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In the Darkness of the Night
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Every event in Parshat Vayishlach is presented by the Torah as ambivalent – the Torah leaves it for us to decide if it’s good or bad – Did Yaakov act correctly in telling Esav he was returning, how Yaakov dealt with Esav, the vengeance of Shimon and Levi. Yaakov is returning to the real world, he […]
Yaakov’s Vow
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“וידר יעקב נדר לאמר, אם יהיה אלקים עמדי, ושמרני בדרך הזה אשר אנכי הולך, ונתן לי לחם לאכל ובגד ללבוש. ושבתי בשלום אל בית אבי, והיה ה’ לי לאלוקים” At face value, Yaakov seems to be making his belief in God conditional on God giving him what he requests! Plus God already promised this in […]
Why Did Rachel Steal the Terafim?
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When departing the house of Lavan, the chumash records two types of theft – Rachel stealing the terafim and Yaakov stealing “Lavan’s heart” (גניבת דעת/deception). What are terafim? Are they idols (Lavan calls them his gods but when Rachel takes them they’re called terafim)? Why did she steal them? If Rachel was going to steal […]
What was the Meaning of Yaakov’s Dream?
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“ויפגע במקום וילן שם כי בא השמש ויקח מאבני המקום וישם מראשותיו וישכב במקום ההוא”…”וירא ויאמר מה נורא המקום הזה The place of Yaakov’s dream is obviously significant since the Torah keeps referring to it but it doesn’t tell us what “the place” is! What is the significance of the dream? What is the relationship between […]
Blindness, Blessings, and a Brother’s Deceit (part 2)
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Listen to part one Yitzchak tried to give Yaakov a bracha for spiritual success and Esav one for worldly success (similar to Yissachar-Zevulun); Rivkah realized Yaakov needed to succeed in both realms. What is the justification for Rivkah telling her son to deceive his father and for Yaakov deceiving his father? Do the ends justify […]
Blindness, Blessings, and a Brother’s Deceit (part 1)
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Rivkah is told ולאום מלאום יאמץ. She realizes that Yaakov and Esav cannot live side-by-side, they cannot have a Yissachar-Zevulun relationship. She realizes that Yaakov needs to receive both blessings. What is the nature of a bracha and what is it’s power that if the words are spoken in error it still holds? If it […]
Avraham and Sarah: The Final Chapters
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There is a dramatic shift in Avraham’s role between the Akeida and the beginning of Chayei Sarah. He appears to turn inward. The Torah dedicates more space to the purchase of Maarat HaMachpela than it does to Akeidat Yitzchak! Avraham introduces himself to Bnei Chet as a גר ותושב, a resident and a stranger, a […]
Snapshots from Lech Lecha and Vayeira (Part 2)
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The unusual introduction to Hashem informing Avraham about Sodom including the apparent leap of logic. Avraham praying for sparing Sodom but not for Yitzchak. Avraham’s name for Har HaBayit – Hashem Yeiraeh. Download the Mekorot Delivered at the OU Israel Center, December 5th, 2018 (27 Kislev 5779)
Snapshots from Lech Lecha and Vayera (Part 1)
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The command of Lech Lecha is written in reverse geographical order (land, birthplace, home). Avraham defines himself as a גר ותושב – a resident and an alien. This is alluded to the command of Lech Lecha. Why was Terach travelling towards Canaan and is Avraham continuing/completing his father’s journey? Avraham’s challenge to the famine in […]