Parsha Bereishis

Parsha Bereishis is the first Torah portion of our new cycle of reading the Torah and is the blueprint of creation of our lives, were HaShem's plan for a world of purpose begins. Rashi: The world is created for two reasons, Israel and the Torah.Since Israel is the purpose of creation and unity among Israel will also causes a unity in the entire world.HaShem, our G-d is a living G-d and so is His Torah. With the giving of the Torah, HaShem gave something of  Himself, as a guide how to connect  with Him,how get to know Him and our purpose.

We, as the Jewish people continue with our responsibilty as HaShem' s nation. We have a living G-d and connect to Him through Torah study.

The Torah we received at Har Sinai, together with Moshe's teachings is essentially beyond our grasp, but as we learn Torah each year again, new layers of unstanding goes into our consciousness. 

With each Parsha we gain more insight, which will bring us to a higher level of spiritual and personal growth for our purpose.

Parsha Bereishis start with the creation of the world, from light and darkness,from trees and greenery, from land animals and sea creatures, from the sun,the moon and the stars and finally man. As HaShem decided that it was not good for man to be alone. And from the side of Adam He creates a woman, and they married each other.

On the seventh day HaShem stops creating and sanctify this day as a day of rest, Shabbos.

Adam and Chava have the whole of Gan Eden to themselves, could eet from any tree or anything they wish to eat, except HaShem command them not to eat from the tree of knowledge, of good and evil. As we know Chava was persuaded by serpent to violate the commandment, and she eats from the forbidden fruit together with Adam.

They both where banished from Gan Eden. Chava gave birth to two sons Cayin and Hevel. The two brothers had a difficult relationship, full of hatred quarrel, which ended in Cayin killing his brother Hevel.




More insight in Pasha Bereishis

Parsha Noach

Parsha Noach opens with " Noach was a righteous man, wholehearted in his generation"

Why does the Torah praise Noach? Does the  Torah means that he was a righteous man compare to the wicked people only of his generation but also of other generations?

Bereishis tells us that Noach  was righteous and wholehearted, and  that Noach " Walked with G-d".  To return back to what the Torah says about Noach righteousness in his  generations, that before HaShem flood the earth, Noach already lived through several generations, and of these generations only Noach was worthy of being saved, together with his family and two pairs of every animal.

From Adam til Noach, ten generations who had became extemely wicked, and in Noach's time HaShem became so disappointed with the way humanity behaved, that it reachd to the point for HaShem, to recreate the earth by flooding it first.


"And how the earth was corrupt before G-d, and the earth  became full of robbery " - Bereishis 6:11

The Hebrew word for corrupt is vatishacheit and a expression of immorality and idolatry: " Lest you deal corruptly and the earth became full of robbery- Rashi, Devarim 4:16

Rashi also states that " chamas" means  "robbery " , as it says : And of the dishonest gain chamas, which is in their hands - Yonah 3:8

The Baal HaTurim says: Chamas has a gematria of 108, this equals to the water of Noach. The people were punished by measure for measure for their sins. The gematria of chamas is also equal to the purgatory and this teaches that the people were punished with boiling water - Talmud, as it says " G-d boiled the flood's of water in the fires of purgatory - Yerushalmi Sanhedrin 10:3.

Findings of the Baal HaTurim is that the gematria of chamas both waters of the flood and the fires of Geheinom.

And the earth was filled with violance and frauds "

Why did the Torah switch to the use of the name  Elokim  the attribute of Justice ( Ibid 6:5) HaShem attribute of mercy is used?

What do words Lifnei/ before HaElokim, to make it even more understandable?

Pirkei Avos 4:11 says: every person that violates a commandment, he acquiers a accuser for himself, as his accuser is a destructive agent. HaShem will keep our accuser in check, when it is a minor sin.

So when it says: "Now the earth was corrupt before G-d- vatishacheit Ha- eretz lifnei" it means that before HaShem had completed Judgement of every individual, a total of destructive agents, which created by the sins of man, and dominated the world.

What is the reason , why the Torah says " The land became full " ?

The corruption which penetrated the world, as it says: Now the earth was corrupted before G-d, and the earth to be full of destructive agent's all called Hamas.

The Floods

The question why HaShem  chose to destroy the world through a flood, as He could had chosen from so many other forms of destruction. But He didn't, He chose water. But why water?

As we know in Judaism when we think of water, we think of the Mikveh, the Mitzvah  to immerse ourselves in natural flowing water, to clean ourselves of spiritual impurity.

To understand the flood and the power of the Mikveh, we have to understand the concept of water.

When HaShem created the earth, there was only water in the beginning, formless, no land the Torah state that only afterwards did  land emerge from the water.

Why would HaShem destroy His creation? Well, HaShem didn't, He was rather recreating than destroying. This generation became so corrupted that HaShem decided to start all over again, only with Noach. HaShem immersed the world in water so that He could revert it in the orginal state, dry the land and create again, this lasted 40 days.

The uniqueness of the Mikveh, when we immerse in the water, we return pure, in the orginal state as before we're born. Like a ger ( convert) immerse in the Mikveh and is reborn. The final step in conversion the ger enter as his or her's old self and comes out of Mikveh being reborn and ready to start a new life as a Jew.

The understanding of the number 40 and the meaning of the difference measures of 40.

The Mikveh requires 40 Se'ah of water.

The floods lasted 40 days.

A fetus is formeless until 40 days of conception.

A pregnancy last 40 weeks

The Jewish people wanderd the desert for 40 years

The age of binah( understanding) is 40 years of age.

Moshe was spent  40 days and nights on Har Sinai receiving the Torah.

The number 40 and the water, which is part of creation. The word Shofar shares a root with mei shafir, this is the amniotic fluid that is surrounded the baby in the womb.

The shofar is a wake- up call, to bring us back to root of oneself. When on Rosh Chodesh Elul we hear the first blast and on Yom Kippur the final blast, it' exactly 40 days and Yom Kippur makes a rebirth after Teshuvah  and starts  recreation for a new year.

We have water, the number 40 and destruction, corruption and again possibly a flood? Who knows, but not by HaShem.This world will not see a reset, or something that is building back better, but more a recreation of all that is not good.

Emunah and Bitachon HaShem. 

Parsha Lech Lecha

HaShem appear to Avram, and command him to leave his home, to travel to the Land that He will show him. Without asking question Avram packs some belongings and sets out his journey.

Why didn't HaShem gave a specific destination of Avram's journey?

The Torah tells us that Avram left his home, to travel to the land of Canaan. But how did Avram know where to go?

Was it as the Ohr Hachaim interpret, that  from the beginning HaShem increases Avram's  challenge, by deliberately revealing  the journey's destination, once he begings the travel into the unknown. HaShem  shows Avram  him the land and along the journey he builts an altar and continues to spread the word of G-d.

WHen Avram reaches Canaan, a famine forces him and his family to go to Mitzrayim( Eygpt)  he asks Sarai to present herself as his sister. Sortly after arriving, Sarai is abducted and taken to the kings palace, to be released again soon after HaShem's interverance.

Avram was commanded by HaShem to leave his home, and Lot his nephew,( whose father died young) went  with him. When they arrived in Canaan before the famine, Avram became rich, and Lot, whether it was for selfish reasons, he stayed with his uncle and he had is own sheep and cattle and tents. Was Lot motivation to stay, only to share in the financial profits?

Did Lot go with his uncle because he sensed as Avram was a good businessman, and he might get rich, if he stayed with his uncle? 

According to Zohar, Lot went with Avram to learn from his uncle, but he didn't  learn very much. Even worse, Lot's presence put a stop to Avram's prophecies, at it seems HaShem didn't speak to Avram again while Lot was with him.

Going back to where Sarai was released and Avram escaped a death sentence as he presented themselves as brother and sister. It was the plague that prevented the king to touch Sarai, and she also convinced the king to let her return to Avram and to compensate they paid the king with gold,silver and cattle.

When they left Mitzrayim and were back in Canaan, Lot went his own way and headed for the city of evil, Sodom. Unfortunetely he falls in the hands of the mighty army of Chedorlaomer, who already conquered five cities in the Sodom valley.

When Avram receives the message about Lot, he set out to rescue his nephew, defeats the four kings and receives a blessing from the king of Salem, Malki zedek  in Jerusalem.

The next time HaShem speaks to Avram, the Torah says, is after Lot separated from Avram. Rashi comments that HaShem didn't want to speak to him in the presence of his wicket man, and yet, when Lot was living in Sodom, angels came and visit him and he offered them hospitality, even at the risk of his own life. Lot had many faults, but his behavior with the angels, he showed nothing but goodness, and therefore it was justified that he was saved from the destruction of Sodom. It could have been that  the angels where send to save Lot.

The Haftarah of Lech Lecha comments on weakness.

Maybe Israel did seems weak and vulberable, but Israel will win, because HaShem will aid them and be with them, and they will conquer their enemies.

" For I am the Lord your G-d who grasps your right hand and say to you: " Do not fear" I will help you.

Klal Yisroel should not  despair, because HaShem is with us.

They who trust HaShem, shall renew their strength, they shall grow and the rebirth of Israel will  mirrors Avram prophescy.

On a united mission


The Jewish Woman

Editor's Note On a United Mission

Dear Readers,

A cousin posted this on our family chat:

I spoke with my niece in Jerusalem this morning, and she told me a story that demonstrates the unity of our nation.

This past Shabbat, exactly a week after the horrific attack by Hamas, as her husband and other men were leaving their apartments to go to synagogue, their neighbors, who are not normally Shabbat observant, were also running out. They said they were going to patrol and guard a post in their neighborhood.

My nephew and his friends said, “We’ll go with you.”

The neighbors replied, “No, your job right now is to go to synagogue and pray for us.”

The war in Israel has brought out such an overwhelming feeling of unity. Unity means realizing and appreciating the unique contribution of every individual. There are many ways that we can achieve our common goal. The important thing is to remember that we are a special nation with a special destiny, appointed with the mission of bringing light and G-dliness to our world.

In this week’s Torah portion, we read about Abraham, the father of every Jew. G-d commands Abraham, “Go forth from your land, from your birthplace, and from your father’s house … to the land that I will show you.”

Abraham travels to what would become the Promised Land and builds an altar there. Rashi explains that Abraham built the altar to thank G-d for His two promises: that he would have children and that he would be given the land of Israel.

In addition to promising Abraham that the Holy Land would belong to him and his children, G-d’s command was to go forth from his finite self and discover his true, higher self, which is one with G-d. Abraham was not fazed by the corruption around him, nor was he intimidated by the evil. He accepted the Divine mission, “to go,” to become G-d’s messenger and teach the world Divine consciousness and morality.

From the moment that G-d instructed Abram to leave his homeland and set out on his journey, the process of cosmic refinement began.

As Abraham’s descendants, we are each entrusted with this mission. When darkness and evil surround us, we need to double down on adding light.

As the war continues in Israel, we each need to do our part. For the soldiers, that means physically fighting our enemies, while for many of us, it means adding in prayers, mitzvot or donations to our brothers and sisters.

With heartfelt prayers for each and every one of our soldiers, and wishes for the safety and security of all our brethren in Israel and the world over,

Chana Weisberg
Editor, TJW




Parsha Vayeira


Avraham's Ultimate Test

Why do we give Abraham the credit for passing the test of the binding of Isaac? Isaac was the one who was ready to give his life.

Rabbi Mendel of Horodok explained:

For lofty souls such as Abraham and Isaac, giving their lives to fulfill G‑d’s command was no great test. The great test was for Abraham to refrain from “weighing the ways of G-d".

The Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, explained:

Abraham, for many years of his life, built a ladder of reason. He was a skeptic, a man driven by what made sense to him, repelled by the irrational.

The people around him lived in a chaotic world of many gods. They worshipped the sun, the moon, and the stars, as well as many other mythical beings. Abraham applied his mind to understanding these beliefs—and came to reject them all.

Abraham, the Midrash says, was like a man who traveled in the forest, found a mansion fully lit, and exclaimed, “Certainly there must be a master to this mansion!”

Abraham, the Midrash says, was like a man who traveled in the forest, found a mansion fully lit, and exclaimed, “Certainly there must be a master to this mansion!”

Where others saw a jungle, he saw an orderly universe, and he realized there must be something that transcends this order, creates this order, and directs it. With his keen, independent intellect, he came to the conclusion that there is a single G‑d who is beyond intellect. And so he fearlessly proclaimed to all the world.

And then G‑d pulled his ladder out from under him. The same G‑d who had promised him that Isaac, his son, would be his heir, that same G‑d commanded him, “Take your son, your only son, the one you love, Isaac, and raise him up for an offering on one of the mountains that I will show you.”

Reason had no place here. If you had asked Abraham at this point, “How does this make sense? How can it be resolved?” he would have no answer. Because there was no answer. There was no ladder that reached to this place.

If you had asked Abraham at this point, “How does this make sense? How can it be resolved?” he would have no answer.

And yet Abraham, the skeptic, the independent thinker, the man of reason who had rebelled against an entire civilization because they made no sense to him, kept walking to that place that flew in the face of all logic and reason.

Because it wasn’t about reason. It wasn’t about the ladder. It was about remaining bonded to the One who created all reason. For whom nothing has to be, and anything could be. And so, in that place, there are no contradictions. In that place, all is one.

That is why, when Abraham finally arrived at the vortex of his ultimate challenge, as he thrust out his hand to grasp the cold metal of the slaughtering knife, at that point all this challenge vanished into thin air.

“You have brought him up to this mountain,” G‑d said to him. “That is all I asked. Now take him down.”

Suddenly, there had never been a challenge. Suddenly, the ladder had never fallen. Because, in that place, there are no challenges. There is nothing but the One.

A tower built by the mind will always remain precarious. All it takes is one mind cleverer than your own to pull out a beam from here, a girder from there, and soon you’re crashing downward, doubting there is anything beyond, doubting that anything you believed was true.
The Towers we build

You too, with your mind, can build a tall ladder. Even a tower. If you’re smart enough, you can build your tower so tall, you can see from up there things that can never be understood. Such as the One who made the mind.

But a tower built by the mind will always remain precarious. All it takes is one mind cleverer than your own to pull out a beam from here, a girder from there, and soon you’re crashing downward, doubting there is anything beyond, doubting that anything you believed was true.

Your tower needs a foundation made by the same One who gave you your mind. Excavate deep inside yourself, uncover your true identity—that place where you unite in an inseparable bond with the One who made you.

Then the supports of your tower will be strong. If someone will question them, you will say, “So, another thing I don’t understand. There are many.”

And you will stay connected Above.

As with Abraham, so too with you. When you will stand firm when nothing seems right, when nothing makes sense, when the G‑d you believe in seems to have disappeared and taken your ladder with Him, and yet you keep on climbing upward—you too will reach to a place where you will look back and say, “What was I thinking? There was no challenge. Everything was in place  all along.


By Rabbi Tzvi Freeman



Parsha Chayei Sarah

Most of Parsha Chayei Sarah is about the story of Yitzchak. The Chazal tells us that Avraham fased ten tests. One of them is the binding of Yitzchak .The tenth test is most likely  the death of Sarah and the part of burying her  in Me'aras Hamachpeilah and as mysteries as it may seems that the command  to sacrifice his owm child would have been his ultimate test, in comparable to the death of Sarah.

What is the true nature of the test of burying Sarah?

Is it true that Avraham was challenged to overcome his grief of losing Sarah and as well dealing with Efron?

There is a deeper meaning to one of the powers behind Avraham's test, which was a question of perception, to see Sarah's death as a oppertunity to grow rather than to give up, and to fall apart.

Sarah's death was not the end ,it was the beginning of the next stage of their extented connection. This explains why the Torah pays attention to Avraham's death towards the end of Parsha Chayei Sarah.

Chazal teaches us that marriage is eternal. Husband and wife are created before birth, and separated by birth and each with a mission in life to bring the world into a holier place. Trough marriage they are reunited and become one again.

What is this mission and challenges  we are facing? We pass the test, but what does this means  when HaShem already knows the outcome? Why send us in the first place?

Could it be a learning process, how our relationship is with others or even more importantly how our relationship is with HaShem?


Parsha Chayei Sarah contains three narratives,

1. The death of Sarah.

2. Avraham buying a burial plot, this is the first plot of Holy land  owned by the Jewish people of the covenant.

3. The search of a wife for Yitzchak, the first Jewish child and the last period of Avraham's life and his death.


Where was Avraham at the time of Sarah's passing?  

Sarah died in Hebron, Avraham was not in with her, as we know about the binding of Yitzchak and in Bereishis 22:19 we can read that Avraham returned to his servants, and together they went to Beersheva and Avraham settled  in Beersheva.

Rashi tells us that Avraham only temporarly settled in Beersheva following the binding of Yitzchak and when he received a message of Sarah's death  he returned to Hebron.

Avraham's plan was to settle in Beersheva permanently and he send a message to Sarah to join him, only then he found out about her death and returned to bury her. Avraham had second thoughts about telling Sarah about the binding of Yitzchak. As who would believe HaShem would ask this of him and then changed His mind? Avraham had concerns that Sarah wouldn't let him come near Yitzchak again when she knew.

He send Yitzchak to live with his mother when learned about her passing. Avraham had send Sarah to Hebron to find them a home and to purchase to plot of burial  ground, the cave of Machpeilah from Efron, but she died before she had a chance.

AVraham returned  to Hebron, full of grief for the death of his wife, buying  the burial plot from Efron and burying Sarah in Me'aras Hamachpeilah.

There was a dialogue discribed in the Torah between Avraham and the Hittitite tribe after Sarah's passing.The Hittities offered the land for free, but Avraham refused. They then offered him to pay a fine of four hundred silver coins, which Avraham accepted.

 Sarah's life was of commitment, her faith and devotion for HaShem never lost strength in all her one hundred  and twenty seven years.

Avraham sends his servant to find a wife for his son Yitzchak, there is only one condition, she must come from the same birth place as him. This servant who is not named, but by Rabbis identify as Eliezer. The servant takes on this oath and follows Avraham's  command,then sets off in his journey with ten camels and other goods.

Rivka born in Haran to Bethuel, Avraham's nephew. When Eliezer arrieved in Haran he saw Rivka by the well, she offered to get water for the camels and himself, she also offered him a sleeping place for him and his camels. Later when sitting at the table he tells them he is a servant of Avraham and his purpose of his visit to Haran.

Eliezer explained that he came to the well to pray to HaShem, helping him to find the right woman for Yitzchak. After hearing the story of this the sign that Rivka would be  the futher wife of Yitzchak as did   offer him water and hospitality, Laban and Bethuel agreed Rivkah should go back with Eliezer and marrying Yitzchak  and as appreciation they received the camels and goods.

AVraham Avinu

The Torah tells us that HaShem blessed Avraham as he dedicated his life to fulfill HaShem's will and he was consistent proactive to keep the covenant with HaShem. When he finised the years, he had lived with dedication, to be able to put his own ego aside to serve HaShem, as he utilize his own mind and heart to bring righteousness into this world. He live his mission and kept moving forward.

Avraham's ability to keep  on moving forward in his mission is in our DNA.

Avraham Avinu was one hundred and seventy five years old when he died and was buried along side Yitzchak and Yishmael in Cave Me'aras Hamachpeilah in Hebron.

Sarah's legacy

Parsha Chayei Sarah, which means " Life of Sarah " although the Parsha only recounts her death, buying a plot of land, the burial  and the marriage of her son Yitzchak. This Parsha tells us more about her life than her death.

Avraham could have related to the hard life she had to endure. She couldn't have any children until the age of 90 years. Sarah was in captivity by both Avimelech and the Pharao.Not forgetting the struggle she had living with Hagar and Yishmael.

Yitzchak her son was her legacy. He always remaind loyal to his mothers Torah teachings. In essence Yitzchak's life, was the story of Sarah's life. She raised her son to keep on going on the path of Torah  and he was even prepared to sacrifice himself for the sake of HaShem. 

This is why all generations merit forgiveness from HaShem because of his ultimate faith. Sarah' was determent to raise a future Patriarch for the Jewish nation. 

The Midrash tells us that Sarah achieved a much higher level of prophecies than Avraham did, as she knew Yishmael behavior was corrupted and she had concerns about Yitzchak being pulled away  from his path of Torah by Yishmael.

Sarah's death reflects her life,  everything she complished in her life, despite all the suffering, life was good. Sarah was a great Matriarch, who accepted het lot in life without complaining and saw it as something that was " for the good " seeing the postitive side of life, which makes life good. 

Yishmael and the End of Days.

Parsha Toldos

Covenant & Conversation

שיג ושיח


“I have called these studies Covenant & Conversation because this, for me, is the essence of what Torah learning is – throughout the ages, and for us, now. The text of Torah is our covenant with God… The interpretation of this text has been the subject of an ongoing conversation for as long as Jews have studied the Divine word… Every age has added its commentaries, and so must ours.” – Rabbi Sacks


Why did Yitzchak love Esav?


Even before their birth, Yaakov and Eisav struggled in the womb, destined to be eternal opposites. As they grew, Eisav became a skilful hunter who was loved by Yitzchak, while Yaakov was quieter, more prone to Torah study, and favoured by Rivka. Rivka’s favouritism towards Yaakov was encouraged by a Divine prophecy received before her children’s birth, revealing that her children would be the founders of two separate nations, with the older ultimately serving the younger.

And yet, despite the foretold ascendance of their youngest son, Yitzchak’s love for Eisav persisted. It persisted despite Eisav’s cunning personality and trickster nature. Despite the prophecy that Yaakov was destined to be greater than his brother. Despite the favour clearly shown to Yaakov by his mother.

Various interpretations of Yitzchak and Eisav’s relationship can help shed light on this peculiar dynamic. Rashi proposes that Yitzchak was actually deceived by Eisav, who displayed false piety. For example, Rashi says that Eisav would ask questions about tithing items like salt and straw, to mislead Yitzchak into believing Eisav was religiously observant. And, if you’re wondering why Eisav could not deceive Rivka, it’s suggested that she had experience seeing past deceptions from her time with Lavan – her conniving brother.

This understanding of the text assumes a certain naivety from Yitzchak, and emphasises the deepness of his love for Eisav.

Another perspective, however, suggests something very different – that Yitzchak knew the depth Eisav’s true nature and yet – he loved him still. This interpretation dovetails with Rav Avraham Yitzchak Kook’s advice to love a wayward child even more than a child who stays on the path. Yitzchak’s love, in this interpretation, embodied the moral imperative of parenthood, to not give up on a wayward child. To love unconditionally.

Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel notes that Eisav’s bond with Yitzchak was unusually deep, and he displayed exceptional commitment towards his father. Indeed, upon the strength of this bond, the Torah commands the Israelites to respect Eisav’s descendants, the Edomites, and to avoid waging war against them.

So what was the result of Yitzchak’s care for Eisav?

Eisav reciprocated Yitzchak’s love but remained Eisav the hunter, the man of the field, not the man to carry forward the demanding covenant with God – with all the spiritual sacrifices this would entail. As Rabbi Sacks explains, not all children follow the path of their parents. If Yitzchak hoped that Eisav would ultimately become just like his parents, he failed.

Still, there are honourable responses to failure. Loving our children, no matter what, is a praiseworthy response, for surely that is how God loves us.


What was the positive outcome of Yitzchak’s love for Eisav?

Did Yitzchak and Rivka parent differently because of their own rebellious brothers?  

Rabbi Sacks questions whether Rivka told Yitzchak about the oracle. What do you think? Can you find other examples in the Torah where Rivka and Yitzchak speak to each other?


Yitzchak marries Rivka and for many years they wait and hope for children. Finally, their prayers are answered. Rivka feels a struggle in her womb and, in explanation, God informs her that she will give birth to twins, the founders of two separate nations, with the older eventually serving the younger.

Eisav is born first, red and hairy, followed by Yaakov, who holds onto Eisav’s heel as he emerges. As they grow, Eisav is favoured by their father, while Yaakov is preferred by their mother. One day, Eisav returns from the field feeling hungry. Displaying little regard for his inheritance, he sells it to Yaakov for a meal of red lentil stew.

When Yitzchak grows old, and his eyesight weakens, he decides to bless Eisav. However, Rivka disguises Yaakov as Eisav, and Yaakov instead receives the blessing of prosperity and leadership. Eisav is distraught and begs for a blessing for himself. Yitzchak tells him he will live by the sword and serve his brother, but he will eventually break free.

Eisav vows revenge on Yaakov, planning to kill him – but not while father is still living. Rivka acts again to protect Yaakov, telling him to run away from home. She sends him towards her brother Lavan, and hopes that he will find safety there, and maybe also a wife.


There is an old adage: the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Meaning, children often resemble their parents in some way or another. Whether it’s in mannerisms, values, and so on, Yitzchak continued the trajectory of his father, Avraham, visiting Gerar during a famine, digging wells, and serving Hashem. By contrast, considering their historical legacies, one might think that no father and son could be less compatible than Eisav and Yitzhak. Yet, Eisav somehow managed to win the affection and favour of his father.

 Did Yitzchak even know just how different and even immoral Eisav could be? Or, did he love him in spite of – or even because of – their differences? Rabbi Sacks concludes the latter. The love a parent has for their children should transcend differences. So too the love of God for the Jewish people.

Rabbi Shimshon Raphael Hirsch once noted, if Yitzchak and Rivka had studied Eisav’s nature and asked themselves how even an Eisav could be taught to honour God… that mighty man would not become just a mighty hunter, but truly a mighty man before God. How does this philosophy dovetail with Rabbi Sacks’ point about Eisav?

Parsha Vayetze

Yaakov leaves Beersheva for Charan as he flees the wrath of his brother Esav, and to prepares to search for a wife.

As the sun sets, Yaakov went to sleep and dreams of a ladder stretching all the way into Shamayim, upon which  machanaim ascend and descend. HaShem appears to Yaakov and promises to guard him on his journey and to return him to Canaan. Alarmed by this vision, Yaakov wakes up and reflect upon the holiness of the place.

Upon arising the next morning, Yaakov names the location Beis E-L and vows loyalty to HaShem in return for divine protection. He then continues his journey. Yaakov arrives at a well where he meets his first cousin Rochel, and helps her with watering the family flock. At home Rochel informs her father, Lavan of Yaakov's arrival and Lavan goes out to meet his nephew.

Lavan and Yaakov reached an agreement that Yaakov will work for Lavan for seven years in return to marry Rochel. When the wedding night arrives after seven years has passed, Lavan deceives Yaakov by giving his older daughter Leah instead of Rochel. He gives also his servant Zilpa to Leah.

When Yaakov discovers Lavan's deceit the very next morning he confronts his uncle, but still agrees to work for him for another seven years in return to marry Rochel. After these seven years Yaakov finally marries Rochel, Lavan gives his servants Bilha to Rochel. Yaakov works another seven years for Lavan.

The Torah gives a history of the growth of Yaakov's family. Reuven, Shimon, Levi and Yehuda are born to Leah. Dan and Naftali are born to Bilha and Gad and Asher are born to Zilpa after Yaakov rakes the maidservants as mistress at his wives request. Further are born to Leah, Zevulun and Dina, and finally after a long period of childlessness, Rochel gives birth to Yosef.

After Yosef's birth, Yaakov informs Lavan of intension to return to Canaan with his family. Lavan convinces Yaakov to stay and work for a wage. Six years pass, and during this time Lavan constantly attemps to cheat his nephew. 

At the end of the six years, Yaakov tells Rochel and Leah that HaShem has commanded him in a dream to return with his family to Canaan. Yaakov's family then gathers their belongings and flee without Lavan knowing. Rochel secretly steals her father's idols. After three days when Lavan discovers Yaakov's escape, he then pursues Yaakov and his family and catch up with them at Har Gilad.

Lavan and Yaakov exchanges hars words. Lavan searches for his idols unsuccesfully and they finally agree to part ways. Yaakov continues on his journey and encounters with Machanaim.

The name Machanaim, Rambam states, does not reflect Yaakov's awareness of two sets of angels but his dawning recognition of litterly two parallel camps.Just as the Machanaim sanctify HaShem in Shamayim, Yaakov realizes, that man must learn to sanctify HaShem on earth.


Was the dream Yaakov had actually Har Moriah, which later became The Temple Mount in Jerusalem?

Two generstions earlier Ahraham arrives at Har Moriah with Yitzchak, the Torah states: וראה את המקום מרחוק- " and he saw the place from afar". By refering to Har Moriah and the location of Yaakov's dream " the place " the Torah does connect the two locations and indicates that they are one and the same.

Yaakov did name the location in dream as Beis E-L which means  " the House of G-d".

Returning to Yaakov vows. How are we to understand Yaakov's vow? 

Yaakov seems to be making his worship of HaShem conditional upon material gain?

When Yaakov said " the Lord will be his G-d" it sounds like only when conditions are met, but the fact is that the very conditions which Yaakov now seems to questioning where already promised by HaShem in his dream, " And behold I will be with you, and I will guard you wherever you will go, and I will return you to this soil "

How come Yaakov seems to be unsure of those promises now?

It maintains in numerous other commentaries that yaakov's words are not to be understood as a vow at all, but as a heartfelt prayer.

When Yaakov Arrives in Charan, the first thing he does is pray to HaShem, as until this point he lived in a insular world of Torah study and when he first set foot into his new world, any of the ways and manners were totally different to him. He then made it his priority to first pray .

In todays world  when we just like Yaakov lead a insular life of Torah learning and entering the world to start making a living. We to start the day with prayer, to ask HaShem for strength and guidens to overcome challenges, it is a way to get ready to fulfill our spiritual mission in this world.

Yaakov took some stones and placed around his head, when he realized that he was entering a world full of challenges and he knew he had to symbolically protect his head surrounding stones, for focus and awareness from distraction and idolatry.

We to can protect our head, through developing strengthing our intellect and emotional connection with HaShem, to fulfill our mission with perseverance just like our Patriarch did.

When we protect ourselves we will be motivated and inspired from the heart and mind, the essence of the soul. This is level consciousness, being one with HaShem, to fulfill His Will in observing Torah and the Mitzvos.

The Mishnah says: " He who observes the Torah in poverty will in the end fulfill it out in wealth "

The essence of our soul enables to fulfill our mission, to unite the mundane world with the holiness of HaShem.

Just like Yaakov combined many stones into one and his soul revealed the unity of reality and dedicating it to it's mission for HaShem.

This stone could be transformed into a home for HaShem.

Pasha Vayishlach

Yaakov's Greatness


Yaakov's complex journey continues, as Yaakov seems to be aflicted with challenge upon challenge, from birth into aldulthood. His battle with his brother Esav regarding  the bechorah, his birthright and ending with Yaakov fleeing for his life. Then there is the deceitful deal with Lavan and when he finally returns after twenty- two years to his homeland Eretz Yisrael, he is confronted with the abduction and assult of his daughter Dina by Shechem. And if this wasn't enough, his beloved son, Yosef was been taken away from him and sold into slavery. Yaakov lived his life and was tormented with hardship upon even more hardship, but despite all the challenges, he persevered and came out stronger, he achieved an absolute greatness.

We also can experience several challenges in life as a test of our potential purpose and mission in life.

A test given by HaShem, and because HaShem is all knowing and exactly aware of  how much we are capable of handling. The question is, why would HaShem put us to the test? Why does HaShem send us challenges and tests? What is the purpose of these challenges?

On a basic level, we don't seems appreciate things must until we lose them, how many things do we not take for granted. We only learn by experiencing yissurim, life challenges in heath, family matters of financial worries.

On a much deeper level, HaShem send us these challenges or tests in order to repent for our wrongdoings and mistakes. HaShem gives us the apportunity to do Teshuvah.

HaShem also send us these challenges as a wake- up call, when we find ourselves on the wrong path and motivate us to question our choices in life. The gemara tells us that if something really negative happens to us, our first reaction would be to find out what we could change about ourselves, which area we have to work on and gives us the apportunity to reconnect to HaShem and live a more spiritual and purposeful life.

The Rambam explains that the purpose of a challenge is to push us even further to reach our koach into po'al. HaShem already knows exactly who we are and what we can achieve to become the best version of ourself in fulfilling our mission He has given us.

The Mishnah tells that Avraham received ten tests and he persevered and overcame all of them. HaShem already knew Avraham could past these tests, so why did HaShem felt the need to put Avraham to these test? Each test that Avraham overcame was another step into his journey towards perfection.

How do we face our challenges, how do we suppose to act during moments of pain and disstress?When we are in pain, whether this physical or emotional and even spiritual, we daven and beg HaShem with all our heart and soul, to make this pain go away and imagine how life would be without suffering. When we do whatever it takes to deal with the pain and when we think that we can't take it anymore, as the strenght and hope are fading, the pain begins to ease.

When we are in pain we should use the pain, to push ourselves to the maximum we are capable of handling. Growth happens only when we face the challenge and resist the pressure. There is simply no growth in the comfort zone. Growth means learning by taking on this challenge and push ourselves, as HaShem may try to help us by challenging us to grow

At this moment you are the person you are, because of all the challenges you faced and overcame and we learn to welcome our challenges, and we could also achieve greatness in this world. As we push our physical, emotional and mental blocks and being aware of what we are about to take on, the big steps to make, we must put our complete trust in HaShem. With our eyes closed and emunah, we find ourselves on our path in partnering with HaShem to reveal His presence to the world. To do this we need to be ready, be strong and inspire others, just like Yaakov did.