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Section WEEKLY Parasha Parashat Vayischlach Part 1 SHIURIM & COMMENTARIES

 Parashat Vayischlach:  english, french,  spanisch,russian,portugese
 Parashat Vayischlach:  hebrew Parashat Vayischlach Part 2

Rabbi Riskin on Vayishlach – “Torah Lights” 5774

“”Who are the Real Terrorists?” — Rabbi Shlomo Riskin’s Insights into Parshat Vayishlach

Weekly Torah Portion: Vayishlach

Yaakov avinu’s (our forefather Jacob’s) midnight encounter with a mysterious angel: Who was this angel, what was his purpose, and by what name was he known? Yaakov overcomes the angel, and by doing so gains insight into all these questions. He also acquires for himself a new name, a new identity, and a new role to play in establishing the Divine presence here on this earth.

Vayishlach (Genesis 32:4-36:43)
Parashat Vayishlach is read on Shabbat:
Kislev 13, 5774/November 16, 2013

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Rabbi Naftali’s weekly thought for Parshat Vayishlach

This week Rabbi Naftali tells us that moments before the passing of the Maggid of Mezritch he conveys a teaching about our Parsha: Yaakov sends messengers to Eisav in order to appease him. On a deeper level Yaakov tries to transform Eisav and bring out the good in him.

How does Yaakov do this? By sending only the physicality of the messengers, but the spirituality the soul always has to stay connected to Yaakov. If you stay connected above you never fall below! This is the timeless message from This week’s Parsha

Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi – Vayishlach – The Tree In The Middle

Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi Website: http://www.divineinformation.com/

Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi Facebook:
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Rabbi Yossi Mizrachi On TorahAnyTime:
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Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi – Vayishlach – The Tree In The Middle

Rabbi Shlomo Katz: Parshat Vayishlach – “Embracing the Loneliness”

12.11.2013

To download the audio and text click here:
http://www.sassvideo.com/ShlomoKatzSh..

Parashat Vayishlach 5772 ● Reuben’s sin and the Mashiach from Migdal Eider ● Rabbi Ginsburgh

Following Rachel’s death, Jacob arrives at a place called Migdal Eider, which the sages describe as the location where the Mashiach will begin to be revealed.
During Jacob’s sojourn in that location, Reuben committed what reads as a terrible sin, sleeping with his father’s wife, Bilhah. What actually happened and what does Reuben’s failed attempt at honoring his mother, Leah, have to do with the coming of the Mashiach?

Rabbi Machlis: Haftarah of Parshat Vayishlach (Second Series)

“The Holy Remnant in Zion”

Haftarah of Parshat Vayishlach 5773 *S*E*C*O*N*D S*E*R*I*E*S
Ovadia 1:-21

Rabbi Avraham Gaon Zohar on Parashat Vayishlach 2012

 

5 Dakot of Torah

הרב שיעה הורוביץ מגיש סדרת פרשת השבוע קצרה בפרוייקט חמש דקות של תורה.

חמש דקות תורה מגיש לכם מגןן רחב של נושאים כגון שלום בית , הלכה, פרשה, קריאת התורה, מוסר, ספר התניא, תהילים, ועוד באנגלית ובעברית
בקרו באתר הבית שלנו בכתובת
http://www.5DakotOfTorah.com

Rabbi Shea Horovitz present short serias videos of Parashat Ashavua in project 5 Dakot of Torah.
Five Min of Torah give you vareity of subjects like Shalom Bayit, Halacha, Parasha, Torah Reading, Musar, Tanya and more in English and Hebrew
Visit our website at http://www.5DakotOfTorah.comww

Vayishlach: Rabbi DovBer Pinson

Life is a Blessing: Spirituality in the Parsha – “Parashat Vayishlach” – Rabbi Yakov Nagen, Otniel

‘The Angel’s Blessing’

To download the mp3 file click here with right mouse button:http://video.jew2go.co.il/kipa/otniel…

For further information about this project or to sponsor a shiur please contact Mickey Flaumenhaft at call +972-52-853-1188 or E-mail mickeyf@otniel.org.

Rabbi Trugman Parsha Shiur – Class 7 – Vayishlach

Insights from Kabbalah and Chassidut
a Parsha class given by Rabbi Avraham Arieh Trugman. Brought to you by http://www.BeThereIsrael.com and Ohr Chadash http://www.TheTrugmans.com

a production of http://www.BeThereIsrael.com

Wrestling the Angel – Rabbi Svirsky on Parsha Vayishlach

Rabbi Efim Svirsky speaks about the challenge we all face in connecting with God. Rabbi Svirsky is an author and therapist. His website is Torahealing.com

Rabbi Avraham Gaon Parshat Vayishlach

http://www.yeshivaetzion.com

SHIURIM , COMMENTARIES language french

VAYCHLAH 5773

Diffusion des cours du Rav Barkatz et autres intervenats de la Yechiva Or Gabriel.

Paracha Vayichlah : La poussière d’Essav par le Rav Dov Roth-Lumbroso

Copyright Chiourim.com
Cours sur la paracha Vayichlah, par le rav Roth-Lumbros

Parachat Vayichla’h: Mettre les points sur les lettres

http://www.chalom-jerusalem.com/ravel…
Parachat Vayichlach: Mettre les points sur les lettres
Le Rav Yehouda Ben Ichay de la Communauté Emouna Cheléma à Jérusalem nous explique le commentaire de Rachi sur le verset Genèse XXXIII, 4
http://sefarim.fr/Pentateuque_Gen%E8s… de notre paracha, Parachat Vayichla’h et la façon dont le Rav Elie Munk a compris ce commentaire dans son important ouvrage La Voix de la Thora
Vous pouvez vous procurer en ligne les livres La Voix de la Thora du Rav Elie Munk par ce lien http://www.amazon.fr/gp/search?ie=UTF…

© Filmé et mis en ligne par Denis Kassel pour le site Chalom-Jerusalem.com
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Parachat Vayichlah (Traduction simultanée en francais) (25/11/12)

Parachat Vayichlah (Traduction simultanée en francais) (25/11/12

La Parasha de la semaine, “Vayishlah”

Le Rav Mordochaï Bensoussan, ancien Grand-Rabbin de la région Nice-Côte d’Azur et actuel directeur du département francophone de l’institut Ariel, nous apporte ses commentaires sur la Parasha de la semaine, la Parasha “Vayishlah”. 11/12/08

Vayishlah

Paracha Vayichlah : La poussière d’Essav par le Rav Dov Roth-Lumbroso

Copyright Chiourim.com
Cours sur la paracha Vayichlah, par le rav Lumbroso-Roth

Paracha de la semaine :vayichlah Mptorah.net Rav Bendrihem

Parachat Vaychlah 5773 – Rabbin Abittan

SHIURIM , COMMENTARIES language spanish

Parashat Vaishlaj -Rabino Iona Blickstein

RABINO ITAY MEUSHAR – PARASHA VAISHLAJ.flv

Parashat Vaishlaj Tuvia Krawchik – todo o mucho

Parashat Vaishlaj – La Torre del Mashíaj

Parashát Vaishlaj – Y Envió – 5772
Honrar a la madre
Mensaje Semanal del Rabino Ginsburgh del Instituto Gal Einai
http://www.dimensiones.orgadmin@galeinai.org
ver texto en PDF

Parashá Va Ishlaj

El Rabino David Tabachnik comenta la parashá de la semana y hace un paralelismo entre el relato bíblico de la lucha de Yaakov con el ángel, y la lucha del pueblo judío por su existencia.
20/11/2007

parashat Vayishlaj

¿Recogerías un centavo del piso?

Mensaje de Parashat Vayishlaj,
Rabino Yosef Slavin,
Jabad Lubavitch,
Caracas, Venezuela

http://www.JabadTube.com

SHIURIM , COMMENTARIES language Portugese

Judaísmo Estudo – Parasha Vayishlach

Estudos com Rabino Avraham Chachamovits 

SHIURIM , COMMENTARIES language russian

Недельная глава Ваишлах

Социальная сеть “Общение, Бней-Ноах и Евреев” наhttp://www.iudaizm.com благодарит Махон Меир:http://russian.machonmeir.net за предоставленную нашему youtube каналу, ИНФОРМАЦИЮ

Недельная глава Ваишлах

Социальная сеть “Общение, Бней-Ноах и Евреев” наhttp://www.iudaizm.com благодарит фонд СТМЭГИ:http://stmegi.com за предоставленную нашему youtube каналу, ИНФОРМАЦИЮ.

Яичница как божий дар.Ваице и Ваишлах.flv

http://mmgitik.com/ Лекция рава Гитика

Rabbi Svirsky Парша Ваишлах Борьба с Ангелом

Борьба с ангелом Эйсва в нас

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Many commentators over the ages have seen in the two confrontations between Yaakov and Eisav – first the struggle with Eisav’s angel and then the meeting with Eisav in the flesh – the two-front war that Judaism and the Jewish people have been forced to fight over millennia in order to simply survive. The struggle with Eisav’s angel, as described in the parsha, represents a spiritual and intellectual fight, a contest of ideas, beliefs and debate. The meeting with the physical Eisav in turn represents the struggle of the Jewish people to simply stay alive in a bigoted, cruel, and nearly fatal environment. Yaakov does not escape unscathed from either confrontation. He is…

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Chabad.org
Kislev 11, 5774 · November 14, 2013
Playing It Safe

I am unworthy (32:11)

A certain chassid was ‘notorious’ for his extreme humility and self-effacement. Once he was asked: “Does not the Talmud1say that a Torah scholar must not belittle himself too much? That although he must be humble, he is to retain ‘one eighth of one eighth of pride?”

Replied the chassid: “Let us assume that you are right, and that when I come to stand before the heavenly court it will indeed be found that I am a ‘Torah scholar.’ ‘Hmm’ the supernal judge will sternly demand ‘What have we here? I see a Torah scholar. Where is your ‘eighth of an eighth’?!’ Let us further assume, my friend, that as you claim, I was somewhat deficient in this area. I guess that this would put me into somewhat of a bind. Nevertheless, I am fairly confidant I will somehow manage to scrape together enough evidence of ego and pride in my life to satisfy the talmudic requirement.

“But what of following possibility: I come before the heavenly court to account for my life and I am told: ”Eighth of eighth’s we see aplenty, but where is the ‘Torah scholar’?’ You see, I’d rather take my chances with the first scenario…”

FOOTNOTES
1. Talmud, Sukah 5a.
By Yanki Tauber    More articles…  |   RSS Listing of Newest Articles by this Author

Yanki Tauber is content editor of Chabad.org.
Chabad.org
Kislev 11, 5774 · November 14, 2013
Jewish Wealth

How does Judaism view wealth? How does it view someone working very hard in order to amass wealth? Should he rather be spending his time in purely spiritual occupations?

This week’s parshah, which starts with the fateful meeting between Jacob and Esau, throws light on this question.

Many years earlier Jacob had run away from Esau in order to escape his brother’s wrath. Esau felt he had been wrongly deprived of his birthright and his father’s blessings, and wanted to kill Jacob. Jacob had gone to the home of his uncle Laban, far away to the East in Haran. There he had married, brought up a family and prospered. He had amassed large flocks of sheep and herds of cattle. Now he was returning to his homeland, Canaan.

On his way back, he had to face a confrontation with his brother Esau. Would there be peace? Eventually there was, but not at first. Jacob was informed that Esau was advancing towards him with a hostile army.

Jacob made emergency plans. He decided to send a peace offering of several herds of different kinds of livestock and a message of conciliation. What was his message to Esau? “So says your servant Jacob: I have lived temporarily with Laban, and I stayed there till now. I have oxen and asses, sheep, servants and maidservants, and I have sent this gift to you, to find favour in your eyes.”

The Sages ask: why did Jacob stress that his stay with Laban was temporary?

They answer that with this Jacob was saying something about the nature of the wealth he had amassed. It is true that he had worked very hard, and had become very rich. For this reason he was sending a large gift to his brother. But he also wanted to say something to him about his attitude to this wealth. The things of this world are very important. But they are temporary.

Jacob was telling his brother: the main purpose in life is not wealth in itself, but the way that one can use every detail of life in service of G-d.

In fact, the phrase “I have lived temporarily” is expressed in the Hebrew text of the Torah by a single word, garti, which has the numerical value 613. Jacob was saying, “I lived with Laban the idolater, and I was deeply involved in providing for my family, and became very wealthy. But the real purpose was in order to observe the 613 Commandments.”

In Jewish teaching, wealth is not the purpose, it is the means. The means to create the beautiful atmosphere of a Jewish home, with happy children and guests at one’s table. To be able to give: time, attention, love, Jewish education, charity. To be able to share with others in the community and play one’s part for the wellbeing of all.

This was Jacob’s message to his brother Esau — because ultimately, this is the message of the Jew to the world.

By Tali Loewenthal    More articles…  |   RSS Listing of Newest Articles by this Author

Dr. Tali Loewenthal is Lecturer in Jewish Spirituality at University College London, director of the Chabad Research Unit, and author of Communicating the Infinite: The Emergence of the Habad School.
Chabad.org
Kislev 11, 5774 · November 14, 2013
Empowerment And Its Purpose
Vayishlach; Genesis 32:4-36:43

Adapted from
Likkutei Sichos, Vol. IX, pgs. 323-324;
Sefer HaSichos 5748, p. 138ff;
Sichos Simchas Torah, 5748

Three Conceptions of an Agent’s Function

Delegation of responsibility is one of the primary challenges in all successful enterprises, for there is no way one individual can deal successfully with every detail of a complex undertaking. In seeking to define the dynamics of delegation, our Rabbis have offered1 three different conceptions of the relationship between a principal (meshaleiach) and his agent (shliach):

a) An agent is considered an independent entity, and must take responsibility for the deed he performs. Nevertheless, the consequences of the deed both positive and negative are borne by the principal.

b) Although an agent is considered an independent entity, since he is acting under the aegis of the principal, the deed he performs is considered as if performed by the principal.

c) As implied by the simple meaning of the expression,2 “A person’s agent is considered as the person himself,” an agent is considered to be an extension of the principal a “long hand,” as it were.3 In this regard, every aspect of an agent’s being is associated with the principal.

An Agency Entrusted to Every One of Us

Two features are common to all three perspectives:

a) An agent’s ability to act on behalf of a principal depends on the principal’s empowering him to do so. Therefore, if an agent deviates from the instructions of his principal, his agency is revoked.4

b) To be successful, an agent must use his own abilities, devoting his intellect and energy to the task at hand. For even an agent who acts as an extension of his principal appreciates that, in fact, he is a separate entity, and must execute the assigned task using his own initiative.5

These concepts have parallels in our Divine service. For every human being is an agent of G-d,6 entrusted with the responsibility of bringing the world to its desired purpose by demonstrating that the world is G-d’s dwelling.7

In accomplishing this task, we must remember that we are only agents; the world is G-d’s dwelling, and He has outlined His plans for the functioning of that dwelling in the Torah’s teachings. Any other conception, however beneficial it may appear, is a deviation from our mission.8

Nonetheless, G-d expects us to use our own initiative to accomplish this task. For life is not a textbook, and the practical application of the Torah and its mitzvos in the particular environments and situations which confront us requires that we use our own minds and hearts to discern the appropriate response at any given time.

Changing Ourselves as We Change the World

As we apply ourselves to our mission, we also internalize it. Not only do we effect changes in the world, we ourselves change. Just as an agent must be identified with his principal, we must give ourselves over to G-d’s will and identify with it. The extent of that identification differs from person to person. In this respect, the three conceptions of shlichus mentioned above can be seen as three different approaches to Divine service.

There are tzaddikim, righteous men, whose commitment to G-dliness dominates their personality; every aspect of their being is permeated with G-dliness. Their thoughts and even their will and their pleasure reflect G-d’s.

This, however, is a rung which most people cannot attain. But the second level in which each person remains an independent entity although his deeds are not his own is within the reach of more individuals. For the mitzvos we perform are not human acts; they are G-dly, so a person who performs them selflessly expresses their inner G-dly power.9

There are individuals at an even lower level; they are not concerned with the G-dly nature of the mitzvos they perform. Nevertheless, they perform mitzvos for even “the sinners of Israel are filled with mitzvos as a pomegranate is filled with seeds”10 and the consequences of the deeds they perform represent an expression of G-d’s will. Thus they also contribute toward the transformation of the world.

Regardless of the differences between individuals, all mankind possesses a fundamental commonalty: we are all G-d’s agents, charged with various dimensions of a shared mission. The setting in which each individual functions, the task he is given, and the intent with which he performs it may differ, but the goal is the same.

The Scope of Our Mission

This is the message of Parshas Vayishlach : that every one of us is a shliach, an agent of G-d. We are sent “to Esav” to refine and reveal the G-dliness within the material existence that is identified with Esav.

Significantly, Vayishlach is not just the beginning of the Torah reading; it is the name of the Torah reading. The name of an entity reflects its essence.11 Thus every element of the reading is connected with this concept, highlighting the many facets of the mission with which we are charged. For being engaged on a mission to make the world G-d’s dwelling challenges us to encompass every aspect of existence.

The word vayishlach means “And he sent,” implying that our mission includes the empowerment of other shluchim. A person must inspire others to shoulder a portion of the endeavor; to borrow an expression from our Sages:12 שליח עושה שליח “One shliachmakes another.”

Keeping the Purpose in Focus

The Hebrew word shliach (שליח) also alludes to the consummation of the mission, for its numerical equivalent, together with the number 10, equals the numerical equivalent of the word Mashiach (משיח). This implies that Mashiach’s coming requires that every person dedicate the ten powers of his soul to the mission of making the world a dwelling for G-d. Our efforts to spread the awareness of G-d throughout the world and have that awareness permeate every individual will precipitate the coming of the age when “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the ocean bed.”13

FOOTNOTES
1. See Lekach Tov (by Rav Yosef Engel), sec. 1.
2. Kiddushin 41b.
3. See the Kuntres Acharon to Shulchan Aruch HaRav 263:25.
4. Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Shluchim 1:2; Shulchan AruchChoshen Mishpat 182:2.
5. As a reflection of this concept, Gittin 23a states that an agent must be an intellectually mature individual, able to accept and discharge responsibility.
6. See Likkutei Torah, Vayikra 1c.
7. Midrash Tanchuma, Parshas Bechukosai, sec. 3.
8. Moreover, our power to effect change in the world is not our own; the soul, “an actual part of G-d” (Tanya, ch. 2), was granted to each of us.
9. In this sense, the mitzvos are also referred to as shluchim (agents), for their observance is a G-dly act (Midrash Tanchuma, Vayigash, sec. 6).
10. Chagigah 27a.
11. Tanya, Shaar HaYichud VehaEmunah, ch. 1.
12. Kiddushin 41a.
13. Isaiah 11:9.
Chabad.org
Kislev 10, 5774 · November 13, 2013
Vayishlach

In this week’s Sidra Jacob, after his struggle with the angel, is told that his name is now to be Israel. And yet we find him still referred to, on subsequent occasions in the Torah, as Jacob. Yet after Abraham’s name was changed from Abram, he is never again called in the Torah by his earlier name. What is the difference between the two cases? The Rebbe explains the meaning of the names of “Jacob” and “Israel,” of the two stages in the religious life that they represent, and of their relevance to us today.

1. Why Jacob Remains

Concerning the verse, “And your name shall no longer be Jacob: Instead Israel shall be your name,”1 the Talmud2 poses the following problem: Anyone who calls Abraham, Abram transgresses the command, “And your name shall no longer be called Abram.”3 If so, surely the same applies to one who uses the name Jacob to refer to Israel, for it is written, “‘And your name shall no longer be Jacob?” The Talmud concludes that the name Jacob is different from the name Abram in this respect, that after G-d gave Abraham his new name, the Torah never thereafter refers to him by any name other than Abraham. Whereas Jacob is so called in the Torah even after he has been given the name of Israel.

Why does the name Jacob remain?

There is a Chassidic explanation4 that the names “Jacob” and “Israel” denote two stages in the service of G-d, both necessary at different times in the religious life of every Jew. “Israel” denotes a higher achievement, but it does not supplant or remove the necessity for the service signified by “Jacob.”

2. The Inner Meaning of “Jacob” and “Israel”

The difference between them is this. The name “Jacob” implies that he acquired the blessings of Isaac “by supplanting and subtlety”5 (the name in Hebrew, Ya-akov, means he supplanted”). He used cunning to take the blessings which had been intended for Esau. “Israel,” on the other hand, denotes the receiving of blessings through “noble conduct (Serarah, which is linguistically related to Yisrael, the Hebrew form of Israel), and in an open manner.”6

However the Torah is interpreted, its literal meaning remains true. And the blessings of Isaac referred to the physical world and its benefits: “G-d give you of the dew of the heaven and the fatness of the earth.”7 Jacob and Rebecca made great sacrifices and resorted to deceit to acquire them. Jacob had to dress himself in the clothes of Nimrod,8 whose kingdom turned the whole world to rebellion,9 in order to take and transform the elements of the physical world to holiness (to release their “buried sparks of holiness”).

The deeds of the Fathers are a sign to their children.10 And the implication for us of Jacob’s act is that we have to use cunning in our approach to the acts of our physical nature. The cunning man does not reveal his intentions. He seems to be following the path of his opponent. But at the crucial point he does what he had all along intended. The Jew in his involvement with the material world appears to be preoccupied with it. He eats, drinks, transacts business. But he does so for the sake of heaven. His objectives are not material ones. He wears the “clothes of Esau,” but his implicit purpose is to uncover and elevate the “holy sparks.”

But the way of “Israel” is to attain the blessings of “the dew of the heaven and the fatness of the earth” by “noble and open conduct.” In worldly conduct he has no need to conceal his intention of serving G-d. He experiences no tensions. The world has no hold on him. It does not hide from him its intrinsic G-dliness.

This distinction can be seen in the difference between a Shabbat and a weekday meal. Eating a weekday meal embodies the tension between a physical act and its spiritual motivation for the sake of heaven. This discrepancy between outward appearance and inner intention is a form of cunning. But eating a Shabbat meal in itself fulfills a commandment. The holiness of the physical is manifest.

In the light of this we can understand the meaning of the verse, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel, for you have contended with G-d (Elokim) and with men and you have prevailed.”11 “Elokim” in this context means “angels,”12 and generally connotes the “seventy heavenly princes” through whom flow the Divine emanations which sustain physical existence, and who thereby act to conceal G-dliness.13 “Men” signifies a still greater concealment, for men are capable of denigrating the Jew for performing G-d’s will, and this is a harder concealment to bear. For this reason, the first paragraph of the entire Shulchan Aruch warns us “not to be ashamed of men who ridicule.” And this is the basis of the whole of a Jew’s service—to break down the concealment of G-d.

This was the virtue of Israel, to have “contended with Elokim and with men” and to have prevailed over their respective concealments of G-d. They are no longer barriers to him; indeed they assent to his blessings. He not only won his struggle with the angel (the guardian angel of Esau) but the angel himself blessed him. This is the achievement of which the Proverbs speak: “He makes even his enemies be at peace with him.”14

3. The Struggle

This distinction accords with the explanation given in Likkutei Torah15 of the verse, “He has not seen sin in Jacob nor toil in Israel.”16 At the level of “Jacob” the Jew has no sin, but he still experiences “toil”—his freedom from sin is achieved only by tension and struggle for he has concealments to overcome. This is why he is called “Jacob, my servant”17 for “service” (in Hebrew, avodah) has the implication of strenuous effort to refine his physical nature (his “animal soul”). He does not sin but he still experiences the inclination to sin, which he must overcome. But “Israel” encounters no “toil,” for in his struggle “with Elokim and with men” he broke down the factors which conceal G-dliness and silenced his dissenting inclinations. Israel no longer needs to contend with those forces which oppose the perception of G-dliness. His progress lies entirely within the domain of the holy.

4. Partial and Complete Victory

There is a story told by the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak, about the Tzemach Tzedek (the third Rebbe): Once in the middle of a Chassidic gathering the Tzemach Tzedek jumped onto a table in great excitement and said: “What is the difference between something which is killed completely and something which is only partially killed? (This refers to a statement in the Talmud:18 that to have ‘partially’ killed something is to have killed it.) The Tzemach Tzedek giving the halachic point a Chassidic meaning, applies it to the ‘killing’ of the inclination to sin. Even a ‘partial’ killing is a killing, but at the very least we must partially kill it.” After some time had passed in speaking and dancing, he continued: “At the moment that one has reached the point of ‘killing’ (the moment of which the Psalms19 speak in the words, ‘My heart is void within me’) one’s life has taken on a new character.”

These two statements of the Tzemach Tzedek refer to the two levels of “Jacob” and “Israel.” At the level of “Jacob” there is still a struggle against one’s inclinations, a life of tension—a partial killing. But at the level of “Israel” when the killing is “complete,” life is transformed into a new serenity and spiritual pleasure.

5.Levels in the Life of the Tzaddik and the Benoni

These two stages of service pertain to two levels within the “G-dly soul.” “Jacob” can be analyzed into the letter Yud and the word ekev (the heel). Here the perception of G-d (symbolized by the letter “Yud”) has reached only the lowest levels of the soul, creating the possibility of a concealment which has to be broken down. On the other hand “Israel” contains the same letters as “Li Rosh” (“The head is mine”). The whole soul, to its highest capacities, has been permeated by the awareness of G-d, and no concealment is possible, no struggle necessary.

In general terms, “Israel” denotes the Tzaddik (the stage of complete righteousness) and “Jacob” the Benoni (the intermediate level, attainable by every man20). And in particular, within this intermediate level, that “Jacob” represents the weekday service, and “Israel” the service of Shabbat. Even within the stage of complete righteousness, there are still analogues of both “Jacob” and “Israel.” This is clear from the fact that Israel himself was still occasionally called Jacob after his change of name. Within him, and indeed in every Jew, “Jacob” remains as a necessary element in the service of G-d.

6. The Contemporary Meaning of “Jacob”

From the fact that, as we mentioned before, the level of Jacob is without sin, and yet involves continual effort, it follows that the Jew—though his struggle with contending desires is difficult and fraught with risk—has the power to achieve victory and remain free from sin. For he is “a branch of My planting, the work of My hands,”21 and “a part of G-d above.”22 As nothing can prevail over G-d, so can nothing prevail over the Jew against his will. And he has been promised victory, for we are told, “His banished will not be rejected by Him”23 and “All Israel has a share in the world to come.”24

This promise (like all the words of Torah) is relevant to our present spiritual concerns. The assurance of ultimate victory should strengthen our joy in the act of service, and this joy will itself contribute to the victory over our physical natures, and shorten the battle. The previous Rebbe said:25 though a soldier confronts danger, he goes with a song of joy, and the joy brings him victory.

This is why we say, after the end of Shabbat, “Do not fear, My servant Jacob.” For, as we explained above, during Shabbat the Jew stands at the level of Israel; beyond the Shabbat, when we return to the level of “Jacob, My servant,” and to the toil of the weekday service, we are told, “Do not fear.” This is not merely a command but also a source of strength and of the joy that will shorten the work and hasten its reward—to the point where we are worthy of the time which is “an eternal life of Shabbat and rest.”

(Source: Likkutei Sichot, Vol. III pp. 795-9)

FOOTNOTES
1. Bereishit 32:29.
2. Berachot, 13a.
3. Bereishit 17:5.
4. Cf. Likkutei Torah on Balak. Sefer Hamaamarim-Yiddish, p. 122.
5. Rashi, on Bereishit 32:29.
6. Ibid.
7. Bereishit 27:28.
8. Pirkei deRabbi Eliezer, ch. 24. Bereishit Rabbah, 65:16; cited in Rashi, on Bereishit 27:15.
9. Eruvin, 53a. Rashi, Bereishit 10:8.
10. Cf. on this theme, supra, p. 13 ff.
11. Bereishit 32:29.
12. Cf. Targum Yonathan, ad loc. Chullin, 92a.
13. Cf. Tanya, Part IV, ch. 25.
14. Proverbs 16:7.
15. Parshat Balak, 72b.
16. Bamidbar 23:21.
17. Isaiah 44:1.
18. Baba Kama, 65a.
19. 109:22. Cf. Tanya, Part I, ch. 1.
20. Tanya, Part I, ch. 14.
21. Isaiah 60:21.
22. Job 31:2 (Tanya, Part I, ch. 2).
23. II Samuel 14:14. Shulchan Aruch Harav, Hilchot Talmud Torah, 4:3; Tanya, Part I, end of ch. 39.
24. Sanhedrin, 90a.
25. Sefer Hamaamarim 5710, p. 191.
Adapted by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks; From the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe    More articles…  |   RSS Listing of Newest Articles by this Author
Chabad.org
Kislev 10, 5774 · November 13, 2013
Vayishlach Aliya Summary

General Overview: In this week’s reading, Vayishlach, Jacob returns to Canaan, but is fearful of his brother Esau. They meet and make peace. Jacob wrestles with an angel, and his name is changed to Israel. Jacob’s daughter Dinah is abducted by the prince of Shechem. Shimon and Levi destroy the city of Shechem and liberate Dinah. Rachel dies while giving birth to Jacob’s twelfth son, Benjamin. Isaac dies.


First Aliyah: Jacob was on his way home to his father Isaac after twenty years of absence, having fled Canaan to escape his brother Esau’s wrath. As a peaceful overture, Jacob now sent ahead messengers to Esau with a reconciliatory message. The messengers returned with an ominous report: Esau is coming to “greet” Jacob with a troop of 400 men. Jacob was distressed. He divided his family and belongings into two groups—to allow one group to flee while the other was engaged in battle. He then prayed, calling upon G‑d’s promise to protect him.


Second Aliyah: In an attempt to pacify Esau, Jacob sent him a lavish gift, consisting of hundreds of heads of cattle and sheep. He sent this gift in increments, one herd at a time. That night Jacob crossed the Jabok River with his family, and after all had crossed but him, he encountered an angel – Esau’s archangel – who wrestled with him until dawn. Though the angel was unable to prevail over Jacob, he dislodged Jacob’s sciatic nerve, causing him to limp. When the angel wished to leave, Jacob refused to let him go until he blessed Jacob. The angel blessed Jacob and informed him that his name would eventually be changed to Israel.


Third Aliyah: The Torah informs us that we don’t eat the sciatic nerve of otherwise kosher animals because of the wrestling episode mentioned in the previous section. Esau arrived. Jacob respectfully approached his brother, who then ran towards him and embraced him, as they both wept.


Fourth Aliyah: Jacob’s family approached and greeted Esau. Despite Esau’s objections, Jacob prevailed upon him to accept the gift he had sent ahead. Esau offered to accompany Jacob on his trip home, but Jacob declined the gesture. Esau returned to his home in Se’ir, and Jacob proceeded to the city of Sukkot. Eventually Jacob arrived at the outskirts of the city of Shechem, where he purchased a plot of land and erected an altar to G‑d.


Fifth Aliyah: Jacob’s daughter, Dinah, ventured out into the city of Shechem, when Shechem, also the name of the crown prince of the city, abducted and violated her and kept her hostage. Chamor, the governor of the city, approached Jacob and informed him that his son Shechem was infatuated with Dinah and desired her hand in marriage. Jacob’s sons slyly agreed to the proposition, provided that all the men of the city would circumcise themselves. Upon the urging of Chamor and Shechem, the Shechemites agreed to the proposal. On the third day following their mass circumcision, Dinah’s two brothers, Simon and Levi, entered the vulnerable city, killed all its male inhabitants, and liberated Dinah from Shechem’s home. Jacob was displeased by this act, fearing reprisal from the neighboring Canaanites. Nonetheless, Jacob traveled on, and “the fear of G‑d” was upon the surrounding cities and they did not pursue Jacob and his family. Jacob arrived in Canaan, in Beth-El, and G‑d appeared to him, blessed him, and changed his name to Israel.


Sixth Aliyah: Jacob’s family continued on towards Hebron. While en route, Rachel, Jacob’s beloved wife, passed away while giving birth to her second son, Benjamin. Jacob buried her on the spot, on the roadside leading to Bethlehem. They traveled yet further, and Jacob’s eldest son, Reuben, interfered with his father’s marital life. At long last, Jacob arrived in Hebron. Isaac died, and was buried in the Cave of Machpelah alongside his wife and parents. The Torah now lists the wives and descendents of Esau, who left Canaan and settled in Se’ir.


Seventh Aliyah: This section enumerates the princes of the original Se’irite natives, as well as the monarchs of that land that descended from Esau.

Chabad.org
Kislev 10, 5774 · November 13, 2013
Vayishlach
Genesis 32:4-36:43

Jacob returns to the Holy Land after a 20-year stay in Charan, and sends angel-emissaries to Esau in hope of a reconciliation, but his messengers report that his brother is on the warpath with 400 armed men. Jacob prepares for warprays, and sends Esau a large gift(consisting of hundreds of heads of sheep and cattle) to appease him.

That night, Jacob ferries his family and possessions across the Yabbok River; he, however, remains behind and encounters the angel that embodies the spirit of Esau, with whom he wrestles until daybreak. Jacob suffers a dislocated hip but vanquishes the supernal creature, who bestows on him the name Israel, which means “He who prevails over the Divine.”

Jacob and Esau meet, embrace and kiss, but part ways. Jacob purchases a plot of land near Shechem, whose crown prince — also called Shechem — abducts and rapes Jacob’s daughter Dinah. Dinah’s brothersSimon and Levi avenge the deed by killing all male inhabitants of the city after rendering them vulnerable by convincing them to circumcise themselves.

Jacob journeys on. Rachel dies while giving birth to her second son, Benjamin, and is buried in a roadside grave near Bethlehem. Reuben loses the birthright because he interferes with his father’s marital life. Jacob arrives in Hebron, to his father Isaac, who later dies at age 180 (Rebecca has passed away before Jacob’s arrival).

Our parshah concludes with a detailed account of Esau’s wives, children and grandchildren, and the family histories of the people of Se’ir among whom Esau settled.

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Kislev 11, 5774 · November 14, 2013
Vayishlach

Ya’akov in Esav’s ClothingAt the beginning of the portion Vayishlach , the Torah relates how Ya’akov sent emissaries to his brother Esav. He instructed them that, when speaking to Esav, they should refer to Ya’akov as “Esav’s servant” and to Esav as “Ya’akov’s lord.”1 Later on in the portion, we find Ya’akov bowing down seven times before Esav2 ,calling him many times “my lord”3 and referring to himself as “your servant.”4

Ya’akov’s extreme obsequiousness seems hard to fathom. In fact, the Midrash states5that Ya’akov was punished for sending emissaries to Esav and for calling him “my lord” — his profuse obeisance was considered sinful.

Especially so since G-d had already told Rivkah that “the older one will serve the younger,”6 and moreover, in Yitzchak’s blessing to Ya’akov, he specifically stated “you shall be a lord over your brother.”

What was the reason for Ya’akov’s servility?

Since the Patriarchs were wholly dedicated to G-d’s will,7 evil could not have been part of their makeup, and thus, for them to commit gross sins was an impossibility; those actions that appear to be “sins” cannot be construed as such in the simple sense, Heaven forbid.8

The proof that this is indeed so can be derived from this very incident. Although Ya’akov was punished for his actions, we nevertheless learn9 from his behavior that “it is permissible to flatter the wicked … for the sake of peace.” Were Ya’akov’s conduct to have been considered a true sin rather than a mere failing, we would never have derived a lesson from it. What then was the purpose of Ya’akov’s behavior?

Chassidus explains10 that Esav’s spiritual source was loftier than Ya’akov’s; by elevating Esav, Ya’akov was able to draw down an additional measure of spirituality from his brother’s spiritual origin. Ya’akov’s bowing before Esav, calling him “my lord,” etc., was thus primarily directed at Esav’s lofty source rather than at Esav himself.

But the fact remains that Ya’akov was totally subservient before his brother, and was punished for it. How was this befitting Ya’akov’s spiritual quest?

There are two methods by which evil can be vanquished and refined: One is to draw down a great measure of sanctity upon the object one wishes to refine. This has the effect of pushing aside the evil within the object and elevating the rest to holiness.

The second approach involves the descent of the individual, bringing about the purification to the level at which the unrefined object exists. By thus coming into intimate contact with the object, he is able to transform it from evil to good.

Each of these methods has unique advantages. With regard to the person doing the purification, there is obvious merit to drawing down an infusion of holiness, inasmuch as the person himself does not have to undergo a personal descent in order to purify and elevate an object.

For the object involved, however, it is better if the person bringing about its purification actually descends into the object’s realm, for then, rather than having the evil within it simply shunted aside, the object actually becomes holy, and ceases to act as an entity that conceals G-dliness.

The prime goal of Torah service is to bring peace within the world,11 and true peace comes only when one’s enemy is transformed into a friend. To bring peace “within the world” thus means that one is ready to get “down and dirty,” as it were, clothing oneself in worldly garments in order to transform the material world into a holy entity.

In order for Ya’akov to truly transform his sibling, it was necessary to descend to the level of Esav as he found him. By doing so, he was able to transform Esav so that Esav said: “Let what is yours remain yours,”12 thereby admitting that Ya’akov was entitled to Yitzchak’s blessings, including the blessing of “You shall be a lord over your brother.”

Based on Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XV, pp. 297-301

The Names Ya’akov and Yisrael

In the Torah portion of Vayishlach, we read that the angel told Ya’akov:13 “Your name will no longer be Ya’akov, but Yisrael….” The Gemara states14 that he who calls Avraham by the name Avram transgresses the command: “Your name will no longer be Avram.”

The Gemara then asks: seeing that this is so, why is it that, when one calls Ya’akov by the name Ya’akov and not Yisrael, that he does not transgress the command “Your name will no longer be Ya’akov, but Yisrael”?

The Gemara answers that the two situations are different, in that, once Avram was given the name Avraham, we no longer find him referred to as Avram. The name Ya’akov, however, is mentioned in the Torah even after he was given the name Yisrael.

Why is it that the Torah still calls Yisrael Ya’akov after it explicitly states “Your name will no longer be Ya’akov, but Yisrael”?

Chassidus explains15 that the names Ya’akov and Yisrael denote two levels of Divine service that must be found within every Jew. There are times when an individual must serve in the manner of Ya’akov, while at other times the person should serve in the manner of Yisrael. The name Yisrael denotes a loftier form of spiritual service, but there are times when the lesser service of Ya’akov must be employed.

The difference between Ya’akov and Yisrael in terms of spiritual service is as follows: the name Ya’akov reminds us that the blessings received by Ya’akov from his father came about as a result of eikev , deception and subterfuge — he was able to outfox his brother Esav. The name Yisrael, however, indicates that the blessings were received from Yitzchak in a straightforward manner.

Since “the deeds of our forefathers are an indication to their descendants,”16 it follows that, in terms of our own lives, there must be a manner of service similar to that of Ya’akov and a manner similar to that of Yisrael.

We observe that, in order to receive Yitzchak’s blessings — which involve physical matters — both Ya’akov and his mother Rivka were self-sacrificing in their deception, with Ya’akov donning the garments of the infamous Nimrod,17 etc. This was done so that Ya’akov could elevate the sparks of holiness found within material things.

Herein lies a lesson on how to serve in the manner of Ya’akov: a Jew’s approach to eating, drinking and other such physical matters is to be that of deception.18 The nature of a deceiver is not to reveal his true intent; he seems to be in complete agreement with his opponent, but when it comes right down to it, he acts in complete opposition to his opponent’s desires.

So too, a Jew must be involved in purely physical matters such as eating and drinking, business and the like. Yet his intent is spiritual — he garbs himself in “Esav’s clothing,” in order to refine and elevate the sparks of holiness found within these physical matters.

The spiritual service of Yisrael is quite different. The blessings for the “dew of heaven and the fat of the earth” were received by Yisrael in an open and completely aboveboard manner.

At this level, a Jew need not hide his spiritual intent in involvement with physical things, for on this level, physicality does not hinder his spiritual service, nor does it conceal G-dliness.

An example would be the Shabbos meal.19 In this instance, the meal itself is amitzvah, not like the six days of the week, when a person eats for the sake ofspirituality. The sanctity of the Shabbos meal is such that the holiness of the event is clearly manifest.

Based on Likkutei Sichos, Vol. III, pp. 795-796

FOOTNOTES
1. Bereishis 32:5-6.
2. Ibid., 33:3.
3. Ibid., verses 8, 13, 14, 15.
4. Ibid., verses 5, 14.
5. Bereishis Rabbah 75:1-3, 11.
6. Ibid., 25:23.
7. See Tanya, ch. 23 (p. 56).
8. See Likkutei Sichos, Vol. V, p. 63ff.
9. Yalkut Shimoni, Vayishlach, Remez 133; Pirkei d’Rebbe Eliezer ch. 37.
10. Torah Or and Toras Chayim portion of Toldos.
11. Rambam conclusion of Hilchos Chanukah.
12. Bereishis 33:9 and commentary of Rashi.
13. Bereishis 32:29.
14. Berachos 13a. See also Bereishis Rabbah 46:8.
15. See Likkutei Torah discourses titled Lo Hibit and Mi Monoh et. al. See also Sefer HaMaamarim Yiddish p. 122. Cf. Chizkuni, Lech Lecha 17:5.
16. Pirkei d’Rebbe Eliezer ch. 24; Bereishis Rabbah 65:16.
17. Eruvin 53a; Rashi, Bereishis 17:8.
18. See Padah b’Shalom 5703.
19. See Torah Or beginning of Chayei Sarah ; v’Hu Omeid 5663.
Based on the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson    More articles…  |   RSS Listing of Newest Articles by this Author