Thursday, Kislev 8, 5777 / December 8, 2016
In this week’s Parsha, Vayeitzei, we read the story of how Yaakov leaves his parents, who lived in Be’er Sheva, and went to the city of Charan, where his mother’s brother, Lavan, lived. There was a double purpose for this journey; to escape his brother, Esau, who wants to kill him and also to find a wife from Lavan’s daughters.
Q.How old was Yaakov when he came to his father-in-law, Lavan?
A.Although he left his parents at the age of 63, he didn’t go directly to Lavan. Yaakov stopped off at the study hall (Yeshiva) of Eiver – a great great grandson Noach (Noah). Thus, Yaakov was seventy seven when he came to Lavan.
After working seven years for Rachel, Lavan fooled him and gave him Leah instead. When Yaakov complained, he told him that for another seven years of work, he will give him Rachel too.
Q.Yaakov was eighty four when he married Leah. How much later did he marry Rachel?
A.The first seven years, Yaakov worked before Lavan gave him his daughter Leah. But the second seven years he worked off after marrying Rachel. A week after his wedding to Leah he married Rachel. Yaakov was 84 when he married Leah and Rachel.
Q.What was the significance of waiting one week?
A.According to Halacha (Jewish law) there is a seven day celebration period for bride and groom after their wedding. Only after the seven-day celebration period for Leah, was he able to marry Rachel.
Q.How many years did Yaakov stay with his father-in-law, Lavan?
A.Twenty years. During this time, eleven of his sons and his daughter, Dina, were born.
Q.How old were his children when he left Lavan’s home?
A.His oldest son, Reuven, was over Bar Mitzvah and his youngest at that time, Joseph, was 6.
Q.Did Yaakov leave on good terms with his father-in-law?
A.No. In fact, Yaakov had to leave with his family and possessions while Lavan was away from home. Yaakov was too valuable to be let go, as G-d blessed Lavan with great wealth as a result of Yaakov. When Lavan found out that Yaakov and his family were gone, he chased after them and wanted to harm them. G-d appeared to him in a dream and warned him not to harm them. Yaakov was 97 when he left Lavan; he was 99 when he rejoined his father, Yitzchak, who was 159. His mother Rivkah had already passed away.
HAVE A VERY GOOD, HAPPY, HEALTHY AND SUCCESSFUL DAY
Monday, Kislev 5, 5777 / December 5, 2016
One of the highlights of this week's Parsha, Vayeitzei, is the story of Yaakov leaving his parents and the famous dream with the ladder, upon which G-d’s angels were ascending and descending.
Yaakov’s brother, Esau, wanted to kill Yaakov because he got their father’s blessings instead of him. Yaakov had to flee Be’er Sheva, where his parents lived, and go to Charan, to his uncle, Lavan.
On the way to his uncle, Yaakov stopped at Mount Moriah, the place where G-d tested Abraham by having his son, Yitzchak (Yaakov’s father), bound on the altar and where the Holy Temple would be built many years later. Yaakov, who knew that his uncle Lavan was a swindler, feared the unknown he would have to face from his uncle. So he stopped at Mount Moriah to pray and rest for the night.
Yaakov had a dream in which he saw a ladder standing firmly on the ground and its top reached to the heaven. Yaakov saw G-dly angels going up and down the ladder. In his dream, he saw G-d standing beside him and G-d said, "I am the G-d of Abraham and the G-d of Yitzchak. The land on which you are lying, to you I will give it and to your descendants. And your seed shall be like the dust of the earth and you shall spread abroad to the west, to the east, to the north and to the south. And in you and your children shall all the families of the earth be blessed."
When Yaakov awoke he exclaimed, "How full of awe is this place. This is non other than the House of G-d and this is the gate of heaven." Yaakov felt assured that G-d was watching over him and would bring him back safely to his parents. Yaakov made a vow, "Of all that You will give to me, a tenth I will give back unto You!"
The Talmud tells that once during a famine year, King Munbaz distributed his own treasures and all the treasures accumulated by his forefathers to feed the poor. His family and friends complained, "Your forefathers have stored these valuables for many generations, how can you give them away?"
"I too am storing these valuables," replied King Munbaz. "But while my forefathers stored their treasures in this world, I am storing them in the World-to-Come. My ancestors stored their treasures in a place where hands can steal them, I am storing the treasures where no hand can take them away. My parents stored valuables which didn't produce fruit, I am storing them in a way that they will produce fruits [saving peoples lives]. My parents saved money and I'm saving souls. My parents stored for others while they had no benefit from the valuables they saved, but I, by distributing them to the poor, am saving them for myself by fulfilling a mitzvah."
Q.How old was Yaakov when he left his parents? How many years was he away?
A.He left at the age 63. He was away for 36 years and returned at the age of 96. He left single and came back with a family of 13 children – 12 sons and one daughter. He didn’t see his mother, Rivkah, again, as she passed away before he returned.
HAVE A VERY GOOD, HAPPY, HEALTHY AND SUCCESSFUL DAY