VaYetze: Sisters In Love
One could hardly find fault with the claim that sibling rivalry is the major theme of Sefer Breisheet. Beginning with the first set of brothers, Cain and Hevel, and continuing through Joseph and his brothers, we confront dispute after dispute. The lack of conflict between Ephraim and Menashe is so unique that their model served as the basis for Jacob's blessing for the Jewish people, "May G-d make you like Ephraim and Menashe" (48:20), a...Continue Reading »
Vayetze: Searching for G-d
Yaakov is fleeing his home, afraid that his brother will try to kill him. Night is coming, and presumably he has been running all day. He is tired and quickly falls asleep—even with a rock as his pillow. But what a “dream” he had! “And Jacob awoke from his sleep and he said: Behold, there is G-d in this place, and I did not know that” (28:16). What exactly was Yaakov thinking? Did he really think that G-d only exists in certain places? Did he...Continue Reading »
VaYetze: Ignoring G-d's Promise
Yaakov Avinu was on the run. Forced to leave home after "stealing" the birthright from his brother, he was attempting to stay one step ahead of Eisav, who was busy planning for the day when he would "be able to kill my brother Jacob" (27:41). Understandably, Yaakov was fearful. It was at this point, our Sages teach us, that he instituted Maariv, the nightly prayer service, night being the symbol of fear and uncertainty.Tired from being...Continue Reading »
VaYetze: Why Leave Home?
It is quite evident that Yitzchak and Rivka had differences of opinion regarding the difficult task of raising their twin boys. Their contradictory assessments of Eisav and Yaakov continued to the end of their days. Rivka sensed that Eisav would not, could not, be rehabilitated from his nefarious ways, whereas Yitzchak never gave up hope that Eisav would ultimately remain a Jew. This dichotomy can be seen in many places, including the opening...Continue Reading »