subscribe.gif (2332 bytes)

shore.gif (51285 bytes)

Back to Parsha Homepage Archive of previous issues

Haftarah: Shemuel I 20:18-42

NOVEMBER 10-11, 2007 29 HESHVAN 5768


"[Yitzhak] called the well 'Esek' because they argued about it." (Beresheet 26:20)

When Yitzhak lived near the Philistines, they were jealous of him, and whatever he tried to do, they attempted to block it. When he dug wells they tried to stuff them with sand, so as not to be usable. It is interesting to note that Yitzhak gave the wells special names, which is meant to teach us something. The word "Esek," although it is used to mean "argument," really means "to get involved with" or "to get entangled with." The lesson we can learn from here is that Yitzhak realized this well needed too much involvement with it, which ultimately led to arguments. Therefore, he let it go, and dug a different well. For someone like Yitzhak, who spent his whole life serving Hashem, it wasn't worth it to hassle about this well, since it would involve him too much. He would ultimately lose out on his service to Hashem.

We can see this in our own lives very often. Sometimes we want to do things, thinking that they are hassle-free, but then we see that we get too involved. At that point, we can either let go and do something else, or try to force the issue and get entangled. This could lead to arguments, and to being taken up with something we didn't want. We should learn from Yitzhak and go on to the next thing - don't get involved unless necessary. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka

“It was told to Ribkah the words of her older son, Esav, and she sent and summoned Jacob, her younger son.” (Beresheet 27:42)

Why does the Torah always refer to Esav as the older, and Jacob the younger? After all, they were twins! Let’s answer with a parable.

Once, a young boy saw that his parents were worried. His grandfather had fallen down and was injured. The next day, his situation deteriorated. His energy was drained. The next day, he got fever, and the day after that, he stopped talking. The doctor began to worry. Suddenly, the grandson began to cry and would not stop. They all asked what was wrong. He told them, “How can I not cry? I am worried about my younger brother if he will live! My younger brother fell as he was just beginning to walk. He is also now sick and he has fever and isn’t talking!” All of the family members laughed and immediately calmed him down. “No, this is nothing,” they said. “It is normal for a little boy to fall as he learns to walk. If he is sick now from some childhood illness, he will get better and will be immune from that illness. Also, there is no need to worry that he isn’t talking. He is still young and didn’t learn to talk yet. He will grow and he will talk.”

This is the difference between the gentile son, Esav, and the Jewish son, Ya’akob, the younger son. Regarding Esav, the older one, if we see signs of illness, bad character and evil deeds, there is no hope that he will heal from them. However Jacob is like the younger son, who if he has any shortcomings, even sins, he will repent and mend his ways. He will draw closer to his Creator and will enjoy and will be protected by Hashem’s shadow. How fortunate are we to be the children of the young son. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah


When Esav came to his father Ya’akob for his blessing, Ya’akob said to him,

“Your brother came ‘bemirmah’ and took your blessing.” (Beresheet 27:35)

Rashi defines the word bemirmah, which is usually defined as “with deception,” to mean here “with wisdom.”

Rabbi Yeruchem Levovitz commented that there are many actions whose labels are dependent on the motivation of the person doing them. If the intention is for the good, then the action is considered good. What in other instances might be deceitful is really wisdom in this case. The same is true for the opposite. If the intention behind the action is bad, the action is considered a falsehood and is labeled deception. Ya’akob had only pure intentions and hence his behavior was considered positive.

This concept illustrates the importance of a person being honest with himself about his true motivations. At times a person can rationalize his dishonesty but deep down knows that he has negative motivations. When performing any action that is borderline, ask yourself what your real underlying reason is for doing it. Good intentions do not give one license to do something forbidden. (In Ya’akob’s situation there were factors that rendered his actions proper.) But many things you will have to do in life will be dependent on your inner thoughts. Learn to be honest with yourself and gain awareness of why you are doing what you are doing. (Growth through Torah)


“And he went to Paddan-aram to Laban, son of Betuel the Aramean, the brother of Ribkah, the mother of Ya’akob and Esav” (Beresheet 28:5)

Why are the words, “the mother of Ya’akob and Esav” necessary?

To protect Ya’akob from being killed by Esav, his parents decided to send him to Laban in Paddan-aram, and Yitzhak advised him to “take a wife from there.”

Yitzhak and Ribkah had two sons, Esav and Ya’akob. Laban had two daughters, Leah and Rachel. The popular opinion was that Esav would marry Leah and Ya’akob would marry Rachel.

Aware of Laban’s unscrupulous character, they feared that he would slyly tell Ya’akob, “I would love to have you as my son-in-law, but it is improper for the younger to get married before the older. Therefore, I will call Esav to come here and marry Leah, and then I will give my daughter Rachel to you as a wife.” Undoubtedly, when Esav would meet Ya’akob in Laban’s territory, he would kill him immediately.

Consequently, Yitzhak and Ribkah advised Ya’akob to tell Laban that his sister

Ribkah, “the mother of Ya’akob and Esav,” had sent him, and that he, Ya’akob, was her older son. Hence, he could marry before Esav and there would be no need to bring Esav to Paddan-aram. (Vedibarta Bam)


"Yitzhak’s servants dug in the valley and found a well of fresh water." (Beresheet 26:19)

The Hafess Hayim explained that the Torah elaborates on the wells that Yitzhak found to teach us that you should not despair when you start something just because you run into difficulties. When Yitzhak dug and did not find water, he kept digging in other places until he finally found what he was seeking. When others quarreled with him and took over his wells, he still did not become discouraged. He continued his digging until he finally found a well with water that he was able to use in peace, and he called the area Rehobot.

This is a practical lesson for all areas of our lives. It applies to spiritual and material matters, to Torah studies and business. Be persistent when things do not work out at first the way you would wish them to. If you have the determination to keep trying, eventually you will succeed. (Hafess Hayim al Hatorah)

Answer to Pop Quiz: Twenty years.

A quick tip to boost the power of your prayer. Hazal tell us (Masechet Baba Kama Daf 92A) that Hashem loves the tefilot of one Jew for another so much that anyone who prays on behalf of a fellow Jew with similar needs will have his prayer answered first. A special service has now begun to provide people with names of others who find themselves in a similar predicament. You can call with complete anonymity and get the name of someone to pray for and give the name of someone that needs our prayers. The name of the service is Kol Hamitpalel. Categories include: Marriage; Income; Health; To have children etc.

Call to 646-279-8712 or email (Privacy of email limited by the email address)

Please pass this message along. Tizku L'misvot.

Please preserve the sanctity of this bulletin. It contains words of
Torah and should be treated with respect.
Past issues of this bulletin are available on the Internet courtesy of the
Shema Yisrael Torah Network. To view them or to see many other Torah items, please go to their site.
Other Torah e-mail you may enjoy:
send e-mail to and put in the message:
subscribe aram-soba

Please pass this bulletin along to a friend. You may subscribe to
this bulletin by sending e-mail to
and putting in the message: subscribe jersey-shore.
To unsubscribe, send the message 'unsubscribe jersey-shore' to

Back to Parsha Homepage | Previous Issues

This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Permission is granted to redistribute electronically or on paper,
provided that this notice is included intact.

For information on subscriptions, archives, and
other Shema Yisrael
Classes, send mail to
Jerusalem, Israel