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									Likutei Torah                                                                            Sponsored by Esther and Alan Baldinger
                                                                                          in loving memory of Esther‟s mother,
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Gleanings of Divrei Torah on Parashat Hashavuah via the
Internet                                                                                  on the occasion of her second yahrzeit
Volume 18, Issue 7               Shabbat Parashat Veyetze                                                                 5772 - B”H
Shabbat Shalom                                                                                      aftermath of his deception, he indeed
Rabbi Shlomo Riskin                               Laban cuts a deal, but Jacob cleverly             becomes Esau!
He said,"It was because his name was Jacob        succeeds in manipulating the livestock so that
that he has outwitted me these two                he emerges with great wealth. The ultimate        In time, Jacob understands that while the
times.”(Genesis 27: 36). This week‟s portion      expression of Jacob‟s transformation comes        voice of Jacob may require the hands of
begins with Jacob‟s leaving his parents‟          in another dream, in which instead of             Esau, the true essence of Jacob/Israel must
home in Beersheba and setting out for exile       ascending and descending angels, Jacob sees       remain the God of compassionate
in the home of his uncle, Laban. Our portion      ringed, spotted and speckled sheep (Gen.          righteousness and moral justice, bringing true
will conclude 22 years later, when he begins      30:25- 43; 31:10-14). Voila! Jacob has out-       blessing to the world. Jacob will yet turn into
his journey back. Jacob falls in love with        Esaued and out-Labaned his brother and his        Israel and reclaim his legacy of the
Laban‟s daughter, Rachel, and 11 of his           uncle! How and why does this happen? Did          Abrahamic covenant as a whole-hearted man
children are born there. These are the most       Jacob forget about the birthright, and block      and scholarly dweller in tents, but he will
crucial years of his development, when he is      out the Abrahamic covenant, in order to           also have learned the art of conquest and
at the height of his physical strength and        secure his own version of lentil soup?            mastery. Shabbat Shalom
laying the foundations for future generations.
                                                  I believe the issue is far more complex, and      Covenant and Conversation
Strangely, the Jacob whom we see in               harks back to Abraham, and the confused           Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
Vayetsei is quite different from the Jacob we     legacy he bequeathed to his sons. Our             The Character of Jacob
first got to know in Toldot, which we read        children watch us carefully to perceive our       What kind of man was Jacob? This is the
last week. Jacob as a young boy was a naïve,      deepest values and desires. They learn not        question that cries out to us in episode after
whole-hearted, and scholarly a dweller in         from what we say so much as from how we           episode of his life. The first time we hear a
tents; the antithesis of his brother Esau, a      act and whom we admire. Abraham was               description of him he is called ish tam: a
wily hunter and devotee of the fields. Jacob is   chosen by God to be a blessing to the world       simple, quiet, plain, straightforward man. But
interested in continuing the Abrahamic            because he discovered ethical monotheism,         that is exactly what he seems not to be. We
birthright; Esau is far more moved by             and would teach succeeding generations            see him taking Esau‟s birthright in exchange
material acquisitions. Hence Esau gladly          compassionate righteousness and moral             for a bowl of soup. We see him taking Esau‟s
gives up his familial birthright for lentil       justice (Gen. 18:18,19). This is the familial     blessing, in borrowed clothes, taking
porridge when he returns, famished, from the      birthright and Abrahamic covenant.                advantage of their father‟s blindness.
hunt.
                                                  But Abraham was also a wealthy cattleman,         These are troubling episodes. We can read
When Isaac summons Esau to receive the            military hero and highly respected leader. He     them midrashically. The midrash makes
familial blessing and birthright, and Rebekah     had a first-born son, Ishmael, who was an         Jacob all-good and Esau all-bad. It rereads
cajoles Jacob into pretending to be Esau so       aggressive conqueror, who feared no man. He       the biblical text to make it consistent with the
that he may receive the birthright, a furious     also had the religious, righteous and             highest standards of the moral life. There is
and disappointed Esau vows to kill his            introspective Isaac. Abraham is naturally         much to be said for this approach.
brother – so Rebekah and Isaac send him to        drawn to this wild and ebullient firstborn,
Uncle Laban.                                      and when God informs him of the impending         Alternatively we could say that in these cases
                                                  birth of Isaac – Abraham suggests “Would          the end justifies the means. In the case of the
In the beginning of this portion, Jacob           that Ishmael walk before You.” God blesses        birthright, Jacob might have been testing
dreams the great dream of the Abrahamic           Ishmael at Beer-lahai-roi, and Isaac remains      Esau to see it he really cared about it. Since
covenant; a ladder linking heaven to earth,       obsessed by this place all his life; he is        he gave it away so readily, Jacob might be
ascending and descending angels, with the         constantly going back and forth from there        right in concluding that it should go to one
Almighty promising that his descendants will      (Gen. 24:62). Despite the fact that God tells     who valued it.
inherit the Land of Israel and will bring         Abraham “through Isaac shall your seed be
blessing to the world. He works seven years       called,” Isaac lived under the dark suspicion     In the case of the blessing, Jacob was
for Laban for the hand of Rachel, and after he    that his father really preferred Ishmael, and     obeying his mother, who had received a
is deceived under the nuptial canopy, and         hoped that the akeda would completely             Divine oracle saying that “the older shall
forced to marry Leah, he agrees to work           remove him, Isaac, from the scene.                serve the younger.”
another seven years for Rachel, with nary a
complaint. Indeed, Jacob remains a dweller in     In a similar fashion, the more passive Isaac      Yet the text remains disturbing. Isaac says to
(scholarly) tents, rather than an aggressive      was drawn to the more aggressive Esau,            Esau, "Your brother came deceitfully and
outdoorsman.                                      which is why he initially summons Esau for        took your blessing." Esau says, “Isn't he
                                                  the birthright and the blessings. Jacob           rightly named Jacob [=supplanter]? He has
But as the portion of Vayetsei develops, a        desperately yearns for his father‟s love – and    supplanted me these two times: He took my
new Jacob emerges. He puts his mind to            perhaps for that reason is quick to heed his      birthright, and now he's taken my blessing!"
animal husbandry, amassing much livestock         mother‟s advice. After all, the Abrahamic         Such accusations are not levelled against any
for his employer, Laban. When his beloved         legacy includes material success, military        other biblical hero.
son Joseph is born, he threatens to leave and     prowess and aggressive leadership. Thus he
                                                  decides to assume not only the garb but also         To sponsor an issue of Likutei Torah:
return to Israel, only agreeing to remain with                                                         Call Saadia Greenberg 301-649-7350
Laban for a partnership, or at least a share of   the inner characteristics of Esau. In the
                                                                                                          or email: sgreenberg@jhu.edu
the profits.                                                                                                  http://torah.saadia.info
  2                                                                                                    Likutei Torah
                                                  drank, they might have affected the Agouti        of Laban, a possessive, exploitative and
Nor does the story end there. In this week's      gene that determines the colour of fur in         deceptive figure who takes advantage of his
parasha a similar deceit is practiced on him.     sheep and mice.[1]                                vulnerability. Jacob is the man who – as
After his wedding night, he discovers that he                                                       almost all of us do at some time or other –
has married Leah, not, as he thought, his         However it happened, the result was               finds that life is unfair.
beloved Rachel. He complains to Laban.            dramatic. Jacob became rich: In this way the
                                                  man grew exceedingly prosperous and came          What Jacob shows, by his sheer quick-
"What is this you have done to me? Was it         to own large flocks, and maidservants and         wittedness, is that the strength of the strong
not for Rachel that I served you?                 menservants, and camels and donkeys. (Gen.        can also be their weakness. So it is when
Why then have you deceived me?" (Gen. 29:         30: 43)                                           Esau comes in exhausted from the hunt, and
25)                                                                                                 is willing impetuously to trade his birthright
                                                  Inevitably, Laban and his sons felt cheated.      for some soup. So it is when the blind Isaac
Laban replies: "It is not done in our place to    Jacob sensed their displeasure, and – having      is prepared to bless the son who will bring
give the younger before the firstborn.” (Gen.     taken counsel with his wives and being            him venison to eat. So it is when Laban hears
29: 26) It's hard not to see this as precise      advised to leave by G-d himself – departs         the prospect of getting Jacob‟s labour for
measure-for-measure retribution. The              while Laban is away sheep-shearing. Laban         free. Every strength has its Achilles‟ heel, its
younger Jacob pretended to be the older           eventually discovers that Jacob has left, and     weakness, and this can be used by the weak
Esau. Now the elder Leah has been disguised       pursues him for seven days, catching up with      to gain victory over the strong.
as the younger Rachel. A fundamental              him in the mountains of Gilead.
principle of biblical morality is at work here:                                                     Jacob represents the refusal of the weak to
As you do, so shall you be done to.               The text is fraught with accusation and           accept the hierarchy created by the strong.
                                                  counteraccusation. Laban and Jacob both feel      His acts are a form of defiance, an insistence
Yet the web of deception continues. After         cheated. They both believe that the flocks and    on the dignity of the weak (vis-a-vis Esau),
Rachel has given birth to Joseph, Jacob wants     herds are rightfully theirs. They both regard     the less loved (by Isaac), and the refugee (in
to return home. He has been with Laban long       themselves as the victim of the other‟s           Laban‟s house). In this sense he is one
enough. Laban urges him to stay and tells         deceitfulness. The end result is that Jacob       element of what, historically, it has been like
him to name his price.                            finds himself forced to run away from Laban       to be a Jew.
                                                  as he was earlier forced to run away from
Jacob then embarks on an extraordinary            Esau, in both cases in fear of his life.          But the Jacob we see in these chapters is not
course of action. He tells Laban he wants no                                                        the figure whom, ultimately, we are called on
wages at all. Let Laban remove every spotted      So the question returns. What kind of man         to emulate. We can see why. Jacob wins his
or streaked lamb from the flock, and every        was Jacob? He seems anything but an ish           battles with Esau and Laban but only at the
streaked or spotted goat. Jacob will then         tam, a straightforward man. And surely this is    cost of eventually having to flee in fear of his
keep, as his hire, any new born spotted or        not the way for a religious role model to         life. Quick-wittedness is only a temporary
streaked animals.                                 behave – in such a way that first his father,     solution.
                                                  then his brother, then his father-in-law,
It is an offer that speaks simultaneously to      accuse him of deceit. What kind of story is       It is only later, after his wrestling match with
Laban‟s greed and his ignorance. He seems to      the Torah telling us in the way it narrates the   the angel, that he receives a new name – that
be getting Jacob‟s labour for almost nothing.     life of Jacob?                                    is, a new identity – as Israel, “because you
He is demanding no wages. And the chance                                                            have struggled with G-d and with men and
of unspotted animals giving birth to spotted      One way of approaching an answer is to look       have overcome.” As Israel he is unafraid to
offspring seems remote.                           at a specific character – often a hare, or in     contend with people face-to-face. He no
                                                  African-American tradition, “Brer rabbit” ­–      longer needs to outwit them by clever but
Jacob knows better. In charge of the flocks he    in the folktales of oppressed people. Henry       ultimately futile stratagems. His children will
goes through an elaborate procedure               Louis Gates, the American literary critic, has    eventually become the people whose dignity
involving peeled branches of poplar, almond       argued that such figures represent “the           lies in the unbreakable covenant they make
and plane trees, which he places with their       creative way the slave community responded        with G-d.
drinking water. The result is that they do in     to the oppressor‟s failure to address them as
fact produce streaked and spotted offspring.      human beings created in the image of G-d.”        Yet we can see something of Jacob‟s early
                                                  They have “a fragile body but a deceptively       life in one of the most remarkable features of
How this happened has intrigued not only the      strong mind.” Using their intelligence to         Jewish history. For almost two thousand
commentators – who mostly assume that it          outwit their stronger opponents, they are able    years Jews were looked down on as pariahs,
was a miracle, G-d‟s way of assuring Jacob‟s      to deconstruct and subvert, in small ways, the    yet they refused to internalise that image, just
welfare -– but also scientists. Some argue that   hierarchy of dominance favouring the rich         as Jacob refused to accept the hierarchies of
Jacob must have had an understanding of           and the strong. They represent the momentary      power or affection that condemned him to be
genetics. Two unspotted sheep can produce         freedom of the unfree, a protest against the      a mere second-best. They, like Jacob, relied
spotted offspring. Jacob had doubtless            random injustices of the world.[2]                not on physical strength or material wealth
noticed this in his many years of tending                                                           but on qualities of the mind. In the end,
Laban‟s flocks.                                   That, it seems to me, is what Jacob represents    though, Jacob must become Israel. For it is
                                                  in this, the early phase of his life. He enters   not the quick-witted victor but the hero of
Others have suggested that prenatal nutrition     the world as the younger of two twins. His        moral courage who stands tall in the eyes of
can have an epigenetic effect – that is, it can   brother is strong, ruddy, hairy, a skilful        humanity and G-d.
cause a certain gene to be expressed which        hunter, a man of the open country. He is
might not have been otherwise. Had the            quiet, a scholar. Then he must confront the       [1] Joshua Backon, “Jacob and the spotted
peeled branches of poplar, almond and plane       fact that his father loves his brother more       sheep: the role of prenatal nutrition on
trees been added to the water the sheep           than him. Then he finds himself at the mercy
  3                                                                                                      Likutei Torah
epigenetics of fur color,” Jewish Bible            favors towards us (hakaras haTov) does not         When Yaakov anticipates troubl e from
Quarterly, Vol. 36, No.4, 2008.                    require us to be thankful for an abundance of      Lavan, he called his "brothers" – meaning
[2] Henry Louis Gates, Black literature and        rain, but we are required to be thankful for       those who loved him and shared the same
literary theory, New York, Methuen, 1984,          even the minutest of favors. The Alter points      goals in life as he did and who were willing
81-104.                                            out that we as human beings have                   to risk their lives for him. Rav Matisyahu
                                                   unbelievable intelligence. We are thinking         Solomon in paraphrasing this Medrash says
Project Genesis: Rabbi Yissocher Frand             creatures who can communicate and                  "Ben" (son) is a "yichus" (blood relation),
"Now I Have Someone To Blame" – That's             accomplish wondrous things with our                "Ach" (brother) is a "yachas" (relationship).
Just The Beginning                                 intelligence. However, conceptually, the first
The Matriarch Leah had one son after another       "drop of intelligence" in this world is a          We find the same idea in Parshas Lech
and the Matriarch Rochel remained barren.          rooster who knows how to distinguish               Lecha. When Avraham heard that Lot was
Finally, G-d remembered Rochel, He listened        between day and night. Just like we do not         captured, the pasuk states he heard "that his
to her prayers and she gave birth to a son. We     thank G-d for 35 inches of annual rainfall –       brother was captured" [Bereshis 14:14]. Of
read "She conceived and bore a son, and she        or whatever amount we need to grow our             course, Lot was not really his brother – he
said, 'G-d has gathered in my disgrace' (Asaf      crops – but rather we thank Him for each and       was a nephew, but since Avraham was
Elokim es cherpasi)." [Bereshis 30:23]Based        every drop, so too we don't thank G-d for          prepared to risk his life to rescue Lot, he is
on the root of the word Asaf [gathered in],        having a 130 IQ or the fact that we might be       called in Biblical lexicon "achiv" (his
she calls her son Yosef.                           a successful brain su rgeon. We thank Him          brother).
                                                   for the minutest amount of intelligence that
Rashi first states that the simple                 we perceive in the world – the instinctual         This idea sheds new light on a Torah section
interpretation of Rochel's reference to            knowledge possessed by a rooster that the          in Parshas Ki Seizeh: "You shall not see the
"disgrace" is the fact that she was barren.        morning has arrived. All of the intelligence       ox of your brother or his lamb cast off and
Rashi cites a Medrash that a married woman         that He showered on the world begins with          hide yourself from them; you shall surely
without children suffers disgrace because she      the rooster who has a brain the size of a nail,    return them to your brother. And if your
has no one to blame if something is broken or      but can distinguish between day and night.         brother is not near you and you do not know
eaten in the house. When she has a child and                                                          him, then you shall bring it inside your
something breaks or is eaten, she can hang         This too is the interpretation of Rochel's         house, and it shall r emain with you until
the blame on the child and tell her husband        expression of gratitude for now having             your brother's inquiring about it, then you
that it was the fault of his child.                someone to blame her household misdeeds            shall return it to him. So shall you do for his
                                                   when her first son was born. Certainly, she        donkey, and so shall you do for his garment,
This medrash is difficult to comprehend.           was overwhelmed with gratitude that she was        and so shall you do for any lost article of
How could this be Rochel's reaction to             no longer barren and was now able to have a        your brother that may become lost from him
having a baby? Rochel earlier said to her          child. However, her very first expression of       and you find it, you cannot hide yourself."
husband, "Give me children – if not, I am de       gratitude was for even the minutest derivative     [Devorim 22:1-3] In these 3 pasukim [verses)
ad!" [Bereshis 30:1] Her state of barrenness       benefit of this blessed event. "Now having         The word "achicha" (your brother) is
was so painful to her that she felt it would not   someone to blame" was only the beginning of        mentioned no less than 5 times.
be worth living if she remained in that state.     her thanks, it was not the full extent of her
So what should her reaction be upon finally        gratitude.                                         The Torah is teaching us how to relate to
having a son? Certainly, it should be                                                                 another Jew. We need to view him and treat
something far less trivial than "Now I have        The Term Brothers In The Torah                     him like a brother. The Torah concludes with
someone to blame for the messy house and           Represents Yachas Not Yichus                       a warning, "Lo tuchal l'hisalem." [You cannot
the eaten leftovers!" What is the meaning of       At the end of the parsha, when Lavan ran           hide yourself.] We would have expected this
"G-d has gathered in my disgrace"?                 after Yaakov and they eventually made a            prohibition to be written as "Al tisalem" (do
                                                   peace covenant with one another, the Torah         not turn away). The expression "Lo suchal" is
There is an interesting insight from the “Alter    records: "Yaakov instructed his brethren:          much stronger than a mere prohibition. It is
of Slabodka on the first of our morning            "Gather stones!" So they took stones and           stating "You CANNOT turn away". What
blessings: „Blessed are You Hashem our G-d,        made a mound, and they ate there on the            does that mean "You CANNOT"? We know
King of the Universe who has given the             mound." [Bereshis 31:46]. Rashi is bothered        that it is very easy to walk right past the
rooster the understanding to distinguish           by the fact that the Torah says Yaakov             object and turn away from it!
between day and night.‟ One might indeed           instructed his brethren (echav). Rashi
wonder how this blessing merited such a            explains it to mean his sons and says they are     The answer is that if one appreciates the fact
distinguished place in the sequence of daily       called 'brothers' for they were like brothers to   that the object trul y belongs to his
blessings. Is it more significant that "He         him, who would come to the fore in trouble         BROTHER (achicha) with all that this
Opens the eyes of the blind"? We could             and in case of war against him.                    relationship implies in the Torah in terms of
understand if the leadoff blessing would be                                                           closeness and kinship, then he in fact will not
one that thanked G-d for allowing us to walk,      The Medrash Rabbah on which Rashi's                be able to turn away from the lost property
to be clothed, to stand up straight. Thanking      comment is based is a bit more explicit. The       any more than he would be able to turn away
G-d for the wisdom of a rooster would not          term "echav" in the lexicon of the Chumash         from his own lost property.
seem to deserve such a high ranking in terms       is not strictly defined by blood relationship
of the order of the morning blessings.             but on commonality. Individuals who                This is what Yaakov meant in our parsha.
                                                   mutually admire one another, share values,         The relationship that he had with his sons
The Alter quotes a Gemara [Berachos 59b]           and come to each other's aid even if it            was a relationship of "ach", meaning he knew
that the proper blessing for rain is               involves risking their lives are called            that he was able to count on them for self
"concerning each and every drop that You           brethren, whether or not in actuality they are     sacrifice and that they were totally committed
brought down for us". Recognition of G-d's         truly brothers.                                    to a common agenda and common goals.
  4                                                                                                       Likutei Torah
Dvar Torah: TorahWeb.Org                           and he placed them around his head and he           Eventually his persistence paid off and a
Rabbi Mayer Twersky                                lay down there. And he dreamed, and behold          certain Rabbi took him under his wing and
Fulfilling Destiny                                 there was a ladder standing toward the earth        prepared him for the big event. Avraham
Vayomer Yaakov el Lavan hava es ishti ki           and its head was striving heavenward, and           himself told me that on the day he was to
mal'oo yomai v'avo'ah eileha - Yaakov said to      behold angels of Elochim were going up and          receive the circumcision the Mohel
Lavan, "Give me my wife, for my term is            down on it. And behold HASHEM was                   brandished the knife and the Rabbi asked
completed; and I will consummate the               standing over it and He said, “I am                 again as if to scare and discourage him, “Are
marriage with her" (Breishis 29:21)                HASHEM the G-d of Avraham your father               you sure you still want to go through with
Superficially the phrase "ki mal'oo yomai"         and the G-d of Yitzchok. The Land that you          it?” With his usual exuberance he declared,
would seen to mean my years of work to             are laying upon I will give to your seed…”          “Now more than ever!” Then he became
which I committed per the terms o our              (Breishis 28:10-13)                                 Avraham! He told us that his mother
agreement are complete. Chazal, however,                                                               remembers that back in Puerto Rico her
reveal a deeper meaning. Yaakov could have         Why did Yakov merit having this lofty vision        mother used to light candles in the basement.
simply said "the time is up". The emphatic,        on his way away from home?                          Who knows!? Maybe this starved thirsty soul
personalized "ki mal'oo yomai" expresses a                                                             is from amongst those that were persecuted
sense of urgency. "Ki mal'oo yomai" - my           The Midrash keys into the subject with a            and forced to leave Spain in 1492. Perhaps he
time has come. How can I fulfill my divinely       verse from Tehillim, “A Psalm of David              was a Jew all along living apart. All I know is
ordained mission of fathering twelve tribes        when he was in the wilderness of Yehuda. G-         that once he was reunited with Judaism and
unless I marry now?                                d, you are my Almighty, I will seek You! My         the Jewish People he was on fire with
                                                   soul thirsts for You! My flesh longs for You,       enthusiasm. Every week in Yeshiva, when the
Upon reflection there is a remarkable              in a dry and weary land without water! So in        Havdala candle was extinguished in the wine
message in Yaakov Avinu's words. On the            the Sanctuary have I perceived You, to see          signaling the end of Shabbos and the
one hand, he knows through ruach hakodesh          Your might and glory. (Tehillim 63:1-3)             beginning of another week, he started
that he is destined to father twelve tribes. Yet                                                       dancing and singing excitedl y, “Shabbos is
on the other and, he is very concerned that he     What does this have to do with Yakov                coming! Shabbos is coming!”
may not do so. The message is clear: Hashem        leaving home and being treated to the image
may prepare a destiny for us but He does not       of a ladder that bridge heaven and earth? The       Yakov was entering into a long protracted
decree fulfillment of that destiny. We must,       Sefas Emes comments on the Midrash and              exile. We can only imagine the intense
with alacrity and determination, apply             states, “According to the greatness of the          longing for holiness he experienced as he was
ourselves to realize our destiny. Hashem may       desire and the extent of the (magnetic)             becoming more distant from home with every
assign us a role in history, but we must carry     attraction that there is in a person to serve his   step. Like a beach ball being forced to the
out that assignment. Otherwise, our destiny        Creator in a place which is a (spiritual)           bottom of the pool, the moment it is released
will remain unfulfilled and Hashem will find       wilderness devoid of water, so he will be able      it begins to climb to the top.
other means to guide history according to His      afterwards to be attached to Holiness at the
will.                                              time when there is even a slight spiritual          Since writing this I quite unexpectedly
                                                   awakening…So it is in this world! According         bumped into Avraham, as Yakov “bumped
Indeed Chazal tell us that Yosef Hatzaddik         the greatness of the desire a person has for        into the place”. I told him that I had written
was also destined to father twelve tribes. Due     HASHEM, so will he be able afterwards to            about him “as a beach ball rushing upward”.
to sin, however, he only fathered two and the      cleave to HIM in the next world. And so             He chuckled and remarkably he responded
remaining ten were fathered by Binyamin.           during weekdays that a person strives in the        just as when he faced the Mohel‟s knife so
The Netziv poignantly describes how his            physical world which is “a weary land               many years earlier, “Now more than ever!”
parents were ready to send him away from           without water”, to that extent will he later
the beis medrash to learn a trade because they     merit on Shabbos Kodesh, which is like the
felt he was not applying himself. The Netziv,      next world, to revel in the pleasantness of
in tears, pleaded with his parents for another     HASHEM.”
chance. They relented, and he became the
gadol that he was who authored Ha'amek             Almost 3 decades ago a young man or shall I
She'eilah, Merumei Sadeh, Ha'amek Davar,           say boy came to Yeshiva Ohr Somayach in
and other classics. As an old man the Netziv       Monsey. It was not just that he was younger
said, "had I not persevered, when I came to        than the average student but his background
shomayim I would have been shown all of            and appearance were distinct as well.
these seforim that I was destined to write. But    Avraham Ben Avraham had moved with his
then it would have been too late."                 mother to Williamsburg Brooklyn, a richly
                                                   Chassidic neighborhood, from Puerto Rico.
Personal destinies can remain unfulfilled.         As a non-Jewish Puerto Rican youth he
Like Yaakov Avinu we need to seize the day         worked in a local grocery store. He had an
with its opportunities to fulfill our destiny.     affinity and a facility for language, and he
                                                   quickly learned to speak fluent Yiddish. After
                                                   a while he developed a burning desire to
Project Genesis: Dvar Torah
                                                   convert to Judaism. He tried for a long time
by Rabbi Label Lam                                 to find a sponsor but he must have seemed to
Now More Than Ever!                                be a risky candidate. After all conversion is a
And Yakov went out from Be‟er Sheva and            lifetime, all- time commitment. It cannot be
he went to Charan. And he bumped into the          just a fad- a phase a passing passion.
place and he slept there because the sun had
set and he took from the stones of the place

								
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