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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Rosh Hashana 5780-2019

“The Judgment of Ishmael, and its Contemporary Implications for all of G-d's Creatures”
(Updated and revised from Rosh Hashana 5761-2000)

Even the wicked Ishmael was given a “pass” by the Al-mighty and allowed to survive, because at that time of judgment he was not “worthy” of punishment. Similarly, the Al-mighty is prepared to give every sincere penitent the benefit of the doubt and inscribe us in the Book of Life.

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Vayishlach 5779-2018

“Jacob’s Challenging Life”

Our Patriarch Jacob, lived a life of many challenges. Yet, he never gave up hope and never became bitter. There is much to learn from father Jacob about facing and living with overwhelming adversity.

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Vayishlach 5778-2017

“The Tragic Death of Mother Rachel”

While the Torah does not provide a single reason for the Matriarch Rachel passing away at the young age of 36, the commentators suggest a host of answers for her tragic premature demise.

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Vayeitzei 5778-2017

“Three Wells ”

Wells play an important role in the Torah and in Judaism. It is interesting to contrast the well of Jacob, with the wells of Eliezer and Moses in Midian.

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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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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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Vayechi 5775-2014

“Jacob Remembers Rachel”

Although Joseph had already sworn to his father, Jacob, that he will bury his father in Canaan, Jacob unexpectedly raises the issue of Joseph’s mother, Rachel, and the fact that Jacob had failed to bury Rachel in the Machpelah Cave together with the other Matriarchs and Patriarchs.

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Vayishlach 5775-2014

“She Called His Name ‘Ben Oni’”

As Rachel’s life ebbs from her during the birth of her second son, she calls the child “Ben Oni.” Jacob rejects the name, and calls the child “Binyamin.” What is the difference in the meanings of the names?

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Vayeitzei 5775-2014

“Twenty Years in the House of Laban”

The dream that Jacob dreams of a ladder set on earth leading up to heaven, with angels of G-d ascending and descending upon the ladder, provides Jacob with the necessary spiritual fortitude to endure and survive the twenty years that he spends in the house of Laban.

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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 5772-2011

“In Haran--A Kiss is Still a Kiss”

When Jacob arrives in Haran, he meets his beautiful cousin, Rachel, at the well. Not long after, Scripture reports that Jacob kissed Rachel, and wept. Jacob’s bold action launched a millennia-long controversy about the propriety of male-female contact in Judaism.

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Vayigash 5771-2010

“When a Jew Goes Down to Egypt”

How is it that for 22 years, the second most powerful person in Egypt never found the opportunity to visit the land of Canaan if only to see his beloved father and family, from whom he had been so brutally separated?

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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