subscribe.gif (2332 bytes)

shore.gif (51285 bytes)

Back to This Week's Parsha Archive of previous issues


Haftarah: Hoshea 11:7 - 12:12

NOVEMBER 8-9, 2013 9 KISLEV 5774


"And he named that place Bet-El; however, Luz was the city's name originally." (Beresheet 28:19)

The human being is an interesting creature. Man does not live forever, but constantly is seeking ways to make his name live forever. Sometimes man will erect a monument in his name. Some will build a city. Some will engrave their names in marble. Lately, one can go to a cemetery and see tombstones engraved with a picture of the face of the person.

Our perashah tells us about a city that Ya'akob named Bet-El, but, its original name was Luz. The Gemara (Sotah 46b) tells us that the Angel of Death didn't have permission to enter that town, and no person ever died in Luz!

Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv zt"l comments that in the days of Ya'akob Abinu the entire world had a great desire to move and live in the happy city of Luz. But, if this is true that it was such a delight to live there, the city should have grown tremendously, and forever. If there was a city protected from the Angel of Death, people from the four corners of the earth should have flocked there. People should be willing to pay any amount of money just to own a few feet of that city. But now there is no remnant of that city. Where is it? It no longer exists.

Ya'akob Abinu renamed the city Bet-El. He came to announce that anyone who wants that his name should live forever should know that every minute one uses for Torah, those minutes live forever and are everlasting. The name of that city is Bet-El, the House of Hashem, the four cubits of halachah. Ya'akob came to announce that they are mistaken to think Luz is a place you can live forever. There is no escape from the Angel of Death. Even in Luz the Gemara (Succah 53a) tells us that if the Angel of Death cannot come in, he gets the people to come to him. As the Gemara says, "a person's feet deliver him to the place."

There is no city of eternal life. The only place that lives forever is Bet-El, the House of G-d. This is the house of Jacob, to connect with the Torah of Hashem, as the Mishnah says about the words "engraved" (,Uršj) into the Tablets. Don't read it "engraved" (,Uršj), but read it "freedom" (,Ur„j) from the Angel of Death. The only way to acquire everlasting life is by clinging to the Torah. 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


It started out as a rainy day off from school. Many mothers had the identical plan to save the day: they would send their youngsters to the local theater, where a children's entertainer was appearing.

The little boys and girls were full of excitement as they entered the darkened theater and took their seats. For approximately two hours they sang and laughed along with the entertainer, enjoying every minute.

As they filed outside, chattering happily, the little ones instinctively raised their hands to shield their eyes from the bright afternoon sunlight that unexpectedly greeted them. The sudden change from dark to light was quite unpleasant.

The world is designed to avoid the discomfort of sudden changes in the environment. Those who live in the Temperate Zones may have very cold winters and very hot summers, but the Creator has built into nature pleasant transitional seasons to make the change a pleasure rather than a pain. As the season moves from fall to winter, you might notice that each month has an average temperature that is a little colder than that of the previous month. The leaves on the trees change color before they fall off - a few at a time - to reveal the bare branches of winter. The beginning of each day, dawn, is a slow brightening of the nighttime sky before the sun rises to its full strength. The evening twilight consists of a slow increase in darkness until the night falls.

Spend some time thinking about other examples of slow transitions rather than stark contrasts, and you will be filled with gratitude to the Designer of our special world. (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.

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 This Week's Parsha | 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