Vayeitzei 5769-2008

"Leah, the Fourth Matriarch" by Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald In parashat Vayeitzei, Jacob leaves Beersheba, fleeing from his brother Esau who threatened to murder him. Upon his arrival at the…

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Leah’s Story

On the morning after Jacob was to marry Rachel, he woke to find that his new bride was actually Rachel’s older sister Leah. “‘Deceiver, daughter of a deceiver!’ he said to Leah...She said…

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Vayeitzei 5763-2002

"The Transformation of Jacob" by Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald This week's Torah portion, parashat Vayeitzei, continues the fascinating story of the patriarchal family of Isaac and the saga of…

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Vayeitzei 5773-2012

"The Complex Relationship Between Jacob, Rachel and Leah" In this week’s parasha, parashat Vayeitzei, Jacob, who has fled from his father’s home in BeerSheba where Esau seeks to kill him,…

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Vayeitzei 5771-2010

"The Hated Wife” by Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald In this week’s parasha, parashat Vayeitzei, we come face-to-face with the difficulties that are often encountered in polygamous marriages. In…

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Vayeitzei 5777-2016

“The Great Deception” by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s parasha, parashat Vayeitzei, we learn how Laban deceived Jacob by giving him Leah, his older daughter, to be Jacob’s…

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Issachar, Son of Jacob

Before his death, Jacob gathered his sons to him and gave them each a blessing that specifically reflected their personalities and their futures. To Issachar, Leah’s fifth son, Jacob…

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Vayeitzei 5770-2009

"Punishment Awaits the Evildoers" by Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald In this week's parasha, parashat Vayeitzei, we read of the deception of Jacob by his father-in-law, Laban. Jacob, of course,…

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Gad, the Son of Jacob

The patriarch Jacob loved his wife Rachel, but it was his wife Leah who initially made him a father (since Rachel was unable to conceive for many years). When Rachel presented her…

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Reuben, Son of Jacob

Our forefather Jacob’s departing words to his firstborn son were: “Reuben, you are my firstborn, my strength and my initial vigor, foremost in rank and foremost in power. Water-like…

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Toledot 5772-2011

“Isaac Blesses His Sons” by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s parasha, parashat Toledot, we learn how Isaac’s intentions to bless Esau are thwarted by the deceptive actions of…

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Vayishlach 5778-2017

“The Tragic Death of Mother Rachel” by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald   In this week’s parasha, parashat Vayishlach, we learn of the untimely and tragic death of Mother Rachel as she was…

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Reuben, Son of Jacob

Our forefather Jacob’s departing words to his firstborn son were: “Reuben, you are my firstborn, my strength and my initial vigor, foremost in rank and foremost in power. Water-like…

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Reuben, Son of Jacob

Our forefather Jacob’s departing words to his firstborn son were: “Reuben, you are my firstborn, my strength and my initial vigor, foremost in rank and foremost in power. Water-like…

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Judah, Son of Jacob

When Judah, the fourth son of Leah and Jacob, was born, Leah said, “This time let me gratefully praise God” (based on the Hebrew infinitive, l’hodot, “to praise”). Judah first…

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Judah, Son of Jacob

When Judah, the fourth son of Leah and Jacob, was born, Leah said, “This time let me gratefully praise God” (based on the Hebrew infinitive, l’hodot, “to praise”). Judah first…

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Judah, Son of Jacob

When Judah, the fourth son of Leah and Jacob, was born, Leah said, “This time let me gratefully praise God” (based on the Hebrew infinitive, l’hodot, “to praise”). Judah first…

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Dinah, The Daughter of Jacob

Dinah, the seventh and youngest child of Leah and Jacob, was born the same year as her half-brother Joseph. In fact, the Talmud (Brachot 60a) notes that Leah specifically prayed that…

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Dinah, The Daughter of Jacob

Dinah, the seventh and youngest child of Leah and Jacob, was born the same year as her half-brother Joseph. In fact, the Talmud (Brachot 60a) notes that Leah specifically prayed that the…

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Levi, Son of Jacob

When Levi was born, less than a year after Simeon, Leah was still struggling to win the affections of Jacob. She named her third son Levi, saying, “This time my husband will become…

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Zebulun, Son of Jacob

Throughout her life, Leah suffered from the terrible insecurity of knowing that her husband loved her sister Rachel more than he loved her. Each time she bore a child, the statement she…

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Asher, Son of Jacob

Asher was the second son born to Zilpah, Jacob's wife, the former handmaid of Leah. The ninth son in the household (after Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Dan, Naphtali and Gad), he…

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Naphtali, Son of Jacob

After four years of marriage and desperate to have a child, Rachel gave her handmaid, Bilhah, to her husband Jacob to be an additional wife and to bear children in her name. Any children…

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Dan, Son of Jacob

Rachel had Jacob’s heart, Leah had his children. For four long years, Rachel watched her sister give birth to son after son until she could bear it no longer. Frustrated but determined,…

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Vayishlach 5772-2011

“Jacob Lines Up His Family for the Encounter With Esau” By Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s parasha, parashat Vayishlach, after his epic struggle with the angel, Jacob prepares…

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Simeon, the Son of Jacob

Leah named her second son Simeon (ben Jacob), saying “Because God has heard that I am unloved, He has given me this one also.” Simeon, a “hot-blooded youth,” often reacted quickly and…

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Simeon, the Son of Jacob

Leah named her second son Simeon* (ben Jacob), saying “Because God has heard that I am unloved, He has given me this one also.” Simeon, a zealous youth, often reacted quickly and…

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Vayeitzei 5774-2013

"Jacob Separates from Laban" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This coming week’s parasha, parashat Vayeitzei, recounts the trials and experiences of Jacob during the twenty years that he…

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Naphtali, Son of Jacob

After four years of marriage and desperate to have a child, Rachel gave her handmaid, Bilhah, to her husband Jacob to be an additional wife and to bear children in her name. Any children…

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Joseph, Son of Jacob

The story of Jacob’s eleventh son is a tale of epic proportion. The firstborn of Rachel, Joseph was his father’s favorite child, and Jacob never hesitated to display his feelings of…

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