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All Torah TeachingsParashat Vayishlach 5769

Parashat Vayishlach 5769

Vayishlach December 12, 2008 Our forefathers didn’t have it easy, to say the least. Ya’akov Avinu never experienced leisure or rest. He was born into hard times, and even before so, had difficulties in the womb, struggling with his brother. He had the ill fortune of spending his early years in his unfavorable company. He knew trouble at every corner. This mischief eventually snowballed into Ya’akov having to flee for his life. He disembarks unto the threshold of the House of Lavan, a notorious swindler and master of the dark arts. Do you think Ya’akov’s life was any easier now? That answer we all know. We also know what a pure and spiritual man Ya’akov was and that he had the savvy from life’s experiences to deal with Lavan. Ya’akov was deceived and victimized for 20 years in the house of Lavan. It was “uphill work” all the way. This house was blessed because of Ya’kov, the source of blessing and prosperity. Finally, he was homeward bound. The booty that he took with him- his wives, children, livestock and everything he had was merited to his attachment to G-d and goodness. Through truth he was able to turn material wealth into something pure. Ya’akov the humble man, metamorphoses into Yisrael, the advanced and progressed man. On the way to freedom though, a feeling of fear and apprehension foreshadows the meeting with Esav. He prepares himself in all the necessary ways, sending even angels to greet him. The struggle continues and Ya’akov wrestles with Esav’s angel all night. At dawn he prevails. The challenges Am Yisrael have had to face through history are represented in the struggles we read about. There was no rest for our patriarchs. There is no rest for the wandering Jew. The husks that reside in Esav try to lead us away from serving Hashem with all our hearts (negative desires). The husks that reside in Lavan try to rule over our domain of thought (intellectual secularism). However, from the start, the Torah prepared and protected us through time in dealing with the “dark side”. G-dliness is the solvent to unG-dliness. Redemption is about to dawn on the world, and Yisrael will prevail! Shabbat Shalom Leah Goldsmith

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