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Haftarah: Obadiah 1: 1-21

NOVEMBER 23-25, 2007 14 KISLEV 5768


“And Jacob sent angels before him to Esav his brother” (Beresheet 32:

In our perashah we read about Jacob returning home after many years of living with Laban, only to be confronted by Esav. The Ramban explains Jacob’s reason for contacting Esav at this time: “Because the south of Eress Yisrael is near Edom and Jacob’s father lived in the land of the south, Jacob had to pass through Edom to arrive at his destination, Isaac’s home. This is why he was concerned that perhaps Esav might hear about his travel plans and come to confront him. Therefore, he acted in advance, sending messengers to Esav to his land. But, the Sages take Jacob to task for this, for they said (in Beresheet Rabbah) it is written: like one who grabs a dog’s ears, so is a passerby who involves himself in a quarrel that is not his (Proverbs 26:17). Hashem said to Jacob, “Esav was already going off on his way, yet you send messengers to him and say to him, ‘So said your servant Jacob…’”? The Ramban tells us that there is a complaint against Jacob starting up with Esav. He should have, so to speak, “Let the sleeping dog lie.”

As always there is a message here for us. On every Yom Kippur we say in the confession, “On the sins that we sinned before You with the yeser hara (evil inclination). But, aren’t all of our sins rooted in our yeser hara? The answer is that there are some sins where the yeser hara attacks us and we lose. On these we make teshubah. However, there are some sins where we bring the yeser hara into ourselves. We wake up the sleeping dog and we grab him by the ears. Sometimes a person willingly brings himself to sin and for this we recite a special prayer in the confession. We are guilty for bringing the yeser hara.

One of the greatest evils of the Internet is the easy availability of prohibited adult material. The yeser hara is strong enough without it, but now it is brought into the home and workplace. It is a common opinion today that it is impossible to communicate and do business without the Internet and e-mail. Being that this is so, there are two precautions one must take. Try to limit the use at the business place. Secondly, place the best available filters and blockers to keep this terrible harm as far away as possible. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

“Esav said, ‘I have plenty’…And Ya’akob said, ‘I have everything’” (Beresheet 33:9-11)

When Esav saw the lavish gift given to him by his brother, Ya’akob, he tried to demur and say he has plenty, he doesn’t need this gift. However, Ya’akob insisted and in his statement back to Esav, he said, “I have everything.” This slight contrast in their attitude towards materialism says much about their different values and priorities. Esav, who favors this world and all of its alluring possessions, says he has plenty. He may have a tremendous amount, but he still says it’s only plenty, not all. There’s always room for more! Ya’akob, whose goal in life is to become closer to Hashem, using his worldly possessions to achieve spiritual accomplishments, says, “I have it all! Everything I have is enough for me. I am not missing anything!”

There is a fellow who was buying a new car, and after weeks of shopping and planning, finally got the one he was looking for. The right color, the right interior, and all of the right accessories, as much as he could afford. His happiness lasted one day, because the next day, his neighbor bought the higher priced model with all the new gadgets, and parked it right next door. The first one who bought the car that he could afford all of a sudden lost his excitement because he didn’t have it all!

Are we similar to Esav, who could always use more and are not happy with what we have because something can always be added, or are we like Ya’akob, that whatever we have is everything? Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka

Answer to Pop Quiz: The prohibition of eating the gid hanasheh (sciatic nerve).

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.

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