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Parashat Vayeitzei

November 2012

This week's Sedra, Vayeitzei, starts off with Jacob journeying away from his family after having aroused the anger of his brother Esau for 'taking' the blessings from his father Isaac.  The verse states that as he was journeying towards Charan, he 'encountered the place'.  Our Rabbis inform us that G-d is called "The Place" ("Hamakom") and that the Hebrew word 'encounter' often means prayer. 

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Parashat Vayiera
Abraham and the Three Angels

This week’s Sedra starts with our forefather Abraham, having just performed circumcision on himself at the ripe old age of 99, sitting in the burning heat of the day.  This was no ordinary heat - we are told that G-d made a hole in hell, bringing the whole world to boiling point.  Abraham was not a well man.  Yet he was still waiting by his tent, as consistent as always, touting for passing trade to teach them the whys and wherefores of G-d.

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Chayei Sarah

Parashat Chayei Sara

Concerning the Matriarch Sarah, we are told that she was “as beautiful at twenty as seven, as sinless at one hundred as at twenty”.  It’s hard to understand why Sarah’s beauty is mentioned here at all, especially following her death.  The answer is that just as wealth and poverty serve to test man, so does beauty.  Thus, after death, if someone excuses his sins with his handsomeness, he is asked, “Were you more handsome than Yosef?”

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Parashat Toldot

This week’s Sedra, Toldot, starts with the birth of Jacob and Esau.  We are told that Yitzchak was barren, and he prayed to G-d for children.  Why did this have to happen?  Our Rabbis tell us that while shady trees grow by themselves, fruit trees need nurturing.  In the same way, the wicked bear children by themselves, whereas the righteous must first pray.  That Yitzchak and Rebecca were barren before they prayed showed that they were righteous, and that G-d longed for their prayers, as He does all righteous people.

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Lech Lecha

Parashat Lech Lecha

“G-d said to Abraham ‘Get yourself from this country, from your relatives, and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you’”.

Abraham Journeying

The first verse of this week’s Sedra is fascinating.  The Torah tells us that Abraham was no youngster when he was told to leave his homeland - he was 75.  Think for a minute - imagine a relative of yours who is, let’s say, of advanced years.

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