Another name correction: Disclaimer I am not responsible if people do not give me full names or check this blogspot that the name is there or it is correct. Moshe Eliya ben Chana
Next week, I will be very busy so there may not be a commentary ready for Shabbos in which case there may be something short or just stories and pre-Chanucha issue.
We left off last week that Yacov has fled Lavan because Lavan’s sons were complaining about their inheritance and Yacov feared that Lavan would kill him. Of course, HASHEM advised him to return home.
Lavan felt the lack of Yacov just as at the beginning of Vayeitzei Rashi wrote. And Jacob left: Scripture had only to write: “And Jacob went to Haran.” Why did it mention his departure? But this tells [us] that the departure of a righteous man from a place makes an impression, for while the righteous man is in the city, he is its beauty, he is its splendor, he is its majesty. When he departs from there, its beauty has departed, its splendor has departed, its majesty has departed. And likewise (Ruth 1:7): “And she went forth from the place,” stated in reference to Naomi and Ruth. - [From Gen. Rabbah 68:6]
However, Esav had threatened Yacov’s life when he left. Yacov was sore afraid still he was told to return and would go to Beis Kael. He is about to wrestle with an Angel (of Esav) and become Yisrael. Esav can murder Yacov, but not Yisrael for it is a Gezaira on the name. We continue in the Parsha with the limping Yacov going by himself up against 400 fighting men and Esav upon seeing him at the age of 99 no longer sees him as a threat. Yacov takes his time going to meet again with Esav and his father Yitzchak. On the way both Rachel and Devorah, pass away. The Parsha ends with the wives and children of Esav, which links us back to the end of Parsha Toldos.
32:4 And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the field of Edom.
The word Angel is used for messengers and Rashi and others comment that this was the case.
5 And he commanded them, saying: 'Thus shall ye say unto my lord Esau: Thus says thy servant Jacob: I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed until now.
We don’t know Esav personally so we can sit back and criticize our forefather for being so subservient to Esav. Sojourned in Hebrew is 613 in Gematria and a hint of his status of observing Torah.
I have sojourned: Heb. גַּרְתִּי. I did not become an officer or a dignitary, but a stranger (גֵּר) . It is not worthwhile for you to hate me on account of your father’s blessing, [with] which he blessed me (27:29):“You shall be a master over your brothers,” for it was not fulfilled in me (Tanchuma Buber Vayishlach 5). Another explanation: גַּרְתִּי has the numerical value of 613. That is to say: I lived with the wicked Laban, but I kept the 613 commandments, and I did not learn from his evil deeds.
6 And I have oxen, and asses and flocks, and men-servants and maid-servants; and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find favor in thy sight.'
I don’t need to infringe on your inheritance from our father.
7 And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying: 'We came to thy brother Esau, and moreover he comes to meet thee, and four hundred men with him.'
The Angels reported back to Yacov and 400 men is a battalion and not a welcome party.
8 Then Jacob was greatly afraid and was distressed. And he divided the people that was with him, and the flocks, and the herds, and the camels, into two camps.
Two camps that are really four camps. The two lesser wives and their children. Then Leah and her children and finally Rachel.
9 And he said: 'If Esau come to the one camp, and smite it, then the camp which is left shall escape.'
This is the case throughout our entire history. One country wqould fall on trhe wews in one area and the opportunities opened up for Jews in other places.
10 And Jacob said: 'O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, O LORD, who saidst unto me: Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will do thee good; 11 I am not worthy of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which Thou hast shown unto Thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two camps.
YOU have done so many miracles for me that maybe I used up all my Mitzvah Merits.
12 Deliver me, I pray Thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, lest he come and smite me, the mother with the children.
My brother Esav! Biologically, he is my twin but spiritual he is Esav.
13 And Thou said: I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.'
He was so scared that the only thing he could do was remind G-D of his promise.
14 And he lodged there that night; and took of that which he had with him a present for Esau his brother: 15 two hundred she-goats and twenty he-goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, 16 Thirty nursing camels with their young, forty cows and ten bulls, twenty she donkeys and ten he donkeys.
This is the reproduction ratios of males to females and when it comes to camels Rashi comments that they are modest in their relationships so the males were not mentioned. Now the original English translation has foals instead of the male donkeys and that sort of contradicts the facts that other animals had mates.
Thirty nursing camels with their young: Heb. וּבְנֵיהֶם. And their young with them. According to the Midrash Aggadah, the word וּבְנֵיהֶם means בַּנָאֵיהֶם, their builders [those who impregnate them], a male corresponding to a female, but since it (the camel) is discreet in mating, Scripture did not publicize it (Gen. Rabbah 76:7). And…he-donkeys: Heb. וַעְיָרִם, male donkeys.
17 And he delivered them into the hand of his servants, every drove by itself; and said unto his servants: 'Pass over before me, and put a space betwixt drove and drove.'
Each herd individually: Each species by itself. Pass on ahead of me: a day’s journey or less, and I will come after you. And make a space: One herd before the next [within] the distance the eye can see, in order to satisfy the eye of the wicked man and bewilder him with the enormity of the gift. — [from Gen. Rabbah 76:8]
18 And he commanded the foremost, saying: 'When Esau my brother meets thee, and asks thee, saying: Whose art thou? and whither go thou? and whose are these before thee? 19 then thou shalt say: They are thy servant Jacob's; it is a present sent unto my lord, even unto Esau; and, behold, he also is behind us.' 20 And he commanded also the second, and the third, and all that followed the droves, saying: 'In this manner shall ye speak unto Esau, when ye find him; 21 and ye shall say: Moreover, behold, thy servant Jacob is behind us.' For he said: 'I will appease him with the present that goes before me, and afterward I will see his face; peradventure he will accept me.'
This time was like his wrestling with the Angel. Perhaps Esav could be bought by gifts. However, he did seem determined with his battalion.
22 So the present passed over before him; and he himself lodged that night in the camp. 23 And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two handmaids, and his eleven children, and passed over the ford of the Jabbok. 24 And he took them, and sent them over the stream, and sent over that which he had. 25 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.
This was the guarding Angel of Esav. Yacov was “left alone”! What our Sages of blessed memory tell us that although Yacov was an equivalent to a multi-millionaire, the Halacha is that the Din of the smallest currency such as a penny or even half-pence is equal to that of $100 and he had left behind some cheap knick-knacks but did not want to be considered by heaven as squandering his wealth.
26 And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was strained, as he wrestled with him.
He could not kill Yacov, but he was able to cause pain and injury.
27 And he said: 'Let me go, for the day breaks.' And he said: 'I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.' 28 And he said unto him: 'What is thy name?' And he said: 'Jacob.' 29 And he said: 'Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel; for thou hast striven with God and with men, and hast prevailed.'
This is a future name. By winning the battle with Esav’s Angel, he essentially rendered Esav powerless to hurt him.
30 And Jacob asked him, and said: 'Tell me, I pray thee, thy name.' And he said: 'Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name?' And he blessed him there. 31 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: 'for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.'
Literally “the face of G-D”.
32 And the sun rose upon him as he passed over Peniel, and he limped upon his thigh.
It is quite painful. The sciatic nerve goes through a very sensitive area by the hip bone and the pain can be very harsh.
33 Therefore the children of Israel eat not the sinew of the thigh-vein which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day; because he touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh, even in the sinew of the thigh-vein.
This is one of the memorial remembrances that have kept the people united from generation to generation. Since that time, the Bnei Yisrael do not eat this sinew.
33:1 And Jacob lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, Esau came, and with him four hundred men. And he divided the children unto Leah, and unto Rachel, and unto the two handmaids.
The Rabbis explain Yacov’s strategy as follows: Negotiations, presents and if that fails be prepared for all out war. He also left an escape route for Leah and Rachel.
2 And he put the handmaids and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost. 3 And he himself passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.
He was prepared to die but hoped that Esav would not attack the hand maidens and their children and that the far off sisters and children would be saved from Esav.
4 And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him; and they wept.
When Esav saw this limping 97 year-old man coming towards him his after he was submissive, his compassion arose and he truly embraced Yacov. This is the Pshat. The Medrash states that he tried to bite Yacov on the neck and his teeth broke as his neck miraculously turned to steel.
5 And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children; and said: 'Who are these with thee?' And he said: 'The children whom God hath graciously given thy servant.'
“Your servant” – I guess that is how you talk to a man with a battalion backing him up. The man has murdered Nimrod. This is with his record of accomplishment of idolatry, marrying unworthy women and adultery.
6 Then the handmaids came near, they and their children, and they bowed down. 7 And Leah also and her children came near, and bowed down; and after came Joseph near and Rachel, and they bowed down.
Because Benyamin had not been born and did not bow down; it gave Mordechai from the tribe of Benyamin the strength to confront Haman. Amalek is listed as one of the grandchildren of Esav and Haman was from Amalek.
8 And he said: 'What meant thou by all this camp which I met?' And he said: 'To find favor in the sight of my lord.' 9 And Esau said: 'I have enough; my brother, let that which thou hast be thine.'
Esav was at this time very wealthy from Yitzchak and did not need the gifts. However, his acceptance made possible certain bribes to the worse of Esav (Nazis) to keep people like Rabbi Lau and others alive.
10 And Jacob said: 'Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found favor in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand; forasmuch as I have seen thy face, as one sees the face of God, and thou were pleased with me. 11 Take, I pray thee, my gift that is brought to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough.' And he urged him, and he took it. 12 And he said: 'Let us take our journey, and let us go, and I will go before thee.'
Over the centuries, there are ways of converting the Bnei Yisrael. One is by threats of death, the second is by assimilation and the third is via intermarriage.
13 And he said unto him: 'My lord knows that the children are tender, and that the flocks and herds giving suck are a care to me; and if they overdrive them one day, all the flocks will die. 14 Let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his servant; and I will journey on gently, according to the pace of the cattle that are before me and according to the pace of the children, until I come unto my lord unto Seir.'
Yacov finds a way to persuade Esav diplomatically of keeping his distance. Yacov never came to Seir. The Haftarah address this and says that in the end of days, Har Tzion will judge Har Esav. Now all those nations who do not have their embassies in Yerushalayim should be worried. However, most do not really believe in the L-RD nor Novi Ovadia.
15 And Esau said: 'Let me now leave with thee some of the folk that are with me.' And he said: 'What needs it? let me find favor in the sight of my lord.'
Still Esav is offering his “love” and administration and Yacov succeeds in avoiding further “loving” contact with Esav.
16 So Esau returned that day on his way unto Seir. 17 And Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built him a house, and made booths for his cattle. Therefore the name of the place is called Succoth.
The exact place is unknown today. The only thing we do know it is somewhere between the Galil and Schem.
18 And Jacob came in peace to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Paddan-aram; and encamped before the city. 19 And he bought the parcel of ground, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, for a hundred pieces of money.
The area is in the heart of Eretz Yisrael between mountains. This is about the midpoint between Yerushalayim and the Galil going north and south. Going east and west, there exists a valley that runs from Schem on one side westward to the sea and eastward to the Yarden.
20 And he erected there an altar, and called it El-elohe-Israel.
Approximately, 240 years later, Yehoshua Bin Nun would set up a Mizbayach too after plastering the Torah on Stones from the Yarden and have the people on the two mountains with Schem in the middle, for the blessings and curses written in Devarim. (Har Gerizim and Har Eval)
And he named it, “God is the God of Israel.”: Not that the altar is called “the God of Israel,” but since the Holy One, blessed be He, had been with him and saved him, he named the altar because of the miracle, in-order that the praise of G-D be mentioned when it was called by its name. That is to say: He Who is God that is the Holy One, blessed be He-He is God to me, whose name is Israel. We find something similar in connection with Moses: “and he named it Hashem Nissi” (Exod. 17:15). Not that the altar was called Hashem, but because of the miracle he named the altar thus, to mention the praise of the Holy One, blessed be He: “The Lord is my miracle.” Our Rabbis (Meg. 18a) interpreted it to mean that the Holy One, blessed be He, called Jacob God [rendering: and the God of Israel called him God]. The words of Torah are “like a hammer that shatters a rock” (Jer. 23:29). They divide into many meanings, but I have come to establish the simple meaning of the verse.
34:1 And Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land.
Now Dina was approximately nine years old at the time. As I previously wrote that Yosef was between 8 to 10 years-old during this time frame and Dina would be slightly older.
2 And Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her; and he took her, and lay with her, and humbled her.
There was no pedophilia in the Tenach. It is a western European Device. Girls got married between the age of 3 onwards and 12 was childbearing age. She had gone out as a lonely shepherd girl to meet other girls her age and ended up being raped most likely but a teen in puberty.
3 And his soul did cleave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spoke comfortingly unto the damsel.
He liked her and told her that he would marry her and make her queen of the city which was named after him. (It could have been a princedom and she would be the princess) He soothed her and despite the rape, she responded with hugs and kisses. Since she was of marital age (like in Gaza today), she would be happy to be a wife.
4 And Shechem spoke unto his father Hamor, saying: 'Get me this damsel to wife.'
Schem asked his father to speak on his behalf about marriage.
5 Now Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter; and his sons were with his cattle in the field; and Jacob held his peace until they came.
The young girl was very excited about the marriage proposal and all that had happened and told her mother, Leah. Leah in turn told Yacov and the other wives.
6 And Hamor the father of Shechem went out unto Jacob to speak with him. 7 And the sons of Jacob came in from the field when they heard it; and the men were grieved, and they were very wroth, because he had wrought a vile deed in Israel in lying with Jacob's daughter; which thing ought not to be done.
They are disgusted with this behavior.
8 And Hamor spoke with them, saying 'The soul of my son Shechem longs for your daughter. I pray you give her unto him to wife. 9 And make ye marriages with us; give your daughters unto us, and take our daughters unto you. 10 And ye shall dwell with us; and the land shall be before you; dwell and trade ye therein, and get you possessions therein.'
We will merge together, not only as neighbors but as family.
11 And Shechem said unto her father and unto her brethren: 'Let me find favor in your eyes, and what ye shall say unto me I will give. 12 Ask me never so much dowry and gift, and I will give according as ye shall say unto me; but give me the damsel to wife.'
I have no need to ask for a dowry for the maiden. Please give her to my son to make her his wife.
13 And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father with guile, and spoke, because he had defiled Dinah their sister,
This is Levy wanting Schem to have a Kosher Bris and Shimon, the hot head, wanting revenge. Levy was zealous but more in the direction of HASHEM. Shimon would have his children fall because of idolatry and Levy would attack him in the name of HASHEM.
14 and said unto them: 'We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one that is uncircumcised; for that were a reproach unto us. 15 Only on this condition will we consent unto you: if ye will be as we are, that every male of you be circumcised; 16 then will we give our daughters unto you, and we will take your daughters to us, and we will dwell with you, and we will become one people.
The proposal sounded fair in the Yacov’s eyes and he tended to agree with this.
17 But if ye will not hearken unto us, to be circumcised; then will we take our daughter, and we will be gone.'
It appears to be more than a physical circumcision but rather a full conversion to Monotheism.
… 20 And Hamor and Shechem his son came unto the gate of their city, and spoke with the men of their city, saying: 21 'These men are peaceable with us; therefore let them dwell in the land, and trade therein; for, behold, the land is large enough for them; let us take their daughters to us for wives, and let us give them our daughters. 22 Only on this condition will the men consent unto us to dwell with us, to become one people, if every male among us be circumcised, as they are circumcised. 23 Shall not their cattle and their substance and all their beasts be ours? only let us consent unto them, and they will dwell with us.'
Since Yacov was so wealthy, these men could get wealthy son-in-laws.
24 And unto Hamor and unto Shechem his son hearkened all that went out of the gate of his city; and every male was circumcised, all that went out of the gate of his city. 25 And it came to pass on the third day, when they were in pain, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city unawares, and slew all the males. 26 And they slew Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem's house, and went forth.
This was terrible and against the principle of Yacov which is Emmes. (truth especially in one’s words)
27 The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister. 28 They took their flocks and their herds and their asses, and that which was in the city and that which was in the field; 29 and all their wealth, and all their little ones and their wives, took they captive and spoiled, even all that was in the house.
They wanted Yacov’s wealth and now they lost their lives and their wealth.
30 And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi: 'Ye have troubled me, to make me odious unto the inhabitants of the land, even unto the Canaanites and the Perizzites; and, I being few in number, they will gather themselves together against me and smite me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house.'
Isn’t it enough that I had to deal with Lavan and Esav? Now I have to deal with the Canaanites.
31 And they said: 'Should one deal with our sister as with a harlot?'
Shall we let them deal with a Bas Yisrael in this way.
35:1 And God said unto Jacob: 'Arise, go up to Beth-el, and dwell there; and make there an altar unto God, who appeared unto thee when thou didst flee from the face of Esau thy brother.'
It is HASHEM again that comes to Yacov’s rescue. And he is told to move on to Beth-el.
2 Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him: 'Put away the strange gods that are among you, and purify yourselves, and change your garments;
Did Yacov’s sons have idols? Rather there were also sorts of trinkets and idols with the captive women and children.
… 5 And they journeyed; and a terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob.
What happened here is that Yacov started on his way towards Beth-el and large groups of various Canaanite tribes came after him. In the book of Yashar the actions are described. A similar occurrence happened during the Yom Kippur War where a group of fleeing Israelis were pursued by a massive amount of the Syrian army and they were able to evacuate with their wounded when a dense fog suddenly rolled in. With Yacov the fog allowed them to escape and the four surrounding platoons clashed with one another. Also on the Golan Heights a fierce wind came a blew away the covering dirt of a mine field and the soldiers fled.
6 So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan--the same is Beth-el--he and all the people that were with him. 7 And he built there an altar, and called the place El-beth-el, because there God was revealed unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother.
Finally, Yacov has returned to fulfill his vow. He got a little bit more than food to eat and clothing to wear.
8 And Deborah Rebekah's nurse died, and she was buried below Beth-el under the oak; and the name of it was called Allon-bacuth.
Yacov named the place “the tree of crying” for she was a second mother to him and a guide and servant while he was with Lavan.
9 And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came from Paddan-aram, and blessed him. 10 And God said unto him: 'Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name'; and He called his name Israel.
Esav’s Angel foresaw this but only now, HASHEM gave him the name.
11 And God said unto him: 'I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins; 12 and the land which I gave unto Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land.'
In case Yitzchak’a blessing was not enough, now HASHEM has sealed the deal that Yacov will inherit the land.
13 And God went up from him in the place where He spoke with him. 14 And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where He spoke with him, a pillar of stone, and he poured out a drink-offering thereon, and poured oil thereon.
Rashi writes: In the place where He had spoken with him: I do not know what this teaches us. As for me, I would like to take an educated guess based on my own experience. I mentioned a number of time of the two miraculous occurrences that convinced me beyond a reasonable doubt that HASHEM 1) listens unto prayer 2) is quite active still in running the world and not only in Biblical Times.
The time was 1966 at the beginning of August. I was still mulling over in my mind the dream I had about seeing the fireball meteor and getting my name in The New York Times etc. I had the debate with the Orthodox Physicist named Himmelstein. He told me how one could work miracles if he was pure. He probably meant Tahor with Kosher mind and body. The way I loved observing meteors and astronomy I thought to myself that I must be pure in studying astronomy. I was observing the sky lying on my back in Greenwood Lake, NY on a dock over the water in the Indian Park section. I was thinking about what he said about being pure and making miracles.
I thought to myself the following, which is similar to Yacov’s thoughts of food to eat and a garment to wear. For I had been looking for meteors that hour. I had only seen two so far. It was a bit hazy and one start in the sky had like a halo around it. So in my brain I mulled over: “If G-D exists why doesn’t HE perform miracles to today. But one must be pure of thought. I wondered if there was anybody in the world as pure as I in observing meteors.” (With the Chutzpa of Gideon from Sefer Shoftim) “If G-D exists and shows me, then I would become religious, learn Hebrew and go to Israel. Since there are next to no meteors in this hour, (placing my hand behind my head with my finger pointing), if G-D exists let him send a meteor across the sky now!” I moved my hand from the back of my head to my side. At that split second, a medium sized meteor streaked out of that star and traveled across the sky perhaps 45 degrees or so that it was not a figure of my imagination.
So I can say to my ancestor Rashi, if I were to visit Greenwood Lake, NY with my children or grandchildren, I would take them there. Of course, in modern times, I would not set up a monument but I would pull the car over and make the Bracha: “… KING of the universe who has made miracles for me in this place. And they would say “our fathers”. Yacov place the stone upright on the way for generations to come that this is where the miraculous dream occurred.
15 And Jacob called the name of the place where God spoke with him, Beth-el. 16 And they journeyed from Beth-el; and there was still some way to come to Ephrath; and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labor. 17 And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the mid-wife said unto her: 'Fear not; for this also is a son for thee.' 18 And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing--for she died--that she called his name Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin. 19 And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath--the same is Beth-lehem. 20 And Jacob set up a pillar upon her grave; the same is the pillar of Rachel's grave unto this day.
A lot has been written about the Jews going to Bavel passing by mother Rachel that she would pray for them.
27 And Jacob came unto Isaac his father to Mamre, to Kiriatharba--the same is Hebron--where Abraham and Isaac sojourned.
Mamre: The name of the plain. Kiriath-arba: The name of the city. [Therefore,] מַמְרֵא קִרְיַת הָאַרְבָּע means“the plain of Kiriath-arba.” If you say that it should have been written: מַמְרֵא הַקִרְיַת אַרְבָּע, [the answer is that] this is biblical style. In every case of a compound name such as this (קִרְיַת הָאַרְבָּע), and such as בֵּית-לֶחֶם, אִבִי עֶזֶר, בֵּית-אֵל, when a “hey” needs to be added, it is prefixed to the second word:“the Bethlehemite (בֵּיתהַלַחְמִי)” (I Sam. 16:1);“in Ophrah of the Abiezrites (אַבִי הָעֶזְרִי)” (Jud. 6:24);“Hiel the Bethelite (בֵּית-הָאֱלִי) built” (I Kings 16:34).
I have always wondered based on Ibn Ezra that Rivka was 14 when she married Yitzchak if Yacov saw her again before she died. I think I know the answer from this Pasuk. We know that Rivka and Levi lived the same number of years so the answer is in Shemos 6:16 And the years of the life of Levi were a hundred thirty and seven years. (Doing the equations, Yitzchak was 159 when Yacov returned.)
28 And the days of Isaac were a hundred and fourscore years. 29 And Isaac expired, and died, and was gathered unto his people, old and full of days; and Esau and Jacob his sons buried him.
They were brothers again but a bit suspicious of each other.
Esav’s hatred was imparted on his children. As a result,
… 43 the chief of Magdiel, the chief of Iram. These are the chiefs of Edom, according to their habitations in the land of their possession. This is Esau the father of the Edomites.
The Emergency call and the Anti- Semite by Rabbi Dr. David FoxWhat does it take for a person to rethink his prejudices?
My answering service seldom called me at home, so I assumed this was an emergency. The operator told me that a woman was on the line sobbing, sounding frightened, speaking with heavily accented English.
I am often contacted by individuals from Israel, from Hassidic communities and other places where English is a second language, when people are in crisis. The unsteady voice on the line was indeed a woman, sobbing, accented, and she indicated that she felt as if she was having a breakdown. She asked to see me immediately, and without doing my customary over-the-phone screening, I agreed to see her that morning.
She was somewhat of a celebrity, from a European country, on tour in California and apparently she was having acute attacks of panic. She had no prior mental health history, was quite successful in her field, but anxiety had gripped her a few days earlier. It was no wonder that she felt that she was "breaking down." Between her tears and her shaking she could hardly catch her breath. I gave her instructions to slow down and calm her shuddering so that I could obtain more information.
She had been the victim of a beating prior to traveling by a man whom she knew. Her trip out West had been planned long ago so she had told no one about the trauma and had simply left on her travels. As the end of her trip was nearing and she was preparing to return to Europe, the panic hit her. She was afraid to go home but afraid to remain far away where she knew no one. When the anxiety mounted, she knew that she needed professional intervention and chose my name from the phone book.
I learned that her father was a famous physician with clinics around the country where they resided. She signed an authorization for me to bill her father, whom she had notified about her crisis. The treatment process was quite rapid and short, and by the end of two weeks she was in better shape, ready to return home. Some time later, I had my billing service prepare a bill which was sent to the father via my young patient.
Some weeks later a letter came to my office from the woman, thanking me again for helping her find clarity and composure. She was doing well. She acknowledged the bill which she had forwarded to her father. A few months then passed.
“He hates....your people. I am sorry. I do not know what to do."The call came in soon after, my patient again sobbing. "I made a mistake when I was telling papa about how much you helped me. I told him that you were a good man, and a Jew. He yelled at me and cursed you, and refuses to pay. I think I told you that my grandfathers were both officers in the army during the war. My father holds the same opinions. He will not change his mind. He hates....your people. I am sorry. I do not know what to do."
I did not know what to do either. The patient had accrued a debt with my office, and her father would not honor it. I could hardly hire a collection agency to go after the man. He lived thousands of miles away. I shrugged and tentatively said goodbye to that portion of my income. I knew that I had done the correct thing, providing treatment to a person in crisis.
About a year later, I received a long handwritten letter in passable English. The writer introduced herself as the mother of my patient... and the widow of that famous doctor. She wrote that her husband was a very experienced pilot. He flew his private plane from city to city where he ran clinics and lectured. He had set out one morning with a group of his friends for a short flight in his freshly serviced plane. For reasons inexplicable, the plane had crashed. He perished.
The next sentences chilled me. "I know that my late husband owed you money and refused to pay you because you are Jewish. He had been angry at our daughter for choosing to see you, and would not acknowledge that she had needed your help. I do know that she had been scared and sad and you helped her be happy again. I also know that the God of the Jews watches over your people. It is my belief that my husband died because he offended the God of the Jews by cursing you. Please tell me how much your bill is and I will have the payment wired to your bank. He left a very large estate and I can well afford it. I do not want more trouble after what happened to my husband. Thank you Dr. Fox and I bless your people."
What does it take for a person to rethink his prejudices? Is bigotry based on logic, so that it can be changed by reason? Or is it steeped in superstition and primitive ideas, so that it can only be tempered by greater superstition and more primitive thinking? It is helpful to examine our biases and our resentments, and to ponder what would need to happen for us to reconsider our petty dislikes and tainted perceptions.
Reprinted from Jewish Life magazine, www.jewishlife.co.za, download the free Jewish Life app on iOS and Android.
In the past week, I met two people with different stories. The first is a German Pastor. I met him at the Lot Hotel. Usually, there are a lot of German Tourists but in Nov. mostly Russians and some Israeli Groups. Pastor Wolfgang Steinke told me that he was on his 75th trip to Israel. He speaks Hebrew, German and English. He is 85 years-old and saw in his youth the horrors of Hitler. He showed me pictures of his Congregation that has an Israeli Flag and he prays in a Tallis. He invites a Cantor to his Church to sing Kael Maaleh Rachamim on Holocaust Day and Memorial for Israeli Soldiers. There are some Righteous among the Gentiles.
The second person that I met was a lady who visited Israel. She was on tour with her brother the Reverend. Sometime after her father passed away, her mother revealed to her and her brother that they were Jewish. She had been raised as a non-Jew and now has a lot of catching up to do. I should have gave her my blogspot address but I was so overwhelmed with her story that I was just taken away.
Foreign investments in Israeli Medical Start Up why the Dutch – Israeli deal was hashed out. https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3725816,00.html
Miriam sent me this and I wonder if I posted this. Ambassador Bolton is questioned on world capitols and US recognition. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjfCnVDI44E
The old democratic Likud is gone. https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5046950,00.html
Holocaust Survivor donates $1,000,000 to veterans. http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/11/25/holocaust-survivor-im-giving-1-million-to-help-wounded-american-veterans-to-express-my-thanks.html
This is a useless bureaucratic agency that does not really help anybody but gives jobs to political allies. https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5049010,00.html
Netanyahu’s total take over the Likud. https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5046950,00.html
Gas leak explosion claims 3. https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5048805,00.html
From Denise - According to Globes:
The Tel Aviv District Court has ordered Uber Israel to halt its UberDAY and UberNIGHT taxi services within 48 hours following an appeal by the Israel Taxi Drivers Association and the Gett taxi hailing app company.
At the beginning of November, Uber Israel began operating its UberDAY ridesharing service in Tel Aviv and the neighboring cities of Ramat Gan and Givatayim with journeys undertaken to Herzliya in the north and Bat Yam in the south. Since October 2016, Uber Israel had been operating its UberNIGHT service in Greater Tel Aviv. The service had severe restrictions on the amount of rides each driver was able to provide so that earnings would be capped to cover car maintenance costs as defined by the Israel Tax Authority.
However, Judge Eitan Orenstein found that Uber Israel did not meet the criterion for ridesharing by which drivers simply cover their costs for a journey. This also raised the issue of appropriate insurance and the court was not convinced by Uber Israel's assurances that policies were being negotiated.
The Ministry of Transport had also sued Uber Israel for providing a service, which in its opinion is illegal. Judge Eitan Orenstein was critical of the Attorney General for not having expressed a position on the matter.
305 Mosque attendees slaughtered 128 wounded by ISIS. https://www.debka.com/54-dead-75-injured-terror-attack-mosque-egypts-north-sinai/
Ed-Op: Putin and Rouhani need Assad. https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5046490,00.html
The Hague investigates US Soldiers instead of ISIS. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/21315
Egypt to Gaza border closed down as murderers pursued. https://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/238493
Dr. Martin Sherman Ed-Op remember when the GOI wanted to give away the Golan for “Peace” with Papa Assad! https://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/21314
Europe did not listen to the JEWS of Israel for they hate us but now the last laugh is on them. Don’t bake the fudge for real soon in historical times HERE COMES THE TRUE JUDGE. https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5047916,00.html
Larger Iranian threat against Israel. https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5047601,00.html
Russian Intelligence Chief used to warn Assad about Iranian Bases in Syria. https://www.debka.com/russian-spymaster-jerusalem-emissary-israels-warning-assad/
Naval Iron Dome operational. https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5048738,00.html
Analysis: Increased Defense Budget. https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5047601,00.html
Turkey is in the Russian-Iranian Camp and the US abandons the Kurds. https://www.debka.com/us-halts-arms-supplies-syrian-kurds-turkeys-insistence/
Turks crack down on freedom. https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3726117,00.html
Iranian throws the match to Israel. https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5049465,00.html
Mortar attack met with much force. http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/IDF-tanks-fire-on-Gaza-after-mortar-attack-515680
Attempted lynching of school children. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/238707
Gazan – American service. https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5049822,00.html
Thoughts on resettling Arabs. https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5049797,00.html
Soldier murdered terrorist at large. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/238726
Next week, I will be very busy so there may not be a commentary ready for Shabbos in which case there may be something short or just stories and pre-Chanucha issue. I suggest that you look for it and load up on candles or oil for the Menorah.
Have a wonderful Shabbos,