Torah Weekly

For the week ending 25 November 2023 / 12 Kislev 5784

Parshat Vayeitzei

by Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair -
Become a Supporter Library Library


Fleeing from Esav, Yaakov leaves Be’er Sheva and sets out for Charan, the home of his mother's family. After a 14-year stint in the Torah Academy of Shem and Ever, he resumes his journey and comes to Mount Moriah, the place where his father Yitzchak was brought as an offering, and the future site of the Beit Hamikdash. He sleeps there and dreams of angels going up and down a ladder between Heaven and Earth. G-d promises him the Land of Israel, that he will found a great nation and that he will enjoy Divine protection. Yaakov wakes and vows to build an altar there and tithe all that he will receive.

Then he travels to Charan and meets his cousin Rachel at the well. He arranges with her father, Lavan, to work seven years for her hand in marriage, but Lavan fools Yaakov, substituting Rachel’s older sister, Leah. Yaakov commits himself to work another seven years in order to also marry Rachel. Leah bears four sons: Reuven, Shimon, Levi and

Yehuda, the first Tribes of Israel. Rachel is barren, and in an attempt to give Yaakov children, she gives her handmaiden Bilhah to Yaakov as a wife. Bilhah bears Dan and Naftali. Leah also gives Yaakov her handmaiden Zilpah, who bears Gad and Asher. Leah then bears Yissaschar, Zevulun, and a daughter, Dina. Hashem finally blesses Rachel with a son, Yosef.

Yaakov decides to leave Lavan, but Lavan, aware of the wealth Yaakov has made for him, is reluctant to let him go, and concludes a contract of employment with him. Lavan tries to swindle Yaakov, but Yaakov becomes extremely wealthy. Six years later, Yaakov, aware that Lavan has become dangerously resentful of his wealth, flees with his family. Lavan pursues them but is warned by G-d not to harm them. Yaakov and Lavan agree to a covenant and Lavan returns home. Yaakov continues on his way to face his brother Esav.


Do You Really Want Mashiach Now?

“…and all the families of the earth shall bless themselves and by your offspring” (28:14)

Close eyes for a moment and imagine that Mashiach has come!

He’s here. Everything is great. Everything’s marvelous, everything’s amazing. You jump out of bed to daven with the dawn, after learning for an hour before davening. You run to the Beit Midrash. On your way, your neighbor, who hasn’t spoken to you in six months, gives you a big smile.

You arrive at the Beit Midrash twenty minutes early. At the door, the maintenance manager says to you, “Good morning, Sir. Please make sure you learn with all your energy and concentration today.” You greet your study partner and immediately get down to learning. You have zero desire to shoot the breeze with him. You plunge into the Torah study; every teaching is open before you like a brilliant clear landscape. You have absolutely no desire to get up and make a cup of coffee or check your phone.

Everything is wonderful, but you feel something’s missing. In Kohelet, it describes the days of Mashiach as “yamim sh’eyn bahem chafetz,” meaning “not desirable days.” The commentators explain that they won’t be desirable days because a person will no longer need to struggle against any internal inclination to transgress. There were many things in the past that we had to fight so hard to conquer in our daily battles, such as not speaking slander, not looking where we shouldn’t, not being jealous, and praying and learning with attention and love. For all those challenges in which we succeeded, we received so much reward. Well, when Mashiach comes, we will no longer have that struggle, and, therefore, we’re no longer going to get that reward. That’s why they are called “yamim sh’eyn bahem chafetz,” not desirable days. You know you can no longer get that ultimate reward that comes from meeting a challenge and succeeding in overcoming it.

Of course, everyone wants Mashiach now.

But remember, when Mashiach isn’t here, right now, that’s when the “big bucks” are flowing. That’s when your reward is astronomical, that’s when it’s beyond imagination. So, grab that opportunity now! It’s not going to last forever. Every day we wait for him. And, of course, we want him now. But, right now, while we still have that opportunity -grab it. Think of all that reward stashed up in the only place it really matters, in the First National Bank of Olam Haba.

© 1995-2024 Ohr Somayach International - All rights reserved.

Articles may be distributed to another person intact without prior permission. We also encourage you to include this material in other publications, such as synagogue or school newsletters. Hardcopy or electronic. However, we ask that you contact us beforehand for permission in advance at [email protected] and credit for the source as Ohr Somayach Institutions

« Back to Torah Weekly

Ohr Somayach International is a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation (letter on file) EIN 13-3503155 and your donation is tax deductable.