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Haftarah: Hoshea 11:7 - 12:12


"Then Jacob kissed Rachel and he raised his voice and wept." (Beresheet 29:11)

When Ya'akob met Rachel he cried. Rashi explains: "He cried because he came with empty hands. He said, 'Eliezer, my paternal grandfather's slave, had in his hands nose rings and bracelets, and delicacies when he went to find a wife for Isaac. But I have nothing in my hand.' Ya'akob was empty handed because Eliphaz, the son of Esav, pursued him at the command of his father, to kill him. Eliphaz overtook Ya'akob, and since Eliphaz grew up under the influence of Isaac, he withdrew his hand from murdering his uncle (Ya'akob). Eliphaz said to Ya'akob, 'What should I do about my father's command?' Ya'akob said to him, 'Take that which is in my hand - and the poor man is considered like a dead person.' (Thus, by impoverishing Ya'akob, Eliphaz would be fulfilling Esav's command to kill him.)"

This Rashi explains why Ya'akob was crying when he met Rachel, because he was empty handed due to his encounter with Eliphaz. Many of us are very familiar with this Rashi. However, there is an obvious question that I have asked in the back of my mind. Rabbi Abraham Salem Shlita, the Rosh Yeshivah of Meor Hatorah in Jerusalem asks (in his sefer Netiv Hatorah): What was the meaning of Eliphaz's question, "What do I do about my father's command?" Can it be that through the act of murder one would be fulfilling the misvah of honoring one's father? Can this be a fulfillment of the misvah of honoring one's father that he learned from his father Esav, who was famous for his observance of that misvah?

The answer is that this is the power of the evil inclination in man. For not only does it tell man to do evil, but he also uses the good side of the person in order to do the greatest evil. The person could be fooled into thinking that he is doing the greatest misvah and end up committing murder. Rabbi Salem concludes, "And this is what we see in our days with suicide bombers, may their name be erased."

We have today an entire army of Jihadists, willing to die and to kill as many innocent people as possible, the entire time thinking they are getting a misvah! How fortunate are we that we have the Torah that guides us throughout our lives to always do what's right. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

"And Ya'akob was afraid and he said, 'How awesome is this place.'" (Beresheet 28:17)

Ya'akob Abinu was traveling to Haran when he was suddenly plunged into darkness, and he lay down to sleep. At that point, he had a phenomenal dream where Hashem revealed Himself to Ya'akob, and promised him Divine protection until he would return to his father's home. The Midrash says that he also saw the future exiles and the final redemption in this dream. And yet, when Ya'akob wakes up, his first instinct is to cry out, "This is a holy place! Had I known that, I would not have slept here!" That means that Ya'akob would have given up all of the Divine revelations and the promise that he saw in the dream, because he wouldn't want to sleep in a holy place.

From here we see that the ends do not justify the means! If we talk in shul words of Torah during the time we are not allowed to speak, such as Kaddish, Hazarah or Sefer Torah, instead of getting a misvah, we are getting the opposite. We tend to justify our misdeeds by saying, "Hashem would want me to do this for this specific reason" and yet Ya'akob, our forefather, is teaching us that it's not worth the outcome if it means doing something wrong. Let's listen to Sefer Torah, Kaddish and Hazarah, and not talk about anything, and our Torah study will be enhanced by the fact that we are doing the right thing! Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka

How long did Rachel and Leah live?

According to Seder Hadorot, Rachel lived fourteen years after her wedding to the age of thirty-six (and according to some scholars, twenty six). Leah lived to be forty four. (Torahific)


Having a major problem is not unusual. Unfortunately, too many people face health problems, child-rearing crises, or financial difficulties. The nature of human beings causes them to hide problems from others out of embarrassment, or to deny the situation even exists in order to calm their own hurt egos. This course does not eliminate the anguish of the moment, nor does it remove the pain of the future. It actually makes a simple situation grow into an insurmountable mountain.

It may not be within the capacity of an individual to effectuate the solution to a personal problem, but an advisor or friend may be able to come up with a feasible answer or plan of action. Seeking help when times are rough is not embarrassing; it is smart.

In Mishlei (12:15) it is states: "The ways of a fool are correct in his eyes; but the person who heeds advice is wise."

The sooner you call for help, the better. It is not unusual to find that the experts are people who once suffered from the same circumstances as those you are presently experiencing.

Whenever you see a mountain you can't climb, call for help. It is nothing to be ashamed of; it is the first step to a happy solution. (One Minute With Yourself - Rabbi Raymond Beyda)

* * * * *

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.

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