Torah Tidbits

2 September 2014 / 7 Elul 5774
Issue 1020
Shabbat Parshat Vayeitzei
November 22, 2012

Lead Tidbit

The Son of a BT is an FFB

It should never cease to amaze us - but it should surprise us - that Parshat HaShavua and current events always seem to talk to each other.
We in Israel are experiencing a ramification of the VAYITROTZATZU HABANIM B’KIRBAH - and the children agitated within her (Rivka Imeinu). Before Yaakov and Eisav were even born, there were signs of the tension between them and the nations their descendants would become.
[To be clear - no claim is being made that Hamas and/or all Arabs are descendants of Eisav. The biological genealogy is not the issue. Rather it is the behavioral and ideological descent that is the point. We must always remember the truism that Eisav hates Yaakov (any individual exceptions to the rule are beside the point). This is a fact of Jewish Life throughout the generations. It just gets demonstrated in different ways at different times in Jewish History.]
Also in Toldot, we had Eisav’s plan to kill Yaakov. On his journey to get away from Eisav, Yaakov is encountered by Eisav’s son Elifaz, who does not carry out his father’s orders to kill his Uncle Yaakov, but impoverishes him instead.
In Vayeitzei, Yaakov prays for Divine help and protection. And this is something that we, Yaakov’s children, must always do in times of peril. It is not the only thing that we must do, but it is an important component of our total strategy. Never minimize the power of prayer. And, remember, that davening is not mere lip-service, it is AVODA SHEBALEV, service of the heart.
Our prayers can include ourselves, but they should be for all of our brothers and sisters, wherever they are and what ever danger they find themselves in.
The Midrash says that Lavan tried to poison Eliezer when he first showed up in search of a bride for Yitzchak. This is the basis of the statement in the Pesach Hagada that LAVAN BIKEISH LAAKOR ET HAKOL, Lavan wanted to uproot everything. This certainly establishes Lavan as an enemy of Israel, albeit, not the same kind as Eisav, his grandson Amalek, and their ilk.
Another thing we see from the Lavan stories is that it doesn’t matter that he was unsuccessful in his attempt to erase all of the Jewish Nation before it even got started. His intention and his attempt is what brands him as a villain worse than Par’o - who did oppress, enslave, and kill Jews over a protracted period.
This idea should be kept in mind every time our media report rockets and missiles that landed and “no injuries or damage was caused.
This is a terrible distortion of the truth. Every NEFILA (landing of a bomb or rocket) in Israel, anywhere in the country, causes us harm. It can be in the nightmares that people - young and old - will have as a result. It could be in the form of depression, tension, irritability, anger, resentment… But damage is caused. Even when a rocket fails to explode, or lands in an unpopulated area, or is exploded and destroyed in the air by an Iron Dome missile - there is damage and injury caused. Why doesn’t our own media realize how dismissive it is when they mumble that no injuries were reported.
This, by the way, is a longtime fact of Jewish Life. Blood libels, pogroms, inquisitions, all took a toll far greater than the actual body count they caused.
That the rest of the world doesn’t see this is one thing; we must be aware of it always. Those who fire rockets at us intend to kill and injure Jews. That a school building that sustained a direct hit was empty is thanks to CHASDEI HASHEM. Those who send the rockets are hoping for far more.
Toldot, Vayeitzei, and Vayishlach deal with the Eisav-Yaakov enmity. With the moon of Kislev half-full as of this writing (typing), Chanuka is right around the corner. The enemy changes, the story differs, but its essentially the same as it was generations before and it is the same as it is today, centuries later.
Yaakov Avinu taught us that TZEDAKA is part of the way we petition G-d for His Divine help and protection. We show that we are concerned with the wellbeing of our fellows, and He, hopefully, will show His care and concern for us. (On the note of TZEDAKA, see the back page.)
The IDF is doing their best - on behalf of us all. We must contribute our prayers, Torah learning, mitzvot, and tzedaka towards the war effort so that we will be ZOCHEH to peace and prosperity for all times.

In This Issue of Torah Tidbits

Candle Lighting and Havdala

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