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Thursday, Mar-Cheshvan 30, 5780 / November 28, 2019


Tonight through Thursday & Friday is Rosh Chodesh Kislev. Sunday night, December 22, (the twenty fifth of Kislev) begins the eight day Chanukah holiday.


This Shabbat we read Parshat Toldot. We read about the birth of Yaakov (Jacob) and Esau. We read how Esau sold his first-birth rights and how Yitzchak (Isaac), who was blind, thinking that his son Esau was righteous, wanted to bless him before his passing. But Rivkah, knowing that Yaakov was the righteous one manouvered so that Yitzchak gave his main blessings to Yaakov.


Q. How old were Yitzchak and Rivkah when they had their twins, Yaakov and Esau?


A. Yitzchak was sixty and Rivkah was 23.


Q. How old were Yaakov & Esau when their grandfather, Abraham, passed away?


A. Abraham passed away at the age of 175. Yaakov and Esau were fifteen.


Q.How old was Yitzchak when he blessed Yaakov? How old was Yaakov?


A.  Yitzchak was 123 and Yaakov was 63.


The three daily prayers are associated with our three patriarchs.  The Shacharit (morning) prayer is related to Abraham; The Mincha (afternoon) prayer is associated with Yitzchak (Isaac); The Ma’ariv(evening) service is connected to Yaakov (Jacob).


The Shacharit service is recited before one begins the working day.  We recite Ma’ariv after finishing our working day.  However, the Mincha service is recited in the afternoon, during work hours. 


The three prayers also represent the three different periods during a person's life.


"Shacharit" represents a person's early years when one attends Yeshiva or Hebrew school. "Ma’ariv" represents a person's retirement years.  During this time, one has the time to attend synagogue and become active in the Jewish community.


Our sages say, “One should be very careful with the mincha service, as it is a very important prayer.” One must especially be extra careful with the Mincha service - the years when we are busy working and doing business. The years in which we are so preoccupied with our material and financial success, it is then that we must be extra careful and most important to be involved and remember our Jewish responsibilities to oneself, our family and our community.