Parshat Vayetzei


First Portion

• VA-YETZEI YAAKOV-and Yaakov left. He left his parents’ home. Whether he was forced to leave because his brother, Eisav, was out to kill him or perhaps his mother made a prearranged meet with her brother’s family as a possible marriage potential. It was time for Yaakov to leave the house where he grew up and venture out in the world. Many of us haveto make these life changing steps in order to progress and mature as human beings. It’s a move, for the most part, for the majority of us, whether we like it or not, has to be done. In Yaakov’s case he spent time in the Yeshiva of Shem va Ever and then journeyed to his uncle’s house to meet his daughters.

• Yitzchak did not know Eisav intended on killing Yaakov, Rivka approached him and told him their son Yaakov must leave in order to get married. She didn’t like the girls in the neighborhood. So he was commanded by his father to “go” and get married and commanded by his mother to escape because your brother’s out to kill you.

•  How would sending Yaakov to Lavan’s house in Charran prevent Eisav from killing him there? Interesting to note, in all the years Yaakov was in Lavan’s house, Eisav did not attempt to pursue him and kill him, why? The reason is Lavan was a master of evil and impurity. Knowledge gives a person great strength! He became powerful with this one black magic technique. He would decapitate a seventh generation bechor (first born) and place it on the wall where he would then place the name of evil under its tongue (there are also more hocus-pocus words that he recites). Lavan then begins to ask the decapitated head about the secrets of the world where he would receive answers. The information made Lavan a very rich and powerful man. These seventh generation bechors were hard to find! Eisav was a seventh generation bechor and apparently afraid to confront Lavan.

• The dream- Yaakov camps at HAMAKOM “the place”. This is the same place where the AKEDA took place and where the Temple Mount is found.

Second Portion

• Yaakov meets Lavan’s daughter Rachel. He thinks she is destined for him since she is the youngest and he too is the youngest. Boy is he in for a rollercoaster ride.

Third Portion

• How is it possible that Yaakov did not know it was Rachel when they were secluded together at night? Even in the dark one is able to recognize through breathing, a scent, or just moves of a person. Rachel’s virtue was modesty. She went out of her way for that trait. Therefore it was very difficult for Yaakov to detect if it was her or not. Rachel’s descendant- King Shaul had that beautiful trait as well. It’s in the genes!!

• Yaakov’s eldest son, Ruben, eventually lost the blessing of the bechor-first born rights, as well as the monarchy and priesthood. The sages say- the reason why he didn’t turn out as successful as some of his other brothers, is on the night of his conception, which was the wedding night, Yaakov was unaware who he was having relationship with due to the switch, of Rachel and Leah, connivingly done by Lavan. Thought is crucial at this particular time!

• Yehuda’s name was given out of appreciation. One is defined by their name. This is a trait found throughout Yehuda’s descendants.

Fourth Portion

• As soon as Yosef was born, Yaakov decided, it was time to leave Lavan’s house. Why Yosef and not any of the other brothers? What’s so special about Yosef? It’s inevitable that he will meet Eisav as soon as he leaves. Is there a connection between Yosef and Eisav?

• Yaakov knew that Yosef has the power to overcome Eisav. Eisav is the epitome of impurity while Yosef is KEDUSHA-purity. Also the tribes will ask Eisav, “Why did you pursue your brother Yaakov?”Eisav will answer,” Hey, why did You pursue your brother Yosef?”, therefore silencing them. However, Yosef will ask “Why did you pursue Yaakov?”, and he will be unable to respond “My brothers mistreated me and I responded with kindness.” Thus he will succeed in silencing Eisav.

Fifth Portion

Once again we see a man being tested through his most precious commodity. Yaakov was a man of integrity who was the embodiment of truth. Though, this is what he was tested by all his life. He had to lie to his father disguising himself as his brother Eisav. Here he is being tested once again in dealing with his crooked uncle Lavan.

Sixth Portion

Rachel steals Lavan’s TERAFIM. These are the same black magic device as we discussed earlier

Seventh Portion

We read a portion in the Hagaddah on Pesach about Lavan pursuing Yaakov and his family to kill him. Anti-Semitism is the topic here. Lavan answers “Why would I want to kill you, your children are my children”.

Credit to: Rabbi Avi Matmon