Vayetze

VaYetze: From Yaakov to Yisrael

“And Yaakov was a pure man, dwelling in the tents” (Breisheet 25:27). Like his father before him, Yaakov had little interest in the wider world surrounding him, preferring to remain near home, engrossed in study. He was the direct opposite to his twin brother, who was “a man of the field”. The fact that Yaakov was cooking soup while his brother was out hunting exemplifies their very different personalities.  But as is often the case, circumstances have a profound effect on one's initial plans. The quiet life of Yaakov would not last long. 

VaYetze: Listen to Your Mother

The Torah tells us nothing about the upbringing of Abraham; we do not even know the name of his mother. All we know about him is that he was the oldest of Terach’s three children, married to Sarai who was barren, and his father for some unknown reason started on a journey to the land of Canaan.

We know precious little about Yitzchak’s upbringing, save for the fact that his mother was fearful of Yishmael’s influence upon him and that he willingly accompanied his father to the Akeidah.

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 blessing repeated in many a home on Friday night.

Parshat Vayetze: Listen to Your Mother

The Torah tells us nothing about the upbringing of Abraham; we do not even know the name of his mother. All we know about him is that he was the oldest of Terach’s three children, married to Sarai who was barren, and his father--absent a command from G-d--started on a journey to the land of Canaan.

We know precious little about Yitzchak’s upbringing, save for the fact that his mother was fearful of the influence of Yishamel upon him and that he willingly accompanied his father to the Akeidah.

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 not know, as we all do, that the “earth is filled with His glory”?

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 on the run, he lay down for some much-needed rest.

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.

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