Vayechi 5780-2020

"The Critical Importance of Timing"
(updated and revised from Vayechi 5760-1999)

When blessing his children, Jacob says of Reuben that he has all the natural advantages of the firstborn child in rank and in power. Retreating suddenly, Jacob declares that Reuben is impetuous like water and therefore cannot be the foremost. As we study the actions, deeds and words of Reuben, we find that he is a good person, who is extremely good-hearted and well-intentioned. Reuben is always ready to do the right thing. Unfortunately, his timing is off, intending to do the right thing, but at the wrong time. As important as actions and words are, timing is at least as critical.

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Lech Lecha 5778-2017

“The Beautiful, Barren Matriarchs”

All four matriarchs were both beautiful and barren. The commentators wrestle with the reason for these blessings and challenges.

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0 Comments8 Minutes

Vayeitzei 5774-2013

"Jacob Separates from Laban"

There is much to learn from the complex separation process that takes place between Jacob and his wily father-in-law, Laban.

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0 Comments9 Minutes

Vayeitzei 5773-2012

"The Complex Relationship Between Jacob, Rachel and Leah"

Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik sheds some light on the complex relationship between Jacob, Rachel and Leah.

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Vayeitzei 5771-2010

"The Hated Wife”

Is it possible that the great patriarch, Jacob, actually “hated” his wife? The commentators wrestle with this issue.

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0 Comments7 Minutes

Vayeitzei 5769-2008

"Leah, the Fourth Matriarch"

Our matriarch, Leah, bears six of Jacob's twelve sons, and is nevertheless depicted as "s'nu'ah," (literally "hated"). Leah, is a complex figure who earns the title "matriarch" and in some ways, outshines her favored sister, Rachel.

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Vayeitzei 5767-2006

"Dissing G-d"

G-d instructs Jacob to get up and leave Laban's house. Instead of departing post haste, Jacob consults with his wives, and then decides to leave. Is this a direct affront to G-d?

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0 Comments10 Minutes

Vayeitzei 5765-2004

"Rachel: Portrait of a Matriarch"

This week's parasha paints a broad and fascinating portrait of the beloved matriarch, Rachel. Rachel's life is filled with moments of great exaltation and great desperation. There is much to learn from Rachel's life and actions.

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0 Comments7 Minutes

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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Vayechi 5760-1999

"How Important is Timing?"

When blessing his children, Jacob says of Reuben that he has all the natural advantages of the firstborn child in rank and in power. Jacob then retreats suddenly, declaring that Reuben is impetuous like water and therefore cannot be the foremost. As we study the actions, deeds and words of Reuben we find a good person--good-hearted and well-intentioned. Reuben is always ready to do the right thing. Unfortunately, his timing is off, intending to do the right thing, but, unfortunately, at the wrong time. As important as actions and words are, timing is just as critical.

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0 Comments11 Minutes