Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  Rabbis-Notebook
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Vayeitzei - The Birth of A Nation

By Rabbi Aron Tendler

Parshas Vayetze continues the saga of Yakov's journey. It was 2185 and Yakov was 77 years old. Having fled from the wrath of Esav following Yitzchak's blessings, Yakov spent 14 years studying in the academy of his Great-Etc.-Grandfather, Ever (great-grandson of Shem the son of Noach). During that time, his knowledge of the relationship between G-d and nature reached a depth that was exceptional. Urged by his teacher, Ever, who realized that his own death was drawing near, (2187) Yakov left the academy prepared to assume responsibility for the next stage of Jewish national development.

The Parsha begins with the famed dream of "Jacob's Ladder". Yakov was brought to the future sight of the Bais Hamikdash (Temple) and spent the night. Hashem (G-d) appeared to him in a dream and confirmed upon him the blessings of Yitzchak. It was during this momentous prophecy that Hashem revealed to Yakov the exact location of the Holy of Holies. Upon waking, Yakov declared, "...this is the gateway to Heaven", and committed his children to one day build the Bais Hamikdash on that very location. Strengthened by Hashem's promise, Yakov was now ready to wrest from the evil Lavan the next stage of Jewish destiny.

Yakov arrived at the outskirts of Charan and encountered the shepherds waiting to water their sheep. Yakov's physical strength was demonstrated and remained an important feature of Yakov's character. As Rav Samson Rephael Hirsch explains, it was the gift of physical strength that provided Yakov with the means of bargaining with Lavan for his marriage to Rachel and Leah. Yakov committed himself to 7 years of indentured service in exchange for Rachel. At the age of 84, Yakov married both Rachel and Leah and committed himself to an additional 7 years of service. During those 7 years Leah gave him 6 sons and one daughter; Zilpah and Bilhah each had two sons and Rachel gave birth to Yoseph. We are told that the birth of Yoseph was the essential element necessary for Yakov's return to Canaan and the inevitable confrontation with Esav.

Yakov negotiated with Lavan a fair salary in exchange for his continued service. The next 6 years revealed some of Yakov's knowledge of the intimate workings of nature. In what appears to have been the first case of genetic engineering, Yakov amassed an enviable fortune of cattle and servants. Recognizing signs of envy and hatred on the part of Lavan and his sons, Yakov consulted with his wives and they decided to flee from Charan. Their departure had the secondary concern of needing to be in Eretz Yisroel for the birth of Binyamin in whose section the Holy of Holies would one day stand.

They successfully escaped the scrutiny of Lavan and arrived at Mt. Gilad, near the border of Canaan. Lavan pursued Yakov and in the final fateful confrontation with Yakov, Yakov unwittingly cursed Rachel. Lavan's final attempt at destroying the embryonic Chosen People was thwarted by Hashem's intervention, and Yakov signed a pact with Lavan, effectively divorcing his family from any future contact with the diabolical Lavan. The Parsha concludes with Yakov's triumphant arrival at the borders of Canaan.


Copyright © 1997 by Rabbi Aron Tendler and Project Genesis, Inc.
The author is Rabbi of Shaarey Zedek Congregation, Valley Village, CA.

 






ARTICLES ON KI SEITZEI AND ELUL / ROSH HASHANAH:

View Complete List

Parents Need To Speak To Their Children With A Unified Voice
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5765

Thoughts for Pre-Rosh Hashanah
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5755

Wayward Son
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5760

> A Welcome Houseguest
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5759

Zero Tolerance
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5763

Lessons from a Farewell Speech
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5760

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

A "Beautiful" Insight
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5759

A Time of Introspection
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5759

Call of the Shofar
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5760

ArtScroll

The Sounds of the Shofar
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

Elul
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5755

Close Only Counts in Horse-Shoes
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The War in Your Living Room
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5765

Don't Forget to Say Thank You
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5762

Parshas Ki Seitzei
Shlomo Katz - 5769

To Begin--to Cook from Within
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766



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