Torah Tidbits

21 August 2014 / 25 Av 5774
Issue 1023
Shabbat Parshat Vayishlach
November 29, 2012

Chizuk and Idud

CHIZUK and IDUD for Olim not yet Olim respectively

After having dealt successfully with both Lavan and Eisav, Yaakov arrives “whole” in Sh’chem (modern day Nablus). Based on B’reishit 33:18, VAYICHAN ET PNEI HA’IR “And he encamped before the city” (provided for the city), the Talmud Shabbat 23:2 relates that Yaakov arranged a system of currency which replaced the then current barter system. This is one of the three “tikunim”, or arrangements, that Yaakov instituted for the benefit of all the inhabitants of the city. Yaakov is not solely focused on his own needs and interests, but rather displays interest in the welfare of the wider community. As an Aguda official once explained his position to me, “We too are interested in what happens on 42nd Street, for we realize that whatever happens in the larger surrounding community, will eventually trickle down and have an effect on the Jewish community as well”. Rav Soloveitchik put it more positively when he writes in his article called “Confrontation” - ” we are human beings, committed to the general welfare and progress of mankind… we are interested in combating disease, in alleviating human suffering, in protecting man’s rights, in helping the needy, etc.”
The currency innovation ultimately benefited Yaakov himself. In the following sentence we read that Yaakov purchased a parcel of Land where he had pitched his tent. It is this same plot of land which will eventually become Yosef’s tomb. The Midrash (B’reishit Rabba 79:7) notes that Kever Yosef, the Cave of Machpela in Hebron, and the site of the Temple that King David purchased in Jerusalem, were all bought with the best currency in the hope that this would guarantee our inalienable rights. Special care was taken in their acquisition in order to deny our enemies the ability to question our ownership of these hallowed sites. (Modern history, of course, shows that this was perhaps wishful thinking - )...
The Rabbis point out (Midrash Hagadol ad.loc) that Yaakov’s example is there to teach us that he who arrives in Israel, having accumulated wealth in the Diaspora, should purchase property in the Holy Land. I would add that even if one does not have immediate plans to move to Israel and make Aliya, they should nonetheless bear in mind Ibn Ezra’s moving quote: “Ownership of Land in Israel is like owning a piece of the World to Come”.
Who amongst us would not like to ensure their place in the World to Come!

Rabbi Yerachmiel Roness, Ramat Shiloh, Beit Shemesh

TORAH THOUGHTS as contributed by Aloh Naaleh members for publication in the Orthodox Union’s ‘Torah Insights’, a weekly Torah publication on Parshat HaShavu’a

In This Issue of Torah Tidbits

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