Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Vayeitzei

Today Depends on Tomorrow

The story of our father Yaakov, as portrayed in this week's parsha, is certainly the harbinger of all of the Jewish story in the long centuries of our exile and dispersion. Yaakov arrives penniless and persecuted - a survivor from the ravages of the enmity and sword of Eisav. He is subjected to further humiliation and discrimination in the house of his erstwhile father-in-law and employer Lavan who exploits his talents and labor to the fullest.

In spite of this unfair treatment, Yaakov prospers and builds a family and future for himself. Yaakov's success in the face of overwhelmingly negative circumstances only enrages Lavan and his sons and Yaakov is eventually forced to flee and return to the Land of Israel. Here, he will again encounter enmity and great challenges to the survival of his family and himself.

Through all of this tumult and danger Yaakov perseveres and succeeds in building a family that will develop into an eternal and holy nation .And this is pretty much the story of the Jewish people over its over three millennia of existence. No other people or group of immigrants has ever done so much for its host nation as have the Jews. Yet, in the main,their efforts and achievements have been unrewarded if not even resented.

This phenomenon of ingratitude is Lavan’s inheritance bequeathed in full measure to the non-Jewish world generally. The Jew may be elevated, exploited, rewarded or persecuted but rarely if ever is he truly appreciated. The world has a mental block against truly appreciating the role of the Jew in the progress of civilization. And in our current world, that mental block has been extended to focus mainly on the Jewish state of Israel.

The secret of Yaakov's ability to overcome Lavan, and to succeed in preserving the heritage of Avaraham and Yitzchak, lies in his constant recollection of the great dream that he dreamt at the beginning of his sojourn in exile. God's presence in the house of Yaakov was a palpable one. He always felt God's presence over him and thus his vision of the long game that he was to play triumphed over the near sighted short game that Lavan always played. Yaakov, who is aware and confident in God's promise that "I will be with you," realizes that reversals and even tragedies are still only temporary events in the march of Jewish history.

It is the constant recollection of his great vision and dream that fuels Yaakov's strength and sense of purpose. Lavan's vision from Heaven is merely a warning not to further harm Yaakov. But he lacks grander visions - no ladders that can ascend heavenward and no sense of eternity. In this respect Lavan and Eisav resemble each other acutely. They are all about "now" - the additional pot of lentils and labor that can be squeezed out of the weak and defenseless with no thought about the ultimate future and the consequences of their behavior. Yaakov states that "tomorrow I will come into my reward" - Jews are concerned about their ultimate tomorrow and not just their today. He who is concerned about tomorrow is also successful today.

Shabbat shalom.

Rabbi Berel Wein


Crash course in Jewish history

Rabbi Berel Wein- Jewish historian, author and international lecturer offers a complete selection of CDs, audio tapes, video tapes, DVDs, and books on Jewish history at www.rabbiwein.com


 






ARTICLES ON VAYEITZEI AND CHANUKAH:

View Complete List

Oh Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5768

Twin Peaks
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5768

Leaving Ya'akov for Yisroel
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

> Be Patient!
Shlomo Katz - 5761

Candle Lighting Blessings
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5761

"Now I Have Someone To Blame" – That's Just The Beginning
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5771

ArtScroll

Simple But Unbreakable Faith
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5767

G-d Willing!
Shlomo Katz - 5762

“Trading Places on the Ladder of Life”
Jon Erlbaum - 0

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Keeping Secrets
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5766

Some on Chariots, and Some on Horses
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758

A Pillar to Mankind
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5759

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Our Noble Mission
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

A Legacy of Deceit
Rabbi Shmuel Goldstein - 5762

Miracles of Modesty
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5762

A New Perspective
Shlomo Katz - 5768



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