Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  LifeLine
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Vayetze

by Rabbi Yaakov Menken

The first verse of this parsha tells us that "Jacob went out of Be'er Sheva, and went towards Charan." In English, the question is even more obvious than in the original: why must the Torah tell us that Jacob left Be'er Sheva (and say "went" twice)? Let it merely indicate that he went to Charan, and we will know that (obviously) he left Be'er Sheva.

Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchoki, 11th C. C.E.) explains that what the Torah is indicating is that the departure of a holy person has an effect. The presence of a holy scholar sets standards for a city, and has a positive effect on those around him. Our own moral conduct has an effect on our neighbors - and having an outstanding model to emulate affects each one of us.

Rabbi Yissachar Frand (whose Divrei Torah appear on the list RavFrand) once asked why the Torah never said this about Avraham, but waited for Yaakov. He answered that in the case of Avraham, it was obvious: he devoted his greatest efforts on behalf of the world around him. The Midrash says about Avraham in particular that he was very involved with improving moral conduct and spreading belief in the one G-d.

Yaakov, on the other hand, represented the opposite extreme: he was a "dweller in tents", involved primarily in his own service. So it might surprise us to learn that even a "Yaakov", a person who spends his time on his own, is also helping to improve and direct the conduct of his neighbors. This is also considered serving the world. On a practical level, we need to strike a balance between worrying about our own needs, and affecting others around us - but in either case, we should hope to have a positive effect on our world.


Text Copyright © 1994 Rabbi Yaakov Menken and Project Genesis, Inc.

The author is the Director of Project Genesis.


 
Sell Chometz Online


ARTICLES ON TZAV AND PESACH:

View Complete List

Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

You and Your Sons
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5757

Relating the Chain of Events: Part 2
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Why On This Night Do We Dip Twice?
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5765

God's Commandments: The Key to a Healthier Jewish Society
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5770

What's With the Number Four?
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Not Everything That Counts Can Be Counted
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

Symbolism Over Substance
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5757

Closing The Gap
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5762

ArtScroll

The Fifth Son
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5772

Rachtza Through Shulchan Orech
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Sweet Suffering
Shlomo Katz - 5758

> High Dividend Investments
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5758

We Were Slaves...
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Why Are The Laws Of Korban Todah Found In Parshas Tzav?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5771

The Questioning Defense
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5764



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information