Thursday, November 22, 2018

Dvar Torah - Vayishlach - Rabbi Yitzchok Wolpin

This week we are privileged to read the portion Vayishlach. Yaakov was heading back to his homeland, after many years of absence due to fear of Eisav. After leaving Levon’s home, Yaakov sent messengers (Angels) to meet with Eisov, and he prepared himself for a meeting with Eisov. Yaakov prepared three methods for his meeting. First he sent sizable gifts for Eisov, he also prayed to Hashem to save him in the event of confrontation, and thirdly he prepared for war. He split up his camp into two groups, so that if one is confronted the other camp will be saved. We learn how Yaakov returned to pick up some jars he left behind on the opposite side of the canal. Yaakov was confronted by the Angel representing Eisov, and he wrestled with him. Yaakov won the battle and made the angel admit that the blessings were rightfully his. We learn about the meeting between Yaakov and Eisov and the desire of Yaakov to part from him as quickly as possible. We learn about the tragic event with Dina, and the response from Shimon and Levi. We also learn about the tragic passing of Rochel, during childbirth (of Binyomin), and the passing of Yitzchok at age 180. The portion ends with the names of the ministers of Eisov.

The Torah tells us that Yaakov was afraid and he had fear and Rashi comments that, he was afraid he would get killed and he feared that maybe he would kill others. Many commentaries ask, we learned in the previous portion that Hashem promised Yaakov that he will be with him and watch over him, why was he afraid ? It is well known that the Chozeh of Lublin was extremely humble, and he once expressed about himself, that even if he heard from G-d directly, that he is a Tzadik (pious man), he would believe that it was true just for that second, but a second later he would be worried maybe he lost his greatness. This helps understand the way Ramban explains the fear of Yaakov. Ramban says that great people are constantly worried that they shouldn’t lose their level of holiness and that maybe according to the talents and strengths they were given, they didn’t do enough. So although Yaakov received a promise from Hashem that he would watch over him, maybe, he feared he was no longer worthy of the blessing.

The Chidushei Harim says that Yaakov was praying not for himself, but for the future generations and his fear was for his descendants when/if they would be in this situation they should be saved from the evil forces who want to destroy them. This has been proven over and over again. Unfortunately in many generations there were/are forces who thought/think they will erase the Jews from the face of the earth and Hashem saves us, as we read in the Hagodo, on Pesach,  Shebchol dor vodor omdim oleinu lichaloseinu, v’Hakodosh Boruch Hu Matzileinu miyodom.

One more idea I’d like to share with you regarding the outlook on life of Yaakov verses the outlook of Eisov. In Bireishis 33/5 when Eisov finally reaches Yaakov he saw the women and the children, and said “who are these to you”? And Yaakov replied, “the children which Hashem granted me”. The Divrei Shmuel of Slonim explains the dialogue between the two. Eisov saw Yaakov has four wives, and he thought to himself, this is my world, how does it come to a holy man like Yaakov ? Yaakov’s response was the purpose of marriage to these women was to have these children. It is known that a Baron once asked the holy Rebbe of Rizhin what’s the difference between me and you, I eat and drink and so do you, I have a wife and children and so do you. The difference, replied the Ruzhiner, is that you live because you want to eat and drink, I eat and drink because I want to live. You have children because you have a wife, I have a wife because I wanted to bring children to the world. It is all about putting things into perspective.

Gut Shabbos

Agudah Convention - 5779

The Agudah convention will be starting tomorrow (Thursday night). Though the crowd is not as large as previous years there are still a respectable amount of participants.

Maran Rav Aharon Schechter Shlita, The Zkan Roshei  Hayeshiva‎ in America, Rav Perlow, Rav Yerucham Olshin ‎Shlita, Rav Yaakov Horowitz Shlita & Maran Rav Kaminetsky Shlita are expected to attend. Maran Harav D. Feinstein Shlita will be attending for a short time.

The anticipated event will help clarify the torah position on many world & National events.‎ This event is for many the wellspring for Da'as Torah regarding many issues.

Utenu‎ Kovod L'Torah!

Friday, November 16, 2018

Dvar Torah - Vayeitzei - Rabbi Yitzchok Wolpin

This week we are privileged to read the portion of Vayeitzei. We learn that Yaakov escaped from his parents home due to the threat on his life, from his brother Eisov. Yaakov stopped to study for fourteen years and then headed toward Choron, to fulfill the command of his parents, that he marry someone from “their” family. We learn how Yaakov met Rochel, the daughter of Lovon at the well. He was impressed with her and wanted to marry her. We learn how Lovon fooled Yaakov by giving him Leah and not Rochel, and the great sacrifice Rochel made not to cause her sister embarrassment. only later Lovon agreed to grant Yaakov his second daughter, Rochel. We learn how Yaakov worked hard and Lovon kept changing his pay. We learn about the births of the holy children of Yaakov, the foundation of Klal Yisroel. After the birth of Yosef Yaakov can no longer stay with Lovon. Hashem tells him it’s time to return. A dispute erupted as Lovon expressed his dissatisfaction of his children’s departure. Hashem warned Lovon not to harm Yaakov. They set feet back to the Holy Land.

There’s so much we can learn from the dealings between Yaakov and Lovon. In general all these portions about the history of our forefathers are full of deep lessons. I want to share one important lesson from this week’s portion.

When Yaakov reached Choron he had a discussion with the Shepards as to why they were just standing at the well. They declared that they waited for a group of Shepard’s to appear in order to remove the stone covering the well. Yaakov walked over and just removed on his own like he took a cap off a bottle. We need to understand what was the reason Yaakov did this, was he trying to show then his physical strength ? If so, why ? Also why is it important for the Torah to tell us about this detail ? There’s a tremendous lesson Yaakov wanted to teach them and us as well. If one really wants to accomplish something, nothing can stand in the way, all one needs to do is try, not stand on the side and say I can’t. We find the same situation (in the portion of Shmos), when Basya removed Moshe from the water. Moshe was placed in the water far from an arm stretch, however she was determined to save the child and stuck out her arm, and the Medrash teaches us that her arm became longer until she reached the box in which Moshe lye. We need to do ours and we will see that Hashem will help, and the impossible can be achieved.

Gut Shabbos!