Parashas Vayeitzei 5781-Guaranteed Salvation

The Parasha opens by stating: “Yaakov left Beer Sheva and set out for Charan”. Chazal ask, why was it necessary to reassert that Yaakov lived in Beer Sheva, it was mentioned several times already in Parashas Toldos. The Verse should have only informed us of his departure. What is there to learn from the first part of the Verse? The Midrash describes some of the events that took place immediately after Yaakov’s departure. Eisav sent his firstborn Eliphaz to chase Yaakov to kill him. Thus, Eliphaz was Yaakov’s student and learnt Torah by him. When he reached Yaakov, he informed him that he was ordered by his father to kill him. Yaakov argued “I am your Rebbe who taught you Torah, and as you learnt my honor supersedes your father’s.” Eliphaz was determined to carry out his father’s order even that it meant killing his uncle and Rebbe, as otherwise his father would kill him for failing to listen. This logic proves how bloodthirsty Eliphaz himself was. Since when, a father’s order supplants Hashem’s orders regarding the three capital sins, not to kill is one of them? Has he not learned from Cain’s punishment for killing his brother? Nevertheless, the Midrash concludes that Yaakov convinced him to take all his possessions as a poor man is considered dead as stated in Talmud [Nedarim 64b]. By doing so he will accomplish his father’s order and be prevented Cain’s faith. Eliphaz agreed, took the money and the jewelry, and left. Is that event not more important to mention rather than petty addresses information that seemingly does not teach us anything? The Midrash then describes Yaakov’s internal struggle. His grandfather’s servant, Eliezer, went in search for a wife laden with riches, while Yaakov goes with nothing. Where would he receive the help he needed? Yaakov strengthened his trust in Hashem that he will provide for him when needed. Is the Midrash saying that Yaakov had a moment of doubt in his Trust in Hashem? The Ksav sofer answers: The Patriarch did not rely on miracles. Yaakov’s despair did not come from a lack of Trust in Hashem. Though, the knowledge and understanding that Hashem wishes to operate the world through the natural order He instituted. Based on this Yaakov’s finances were indeed of concern. Avraham Avinu had full Emunah and Bitachon in Hashem, yet he sent Eliezer with great riches to find a wife, for in the natural order of the world that is what helps getting the best match possible. Yaakov had nothing, and he wondered how he would be able to find a Shidduch as ordered by his father? Yaakov then brushed away all worries, as if Hashem decided to not provide him the natural tools to reach his goal, it meant that Hashem Himself wants to take care of it. From Yaakov we learn that sometimes we are in a difficult spot and have no prospect of solution, do not give up! As it only means that Hashem purposely removed the solutions from us so He can take care of it Himself. With this in mind, we understand the necessity for the Verse to mention that Yaakov left Beer Sheva. In other words, he left the entourage of the Tzadik where performing the commandments and Trusting Hashem is simple. However, when one starts his journey in life, the first challenge he encounters is his trust in Hashem. Yaakov tells our journeyman, whenever possibilities were provided to you to extract yourself from a difficult situation, it is the sign Hashem wants you to put the effort. Thus, when there seem to be no solution, you are fortunate as it is the sign that Hashem wants to provide the solution. Hereafter is a story that illustrate this message beautifully: Reb Meichel from Tekensdorf was a Chasid of the saintly Rebbe Meyer Yosef of Spinka, known as the Imrei Yosef z”l. He was well to do and arranged a match for his daughter with a respectable Chassidic bochur, also the son of a wealthy businessman. As part of the deal, he pledged a dowry of 2000 gold coins. They celebrated the engagement and a date for the wedding was fixed. All well and good — except that not long after the engagement, Reb Meichel’s finances took a sharp turn for the worse. He was on the verge of bankruptcy and had no idea how to pay for his daughter’s large dowry. He beseeched the boy’s father to postpone the wedding for half a year in the hopes of recouping his losses and honoring his side of the contract. The mechutan begrudgingly agreed, but the deadline came and passed, and our poor Reb Meichel was still unable to put together the necessary funding. The opposite fired off one tough letter after another, all of which went unanswered. Having exhausted all patience, he sent one final message to Reb Meichel, this time with a fiery ultimatum: “I’m cancelling the engagement if you don’t pay up the dowry in 30 days.” Reb Mechel had always been a staunch Chassid of the Spinka Rebbe, and of course the Rebbe had played a decisive role in finalizing the shidduch and setting the amount of the dowry. Reb Meichel hurried to his Rebbe, but this time not merely seeking a blessing, but rather a concrete solution to his plight. The Rebbe read the aggrieved mechutan’s letter. His response was an encouraging blessing and a promise that Reb Meichel would soon be able to come up with the funds for the dowry. But that promise alone was scant comfort for the man who was trembling in advance of the fastapproaching deadline. The Rebbe asked Meichel, if he himself had any ideas how the problem could be solved. “As a matter of fact, Heilige Rebbe, the only way is to win the lotto and there will be a state lottery in the next few days. If the Rebbe could tell me the winning numbers in advance, I will win the jackpot and be problem free.” “Very well,” replied the Spinka Rebbe; “take this paper and write down the numbers you will play, and I’ll do what I can.” Reb Meichel immediately felt the weigh off his chest and left glowing with optimism. Before he had time to go too far, the gabbai was shouting his name and asked him to wait for him. As he reached him, he told him that the Rebbe said: “there’s a problem with the third number, play the next number.” Reb Meichel went immediately to purchase a ticket and decided to remain in Spinka till after the drawing. He was sure his luck would change and that a new day was dawning. Alas, it was not to be. On the lottery day he walked to the town square to the check notice board where the winning numbers were posted. His eyes glazed over when he read the winning numbers. The winners were the very numbers the Rebbe had originally approved, but with the number he was asked to change he lost the jackpot and with it the possibility to marry his daughter. He ran back to the Rebbe and with hot tears streaming he recounted the misfortune. “Why, dear Rebbe? Why?” it is worse than salt on a wound, to be so close yet so far, how am I going to pay for the dowry? With a loving voice and full of compassion the Rebbe replied: “Meichel, my Meichel, the whole purpose in this test was to teach you a lesson to trust Tzadikim. Did I not tell you originally that everything will be well, and you will have the money for the dowry and the wedding? As you know now, I can foresee even the winning numbers. Yet, you have expected your salvation to come from the lottery and not from me. Therefore, I had to teach you this lesson. Now go home, my son, and, if you maintain pure and simple faith, you will have that dowry on time, and your daughter will get married.” Reb Meichel returned home with a firm resolve to strengthen his trust in Tzadikim. That resolution filled him with optimism and joy. Naturally, his wife asked for a briefing on his encounters with their Rebbe. Reb Meichel gave a full report, glowing with firm hope that the elusive dowry would soon be in his hands as well as the wedding expenses. “Great,” replied his wife, much relieved. “Oh, by the way, our gentile neighbor said he has something important to discuss with you and needs to see you right away.” Reb Meichel went to his neighbor. Obviously relieved to see him, the gentile said; “Meichel, we’ve always been good neighbors and I feel I can trust you. I am ashamed to say it, but my wife has lately become a drunkard. She left our home and comes only for money to buy whiskey. I’ll have nothing to do with this, and I want to remove all money from my house, so she won’t find any. I have put in this pouch everything I have — 5000 gold coins. Please keep it till I come to reclaim it. But mind that you don’t tell a soul.” Reb Meichel solemnly promised to guard the money faithfully and left. The next day, early in the morning a loud knock on the door roused him. It was a stranger who had come to visit the neighbor, to whom he was distantly related. He had the sad duty to inform Reb Meichel that the neighbor had died in his sleep that very night. He was so shaken by the discovery that he asked for a glass of brandy to calm his nerves, and Reb Meichel gladly obliged. That very day he was informed that the errant wife had also died. The couple were childless, nor had they any relatives who could legally claim to money. Reb Meichel then understood the Rebbe’s lesson. Hashem had prepared him the solution right next door, and there was no need to go out of his way with forcing the Rebbe to provide the winning numbers of the lottery. The moral is the darker the clouds the closer the salvation is. Though, it could only be triggered with trust in Hashem!

By Rabbi Fridmann * [email protected] * 305.985.3461

Have A Question? Ask The Rabbi and he will Answer

990 NE 171 Street  –  North Miami Beach, Florida 33162  –  (786) 405-9692  –

Print Friendly, PDF & Email