Yaakov is on the run from his big bro Eisav, and interestingly enough, this escape drama affects the way the text of the Torah looks. Typically, parshiyot have paragraph breaks, but Vayeitzei surprisingly has none. Baal Haturim quotes those who explain that the reason why the text of this week’s parsha is “closed” (meaning, there are
Last year, Parshas Toldos was the occasion of the pidyon haben (redeeming the firstborn) of the older of our twin grandsons. For my own family, this was a brand-new mitzvah, as our oldest children were twin girls. The firstborn rights play a prominent role in Parshas Toldos, where Yaakov purchases Eisav’s birthright.
The world of religious ideas was steadily coalescing. Gradually, God introduced humanity to fundamental principles of religion. The horrific flood demonstrated the rule of moral “cause and effect”: if humans descended into moral chaos, the world would literally collapse. Subsequently, the selection of Avraham confirmed that a
“These are the offsprings of Yitzchak the son of Avraham; Avraham bore Yitzchak.” If Yitzchak is the son of Avraham, it seems redundant to then say “Avraham bore Yitzchak.” The Siftei Chachamim based on the Gemara (Bava Metzia 87a) explains the back story. Upon Yitzchak’s birth [which was certainly a profound miracle that
There is something to be said for revolutionaries. For founders. For the people who have the foresight and the daring to chart a course untrodden. Revolutionaries put their ideals to the test by living the principles they believe can transform the world around them, and history will always be enamored by such people. Avraham was a
It was last year in the week of Parshas Chayei Sarah that my older brother, Binyamin, got married to Sarah Miriam Kaplan. Both had been single for many years and never married. They planned for a small wedding, with more friends coming for dancing and a buffet at the end. To their surprise, when they walked down the aisle, every seat was
Avraham’s revolution had begun to gain traction. He traversed the promised land, participating both in wars as well as in diplomacy, all the while disseminating awareness about a one God. Though his message radiated throughout the Land of Israel, it still hadn’t infiltrated cultures outside the land of God. His only previous
I recently received a phone call from an out-of-town friend of mine. His young adult daughter had been dating a yeshiva-oriented young man and it looked as if this might lead to an engagement. The young man wanted to study Torah and possibly pursue a career in chinuch (teaching) after several years. However, he had given no serious thought
Parshat Chayei Sarah describes the first portion of land any Jew ever owned in Israel: Avraham’s purchase of the Machpeilah cave in Chevron as a burial plot for Sarah.
Why does our permanent and tangible connection with the Land of Israel begin as the purchase of a burial plot? Indeed, for thousands of
Ephron pulls the chair on Avraham, positing an exorbitant amount of cash for the plot of land Avraham wants to bury Sarah in. Avraham had not so much of a choice but to accept. One who reads through the exchange and puts himself in place of Avraham can imagine the possible frustration and annoyance involved, as well as the faintheartedness
Quite frankly, I didn’t think that this was an article for me to write. There were so many community clergy and lay leaders involved in the arrangements leading up to Yom Tov that I truly thought that another would take notice. However, after giving it a few weeks, I think that it is time to reflect on what actually happened in our