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.


 

ARTICLES ON KI SISA AND PURIM:

View Complete List

The Generous of Spirit He will be Blessed
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5771

Sneak Preview of Messianic Times
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5758

The Ballad of Mayer
Rabbi Label Lam - 5770

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Importance of Being, the Importance of Having...a Rav
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

From Calf to Cow
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5759

Behind the Purim Mask
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5768

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Purim: Basic Concepts And Laws
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5760

Delving into the Megila
- 5774

Commanding Emotions
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5769

ArtScroll

A Community that Counts
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

Wealth as a Redemption
Shlomo Katz - 5769

Living Up to the Highest Standards
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5756

> Bucking the Trend
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5762

A Jew and Proud of It!
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759

Purim & Pisces: Not your Average Fish Story
Jon Erlbaum - 0

A Month of Happiness
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757



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