January 15, 2021   ✦   2 Sh'vat, 5781   ✦   Torah Portion: Vaera, Exodus 6:2-9:35   ✦   Haftorah: Ezekiel 28:25-29:21

Posted on November 30, 2016 (5778) By Mordechai Lewis | Series: | Level:

In this week’s parsha Yaakov tells Eisav, With Lavan, I have sojourned and I have lingered until now…[1]

Rashi[2] says the verb גַרְתּׅי, lived, implies staying as a stranger from גֵר, unknown. Yaakov was telling Eisav, “I have not become a great prince nor have I achieved status… I remained merely a stranger. Though I have merely been a stranger with Lavan, the evil one, I have observed the 613 Divine Mitzvos and have not learned from his evil ways.”

Where else does the word גֵר appear?

In Parshas Lech Lecha[3] Hashem tells to Avram, “… Your offspring shall be strangers in a land not their own, they will enslave them and they will oppress them four hundred years.”[4]

Today, we also reside in a land that is not own, called America. The posuk said that Yaakov was a stranger residing at Lavan.

Lavan symbolizes the western culture of American, which has given Jews freedoms that our ancestors could never dream of!

Freedom and honey have one thing in common: they’re sweet. Yet, Shlomo HaMelech says that when you find honey, eat what is sufficient for you.[5] But too much honey is not good[6] and will cause you to vomit it up.[7]

So too, the freedoms of western culture have magnetized the Jew to throw away the yoke of Judaism and to acquire instant gratification by immersing himself in a virtual reality called materialism.

The Medrash[8] says, “חשֶׁךְ, darkness, is the exile of Greece, for they darkened the vision of Yisrael with their decrees.” If you flip the word חשֶׁךְ it becomes שָׁכַח, forget. As in לְהַשְׁכּׅיחָם תּוֹרָתֶֽךָ, to make them forget Your Torah.  The Greek culture is well and alive in America![9]

We have religious freedom. However, it’s gotten to such a point that we think we own this country. How? Jews feel the need that they should run for senator, legislature, politician, mayor or any government position etc.

What did Yaakov tell Eisav? He said, “I have not become a great prince nor have I achieved status… I remained merely a stranger.

Yaakov is sending us a clear message:

“In exile, when living in another land that gives you religious freedom, don’t start cozying up – i.e. get involved with the government – by running for senator, legislature, politician, mayor or any government position.” It only gets us into trouble. Find non-Jews who stand with our value system. Rav Schwab zt”l said Jews should have a low profile in exile.

Finally, Yaakov tells Eisav, “I have observed the 613 Divine Mitzvos and have not learned from his evil ways.” What is our mission in exile? To be a light unto the nations[10] and not to learn from their ways.[11] [12]

 

Dedicated in memory of Dovid Tzvi ben Yosef Yochanan, Kayla Rus bas Bunim Tuvia, Chana Tziporah bas HaRav Nochum Yehuda HaKohein, Dovid ben Uri HaLevi, Sarah bas Henoch Avraham, Altah Soshah Devorah bas Aryeh Leibush, Mashah Tzivyah bas R’ Shlomo Zalman, Shmuel Dovid HaLevi ben R’ Yosef Moshe HaLevi, Rafael Chaim Yitzchak Yaakov ben Binyamin Yehudah, Berinah Z’latah bas Reuven Yitzchak, Yosef ben Moshe HaLevi and as a merit for a complete recovery of Chayah Malka bas Bas-Sheva, Shmuel ben Channah Menuchah, Shlomo Avraham Moshe ben Rivkah Shaindel, Beilah Chayah Rechamah bas Eidel, Miriam Liba bas Devorah, Menachem ben Rivka, Rivka bas Esther Rochel, Aharon Yehudah Leib ben Gittel Faiga.

 

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[1]    see Bereishis 32:4-5.
[2]    Ibid. 32:5 “עם לבן גרתי”.
[3]    15:13.
[4]    See Artscroll Stone Edition Chumash, page 267, note 27.
[5]    Mishlei 25:16
[6]    Mishlei 25:27.
[7]    see note 5.
[8]    Bereishis Rabbah 2:4.
[9]    Ben Shapiro: Why Jews Vote Leftist?
[10] see Yeshayahu 42:6, 49:6 and 60:3.
[11] see Yirmiyahu 10:2.
[12] see A Solution for Anti-Semitism.