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Friday, Kislev 8, 5782 / November 11, 2021


In this week’s Parsha, Vayeitzei, the Torah relates the following episode which took place with our forefather Yaakov (Jacob).


On his way to his uncle, Lavan, in Charan, knowing that his uncle is a liar and cheater he is scared of the unknown, so Yaakov prays that G-d should watch over him and protect him. 


G-d appears to him in a dream and says, “I am the G-d of Abraham and Isaac, I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be as many as the dust of the earth; and you will spread out to the west, to the east, to the north and to the south.  All the families of the earth will be blessed by you and your descendants. I am with you and I will guard you wherever you go. I will bring you back to this land, for I will not abandon you until I have carried out what I have spoken to you.”


When Yaakov woke up he made the following vow, “If G-d will be with me and he will guard me on this route in which I am going; and He will give me bread to eat and garments to wear; and I will return in peace to my father’s house; and G-d will be my G-d; This stone which I have placed as a monument will be a house of G-d and I will give tithes to you (10% to charity) from everything which You give to me.”


Indeed, on this very place where Yaakov slept that night and placed the monument, is the place where the Holy Temple was built many years later.


Q.  Why does Yaakov specify in his prayer, “bread to eat and garments to wear”? Wouldn’t it be enough if he asked for bread and garments, without specifying “to eat” and “to wear?”  What else would he do with bread if not to eat; and garments, if not to wear?


A.   There is a very profound lesson in this for everyone. Sometimes we tend to forget the purpose of our work. Many times, people become so involved in their work and business, to the point that instead of eating the bread, the bread eats them! Instead of clothing to wear, the expensive designer clothing, wears them down! Manypeoplebecome so consumed in their business chasing after money and more money, at the expense of family and health.


Until now Yaakov was immersed in the study of Torah. Now that he was on his way to build a home, a family and financial success, Yaakov was worried that he may be completely consumed with his physical welfare at the expense of forgetting the spiritual purpose of it all.


He prayed that G-d give him, “bread to eat and garments to wear.”  That he should have whatever he needs and be successful in his work, but always remember that they are only a means to an end – for a higher spiritual purpose. 


He asked for bread to eat and not be eaten by it; for clothing to wear and not that his financial success will wear him down. The lesson of it is obvious, especially in today’s hustle bustle business world.




Montreal candle lighting time: 4:09 / Shabbat ends: 5:13