Section Tanya Shiurim: 24JEWISH ALERTS large selection videos and feeds in each section
Kislev 3, 5774 · November 6, 2013
Today’s Tanya Lesson
Kuntres Acharon, middle of Essay 4

והנה במקום אחר כתב שרמ״ח מצות עשה הן בה׳ חסדים

Now, in one source1 it is written2 that the 248 positive commandments are [rooted] in the Five Attributes of Kindness of Za of Atzilut, for every positive command serves as a vessel to receive an expression of the kindly attributes and a calling forth of Divinity,

ושס״ה לא תעשה בה׳ גבורות וכו׳

and the 365 prohibitions are [rooted] in the Five Attributes of Severity ofZa of Atzilut.

The Gevurot (the attributes of severity) reflect a Divine thrust to self-contraction and limitation. The prohibitory commands thus derive from them, since the intent of these commands is to withhold the efflux of holiness from kelipot.

ובמקום אחר כתב שהן תרי״ג ארחין נמשכין מחד ארחא כו׳

Elsewhere it is written3 that there are 613 paths (i.e., the 613 mitzvot) that derive from one path…,

שהוא לבנונית וכו׳

which is the Lavnunit…, the benevolent pristine “whiteness” of the Supernal Keter.

This level includes no element of severity at all. As the Zohar states there, “There is no ‘left’ in Atik” — i.e., there is no element of Gevurah in the internal level of Keter; there is only Chesed.

We thus seem to have a compound contradiction: We have just stated here that the 248 positive commandments stem from the vessels of the Ten Sefirot of Za; the Zoharstates that the 248 positive commandments stem from the Five Chasadim (attributes of kindness) of Za while the 365 prohibitory commandments stem from the Five Gevurot(attributes of severity) of Za; and the Zohar states elsewhere that the commandments derive from the Lavnunit of the Supernal Keter, where attributes of severity do not exist at all.

אך הענין, שכל המצות לתקן רמ״ח אברי ז״א, על ידי המשכת אור אין סוף ברוך הוא במוחין, הכלולין בה׳ חסדים וה׳ גבורות

The explanation is: All the mitzvot are designed to rectify the 248 organs of Za, by drawing the [infinite] Ein Sof-light into the [Divine] Intellect as incorporated within the Five Attributes of Kindness and Five Attributes of Severity. (In mortal man, too, by way of analogy, one’s intellectual decisions are commonly swayed by a natural leaning to kindness or severity.)

Since the purpose of mitzvot is to “repair” the 248 organs of Za, it is true to say thatmitzvot are rooted in the vessels of the Sefirot that constitute Za. Since the repair is accomplished through drawing the infinite light into the Divine Intellect that is housed in the Five Attributes of Kindness and the Five Attributes of Severity, it is also sometimes said that the mitzvot themselves are rooted in the Five Attributes of Kindness and the Five Attributes of Severity.

ומקור המוחין הוא לבנונית כו׳

The source of the [Divine] Intellect is the Lavnunit [of Keter],

הוא הענג וחפץ העליון להמשיך אור למטה, לרמ״ח אברין דז״א

which is the supreme delight and desire to draw the light below into the 248 organs of Za, for relative to KeterZa is deemed “below”.

Thus the Zohar also says elsewhere that the commandments are rooted in the level of Supernal Keter called Lavnunit, where there are no attributes of severity whatever, for this is the source of mitzvot as they exist in the supreme delight and desire of Keter.

ומתחלקת ההמשכה לתרי״ג המשכות פרטיות, לפי בחינת ערך המצות

The light drawn forth divides into 613 individual streams according to the respective levels of the mitzvot.

כגון בצדקה וגמילות חסדים, נמשך אור אין סוף ברוך הוא לחיצוניות הכלי דחסד דז״א

For instance, through charity and kindly deeds the [infinite] Ein Sof-light is drawn into the external aspect of the vessel of the Attribute of Kindness of Za,

Since “Chesed is of the right side” of Za, a kindly act of charity in this world below draws down the infinite light into the corresponding “right side” above — into the Attribute of Kindness of Za. Just as this “arousal from below” sprang from kindness, so too the reciprocal “arousal from above” comes as a direct and similar response, drawing down the infinite light into the Chesed of Za.

ובקיום הדינין, בחיצוניות גבורה ברחמים כו׳

while through observing mitzvot that are in the order of severity, [the infinite light is drawn] into the external aspect of Severity [of Za], with mercy….

ודרך ומעבר ההמשכה הוא על ידי פנימיות הכלים ומוחותיהן

The path and passage of the issuing light that is drawn into the external vessels of Za is through the internal aspect of the vessels and their Intellects,

שהן דחילו ורחימו שכליים או טבעיים

which are, in terms of a Jew’s service, awe and love, either intellectually generated or innate. (Whereas the former is an expression of intellect, the latter is an expression of the spiritual emotions.)

שהן בחינת מוחין דקטנות וגדלות

These [attributes] correspond, in terms of the Supernal Sefirot, to the “major” or “minor” [Divine] Intellect.

The “minor [Divine] Intellect” corresponds to man’s innate love and fear of G‑d, while the “major [Divine] Intellect” corresponds to the love and fear of G‑d that are born of meditation.

ולזה ביקש משה רבינו עליו השלום מאד, לקיים המצות מעשיות התלויות בארץ

This is the reason for Moses’ fervent plea to fulfill the active mitzvot that are contingent on the Land,4 i.e., that can be fulfilled only in the Holy Land.

שהן תכלית ההשתלשלות

For these [practical mitzvot] are the ultimate purpose of theHishtalshelut, the chainlike stages of progressive self-screening whereby the Divine light descends from level to level until ultimately this corporeal world is created —

להמשיך אור אין סוף ברוך הוא, לברר הכלים דז״א דבריאה יצירה עשיה, דבהן הן הרפ״ח ניצוצין

to call forth the [infinite] Ein Sof-light, in order to refine the vessels ofZa of BeriahYetzirah and Asiyah, in which are located the 288 sparks.

על ידי תורה ומצות מעשיות שבבריאה יצירה עשיה דוקא

[And this purification is effected] exclusively through Torah study andmitzvot requiring action, in BeriahYetzirah and Asiyah.

Since this is the purpose of all of creation, and the mitzvot can be fully performed only in the Holy Land, Moses fervently desired to enter it so that he would be able to perform them in the most complete manner possible.

From all the above we understand why the extraction and refinement of sparks is primarily accomplished through prayer, even though the study of Torah is loftier than prayer. For prayer involves the elevation of the sparks of Tohu to their most supreme source there, and from there even higher to the Ein Sof.

As the Alter Rebbe will soon explain, this is so specifically in contemporary times because the loftier souls of earlier generations could accomplish this speedily, merely by reciting the Shema with its introductory blessings and selections from the Verses of Praise. In our days, however, when such lofty souls are not to be found, the task of beirur must come about through prayer.

* * *

1. Note of the Rebbe: “See Or HaTorah by the Tzemach Tzedek on Bereishit, Vol. III, p. 471, et al.
2. See Etz Chayim, Shaar Kitzur ABiYA, ch. 4.
3. Note of the Rebbe: “Zohar III, 129a.”
4. Sotah 14a.
By Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi (1745-1812), founder of Chabad Chassidism (Free Translation)    More articles…  |   RSS Listing of Newest Articles by this Author

Elucidated by Rabbi Yosef Wineberg. Translated from Yiddish by Rabbi Levy Wineberg and Rabbi Sholom B. Wineberg. Edited by Uri Kaploun.
Published and copyright by Kehot Publication Society, all rights reserved.

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Kislev 2, 5774 · November 5, 2013
Editor’s Note:
Dear Friend,Five years ago this week, I was on my way to Holland to visit my newborn niece. As the plane touched down, my husband turned on his phone to check the news. We knew there had been a terrorist attack in Mumbai, but suddenly the story turned terribly personal: terrorists had occupied the Chabad House. That Shabbat the rabbi sang Av Harachaimim, the prayer for Jewish martyrs, in a voice choked with tears. Six souls had joined millions of others in the prayer’s eternal embrace.

Reflecting on Mumbai five years later, it is hard to separate the pain of the tragedy from the response it evoked. People did thousands of mitzvahs, Chabad shluchim established tens of Torah centers, and many parents honored the memory of Rabbi Gavriel and Rivkah Holtzberg by naming their children after them. We survived, and we are stronger for it. As Rabbi Sacks writes this week in Light in Dark Times, the ability to recover, to use our pain as an impetus for growth, is a trait passed down to us from our forefather Jacob. For better or worse, this has become a defining characteristic of our people. May we soon merit the time when light will overpower darkness, once and for all.

Sarah Ogince,
on behalf of the Editorial Team

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פרשת ויצא סולם יעקב הרב יוסף בן פורת חובה לצפות

שלום חברים! כל מי שיכול בבקשה ממכם כל סרט טוב שאתם רואים ממה שאני העלתי או אחרים כמובן רק סרטי יהדות תלחצו על אהבתי וגם תגובה טובה או תודה וכמה זה חיזק אותכם זה מאוד חשוב לי ונותן כח להמשיך להעלות סרטים ליוטיוב תודה לכולם! שלום חברים! כל מי שיכול בבקשה ממכם כל סרט טוב שאתם רואים ממה שאני העלתי או אחרים כמובן רק סרטי יהדות תלחצו על אהבתי וגם תגובה טובה או תודה וכמה זה חיזק אותכם זה מאוד חשוב לי ונותן כח להמשיך להעלות סרטים ליוטיוב תודה לכולם! מעוניינים לשמוע עצות מקצועיות בחינוך ילדים? הקליקו לעצות מקצועיות בחינוךילדים

פרשת ויצא – הרב זמיר כהן

הרב זמיר כהן בשיחה קצרה מתוך פרשת בראשית מבאר את הגישה הנכונה בזוגיות

Rabbi Yona Metzger, Through the parsha, Parshat Vayeitzei

הרב יונה מצגר, דרך הפרשה, פרשת ויצא

הרב הראשי הרב יונה מצגר בפינה קצרה ויחודית לערוץ הידברות במסר מיוחד מפרשת השבוע.

וַיֵּצֵא יַעֲקֹב, מִבְּאֵר שָׁבַע; וַיֵּלֶךְ, חָרָנָה.
וַיִּפְגַּע בַּמָּקוֹם וַיָּלֶן שָׁם, כִּי-בָא הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ, וַיִּקַּח מֵאַבְנֵי הַמָּקוֹם, וַיָּשֶׂם מְרַאֲשֹׁתָיו; וַיִּשְׁכַּב, בַּמָּקוֹם הַהוּא.
וַיַּחֲלֹם, וְהִנֵּה סֻלָּם מֻצָּב אַרְצָה, וְרֹאשׁוֹ, מַגִּיעַ הַשָּׁמָיְמָה; וְהִנֵּה מַלְאֲכֵי אֱלֹהִים, עֹלִים וְיֹרְדִים בּוֹ.
וְהִנֵּה יְהוָה נִצָּב עָלָיו, וַיֹּאמַר, אֲנִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי אַבְרָהָם אָבִיךָ, וֵאלֹהֵי יִצְחָק; הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר אַתָּה שֹׁכֵב עָלֶיהָ–לְךָ אֶתְּנֶנָּה, וּלְזַרְעֶךָ.
וְהָיָה זַרְעֲךָ כַּעֲפַר הָאָרֶץ, וּפָרַצְתָּ יָמָּה וָקֵדְמָה וְצָפֹנָה וָנֶגְבָּה; וְנִבְרְכוּ בְךָ כָּל-מִשְׁפְּחֹת הָאֲדָמָה, וּבְזַרְעֶךָ.
וְהִנֵּה אָנֹכִי עִמָּךְ, וּשְׁמַרְתִּיךָ בְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר-תֵּלֵךְ, וַהֲשִׁבֹתִיךָ, אֶל-הָאֲדָמָה הַזֹּאת: כִּי, לֹא אֶעֱזָבְךָ, עַד אֲשֶׁר אִם-עָשִׂיתִי, אֵת אֲשֶׁר-דִּבַּרְתִּי לָךְ. (חומש בראשית, פרק כ”ח, פסוקים י – ט”ו).

הרב יונה מצגר, דרך הפרשה, פרשת ויצא / Rabbi Yona Metzger, Through the parsha, Parshat Vayeitzei

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הרב יצחק אביי פרשת ויצא מפגש יעקב עם רחל ושיחתם והמוסר השכל

שיעור תורה פרשת ויצא

הרב שמעון דהן – פרשת ויצא ומוהרן התשע”ד השעור המלא

חדש! סוד סולם יעקב ספר הזוהר הרב בניהו שמואלי חובה לצפות!!!

שלום חברים! כל מי שיכול בבקשה ממכם כל סרט טוב שראיתם ממה שאני העלתי או אחרים כמובן
רק סרטי יהדות תלחצו על אהבתי וגם תגובה טובה או תודה וכמה זה חיזק אותכם כהוקרה על כל
ההשקעה בערוץ זה מאוד חשוב לי ונותן כח להמשיך להעלות לכם עוד סרטים תודה לכולם!

מעוניינים לשמוע עצות מקצועיות בחינוך ילדים?
הקליקו לעצות מקצועיות בחינוך ילדים

הרב שלמה לוינשטיין שליט”א – ”ויצא” תשע”ב

פירושים נפלאים על פרשת השבוע מפי מגיד ישרים, הרה”ג שלמה לוונשטיין שליט”א.
השיעורים נאמרים בבית הכנסת ”דברי שיר” בני ברק.
אפשר לצפות בשיעורים בשידור חי באתר ”לאור הנר” כל חמישי בלילה בשעה

הרב בועז שלום אור החיים על התורה ויצא, ה’ כסלו, תש’ע

פרשת ויצא -הרב פינטו שליט”א

פרשת ויצא – ציון כהן – פרשת שבוע ומודעות עצמית

שיעור מקסים שמלמד ת’כלס איך הפרשה קשורה אליי, מתאים לכל גיל, שזור בסיפור הפרשה בצורה מעניינת ומרגשת, נקודות למחשבה והתבוננות (שיעורי בית) שעוזרות לך להתקדם ולהתפתח משבוע לשבוע

פרשת ויצא – לקנות כרטיס, שיעור עם רן ובר

הרב זמיר כהן בשיחה קצרה מתוך פרשת בראשית מבאר את הגישה הנכונה בזוגיות.

תו”א פרשת ויצא ד”ה ושבתי בשלום

האם מותר לשקר מתוך כוונות טובות? – ויצא

Section WEEKLY Parasha Parashat Vayetsei Part 1 SHIURIM & COMMENTARIES

Languages: english,french,spanisch,dutch

Weekly Torah Portion: Vayeitzei

Avraham saw his appointed meeting place with G-d as a distant and foreboding mountain, (Mount Moriah), and Yitzchak envisioned the Holy Temple to be a field, accessible and alive. But it was Yaakov who understood the Holy Temple to be a home, a nurturing, loving center in which G-d and all mankind can embrace.

Vayeitzei (Genesis 28:10-32:3)
Parashat Vayeitzei is read on Shabbat:
Kislev 6, 5774/November 9, 2013

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YouParsha – Vayeitzei 5774

Weekly YouParsha show read by Rabbi Herschel Finman ( YouParsha is produced and at the Specs Howard School of Media Arts in Southfield, Michigan (248) 358-9000. YouParsha is made possible in part by a grant from the Paul & Leslie Magy Foundation. Torah, Parsha, Rabbi, Chasidic, Vayeitzei 5774

Rabbi Riskin on Vayetze – “Torah Lights” 5774

“Laban and His Covenant” – Rabbi Shlomo Riskin’s Insights into Parshat Vayetze

Rabbi Joshua Bittan Vayetze Monday Halakha Pesuka

Morning Shiur at Em Habanim Valley Village California

Rabbi Joshua Bittan Vayetze Sunday Halakha Pesuka

Morning Shiur at Em Habanim Sephardic Congregation Valley Village Califormia

Rabbi Joshua Bittan Vayetze Tuesday Halakha Pesuka

morning shiur at Em Habanim Sephardic Congregation Vallery Village California

Webdvar Vayetze 5774

Focusing on the sanctity of our shuls

Learning or working? The Importance Of Zevulun – Rabbi Spalter’s Class On Vayeitzei

Why did Yakov make his main dwelling with Leah because Zevulun who symbolizes the businessman was born?
Isn’t Yakov the man of Torah?
Rabbi Spalter’s Class On Vayeitzei (5773)

Rabbi Shlomo Katz: Parshat Vayetze – “Rubles are Never Looking for Me”

To download the audio and text click here:…

Ne pas remettre à plus tard (language french)

305 – Paracha Vayetsei, Le 30 Octobre 2013 

L’investissement des Patriarches pour les générations futures

(language french) 304 – Paracha Vayetsei, Le 29 Octobre 2013

L’exil une nécessite – Vayetse par le Rav Dov Lumbroso-Roth

Cours vidéo du Rav Dov Roth- Lumbroso sur la paracha Vayetsé
L’exil une nécessité ?

Vivre avec son inconscient, Paracha Vayétsé, Yaacov Corda

(language french) Cours donné à Jérusalem, veille du second jours de Roch ‘Hodech Kislev, par Yaacov Corda, selon les enseignements du Torah Or de l’Admour Hazakein

Rav Yossef Tordjmann présente: Paracha Vayetse

(language french)  Cours a la memoire de Amelie bat Etoile (maman de notre ami Richard Myara), Ghzala bat Myriam, Meir ben Myriam et du Rav Haim Ovadia Yossef ben Georgia ainsi que pour la guerison totale de mon pere David ben Rahel, Yehouda ben Rahel, Touna Chemla et Haya bat Rahel

Vayétsé : La Paracha avec Boubach saison 2 !!

(language french) Voici la nouvelle émission de 613tv conçue et présentée par Michael Broll !
Avec Boubach découvrez les trésors de la Torah à travers la paracha de la semaine !!!!!!! Un rendez-vous a ne pas manquer et à partager avec tous vos amis !…

Here is the new issue of 613tv designed and presented by Michael Broll!
With Boubach discover the treasures of the Torah through the parsha of the week!!! An appointment not to be missed and share with all your friends! ..

sefer 1 – Berechit – Paracha vayetse – commentaire 3 – Rabbin Joseph Abittan (language french)

(language french)

Rav Benhamou-Paracha Vayetse

(language french) neryossef

La Paracha Vayetsé commentée par le Rav Amram Levy de Jérusalem

(language french)…

Le Rav Amram Lévy commente la Paracha de la semaine : Vayetsé

Né à Marrakech en 1945, le Rav Amram Lévy s’installe en Israël en 1965 où il enteprend des études de MBA à l’Université Hébraique de Jérusalem parallèlement à des etudes de kodech au collel du soir et au Bet Harav Kook.
Il est le rabbin de la communauté Darkei Noam dans le quartier Sanhédria à Jérusalem , enseigne depuis 22 ans au Machon Méïr et dirige le Collel Darkei Noam

reflexion sur la paracha vayetse

(language french)

Paracha vayétsé – La détermination fait la réussite – Rav Bendrihem

(language french) Commentaire sur la parasha de Vayétsé par le Rav Bendrihem de Jérusalem –

Vayetse 5772

(language french)

Parachat Vayetsé: Les quatre étapes de l’élévation spirituelle

(language french)…
Le Rav Yehouda Ben Ichay de la Communauté Emouna Cheléma à Jérusalem nous explique le commentaire paru dans La Voix de la Thora du Rav Elie Munk sur le verset Genèse XXVIII, 12 de notre paracha, Parachat Vayetsé
Vous pouvez vous procurer en ligne les livres La Voix de la Thora du Rav Elie Munk par ce lien…

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Tél 052-886 55 25

S’élever au-dessus de la nature

(language french)   303 – Paracha Vayetsei, Le 29 Octobre 2013

Cour de Torah sur la Paracha Vayetsé par Avy Allouche, d´après les cours du Rav Corda.

L’ une des explication sur le fait que Yaacov est resté 7 ans dans la tente de Chem et 7 ans dans celle de Evère pour étudié la Torah , avant de ce rendre a haran .
En quoi sa nous parle personnellement aujourd’hui grâce a l’enseignement de la hassidoute habad , sur le site torah or

Haftara הפטרה‎ – Perashat VaYetzei ויצא (Moroccan מרוקאי & Spanish Moroccan)

Moroccan Daily Halakhot
La Halakha Marocaine Quotidienne

Moroccan Tune 0:00
Spanish Moroccan Tune 5:04

Hoshe’a 11:7-13:5
Sung by: nz”y Ribi David Kadoch s”t – Ḥazan of Abir Ya’aqob, Toronto, Canada

paracha de la semaine, torah, judaisme, vayetse 
Qui est le vrai ennemi d’Israel- Paracha Vayetse- 4 N0v 2013. The player 11 Decembre 2012 
paracha de la semaine, toldot, esav, esau, yaakov 
1. shimon ohayon 06-11-2013 07:48. je suis pas de cet avis au fait que nous n avons pas eu de

Parasja met Rabbijn I. Vorst – Wajetse (5774)

(language niederländisch)   Parasja met Rabbijn I. Vorst – Wajetse (5774)

parashat Vayetze (language spanish)

Rab tevi   (language spanish)

El significado de un nombre

(language spanish)  Mensaje de la Parasha Vayetzé del Rabino Sergio Slomianski

Ética Judía: “Estudio, paciencia y dedicación”

El Rabino David Tabachnik, director de los Institutos Ariel de Jerusalén, comparte con nosotros nuevamente su comentario sobre el Pirkei Avot, el gran texto de la Ética Judía. En esta oportunidad, capítulo 2, Mishná 5.


Mensaje de Parshat Vayetze,
Rabino Yosef Slavin,
Jabad Lubavitch,
Caracas, Venezuela
Kislev 4, 5774 · November 7, 2013
Selfless To A Fault

But when will I do something for my own self? (30:30)

Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak of Lubavitch once told:

There was a time when they used to say the truth. And it worked.

Once a chassidic businessman came to my grandfather [the fifth Rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch, Rabbi Shmuel, 1834-1882]. This was a man who always kept Gates of Lightand The Gate of Faith1 in his breast pocket and was fluent in both.

During his private audience with the Rebbe, the latter inquired as to his daily schedule. “What do you do before the morning prayers?” asked the Rebbe.

The chassid replied that he studies the G-dly concepts which are expounded upon in the teachings of chassidism and then meditates upon them both during and following his prayers. The Rebbe continued to go through the chassid’s entire day: every available minute or thought was likewise occupied in the pursuit of the Divine.

“And what of the reading of the Sh’mah before sleep2?” the Rebbe finished. Then, too, the chassid “thought chassidus.”

“So you are forever thinking of G-d,” said the Rebbe, “but when do you think of yourself?”

The chassid fell in dead faint.

The Rebbe summoned the servant, Reb Pinyeh Leib, to carry the chassid out of the room and revive him. “One needn’t faint,” the Rebbe remarked, “one should do…”

1. Two books of chassidic philosophy by Rabbi DovBer of Lubavitch, known for their depth and profundity.
2. Traditionally a time for soul-searching and stock-taking of the bygone day.
By Yanki Tauber    More articles…  |   RSS Listing of Newest Articles by this Author
Yanki Tauber is content editor of
Kislev 3, 5774 · November 6, 2013
Genesis 28:10-32:3

Jacob leaves his hometown Be’er Sheva and journeys to Charan. On the way, he encounters “the place” and sleeps there, dreaming of a ladder connecting heaven and earth, with angels climbing and descending on it; G-d appears and promises that the land upon which he lies will be given to his descendents. In the morning, Jacob raises the stone on which he laid his head as an altar and monument, pledging that it will be made the house of G-d.

In Charan, Jacob stays with and works for his uncle Laban, tending Laban’s sheep. Laban agrees to give him his younger daughter Rachel — whom Jacob loves — in marriage, in return for seven years’ labor. But on the wedding night, Laban gives him his elder daughter, Leah, instead — a deception Jacob discovers only in the morning. Jacob marries Rachel, too, a week later, after agreeing to work another seven years for Laban.

Leah gives birth to six sons — ReubenShimonLeviJudahIssachar and Zebulun — and a daughter, Dinah, while Rachel remains barren. Rachel gives Jacob her handmaid, Bilhah, as a wife to bear children in her stead, and two more sons, Dan andNaphtali, are born. Leah does the same with her handmaid, Zilpah, who gives birth toGad and Asher. Finally, Rachel’s prayers are answered and she gives birth to Joseph.

Jacob has now been in Charan for fourteen years and wishes to return home, but Laban persuades him to remain, now offering him sheep in return for his labor. Jacob prospers, despite Laban’s repeated attempts to swindle him. After six years, Jacob leaves Charan in stealth, fearing that Laban would prevent him from leaving with the family and property for which he labored. Laban pursues Jacob, but is warned by G-d in a dream not to harm him. Laban and Jacob make a pact on Mount Gal-Ed, attested to by a pile of stones, and Jacob proceeds to the Holy Land, where he is met byangels.
Kislev 3, 5774 · November 6, 2013
Living with the Parsha: Giving a Tenth

Adam and Judy Levine walked their grandparents to their car. The elderly couple had driven down from Manchester to visit the children and their parents. “And happy birthday to you, my darling Adam.” Adam blushed as his grandmother kissed him. She slipped a little envelope into his hand and the car drove away.

“Well,” Adam turned to his sister, “I guess it’s back to our homework.” His sister shrugged “for you maybe, but I have choir practice. Bye.” It was only later when Adam was trying to wipe the ink stains off his hand that he remembered the envelope that his grandmother had given him. “Gosh,” he exclaimed as he opened the card “thirty dollars! That’s nice of them. Wow! I think I’ll be able to buy that new computer game that Rafi has. Or maybe I’ll get that new book, or maybe…”

The next day, as Adam prepared to leave school, his mind was still busy racing with ideas of what to buy with his birthday money. “Hey Rafi,” he called out to his friend; Rafi would give him good advice. As the two boys walked into the local game shop Rafi turned to his friend and asked, “by the way, Adam, did you give a tenth of your birthday money to charity?”

Adam looked at Rafi quizzically. “What are you talking about? I don’t know what that is.”

Rafi explained, “Remember, in school today, Mr. Greenberg was talking about Jacob?” Adam had a vague memory of the class, but truthfully speaking, his mind had been focusing more on the game of football that had just ended in the previous gym lesson. “What about Jacob?” Adam asked.

“Well, Mr. Greenberg was telling us how Jacob was traveling towards the home of his uncle Laban. On the way he lay down to sleep, and had a dream of a ladder, with angels going up and down”.

“Oh, yes, I remember that”, said Adam.

“Well, anyway, in the morning Jacob turned to G-d and promised that he would give Him a tenth of everything he would earn. Since then, Jews have given a tenth of their earnings to charity. That means for every pound you get, you give ten pence. Mr. Greenberg said it helps us remember that really the money we get is from G-d.”

Adam thought of his grandmother. Was the envelope with thirty dollars from her or from G-d? Maybe G-d gave her the idea to give it to him. Then he said aloud “So a tenth of thirty would be three dollars. Maybe I can give it to the collection they have at school for people hurt in terrorist attacks in Israel. And you can share in the good deed because it was your idea!” The boys nodded at each other and turned to look at the game shelves. Adam had twenty-seven dollars to spend.
Kislev 3, 5774 · November 6, 2013

This Sidra contains an account of Jacob’s four marriages, all (according to Rashi) to daughters of Laban. Now this appears to contradict the traditional view that Jacob (together with Abraham and Isaac) kept all the commandments of the Torah despite the fact that G-d had not yet given them to Israel—out of a combination of personal zealousness and a prophetic knowledge of what the law would be—for marriage to two sisters is later prohibited. Rashi seems to offer no explanation of the difficulty and the Rebbe considers a number of possible solutions, eventually reconciling the apparent contradiction, and drawing out the moral implications of the story.

1. Jacob’s Wives

An important and well-known principle about Rashi’s commentary on the Torah, is that his policy is to answer all the difficulties which are apparent in construing a literal interpretation1 of the verses. And when he cannot find an answer on this level, he will note the difficulty and add, “I do not know” how to resolve it.2 When there is a difficulty which Rashi does not even point out, this is because the answer is obvious, even to a five-year-old (the age when a Jewish child begins to study the Torah3).

It is therefore very strange that we find in this week’s Sidra a puzzling fact, that has preoccupied many commentators, and which Rashi not only does not explain, but appears to take no notice of at all.

We are told that Jacob married both Rachel and Leah, and later Bilhah and Zilpah, all daughters of Laban.4 Now since we have a tradition that the forefathers kept the entire Torah, even though it had not yet been given,5 how can it be that Jacob married four sisters when we are told in Vayikra6: “Thou shall not take a woman to her sister”—that is, one may not marry the sister of one’s wife.

Perhaps we could say that Rashi does not comment on the problem because when the “five-year-old” learns this Sidra, he does not know that Jacob’s act was forbidden (for the law does not appear until Vayikra, and the child has not yet reached that book). However, this will not do, for Rashi does not explain the difficulty even later on.

Alternatively, it is possible that Rashi felt that, amongst the many explanations of the point given in other commentaries, there was one sufficiently obvious that he was not bound to mention it. But this also will not explain his silence, since firstly, there are many disagreements among these other commentators, so the explanation is not obvious; and secondly, they are not explanations of the literal meaning of the text—which is therefore still wanting.

2. Some Explanations

Ramban7 offers the explanation that the forefathers kept the 613 commandments of the Torah only when they lived in Israel, whereas Jacob married the two (four) sisters while he was in Haran. But Rashi could not consistently hold this view, for he says elsewhere of Jacob, “while I stayed with the wicked Laban (i.e., in Haran), I kept the 613 commandments.”8

Another explanation9 is that Jacob was in fact obeying a specific command of G-d in order to have the 12 sons who would later become the 12 tribes. But though it is clear that G-d’s explicit command would have overridden the prohibition involved, nonetheless we find no indication in the Torah that G-d commanded Jacob to take Rachel, Bilhah or Zilpah in marriage. On the contrary, it is clear from the narrative that he married Rachel because he wanted her, from the very outset, to be his wife; and both Bilhah and Zilpah were given to Jacob as wives, by their mistresses10 (they were the handmaids of Rachel and Leah): He did not take them in obedience to a command from G-d.

3. The Argument From Leniency

There has been intensive speculation as to whether the forefathers, in undertaking to keep the Torah before it has been given, accepted only those rulings which were more stringent than the (then binding) Noachide Laws, or also accepted the rulings which were more lenient. If we follow the second view, and remember that all four sisters must have converted to Judaism before their marriages, and take into account the lenient ruling that “a convert is like a new-born child”11—then it would follow that the wives were no longer considered sisters, since their lineage was affected by their conversion.

However, even this answer is unsatisfactory at the level of literal interpretation.

(a) Before the Giving of the Torah, there is no Biblical evidence that Jews had any other law than the Noachide Code (other than the specifically mentioned obligation of circumcision etc.). So the undertaking of the forefathers was entirely a self-imposed thing, and did not involve their children12 in any obligation. It follows that there was no general legal distinction, before the Giving of the Torah, between Jews as such and the other descendants of Noah. Hence, the whole idea of conversion did not arise.

Nor can we support our point by saying that the voluntary undertaking of the 613 commandments was itself a kind of conversion. For this was a self-imposed stringency and could not have included the lenient ruling that “a convert is like a new-born child.”

(b) Besides which, Rashi, in his commentary on the Torah, never mentions this law; and indeed a literal reading of the Torah inclines one to the contrary view, for G-d says to Abraham, “You shall come to your fathers in peace.’’13 In other words, even after Abraham’s conversion, Terach is still regarded as his father, to whom he will be joined in death.

(c) Lastly, the prohibition of marrying one’s wife’s sister is not simply because she belongs to the category of those forbidden for the closeness of their relation to the would-be husband; but for the additional psychological reason that it might put enmity and jealousy in place of the natural love between two sisters.14 So even if the law “a convert is like a new-born child” applied before the Giving of the Torah, it would not be relevant in the present instance, for there is still a natural love between two converted sisters,15 which would be endangered by their sharing a husband.

4. Individual and Collective Undertakings

The explanation is that the manner in which Abraham, Isaac and Jacob kept the Torah was one of self-imposed stringency alone (and this is why it was so esteemed by G-d: “Inasmuch as Abraham harkened to My voice, and kept My charge, My commands, ordinances and laws”16). If so, then clearly if something which they had been commanded conflicted with something they did only from their own zealousness, the former, having G-d’s authority, would overrule the latter.

This is—at the simple level—why Abraham did not circumcise himself until he was commanded to (when he was 99 years old); for the Noachide Code forbade shedding one’s blood—even when it would not harm one.17 And though circumcision outweighed this prohibition, it could only do so when commanded by G-d.

Now, besides the Seven Noachide Laws, there were other restraints that the descendants of Noah voluntarily undertook. As Rashi says,18 “the non-Jewish nations had restrained themselves from unchastity (i.e., even in relationships which had not been expressly forbidden to them) as a consequence of the flood (which was a punishment for this sin).” And this explains what Rashi says elsewhere,19 that the Torah mentions the death of Terach, Abraham’s father, before Abraham left his father’s house, even though he left, in fact, before his father died, “so that this matter should not become known to all, in case people should say that Abraham did not show a son’s respect for his father.” Even though respecting one’s parents had not yet been commanded by G-d,20 nonetheless since the nations had of their own accord undertaken this duty, it had acquired something of the force of law. To the extent that Jacob was punished by G-d21 for not respecting his parents—simply because of the status which this universal voluntary undertaking had acquired.

It follows that if there were a conflict between the self-imposed stringencies of the Forefathers (as individuals) and the voluntary restraints of the descendants of Noah (en masse), the latter overruled the former.

And one of these restraints that had become universally adopted was that of taking care not to deceive others, as is evidenced by Jacob’s accusation against Laban,22“Why have you deceived me?” against which Laban takes pains tojustify himself (showing that he agreed that deception was a sin).

Now we can at last see why Jacob married Rachel. For he had promised her that he would marry her, and even gave her signs to prove her identity on their wedding night.23 Not to marry her would have involved deception, and this had a force which overruled his (individual) undertaking not to marry his wife’s sister (in accordance with what G-d would later command).

5. The Concern Due to Others

One of the morals which this implies is that when a man wishes to take more on himself than G-d has yet demanded of him, he must first completely satisfy himself that he is not doing so at the expense of others. And indeed, in the case of Abraham, we find that his preciousness in the eyes of G-d was not primarily that he undertook to keep the whole Torah before it had been given, but rather,24 “I know him (which Rashi translates as ‘I hold him dear’) because he will command his children and his household after him to keep to the way of the L-rd, doing righteousness and justice.”

And the self-imposed task of personal refinement must not be at another’s expense, either materially or spiritually. When a fellow-Jew knows nothing of his religious heritage and needs, as it were, spiritual charity, it is not open to another Jew who is in a position to help him, to say, “Better that I should spend my time perfecting myself.” For he must judge himself honestly and answer the question, “Who am I that these extra refinements in myself are worth depriving another Jew of the very fundamentals of his faith?” And he will then see the truth which underlies Jacob’s marriage to Rachel, that care for others overrides the concern for the self-perfection which goes beyond G-d’s law.

(Source: Likkutei Sichot, Vol. V pp. 141-8)

1. The peshat as opposed to the other kinds of interpretation: the linking of passages by allusion (remez); homiletical or allegorical (drush); and esoteric or mystical (sod).
2. Cf. e.g., in the previous Sidra; Bereishit 28:5.
3. Pirkei Avot, 5:22.
4. Cf. Rashi, Bereishit 31:50.
5. Cf. Rashi, Bereishit 32:5 regarding Jacob.
6. Vayikra 18:18.
7. On Parshat Toledot 26:5.
8. Rashi, Bereishit 32:5—a play on the word “stayed” which in Hebrew has the numerical value 613 (Garti-Taryag).
9. Parashat Derachim.
10. Bereishit 30:4; Ibid., 9.
11. Yevamot, 22a.
12. Cf. Shemot 6:20 “And Amram married Yocheved his aunt.”
13. Bereishit 15:15.
14. As stated explicitly in Vayikra 18:18 “to be a rival to her.”
15. Cf. Rashi, Bereishit 32:7-12.
16. Bereishit 26:5.
17. Bereishit 9:5. Rashi.
18. Bereishit 34:7.
19. Bereishit 11:32.
20. Rashi, Shemot 24:3; Devarim 5:16. Sanhedrin, 56b.
21. Rashi, Bereishit 28:9.
22. Bereishit 29:25.
23. Rashi, Bereishit 29:25.
24. Bereishit 18:19.
Adapted by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks; From the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe    More articles…  |   RSS Listing of Newest Articles by this Author
Kislev 3, 5774 · November 6, 2013
Vayeitzei Aliya Summary

General Overview: In this week’s reading, Vayeitzei, Jacob travels to his uncle Laban. En route he stops at the Temple Mount where G‑d appears and assures him that he will return safely to the Land of Canaan. Jacob stays for twenty years in Charan before returning to Canaan. During his stay he shepherds Laban’s sheep, and survives and prospers despite all his uncle’s attempted deceptions. He marries Leah and Rachel, and the first eleven tribes are born.

First Aliyah: Jacob left Be’er Sheba and headed towards Charan, to his uncle Laban’s home. While traveling, Jacob encountered “the place” (Mount Moriah) and since the sun had set, he lay down to sleep. In a dream he saw a ladder reaching up to heaven with angels ascending and descending its rungs. G‑d appeared and informed him that He would bequeath the entire land to his descendants, and that He would safeguard him until he returned to Canaan. Jacob awoke, and now recognizing the holiness of the location, he erected a monument to G‑d, named the location Beth El (“House of G‑d”), and vowed to tithe all his belongings when G‑d’s promise of a safe return would be fulfilled.

Second Aliyah: Jacob continued on his journey, and arrived at a well located on the outskirts of Charan. Upon seeing Rachel, Laban’s younger daughter, arriving with her father’s sheep, Jacob single-handedly rolled off the heavy rock that sat atop the well, and gave water to the flock. Rachel told her father about the new arrival, and Laban rushed out to greet Jacob. Jacob went to Laban’s home, and after spending a month, Laban offered Jacob the job of tending to his herds, and asked Jacob what he wished in terms of wages.

Third Aliyah: Laban had two daughters, the aforementioned Rachel, and her older sister Leah. Jacob loved Rachel and offered to serve Laban for seven years in exchange for her hand in marriage. Laban accepted the deal. After the seven years of service passed, Jacob asked Laban to make good on his word. Laban arranged a wedding feast, but switched daughters, giving Leah instead of Rachel. When Jacob protested, Laban offered to give Rachel too—in exchange for another seven years of service. One week later Jacob married Rachel, and began serving an additional seven years. Leah gave birth to four children – Reuben, Simon, Levi, and Judah – but Rachel remained barren. Rachel and Leah both gave their handmaids to Jacob as concubines. Rachel’s maid, Bilhah, bore two children – Dan and Naftali – and Leah’s maid also bore two children—Gad and Asher.

Fourth Aliyah: One spring day, Reuben picked jasmine plants from the field, and brought them to his mother. Rachel asks Leah for some of them, and Leah agreed, provided that Rachel relinquishes her turn with Jacob that night. Leah gave birth to another two sons – Issachar and Zebulun – and one daughter—Dinah. Eventually, Rachel, too, gave birth to a son, whom she named Joseph. At that point, Jacob asked Laban for permission to take his wives and children and return to Canaan. In response, Laban pointed out that his divinations revealed that his great wealth and blessings were due to Jacob’s presence in his home.

Fifth Aliyah: “Specify your wages,” Laban told Jacob. “And I will give it!” Jacob proposed that all the streaked and spotted sheep that would be born to Laban’s sheep would constitute his payment. In return, Jacob would continue caring for Laban’s flocks. Laban immediately removed all the existing spotted and streaked sheep from the herd and put them under his sons’ charge—thus differentiating between the current ones, which belonged to Laban, and the to-be-born ones, that would belong to Jacob. Jacob made striped poles for the strong and robust sheep to view while they were mating. As a result, the sheep gave birth to striped offspring, and Jacob became fabulously wealthy—despite Laban’s deceptive practices, and his continual changing of the terms of Jacob’s pay. After an additional six years of service, G‑d commanded Jacob to return to Canaan. Jacob summoned his wives, who agreed that the time has arrived to leave.

Sixth Aliyah: Seizing an opportunity when Laban was away, Jacob took his family and belongings and slipped away. Before departing, Rachel stole one of Laban’s idols. Laban pursued them. On the night before he reached them, G‑d warned Laban in a dream not to harm Jacob or his family. Laban reached Jacob on Mount Gilead and complained that he was deprived of the opportunity to bid them an appropriate farewell, and protested the theft of his idols. Jacob suggested that Laban search for his idol amongst his belongings, but Laban turned up empty-handed in his search.

Seventh Aliyah: Laban and Jacob made a peace treaty and erected a stone monument to seal the pact. Laban returned to Charan, and Jacob continued on his way. When he entered Canaan, he was greeted by a delegation of welcoming angels.