שבת כ' בתשרי תש"פ 19/10/2019
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  • The Mission Continues

    As in the past so it remains today - we were and still are under the selfsame commitment to adhere to the directions of the Gedolei Yisrael, who stand guard against breaches of purity threatening our camp. When we were required to ask – we asked. When we were instructed to depart – we left. The moment we are summoned back to raise the flag, every other consideration is pushed to the side and we answer: We are ready!

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בראי היום

  • Harav Yisrael Friedman zy”a, the Rebbe of Husyatin

    מוטי, ויקיפדיה העברית

    The ancestral chain of Harav Yisrael Friedman, the founder of the Husyatin chassidic court, originates with the holy Baal Shem Tov. The Husyatin chassidus has its roots in Galicia and eventually came to Tel Aviv, during the turbulent years between the two World Wars.

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  • Maccabi'im Gravesite

    In honour of Chanukah, we will discuss a fascinating, ongoing investigation attempting to establish the place of burial of Mattisyahu Kohen Gadol and his family.

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In Weekly Parsha

Passion and Gusto

“I (Yaakov) dwelled with Lavan (32:5)”.

Yosef Tropper 03/12/2009 11:22
Yaakov Aveinu heard that Esav was coming to kill him. He sent large gifts and words of appeasement in an attempt to calm him down. What is in great need of explanation is one statement which Yaakov made to Esav, which seems out of line with Yaakov’s plan of pacification.

Rashi fills us in that Yaakov told Esav, “see that I dwelled with Lavan and never became anyone big or powerful, you should not hate me on account of the Berachos which I stole from you”. Then Rashi states that Yaakov said, “I still kept the 613 Mitzvos; I did not learn from Lavan’s bad ways”. This seems to be a positive trait, why is Yaakov stating it to Esav?
There is a simple approach which states that in fact Yaakov was being tough with Esav, stating that after all, Hashem is on my side and you shouldn’t start up with me.

However, I wish to share and develop another alternate approach that posits that Yaakov was indeed stating a negative fault of his own.

When evil people act, it is with much passion. Sins are tempting and humans are easily drawn and lured into chasing excitedly the wrong, yet pleasurable, avenue. Many sinners have a passion for the crime they are involved with.
Hashem wishes for us to serve Him with much feeling and vigor as well. When we think about how exciting Avodas Hashem is, we will be inspired to new heights. Just as we see sinners acting so excitedly to do their business, so too, we should learn to serve Hashem with much feeling and emotion!

Yaakov was bemoaning the fact that: “Sure, I kept the 613 Mitzvos, but, “I didn’t learn from Lavan’s evil actions”! Lavan acted with such passion and devotion in his negative pursuits, and I fell short in emulating and surpassing that passion in my positive pursuits!

With this explanation we now can understand an otherwise perplexing Midrash (Bereishis Rabbah 80:12). “We learn from the passionate expressions used to describe Shechem’s desire for Dina, that those are the same adjectives in which Hashem loves the Jews”! Why are we learning from a perverted charlatan?

The answer is that we must see his passion and learn to channel our gusto and vigor to use them to serve Hashem!

Extra Short and Sweet   

Two Deadly Fronts

Yaakov davened that Hashem should please save him from Esav. In expressing this, he states (Bereishis 32:12), “Please save me from the hands of my brother, from the hands of Esav.” Why all the repetition?

One answer given is that “Esav” represents all the attackers that would ever try to destroy Yaakov’s descendants.

Throughout history, Jews were destroyed in two different ways:

1- Enemy attack. They viciously murdered and destroyed Jewish lives.

2- Friendly attack. They coerced us into joining them and to turn our backs upon our rich heritage.

The Jews were either attacked brutally, or assimilated willingly. These are the two descriptions found in our verse. The word “Esav” represents physical hostile attacks. The word “brother” hints to comradeship with the gentiles, the desire for intermarriage and to become like the gentiles. This explains Yaakov’s double expression.

It comes as no surprise that the Midrash brings two opinions as to what the Angel of Esav, who fought with Yaakov, looked like. One says he appeared as a thief, and the other opinion states that he appeared as a pious scholar. These are the two alternating approaches used in order to destroy the Jews, evil or friendship.

Let us continue to pray to Hashem that he save us from all negative interactions under the guise of “Esav” and “brother”, and may we maintain our purity as Hashem’s beloved and special Nation.

Yosef Tropper
closetotorah.com