Vayeitzei 5776-2015

“Disclosing Personal Information For Shidduch Purposes”

The issue of relating private information for the sake of marriage is a serious one. The first encounter between Jacob and Rachel reveals some interesting facts and has bearing on this issue.

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Toledot 5772-2011

“Isaac Blesses His Sons”

Professor Menashe Duvshani was for many years the premier Bible educator for Israeli high school students. He offers a unique view on the story of Isaac blessing his sons.

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Terumah 5771-2011

"The Message of the Holy Ark"

From a mere biblical reference about covering the acacia wood of the Ark with gold on the inside and outside, our rabbis derive an entire philosophy of life regarding sincerity and honesty.

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Kee Tavo 5770-2010

“Secret Transgressions”

How does a Jew become not only an “observant” Jew, but a Jew who observes with integrity? The twelve opening admonitions of the Tochacha hope to set the Jewish people on the right track.

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Toledot 5768-2007

"Esau's Loud and Bitter Cry"

When Esau realizes that he has been deceived of his blessing, he lets out a loud and bitter cry. Our commentators struggle to understand the cause and repercussions of this bitter cry. Some of the commentators suggest that all future generations pay for causing undue pain to Esau, expressed in his loud and bitter cry.

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Vayeitzei 5766-2005

"Deceit, More Deceit and Teraphim"

The theme of deception is central to parashat Vayeitzei as Laban deceives Jacob, and Jacob in turn deceives Laban. The final deception takes place as Rachel deceives her father, Laban, by stealing his Teraphim, his household idols, an act that the commentaries labor over diligently to comprehend.

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Vayishlach 5765-2004

"The Encounter"

The encounter between Jacob and Esau is often seen as a metaphor of the battle between Judaism and Rome (pagan or secular values). The battle may also be within the Jews themselves--to maintain the correct and valid interpretations of Torah and tradition.

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Vayeitzei 5763-2002

"The Transformation of Jacob"

At first glance, Jacob appears to be a congenital deceiver. He takes the birthright from his brother then steals Esau's blessing. Even Isaac describes the taking of the blessing by Jacob as an act of deception. Jacob however undergoes a transformation in which he realizes that evil cannot be deceived, but must be confronted directly. For this reason, Jacob is to be regarded as a particularly exalted figure, for teaching humankind how one is to deal with one's own shortcomings.

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Toledot 5763-2002

"The Deeds of the Fathers are Signposts for the Children"

In parashat Toledot we read for the third time the story of our patriarchs going to Egypt or to Gerar on account of famine. This time it's Isaac and Rebecca, rather than Abraham and Sarah, but the stories are virtually identical to the previous two. The famed Italian Bible scholar, Umberto Cassuto, suggests that this story is a paradigm, and its frequent repetition is predictive of what will happen to the Jewish people in the future. There will be a famine, and the families of the descendants of Abraham and Isaac will leave Canaan and go into exile. The men will be threatened with death, but the women will be allowed to live. Eventually, the people will go out with great wealth.

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Vayeitzei 5761-2000

"The Role of Mother Rachel in Jewish History"

Mother Rachel is not only the great matriarch, she also is considered the great defender of her children--the Jewish people. It is Mother Rachel who watches over her children as they go out to exile and return, passing by her grave located on the road to Bethlehem. How fortunate are her progeny to have a mother who is always there for them.

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