin was destined to be born the punishment was delayed. We say the Mishnah Erev Shabbos “On three things women die in childbirth (on not observing) Niddah, Challah and Candle Lighting.” For at the time of danger HASHEM judges. [This might not be the case of the Chabad Rebbitzen who perished this week in the Grad attack for sometimes Tzaddikim are taken to prevent the death of thousands.]
33 And Laban went into Jacob's tent, and into Leah's tent, and into the tent of the two maid-servants; but he found them not. And he went out of Leah's tent, and entered into Rachel's tent. 34 Now Rachel had taken the teraphim, and put them in the saddle of the camel, and sat upon them. And Laban felt about all the tent, but found them not. 35 And she said to her father: 'Let not my lord be angry that I cannot rise up before thee; for the manner of women is upon me.' And he searched, but found not the teraphim. 36 And Jacob was wroth, and strove with Laban. And Jacob answered and said to Laban: 'What is my trespass? what is my sin, that thou hast hotly pursued after me? 37 Whereas thou hast felt about all my stuff, what hast thou found of all thy household stuff? Set it here before my brethren and thy brethren, that they may judge betwixt us two. …. 41 These twenty years have I been in thy house: I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy flock; and thou hast changed my wages ten times. 42 Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the Fear of Isaac, had been on my side, surely now had thou sent me away empty. God hath seen mine affliction and the labor of my hands, and gave judgment last night.'
and the Fear of Isaac: He did not wish to say, “the God of Isaac,” because the Holy One, blessed be He, does not associate His name with the righteous while they are alive. Although He said to him upon his departure from Beer-sheba (above, 28:13): “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac,” since his eyes had become dim and a blind man is like a dead man, Jacob was afraid to say, “the God of,” and said,“and the Fear of.” and He reproved [you] last night: Heb. וַיוֹכַח, an expression of reproof, but it is not an expression of clarification.
Polite to an elder but a firm reproof.
43 And Laban answered and said unto Jacob: 'The daughters are my daughters, and the children are my children, and the flocks are my flocks, and all that you see is mine; and what can I do this day for these my daughters, or for their children whom they have borne?
Now, what would I do there?: How could I entertain the thought of harming them?
44 And now come, let us make a covenant, I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee.' 45 And Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar. 46 And Jacob said unto his brethren: 'Gather stones'; and they took stones, and made a heap. And they did eat there by the heap. 47 And Laban called it Jegar-sahadutha; but Jacob called it Galeed. 48 And Laban said: 'This heap is witness between me and thee this day.' Therefore was the name of it called Galeed; 49 and Mizpah, for he said: 'The LORD watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another. 50 If thou shalt afflict my daughters, and if thou shalt take wives beside my daughters, no man being with us; see, God is witness betwixt me and thee.'
…my daughters…my daughters: Twice. Bilhah and Zilpah were also his daughters from a concubine. — [from Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer, ch. 36]
51 And Laban said to Jacob: 'Behold this heap, and behold the pillar, which I have set up betwixt me and thee.
What did he think at the age of 97 Yacov needed more than four wives?
52 This heap be witness, and the pillar be witness, that I will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shalt not pass over this heap and this pillar unto me, for harm. 53 The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge betwixt us.' And Jacob swore by the Fear of his father Isaac. 54 And Jacob offered a sacrifice in the mountain, and called his brethren to eat bread; and they did eat bread, and tarried all night in the mountain.
32:1 And early in the morning Laban rose up, and kissed his sons and his daughters, and blessed them. And Laban departed, and returned unto his place.
He convinced himself by his own talk, oath and the fact that he released that the age over 100 he probably will never see is daughters again for a moment he was genuine.
2 And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him.
and angels of God met him: Angels of Israel came to greet him to escort him to the land.
3 And Jacob said when he saw them: 'This is God's camp.' And he called the name of that place Mahanaim.
Mahanaim: Two camps, [one of the angels] outside the land, who came with him up to here, and [one of the angels] of Israel, who came to greet him. — [from Tanchuma Vayishlach 3]
Editorial – There shall be peace in our times by Neville Chamberlain – not really = Rachamim Pauli
Appeasement only leads to blood sweat and tears. The evil ones have an appetite for more and more. Threatening Israel with a carrot and a stick and bribing Egypt to put pressure on Hamas will only keep the peace temporarily. As Yechezkel wrote: 13:10 Because, indeed because they misled My people, saying, 'Peace,' when there is no peace, and it is building a flimsy wall, and behold they are plastering it with daub. We cannot believe a people who think it is a Mitzvah to lie when they make agreements until they gain strength to kill their enemies. Tehillim 120:1. A song of ascents (southern ascending steps of the Beis HaMikdash). In my distress I called to the Lord, and He answered me. 2. O Lord, save my soul from false lips, from a deceitful tongue. 3. What can He give you, and what can He add to you, you deceitful tongue? 4. Sharpened arrows of a mighty man with coals of brooms. 5. Woe is to me for I have sojourned in Meshech; I dwelt among the tents of Kedar. 6. For a long time, my soul dwelt with those who hate peace. 7. I am at peace, but when I speak, they [come] to [wage] war.
Our Sages on Dreams
The Talmud devotes in Meseches Berachos from memory approximately 53 -57 close to 4 Dafim on Dreams. We do not always know if a dream is nonsense, a desire or from HASHEM. Sometimes we see a horror movie or some other event in the day and then Godzilla or the event comes to influence us at night in our dreams. Other times our subconscious comes and we want to be young, strong or in love with the girl or boy of our dreams. However sometimes a dream is from HASHEM and a parent or grandparent comes to us or we wake up and realize the truth of the matter. And of course a dream that repeats itself such as Pharaoh and the grain and then the cows are really one dream. I read the following post by a woman who wants to convert and it brought me to write on this subject: I had a reoccurring dream last night. So odd - I Have not remembered any dreams for a few years. So far I cannot see what I am to learn from it. Of course from this information I cannot offer any help but there definitely is a message from HASHEM for this person.
A MESSAGE FROM THE RABBI Guest Editorial - Rabbi Joseph Korf
“Partnering with G-d Requires Self-Discipline and Sacrifice”
SHABBAT PARSHAT TOLEDOT
The concept of Divine Providence is this: Not only are all particular movements of the various creatures Providentially directed and not only is that Providence itself their life-force and constant existence – but even more; the particular movement of any creature has a general relationship to the overall grand-design of creation. In other words: The aggregate combination of all individual acts brings to fullness G-d’s grand design within the mystery of all creation. Ponder this: If the swaying of a blade of grass is brought about by Divine Providence and is crucial to the fulfillment of the purpose of creation how much more so with regard to mankind in general and Israel –the people closest to Him- in particular.
From the talks of the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, compiled and edited by his successor and leader of our generation, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, in HaYom Yom 28th day of Cheshvan
After last week’s momentous elections and after a week of contemplation [and now (as we go to print) with the ongoing danger hanging over Israel’s head] I’ve had time to digest the political and economic ramification it’ll have on the country and the world-at-large. As a super-power (still) our actions do affect countless others and we must take responsibility for our choices.
Alas, “responsibility” seems today to be a dirty word. It’s not something we demand from ourselves let alone others. We consider it to be an infringement on one’s rights and not a social obligation.
This, however, doesn’t mitigate the overarching fact that everything of consequence especially as it relates to a nation and its effect on history is Providentially ordained. Our mission therefore is to “partner” with G-d and utilize what He gives us judiciously and to “improve” on it or to be a bystander and watch what happens from afar and lose the chance to better ourselves and those around us. G-d always desires to be beneficent with his creations. What remains is simply to learn and understand how to make the best of what He has ordained and further the Divine purpose of creation.
When we all accept this fact, elections –regardless of your political persuasion– take on a new hue and we realize that we must get to work not bemoan or rejoice over the results.
So what must we do? What is the lesson in all this? Why would a populace vote to allow a government to continue its profligate and wasteful spending? Why would so many people demand to be supported by their fellow citizens rather than earn a living? Why would a majority of people be willing to vote for stagnation and mediocrity rather than try something different?
I don’t think the crux of it all is political. It’s not the usual horizontal left or right polarities. I see it as a vertical decline. The demise of G-d in our public arena and the concomitant fall of moral and ethical principles have had a deleterious effect on all of public life. When a citizenry falls prey to trusting politicians and leaders of flesh and blood it saps all the energy of independence.
Isn’t it ironic that those who trust in G-d also work hard in order to receive His blessings of abundance. I contend that those who have no fear or love of G-d have no real desire to make this world a better place. By definition they’re into themselves and their own selfish needs. The environment is improved when our morality is improved. When hard work, self-responsibility, respect for our elders and dedication to our children take root, we elevate our country and give it a chance to prosper. This can only occur when a resurgence of G-dliness is brought back into the public arena. No political leader alone can or will do it.
The destruction of traditional marriage for example, which is the root to much of our institutional and popular decay, is only one of the reasons we have such a decline in self-respect and immorality among our children. A devaluation of education is its direct result. Nothing is out of bounds anymore as long as someone’s personal satisfaction is fulfilled. Until this philosophy is replaced with a sense of discipline and abnegation nothing will change. This can only happen when we permit the Creator back in and give Him His rightful place in our lives and public affairs. It is the only panacea to what ails us and our country.
Crime will decline, education will improve, selflessness will reappear and the true intent of our Founding Fathers will become manifest, “out of many, one”! Let’s start focusing our efforts on what matters, although it may not be as exotic or sexy, and everything else, money, success and fame will follow automatically.
This week’s Parsha illustrates the difference of narcissistic pleasure and selfless characteristics. One emerges into an Esau who ultimately becomes a philanderer and murderer and the latter leads to a man who defends truth, life and self-sacrifice. One rears a family and nation of hate, rampant incest and barbarism and the other which safeguards their family purity, advocates for the downtrodden and fights for peace based on law and order.
Let’s take the warnings all around the globe as a Divine portrayal and a wake-up call to us all to mend out ways and become closer to G-d and His ways. Just as He is merciful so too must we be merciful, just as He is lawful so too must we enforce the law and just as He is peaceful so too must we “fight” for it when necessary and live it always.
When I was a student in the early 70's at Michigan State University, during the Yom Kippur war, Jewish students began having problems with Arab students on campus. Verbal abuse, pushing, offensive posters on their dorm rooms. and vandalism at Hillel house. Did we go cry to the campus police, contact the ADL, or walk around scarred with tears in our eyes, NO! Maybe the problem is all the genetically engineered foods, and hormones in meat and chicken. There seems to be a serious lack of testosterone among our Jewish males today. While at MSU, I founded Organized Jewish Students, whose purpose was to handle these types of problems ourselves. It was amazing what a little up close visit to offenders, a few articles in the student paper, and some protesting accomplished.
I am friendly with the man who formed the Baker’s Union 150 A when he was a teen he never would have let the Hostess Disaster happen and have 18,500 people lose their jobs he never was a pig. A Mexican Bakery non-union called Bimbo is buying the company. It says in the Ethics of our Fathers you grab too much you have grabbed nothing and the unions just shot themselves in the legs. My union at work agreed to certain cuts in vacation to save jobs in a bad time and lo and behold it worked the company and union are still there and I am retired now for a few years. A Bankruptcy Judge ordered the two sides to try mediation but even that failed. It is worst that that the Teamsters refused in the same truck to take both Twinkies and Wonderbread or for the driver to deliver the food but only drive the truck. Tell that to my son who owns his own business and loads and delivers himself unless he gets a Torah Student sometimes to help him for a minimum wage. There is no more honor and pride in one’s work only greed. We don’t have to do like Yacov to work for a few morsels of bread for Lavan but the world does not owe us a living either.
Rav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita calms down Bnei Barak: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4308754,00.html
From Joey: Subject: FW: FROM AN ITALIAN PAPER: Opinion: London 1940-Tel Aviv 2012. What's the Difference?
Opinion: London 1940-Tel Aviv 2012. What's the Difference?There is only one precedent of a modern democracy besieged under rocket attacks. The similarities - and the difference - are striking. By Giulio Meotti, Italy
First Publish: 11/16/2012, 12:45 AM
Katyusha Missile - There is only one precedent of a modern democracy besieged under rocket attacks.
During the afternoon of September 7, 1940, 348 Nazi bombers appeared over London’s skies. For the next two months, London was bombed day and night. Fires consumed many portions of the city. Residents sought shelter wherever they could find it - many fleeing to the underground station that sheltered as many as 177,000 people during the night.
Little is said or written about the incredible courage being shown by the civilian population of Israel, but it is reminiscent of events 70 years ago in Europe.
Like the Londoners, who endured the blitz stoically, with British aplomb and quiet courage, the people of Israel are equally valiant, going about their daily lives knowing that killers might explode a bomb or rocket in any public place at any time. Since the year of the founding of the state, more than 60,000 rockets have fallen on Israel.
Unlike those who believe in a peaceful and political solution to the "Palestinian" question, the Hamas' Covenant proclaims: "There is no solution for the Palestinian question, except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors."
Israel is like Guernica, the Basque town that in 1937 was the premature victim of the savage and merciless Nazi Blitzkrieg that was to sweep Europe.
But there is a big difference between the two historic situations.
The Allies during the war didn't hesitate to impose a collective punishment on the German people, while today we like to believe that the State of Israel is facing just individual murderers and isolated fanatics, and must pardon the society that nurtures them.
The Arab population of Judea, Samaria and Gaza is responsible for Hamas' terrorism. Collective punishment of that population by Israel is - when administered in proportion to the evils it is meant to combat - justified and required. The Palestinian Arab population is responsible for Hamas and the PLO.
An enemy society is exactly what the Jewish State is confronting. And in Kiryat Malachi, three residents, killed by Islamic terrorists, are just the latest victims in the war between Israel and that society.
Israel lost the battle during the first Intifada, when Jewish civilians on the roads were routinely assaulted with rocks and firebombs by Arab gangs, because it didn't combat the attacks with the force that may have prevented them from evolving into the terror of today that comes from Gaza.
Palestinian Arabs rock-throwers were met with a vehicle that sprayed them with pebbles. Soldiers were armed with rubber bullets and given orders not to attack when not under attack themselves.
The Jewish "settlers" at that time called on the government to take punitive action against the villages from where the attacks were launched, but the Jewish residents were demonized themselves and were answered with self-righteous hypocrisy decrying the immorality of "collective punishment".
This is how evil has grown to surround Israel.
Even Israel's supporters in the West like to believe that the Jewish State, granting de-facto immunity to the society that sponsors terrorist savagery, committed itself to a higher ethical standard. We like to discern the IDF's "purity of weapons". But preferring an illusion of peace to retaliating with the full force at Israel's disposal against the terrorists' home base - their communities and their ideological supporters, who bear collective responsibility for the terror - is a Jewish crime, not a Jewish virtue.
Terror is a collective punishment, the answer to it must include collective punishment. Terror is a collective punishment; the answer to it must include collective punishment.
Twenty years after the first Gulf War, Israel remains the only “bunkered” democracy in the world and is now even more relentlessly demonized and ghettoized.
Israel is a small country. This is not to say that it’s destined for extinction; only that it can be.
Moreover, in its vulnerability to extinction, Israel is not just any small country. It is the only country whose neighbors declare its very existence an affront to God and make its destruction a paramount national goal.
But if in 1991, Israel responded with understatement and quiet civil courage, let's hope that today it will react differently to genocidal terrorism. Because, as Joe McCain wrote few years ago, “the Jews will not go quietly again.”
And there is another big difference between London in 1940 and Tel Aviv in 2012: while the West backed the British resistance against the Nazi monster, Israel is alone in fighting a battle for all of us.
As Israelis are heading to shelters these days, the questions in their minds are two: Will the West come to our aid? How many friends can the Jewish State really count on these days?
Take a step forward and say that you are one of those friends. I did.
The writer, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly column for Arutz Sheva. He is the author of the book "A New Shoah", that researched the personal stories of Israel's terror victims, published by Encounter. His writing, often the Arutz Sheva op-eds, appears in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Frontpage and Commentary. He is at work on a book about the Vatican and Israel
Rabbi Tzvi Fishman advices: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/felafel-on-rye/letters-to-my-son-in-gaza-jihad-must-be-destroyed/2012/11/21
A hidden heroine: A lawyer by the name of Leah Amdur won a court case preventing a fake “Dr.” and a Pedophile from luring in more victims in the Ramat Rachel Hotel in Yerushalayim.
Note some of the articles below are war updates and sites with pictures of destruction.
I don't think anybody will agree to a cease fire now that 6,000,000 Jews are in the barrage area http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4307419,00.html
Syrian outrage: http://www.jpost.com/Headlines/Article.aspx?id=292350
Gaza gives themselves a goal http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/162180#.UKhTK4YopN8
Hamas headquarters leveled and transformers hit. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/162175#.UKhT_oYopN8
Official IDF announcements: http://www.idf.il/1283-17607-EN/Dover.aspx
The IDF gets a yellow light from Obama http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/162211#.UKkP1YYopN8
Last night was quiet but the prayers are not finished in the Mosques: http://www.jpost.com/Defense/Article.aspx?id=292483
Will the ground operation start soon? http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/162223
At the time Moshe Arens and I thought of a better system more available but it appears that he was right: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4307684,00.html
The use of Google Earth is dangerous a school got a direct hit fortunately there was no school today. http://www.jpost.com/Defense/Article.aspx?id=292483
Islam the "Religion of Peace" - G. W. Bush http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/162251#.UKo9S4YopN8
Of the civilians hit in Gaza teens playing shoot the rocket or Kassams by setting them off. http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/11/19/civilian-death-toll-from-conflict-rises-as-palestinian-and-israeli-forces/?test=latestnews
Southern Lebanon http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/162255#.UKp9eIYopN8
Hamas TV taken over by Israel http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/162249#.UKp-UYYopN8
Evacuating Americans in case of an Iranian attack: http://www.debka.com/article/22543/US-warships-turn-around-toward-Israel-for-possible-evacuation-of-Americans
Warning Fake Profiles http://www.wnd.com/2012/11/sexy-girls-on-facebook-in-new-warning/
We cease and they fire? http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=292612
Prayer for the IDF in song form: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24bOclbE_eg&sns=em
Day seven of the war in the morning with photos: As I am listening to Kol Yisrael about 15 or more Kassams or mortars sent to the south in Ashdod 300 buildings or cars were hit and 30 buildings in Beer Sheva - straight from the news which the Arabs can hear too. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4308824,00.html
As I was printing this the IDF took out two cars of terrorist leaders http://www.jpost.com/Defense/Article.aspx?id=292656
From Col: In 1967 Egypt had train cars with Cyanide Gas Canisters waiting to travel into Israel: http://www.vosizneias.com/117627/2012/11/18/jerusalem-report-israel-fears-hamas-preparing-chemical-weapons
In 8 days 1408 rockets and counting: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/162359#.UKzkQ4YsHGA
Must have past 1500 rockets by the cease-fire. Update on the ceaseless fire http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/wednesday-war-update/2012/11/21/
Stab your allies in the back http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/has-obama-decided-to-get-rid-of-jordans-king-abdullah/2012/11/22/
Lt. Boris Yalmolnik, 28, dies of his wounds: http://www.debka.com/article/22549/Iron-Dome-was-the-only-real-Israeli-winner-of-the-Gaza-operation
More on the disappointment of the soldiers I hope that the voters will move to the more right wing religious parties this time and vote Torah. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4310719,00.html
And they let him marry and Israeli Arab and move here. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4310735,00.html
Now for M. Wolfberg’s Good Shabbos Story “Bar Mitzvah” & "Giving Thanks"
In the winter of 1998, Mr. Kahn was contacted by a non-observant family, the Robinsons, (not their real name) to prepare their son Shawn for his bar mitzvah. Mr. and Mrs. Robinson were not antagonistic to Orthodoxy, rather, they were just ignorant of traditional Judaism.
Neither of Robinsons had had a formal Jewish education, but their friends had celebrated the bar mitzvahs of their sons, so they were doing the same. All they wanted was that Shawn be able to recite the blessings at the Torah reading and make a little speech at the reception. It sounded simple enough.
After a few weeks of lessons, the Robinsons asked Mr. Kahn if he would grace them by attending the Sunday afternoon reception. Mr. Kahn said he would be happy to attend, but he would do so only if the food was kosher. "What does one thing have to do with the other?" Mr. Robinson asked. "We don't keep kosher at home, so why should we have a kosher celebration outside the home?"
"When I teach the boys," replied Mr. Kahn, "I give them the total package. Becoming a bar mitzvah boy is not merely a 13th birthday celebration, it is a time for commitment. We do not only study the blessings and the speech. I explain the concepts of Mitzvos, we discuss Sabbath observance and rules and guidelines of kashrus."
"That's fine," said Mr. Robinson, "but that does not obligate me to make a kosher affair." "Certainly not," said Mr. Kahn respectfully. "But then you must appreciate that I am not obligated to attend a non-kosher bar mitzvah affair which is totally against all I have been teaching your son." "I can respect that," said a disappointed but obstinate Mr. Robinson.
Over the next few months, Shawn (who enjoyed Mr. Kahn calling him Simcha, his Hebrew name), became inspired by his teacher. He told his parents that he wanted Mr. Kahn to be able to attend his bar mitzvah. The Robinsons knew what that meant — they would have to have a kosher affair. They were not happy with that prospect for it would mean that some of their favorite foods could not be served. Reluctantly they capitulated to their son's request and called Mr. Kahn.
Mr. Kahn could tell from the conversation that the Robinsons were not enthusiastic about the change of plans, but nevertheless, they asked him to recommend a kosher caterer. Mr. Kahn suggested they call Mr. Josh Bleier* of Royal Kosher Catering.*
Weeks went by and the issue of the kosher catering did not come up again. Every once in a while Mr. Kahn wondered if indeed the Robinsons had called Royal Kosher. He was hesitant to bring up the matter for fear that it might look as though he were questioning their integrity. Yet the question gnawed at him.
On the Sunday morning of the bar mitzvah reception, Mr. Kahn decided to call Josh Bleier and see if indeed he was catering the event. He called Mr. Bleier at home but there was no answer. He called a half hour later and again no answer. This time he left a message on the answering machine that he needed to be called back immediately. He waited impatiently but received no call.
He tried every 20 minutes and each time hung up in frustration at not reaching anyone. He decided to call the office of Royal Kosher, and there, too, all he got was an answering machine. He couldn't understand how a catering outfit could be working at an affair and not have a way of being contacted.
Now Mr. Kahn began debating whether he should go to the reception altogether. If it wasn't going to be kosher, he would have to walk out and that would be insulting. He certainly couldn't stay there he reasoned, for it would be a Chillul Hashem – a desecration of Hashem’s name, for someone in his position to sit at a table where non-kosher food was being served. If he didn't go, however, and the affair was kosher, the Robinsons would be upset that the Orthodox teacher had lied to them about his coming, and that would be an even bigger Chillul Hashem. Mr. Kahn tried Mr. Bleier's home and office one more time and again he reached no one.
By 1:00 p.m. Mr. Kahn decided that he would go to the bar mitzvah. It was the lesser of two evils if he had to leave. At least the Robinsons would see that he made the effort.
As he walked into the hall where the bar mitzvah was taking place. Mr. Sandy Pilberg of Prince Prestige Caterers came running towards him. "Zvi," he said excitedly, "it's only because of you that this bar mitzvah is kosher. What a Zechus you have that no one here today will eat treif!" (Reflections of The Maggid, p.188 Rabbi Paysach Krohn)
The Torah tells us this week in parshas Toldos, of how Eisav sells his birthright to his brother Yakov for a plate of lentil beans. The verse quotes Eisav as saying to his brother Yakov, “Pour into me, now, some of that very red stuff (the lentils) for I am exhausted.” (Beresheis 25:30)
We see from here the character of the evil Eisav, namely, that he was a man of unquenchable physical ta’avos – specifically the desire for food. Eisav was willing to give up his birthright for food. Sadly, we see that many Jews today are willing to give up their birthright in exchange from some good tasting food.
We Jews must take strength in the fact that we are members of a special club. The club has rules of behavior. One set of rules of the Jewish club is the rules of eating kosher. Many Jews exclude themselves from the club and therefore squander their birthright by eating non-kosher food.
Keeping kosher is a paradigm for all of Judaism, in that it involves putting the will of Hashem above our own individual desires. Making a decision to keep kosher means taking a step in the direction of controlling our desires. Keeping kosher means making a statement to the world that: “I do not eat everything that smells good. Rather, I control my desires by not eating certain foods.” Through keeping kosher, we will all merit to retain our membership and to ensure our grandchildren’s membership in the Holy Jewish nation. The Jewish club has a lot of rules, and a lot of benefits. Only one who keeps the rules will get the benefits. Good Shabbos Everyone.
Good Shabbos Everyone. In this week’s parsha Vayeitzeh we read about how, on the way to Charan, Yakov Avinu stopped to rest for the night. As he slept, Yakov dreamt that he saw a ladder. The famous dream of the ladder contains some of the most inspirational spiritual lessons of the entire Torah. The verse tells us that Yakov dreamt, and behold! A ladder was set on the earth and its top reached towards the heavens... (Bereishis 28:12)
The Sages teach us that the ladder symbolizes the position of a Jew in this world. Although we stand on the ground like the base of the ladder, we strive to reach up to the heavens, like the top of the ladder in the dream. As the verse states, "A ladder was set on the earth and its top reached towards the heavens..." The following story told in the first person illustrates the amazing climb of a few Jews in this world.
The following amazing true Shabbos story told in the first person, will inspire all of us to keep Shabbos properly.
I remember many years ago when I first began to keep Shabbos. At the time I was new to Jewish observance. I had been hitchhiking around the country, and living on the streets for a few years, searching deeply for answers and ways in which I could become closer to G-d. I was fortunate enough to come into contact with the Chabad House in Berkeley, CA, where I met Rabbi Yehuda Ferris. Such a special Jew, so loving and non-judgmental, he turned me on to Shabbos.
After some months of living there it was time to move on, and I took on the commitment of keeping Shabbos. I made it very clear to G-d that even though I was hitchhiking, and even if I should be on the side of the road once Shabbos came in, I would simply stay there with my pack till after Shabbos. So I began my journey.
I arrived in Boulder, Colorado, on a Friday afternoon. Not to worry though, I would go to the local Chabad House. I found the address and directions, and proceeded to walk the few miles necessary. I figured I still had a good three to four hours and that I was ok for time. When I finally arrived at the address I did not find a Chabad house, but a huge office building. At this point I was a little worried. I went inside and saw that the Chabad office was on the third floor. Of course it was already closed for Shabbos.
Now what to do? I should mention my appearance: I had long dreadlocks (matted hair) with a Tibetan bell attached, a scraggly beard, tattered, painted pants and a very exotic shirt from India, which had Sanskrit written all over it. I definitely was not your average looking Jew, or even human.
I noticed that there was a financial firm of some sort next door to the office, with a glass door through which I could see an elderly lady sitting at a desk and looking at me. I asked if she might let me use the phone. I was getting a little nervous because it was almost Shabbos. She asked me in quite a surprised and curious tone, "Are you one of those religious Jews?"
She had seen me knocking on the Chabad door, but was confused by my appearance. I told that I was Jewish and trying to be religious. "Oh, that's wonderful," she exclaimed. "I'm a born-again X-tian and I think you Jews are the greatest!"
She invited me in and I called the Chabad House in Denver. They told me that there was nothing they could do as Shabbos was so soon and they knew no one who could help me in Boulder. I proceeded to call all the synagogues in the phone book. This was many years ago when there were almost no observant Jews there. (Now, B"H, that is not the case.)
The synagogues simply laughed at me. My problem was not that I needed a place to stay, but rather a place to leave my backpack, because you cannot carry outside on Shabbos. I had lived on the streets for a few years and knew how to take care of myself. My main concern was to not break Shabbos. I traveled with candles and grape juice for this very purpose.
Finally I spoke to one person who told me that I could leave my pack if the janitor was there. The lady had been listening and offered to drive me to the Synagogue. I was greatly relieved, because there was only an hour to Shabbos. We went in her new Cadillac to the Synagogue, only to find it locked, and no one there.
At this point I decided to forget it, throw my pack in the bushes and retrieve it after Shabbos. The woman would not hear of it, and offered to allow me to celebrate Shabbos at her home. I was amazed by her kindness, and saw no reason not to take up her wonderful offer. I told her yes but we had to hurry. Not a moment too soon we arrived at her house, which I might add was quite nice and in one of the ritzier areas of town.
Her husband came out and she introduced me as a religious Jew who had come to celebrate the Sabbath. He was overjoyed, and invited me in with nothing but graciousness. I immediately lit candles and then davened (prayed).
Afterwards they put some food together for me - I was a vegetarian then which made things easier. After I had eaten they tried to explain to me about their Messiah and so on and so forth. They spent about five minutes talking about it. I said that he sounds like a great guy but that I was just starting to get into my Jewishness.
"Absolutely you should learn about being Jewish and what it means. That is the most important thing." After this they informed me that the following morning they were going to visit their daughter, who lives in North Carolina, for a week, and were leaving at 6:30am. I asked them to let me put my backpack in their backyard, and I'd retrieve it on Saturday night.
"No, No," they exclaimed. "We wouldn't hear of it. We want you to stay, here are the keys, stay as long as you like. The house is yours. It is our honor to be able to serve a Jew and help him in any way." How clear I was that this was a miracle.
Here I was, coming into a town I had never been to before, on Erev Shabbos. I didn't know anyone. I looked like a complete freak, and this wealthy, elderly, non-Jewish couple asked me into their home. Not only did they take me in, but they basically gave it to me! And they really didn't try to convert me, but encouraged me to learn more about being Jewish, and the importance of keeping Shabbos.
What more could I ask of Hashem? He showed me what He is willing to do to help me keep Shabbos, if I am willing to make the commitment too. We have to know that Hashem is not far away from us. He is very close and involved in every aspect of our lives. If we will simply let Him in, and be a part of our life, He will do things for us which are far beyond our imagination. May we all be blessed to constantly see the miracles that are manifest in our lives at every moment. Amen!"
If you experience the beauty of Shabbos every week then you know "what it is all about." If you have yet to experience Shabbos, then your imagination will have to suffice. Everyone knows that reality is much better than the imagination. Good Shabbos Everyone. M. Wolfberg is sponsored by: In memory of R' Yaakov ben Naftoly, of blessed memory Refuah Shleima to Reb Mordechai Menachem Mendel ben Tziporah Yitta Refuah Shleima to Tsviah bas Bracha Leah
A blessed and healthy Shabbos to all,