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NOVEMBER 8-9, 2002 4 KISLEV 5763

Pop Quiz: Who did Ribkah consult when she was suffering during her pregnancy?


"And may G-d give you of the dew of the heavens and of the fatness of the earth" (Beresheet 27:28)

As we know, Yitzhak and Ribkah had two sons, Ya'akob and Esav. Yitzhak wanted to bless Esav. However, Ya'akob, upon the advice of his mother, masqueraded as Esav and managed to get the berachah. The berachah starts with the word "Veyeeten, and may He give." Since this is the beginning of the blessing, the word seems out of place. Rashi explains that it is like saying: May Hashem give you the following blessing over and over again, without stop.

The Kli Yakar explains that there is an important truth mentioned here that is crucial to our relationship with Hashem. It is well known that if a person would observe all of the misvot in a perfect way, that would not be enough to pay back in full to Hashem, all that a person has received from Hashem. As a matter of fact, Hashem grants us abundant kindness even before we do the misvot. As a result of this a person might mistakenly say, "Why must I perform the misvot? I will remain in debt anyway." Well, let's learn a lesson from the way the world conducts business. Many times a supplier will send merchandise to a customer on credit. Usually, the old debt must be settled on the first shipment before the supplier will extend credit again. Sometimes, however, the customer is unable to pay the balance owed in full and makes a partial payment. Many times the supplier will send goods as long as the client shows the ability and desire to pay. If the customer "keeps the accounts warm" the supplier will send goods. If, however, a long time passes with no payment, and the bill keeps increasing, the account gets cold and the supplier stops sending on credit.

Hashem is ready to give and to give again, as the berachah to Ya'akob says. But, a person must keep the account warm. Keep coming to shul, come to classes, eat kosher, etc. If you keep the account warm, then Hashem will continue this wonderful relationship that he has with you. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

"And the children grew up" (Beresheet 25:27)

When Ya'akob and Esav were growing up, they had the same upbringing, the same teachers (Yitzhak and Ribkah), and therefore they were pretty much similar. It is only when they grew up that Esav was a hunter and Ya'akob was a scholar. Now we know that even at birth there was a marked difference between Ya'akob and Esav. Nevertheless, while they were young and under their parents' tutelage, they were almost the same. But when they matured, that's when they parted ways.

We learn from here two points about child rearing. Firstly, even someone with a difficult nature (like Esav) could be taught at a young age to live up to a certain standard. However, more importantly, when they reach adolescence, that's when they "part ways." How vigilant do we have to be with them at that age: who are their friends, what are they doing in their spare time, are we good role models for them? And how many prayers and tears must we shed for them to be what we would like? Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka


"Yitzhak trembled a great trembling, extremely much" (Beresheet 27:33)

Rabbi Hayim Shmuelevitz, the late Rosh Yeshivah of Mir, cited the Sages who stated that when Yitzhak found out that the son he gave the blessing to was Ya'akob and not Esav, he experienced greater fear and anxiety at this moment than he did at the Akedah. There he was bound and ready to be killed with a sharp blade. From here we see that the realization that one made a mistake is the greatest of pains. This was not a one-time mistake. Rather, Yitzhak realized that all the years he though Esav was more deserving than Ya'akob he was in error. The anxiety experienced in the awareness of error is a powerfully painful emotion.

This is important to keep in mind when you are trying to point out to someone his faults and mistakes. You might think, "It is so obvious that this person is wrong. As soon as I tell it to him he should admit it." But the reality is that admitting a mistake can be extremely painful. For this reason there is a strong tendency for people to deny their mistakes. If you sincerely want to help someone improve, it is crucial to be as tactful as possible. Do all you can to decrease the amount of pain the person will experience. The more sensitive you are to the feelings of the person you are trying to influence, the more effective you will be. (Growth through Torah)


"The lads (Ya'akob and Esav) grew up" (Beresheet 25:27)

Until they reached the age of thirteen, Ya'akob and Esav seemed to be very similar to one another, and they were raised in the same way. As they grew up, though, their true character traits showed through. Esav turned to idol worship and murder, while Ya'akob turned to Torah study.

Our Rabbis point out that it is very important for parents to be conscious of their children's individual qualities and deficiencies. They must not simply raise all of their children with the same "rulebook." Each child requires his own personalized attention, specific to his own needs.

Question: Are you aware of each of your children's qualities and faults? What do you do to help each one improve on his good features and correct his shortcomings?


This Week's Haftarah: Malachi 1:1 - 2:7.

In our perashah, Ya'akob manages to get the birthright from Esav, first by selling him the lentil soup and second by taking his blessing from Yitzhak. It is clear that the Torah is telling us that Ya'akob is meant to be the chosen brother, carrying the legacy of Abraham and Yitzhak forward. In our haftarah, the prophet Malachi finds himself facing a Jewish nation that does not believe that G-d loves them. What can he use as proof that G-d still loves his people?

Malachi recounts the story of Esav and Ya'akob, telling the people that Ya'akob was chosen because G-d saw the future of the Jewish people in him. Indeed, the fact that the Jewish nation still exists today, even though in every generation there have been those who want to destroy us, proves that G-d hasn't changed His mind. (Tell it from the Torah)

Answer to pop quiz: Shem, son of Noah.

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